The foundations of the Tintagel footbridge are anchored pads drilled into the fractured rock of steep cliffs. Image: Peter Curran, Ramboll
Visitors used to climb up and down hundreds of steps and across a wooden bridge to access this iconic site on a steep cliff section of the North Cornwall coast, where, legend says, King Arthur was conceived. However, site guardians, English Heritage wanted a more accessible bridge to accommodate growing visitor numbers and relieve congestion in the peak season.
The new £4m, 72m footbridge spans high above the original wooden structure and will provide practically step-free access to and from the castle.
Ramboll was first involved at Tintagel in 2000, carrying out a stability review of the cliff faces which detailed risks associated with the site’s development. Engineering geology and geotechnical specialists from our Ground Engineering South team completed a further study in 2013, which recommended geotechnical investigation works required for potential bridge solutions.
The international competition winners, Belgian structural engineers Ney & Partners and architects William Matthews Associates, beat 136 other entries with their distinctive design. They were aware of Ramboll’s work and this quickly led to our appointment to design the foundations.
The foundations are anchored pads drilled into the fractured rock of steep cliffs. During site investigations, access to both the mainland and island sites was only possible on foot, so a helicopter was needed to lift plant and equipment into place for rotary borehole drilling and rock face mapping.
Andy Rose, Ramboll’s Project Director Ground Engineering South, said: “This was a great scheme for Ramboll to be associated with as the dramatic ruins of Tintagel Castle and the legends that surround them are so well known both here and abroad.”
Spanning across a steep cliff section of the North Cornwall coast, a new footbridge at Tintagel will open up exhilarating views of Tintagel Island, coastline and Atlantic seascape. Ramboll ground engineering team are designers for the foundations of the structure that will transform the visitor experience at the historic Tintagel Castle site.