Barnstaple's Little Sister!
""The Little White Town"..."
---is how the author Charles Kingsley describes Bideford in the 19th century and very little has changed since then except an odd coat of pastel paint. This really is yet another of North Devon's little gems - ach everywhere in N Devon is a little gem!!! The town sits on the west bank of the River Torridge at the point where the river starts to open out, flowering towards the Atlantic where it meets its sister The River Taw and in fact the bay where the rivers meet is referred to as either Bideford or Barnstaple Bay depending on where your allegiance lies!!
Not only are the rivers sisters but so too are the towns of Barnstaple and Bideford: a fact which becomes immediately obvious as you view their characteristics. The location of each town on its respective river is identical and both have very similar "long bridges", although Bideford's is generall considered to be the finer. Not only are the locations similar but so too are their practicalnesses; both having Pannier Markets, with their attendant "Butcher's Row", and their myriad of quirky, individualistic family-run businesses - quite a few of which are pubs!!
Whilst Barnstaple may be the bigger sister, little Bideford's great claim to fame is that it was once the 3rd busiest port in the country and to this day is still very much a working dock and is home to the MS Oldenburg which provides access to and supplies for Lundy Island.
The town is the 2nd main town on The Tarka Trail going west and south from Barnstaple, 3 miles after Instow, and joins The Long Bridge here at the former railway station - tho' I should note that whilst the station is called Bideford it is in fact in the separate town of "East-the-water"!!!!
During the summer the railway carriage pictured is a cafe and information centre.