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OS Wallpaper Download: August 2022

OS Team • • Aug 04, 2022 • 3 minutes

OS Wallpaper Download: August 2022 - Packhorse Bridge at Hockenhull Platts, Chester by Jeff Buck

Packhorse Bridges were built to be big enough to take a person on foot, or a horse carrying packs, but were not big enough for a cart. You'll often find them on ancient trading routes, with some dating back to the 15th century, and still in use today.

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There are over 100 Packhorse Bridges in Great Britain - typically defined as being built before 1800 and being less than six feet wide. Most of them have listed status to protect them, although many still see daily use. This bridge is one of a set of three classic examples built in the 17th or 18th century, but often referred to locally as the 'Roman Bridges' - so it might have been a replacement for an even older one.

It is likely that the name Hockenhull Platts is derived from a combination of English and Welsh. Platt is an Old English word for "bridge" (probably related to "plank"). "Hock" may come from the Welsh hocan which means to sell abroad, which is fitting, as these would have been used by peddlers and traders. Hen is Welsh for "old" and heol means a paved way or road. It is therefore possible that Hockenhull Platts means "the bridges on the old peddlars' way".

The bridges are part of the Baker Way, which is a 13 miles (21 km) footpath running from Chester to Delamere. It's name for Jack Baker, a former footpaths officer for Cheshire County Council, although the paths predate the name.

This photograph was submitted to Geograph by Jeff Buck in 2012.

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