• Client
    English Heritage
  • Location
    Tintagel, Cornwall

Nicholas Pearson Associates worked with English Heritage over several years to enable the creation of the stunning new multi-award winning footbridge and enabling projects. Our work has benefited visitors and wildlife at Tintagel Castle, an historically significant and environmentally sensitive place of legend.

Our environmental design expertise combined with our study of the unique context has been integral to the success of the project from feasibility and inception, design competition, construction and aftercare.


Research and vision

We were appointed by English Heritage prior to the inception of the footbridge project to undertake a Landscape and Ecology feasibility study.  Our work was briefed to inform a range of emerging project needs at the castle, including the potential for a new footbridge, new visitor infrastructure, interpretation locations, footpaths and proposed archaeological research of Early Medieval Buildings.

The dramatic coastal site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Special Area of Conservation, Site of Special Scientific Interest, Marine Conservation Zone and Heritage Coast. We undertook detailed landscape, visual and ecological appraisals which considered the unique qualities of the site and surroundings. We tested multiple options for visitor circulation, access and management, and undertook detailed ecological surveys to inform the work.

The project has involved extensive stakeholder and public engagement activity, which we facilitated through direct liaison, environmental design briefings, imagery and event attendance.




Our studies were used to inform the design brief for an international bridge design competition and the presiding competition jury panel. We were retained to join the bridge design team as Landscape Architect, Ecologist, & Visualiser, to support the design competition winners, Ney & Partners with William Matthews Associates. Their stunning 72m long, twin cantilevered design, joins the two sides of the Castle. Slender rock anchors ensure the delicate structure barely touches the ground.

Across the site, sensitively designed project interventions have developed from a deep understanding of the sense of place of Tintagel Castle and the components, materials and habitats that make this landscape so special.  In-depth and iterative design discussions with experts from English Heritage, Historic England, Natural England and Cornwall Council, (including the Cornwall Design Review Panel,) have informed and guided the process. The resultant designs, with their delicacy of installation bring accessibility and protection as well as drama and intrigue to the stunning coastal headland.


Permission & Production

The study of the ecologically sensitive maritime coastal grasslands and cliff nesting birds, the challenging topography and exposure of the island, combined with the internationally significant archaeology informed the design process and guide the management and monitoring for the wider site. Our verified visualisations of the proposed bridge and landscape informed the stakeholder and planning processes. We worked with Cornwall Council to agree the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment required assess the potential environmental effects of the project.  Drawing on many specialist reports and our in-house assessments, we coordinated the preparation of an Environmental Statement, concluding that the project would deliver multiple beneficial effects to the Castle, Island and its cultural heritage.

Combining complementary expertise, our Landscape Architects and Ecologists prepared minimalist landscape designs using no-dig methods to avoid impact on archaeology and protect coastal habitats.  Our designs integrated recent interpretation features and new discreet visitor wayfinding signage to guide and inform visitors. The designs received both Planning and Scheduled Monument consents.

Supported by Faithful & Gould, we oversaw and administered the footpath and habitat restoration contract works undertaken by Cormac Civil Engineering during 2 phases of construction. We also advised American Bridge UK on ecology and environment matters .  The botany of the site and the visitor footfall patterns will be monitored as part of the visitor experience and operations activities.



Post script

The Tintagel Castle Footbridge and Footpaths projects were completed in the summer of 2019 and in a covid secure way, the footbridge was officially opened by The Duke & Duchess of Cornwall in July 2020. It was a stunningly sunny day and we were invited to greet the royal party to the island after they crossed the footbridge and to guide them to visit key viewpoints on the island.

Subsequently, the project has gained multiple awards, including the footbridge being shortlisted for the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize, and the overall winner of the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, Building-Beauty award 2022!

Our involvement in the project continues through the completion of botanical monitoring activity on the island.

If you would like to discuss your future project needs with one of our team, please do contact us.

Our expertise

Environmental Design

Our values and value-led approach to Environmental Design help you to achieve your project’s potential We get to know our clients and provide pragmatic guidance and design solutions We can be [...]

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Landscape Architecture

Our value-led approach to Landscape Architecture will help you deliver your project’s potential We will work with you to understand your ambitions and provide you with design solutions and [...]

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Our ecologists will help you understand the biodiversity potential of your site We will get to know your site and build a consultancy relationship that you can depend on Our ecological site surveys [...]

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Our talented team will help you to understand your site’s potential and visualise your site’s development opportunities We can provide you with a range of photographic and digital services to [...]

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Recent case studies

How can we help you?

Please call us on 01225 876990 or complete the contact form to find out how we can assist you with your project.

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