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The Stone Bridge

Remains of Packhorse Bridge, now disused and without parapets; it formerly carried packhorses travelling the Icknield Way over a small tributary of the River Lark. A humped back bridge single segmental arch of red brick with gauged voussoirs and flint rubble core, about 2 metres wide and spanning about 3 metres.
The stone bridge lies unused to the south of Cavenham village adjacent to the modern bridge on the Cavenham to Lackford road. 
 

Although known to archaeologists and historians, it does not appear to have been the subject of any detailed investigations. The records of the Suffolk Archaeology Unit refer to 4 courses of Tudor brickwork and, in an article written in 1932, it is described as showing traces of parapet walls and dating from not later than the 15th century. The overall width is 71/2 feet with an approximate clearance of 5 feet suggests that it came into existence when carts and wagons first came into general use. A mere five feet, however, must have been a tight squeeze for a loaded wagon and therefore probably constructed to enable packhorse trains to avoid the ford.

Icknield Way 
Ordnance Survey maps mark the road that fords Cavenham stream as that of the Icknield Way which in previous times was a drovers road for cattle. The Icknield Way is unique among long-distance tracks because it can claim to be the oldest road in Britain and was already ancient when the Romans came. It has never been straight or paved like a Roman road but consists of a skein of prehistoric trackways following chalkland from the Wash to the Dorset coast. Even today, because of the good drainage, the chalk makes the going easy.

A curious feature of some old roads is the creation of multiple tracks running in parallel, either where there was nothing to contain the road, as in a drove road crossing high ground, or where travellers had chosen the easiest route available, such as when crossing a river.

As a result, the Icknield Way is thought once to have been, in places, a mile wide. In Cavenham, the swelling and flooding of the River Lark and it’s tributaries would have created obstacles for the grazing cattle, The slowly advancing cattle would have crossed the heathland in a broad sweep and funnelled to a narrower column to ford the river at a number of points of which Cavenham’s crossing was just one.

Finds discovered in 1943-4 in Southfield's to the south of Cavenham suggest another possible route across the River Lark was to the south probably at or near today’s Robert’s bridge. 

While Christopher Taylor, author of Roads and Tracks of Britain, suggests the Icknield Way crossed at Temple Bridge to the north of Cavenham village.

 

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