The Old Shoreham Toll Bridge - a link with the past

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The toll bridge lives again ... !!!

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

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

It was 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.

Photo: Old Shoreham Toll Bridge - from the south east

Old Shoreham Toll Bridge - from the south east

Photo: Old Shoreham Toll Bridge - from the south west

Old Shoreham Toll Bridge - from the south west

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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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Page last updated: 21 December 2023

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