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Small footbridge made of large stones crossing dark burn

To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we asked our archaeologist ‘Travelling’ Matt to send us postcards from his fieldwork around the country.

Over the course of the year, Matt has promised to send us a postcard from some of the amazing places he finds himself in, describing the archaeology and talking to the Forestry Rangers who care for it.

Last time Matt was playing the Timeline Tournament in Culbokie on the Black Isle – but a new postcard has just arrived!

Composite image showing a postcard with some text explaining where the page author has been travelling

Hi guys,

This week I’m down in Knapdale in Argyll, where an amazing ‘clapper’ bridge needs a bit of TLC.

The foot bridge crosses the Barnagad Burn at Achnamara. It’s pretty basic – just two long slabs (known as ‘clappers’) resting on three drystone piers. But it’s also pretty old – it was probably built over 300 years ago – and some important stones are missing.

For a simple bridge it has some complex challenges, so I’ve been discussing the repairs with local foresters John, Jo and Andrew. It’s their job to make sure it all goes to plan – no pressure guys!


Foot bridge over dark stream made from large stones

Try it yourself

To get a good idea of how the bridge was built, why not download Matt’s Very Archaeological Cut Out (PDF 2.1MB) to build at home, in your classroom or at your youth group.

Paper construction of a small bridge, sat on a wooden shelf next to books

Need a helping hand putting it together? Watch our short video on creating your very own cut out bridge below.

Where is Matt heading next?

We're looking forward to hearing from Matt on his next trip, as he heads to the Borders to climb a very special hill fort. 

Find out about other archaeological sites to visit in and around Scotland's forests or let us know your favourite historical site to explore!