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There has always been an other-worldly quality to Tintagel Castle, the mighty fortress of Arthurian legend which straddles its clifftop ravine on the North Cornish coast.
Last Sunday, the two sides were reunited for the first time in centuries thanks to a new £5million bridge straight out of a fantasy novel.
Tudor - Times - Strip - Land - Part
It was in Tudor times that the narrow strip of land which once connected the mainland part of 'King Arthur's Castle' to its island citadel fell into the sea.
Since then, any visitors have been forced to scale 148 steps cut in to the rock. For the old and infirm, it was out of the question.
Tintagel - Relief - Locals - Quarter - Tourists
Now, though, Tintagel is reunited — much to the relief of the locals. Up to a quarter of a million tourists each year are now expected to use this 21st century drawbridge — as I have just done.
With a gentle bounce underfoot and an alarming gap in the middle, it is an exhilarating experience.
Crossing - Era - Country - Historic - Treasures
But this crossing also heralds an important new era for many of this country's greatest historic treasures. And supervising it all is the Queen's son-in-law.
Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, husband of the Princess Royal, is one of the most low-profile members of the Royal Family but, as chairman of English Heritage, he is in charge of some of the most famous structures in the world.
Custodian - Sites - Stonehenge - Battlefield - Hastings
He is the chief custodian of more than 400 hallowed national sites — ranging from Stonehenge and the Battlefield of Hastings to Shropshire's Iron Bridge and Osborne House — not to mention all those blue plaques on the homes of bygone greats.
On his watch, the whole lot has been turned into a new charity. And it has never attempted anything quite like the new bridge to 'King Arthur's Castle'.
So, ahead of the opening, I sat down for a...
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