Tintagel Castle: where is it and why is at risk?

Large parts of Tintagel Castle have collapsed into the sea as a result of coastal erosion

Tintagel Castle is at risk of falling into the sea, according to English Heritage.

King Charles with Queen Consort Camilla visiting Tintagel Castle in 2020. (Getty Images)

Tintagel Castle – where is it?

Tintagel Castle is a medieval clifftop fortress in North Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is known for its stunning scenery and a popular tourist destination for many people around the world.

What is the history of Tintagel Castle?

Tintagel Castle is considered one of Britain’s most spectacular historic sites. It is best known for its close association with King Arthur.

According to the English Heritage website, Tintagel was an important fort and residence of the rulers of Cornwall from the 5th to the 7th centuries.

Tintagel has been credited with being the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur. Such associations with legend later led to Richard, Earl of Cornwall building a castle in the 1230s. The site had no military value and the inspiration for building the castle on this site was based solely on King Arthur’s mythical associations.

Why is Tintagel Castle in danger?

Tintagel Castle is one of a number of castles at risk of loss due to climate change and the increasing rate of coastal erosion.

Large parts of Tintagel have fallen into the sea and parts of the cliff near the visitor center have also been lost to erosion. This has made the coastal path much smaller.

Rob Woodside, Director of Lands at English Heritage, has warned that rising sea levels will pose a real threat to a number of sites across the country. He said: “Erosion along the English coast is nothing new, but the rate of land loss we have seen in recent years is alarming. Rising sea levels and more frequent storms pose a real risk to the future of many of our sites.”

Other sites also at risk include the garrison walls at St Mary’s, Piel Castle in Cumbria, Calslot and Hurst Castle in Hampshire.

English Heritage has advised that if heritage sites are to survive in the coming decades they will need stronger walls and coastal defenses to protect them from coastal erosion.

Why do people visit Tintagel Castle?

Many people travel to Tintagel Castle each year to walk the grounds and experience the stunning scenery that the site offers. The entrance to the castle offers dramatic views of the cliffs and a footbridge to the island.

There are also outdoor exhibitions that go through the history of the castle and the role that legends played in shaping the sight. There is also a beach below the castle for people to visit and there is also a beach cafe where visitors can have a light snack and sample traditional Cornish pies and local ales.

English Heritage members can visit the site free of charge, as can CADW and Historic Scotland members. Children under the age of five also have free entry.

Here are the prices for visiting Tintagel Castle

Concession (students or over 65) – £13.30

Family (up to 2 adults and three children) – £38.50

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