Suspension Bridge – Simple


  • 4 x 5m (16ft) spars
  • 2 x 3m (10ft) spars
  • 4 x 2.5m (8ft) spars
  • light spars for ladder rungs
  • lashing lengths
  • Long lengths of rope to span bridge and for rope ladder
  • Large pegs or pickets


Start by making a tripod on each side of the stream/gully using two 5m (16ft) spars and a 3m (10ft) spar that will be the back leg. The actual lengths of the spars will depend on the depth of the stream etc. Use either a figure of eight or a tripod lashing.

Lash horizontal spars across the long legs to form and A frame. They should be positioned so that they will be slightly higher than the bank when the legs are placed in their final positions.

Place the longer legs in the stream so that they have firm footings and are on line. Pull the shorter legs back until they are stable.

Drive a picket into the ground alongside and at right angles to the back spar and lash the two together.

The suspension rope can be tied off to the top of each tripod or a longer rope can be used and passed across the top of the tripod and tied off to the pickets.

A rope ladder the width of the stream is constructed and tied between the A frames. The centre span needs support from the top rope every metre or so.

Two short ladders using the 2.5m (8ft) spars are constructed and placed on either side of the bridge, leaning on the cross spars of the A frame.

Fit a hand rope if found to be necessary.

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

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Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls