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Tarr Steps Clapper Bridge, Exmoor National Park

Tarr Steps is a medieval clapper bridge spanning the River Barle in Exmoor national Park, North Somerset. The Tarr Steps is one of the few remaining clapper bridges in the United Kingdom.

 

The structure is a typical clapper bridge construction, with the bridge possibly dating from around 1000 BC. The stone slabs weigh up to 1-2 tons apiece. According to local legend, they were placed by the devil to win a bet. The bridge is 180 feet (55 m) long and has 17 spans. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument.

 

The name "clapper bridge" comes from the Medieval Latin "claperius" which means "pile of stones". It is an ancient form of bridge constructed with large unmortared slabs of stone resting on one another; this is the largest example of its type. There are 17 spans across 50 metres (55 yd), the top slabs weigh 1-2 tons and are about 39 inches (99 cm) above normal water level. The largest slab is over 8 feet (2.4 m) long and is about 5 feet (1.5 m) wide.

 

Location: 51.077 N 3.168 W

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Taken on July 21, 2012