The Old Shoreham Toll Bridge
A link with the past

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The toll bridge lives again ... !!!

Old Shoreham Toll Bridge from the south east

What an achievement and what a day it was to walk across the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge on August 18th 2008 and see it once more in all its glory.

It was then officially re-opened on 23rd October 2008 by the Duke of York.

In no time at all walkers, some with their dogs, joggers, cyclists and brief case carrying men and women were to be seen using the bridge in ever increasing numbers.

It really has been restored beautifully and full marks to the work force of Mackley, a local contractor, for not only doing a superb job but finishing it two weeks ahead of schedule. Nor has the weather conditions during the work been kind to them.

Over the years, time and weather had taken its toll and the council was faced with a bill of £500,000 or lose it to the river. The Old Shoreham Community Trust was set up in 2001 to help raise the money in partnership with West Sussex County Council. But the cost had risen by £175,000. To avoid any further increase in costs and allow the work to start in March, the Trust agreed to raise the extra. The County Council underwrote the Trust for the remainder to be repaid in four years.

The Trust is therefore appealing to everyone, businesses and residents to help us to pay off the debt. The Trust has managed already to obtain a grant from landfill company Viridor for £50,000.

We are appealing to young and old to keep an eye on the bridge. It has cost a lot of money and effort to save it - please take care of it.

Thoughts from Liza McKinney, who was an Adur Councillor for Marine Ward at the time the bridge was restored ...

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History of the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge

The Old Shoreham Toll Bridge linking Shoreham-by-Sea to Lancing and Worthing was built across the River Adur tidal estuary in 1781. Prior to that people and animals were pulled from one side of the estuary to the other on a flat raft.

In 1847 a new river crossing was built to provide a dedicated crossing for the new South Coast Railway and the railway company acquired a controlling interest in the bridge. Ownership passed to the newly created nationalised British Rail in 1947 and to West Sussex County Council, the present owners, in 1970. Up until it was closed to road traffic in 1968, when it became a public bridleway, it was the A27 and even double-decker buses used it. At that time the toll to cross it was sixpence in old money.

The toll bridge is a Grade II* Listed building:

The Old Shoreham Toll Bridge is located opposite the Red Lion public house or off the A27 along by Ricardo Engineering consultants. It is used by walkers, cyclists and horse-riders to cross the River Adur, whether for leisure, recreation or as a pleasant alternative to commuting to work on the adjacent Airport site by car. The South Coast Cycleway lies to the south of the bridge with connections to the Coastal Link, linking to the South Downs Way.

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The Toll Bridge Community Partnership

The partnership comprises 40 organisations and groups in the local community who collectively wish to assist West Sussex County Council to maintain the timber bridge structure to retain its heritage and to maintain this important river crossing for the future.

Painting: Old Shoreham Toll Bridge by Dudley Hearne

Old Shoreham Toll Bridge from the south west Painting of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge from the south west

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Page last updated: 09 September 2021

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