Set on the rugged North Cornwall coast, Tintagel Castle is one of the most spectacular historic sites in Britain. But the path to the castle has long been challenging, with over a hundred steps winding towards to the cliff-top ruins.
We've built a new footbridge at Tintagel Castle, recreating the historic crossing from the mainland to the headland.
Find out more about the project and the Tintagel Bridge's winning design.
A Historic Walkway
In August 2019, we finished a landmark project to reconnect Tintagel's divided landscape. In the Middle Ages, Tintagel's residents walked from one side of the site to the other using a narrow land bridge as high as the clifftops. But the crossing disappeared between the 14th and 17th centuries, leaving the castle divided by a natural chasm.
The new Tintagel Bridge reinstates the original route, offering visitors the chance to experience Tintagel Castle the way its medieval inhabitants once did.
Watch our video to find out more.
The Winning Design
We launched a competition in 2015 to find the best team to design the new bridge. The winning concept was created by Ney & Partners Civil Engineers and William Matthews Associates.
The aim was to find a bridge specifically tailored to Tintagel Castle, harmonising with the iconic coastal landscape. The design sees two cantilevers reach out and meet, not quite touching, with a 40mm gap in the middle. The gap represents the transition from the mainland to the island, present to past.
The bridge is paved with Cornish Delabole slate, with stainless steel balustrades fitted along its length. The balustrades have been designed to be so fine that, when viewed from a distance, they disappear against the sky.
Building The Bridge
One of the key considerations when building the bridge was logistics. How would we get the large building materials up to the clifftop castle? After some aerial lifting with helicopters, we installed a cable crane at the site to transport equipment and build the foundations. We conducted a series of geotechnical investigations ahead of the work, making sure the bedrock could support it.
Meanwhile, a steel fabrication company based in Plymouth had begun work on the bridge’s steel sections. They made 18 in total to create the 70m walkway. After a trial run in the workshop, the sections were brought to the castle and slotted into position, recreating the historic link between the mainland and island one piece at a time.
The new bridge was generously supported by Julia and Hans Rausing.
June 2015Designing the bridge
English Heritage launches a competition to find the design for the new footbridge at Tintagel Castle.
March 2016Winners Announced
Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates are announced as the winners of the competition.
October 2017Planning Permission
Cornwall Council grants planning permission for the new bridge.
June 2018Work Starts
Work begins on fabricating the steel sections of the bridge off site.
October 2018Tintagel Castle Closes
Tintagel Castle closes for the season and the construction project begins, starting with the installation of the cable crane.
Winter 2018/2019Building the foundations
The rock anchors and foundations that will keep the bridge stable are built, with all equipment lifted into place with the cable crane.
Spring - Summer 2019Assembling the bridge
The sections of the bridge are dropped into place and slotted together, and the paving and balustrades are fitted.
11 August 2019Tintagel Bridge Opens
Work is completed and Tintagel Castle reopens.
More to explore
Ancient Writing at Tintagel
Learn about a rare 7th-century stone inscribed with letters, words and symbols, discovered during the Tintagel Archaeological Dig.
History of Tintagel
Read an in-depth history of the castle from its origins to the present day, and find out why Tintagel's history and legends are so intertwined.
Top 10 castles
We asked our Facebook followers to name their favourite castles, and hundreds of you voted for the places you love.