Set on the rugged North Cornwall coast, Tintagel Castle is one of the most spectacular historic sites in Britain. But the path visitors take to the castle is challenging, with over a hundred steps winding towards the cliff-top ruins.
This October, we started work on a new footbridge at Tintagel, recreating the historic crossing from the mainland to the headland.
Keep up-to-date with the project, find out how you can get involved and learn about the bridge's winning design.
A Historic Walkway
We are embarking on a landmark project to reconnect Tintagel's divided landscape. Today, the site is split by a natural chasm, with 148 steps reaching up towards the island. But this hasn't always been the case.
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 cliff tops. Our new footbridge will reinstate 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
In 2015, we launched a competition 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 will be 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'll disappear against the sky.
Building The Bridge
Tintagel Castle has now closed for the winter season so work can begin on the new bridge. From October a cable crane will be installed at the site, which will allow our contractors to lift equipment into place and start building the foundations – without the need for scaffolding. We have conducted a series of geotechnical investigations ahead of this work, making sure the bedrock can support it.
By the time the cable crane is in place, work on fabricating the steel sections of the bridge will be well underway. The pre-fabricated steel sections will be brought to Tintagel in early 2019 and slotted into position, but not before a trial run of the assembly process in the workshop.
The bridge is due to be completed in spring 2019.
Sign a slate
It’s not often you can become part of a historic site – but this autumn we invite you to do just that with the chance to sign a slate for Tintagel Castle’s new footbridge.
In return for a small donation, you can personalise one of the thousands of slate tiles which will form the walkway of the spectacular new bridge. Once signed the tiles will be laid on edge, side by side, with the messages concealed from view – a lasting legacy to everyone who has supported the project.Get involved
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. This will take around nine months.
October 2018Tintagel Castle Closes
Tintagel Castle closes for the season and the construction project begins, starting with the installation of the cable crane.
Autumn 2018Building 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.
January/February 2019Assembling the bridge
The sections of the bridge are dropped into place and slotted together, and the paving and balustrades are fitted.
Spring 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.