Oakenrod Bridge

Oakenrod Bridge is a packhorse bridge over the River Roch linking the town to Bury Road and beyond,

A packhorse bridge consists of one or more narrow masonry arches, and has low parapets so as not to interfere with the horse's panniers.

Packhorse bridges were often built on the trade routes that formed major transport arteries across Europe and Great Britain until the coming of the turnpike roads and canals in the eighteenth century.

Prior to the creation of the first turnpike road in the area of Rochdale in 1735, the only way to move goods and merchandise between Lancashire and Halifax was via the ancient packhorse trails. Steep, muddy, and frequently impassable even for the surefooted Galloway ponies, these routes avoided the valley and clung to the contours of the hills.

The packhorse trails were totally inadequate to meet the demands of increasing production, and turnpikes — privately financed wider and properly surfaced roads — were introduced nationally by the Act of 1663. The first road to be turnpiked in the Rochdale area was that over Blackstone Edge in 1735.

River Roch gets its name from “rached”, a Celtic word meaning “river by the forest”

Oakenrod Bridge has recently been refurbished to bring it back to its original condition.