tintagel footbridge reunites historic cornwall castle for the first time in 500 years
 

tintagel footbridge reunites historic cornwall castle for the first time in 500 years

a new footbridge has reunited the two separated halves of a medieval castle in south-west england for the first time in more than 500 years. tintagel castle, which is located on a rocky peninsula in north cornwall, has been inextricably linked with the legend of king arthur and the knights of the round table since the 12th century. selected following an international design competition, the new bridge — which spans a 58-meter (190-foot) gorge — follows the line of the original route between the gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the headland jutting out to sea.

tintagel footbridge
image by david levene | all images and video courtesy of english heritage

 

 

designed by ney & partners and william matthews associates, the bridge comprises two independent cantilevers of approximately 30 meters (98 feet) that reach out from either side to almost touch in the middle. at the center of the crossing, a narrow 4 centimeter (1.5 inch) gap represents the transition between the mainland and the island, the present and the past, history and legend. the bridge seeks to complement the region’s coastal landscape, while unlocking the history of the site for visitors.

tintagel footbridge
image by david levene

 

 

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 only to be reborn in steel, slate, and oak more than 500 years later.

tintagel footbridge
image by david levene

 

 

‘tintagel castle has been made whole again,’ says kate mavor, chief executive of english heritage, the charity that manages the site. ‘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.’

tintagel footbridge
image by jim holden

 

 

from august 11, 2019, visitors will be able to walk in the footsteps of the medieval inhabitants of the cornish castle and enjoy coastal views not seen since the middle ages. it is hoped that the new crossing will help 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. tickets can be pre-booked through the english heritage website, with a limited number of on-the-day tickets available to purchase at the castle itself. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

tintagel footbridge
image by jim holden

tintagel footbridge
image by jim holden


image by jim holden


image by jim holden


image by jim holden


image by jim holden


image by jim holden


image by jim holden


image by jim holden

 

 

project info:

 

name: tintagel castle footbridge
location: tintagel, cornwall, UK
design: ney & partners and william matthews associates
client: english heritage

status: complete, opens august 11, 2019

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