A light pole bridge

This bridge is only suitable for shallow streams with very little current in them but can be extended to cross any distance by adding extra trestles to support more planks.


  • 18 x staves or light poles 2m (6ft) long
  • 3 x planks approx 3m (10ft)
  • 34 lashing lengths
  • 4 large pegs


Two trestles should be prepared, one on either side of the stream if possible. The upright poles must lean inwards for stability and care needs to be taken with the height of the top crossbar which, when the trestle is standing in the stream, should be level with the side of the bank on which the plank will rest.

Cross bracing is lashed in place and where these two spars cross they are joined with a diagonal lashing.

Two spars are lashed to the top crossbar so that, when the trestles are standing upright, these spars are horizontal and form the sides of the bridge.

Lower the trestles carefully into the stream ensuring that the legs are sunk firmly into the mud. The sides of the bridge should rest on the bank and pegs should be driven in alongside them. The sides should be firmly lashed to the pegs.

A plank should then be lowered onto the centre of the top crossbar of the trestle and tied in place.

The centre of the bridge is then completed by lashing a further stave on each side of the bridge and then passing the third plank across between the trestles and tying it in place.

Note: Since the design of the project the principles of Health and Safety have changed dramatically.

Caution should be exercised to assess the risks associated with this build and especially regarding possible falls from height, so handrails or belays and harnesses may be required.

To download the complete plan and design document please click here.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls