Pensford Viaduct
Coordinates51°22′15″N 2°33′05″W / 51.3708°N 2.5515°W / 51.3708; -2.5515Coordinates: 51°22′15″N 2°33′05″W / 51.3708°N 2.5515°W / 51.3708; -2.5515
CarriesBristol and North Somerset Railway
CrossesRiver Chew
LocalePensford, Somerset, England
OwnerHighways Agency Historical Railways Estate
Heritage statusGrade II listed building
BRB (Residuary) LtdFNS3/17m 4ch[1]
MaterialStone and brick
Total length995 feet (303 m)
Height95 feet (29 m)
No. of spans16
Construction start1874

Pensford Viaduct is a disused railway bridge in the village of Pensford within the historic English county of Somerset now unitary authority Bath and North East Somerset. It is a Grade II listed building.[2]


The viaduct was built in 1874 to carry the Bristol and North Somerset Railway over the valley of the River Chew. The contractor was J. Perry, of Tredegar Works, Bow.[3] During construction the bridge failed and had to be rebuilt.[4]

The last scheduled passenger train to cross the viaduct was the 9:25 a.m. from Frome to Bristol on 31 October 1959; after that there were only goods trains (mainly bringing coal from Radstock), which ceased in 1964, and very occasional excursion trains. It officially closed after the Chew Stoke flood of 1968 which damaged the viaduct and other buildings in Pensford and the wider Chew Valley.[5]

The viaduct was offered for sale for £1,[6] in 1984;[5] however, the likely maintenance costs were prohibitive and no one bought it.[7][8] It became the property of BRB (Residuary) Ltd which took over some of the assets of the British Railways Board when it was privatised.[1] In September 2013, BRB (Residuary) Ltd was abolished, with assets being transferred to the Highways Agency Historical Railways Estate.[9]

In 2014 a new microbrewery in Pensford known as the Chew Valley Brewery used a depiction of the viaduct as its logo.[10][11]


Construction is of stone piers and spandrels with red brick soffits. The viaduct is 995 feet (303 m) long, reaches a maximum height of 95 feet (29 m) to rail level and consists of sixteen arches. The arches are of different widths and heights and supported by tall, tapering piers in the centre and thicker shorter ones towards the sides. Arches 5 and 13 are lower than the others dividing the bridge into sections with four higher arches at each end.[5]

Subsequent repairs were made with concrete rather than stone, though it was dressed to look similar to the surrounding stone.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Pensford Viaduct". British Railways Board (Residuary) Ltd — Burdensome Estate. Government Buildings. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  2. ^ Historic England. "Pensford Viaduct (1312811)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  3. ^ Cole, D. "More from "The Builder"". Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  4. ^ "The Opening of the North Somerset Railway". Bristol Times and Mirror. 6 September 1873. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Pensford Viaduct". Forgotten Relics. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  6. ^ "The railway viaduct at Pensford, 6 million bricks on sale for a pound" (PDF). Publow with Pensford Parish Council. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Pensford Viaduct for Sale". Publow with Pensford Parish. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Unique Property Bulletin 4 March 2012". Unique Property Bulletin. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  9. ^ "BRB (Residuary) Ltd has been abolished". British Government. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  10. ^ Biddle, Pete (Summer 2014). "More breweries opening in local area!" (PDF). Pints West (102). CAMRA. p. 3. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  11. ^ "New brewery launched". Mendip Times. 10 (8): 18. October 2014.