Kinterbury Creek bridge

muf architecture/art, Plymouth, 2016


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the bridge after high tide 

Jake Mcpherson     Download Original

  • the bridge after high tide    
  • The cast charms tagging the bridge    
  • View to the Tamar    
  • Threading the charms to the bridge at the opening ceremony    
  • Kinterbury bidge from the foreshore to the valley along the metal path    
  • Kinterbury_Bridge_High_Tide__001 copy    
  • High tide from the south facing viewing platform    
  • construction drawings    
  • Kint_site    
  • Vandalised bridge    
  • Intertidal construction    
  • Charm workshop, smelting furnace      
  • Charm workshop    
  • Charm workshop    
  • Charm workshop    

A neighbourhood improvement project to replace a bridge across Kinterbury Creek and link the community to the tidal foreshore.

The brief from a local arts group supported by Plymouth City Council to design and deliver a bridge over Kinterbury Creek was exceptionally challenging; the budget was very small, the community aspirations very high, the program very tight, the site intertidal, inaccessible to vehicles and a Site of Scientific Interest.

The bridge spans Kinterbury Creek to give access to Kilne Bay which is designated a County Wildlife Site of maritime habitats, with two hectares of mud flats, small pockets of rocky foreshore, salt marsh and reed beds. The foreshore is used by local people as a typical waterside location, for exploring nature, fishing, dog walking and picnicking.

The bridge replaces the elevated path installed in 2011 and which was destroyed by arson in the summer of 2012. The former path in turn replaced an older wooden structure that residents report had been in place for at least 20 years.

The replacement had to be robust with a design and delivery process to engage the community and embed a sense of local ownership.

The design response is a bridge that sits lightly on and is a part of the landscape and which marks the datum of the tides. At spring high tide the timber walkway bridges above the level of the water, between these extremes the crossing is on the grill walkway which is as if walking on water. A stepped seating platform is situated on the sheltered green north bank to give south west views to the Tamar River and afternoon sun.

The design and construction was planned to take account of the limited and inter tidal site access, the existing piles were reused and the timber sleepers and steel grills fabricated off site
The design development process enabled local people to take ownership of the project by making a set of ‘charms’ to tag the bridge. muf set up a temporary forge on the foreshore for a day long workshop. Beach combed aluminium cans were smelted and local people brought and cast beach combed and other meaningful small objects. A number were cast onto rings and at the ‘topping out’ of the bridge local children threaded these onto the balustrade.

As well as planning permission consents also included a licence from the Marine Management Organisation and a Construction Environmental Management Plan.


  • Begun: Apr 2016
  • Completed: Aug 2016
  • Floor area: 185m2
  • Sectors: Public realm, Landscape design
  • Total cost: £40,000
  • Funding: Plymouth City Council
  • Tender date: Jan 2016
  • Procurement: Minor Works 2011
  • Address: Kinterbury Creek off Wolseley Road, Plymouth, PL5 1HF, United Kingdom