Paper Beats Stone : Glue-less Paper Bridge

  • UPDATED Apr 11, 2017

Paper boats. Paper planes. Paper dreams. When we were kids, Im sure all of us used our imagination to escape from reality more times than we can count. Lunch breaks, uninteresting classes, rainy days; the one thing that could combat boredom was our own resourcefulness and our own ingenuity. Those were simpler times; there were no PlayStations and Xboxes, no iPhones and iPods. Who hasnt indulged in origami when they were younger? Who hasnt folded their handkerchiefs to make interesting objects and shapes? If you didnt do that, you missed out on a great deal.

Image Source: Ritesh Man Tamrakar/

Fans of the days gone by, I wanted to bring your attention to the fact that there is a paper bridge in Lake District National Park of Cumbria in the United Kingdom. Yes, its a bridge made out of paper. Oh, and its bright red in colour! Also, you can walk over it! I see a little bit of my childhood in that bridge and Im sure any visitors to the place would agree with me.

The genius behind this simple concept is British artist Steve Massam. He has used a staggering 22,000 sheets of paper and nothing more. No glue. No steel reinforcement. No, not magic either. The thing that is holding this bridge together are the hope and dreams of the many bored students of the world, and well, compression. The bridge is made up of blocks that comprise of a 1,000 sheets each. What holds it up is the same engineering principle that held up footbridges that were built in earlier times and there are dry stones on the side to support the structure.

You may think that the bridge would become a soggy mass of collapsible mush during the rains, but youd be wrong. As it rains, the water is absorbed by the paper, the paper expands, and the bridge becomes tighter and stronger. Because Science! It was made so that it can bear the weight of any human, livestock or alien that chances upon it and has an irresistible desire to walk over it. Because, who wouldnt? Its a bridge made of paper!

The bridge is a temporary project that has been commissioned by the Lakes Culture tourism organization. No trace of the bridge will exist after a while: the stones will redistributed in the area and the paper will be sent for recycling. So you better hurry up and visit it before it gets dismantled. Because how many other paper bridges are you going to come across in your lifetime?