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Spean Bridge

Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Spean Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Spean Bridge; River Spean

Canmore ID 108231

Site Number NN28SW 15

NGR NN 22194 81713

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kilmonivaig
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Spean Bridge Originally Unachan (Market Place) and then New Bridge, Spean Bridge was a strategically-sited staging/trading post along the drovers' route, where Glen Spean and Braes Lochaber meet the Great Glen. Telford's three-span bridge here, c.1819, superseded High Bridge just downstream. His road down Glen Spean, 'made with consummate skill and care' according to his friend, the poet Robert Southey, was completed in 1819.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NN28SW 15 22194 81713

Spean Bridge [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, [no date available].

Not to be confused with General Wade's High Bridge (NN 20059 82108), for which see NN28SW 6.

Architect: Thomas Telford (1803-1821).

(Undated) information in NMRS.

(Location cited as NN 222 817). Spean Bridge, built 1819, engineer Thomas Telford. A 3-span bridge, with large central arch flanked by smaller arches, all segmental. Widened in concrete in 1932.

J R Hume 1977.

Bridge, by Thomas Telford, 1813. Three-span, with a big segmental arch flanked by two smaller ones. Widened in concrete, 1932.

J Gifford 1992.

This bridge carries the A82(T) public road over the River Spean, within Spean Bridge village (NN28SW 16).

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 12 April 2006.


Publication Account (2007)

(Institute Civil Engineers Historic Engineering Works no. HEW 2538/01)

Spean Bridge

Spean Bridge, with its asymmetrical side arches, an unusual practice for Telford but dictated by ground conditions, was on the longest road built by the Commissioners east of the Great Glen. The 42-mile Laggan Road from the Badenoch Road, now the A9, to Fort William was built from 1810–18 for what the commissioners rewarded as ‘£23 293; an appalling sum’.

Incomplete work was swept away twice during construction before the contract for an enlarged bridge was completed by John Wilson in 1815 with spans of 30 ft, 50 ft and 20 ft. It was widened in 1932.

R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Highlands and Islands' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.


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