Note: This is a part of a series about the covered bridges in southwestern New Hampshire. While I reference the covered bridge I had come from and the one I was headed to visit, these articles can be read without needing to read the entry about the previous bridge visited. The six covered bridges visited in this journey are: Carlton, Sawyer’s Crossing, West Swanzey, Slate, Coombs and Ashuelot
Leaving Coombs Covered Bridge, I headed back to New Hampshire Route 10 and headed into Winchester. Taking Route 119, I headed toward our final covered bridge of the morning. The road clung to the bank of the Ashuelot River and I could see the Ashuelot Covered Bridge spanning the river on my left.
The covered bridge is technically listed as being in Winchester, though the community of buildings that surround the bridge is known as Ashuelot Village. As I approached the bridge I could see a small pull-off along the river side of Route 119 and parked there. There was a monument at the end of the pull-off closest to the bridge in the shape of New Hampshire, so pulling the hazard lights on, I walked over to read the plaque attached to stone. It noted the year the covered bridge was originally built and its rehabilitation in 1999, listing the people involved in restoring the bridge.
The Ashuelot, or Upper Village, Covered Bridge is located on Gunn Mountain Road at the intersection with Route 119. It was built using a Town lattice truss over the Ashuelot River. It features two spans with a length of one hundred and seventy-eight feet and rests on a pier in the middle of the Ashuelot River. This covered bridge stood out when compared to the other bridges I had visited that morning due to three reasons: 1) on each side of the bridge there is a covered walkway, 2) it was painted white and 3) the sides of the bridge are completely open, meaning the truss is protected by the roof overhang and walkways.
According to the monument the bridge was erected 1853-1864. It is known there was a bridge at this location pre-1853, but it is not known if this earlier bridge was covered or not. In 1853, it was decided a new bridge had to be erected, but it amazingly took eleven years for the new covered bridge to finally be approved. It was erected by Nichols Powers and opened for traffic in 1865. This bridge, like the one that previously stood here, was the primary access between the village and the village’s train station.
It is known the bridge underwent repairs after the 1936 hurricane struck New England and again in 1999, when it underwent full rehabilitation.
I carefully pulled back onto Route 119 and turned left onto Gunn Mountain Road. As I prepared to pass through the single-lane bridge, I noted the sign posted above the entrance: “$5 fine for riding or driving / over this bridge faster than a walk.” With the encouragement – and lack of traffic on the bridge that day – I drove slowly through the bridge, before finding a place to turn around and return through the covered bridge to Route 119.
As I passed back through the Ashuelot Covered Bridge, I realized my exploration of the covered bridges of southwestern New Hampshire was over. Having enjoyed the time visiting them, I knew that one day, I would have to return – hopefully in the autumn when the leaves were changing, adding additional beauty to the area surrounding the bridge. With the thoughts of a future visit in mind, I left the Ashuelot Covered Bridge and headed toward Hinsdale and other places I wanted to explore on my journey through New England.