Bideford Town Council[64] has 16 seats representing four unequal wards, North, South, East and South Outer. At the May 2011 local elections, seven Conservatives, three independents, two Liberal Democrats, two Labour and one Green were elected (there was one vacant seat).[65] There is a mayor and Town Clerk. The town council received widespread attention in February 2012 when the High Court ruled that prayers as part of meetings were not lawful by the Local Government Act 1972.[66]

Hubba the Dane was said to have attacked Devon in the area around Bideford near Northam or near Kenwith Castle, and was repelled by either Alfred the Great (849–899) or by the Saxon Earl of Devon.

Bideford /ˈbɪdᵻfərd/ is a historic port town on the estuary of the River Torridge in north Devon, south-west England. It is the main town of the Torridge local government district.

Bus There are several bus services most of which are provided by stagecoach south west these include:

State-funded primary schools in Bideford include East-the-Water Primary School, Pynes Infants School, St Mary's Church of England Primary School and Westcroft Junior School. Bideford College is the main state-funded secondary school serving the area.

Bideford now the little pastel coloured, not white town as described in the 20th century by author Charles Kingsley, alongside the River Torridge in North Devon. Once an important port. Only a few miles from the beaches of the Atlantic Coast, and washed lashed headlands.

Kingsley described Bideford as a town of white houses. Many of these are now pastel coloured but the town still has some pleasant narrow streets and attractive small shops.

The city of Biddeford, Maine in the United States was named after the English town, using the original old English spelling. Also, the town of Bideford in the province of Prince Edward Island, Canada, is named after the English town.

Tarka Trail Feeling fit why not explore the Tarka Trail, either on foot or by cycle?. Head inland towards Torrington with the River Torridge always near by the Trail becomes more and more wooded, head down river to Instow and if you are really keen then follow the River Taw to Barnstaple. Left your bike at home? Bikes can be hired at the Station and several places along the Trail.

Down river where "the two rivers meet" of Henry Williamsons' Tarka the Otter famous novel is so picturesque Appledore , itself like Bideford an important ship building centre and port. Across the River is Instow , a popular family beach in Summer, a nice place for a bracing walk in Winter. Just outside Instow are Tapely Park and Gardens, woodland terraced Italian gardens, containing a rich variety of trees and shrubs, with a lake, and good views over the River.

The South West Coast Path National Trail runs through the town, and gives access to walks along the rugged North Devon coast.

Bideford is both a thriving market town and working port with much to offer visitors. Amongst the many buildings and places of interest you will find the historic covered Pannier Market, dating from 1883, which holds a market every Tuesday and Saturday. Alongside the history you will find modern shopping amenities, a wide choice of clubs, bars and restaurants. Visit Barnstaple Town 'here' ....

Many routes are subsided by Devon County Council.

The tree-lines quay still bustles with fishing vessels, cargo and pleasure boats, and there are regular boat trip to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel, about 12 miles away.

In the 16th century the merchant and ship owner John Strange was born in the town. When he was in his youth he fell from a cliff yet did not suffer any injury, then later on in his life someone fired an arrow at his forehead, but it did not penetrate his skull and the only lasting damage was a scar. Once a malicious person tried to throw him over the Long Bridge, the walls of the bridge being very low, but was unexpectedly and luckily interrupted.[23]

Bideford has many small shops and galleries. Atlantic Village is an outlet shopping centre on the western outskirts of the town: it has over thirty retail outlets and an adventure park called Atlantis.[103]

In 2009, James May's Toy Stories attempted to run OO scale trains on a temporary track on the right of way. A subsequent attempt in 2011 was successful.

Torridge District Council[67] is the next level of local government and most decisions are made by Devon County Council.[68] The local MP is the Conservative Geoffrey Cox and the MEP local aristocrat Tory Giles Chichester. The two Devon County Council councillors who represent the town are Gaston Dezart and Robin Julian, they are both members of UKIP.[69]

This area of North Devon was home to the author Charles Kingsley, and is where he based his novel Westward Ho!. A small seaside town, named after the book, was built after the book's publication. Westward Ho!, is the only town in the United Kingdom which officially contains an exclamation mark in its name, is approximately three miles (5 km) from Bideford. A statue was erected in honour of Kingsley near the car park of Victoria Park.

Bideford is served by the A39 Atlantic Highway and A386 roads.

By tradition Richard de Grenville is said by Prince (died 1723),[13] (apparently following Fuller's Worthies[10]) to have founded Neath Abbey and bestowed upon it all his military acquisitions for its maintenance, and to have

The Bideford witch trial in 1682 involved three women, Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles and Susannah Edwards, accused of witchcraft and which resulted in one of the last hangings for witchcraft in England.

Bideford has a wet but mild climate, during the winter Bideford experiences a lot of frosty nights and mornings and also gets some snow. During the summer Bideford can be wet, but also mild.

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In ancient records Bideford is recorded as Bedeford, Byddyfrod, Bedyford, Bydeford, Bytheford and Biddeford. The etymology of the name means "by the ford", and records show that before there was a bridge there was a ford at Bideford where River Torridge is estuarine, and at low tide it is possible, but not advisable, to cross the river by wading on foot.[2]

Welcome to the website of the Bideford & District Chamber of Commerce

Bideford like its larger sister Barnstaple has a Pannier market with its own Butchers Row. Local farmers still bring their diary produce to sell. Craft stalls proved added interest for the browser.

Compact, accessible and with good parking facilities, Bideford hopes to combine tradition and heritage with sensible and planned development, so as to ensure that the town remains a unique experience for every visitor!

Christmas and New Year. Bideford New Years Eve

Website produced by North Devon+   Photographs by Stephen Ring

The Burton Art Gallery is an art Gallery in the town that has collections on various things of interest, such as Bideford’s Heritage, which includes clay pipes and tea caddies in the collection. The art gallery displays a lot of work by local artists featuring local heritage, local landscapes, and local interests.[97]

A charter was granted in 1272 to Richard V de Grenville by King Henry III, which created the town's first council.[14] In ancient records Bideford was recorded as a borough but has only returned members to Parliament during the reigns of Edward I (1272–1307) and Edward II (1307–1327).


In 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies costed reopening the Barnstaple to Bideford route at £80 million. But in 2010 Devon County Council rejected proposals by Torridge District Council to consider reopening.

Home values in Bideford Powered by Bideford house pricesGet this widget  

Kingsley School is a co-educational independent school situated in Bideford. It was founded in 2009 when Grenville College and Edgehill College merged. It is a member of the Methodist Independent Schools trust.[70]

The railway fell into financial difficulties until in the First World War the War Department requisitioned all of its equipment for use in France. Bideford's 13th century Long Bridge was temporarily converted into a railway bridge to carry the locomotives and rolling stock onto the main line railway near Bideford Station.[60]

The Bideford Film Society was set up in 2001 and with the aid of a grant from the Bridge Trust and Bideford Town Council. The Bideford Film Society shows films just after their cinema release. The films are screened at Kingsley School, or in the Devon Hall at Bideford College.[98]

A ferry operates between Bideford quay and Lundy Island, which lies about 22 miles (35 km) away in the Bristol Channel. The same ship, the MS Oldenburg, also provides evening cruises from Bideford along the River Torridge but in the downstream direction only as it is too big to pass under the Bideford Long Bridge.

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Today, Bideford is both a thriving market town and working port with much to offer visitors to the region. Amongst the many buildings and places of interest you will find the historic covered Pannier Market, dating from 1883, which holds a market every Tuesday and Saturday. Alongside the history you will find modern shopping amenities, a wide choice of clubs, bars and restaurants, entertainment and a tremendous range of visitor attractions for the young and not so young!