After my encounter with the friendly Mr Chaffinch I went to look at the clapper bridge that gives Tarr Steps its name. I'm sure by now that you all know about the severe weather we have been having in the UK lately and the higher-than-average rainfall we have been putting up with. This has caused floods in some areas, my own included, and there has been serious damage throughout the country. Exmoor is a wet area, the annual rainfall, like the landscape itself, is high and the rivers rise and fall with the storms. I was surprised and saddened to see that this had had an effect on the ancient clapper bridge. A tree had washed downstream and crashed through the ford, taking out a section of the bridge. This is not a new thing. No-one knows how old the bridge is but it is certain that it has fallen and been rebuilt many times. There is now a job for someone to put it back together once more.
Here are my photos of the bridge and the short walk I made upstream through the valley of the River Barle and Tarr Woods.
Because of the constantly damp conditions on Exmoor, moss grows on everything, including these sawn logs.
If you click on this photo to make it larger, you can see the glittery effect of the sun through the raindrops on the twigs and branches. I was really taken with this.
Finally, back down below the bridge, standing on a precarious rock in the river. And I didn't get wet this time.