RESIDENTS in an Oxford village have been ‘cut off’ from the city centre after a bridge providing the main walking route was closed indefinitely.

Devils Backbone bridge provides a link between New Hinksey and South Hinksey, however the footbridge, which is managed by Network Rail, has had to be closed after it was damaged by a lorry.

As a result, instead of a 25-minute walk into Oxford, residents will now face a minimum of a 45-minute schlep.

Villagers have also slammed the lack of information from Network Rail, saying they have been left with no idea of how long their main link to Oxford may be closed.

Longstanding resident and former South Hinksey parish councillor Maggie Rawcliffe said: “We understand that the bridge is damaged, but we have had no communication about how badly it’s damaged.

“Is it the equivalent of engineering polyfiller, or is it more serious?

“The bottom line is this village is already a bit cut off.

“People use the Devils Backbone bridge for getting to work, going to the doctors, or just getting out of the village.

“The alternatives are pretty grim.”

Mrs Rawcliffe said villagers now face a car journey along Botley Road – which this week has been blighted by road works – or a lengthy walk up to Old Abingdon Road and then along Abingdon Road – a 2.2 mile route.

She added: “A lot of elderly residents used the bridge to go and get milk from Abingdon Road, they won’t be able to take the longer route, though villagers have been rallying around to make sure they’re not left without.”

After the closure notice was put up on the bridge, Vale of White Horse district councillor for Botley and Sunningwell Emily Smith took to social media saying: “Pedestrians from South Hinksey are currently cut off from Oxford.

“Devil’s Backbone footbridge is closed indefinitely for Network Rail safety assessment.”

Ms Smith added: “This footbridge is used by residents in South and North Hinksey villages to walk into Oxford.

“The closure means a long detour or travelling by car instead.

“When work on the flood alleviation scheme begins this bridge will be closed for many months, something residents are worried about, so it will be interesting to see how people manage this week with a view to forward planning.”

However, Ms Smith has since contacted the Oxford Mail with an update having now been informed that the bridge will not close during the works, but the path will be.

The closure notice was put up on Tuesday, while Network Rail assesses the damage.

A spokesperson explained: “On Monday morning a lorry driving along the access road hit and damaged the bridge.

“For safety reasons we have closed the footbridge to all users while we assess the damage and design a solution to make it safe.

“We are expecting to have more information available early next week, following which we will have an idea of how long it will remain closed.

“In the meantime to ensure people have been notified quickly, we updated the parish council as well as county and city councillors.

“We also put up signs to warn people of the closure of the bridge.”