Bideford

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Coordinates: 51°00′58″N 4°13′02″W / 51.0162°N 4.2171°W / 51.0162; -4.2171

Bideford (pronounced /ˈbɪdɪfʊd/) is a small port town on the estuary of the River Torridge in north Devon, south-west England. It is also the main town of the Torridge local government district.

Contents

History

The River Torridge is spanned at Bideford by the 13th century Long Bridge, which has 24 arches all of different sizes. A New Year's Eve tradition was to try to run across the Long Bridge in the time it takes for the bells at nearby St. Mary's church to chime midnight.

In the 16th century Bideford was Britain's third largest port[citation needed]. It was rumoured that Sir Walter Raleigh landed the first shipment of tobacco there, although this is a myth, as Raleigh was not, contrary to popular belief, the first to bring tobacco to England. In honour of Raleigh, several roads and a hill have been named after him in Bideford. Today the narrow town centre streets lead down to a tree-lined quay, which bustles with fishing vessels, cargo and pleasure boats. Ball clay is the principal export loaded onto boats at Bideford. The quay was refurbished, with completion in 2006, to provide flood defence and also to incorporate a large fountain and modern public toilets.

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