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Learn About Larpool Viaduct Near Whitby

Have you ever seen the Esk Valley Viaduct / Larpool Viaduct? The brick structure of 13 arches near Whitby, and have you wondered more about it?

The Larpool Viaduct (also known as the Esk Valley Viaduct) crossing the River Esk is an impressive sight. It was built to carry the Scarborough and Whitby Railway over the river. This article will delve into the details of the viaduct’s construction, features, and significance in the region.

What is the Esk Valley Viaduct / Larpool Viaduct?

Walking below Larpool Viaduct

Larpool Viaduct is a historic railway bridge across the River Esk in North Yorkshire, England. With its 5 million bricks, the viaduct spans over 915 ft, and its rail level reaches an impressive height of 120 ft. It was constructed in 1884; it crosses the River Esk and the operational railway leading to Whitby from Middlesborough.

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History of Larpool Viaduct

The Esk Valley Viaduct / Larpool Viaduct Near Whitby.

The Larpool Viaduct was built to carry a single-track line over the River Esk and the valley near Whitby. The viaduct’s western side faces the River Esk and has triple foundations on the river piers. The designers used brick and cement instead of iron due to its location close to the sea.

Work started in October 1882 and was completed by October 1884. The design was based on the Saltburn Viaduct. During the construction, two men fell from the piers but recovered. The contractors were John Waddell and Sons, and the resident engineer was Charles Arthur Rowlandson.

The viaduct was granted grade II listed status in 1972, and in 2000, a significant portion of the former line and the viaduct were made accessible to the public.

However, by 2006, some parts of the brickwork had become unsafe due to spalling. Consequently, the outer layer of the viaduct was replaced. Since 2012, the viaduct has been incorporated into the ‘Scarborough to Whitby Rail Trail,’ also known as the Scarborough to Whitby Cinder Track.

The construction of Larpool Viaduct

The construction of the Esk Valley Viaduct / Larpool Viaduct.

The viaduct spans over 279 metres, and is comprised of 13 arches. The rail level reaches 120 feet (37 metres) high. The foundations on the land were dug up to the rock level and built with slag-based cement. The river foundations were excavated in brick-lined wells.

The excavation of river foundations was complicated by large oak trees found embedded in the river and had to be manually removed by divers. Piers 5, 7, 8, and 9 had triple foundations, and they were connected above the water level by two semicircular arches.

The Esk Valley Viaduct

To prevent the tidal flow from deflecting, three of the piers in the river were skewed. The River Esk is tidal as far as Ruswarp upstream. The main arches of the viaduct are 55 to 65 ft (17 to 20 metres) wide and 27 ft 6 inches (8.38 metres) high. They are made of bricks that are seven deep and 2 ft 9 inches (0.84 metres) wide. The width between the parapets is 14 ft 6 inches (4.42 metres) on straight sections.

Can you walk over Larpool Viaduct?

Yes, you can. In 2000, a significant portion of the former line and the viaduct were made accessible to the public as a cycling and walking route. In 2006-7, extensive restoration was undertaken to ensure the safety of the brickwork in some of the piers.

The viaduct is part of the Scarborough to Whitby railway path, also known as the Cinder Track. It is a traffic-free walking and cycling route that spans 21 miles along the Yorkshire coast. It is also part of NCN Route 1.

Railway Walk To Ruswarp

Larpool Viaduct Walking route | 5 miles

This walking route takes you to the Larpool Viaduct. Starting from the train station in Whitby, the walk heads south towards the viaduct about a mile away. You can cross the Esk on a footpath and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and Whitby from the top of the viaduct. After crossing the viaduct, you can follow the Cinder Track to Stainsacre, where you can take a break before returning. Follow the route here.

The Bridge Inn.

‘Ruswarp Round’ circular walk | 2 miles

If you’re looking for a great way to see the Viaduct, try the ‘Ruswarp Round‘ circular walk. It’s a moderate walk that spans about 2 miles and takes around an hour to complete. While you’re there, check out the local shops, which include a butcher, grocery store, and bakery. If you’re hungry or thirsty, drop by the Bridge Inn, a great spot to relax and soak up the local atmosphere. Follow the full route here.

The Viaduct is mentioned in Dracula

Dracula Hardcover.
Dracula in Hardcover, Chiltern Classic

The viaduct is mentioned in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula:

The little river, the Esk, runs through a deep valley, which broadens out as it comes near the harbour. A great viaduct runs across, with high piers, through which the view seems somehow further away than it really is.

— Dracula, Chap.6, Mina Murray’s Journal.

We hope you have found this article helpful! Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Larpool Viaduct is a magnificent railway structure that has stood the test of time. The Viaduct is fantastic to see if you are visiting the area.

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