Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bideford Bound

The lovely quiet town and estuary port of Bideford in North Devon is situated on the west bank of the Torridge River. One of its most distinguishing features is its Long Bridge, built in 1286 of timber, which links Bideford with East-the-Water. The timber was replaced with stone in 1474, being built around the timber so that people could still cross while it was under construction. 

Of interest is the fact that none of the 24 arches are the same size. It is thought that this is because the arches were paid for my local businessmen, the larger arches costing more than the smaller ones. the arch was as large as the patron could afford.
Modern-day traffic necessitated the widening of the bridge in 1925. The town glimpsed through an arch is just as picturesque today.
There are plenty of lovely shops to explore that line a narrow hilly lane.

And down by the quay you'll find the Burton Art Galley and Museum, well worth a visit.

When we were there, a group showing of local artists was on exhibit. The quality of the art was impressive. I was attracted to one painting of a stormy sea in particular and asked a lady with a price list how much it was. We started talking and ended up having a lovely long conversation about painting. She is an artist who lives on the quay and I am sure if I lived in Bidford we would have been well on our way to becoming friends.

Just as impressive is the adjoining Café du parc with its French chef who made the best croissants I have tasted in a long time - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and buttery throughout. the lemon tart was also excellent. We planned to go back for lunch but time ran out. Next time!  We paid our compliments to the chef en français and decided that if we were Bidefordians the café would be a daily temptation.

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