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Bideford (meaning ‘By The Ford’) is an interesting market town plenty of historical features, as well as a good selection of modern services. Spanning the river is the 15th Century stone built Long Bridge made up of 24 different sized arches representing different trade guilds of the time.  Originally built of oak in the 1300’s, the bridge was built to cross a dangerous ford and there was a chapel at each end – presumably to pray for/give thanks for a safe crossing! Author Charles Kingsley wrote much of his most famous work, 'Westward Ho!' in the Royal Hotel in Bideford.

The tree lined quay, recently regenerated, retains it’s traditional roots with fishing and cargo boats still working, as well as pleasure boats and the ferry service on the MS Oldenburgh to offshore Lundy Island.

Bideford also a darker history - Sir Walter Raleigh was said to have landed the first shipment of tobacco here, and you will likely observe more than one street named after him. The Bideford witch trial saw the last hangings for witchcraft in England (you will be relieved to know that was in the 17th Century!).

As you would imagine in a larger town, there is a good choice of accommodation including smarter hotels, B&B's, and guest houses. Overnight visitors will find plenty of places to eat and drink in very pleasant surroundings.

If you are on a short walking day, take time to explore the market and narrow streets which are full of interesting shops, art galleries and independent retailers with a healthy mix of good cafes, bistros, and inns. The town has a cosmopolitan feel, not common along the coast path, so we suggest that you make the most of it.

Further inland, Chudleigh Fort was erected here during the Civil War in 1643 to defend the town and is now an attractive ornamental garden. The Burton Art Gallery and Museum is worth a visit, with interesting visiting exhibitions. The Bideford Railway Heritage Centre is actually situated in a disused railway carriage and makes a good stop with its own cafe.

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