REGIONAL: Vineyard cut in half as bridge collapses in hay lorry crash

A vineyard has been cut in half after a bridge connecting the two sides was hit by a passing hay lorry and collapsed.

Saturday, 28th July 2018, 1:25 pm
Updated Saturday, 28th July 2018, 1:34 pm
They hay lorry crashed into the Grade 2 listed bridge at Jenkyns Place Vineyard. Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

The Grade 2 listed bridge, situated in Jenkyn Place Vineyard, near the village of Bentley in  Hampshire, was used to connect the two sides of the vineyard together.

The hay lorry from Wales hit the bridge, that stood 17 feet high, six inches higher than the minimum height for a motorway bridge.

The bridge, built in 1901 before cars and lorries were commonplace, has been left badly damaged and impassable.

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Simon Bladon of Jenkyn Place Vineyard inspects the damage. Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

Jenkyn Place is a family estate and covers 12 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the classic grape varieties used to make sparkling wine in the Champagne method.

Jenkyn Place Vineyard's owner Simon Bladon said the bridge had been destroyed, but promised that it would be rebuilt to match the orihinal 'in every detail.'

He said: 'The bridge is reputedly haunted by a little old lady in grey.

'I am encouraging any locals to report any sightings of the old lady floating over the road where the bridge stood, so as to ascertain whether her nightly routine has now changed.'

Simon Bladon of Jenkyn Place Vineyard. Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

His daughter Camilla Bladon added: 'I had been intending to walk cross the bridge as part of my wedding ceremony in August, as it was such an elegantly romantic structure and let us bring in the grapes at harvest-time.

'Thinking positively, at least the harvest is looking stunning, with yield nearly twice the average.'

Jenkyn Place, like many top English wineries, is set on the green sand and chalk soils of a former hop farm.

The vineyards sit on sheltered, chalky, south-facing slopes at 100 metres above sea level, making them ideal for growing the high-quality grapes.

They hay lorry crashed into the Grade 2 listed bridge at Jenkyns Place Vineyard. Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency