Way of the Wharves and Bideford and River Torridge Heritage Harbour

Way of the Wharves started life in 2016 as a community volunteer project researching the history of the wharves at East the Water. Way of the Wharves became a charity in 2020. The charity’s objective is: “To advance the education of the public in the maritime and industrial heritage of Bideford, East the Water and the Torridge Estuary.”
Now it is leading a partnership of heritage charities from along the river to develop Bideford and River Torridge Heritage.Harbour

Key Events

  • Led the successful campaign to get national recognition for Bideford and River Torridge Heritage Harbour by the Maritime Heritage Trust (2024).
  • Published self-guided heritage maps: ‘Walk the Wharves’ around East-the-Water and ‘Walk the Quays’ around Bideford – available free from Tourist Information and other outlets
  • Published ‘A history of East-the-Water, Bideford’ December 2021. Despite the long history of the wharves and their commercial importance to the local area, this is the first book to focus on their history. Order your copy here
  • Organised guided walks and talks including Bideford BIG DRAW (2021) and series of public talks in conjunction with The Burton at Bideford (2023)
  • Adopted the phone box by The Bethel Chapel, Torrington Street (2021). Plans have been submitted to move this to Bideford Station where it will be refurbished to house displays and an audio archive - the smallest museum in Devon? See www.phoneeastthewater.co.uk
  • Designed and installed an interpretation panel on the west quay wall, next to Tarka the Otter statue, with an overview of the history of the wharves (2018)

    Re-Development of the Wharves at East-the-Water

    Work started on re-development of the Barnstaple Street wharves site in 2021. Way of the Wharves has been working with stakeholders and the developer, Red Earth, to ensure the history of this key maritime and industrial site on the east bank of the river Torridge is recorded and properly represented with interpretation panels and building names.

    The full archaeology report (2022) is available here.

    We hope you enjoy the wealth of information, images, maps and oral histories contained in this website.

    Way of the Wharves CIO

    Way of the Wharves is a charity based in Bideford, North Devon, whose aim is to advance the education and information about the maritime and industrial heritage of Bideford, East the Water and the Torridge Estuary. Way of the Wharves CIO is a registered charity (Number 1188912).

    The Team

    The project is run by a group of trustees and volunteers. Click here for more information about our team.


    If you would like to get involved in Way of the Wharves, either by volunteering at meetings or helping at a specific event, please do get in touch.

    You can email us on wotw.wharves@gmail.com.


    In the first year, the project was funded by the Health Lottery. From November 2017, it was funded for a further 12 months by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    We are grateful for subsequent grants from Torridge DC, Devon CC, Bideford TC, Bideford Bridge Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Rotary Clubs and the many individual donations that have allowed us to continue our work.

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