Archives for : Jeremy


I was born here in Plymbridge, it seems as if it were yesterday when I arrived. The world was a very different place then. There have been so many changes over the last 90 years, it is just not true! As I look upon the old bridge that crosses the river, memories just come flooding back.

I can remember in the early days, folk who could afford it of course, arrived in horse drawn carriages to spend an hour or two having a picnic down by the river. Life was different then, folk used to work hard and have little time off for recreation, but when they did they would make great use of it. I can see the children now, the girls in their long dresses and pigtails and the boys’ in short trousers and caps. I remember one little girl in particular, she was called Jenny. On one, visit, Jenny was busy throwing twigs into the river from the bridge. This was quite a common practice, the twig would fall into the water and the current would take it under the bridge arch to the other side.  One time when Jenny once threw her twig, she lost her straw hat into the river. She shouted to a boy standing on the river bank, asking him to retrieve it. He did and the two become good friends.  The two returned a few years later.  The boy was now a young man. He had joined the Army and was wearing his uniform. I remember well what Jenny said to him. “I know you are going away to France, but I will wait for you until you return, so that I may marry you”.  “Of course” said the man, “I will return to marry you”. With that he picked up a twig and threw it into the river. As they ran to the other side he said “See look, there it is, it made it. Just like the twig, I will make it back to marry you, that’s a promise”.

For what seemed a long period of time, not many folk visited the bridge. The old steam engine still hauled its carriages up the line on its journey from Tavistack Junction down near Marsh Mills and on its way to Yelverton and Princetown. The train made a stop at Plymbridge Halt from time to time to allow people to alight and disembark the train. One day, I noticed Jenny leave the train and walk to the bridge. She looked into the waters below. She picked up a twig and on a piece of paper she scribbled, “I love you”. With that she pinned it to an old straw hat she had removed from a bag. She threw both the hat and the twig into the river, and rushed across to see them on the other side. The hat duly arrived, but there was no one to retrieve it this time. The twig did not make it.

In the years that followed, folk once again returned to enjoy the woods. It seemed that as seasons came and went, life progressed well. The horse drawn carriages were replaced with the motor car. It made me laugh really, for some of these cars were not too reliable. With an old starting handle in the front bumper, the sight of a poor old bloke trying his best to get the thing started was very familiar. It was that or the occupants all got out giving it a push. A new generation of folk came to visit the river now. Jenny had met a new young man and married and as the years passed had a family of her own, a girl and a boy. All was well until the light faded among the trees for a few years. It seems that life tends to go in circles. Good times, not so good times and then returning to good times again. But as they say here in the wood, “Life goes on”.

It was good to see the light return again and hear the cheery voices of folk enjoying themselves by the river. It seemed that life was once again moving on. The old cars, or bangers as I liked to call them, were replaced by new modern designs. There were a lot of them too. Could cause a bit of a traffic jam, as the old lane is not very wide you know, after all it was only built for horse and carts. On the day I saw Jenny again, I noticed she had become a Granny. It’s strange you know, even after all these years, she still picked up a twig and threw it into the river. Memories I suppose.

Just a little way up from the bridge, young lads could be seen swinging across the river on a rope tied to an overhanging branch. One of them was a cousin of mine. It took a bit of a jump to achieve the crossing and if you did not make it? Splash, in you went.

The old railway has gone now. Yes, for sure. It would seem it did not pay any more, too many folk travel by car. The old tramway is not working either. What is this world coming to? There were so many cars coming down this way, they closed the bridge as well. I suppose it was only built for carts you know, but folk still come. They walk up the old railway track and some even ride bikes! It is good to see folk enjoying the woodland again, as they always have done.

Oh look, there’s Jenny. She is going along in one of those electric scooters. The poor old soul is not too good on hers pins these days. You know, no matter how time passes, folk still come to these beautiful woods to enjoy themselves, just like folk have done so in the past. Such life, such love and such happiness.

Life is good to be a tree in the greenwood.


Edited by Sandi Mcconnell Canada