WADEBRIDGE (Cornish : Ponswad ) is a civil parish and town in north
Cornwall , England, United Kingdom. The town straddles the River Camel
5 miles (8.0 km) upstream from
Padstow . The permanent population is
6,222 (Census 2001), increasing to 7,900 at the 2011 census. There
are two electoral wards in the town (East and West). Their total
population is 8,272
Originally known as Wade, it was a dangerous fording point across the
river until a bridge was built here in the 15th century, after which
the name changed to its present form. The bridge was strategically
important during the
English Civil War
English Civil War , and
Oliver Cromwell went
there to take it. Since then, it has been widened twice and
refurbished in 1991.
Wadebridge was served by a railway station between 1834 and 1967;
part of the line now forms the
Camel Trail , a recreational route for
walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The town used to be a road traffic
bottleneck on the
A39 road until it was bypassed in 1991, and the main
shopping street is now pedestrianised.
The town has a secondary school where several notable sports-people
were educated. The Royal
Cornwall Show is a three-day agricultural
show held at the nearby Royal
Cornwall Showground every June.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Railway
* 1.2 Quays
* 1.3 Eddystone Road
* 1.4 Historical timeline
* 2 Government
* 3 Geography and transport
* 4 Culture and community
* 5 Demographics
* 6 Sport
* 7 Notable people
* 8 References
* 9 Bibliography
* 10 External links
The initial settlement of Wade (the name of
Wadebridge before the
bridge was built) came about due to a ford in the
River Camel (Camel
probably meaning "crooked one" ). The early crossing had a chapel on
each side of the river, "Kings" chapel on the north side and "St
Michael's" on the south side. People would pray for a safe crossing at
one of the chapels before wading across at low tide, once they had
made it the other side they would give thanks to God in the other
chapel. In 1312 a licence was granted for a market at Wade.
At some time the ford was supplemented by a ferry until the Reverend
Thomas Lovibond (the vicar of
Egloshayle ) became distressed at the
number of humans and animals that died during the crossing of the
River Camel so he planned the building of a bridge which was completed
in 1468. Wade was now known as Wadebridge.
The bridge was a strategic position in the
English Civil War
English Civil War as in
Oliver Cromwell came with 500
Dragoons and 1,000 horsemen to take
the bridge. When the bridge was first completed tolls were charged
for its maintenance. In 1853 it was widened from 3 to 5 metres (9.8 to
16.4 ft). A second widening took place in 1952 and then in 1963 it
was again widened taking it to 12 metres (39 ft). In 1994 the bridge
underwent a refurbishment to change the stone in the pavement and to
create a cycle track.
A serious outbreak of typhoid in 1897 caused by contamination of
drinking water led to
Wadebridge having its own town council as
decisive action had to be taken for proper water supplies and disposal
of sewage effluent.
Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway from
Wadebridge to Wenfordbridge
with branch lines to
Bodmin and Ruthernbridge was built at a cost of
£35,000 following a study commissioned in 1831 by local landowner Sir
William Molesworth of
Pencarrow . The line was intended to carry sand
Camel Estuary to inland farms for use as fertiliser . It was
opened on 30 September 1834 with the locomotive Camel pulling a train
load of 400 passengers (one of the first railways in Britain to carry
passengers). When the company ordered its second locomotive it came
with a name plate already affixed. It had been named the Elephant as
the makers had failed to realise that the first engine had been named
after the river and not an animal.
The last passenger train left
Wadebridge railway station in 1967
following railway cutbacks. The railway has been transformed into the
Camel Trail , and the
Bodmin and Wenford Railway heritage railway runs
on part of the route.
Wadebridge was the highest navigable point on the River Camel
providing the main trade route before the building of the railway, and
coasters would bring goods from
Bristol and coal from
South Wales .
Timber was also imported from the Baltic , while stone from inland
was sent to destination throughout England. The first locomotives used
on the railway were also imported through the quay, being manufactured
by Neath Abbey Ironworks, and the railway initially linked with river
traffic well, having been designed to distribute sand from the river
to the local farms. This commodity, brought up from
Padstow in barges,
had previously been taken as far as
In 1880 there were quays on both sides of the river below the bridge,
that on the west bank being served by the railway. There was also a
"sand dock" constructed upstream of the bridge at the point where the
Treguddick Brook (Polmorla Brook) flows into the River Camel, although
this had been filled in by 1895
In the 1900s vessels such as the M.V. Florence brought cargos such as
slag (for fertiliser), grain and coal. Flour was also a regular cargo
brought from Ranks at Avonmouth. However, in the 1950s the river
silted badly so that the ketch Agnes was possibly the last vessel to
bring cargo to
Wadebridge in 1955.
In 1877, after cracks appeared in the rock on which the Eddystone
Lighthouse was positioned, a new lighthouse was commissioned from
James Nicholas Douglass . Granite quarried from
De Lank quarry was
brought down to
Wadebridge where stonemasons dovetailed each segment
of stone not only to each other but also to the course above and
below. As each layer was completed and checked to fit with the layer
above, it was sent out to the Eddystone rocks by sea. The lighthouse
was completed in 1882. This resulted in the road where the masons
worked being called Eddystone Road.
* 1312 — Licence granted for Wade to hold a market.
* 1455 — John Leland records a ferry
* 1460 — Reverend Thomas Lovibond started to organise the building
of the bridge.
* 1646 —
Oliver Cromwell and his men descended onto
take control of the bridge.
* 1793 — A shipping canal from
Fowey was surveyed.
* 1834 — The
Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway took its first
* 1845 — The
Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway became part of the
London and South Western Railway
* 1852 — The Bridge was widened from 10 feet to 11½ feet.
* 1882 — Work began on replacing the
Eddystone lighthouse .
* 1888 — The town hall (then known as the Molesworth Hall) was
* 1888 — The
Wadebridge railway was connected to the
Great Western Railway .
* 1894 —
Wadebridge Town Football Club was founded.
* 1895 — The
London and South Western Railway , reached Wadebridge
from Halwill Junction and Launceston .
* 1898 —
Wadebridge Urban District created in April.
* 1899 — The
Wadebridge railway was extended to Padstow
* 1930 — The Cinedrome (now the Regal) opened to its first
* 1955 —
Wadebridge Camels RFC was founded.
* 1960 —
Wadebridge was chosen as the permanent site of the Royal
Cornwall Agricultural Show .
* 1963 — The bridge was widened from 11½ feet to 39 feet.
* 1967 — The railway line was closed to passengers.
* 1991 — The Challenge Bridge was completed.
* 1993 — The
Wadebridge Bypass was completed.
Wadebridge is in the constituency of North
Cornwall which is
currently held by the Conservative MP Scott Mann . The main offices of
the former North
Cornwall District Council were at Trenant Road in the
Wadebridge was part of St Columb Rural District Council
until the creation of
Wadebridge Urban District Council in April 1898.
GEOGRAPHY AND TRANSPORT
The town straddles the
River Camel 5 miles (8.0 km) upstream from
For many years
Wadebridge was a traffic-congested town (through which
the route of the A39 trunk road passed) but in 1991 the Wadebridge
bypass was opened together with the
Egloshayle bypass causing the two
settlements to regain much of their former charm. The main shopping
Wadebridge (Molesworth Street) has subsequently been
pedestrianized through construction of an inner link road, allowing
On St Swithin's day 1965 there was a flood in
Wadebridge town after
five and a half inches of rain fell in four and a half hours around
high tide. The Swan Hotel on The Platt was flooded to a depth of one
and a half feet.
CULTURE AND COMMUNITY
The Challenge Bridge
The Molesworth Arms is one of the oldest Inns in Wadebridge.
Previously known as The Fox, The King's Arms and The Fountain, this
coaching Inn got its current name in 1817.
There is a strong calendar of annual events in and around Wadebridge.
Since 2014, this has started with the mid-May MayPlay festival, a
weekend of free children's activities.
Cornwall Agricultural Show is held at the Royal Cornwall
Showground, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of
Wadebridge over three days in
early June each year. The show began in 1793 at
Bodmin and was then
held every year in East and West
Cornwall alternately until 1960 when
it came to its present site. The showground, run by the Royal Cornwall
Agricultural Association, is used for many different functions from
Scout Jamborees to point-to-point horse racing.
The Big Lunch, organised by the local chamber of commerce, is a free
street party in the pedestrianised part of Molesworth St in the centre
of Wadebridge, where around 500–750 people get together to share
food, chat, and enjoy music and other entertainment. The idea grew out
of a project by the Eden Project, and was started by a former local
councillor, Harriet Wild. In 2012 it also served as a celebration of
the Queen's Jubilee.
Later in June, the
Wadebridge Lions organise a beer festival, with
brews from across Cornwall, and plenty of live music.
July sees the Rock Oyster Festival on fields on the north side of the
Camel River. Oysters are, of course, on the menu, along with some
great bands from the local area, across the South West and further
Wadebridge Carnival is held annually in August, with a Carnival
Queen. In August there is the Eglos Craft Fayre at
Cornwall Folk Festival, held over the Bank Holiday. The likes
of folk stars such as John Renbourn, Martyn Carthy and Dave Swarbrick
rub shoulders with Cornish bands, and blue legend Wiz Jones is the
Depending on the tides, the Camel River Festival is held around
August or September. The main attraction is a set of raft races on the
Camel River, with bar, food, stalls and more live music.
In November the Prime Stock Show and the Garden Produce Association
and Chrysanthemum Show are held.
A footbridge called the Challenge Bridge links the
fields to the Jubilee fields on the other side of the river. The
bridge was constructed in 1991 by
Anneka Rice and her team for the TV
Challenge Anneka ". Locally, the bridge is known as Anneka's
Bridge, but its real name is the Bailey Bridge.
The newspaper is a local edition of the weekly
Cornish Guardian .
The town is twinned with
Langueux (Langaeg) in
Brittany , France.
In April 2013
Wadebridge was short-listed as one of Britain's top
eco-towns and is home to
Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network a grass
roots enterprise aiming to make the town the first solar powered and
renewable energy powered town in the UK.
The town has two primary schools which have academy status,
Wadebridge Primary Academy which OfSTED graded as a ‘GOOD’ school
in November 2012 and St. Breock Primary School. There is also a
Wadebridge School which has a sixth form.
There are two health care practices: the
Wadebridge and Camel Estuary
Practice and the Bridge Medical Centre. There has been a group
Wadebridge since the early 20th century; many of the early
doctors had their surgeries operating from their homes.
In the 1901 census the population of
Wadebridge was 3470, while in
2001 the population was 6222
Wadebridge is home to a number of sporting clubs including Wadebridge
Town Football Club who play their home games at Bodieve park; and
Wadebridge Camels , who play their home games at the Molesworth Field
Egloshayle . The town has a leisure centre with a varied programme
of sports and leisure pursuits including
Cornish wrestling .
The Camel estuary offers a wide range of water sports, including
sailing , water skiing , windsurfing , surfing and kite surfing . Golf
courses close by include
Trevose and Saint Enodoc and
St Kew .
The gentleman scientist and surgeon Sir
Goldsworthy Gurney , who
Bude-Light , lived in
Wadebridge from 1814 to 1820. A
street (Goldsworthy Way) has been named after him. Francis Hurdon
(1834–1914), a prominent figure in Canadian politics, was educated
in the town.
In media, Michael White , journalist, associate editor and former
political editor of The Guardian was born here in 1945. The comedian
Jethro (Geoffrey Rowe) lived in
Wadebridge for many years, and Andrew
Ridgeley , member of the pop music duo,
Wham! and his partner Keren
Woodward , from the girl band
Bananarama , live in a converted
farmhouse near the town.
Sergeant Steven Roberts , the first soldier to die in the 2003
invasion of Iraq , was born in Wadebridge.
Olly Barkley , the
England rugby union international
player, was raised in the town, as was
Michaela Breeze , the
Commonwealth weightlifting champion. Both were educated at Wadebridge
School , as was
Annabel Vernon , the 2007 World Rowing Champion
Women's Quad Sculls.
Mixologist and bartender
Tristan Stephenson is a resident, as is
children's book illustrator Jago , and children's book author and
illustrator Veronica Lamond .
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* ^ A B Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 200
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* ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 15 February 2015.
* ^ "
Wadebridge West population 2011". Retrieved 15 February 2015.
* ^ "
Wadebridge east population 2011". Retrieved 15 February 2015.
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* ^ Mills, A. D. (1996). The Popular Dictionary of English
Place-Names. Parragon Book Service Ltd and Magpie Books. p. 65. ISBN
* ^ A B Kentley, Eric. Cornwall's Bridge & Viaduct Heritage.
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* ^ Wadebridge
* ^ Fairclough, Tony (1970). The Story of Cornwall's Railways.
Truro: Tor Mark Press. p. 12.
* ^ A B Fairclough, Tony; Alan, Wills (1979). Southern Branch Line
special No. 1:
Wadebridge 1834–1978. Truro: D Bradford
Barton. ISBN 0 85153 343 4 .
* ^ A B C D E Wroe, David (1995). An Illustrated History of the
Cornwall Railway. Caernarfon: Irwell Press. ISBN 1-871608-63-5 .
* ^ A B C Duxbury, Brenda; Williams, Michael (1987). The River
Camel. St Teath: Bossiney Books. ISBN 0 948158 26 3 .
* ^ Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (1996). Branch Lines Around Bodmin.
Midhurst: MIddleton Press. ISBN 1 873793 83 9 .
* ^ "Twinning". Retrieved 25 May 2009.
* ^ "
Wadebridge short-listed as top eco-towns West Country (W) -
ITV News". itv.com. 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
* ^ "Cornish town aims to be UK\'s first to adopt solar power -
struggle becomes YouTube series - Environment". The Independent. 27
May 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
* ^ "Table KS01 Usual resident population". Office for National
Statistics. 17 June 2004. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
* ^ "Michael White\'s political blog: February 7". The Guardian.
London. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
* ^ Thomas, Liz (28 September 2009). "
Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley
succumbs to the ageing process". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
* ^ "BBC NEWS
England Bradford Kit delays led to soldier\'s
BBC News . London : BBC . 18 December 2006. Retrieved 12 May
* Tuthill, Peter (2004) A Brief History of Wadebridge
* History of
Wadebridge Town and Police; by Peter Tuthill
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