Swilcan Bridge: ‘patio’ paving removed from iconic landmark after backlash

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A backlash over patio style paving at one of Fife’s landmarks is to be removed after sparking a huge backlash.

It was added to the world renowned Swilcan Bridge at the Old Course in St Andrews - an iconic site for golfers and visitors from around the world - in a bid to tackle the wear and tear of the grass around it.

But, after widespread criticism on social over the weekend, St Andrews Links Trust has said it will be removed, and the turf restored as it looks at alternative solutions.

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The bridge, which spans the first and 18th fairways, is synonymous with the sport, and is crossed 50,000 golfers every year as well as being the subject of countless photos by tourism eager to follow in the footsteps of the greatest names in the sport.

The reaction to the paving drew stinging criticism from all quarters. Online it was branded a ‘monstrosity’ and ‘an epic abomination’

On Twitter, Nick Faldo, three times Open champion, said: ”If you’ve travelled halfway around the world for your bucket list round at St Andrews, would you rather leave with a bit of historic dirt on your shoes or a few cement mix scraps?

Now, the Trust has said the paving will be removed.

In a statement, it explained: “In recent years we have identified and trialled a number of solutions, with the primary ambition always to find something that is both adequate for the amount of foot traffic for such a popular location whilst being in keeping with its surroundings.

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Swilcan Bridge (PIc: Michael Gillen)Swilcan Bridge (PIc: Michael Gillen)
Swilcan Bridge (PIc: Michael Gillen)

The stonework at the approach and exit of the bridge was identified as one possible long-term solution.

“However while this installation would have provided some protection, in this instance we believe we are unable to create a look which is in keeping with its iconic setting and have taken the decision to remove it,

“We have also taken on feedback from many stakeholders and partners, as well as the golfing public, and we would like to thank everyone who has been in touch for their contribution to the issue.”

The Swilcan Bridge dates back at least 700 years.