Wotton-under-Edge mountaineer's traditional twig bridge completed in India

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A TRADITIONAL twig bridge built in a remote part of India by a Wotton-under-Edge mountaineer has been completed.

Steve Berry, managing director of leading trekking firm Mountain Kingdoms, has led an ambitious building project in Zanskar, a small Tibetan Buddhist kingdom in Ladakh, India.

Traditionally Ladakhi people depended on woven twig bridges to cross the icy rivers which cut through their mountain kingdom, but these ancient traditions have been dying out as new roads and bridges by-pass established Zanskari trekking routes

With just three bridges left in the region, Mr Berry launched the Zanskar Bridge Project to preserve ancient skills and heritage.

Over the past five years Mr Berry, 64, raised £3,000 to restore a traditional bridge in the remote town of Padum in the north west Indian Himalaya.

When Mr Berry last visited the area at the end of 2013 the bridge was not quite finished. Adverse weather where temperatures can drop as low as minus 30 degrees meant progress was slow.

The handmade bridge – which took four years to build – is the first new bridge of its kind to be built for a generation.

The project was overseen by the local 'king' Punchok Dawa, one of only a handful of residents who still have the skills to weave twigs into rope-like cables.

Mr Berry was thrilled to hear the bridge had been finished, saying: "How amazing - I built a bridge of twigs with a king in a tiny Himalayan kingdom!"

Visit www.mountainkingdoms.com for more information on the Zanskar Bridge Project or trekking opportunities.

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