A 300-year-old bridge in North Yorkshire has been damaged and will need to undergo costly repairs, writes Neil Johnston.

Initial reports suggest the Kirkham Bridge, which crosses the River Derwent, was hit by a foreign HGV, but nobody saw the number plate of the vehicle.

Highway workers have since put up barriers but North Yorkshire County Council says divers may need to be sent into the river to retrieve the stone.

Four years ago the bridge was closed following a similar incident but the damage was much worse and the bridge was shut for two months.

After a tractor and trailer damaged the bridge in 2009, one local resident, John Teale said that it was “probably the most abused bridge in North Yorkshire” because of the damage it has suffered.

On the new damage, Richard Marr, highways and transportation area manager for the county council, said he "would not be surprised at all if is a five figure sum" to repaid.

He added that initial estimates suggest it will have to be closed for about a week to ten days, but the bridge won't be shut immediately and he is "confident the bridge is safe."

He stressed though that if there was more damage than meets the eye it could take longer, especially with complications of it being a listed structure.