A HISTORIC bridge over the Thames which has been battered by boats and cars will be closed for two weeks of repairs.

Grade II*-listed Clifton Hampden bridge, built in 1864, needs thousands of pounds worth of work to get it back to its rightful condition.

In October a farmer's trailer destroyed a major portion of the parapet (wall), prompting a hasty and unsightly fix which now needs to be properly repaired.

It was also noticed more recently that one of the centre arches had been hit by boaters and needed repointing.

One boat collision happened in May 2016 when a party of friends, led by a former Royal Navy sub-lieutenant, got their craft wedged sideways against an archway.

Engineers at Oxfordshire County Council's highways team have now submitted their repair plans to South Oxfordshire District Council.

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: "We envisage the works taking two weeks during which time the bridge will be closed.

"The dates are still to finalised, but we would hope to start during the first week of October.

"We are going through the tender process so we do not have a price, but the intention is to recover the costs relating to the damage on insurance."

The parapet repairs involve demolishing the temporary block work and reinstating the wall to its original look, using like-for-like material where possible.

In his submission to the district council, county engineer Ahmed Farah wrote: "Basically we are repairing the structure and putting it back to what the architect, Sir Gilbert Scott, would have originally intended."

Sir Gilbert designed Clifton Hampden Bridge in the 1860s for Lord of the Manor of Clifton Hampden Henry Hucks Gibbs.

The Governor of the Bank of England and Conservative MP, who inherited the estate from his father, invested in a massive program of modernising improvements including new cottages on the estate, a new manor house, renovating the parish church and building the bridge.

He was only able to build the bridge after buying the ferry rights for that part of the river from Exeter College, Oxford, then getting an Act of Parliament stating the 'local and public advantage' of linking Clifton Hampden with the parish of Long Wittenham.

Scott, who also designed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and the main buildings of Glasgow University, created the bridge in his trademark Gothic style and it was built at a total cost of £3,617.

Because it was listed in 1963, the county highways team have had to apply for special permission to carry out the repairs.

Its listing category falls between Grade II and Grade I.

County councillor for Clifton Hampden Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said: "The bridge is unique because it is the only bridge designed by the eminent Sir Gilbert Scott, who is famous for his work on many of our well known public buildings and churches.

"The Grade ll* listing reflects this importance and is the reason why the repair work has to be carried out with the utmost care and attention."