Bideford is another town with a strong maritime tradition. It is situated on the estuary of the River Torridge. The stone bridge that spans the river is distinctive with 24 arches. The first bridge across the river dates back to 1280, but the original wooden packhorse bridge is now a sturdy stone structure.
Bideford is a market town with a pannier market and has a number of interesting buildings including the town library, but is also a port with some active fishing. During the 16th century it was amongst the biggest ports in the country and it is rumoured that Sir Walter Raleigh, brought the first cargo of tobacco from the new world through Bideford. However this can not be substantiated, although his name is used for a number of roads within the town.
Charles Kingsley, the author of The Water Babies and Westward Ho! lived in the area and there is a statue to him in the town. Other local attractions include the Burton Art Gallery and Museum.
Bideford is a good base to explore the wonderful scenery and dramatic coastline of North Devon.