A Ramboll Project

Cathedral Green Footbridge

Cathedral Green Footbridge, a cable stayed pedestrian swing bridge, is the centrepiece of a masterplan which has improved access routes around the Silk Mill Museum and Derwent River and reinvigorated Derby’s historic city centre.

The structure spans both the River Derwent and the adjacent Mill Race waterway, which once powered the nearby textile mill, a World Heritage status due to its role as the birthplace of the factory system where water power was first harnessed for textile production.

The bridge’s unique form incorporates a kinked backspan which links across the Mill Race and perfectly balances the main deck, which spans the Derwent. This near-effortless mechanical solution allows the bridge to rotate using minimal energy.

With just three slender cables carrying load back to a 20m high needle-like mast, the bridge swings off the river, under flood conditions, folding back into the newly constructed waterfront to Cathedral Green and enabling access to the riverside walkway whether the bridge is open or closed.

Keeping the structure as lean as possible reduced the use of materials, all of which were sourced and fabricated within 15 miles of site.


Derby City Council
Lead Consultant

Design Stages
Concept Design to Construction

British Construction Industry Awards 2009 - Winner
Structural Steel Design Awards 2010 - Commendation
Britain’s Top Public Architecture Project 2009 - Shortlisted

The angular forms of the mast signal the location of the bridge within its surroundings

The tapering, faceted, mast of the bridge, the Silk Mill Tower, and Cathedral Spire mark the extent of the new Cathedral Green Public Space

The bridge simply swings into a recess in the river wal to allow the free flow of flood waters

Finely balanced on a pivot below the mast, the bridge requires minimal energy to open and close

Low level lighting illuminates the deck and mast at night to guide pedestrians