"Everybody loves a bridge. They are essentially romantic objects - brave, adventurous, usually handsome or at least interesting to look at, often magnificently idiosyncratic and every single one of them a seperate individual with its own personality, pedigree and background, each time to be freshly encountered and enjoyed."
Bridges. Sir Hugh Casson. 1963
The bridge is a new one, opened in 2001, replacing the 1896 bridge built of stone and iron, and it links the main A694 Shotley Bridge road to the village of Blackhall Mill and to Chopwell which lies further up the hill, both in Tyne and Wear. The bridge lies at the foot of a short hill with Blackhall Mill on the north bank and was once the site of a ford and of earlier bridges, including a footbridge. The river here is prone to flooding and earlier bridges have been carried away by flood waters. From west of nearby Milkwell Burn the Derwent marks the boundary between County Durham and Northumberland.
Blackhall Mill was the site of an 18th century forge making iron and later steel and a paper mill wa driven by water from the same mill race. Other industries were swordmaking and coal mining (at the Tongue Burns Drift). Coal mining was carried on at a much larger scale in nearby Chopwell.