Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Clapper Bridge, Postbridge

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5941 / 50°35'38"N

Longitude: -3.9111 / 3°54'39"W

OS Eastings: 264829.445765

OS Northings: 78900.95891

OS Grid: SX648789

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.JWM4

Mapcode Global: FRA 27PH.J46

Entry Name: Clapper Bridge, Postbridge

Scheduled Date:

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002508

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 406

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Widecombe-in-the-Moor St Pancras

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Clapper bridge at Postbridge.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a clapper bridge spanning the East Dart River within the hamlet of Postbridge. The bridge is supported upon two granite piers set into the river bed, each consisting of seven horizontally laid slabs. These piers are spanned by three substantial granite slabs leading to two abutments at either end. Steps leading up onto these abutments provide pedestrian access to the bridge. The bridge is of a medieval type, but much of what survives today probably dates to after 1670, when the bridge was reported as being in decay.
The bridge is Listed Grade II*.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Clapper bridges are structures designed to carry a trackway across a river by means of one, or more, large, flat stone slabs, either resting directly on the river banks or supported on dry stone piers. Many examples comprise a single slab while multi-span clapper bridges typically have between two and five spans. They were used by foot passengers and packhorse traffic and are frequently located on the course of a packhorse track. Although some clapper bridges are thought to be of prehistoric origin there is no evidence for this. It may be that surviving prehistoric monuments in the immediate vicinity of clapper bridges, such as those on Exmoor and Dartmoor has led to this assumption. It is more likely that clapper bridges were constructed and used from the late medieval period, around 1400 to the 19th century. They are found in areas of the country where the local rock yields large slabs of stone. Clapper bridges are very rare monuments with only just over 40 recorded nationally.

The clapper bridge at Postbridge is the best known archaeological monument on Dartmoor and is the focus of considerable visitor attention. The bridge is very picturesque and represents the finest clapper bridge in Devon.

Source: Historic England

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