Sparrow Lane Bridge, Guisborough

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Sparrow Lane followed the line of what is now Pytchley Road, with the bridge passing under the dismanted Guisborough and Brotton railway line.
Buiried Sparrow Lane Bridge, Guisborough
The North-West edge of the bridge appears to be present in the undergrowth, with an arch visible just under ground, the top row of stone poke out just below the level of the adjacent path.
Buiried Sparrow Lane Bridge, Guisborough
More stonework is visible at the top of steps on the south side, although the main area on the south is currently inaccessible due to thick undergrowth.
Buiried Sparrow Lane Bridge, Guisborough
I would guess the bridge was filled-in when estate to the south was built.

15 thoughts on “Sparrow Lane Bridge, Guisborough

  1. Has anyone seen the bridge over the original Belmont mine branch line? I have crossed it countless times but due to undergrowth etc and private land around it haven’t managed to see it properly. It lies just between Belmangate and Butt Lane on the same line as the Sparrow Lane bridge and apparently is important for some reason, possibly due to an unusual design. There is somewhere near it remains of a concrete structure which can be seen from Belmangate itself, which I believe may be linked to the original Belmont mines. Any information anyone?

  2. I had a friend who lived on Pytchley Road for many years….I must have passed by this feature a thousand times and only today have looked at the remnants properly!!!!! Thanks Chris for enlightening us.

  3. What I realise now, after thinking about the history of the area, is that I believe Sparrow Lane to still be in existance alongside the Focus store on Rectory Lane. It leads up to where the infilled bridge is and is lost amongst the new housing estate, surviving as a footpath across (?) the school field. It re-emerges at the top of Silverton Road near the new Belmont mine site. There is a double gate at the Rectory Lane end containing a Guisborough Estate sign, which should really be restored.

  4. Just discovered this site, thanks to brother in law Phil for telling me about.

    When I first moved to Guisborough as a kid in the early 70s we lived in Sinnington Close which is of Pytchley. Back then there was a lot less undergrowth and you could see the remains of the bridge much more clearly. You could walk up sparrow lane in between the foundry buildings from a point opposite the scout hut, they shut this in the early 80s when they opened a new path which goes up the side of what is now Sainsburys. When I was a kid you could see the remains of another bridge which I now think must have been on the older (Cleveland?) railway which was built first and rendered redundant with the new line, it’s just east of Pytchley where the two joined up. There used to be quite a bit of stonework from the older bridge but this has vanished over the years.

  5. I think the other bridge may have been where one line (Cleveland?) crossed the other (Middlesbrough and Guisborough?) just behind what is now Morgan Drive. If you walk down the Guisborough town branch from Enfield Chase the line of the original railway can be seen as an embankment on the right, which I believe bridged over the town branch. I have not seen any photographs of this however and would be very interested if anyone has any further information. The available information simply states that one crossed the other just south of the station.

  6. alright, I’ve been stomping around slacks wood and roseberry mines today looking for a weird shaped brick building that you’d posted about a few years all i can remember from chris’s post description is there was an old cassette tape possibly floating in water, please could you be so kind as to put me on the right tracks as i cant find anything on your site. Oops nearly forgot yea sparrow lane crossed a bridge for the town station branch near where focus is now, this bridge was infilled approx 1996, shame. Im 31 and never saw a tunnel under the main whitby/boro line but its a crying shame about that one. there is a very nice shepards tunnel further towards m’bro which we used to shelter in in the rain OL26 591 149 looks like where cod hill mine branch meets the main line, its haunted too, got first hand experience of that, really. Look forward to hearing from you.

  7. The bridge carried the “high line” over what before the housing estate went up all over open farmland, was Sparrow Lane which was the road access to Hunter Hill Farm and the Belmont Mine from its junction with Rectory Lane. It ran between the foundry buildings and rose quite steeply to cross the town railway branch to Guisborough station, then continued on under the remains of the Cleveland Railway bridge all of whose stonework has long been ‘recycled’, and passed under this bridge before continuing as a country lane up to the farm. The bridge being a later addition was built of iron girders carrying the rail deck and supported on the sandstone abutments becoming visible now (not an arch). If memory serves it was painted a drab olive green & there was a signal post nearby. There is a photo on P109 of ‘Guisborough Past & Present’ by Pam Wilson first published 2005.
    The bridge is on the 200 yard ish (170m ish) link put in by the North Eastern Railway in 1862 after it had acquired both the Middlesbrough & Guisborough Railway (ex Stockton & Darlington) and the Cleveland Railway in order to provide a single through route using part of each line, for the ironstone traffic. The western section of the Cleveland Railway then was closed as it duplicated the S&D route from Middlesbrough; this alteration left Guisborough station as a terminus at the end of a short branch from what became Hutton, later changed to Guisborough Junction; meanwhile the through route became part of the main line down the North Yorkshire coast to Whitby and Scarborough.
    The High line did not cross over the town branch – the closed part of the Cleveland line did, by a separate bridge, again, the stonework has long gone. (as per Matthew James’ post 29/12/09). Where Morgan Drive is now, there was a short length of embankment in the field that was there before it and the trading estate were built, and this led on to the first of two long timber viaducts which carried the Cleveland line (also known as Admiral Chaloner’s line) over Rectory Lane and Stump Cross/Hutton Lane, over Middlesbrough Road where it rises, via a level crossing, and then a second timber viaduct across what is now Park Lane and what later became the shirt factory now the Roseberry Mount development. It then headed west past The Triangle, Woodhouse Farm and Windlebridge behind the garden centre, then on behind the Cross Keys in a more or less straight line. No houses yet in those days, still open fields (mid 1800s) unfortunately no photos have so far turned up but there are some very basic drawings showing the bridges, from which years ago I made sketches of some of this scene and will try to upload them if I can find them, it’s very hard to imagine now.
    On the main line, passenger trains in both directions worked down the branch to Guisborough and then back up to the junction signalbox situated close by the present Enfield Chase opposite the allotments, now the walkway, to continue their journeys. To save time, some faster trains did not call at Guisborough but at Hutton Gate instead, intending passengers needed to be aware of the time tables or they’d miss their train. Through summer holiday trains from further afield to the resorts ran frequently but only stopped at Hutton Gate if the engines needed to take water.
    The line between Loftus and Whitby closed completely just in time for the summer timetable in May 1958; passenger services continued to Loftus till 1960 then to Guisborough only until 1964 when it also closed under the Beeching Axe. The line through Slapewath to Boosbeck past the Fox & Hounds meantime became overgrown and used for storing redundant wagons. All the rails, sleepers, signals etc were uplifted over the period April to August 1965 – after which time Guisborough started to expand. The metal bridges were all dismantled for their scrap value whereas the stone ones fortunately were not. The space between the stone abutments was infilled for safety’s sake at the same time as the house building began because it was a 20 foot/6m drop; Sparrow Lane disappeared and access to Hunter Hill Farm was rerouted via Enfield Chase and Silverton Road and it is no longer shown as such on modern maps. Pytchley Road lies more or less on the course of Sparrow Lane; the stonework of the bridge is starting to be visible again thanks to settlement of the fill on this bit of the walkway.
    The bridge over the town branch lasted until 1996 or thereabouts, in the end it was removed and also infilled on safety grounds as it had become in very poor condition, and Sparrow Lane was by then fenced off from Rectory Lane anyway. Photos of this and many other railway locations are in the previously mentioned book.

    Hope this all helps, see also for more background info.

    If common sense ever prevails and Guisborough gets its railway back, as is sometimes suggested once in a blue moon, i wonder where a new station could go – near Focus, council offices & the car parks? Answers on a postcard please…

    The concrete structure up at Belmont Mine is the abutment wall of the loading bank, formerly it carried narrow gauge tracks down from inside the mine entrance, in a metal shed on a bridge assembly over the standard gauge branch from Hutton Gate; the iron ore was tipped from little trucks into wagons in the sidings below for onward transit to Middlesbrough (two full trainloads per day). There was also an aerial ropeway carrying buckets of ore from another drift further up in the hills, to the loading point. The mine closed in 1921.


  9. It will have been as it was the only road access up to Belmont Farm, but once the new estates were built and alternative road access became available, there would have been little point in retaining Sparrow Lane as it was, it went nowhere much after the former bridge carrying the high line was filled in, so presumably the right of way was extinguished enabling the length between Rectory Lane and the bridge over the town branch to be fenced off and made part of the foundry landholding; R&C BC Highways will probably be able to confirm one way or another.
    What is left gives access to the walkway via the steps.

    Re the comment I made about the high line bridge and the fill settling, the photos of Chris’s at the top of this article show the tops of the stone retaining walls which appear to be far more visible than they were a few years ago. I will go take a look when next in Guisbro. There was also definitely a signal post at the bridge relating to trains going in the direction of Brotton, this went at the same time as everything else, summer 1965.

  10. very interesting…as i write for the town mag, perhaps you would be interested in helping us? Guis. Town Life – via Guis. Town Pride.


    martin smith

    • Hi Martin!
      Can you help me? I’ve had a guy from Lanc’s’ asking if there are any pictures of ‘Stump Cross’ in Guisborough? I’ve searched and cant even find a sketch; I’ve sent him the story of how it supposedly got its name and
      Ords reference of the remains being used as a sign post. I told him I’d keep looking although without going to a decent library or archives I don’t think I stand much chance do you know of anything? will this help your research?.


      Scugdale park wood prehistoric enclosure (HER101) which is located within Park Wood. This is a non-designated asset of an enclosure containing circular structures. Surrounded by a ditch and has been tentatively identified as an Iron Age enclosure. The asset is currently located within Park Wood and therefore has very little visibility to the surrounding landscape and thus to the proposed met masts. The significance of this asset lies within its potential historic and archaeological value, with the ability to provide evidence of Iron Age society and the way land was utilised during this period. The asset has been identified by aerial photograph and by walkover survey. ALSO TRY BOOKS BY PRATT OR SPRATT IN wHITBY LIBRARY.

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