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Bideford

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Arms of Bideford Town Council
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Arms of Bideford Town Council

Bideford is a small port town on the northern coast of the county of Devon in south-west England. Twinned with the town of Landivisiau in France, it is the main town of the Torridge local government district.

This area of North Devon was home to the Author Charles Kingsley, and is where he based his novel "Westward Ho!". Since that novel was published, a small town has grown, named Westward Ho! after the book. Westward Ho!, which is the only town in the United Kingdom that officially contains an exclamation mark in its name, is located approximately 3 miles (5 kilometres) away from Bideford.

In the 16th century Bideford was Britain's third largest port; it is rumoured that Sir Walter Raleigh landed his first shipment of tobacco there. Today, the narrow town centre streets lead down to the tree lined quay which bustles with fishing vessels, cargo and pleasure boats.

A famous feature in the town is the mediaeval Long Bridge, which has 24 arches, all of different sizes. It links the main part of the town to East-the-Water. Ferry services run from Bideford Quay to the island of Lundy, situated a few miles to sea.

Bideford is often renowned for its New Year's Eve celebrations, when thousands of people from surrounding towns and villages (and many from further afield) gather on the quay for revelries and a fireworks display.

The Bideford & Instow Railway heritage railway operates trains from the old Bideford station.

A view of Bideford long bridge
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A view of Bideford long bridge

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