- Zig-zag bridge
A zig-zag bridge is a
pedestrian bridgecomposed of short segments, each set at an angle relative to its neighbors and usually with an alternating right and left turn required when traveling across the bridge. When constructed of wood, each segment is formed from planks and is supported by posts, while a stone bridge of this type will use short slabs set upon stone footings.
As a practical bridge
The post and plank version has an advantage when employed as a crossing of a muddy bottom or marsh: It is structurally stable, where a straight bridge might tend to tip due to the posts moving in the soft mud. Each segment of walkway mutually supports the next from twisting and tipping by being securely fastened to it. This is the same advantage possessed by a zig-zag split rail
fence. A bridge of this type is seen in the image at upper right. This particular bridge is used to carry a wildland trail through an area of soft and often wet soil. The use of the bridge has a benefit also to the marsh, since it avoids soil compaction which could damage tree roots and which would also create a fast runoff of water and so possibly cause soil erosion.
As a decorative or ceremonial bridge
A zig-zag bridge is often seen in East Asian gardens. It may be made of stone slabs or planks as part of a pond design and is frequently seen in rustic
gardens constructed according to Zenphilosophy and teachings. As it often has no railings, it is quite possible for an inattentive walker to simply fall off an end into the water. The objective in employing such a bridge is to focus the walker's attention to the current place and time - "be here, now"
The zig-zag of paths and bridges also follows a principle of
Feng Shui. Negative energy and bad spirits are believed to have problems navigating corners, while people and good energy have no such problem.
* [http://www.myjapanesegarden.com/zigzag_bridge.htm A craftsperson shows how he built a small zig-zag garden pond bridge]
* [http://www.boxerwood.com Boxerwood park website, contributors of the wildland image]
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