A project which aims to unearth the rich history of Bideford’s East-the-Water wharves has achieved charitable status.

The East-the-Water wharves.The East-the-Water wharves.

Way of the Wharves has had its status confirmed by the charity commission, allowing it to carry on the project it started with Heritage Lottery grant funding in 2018.

The charity aims to promote and celebrate the history of the wharves at East-the-Water, which are the subject of a £20million redevelopment project.

The project was started by Bideford Bay Creatives, and the grant funding allowed for the printing of heritage maps, the development of a website and an interpretation board on the western side of the river.

With the charity status secured, more funding streams are set to be available for the trustees to build on the work it has already done.

Brunswick Wharf in Bideford.Brunswick Wharf in Bideford.

The charity is in talks with Red Earth Developments about providing interpretation panels and artwork within the development.

Way of the Wharves chairman Mike Teare said: “The heritage of the wharves here in Bideford is of immense value to the community, as well as great historic interest.

“The redevelopment of the wharves is an opportunity to build on our understanding of how they were used and to keep them central to the community.”

In the meantime, people can find out more about the area’s history with the charity’s free ‘Walk the Wharves’ guided maps, and it is hoped guided walks can take place before winter.

A book delving into the history of the wharves is also due to be published early next year and the charity hopes to link up with other heritage projects in the town.

Mr Teare added: “This isn’t just for tourists or visitors, there’s a need for the community to be proud of our heritage.

“If there is a £20million investment that is a significant input to East-the-Water. We are interested in raising its profile and history and finding out more.

“It’s not just a bit of wasteland that at last it has been decided to put something on it.”

Walk the Wharves heritage maps are available free of charge from Bideford Tourist Information Centre and Walter Henry’s Bookshop.

If you have a story to share about the East-the-Water wharves, or for more information about Way of the Wharves, head to the charity’s website, www.thewharves.org