AN early Christmas present has been delivered for residents, business owners and visitors to the Yorkshire Dales with the reopening of the first of two bridges destroyed in catastrophic floods 18 months ago.

Major works had to be carried out to replace Cogden North bridge on the main road through Swaledale, the B6270 Richmond to Grinton road. A temporary bridge has been in operation along with one at Cogden South Bridge on the C106 at Grinton Moor which was also destroyed in the floods.

Andrew Atkin, landlord of The Bridge Inn at Grinton was the first to drive over the new bridge. He's had to rebuild his business after three rounds of flooding and the pandemic. He said: "The bridge collapse was devastating for the whole area. The swift reaction of the County Council has been great and this all gives us some hope after everything we have been through.We are looking forward to seeing a surge in people visiting. County councillor Yvonne Peacock said the new bridge is reconnecting the essential infrastructure of theYorkshire Dales.