Discover | Bideford
The port of Bideford is situated adjacent to the River Torridge, at the mouth of the Bristol Channel. It has a thriving fishing industry and also provides safe harbour for M.S. Oldenburg, the supply ship for Lundy Island. The port regularly sees visits from vessels up to 90 metres in length, bound for Spain, France, Finland and Holland with their cargo of ball clay from Bideford itself.
There’s more to Bideford than just the harbour though. It provides a bustling pannier market and a wealth of shops, for both locals and visitors alike. It also boasts its own shopping centre, Atlantic Village, situated on the outskirts of the town.
Bideford also benefits from a good mixture of places to eat and drink and a range of accommodation.
The maritime theme of Bideford continues in neighbouring Appledore, which is well known for its shipyard. When it was constructed it was the largest in Europe and it continues to build large steel hulled ships for private, commercial and ministry of defence use.
Appledore is full of old world charm, from the quaint fishermen’s cottages, to the network of narrow alleys and pathways. It centres around a picturesque quayside which is home to an assortment of craft shops and places to eat.
Just a short journey from Bideford you will find Westward Ho! and Northam, which contains a few shops scattered around a square. Westward Ho! is a small seaside resort, with amusement arcades and a collection of shops and cafes.
The Northam Burrows Country Park forms part of the United Nations Biosphere Reserve and as such is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. It spans for approximately 250 hectares, consisting mainly of grasslands, salt marsh and sand dunes. It’s backed by a pebble ridge and leads onto the beach of Westward Ho! which in itself continues for nearly two miles. It’s a superb beach for families as it’s not only sandy but has also been awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness. The beach benefits from the reassurance of lifeguard patrols, a lost child centre, parking and a cafe.
This beach is also renowned for kite surfing, buggies and land boarding. If this is your adrenaline fix then please respect the area, keep within the designated zones (which run between 1st June until 20th September) and enjoy! The beach also offers good surf, although the break is not as challenging as some of those offered further down the North Devon coast at Croyde and Woolacombe.