An RAF helicopter is being called in to help complete a new bridge across the River Thames between Lechlade and Buscot.

It will carry two 27 metre, eight ton curved steel beams to the site of the last footbridge needed to complete the Thames Path National Trail.

The beams will be flown into place on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Bloomers Hole footbridge will cross the river just downstream from St John's Lock and the A417 road crossing.

The Environment Agency will briefly close this stretch of the river during the operation because the 100mph down draught from the Chinook helicopter will cause a hazard to boat movements.

Charlie Benner, the senior engineer with Oxfordshire County Council, designed the bridge. He said: I asked the military for some help as flying these beams into position will avoid all problems associated with getting a large crane and both beams to the site across the soft ground of the flood plain.

The Thames Path National Trail opened in 1996 and received more than half a million visitors between April and September last year.

Spokesman David West said: The new bridge will complete an important link for the many walkers on the Thames Path.