For my final post on the theme of the history of British bridges I’m calling on other cultures to help me complete the challenge. In most of my posts bridges have largely been functional structures to aid transportation, but today I’m drawing on their ornamental appeal. Allow me to introduce the zigzag bridge.
The zigzag bridge is a footbridge commonly found in Chinese and Japanese gardens. The design of the bridge is constructed according to Zen philosophy of mindfulness. It focuses the walker on the here and now, as a wandering mind might simply fall off the bridge due to the lack of railings. The design also means you turn several times, taking in different scenes.
Is there a zigzag bridge in the UK? There happens to be one at Cowden gardens in Scotland. This is not my first visit to Cowden as I used it for letter J in a previous blogging challenge using a historic gardens theme.
The bridge is made from planks of wood sourced from the estate and are durable in water. The bridge meanders across the pond offering the walker the scenic reflections of the sky. Nearby is an arched ‘Sorihashi’ bridge that symbolises our journey through life.
The zigzag design is known in Japan as ‘Yatsuhashi’ or eight ‘overlapping’ bridges, in Chinese it is the nine ‘turn’ bridges.
So ends my blogging challenge for another year. In these often dark times of a pandemic, of wars old and new, it is good to remember that people strive to connect across divides and build bridges to better places, as we have done so for centuries.