| ||Wadebridge, renowned for its fine, fourteen arch mediaeval bridge which spans the River Camel, now has two additional bridges.|
To the south, the River Camel is spanned by an impressive new concrete road bridge, which carries the "Atlantic Highway" south, past the turning for Padstow towards Newquay and on to Fraddon and the far west of Cornwall.Prior to the opening of this bridge, all through traffic had to "squeeze" itself through the centre of Wadebridge, frequently bringing Molesworth Street to a standstill.
A little further upstream from the "Bridge on Wool" there is a modern footbridge across the river that links the residential area of Egloshayle with the town centre. The bridge was built in record time by the BBC television programme "Challenge Anneka", in 1991.
The original bridge, built in 1470, is reputed to have been built on bales of wool, used as foundation for the piers sunk into the deeply sanded riverbed. The bridge has been widened and strengthened at various times, four arches were built over during works in 1963, further work was carried out in 1974, with a complete overhaul of the structure being carried out in 1994.
However, if you go down to the riverbank and look up and along the underside of the bridge, it is rather like looking at the rings of an ancient tree trunk, you can see the various phases of construction and widening.
The town prospered with the opening of one of the earliest railways when Bodmin and Wadebridge enjoyed a rail link as early as 1834. The line was later extended to Padstow, after long service to the communities the line was finally closed in 1967.
The railway transported lime sand inland for agriculture, bringing granite from Bodmin Moor to be worked in Wadebridge. Granite dressed in Wadebridge went into the building of the Eddystone Lighthouse, hence the local road of the same name.
The Camel Trail, opened in 1985, has proved a tremendous success, drawing visitors from far and near to sample the delights of cycling along this picturesque trail laid on the bed of the twenty-six mile railway track that ran from Padstow through to Wadebridge and on to Bodmin.
The most popular and picturesque stretch is along the estuary between Wadebridge and Padstow Harbour, five miles there and five miles back, with stunning scenery and an abundance of waterside wildlife to see as you cycle or walk along the north bank of this lovely estuary. Cycling in the opposite direction will take you onto Bodmin Moor, which has many facets and seasonal moods to discover.
Betjamin CentreTown Centre
The Betjamin Centre has been created on the old railway station site. The poet laureate's work and love of this area of North Cornwall influenced many of his well-known works.
The town centre has been greatly improved in recent years with the closure in 1994 of Molesworth Street, the main shopping area, to traffic and the redevelopment of central areas of the town, such as Foundry Court just off Molesworth Street.
There is a new shopping precinct running adjacent to the river in Eddystone Road, the newly built Tourist Information Centre is located here.
There are some fine examples of 18th Century buildings, which have changed little over the years, in and around Molesworth Street and the town centre.Refreshments are in abundance from tearooms, bistros, restaurants and inns, there are some interesting shops, including an excellent independent outdoor clothing shop that has quality protective clothing and walking boots for the outdoor enthusiast.
Wadebridge is an attractive and thriving town, close to such well known coastal attractions as Padstow, Rock, Daymar Bay and Polzeath.
The growing popularity of this area of North Cornwall has created an area much sought after for holiday and residential accommodation.
Wadebridge events and places of interest:
- 'Betjamin Week' is celebrated in mid May.
- Royal Cornwall Show - Annually in June
- Wadebridge Folk Festival - Annually, August Bank Holiday