- Royal North Devon Golf Club
- Golf Links Road - Westward Ho!
- Bideford, Devon EX39 1HD - England
- 01237 473817
Bideford is a historic town located in the Torridge district of Devon, England. It is situated on the west bank of the River Torridge, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) upstream from the river's mouth at the Bristol Channel. Bideford has a rich history dating back several centuries and has played an important role in the maritime trade and commerce of the region.
The town's origins can be traced back to Saxon times, and it was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bedeford." Bideford grew as a prosperous port during the medieval period, serving as an important trading center for wool, cloth, and agricultural products. Its location on the River Torridge made it a convenient harbor for ships, and it developed strong links with the nearby town of Barnstaple.
During the Tudor era, Bideford became involved in overseas trade, particularly with the New World. It was one of the principal ports used by explorers such as John Cabot and Sir Walter Raleigh. Ships from Bideford were involved in voyages of discovery and trade with the Americas, playing a role in the early English colonization efforts.
The town's prosperity continued into the 17th and 18th centuries when Bideford became a center for the tobacco and slave trades. It had close connections with the triangular trade, with ships from Bideford carrying goods to Africa, where they would exchange them for enslaved people. The enslaved Africans were then transported to the Americas, and the ships would return to Bideford with commodities such as tobacco and sugar.
In the 19th century, Bideford experienced significant industrial and economic growth. It became a hub for shipbuilding, rope-making, and pottery production. The opening of the Bideford Railway in 1855 further boosted the town's prosperity by improving transportation links to other parts of the country.
Bideford's maritime heritage is evident in its historic architecture and landmarks. The town's quay, known as the "Bideford Long Bridge," dates back to the 15th century and is one of the oldest surviving bridges in the country. The Pannier Market, built in the 1880s, continues to be a vibrant center for local trade.
Today, Bideford is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its rich history, picturesque waterfront, and proximity to the beautiful North Devon coastline. The town offers a range of amenities, including shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Bideford's history and maritime legacy are celebrated through various events and festivals held throughout the year, showcasing its vibrant past to residents and visitors alike.
Top Tourist Attractions
Bideford offers several top tourist attractions that showcase its rich history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage. Here are some of the notable attractions in Bideford:
- The Bideford Quay: The historic quay area is a must-visit, offering picturesque views of the River Torridge. You can take a stroll along the quayside, enjoy the charming waterfront atmosphere, and watch the boats and ships passing by.
- Burton Art Gallery and Museum: Located near the quay, the Burton Art Gallery and Museum features a diverse collection of artwork and exhibits that celebrate the local heritage and contemporary art. It also hosts regular exhibitions and events.
- The Pannier Market: Situated in the heart of Bideford, the Pannier Market is a bustling marketplace where you can find a variety of goods, including fresh produce, local crafts, antiques, and collectibles. It's a great place to soak up the vibrant atmosphere of the town.
- Northam Burrows Country Park: Just a short distance from Bideford, Northam Burrows Country Park is a vast stretch of coastal landscape that offers stunning views, sandy beaches, and dunes. It's perfect for leisurely walks, picnics, and birdwatching.
- Hartland Abbey and Gardens: Located a few miles from Bideford, Hartland Abbey is a beautiful historic house and gardens that date back to the 12th century. Visitors can explore the grand interiors, stroll through the picturesque gardens, and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding countryside.
- The Big Sheep: A popular family attraction, The Big Sheep is a farm-themed park offering a range of activities, including animal encounters, sheep races, tractor rides, and indoor play areas. It's a fun-filled day out for children and adults alike.
- The Tarka Trail: Bideford is the starting point for the Tarka Trail, a scenic walking and cycling route that follows the path of Tarka the Otter, the famous fictional character from Henry Williamson's novel. The trail offers beautiful countryside views and allows visitors to explore the surrounding area at their own pace.
- Tapeley Park and Gardens: Situated on the outskirts of Bideford, Tapeley Park is a Victorian country estate known for its stunning gardens, woodland walks, and panoramic views of the estuary. The estate also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year.
These attractions provide a glimpse into Bideford's history, natural landscapes, and family-friendly entertainment options, making it a delightful destination for visitors of all ages.
Bideford, being located in the southwest of England, experiences a temperate maritime climate. Here are some key characteristics of the climate in Bideford:
- Mild Winters: Bideford has relatively mild winters compared to other parts of the UK. Average temperatures in winter range from 4°C to 9°C (39°F to 48°F), with occasional frost and snow being rare occurrences.
- Cool Summers: Summers in Bideford are generally cool and pleasant. Average temperatures during the summer months range from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). However, temperatures can occasionally reach the mid-20s Celsius (mid-70s Fahrenheit) during heatwaves.
- Rainfall: Bideford receives a moderate amount of rainfall throughout the year, which is characteristic of the maritime climate. The wettest months tend to be from October to January, with an average of around 100 to 120mm (4 to 5 inches) of precipitation per month. Rainfall is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year.
- Sunshine: Bideford enjoys a moderate amount of sunshine, especially during the summer months. The sunniest period is usually between May and July when the days are longer. On average, Bideford receives around 1,500 to 1,700 hours of sunshine annually.
- Wind: Bideford experiences a moderate amount of wind, with the prevailing winds coming from the southwest. The coastal location of the town makes it more susceptible to breezy conditions, especially during stormy weather.
It's worth noting that weather patterns can vary from year to year, and extreme weather events are possible, albeit infrequent, in the region. It's always a good idea to check the local weather forecast before planning outdoor activities or travel to Bideford.
It sits on the west bank of the River Torridge, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) upstream from where the river meets the Bristol Channel.
- The town is situated in a picturesque location surrounded by rolling hills and countryside. To the west, Bideford is bordered by the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which encompasses stunning coastal cliffs, sandy beaches, and rugged moorland.
- The River Torridge flows through Bideford, dividing the town into two parts. The old town, with its historic buildings and narrow streets, is located on the eastern side of the river, while the newer part of the town, including the shopping areas, is on the western side.
- Bideford has a relatively flat terrain along the river, but as you move away from the town, the landscape becomes more undulating and hilly. The surrounding countryside offers picturesque views and ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and exploring nature.
- The town is well-connected to the nearby coastal areas, including popular tourist destinations such as Westward Ho!, Appledore, and Instow. These coastal towns offer beautiful sandy beaches, seaside promenades, and a range of recreational activities.
Overall, Bideford's geography combines the charm of a riverside town with the natural beauty of the nearby countryside and coastal areas, making it an appealing destination for both residents and visitors.