Wadebridge, Cornwall

wadebridge cornwall towns

Wadebridge was once a busy port on the River Camel, importing coal, timber and limestone while exporting iron ore, china clay and salt. Wadebridge, Cornwall is now a tourist town, and the gateway to the Camel Trail.

Wadebridge became a town in 1313 when a market and two fairs were granted to Wade, within the manor of Pawton.

There is an interesting old bridge over the Camel, built 320 feet long and with 17 spans by the Reverend Lovibond in 1460, and known as the Bridge on Wool - probably because it was financed by wealth wool farmers who wanted an easier crossing over the Camel. It became a notorious traffic bottleneck in the post war years, until it was bypassed.

The Wadebridge Town Hall was opened in 1888 by Sir Paul Molesworth, and was originally called Molesworth Hall. The Hall was eventually taken over by local government. A large mural showing building of the bridge can be seen at the back of the Town Hall - it was painted by Mr. V. Harvey of St Mabyn

The railway linking Wadebridge to Bodmin was one of the earliest in Britain when built in 1834. It was later extended to Padstow. Apparently the most use it received was on 13th April 1840, when 1100 people packed 3 trains when a special excursion was put on from Wadebridge to Bodmin, to view the public execution of the Lightfoot brothers at Bodmin Gaol (they had been convicted of the murder of Mr. Neville Norway).The railway has been closed since 1967, but the track is used for the Camel Trail, popular with walkers and cyclists - the town in summer now looks as if cyclists are taking it over.

The Library now is sited on the old railway goods yard. And the old booking office and waiting room have been turned into the Betjeman Centre, where Betjeman memorabilia are on display. The former goods shed is now used for community projects, renamed the Betty Fisher Centre, and is used for community projects.

The two main churches are just outside the town. The 13th century St Breock Church is at Nancient (holy well in Cornish). And the other is Egloshayle Church (church by the estuary in Cornish), dedicated to St Petroc, and with a 80 foot high church tower.

Just outside the town is the permanent site for the Royal Cornwall Show, held in June each year.

Upstream , on the opposite bank of the Camel is Egloshayle, with a riverside church and a fine old inn - The Earl of St Vincent.

Wadebridge Steam train named after the town is being restored


Return to Map of Cornwall - Gazetteer