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Project helps bring a legend to life

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Tintangel Castle

Wide-ranging improvements to visitor facilities at one of the UK’s most iconic attractions have been completed at Tintagel Castle – set in an awe-inspiring location on the North Cornwall coast and made famous through the legend of King Arthur.

The improvements are geared to making the site more accessible, as well as modernising the previous facilities.

Main Contractors for the project were Pearce Construction (Barnstaple) Ltd.

The project included works to the visitor centre comprised internal alterations to facilitate the shop re-fit, the fit-out of a new membership area and the new exhibition installation (by others), as well as mechanical and electrical alterations.

Further works involved the re-roofing the cafe building, including the construction of a new roof structure over the internal cafe seating area.

External works included new hard and soft landscaping around the visitor centre building, the removal of an existing stepped bridge and the construction of a new ramped bridge over the stream which runs through the site.  An old ticket hut was also removed and a replacement ticket kiosk constructed at the upper mainland access point.

The construction of a new link bridge over the site’s stream is also being carried out in a separate phase of work just commenced.

English Heritage property manager, Matt Ward, said: “Tintagel is a historically significant and culturally iconic place, and it’s really important that our visitor experience reflects this. For centuries the legendary links to King Arthur have drawn people to Tintagel and each year we now welcome thousands of visitors to the castle.”

The castle, which attracts 200,000 visitors a year has played a significant role in Cornish heritage, and has been inhabited at least since the late Roman period.

On both the mainland and headland, archaeological evidence can be seen which gives clues to the lives of Tintagel’s historic occupants, and more than 1,500 years of habitation and development.

It was home to a prosperous community from the 5th to 7th century AD, but it was not until the 12th century that Tintagel gained its international literary fame when Geoffrey of Monmouth named it as the place where King Arthur was conceived.

Even before Richard, Earl of Cornwall, built his castle in 1233, Tintagel was already associated in legend with the conception of King Arthur by Uther Pendragon, the result of his seduction of Queen Igraine. Indeed Richard’s castle was probably deliberately built to reinforce his connections with Arthur and the ancient rulers of Cornwall. This Arthurian connection was later renewed by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in his Victorian ‘Idylls of the King’.

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