"Locals had clamoured for the building of a bridge to link the two communities for literally centuries, to no avail. One persistent campaigner was no other than Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), the acclaimed engraver. Born and living in Cherryburn but educated across the river in Ovingham, he made an impassioned plea in the Newcastle Courant...."
The River Tyne. Ron Thornton. 2002
The bridge connects the pleasant village of Ovingham with the town of Prudhoe to the south, replacing a ford and ferry. Built by the Ovingham Bridge Co. and opened on 20 December 1883 and taking only six months to build, it was purchased by Northumberland County Coucil in 1944 for £5,550 and freed from toll soon after. A narrow fragile-looking bridge accommodating only single line traffic with a passing place at the halfway point, it was joined by a footbridge built alongside in 1974 and costing £20,000. It is on the downstream side, and spares pedestrians the danger of sharing the main bridge with traffic. It is built on cased piles.
The timber deck was repaired in 1947 and a speed limit of 10mph imposed in 1964 together with a weight limit of 3 tons. Re-decking took place in 1973. The present site is reportedly unsuitable for a wider bridge, although a suggestion was made after the 1914-1918 war that a new bridge be erected as a memorial to those who died from the district. The present bridge carries only light traffic and no doubt a new bridge built to higher standards would generate more traffic in Ovingham and Prudhoe. The road bridge is currently closed for a year 2014-2015 to allow for repairs.