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Rustic Bridge to Rushpool Hall

Who else has memories of this bridge, spanning Skelton Beck from Riftswood to the grounds of Rushpool Hall? Intriguingly it could be crossed but exiting into Rushpool Hall grounds required getting past the board door which was always locked! However by ways and means it was possible to get across and enter what was to many a ‘forbidden garden’. The image comes from an unused postcard, alas it bears no identification, but is believed to date from the early 20th century; certainly the bridge was there in the 1950s and 1960s. Alan Collins tells us: “I remember that this bridge existed between 1950 until about 1957 when I lived at 8 Victoria Road, opposite the Youth Hostel. For me and my brother David and sister Rosina, Riftswood was our favourite playground and we knew every inch of it from the sea right up to the golf course, past the water falls under the railway viaduct… where I found a proper tree house – with a wood burning stove – reached through a trapdoor with a rope ladder. Yes; the door was always locked but we used to shin across a fallen tree trunk to explore the ‘secret gardens’ at Rushpool. I once spoke to a soldier there; the whole place was used as a special mental hospital just for military personnel. The nurses used to tend them sunbathing there. They did tell me that I was not allowed to be there, but a sign on the bridge said Private No Entry! There was another way to get there from the Fairy Glens, at the bottom of a path from Victoria Road. The water mill and farmhouse had not long been abandoned at the downward end of the leat from the waterfall”. David Hill confirms with: “I can also remember the bridge, it was still there in 1962. When Rushpool Hall was not in use I used the bridge and paths through the grounds to walk to work at Woodlands Nursery opposite the Skelton Road entrance to Rushpool Hall. If you look carefully you can still see where the bridge used to be. In the ‘secret garden’ there is a Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant Redwood) tree which because of its bark we used to call the “punch tree”; if punched the bark is soft. Further towards the hall and to the left there used to be some dogs graves, does anyone know if they are still there? Saltburn is a great place to spend one’s childhood, woods, rivers,coast, cliffs, very happy memories”.

Image courtesy of Julie Tyrka and thanks to Alan Collins and David Hill for the updates.

2 comments to Rustic Bridge to Rushpool Hall

  • Alan Collins

    I remember that this bridge existed between 1950 until about 1957 when I lived at 8 Victoria Road, opposit the YHA. For me and my brother David and sister Rosina, Riftswood was our favourite playground and we knew every inch of it from the sea right up to the golf course, past the water falls under the railway viaduct… where I found a proper treehouse – with a wood burnings stove – reached through a trapdoor with a rope ladder. Yes, the door was always locked but we used to shin across a fallen tree trunk to explore the “secret gardens” at Rushpool. I once spoke to a soldier there. The whole place was used as a special mental hospital just for military personnel. The nurses used to tend them sunbathing there. They did tell me that I was not allowed to be there, but a sign on the bridge said Private No Entry! There was another way to get there from the Fairy Glens, at the bottom of a path from Victoria Road. The water mill & farmhouse had not long been abandoned at the downward end of a leat from the waterfall.

  • David Hill

    I can also remember the bridge, it was still there in 1962. When Rushpool Hall was not in use I used the bridge and paths through the grounds to walk to work at Woodlands Nursery opposite the Skelton Rd entrance to Rushpool Hall. If you look carefully you can still see where the bridge used to be. In the “secret garden” there is a Sequoiadendron giganteum tree which because of its bark we used to call the “punch tree” if punched the bark is soft. Further towards the hall and to the left there used to be some dogs graves, does anyone know if they are still there? Saltburn is a great place to spend one’s childhood, woods, rivers,coast, cliffs, very happy memories.

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