Cornwall Life visits Wadebridge... Our Town

PUBLISHED: 12:47 05 January 2011 | UPDATED: 18:11 20 February 2013

Graeme Frost and Tom Berriman

Graeme Frost and Tom Berriman

Independent shops and a famous cycle trail are features of this historic town. Lesley Double asks some of the locals why they love to live here

Independent shops and a famous cycle trail are features of this historic town. Lesley Double asks some of the locals why they love to live here


Situated five miles upstream from Padstow, Wadebridge straddles the River Camel, but this wasnt always the case. Back in the 13th century, the area was known as Wade, possibly because of the ford that allowed people to wade across from one side to the other. It wasnt until the mid-1400s that a bridge was built: thereafter Wade became known as Wadebridge. Legend has it that the bridge was built on wool sacks, but in reality the money to pay for it probably came from wool merchants and sheep farmers who had been persuaded that building a bridge was in their best interests.

A new bridge and bypass was constructed in 1991 so, instead of being full of traffic, Wadebridge has returned to being a town full of the former charms associated with a place built on so much history. Today Wadebridge aims to preserve its delightful character. The town shops are varied, with many independent vendors. It could be called the most cycle-friendly town in the whole of Cornwall, as it stands on the famous Camel Trail, a fairly flat and wide cycle- and walk-way, which was once the railway line. With cycle hire shops a-plenty and cycle paths everywhere, it is difficult to ignore the importance of this traditional form of transport.


Getting there


Wadebridge is on the Atlantic Highway, the A39, which follows the north Devon and Cornwall coastline. Turn off the A30 at either Indian Queens (from the west) or Launceston (from the east), or take the A389 from Bodmin. The nearest railway station is Bodmin Parkway, and the nearest airport is at Newquay, both of which are approximately eight miles from Wadebridge. Wadebridge Town Hall: PL27 7AQ.

Graeme Frost is a retained firefighter, and runs the family business Camel Trail Cycle Hire, where Tom Berriman is an employee. In their spare time they both like to canoe on the river and Tom also rows in the Port Isaac gig. Ive been in Wadebridge for almost 25 years now, says Graeme. Its the nicest town, with parks, the river and so many individual shops. My father started this business and I could have moved away, but I cant imagine being anywhere else.
The Cycle Hire shops are open throughout the year, adds Tom. In the winter people still want to get out on the bikes along the Camel Trail. It doesnt seem to matter what the weathers like. Even when its raining, youll still see people out on bikes!

Mike Martin is now retired but used to work at RAF Davidstow. He moved to Wadebridge 10 years ago. Everyone is very friendly in the shops, they are always smiling. I like all the individual shops and try to use them instead of the big supermarkets, says Mike.


Everyone is very friendly in the shops, they are always smiling.


Now Im retired and dont have to go to work, I find Im as busy as ever. I spend a lot of time walking, especially for charity, and I go fishing at Rosepark Fishery, at Altarnun. Thats near Launceston, so its about 16 miles from home.

Thom Yates lives in Bodmin but commutes into Wadebridge every day. He works at Wadebridge Wines. It only takes me 15 minutes to get to work, says Thom. I went to university, but missed being in Cornwall so much I came back. Wadebridge is a great place to work.


When Im not working, I take my kayak out on the river. Im a member of Wadebridge Canoe Club



Camel Valley vineyard is just a few miles up the road and their wines are very popular. When Im not working, I take my kayak out on the river. Im a member of Wadebridge Canoe Club. The club house is on the north bank of the River Camel, near to the A39.

Norma Fulford and Margaret Bell are volunteers at the John Betjeman Centre. They call themselves trolley dollies as they work in the kitchen and coffee lounge. I was born in Penzance and went to school in St Ives, says Norma. I have lots of family in the west of the county, but I really like living here. Ive been here six years now. When people ask where I live I tell them, and they nearly always say, sunny Wadebridge. The sun does seem to shine a lot here.
I live at Chapel Amble, a few miles from Wadebridge, says Margaret. Norma and I are on the John Betjeman Centre committee. The Centre has a memorabilia room where we display our collection of Sir Johns mementoes, and theres a coffee lounge and sun lounge for visitors. The centre is mainly for older people, but everyone is very welcome.

Russell Couch is a butcher, working at Gary Dutton Butchers in Molesworth Street. He has worked there since he was 14, first being employed as a butchers boy after school.


I like walking with my dog either along the Camel Trail or up the coast



Ive lived in Wadebridge all my life and worked here all my working life, and wouldnt want to be anywhere else, says Russell. When Im not working, I like walking with my dog either along the Camel Trail or up the coast and, when I get the chance, Ill go up on the moors. I like photography and wildlife, and often combine the two, taking pictures of some of the birds I see.

Sue and Bill Vivian love Wadebridge and Sue has lived here all her life. I enjoy walking and being out in the countryside, says Sue, but much of my time is spent fundraising and helping out at St Breock Church.


I enjoy walking and the countryside. Everyone is so friendly here



We used to live near to the Royal Cornwall Showground, and thats how we got involved with the church, which is right next door. Bill moved into Wadebridge a few years ago, and everyone is so friendly here.

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