Saturday, February 17, 2007

Border

I wanted to show you something that is kind of important to me. The photo above is of the Severn Bridge which crosses the River Severn from England near Bristol to Wales near Chepstow so this bridge is cool in that you can drive from one country and into the other which is a bit more spectacular than crossing this border any other way where all you get is a 'Welcome' sign. I took the photo above on a recent trip over. The weather was typically British for this time of the year in that it was showery and chilly but the sun was trying to break through the clouds.

The Severn Bridge was opened in 1966 to replace the ferry service crossing from Aust to Beachley. The new bridge provided a direct link for the M4 motorway into Wales and it has now carried more than 300,000,000 vehicles since it was opened. Over the years traffic flow increased and the bridge acted as a bottle-neck at the tolls. The problems were made worse by the occasional high winds, and the bridge still closes today in these conditions. It is for these reasons that the Second Severn Crossing was constructed and opened in 1996.

The bridge celebrated it's 40th anniversary last year and is very much a part of the history of the South West. I more often use the Second Severn Crossing these days which now carries the M4 (the original Severn Bridge carries the M48 motorway). Either way, these bridges are a vital link between England and Wales for the South West and they mean that traffic from this area do not have to detour around the estuary. If this were the case then I would not have gone to some of the places I have shown you as the journey would be too long so this is why it is important to me. I'll finish by sharing an ode written about the bridge by the Anglo-Welsh poet Harri Webb:
Two lands at last connected
Across the waters wide,
And all the tolls collected
On the English side.

21 comments:

Melody said...

This bridge reminds me of Richey Edwards something awful. Being the big Brit-pop fan I was back in 1996 and visitng the UK, to know he went missing near hear breaks my heart. I wonder what ever happened to the missing Manic Street Preachers member? So whenever I hear or see stories about this border crossing I hear of him.

As you know (I think I mentioned before) I visited the UK in Dec/Jan of '96/97. I stayed with a pal in Cardiff for a few weeks. SHe lived with a girl who actually went out with Richey before he dissappeared.

Thank you for this post BK.

Nikki-ann said...

I've been over the old bridge, but I don't get down there very often. I live near the border in Mid Wales, so I often go across the "boring" way :D

kenju said...

I love the perspective in that photo, Bob-Kat. The clouds are nice too. I took a similar photo several years ago of a bridge from Maryland to NJ, I think. Maybe I'll look for it. Michele sent me.

mar said...

I love bridges, I love connections... Great way to connect two countries!

David said...

bridges are so cool
makes you love the guys who design them

Mr. Althouse said...

That's a nice shot. I love suspension bridges... there's a world famous one not too far from here.

Michele sent me this time,

Mike

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I've seen it many times, but not from that view.

Michele sent me here.

Shephard said...

That's a great bridge and a great reason to appreciate it. :)
~S

Mr. Althouse said...

Hi Bob-kat, back from Michele's. Your post inspired me to shoot a bridge today... No, I didn't drive the 90 minutes to the Golden Gate Bridge, I chose a different gold bridge right in my own neck of the woods. Check it out on Overflow

Mike

srp said...

I detect a note of sarcasm in that poem. :) It tickles me to hear someone in England talk about the differences between the North and the South and refer to the SouthWest. I don't know why that should be, perhaps I just have my head in the sand to think that the US is the only country to have such differences in different areas. Perhaps it comes from living in the deep south here for so long or the long term aftereffect of the Civil War. It just sounds strange to my ear.

The bridge is gorgeous and I am so glad to know someone else snaps pictures while driving...."Carmi, did you hear that?"

Irish Church Lady :) said...

I've traveled the new severn bridge many times when I used to travel to Wales often. I think I went on the old one only once. I used to stay in Caldicot, Chepstow and Tintern when I traveled there. Great country. I enjoyed it very much.

Ps said...

Interesting picture and write up.Also interesting how that one bridge can make a huge difference--in relationships as well.Its important to build bridges, and then to take care of them,so that they last---and connect.

rashbre said...

Great atmospheric shot of the bridge. I think I know where you were 'standing' to take that shot. I believe I've been there too.

rashbre

kross-eyed kitty said...

That is a spectacular looking bridge. For a 40 yr old bridge, it looks surprisingly modern. And, your photographic skill makes the photo look like a postcard!

Fizzy said...

I have posted a picture of my children crossing from England to Scotland. Nothing as grand as the bridge though just a huge rock

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I had wondered about the ease or difficulty of getting to Wales...and I thank youfor answering that question....! I'd love to see a picture of the Second Sevren Bridge, too!
I love the look of Bridges....as you know---they are all over Manhatten...And All the years I lived in New York, we were Always on one bridge or another....like The Tri-Boro or The Queensboro when you come into Manhatten from Long Island. This Bridge of yours is very very beautiful, isn't it?

Niall said...

It is a stunning piece of engineering..I once wrote to the company that built it 'Dorman and Long'..I was about 7 at the time, I had drawn an alternative design for the bridge...they were so kind and polite in letting me down. I love the concept of bridge building...every time you send a post out on your site it's the first bit of a bridge..when someone reads it..the bridge is complete.

utenzi said...

Bridges are quite vital. No doubt that's why they're such a great metaphor. Poets have great insight into what really matters.

Katherine said...

Ha, I love that little poem! That is really cool that one side is in one country and the other in a different country...

TrueJerseyGirl said...

As always, I love your pics and how you can make something as simple as a bridge seem so very special.

Sarch said...

I'm not sure how I missed this one Bobkat.

Nice picture. That bridge looks enormous. Interesting background info and a poem to boot! Thanks for the good post.