About the Bideford coast and country area of North Devon
- these are the lands and communities that abound the tidal estuary of the River Torridge.
Bideford, the town "by the ford" as the name implies, straddles the estuary at its lowest fording point. Originally a Saxon town, its famous 24-arched Long Bridge was paid for by the Norman Bishop of Exeter in the late 13th century. Bideford and Barnstaple were rival merchant ports from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Bideford continues to this day as a freight and fishing port and Appledore, downstream on the west bank, still has an active, now high-tech, shipyard and well-used quayside. On the east bank lies Instow, with its golden sandy beach, seafood restaurants and North Devon's Yacht Club. Westward Ho! (yes, there really is an exclamation mark in the name) sprawls along the seaward side of the peninsular bordered by the Torridge to the east and north, and Bideford Bay to the west. Westward Ho! was created as a Victorian seaside resort in the 1850s following the popularity of the historical romance of the same name written by Bideford's celebrated author, Charles Kingsley.
Marine Parade, Instow, tel: 01271 860671.
Must book. 6 miles west of Barnstaple. First floor restaurant overlooking the Taw/Torridge estuary, spectacular sunsets o'er Appledore. Top quality restaurant.
The Commodore Hotel
Marine Parade, Instow, tel: 01271 860347.
6 miles west of Barnstaple. Multi-award winning restaurant specialising in using top quality, fresh local produce (seafood, meats, vegetables) when in season. Diners get the same view as The Decks (above).