Castle Bridge opens to the public

The new s-shaped pedestrian and cycle bridge at Finzels Reach is now called Castle Bridge and opened to the public last week on Friday 7th April.

The name was chosen by public vote and the bridge was officially opened and named by Gavin Bridge, director of developers Cubex, and local musician, Barry Walsh, one of the people who originally suggested the name. They unfurled a banner announcing the new name and cut a ribbon to open the bridge.

A shortlist of three names – Brewery Bridge, Castle Bridge and New Brigstow Bridge – was earlier drawn up by a panel of judges and put out to vote, after the public put forward their suggestions.

The naming competition attracted a huge response from the public with more than 400 people putting forward their ideas, and even more taking part in the final vote. As well as humorous suggestions, including Bridgey McBridgeface, the majority of ideas related to the location and history of the site.

Castle Bridge sums up the history of the place perfectly,” explains Barry Walsh, who writes songs about life in Bristol. “I remember my mother shopping on Castle Street, the city’s main shopping street, which was left as a wasteland after the Bristol Blitz during the Second World War, which later became Castle Park.

“When I decided to put forward a name for the new bridge, it was clear to me straight away it should be Castle Bridge – given it is in what would once have been the shadow of the castle for hundreds of years. It’s a beautiful bridge and a real honour to have been chosen to help name and open it.”

Gavin Bridge, of developers Cubex, said: “The opening of the bridge is a landmark for the development of the whole of the Finzels Reach, which is now unrecognisable from the site we bought just four years ago after it was left in a semi-derelict state by the previous developers. By 2019, there will be over 2500 people living or working here, compared to just eight when the brewery closed in the 1990s.

“You get a completely different perspective of Castle Park, the river and the old brewery buildings from the bridge – a very different experience as it meanders across the water. It’s heartening to see people using it already and lots of people visited over the weekend, just to do a bit of sightseeing on Bristol’s newest bridge.

Made from a series of unique curved steel sections topped with timber decking, sculptured cladding and feature lighting, the 91 metre-long bridge is destined to become a new landmark in Bristol, as it snakes its way gracefully across the historic waterway accommodating the 7.5 metre height difference between the two banks. The bridge is four metres wide and designed to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists.

The ferry landing stage in Castle Park has also seen a £30,000 upgrade as part of the work, which will improve access to the boats and increase ferry passenger numbers including the new commuter service that started this week.