Another major milestone has been reached in Cumbria's floods fightback.

Historic Brougham Old Bridge, near Penrith, officially reopened yesterday after extensive work to restore the ancient stone structure.

It had been closed for two years, after being damaged during Storm Desmond in 2015.

The English Heritage-listed bridge was originally built in 1811 and provides picturesque access to nearby Brougham Castle, but flood damage to the bridge was so extensive it was initially feared it could collapse completely.

However, meticulous engineering and planning ensured the main structure was stabilised in 2016, allowing further work to then begin.

Stabilisation work included pouring 110 cubic metres of concrete into the main scour hole, and rebuilding all the bridge parapets.

The final phase of repairs began in August this year and included reconstruction of the bridge’s main arch and cutwaters and creation of new, resilient, modern substructure.

The repairs used a mix of salvaged material from the original bridge where possible, as well as sandstone from nearby Bowscar Quarry.

The repairs were designed by Curtins engineers and delivered by Metcalfe’s of Penrith. All stonemasonry was carried out by Cumbrian Stone.

The work costs about £750,000.

Councillor Keith Little, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “This has been a unique project.

"It’s very rare that this kind of work would be carried out on such a historic structure.

"We’ve been at pains to ensure the work that’s been done is in keeping with the old bridge, but also to take the opportunity to improve and strengthen the bridge.

"I think the work done here is first rate and hopefully it will last another 200 years. I hope people will come out, have a look and enjoy their new old bridge."

Nick Raymond, head of infrastructure recovery and major programmes at Cumbria County Council, said: "We’re pleased that through our Infrastructure Recovery Programme we have been able to turn the damage caused by the floods into a positive opportunity to grow our local civil engineering sector.”