You Wooden Believe It But Painshill’s Historic Bridge Needs Replacing

Painshill needs to raise £250,000

Created in the 18th century by Charles Hamilton as a living painting, Painshill invites visitors to walk around a work of art, discovering dramatic follies, calming waters and stunning views along the route.

Within this work of art lies the Chinese Bridge, a vital part of the landscape, linking the park to Grotto island which is where the staggering Crystal Grotto lies. It is a crucial gateway of the journey to continue through the park as Hamilton had envisaged in his plans. Without the bridge, the journey is broken as is Hamilton’s vision.

After a routine inspection, by civil engineers, the Painshill Park Trust was advised in March 2023 that the Chinese Bridge had severe structural issues. Of course, the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff is of top priority and there was no choice to be had, the bridge had to close. Further investigations were carried out by divers and engineers.

Photo: The Chinese Bridge closed in March 2023

Unfortunately, the findings were that the Chinese Bridge will need to be replaced. The Bridge was restored in the 1980s and, after 40 years of use, the supporting pillars have become unstable.

The first version of the Chinese Bridge was built in 1760 and was created when all things “Chinoserie” were in fashion. It created a beautiful way to take the walker across the lake to explore the Crystal Grotto, which is hinted at by the rock arch the bridge heads towards. Painshill Park Trust restored the Chinese Bridge using the traditional wooden materials in the 1980s and it was opened by the then Prince Charles.

In order that visitors could continue to access the correct historical route in 2023, Painshill installed a floating pontoon as a temporary measure. This allows visitors to safely cross the lake at this important point in Charles Hamilton’s circular walk of discovery.

Photo: Temporary pontoon to gain access to Grotto Island

Painshill’s Chinese Bridge has featured in television shows such as in the first season of Netflix’s popular series Bridgerton, through to classic BBC TV children’s favourite, ChuckleVision.

Photo: Bridgeton and ChuckleVision featured the Chinese Bridge, Painshill Park

The Painshill Park Trust is now in the position whereby the bridge needs to be replaced, at an expected cost of £250,000. This is a huge amount of funds which needs to be raised by Painshill and as a small independent charity, we are incredibly grateful for any help that you would be able contribute. The Trust is asking its supporters to help, however they can, with this latest restoration project to ensure that Painshill is available to be enjoyed in the future by the many generations to come.

Click here to make a donation: Donate – Donation amount – JustGiving

Supporting Painshill could be through one of the following ways:

  • Make a donation towards the Chinese Bridge appeal.
  • Become a member of Painshill.
  • Book a day visit to Painshill for a walk in a work of art.
  • Volunteer in one of the many roles available at Painshill.
  • Sponsorship of an event, bench or plaque at Painshill.
  • Leave a legacy in a will.

Painshill is regarded as one of the foremost and finest examples of the English Landscape Movement. A style of landscape design that has been described, by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, as “Britain’s’ greatest contribution to the visual arts”.

It’s a fantastic day out for all the family that’s full of heritage, beauty, adventure and outdoor fun.

Video: Painshill Park, 2023

As a small independent charity, we are incredibly grateful for any help that you would be able contribute. A new bridge would allow Hamilton’s vision to continue for future generations to explore and enjoy this wonderful landscape and a walk of art.

Become a part of Painshill’s history and future.

Click here to make a donation: Donate – Donation amount – JustGiving