The fascination of watching the Severn Suspension Bridge (Pont Hafren) being built as a young boy has never left me. I remember leaving home on family holidays, crossing the River Severn on the Aust Ferry, looking up and being mesmerised by men in the air building a bridge to nowhere.
With a span of 1597m and a height of 134m above the mean water level, its fine white structure has an elegance that far surpasses the functional necessity of the new crossing. Seemingly transparent threads, balancing the forces of compression and tension, carry a roadway so thin it disappears into the green hills, grey skies and muddy waters of the estuary. Cars and lorries cross on a carriageway of thin air. It is an engineering tour de force that is so simple in its application, yet breathtakingly beautiful.
Heading west brings the memories flooding back and still provokes detours from the M4 to the M48, just to cross the bridge and experience unforgettable sunsets and undulating asphalt. It never fails to inspire me.
It is a little known fact that the main span of the bridge leaves England only to land back there at Beachley, a peninsula of Gloucestershire. It then runs directly into the Wye Bridge, which truly takes the fortunate back to Wales.