WOOL Bridge is one of 49 new sites across the South West to be added to Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register, which is published today.

Grade II-listed Wool Bridge, which partially collapsed earlier this year, has only just reopened to pedestrians.

It spans the River Frome and featured in Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

In January some brickwork collapsed into the river, forcing Dorset County Council to close it so repairs could be carried out.

Part of the bridge still remains shut for further work to take place.

It is hoped the repairs will be fully completed by the end of November.

Historic England, which says Wool Bridge is the best preserved Elizabethan bridge in the county, launched the register 20 years ago to highlight listed buildings and places in England that needed help the most.

John Ette, Heritage at Risk principal in the south west, said: "Over the past 20 years we have used the Heritage at Risk Register to highlight places in need of care and attention.

"We have dedicated time, expertise and money to bring cherished places back into use and we are proud to have played our part in saving them from neglect.

"Despite the successes, other places continue to fall into disrepair.

"They have been added to this year’s Register and we will focus our attention on them in the years ahead."

Meanwhile, progress has also been noted at Dorset's Tolpuddle Chapel, which is also on the at risk register.

An Historic England spokesman explained: "This remarkable building is under the care of the enthusiastic volunteers at the Tolpuddle Old Chapel Trust, supported by professional advisers, who have developed a sensitive scheme for its repair and extension to bring the chapel into use as a facility for the community and a place of contemplation.

"Listed building consent was approved in the summer of 2018 and funding is now being sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the delivery of this project."

The future has been secured for 68 per cent of South West sites that were on the register when it launched in 1998.

St Giles, Wimborne St Giles, a family-owned country house which was vacant and uninhabitable at that time is one of those success stories.