Recent Bideford History
Two arches on the western side of the bridge collapsed in 1968 causing a considerable amount of disruption. Juggernauts had done their worst and the town had to rely on ferries to maintain its lifeblood.
It underlined the need for another crossing to share the load of burgeoning traffic and so, in 1987, the new Torridge Bridge was opened.
Bideford is a working port with substantial throughput of aggregates, raw materials and clay extracts, which are delivered by road for loading onto modern, purpose-built container vessels. Alongside these container vessels there is a small but flourishing local fishing industry as well as the regular service of MS Oldenburg serving as a vital link to Lundy Island and providing pleasure cruises for tourists throughout the season. Close to the renovated station at East-the-Water is Chudleigh Fort, where a striking view of the Quay can be enjoyed. The fort is the last relic of fortifications built in 1642 by James Chudleigh, an officer of the Barnstaple Garrison. Toda the narrow town centre streets lead down to a tree-lined quay, which bustles with fishing vessels, cargo and pleasure boats. Clay is the principal export loaded onto boats at Bideford. The quay was refurbished, with completion in 2006, to provide flood defences and incorporates a large tide regulated fountain and brand new terminal building for the Lundy Ferry.