New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

Design: Ney & Partners engineers and William Matthews Associates Architectural Practice

Tintagel Castle Reunited

– New English Heritage footbridge restores lost Cornish crossing –

– £5m project generously supported by Julia and Hans Rausing –

– Timed ticketing and advance online booking introduced –

Public opening: Sunday 11 August 2019

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall


photograph © David Levene

For the first time in more than 500 years, the two separated halves of Tintagel Castle will be
reunited thanks to a daring new footbridge unveiled by the charity English Heritage today
(Thursday 8 August 2019).

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall


photo © David Levene

From Sunday 11 August, 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.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall


photo © David Levene

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 13thcentury gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the jagged headland or island
jutting into the sea. 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”.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall


photo © David Levene

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”. 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.

Photos below by Jim Holden:

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

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.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

Built in Plymouth and designed by Ney & Partner engineers and William Matthews
Associates Architectural Practice, 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.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

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. The elegant bridge complements the outstanding landscape and unlocks
for the visitor the history of the site.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

Kate Mavor, English Heritage’s Chief Executive, said: “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.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

“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.”

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

Tintagel Castle welcomes almost 250,000 visitors each year and the new footbridge will help
to reduce congestion – especially at peak periods – and provide a step-free route onto the
island, helping more people to enjoy a visit to the castle.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

The bridge at Tintagel Castle is part of a larger £5m programme of works by English
Heritage which includes improving the footpaths around the site, helping to limit the impact
of visitors on the castle’s unique archaeology and ecology.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

Timed ticketing has been introduced to manage the number of people visiting the historic
site. Tickets can be pre-booked through the English Heritage website. A limited number of
on-the-day tickets will also be available to purchase at Tintagel Castle.

New Tintagel Castle Bridge in Cornwall

Julia and Hans Rausing generously donated £2.5m towards the project, the largest single private donation ever received by the conservation charity, English Heritage. A thousand members of the public also donated to the bridge, each marking their £5 contribution by signing one of the Cornish slates which form the walkway of the bridge. All the donations mean that English Heritage can now invest more of its funds towards the protection and conservation of historic castles throughout Cornwall and beyond.