"...It took them some time to reach the foot of the slope and, when they did, they looked down from the top of the cliffs at a river running below them from west to east. It was walled in by precipices on the far side as well as on their own, and it was green and sunless, full of rapids and waterfalls. The roar of it shook the earth even where they stood.
"The bright side of it is," said Puddleglum, "that if we break our necks getting down the cliff, then we're safe from being drowned in the river."
"What about that?" said Scrubb suddenly, pointing upstream to their left. Then they all looked and saw the last thing they had been expecting - a bridge. And what a bridge, too! It was huge, a single arch that spanned the gorge from cliff-top to cliff-top; and the crown of that bridge was as high above the cliff-tops as the dome of St. Paul's is above the street.
"Why, it must be a giant's bridge!" said Jill.
"Or a sorcerer's, more likely," said Puddleglum. "We've got to look out for enchantments in a place like this. I think it's a trap. I think it'll turn into mist and melt away just when we're out in the middle of it."
"Oh, for goodness' sake, don't be such a wet blanket," said Scrubb. "Why on earth shouldn't it be a proper bridge?"
"Do you think any of the giants we've seen would have sense to build a thing like that?" said Puddleglum.
"But mightn't it have been made by other giants?" said Jill. "I mean, by giants who lived hundreds of years ago, and were far cleverer than the modern kind. It might have been built by the same ones who built the giant city we're looking for. And that would mean we were on the right track - the old bridge leading to the old city!"
"That's a real brain-wave, Pole," said Scrubb. "It must be that, Come on." So they turned and went to the bridge. And when they reached it, it certainly seemed solid enough. The single stones were as big as those at Stonehenge and must have been squared by good masons once, though now they were cracked and crumbled. The balustrade had apparently been covered with rich carvings, of which some traces remained; mouldering faces and forms of giants, minotaurs, squids, centipedes, and dreadful gods. Puddleglum still didn't trust it, but he consented to cross it with the children.
The climb up to the crown of the arch was long and heavy. In many places the great stones had dropped out, leaving horrible gaps through which you looked down on the river foaming thousands of feet below. They saw an eagle fly through under their feet. And the higher they went, the colder it grew, and the wind blew so that they could hardly keep their footing. It seemed to shake the bridge.
When they reached the top and could look down the further slope of the bridge, they saw what looked like the remains of an ancient giant road stretching away before them into the heart of the mountains. Many stones of its pavement were missing and there were wide patches of grass between those that remained..."
C.S. Lewis himself wrote on several occasions that this beloved childhood destination was the source of a great amount of inspiration for the series.
In his essay ‘On Stories’ he wrote: “I have seen landscapes, notably in the Mourne Mountains and southwards which under a particular light made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge.”
And again, in letters written when living in England he spoke of the magic he felt present in his native home: “I yearn to see County Down in the snow, one almost expects to see a march of dwarfs dashing past. How I long to break into a world where such things were true.”
In real life, the 'Giant's Bridge' is actually called Foley’s Bridge and was built in 1787 by the 2nd Earl of Clanbrassil, James Hamilton. This was a favourite place for ladies from Tollymore House to visit in order to paint in water colours and read or write poetry and letters. Even though the site is more overgrown at present, it is still quite popular with artists.
All caches placed with the kind permission of the Tollymore Forest Park Ranger Service