New footbridge reunites Cornwall’s Tintagel Castle

For the first time in more than 500 years, the two separated halves of Tintagel Castle will be reunited by a footbridge.

From Sunday, visitors will be able to walk in the footsteps of the medieval inhabitants of the Cornish castle – inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur.

Spanning a 190-foot gorge and with a gap in the middle, the bridge follows the line of the original route – a narrow strip of land, long lost to erosion – between the 13th-century gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the jagged headland or island jutting into the sea.

So significant was this historic crossing that it gave rise to the place's name, the Cornish Din Tagell meaning "the Fortress of the Narrow Entrance".

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Tintagel Castle
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Tintagel Castle
New footbridge reunites Cornwall’s Tintagel Castle
New footbridge reunites Cornwall’s Tintagel Castle
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Matt Ward, English Heritage Property Manager, prepares a newly installed stone compass that points to places across the British Isles connected with the Arthurian legend, which will go on display alongside a bronze sculpture created by artist Rubin Eynon and inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel CastleÕs royal past, at its official public unveiling on Friday 29th April in Cornwall.
EDITORIAL USE ONLY A display panel that tells The Priest's tale is prepared to go on display alongside a bronze sculpture created by artist Rubin Eynon and inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel CastleÕs royal past, at its official public unveiling on Friday 29th April in Cornwall.
visitors at tintagel castle in north Cornwall, England, Britain, uk.
The Remains Of Tintagel Castle In Cornwall, England, Britain, Uk, This Is The Fabled Home Of The Legendary King Arthur. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Remains Of Tintagel Castle In Cornwall, England, Britain, Uk, This Is The Fabled Home Of The Legendary King Arthur. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
A 13Th Century Well At Tintagel Castle In North Cornwall, England, Britain, UK,. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
An Entrance Doorway At Tintagel Castel In Cornwall, England, Britain, UK. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
King Arthur An 8 Ft Bronze Sculpture By Artist Rubin Eynon, It Is Named Gallos-The Cornish Equivalent Of Power, The Sculpture Is On The Headland Near The Old Castle Remains At Tintagel In Cornwall, England, UK. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Matt Ward, English Heritage Property Manager, prepares a bronze sculpture, created by artist Rubin Eynon and inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel CastleÕs royal past, ahead of its official public unveiling on Friday 29th April in Cornwall.
Walkways along the ruins of Tintagel castle, Tintagel Head, England, United Kingdom.
TINTAGEL, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 28: A young boy looks at a carving of Merlin at Tintagel Castle in Tintagel on April 28, 2016 in Cornwall, England. The English Heritage managed site and the nearby town have long been associated with the legend of King Arthur and continue to attract large visitor numbers. However, efforts by English Heritage to update the visitor experience with the Gallos sculpture, along with a rock carving of Merlin's face, which English Heritage say are inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel Castles royal past, have met with criticism from some Cornish nationalists and historians. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TINTAGEL, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 28: Visitors walk on a bridge above a carving of Merlin at Tintagel Castle in Tintagel on April 28, 2016 in Cornwall, England. The English Heritage managed site and the nearby town have long been associated with the legend of King Arthur and continue to attract large visitor numbers. However, efforts by English Heritage to update the visitor experience with the Gallos sculpture, along with a rock carving of Merlin's face, which English Heritage say are inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel Castles royal past, have met with criticism from some Cornish nationalists and historians. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TINTAGEL, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 28: People visit the ruins of Tintagel Castle in Tintagel on April 28, 2016 in Cornwall, England. The English Heritage managed site and the nearby town have long been associated with the legend of King Arthur and continue to attract large visitor numbers. However, efforts by English Heritage to update the visitor experience with the Gallos sculpture, along with a rock carving of Merlin's face, which English Heritage say are inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel Castles royal past, have met with criticism from some Cornish nationalists and historians. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TINTAGEL, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 28: People visit the ruins of Tintagel Castle in Tintagel on April 28, 2016 in Cornwall, England. The English Heritage managed site and the nearby town have long been associated with the legend of King Arthur and continue to attract large visitor numbers. However, efforts by English Heritage to update the visitor experience with the Gallos sculpture, along with a rock carving of Merlin's face, which English Heritage say are inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel Castles royal past, have met with criticism from some Cornish nationalists and historians. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, England, photo
** FILE ** Tourists walk through the inner courtyard of Tintagel Castle in southwestern England on Sept. 19, 2006. The rocky headland near the village of Tintagel has become so entwined with the legend of King Arthur that its true history seems almost incidental, despite a collection of rough stone foundations and listing walls that hint at its rich past.(AP Photo/Daniel Lovering) ** zu unserem KORR APD4770 **
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Legend has it that the King of Britain, Uther Pendragon – transformed by the wizard Merlin into the likeness of the Duke of Cornwall – stole across this passageway into the castle where he spent the night with the Duke's wife, Ygerna, who later gave birth to the future King Arthur.

So impressed was Richard, Earl of Cornwall by the Arthurian myth that in the 1230s and 1240s he built a castle at Tintagel, with the land-bridge an integral part of its design.

That crossing vanished in the 15th or 16th century, but now English Heritage has restored it, replacing the original rock, earth and grass with a footbridge of steel, local Cornish slate, and oak.

The bridge consists of two independent cantilevers of approximately 30 metres length each that reach out from either side to – almost – touch in the middle.

At the centre of the bridge, a narrow gap (40mm) has been designed to represent the transition between the mainland and the island, the present and the past, history and legend.

Kate Mavor, chief executive of English Heritage, said: "Tintagel Castle has been made whole again. Once more, people will cross from one side of the castle to the other and their footsteps will echo those from hundreds of years ago.

"As a charity, English Heritage's core purpose is to care for historic sites like Tintagel Castle and to inspire people to visit them.

"Our new Tintagel bridge does both – protecting the castle's archaeology and bringing its story to life in a brilliant, imaginative way."

The bridge is part of a larger £5 million programme of works by English Heritage at Tintagel and was due to open to the public on Thursday, but due to the forecast weather has been delayed until Sunday.

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