Horse rider seconds from death on bridge

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A horse rider is calling for a dangerous bridge to be blocked off after she nearly plummeted from it to her death.

Elizabeth Rowe was about to use the crossing on the former rail line in Ashton Heath near Haydock oblivious to the perilous state of the structure.

She was only saved when a passing walker alerted her to the gaping holes in the bridge.

Now the 53-year-old is calling for safety measures to be put in place to prevent a tragedy.

She said: “I was moving my horses from Lowton to Ashton but there was a barrier by the side of Haydock’s racecourse, so I had to go another way, which I had never been before.

“I was riding Grace and heading towards the bridge. There was a massive drop at one side and she slipped a bit, but luckily I carried on and got back on track but I had to get off Grace and lead her away.

“I would have carried on, but luckily a walker who lives in the area appeared from nowhere and stopped me as there was a really big drop. If I had gone any further, I could have died. He was my guardian angel.”

Edward Forsyth, the walker who came to Elizabeth’s aid, said: “This route is a well trodden footpath and heavily used by Golborne’s school children en-route to schools in Ashton. The bridge has been in this dilapidated condition for decades.

The pathway runs on the route of a former railway line between Golborne and Haydock and was later sold by British Rail to a private company.

Wigan Council said it had contacted the land owners urging them to implement safety measures.