Tintagel footbridge shortlisted for prestigious architecture prize

A footbridge at one of Cornwall most significant historic sites has been shortlisted for a prestigious architectural prize.

The bridge at Tintagel Castle opened in 2019, ending the days when visitors would have to trek up the 148 steep steps to the top.

It was the first time in more than 500 years the two parts of the castle, separated atop two adjacent clifftops, could be accessed with ease.

Now the spectacular bridge has become an attraction in its own right, and it has been shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Stirling Prize.

The creation of the bridge means people no longer have to climb down and up the hundreds of stairs

While the bridge has brought the two clifftops together, it does not actually meet in the middle.

At the centre, there is a tiny gap - the bridge consists of two cantilevers which reach out and - almost - touch.

The bridge's creators say the narrow gap represents the transition between the mainland and the island, the present and the past.

The bridge was opened in 2019 by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall Credit: PA

Spanning the 190ft gorge, the footbridge follows the line of the original historic entrance route - a narrow strip of land, long lost to erosion.

It joins the castle's 13th-century gatehouse on the mainland and its courtyard on the jagged headland jutting into the sea.

The new footbridge, with its step free access to the island, has opened up the historic site to people who would have been unable to visit previously.

Meningitis survivor Harmonie Rose from Bath, was able to visit Tintagel Castle thanks to the new bridge. Credit: Freya Hall

Seven-year-old Harmonie Rose Allen from Bath, who lost all her limbs to meningitis as a baby, was able to tour in her wheelchair while on holiday in Cornwall this summer.

The work is part of English Heritage's strategy to make its sites more accessible, while making sure they remain in keeping with their historic setting.

Legend has it the King of Britain, Uther Pendragon - transformed by the wizard Merlin into the likeness of the Duke of Cornwall - stole across this passage into the castle, where he spent the night with the Duke's wife, Ygerna, who later gave birth to the future King Arthur.