A CRUMBLING bridge which more than a century ago assisted industry in Monmouthshire is hopefully to benefit from an £800,000 restoration.

Redbrook bridge, also known as Penallt Viaduct, brought metals into South Wales.

Tinplate from Redbrook was used to make tin cans and tin boxes.

With the establishment of the Redbrook Tinplate Company in 1876, the brand became famous around the world and by 1949, a total of 43,500 boxes of tinplate were produced weekly and exported worldwide.

The bridge carried passenger trains until 1959 and freight until 1964.

Since then it has been an important crossing for walkers between Redbrook in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire and Penallt in Monmouthshire and is now part of the Wye Valley Walk.

But as its condition has worsened over time, Kate Biggs, heritage project officer for the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, hopes to secure £800,000 of Heritage Lottery Fund money to repair it.

A grant would also engage people with its history through community outreach and guided walks.

Ms Biggs said: "The bridge is an arterial link between Redbrook and Penallt. It was used as a railway bridge, bringing in metals into South Wales. It has a different use now but it's still just as important. We want to repair it in places where it is deteriorating. The outreach work would help people see how the village has evolved."

Children walk across the bridge to Redbrook Primary School and without it there would be a 12 mile trip to the nearest shop.

During the Monmouth Raft Race earlier this month, Ms Biggs and Andrew Nixon, Wye Valley AONB Development Officer highlighted the bridge’s plight by hanging a banner from it and informing villagers.

A study by Opus International (UK) has suggested how the bridge can be enhanced and provide a safe crossing for multiple users, including a new deck and further conservation measures.

Views are sought online at wyevalleyaonb.org.uk under the Redbrook Bridge Conservation menu.