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See what the brand new Tintagel Castle bridge looks like

See what the brand new Tintagel Castle bridge looks like

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:00am 11th August 2019. (Updated at 5:28pm 11th August 2019)

For the first time in more than 500 years, the two separated halves of Tintagel Castle have been reunited as a controversial new footbridge opens.

It was originally meant to open to the public on Friday but had to be delayed until Sunday because of the triple storm warning.

The bridge is part of a £5m programme and it spans the gap between the castle's island and the mainland - around 70m.

tintagel castle footbridge

Spanning a 190-foot gorge and with a gasp-inducing gap in the middle, the bridge follows the line of the original route - a narrow strip of land, long lost to erosion - between the 13th-century gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the jagged headland or island jutting into the sea. 

The bridge consists of two independent cantilevers of approximately 30 metres length each that reach out from either side to - almost - touch in the middle. 

At the centre of the bridge, a narrow gap (40mm) has been designed to represent the transition between the mainland and the island, the present and the past, history and legend. 

Bosses hope it will help to ease congestion of visitors on the site.

tintagel castle footbridge

"Tintagel Castle has been made whole again. Once more, people will cross from one side of the castle to the other and their footsteps will echo those from hundreds of years ago. 

"As a charity, English Heritage's core purpose is to care for historic sites like Tintagel Castle and to inspire people to visit them. 

"Our new Tintagel bridge does both - protecting the castle's archaeology and bringing its story to life in a brilliant, imaginative way."   

Kate Mavor, English Heritage's Chief Executive

tintagel castle footbridge

The history behind the bridge and Tintagel Castle:

Visitors will be able to walk in the footsteps of the medieval inhabitants of the Cornish castle - inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur - and enjoy spectacular coastal views not seen since the Middle Ages.  

So significant was this historic crossing that it gave rise to the place's name, the Cornish Din Tagell meaning "the Fortress of the Narrow Entrance".

The medieval scholar Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote that this land-bridge was so narrow that "three armed men would be able to defend [it], even if you had the whole kingdom of Britain at your side".

tintagel castle footbridge

Legend has it that the King of Britain, Uther Pendragon - transformed by the wizard Merlin into the likeness of the Duke of Cornwall - stole across this passage way into the castle where he spent the night with the Duke's wife, Ygerna, who later gave birth to the future King Arthur. 

So impressed was Richard, Earl of Cornwall by the Arthurian myth that in the 1230s and 1240s he built a castle at Tintagel, with the land-bridge an integral part of its design.

That crossing vanished in the 15th or 16th century but now English Heritage has restored it, replacing the original rock, earth and grass with a footbridge of steel, local Cornish slate, and oak. 

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