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Bideford Devon

 

 
          

 

The historic port and market town of Bideford has changed very little from the time when Charles Kingsley lived in the area nearly 150 years ago.
The Victorian novelist described Bideford as “The little white town which slopes upward from its broad river tide”.
Kingsley’s statue, located adjacent to the Tourist Information Centre, serves as a permanent reminder of this famous resident and the time he spent here writing part of his well-known novel “Westward Ho!”
Today Bideford is a thriving market town and working port with much to offer visitors to the region. Amongst the many buildings
Historical architecture abounds throughout the town from public buildings such as the Town Hall and Library, former merchants’ houses, churches, hostelries and inns to museums and, at East-the-Water, Chudleigh Fort housing memorabilia from the Civil War.

The historic covered Pannier Market dating from 1883, which holds a market every Tuesday and Saturday. The local market term “pannier” refers to past times when all market produce was carried in baskets known as panniers.
Alongside the history you will find modern shopping amenities, a wide choice, of bars and restaurants, entertainment and a tremendous range of visitor attractions.

The port of Bideford came to prominence in the Middle Ages. Evidence of Bideford is found in the l200s when there is a record of the building of St Maria Church and shipping activity alongside the Quay,

Sir Walter Raleigh is believed to have landed his first cargo of tobacco in Bide ford after which the port went on to become an important tobacco importer and wool exporter.

Bideford’s medieval long bridge crosses the River Torridge and is famous for the varying sizes of its 24 arches. There are many theories in existence explaining this peculiarity A model of the bridge and details of its history are on display at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum in the town. The new river bridge was completed and opened in 1987.


A Town Architectural Trail takes you on a guided walking tour of some of the buildings and monuments of particular interest.
The maritime connection. with Bideford is represented by the recently restored Kathleen and May (01237 476375), a historic three-masted schooner at Brunswick Wharf at East-the-Water. Guided tours are available.

Bideford is still a working port and home to the MS Oldenburg, a supply vessel regularly carrying provisions and passengers to Lundy Island (01237 470074). This fascinating Island, situated 12 miles off the coastline, has rugged and ever changing scenery with a fantastic array of flora and fauna and attracts many visitors throughout the spring and summer months.
Bideford’s Victoria Park is a constant blaze of colour throughout the summer and appeals to people of all ages, including families, with its open-air pool and play facilities which include a fort complete with cannons reputedly captured from the Spanish Armada by Bideford men.
Situated within Victoria Park is the renowned Burton Art Gallery (01237 471455) which provides a permanent home to a collection of paintings, porcelain, pewter, historic artefacts and displays as well as hosting regular touring exhibitions and workshops throughout the year.
The town centre offers a good range of modem and traditional shops, eating places and hostelries along with the new out of town discount shopping outlet, Atlantic Village (01237 422544).
As well as offering an undercover shopping area with 34 outlets, there is also a food court, piazza and visitor attractions catering for all the family.
Out and About
Bideford is an excellent base for many outdoor pursuits such as golf, watersports, walking (along the South West Coast Path), and cycling (along the Tarka Trail).
The Big Sheep - fun for all the family with a huge indoor play area, animal shows, mountain boarding centre, brewery and internet café. Tel:01237472366.’.
The Milky Way Adventure. Park - a whole day of family fun and adventures’ at North Devon’s largest all weather adventure park. Tel: 01237 431255.
 
The town most visited by Americans is undoubtedly Bid-e-ford. Besides the sentimental interest experienced when walking the old streets, Bideford is a pleasant, busy little place and its surroundings are extremely beautiful. Bideford is an ancient port on the River Torridge it's quayside is also the main street. It was from Bideford that Sir Richard Grenville, Frobisher, Hawkins, Drake, and Raleigh sailed at various times when Bideford was Britain's third largest Port.
 
Quay and Bridge. and the ford it replaced, have seen the development of transport from dug outs through the brave little ships that harried the Armada to modern steamers and lovely yachts—from pack animals to streamlined cars. But Bideford does not live on its memories— market, bridge and river are still busy. Indeed, the bridge, which one almost feels is a sentient being with its long history and manifold possessions, must be faintly surprised at traffic lights and the constant roll of wheels. The river, too, in which almost free anchorage was granted as a reward for the provision of Armada boats, has generally plenty of shipping lying in its hospitable harbours.
Bideford’s lovely position on the Torridge is one of its chief glories. It apparently owes its name to the fact that it is “by-the-ford,” on what in Roman times was a very important highway along the coast from Cornwall through Devon into Somerset. During excavations on the eastern side of Bideford, a paved footway, 12 feet in width, presumed to be part of the old Roman fosseway, was discovered.
Local towns and villages to visit..
Appledore
Barnstaple
Bideford
Braunton
Great Torrington
Instow
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