The Bideford Experience

Welcome to Biddys Champions Ball. Hereford face Yeovil Town on Friday night kick-off 7:30pm, before facing hosts Bideford AFC early on Sunday afternoon with a 1pm start. The matches are modestly priced at £5 for adults, aged 12-16 £2, Under-12s free. Bideford’s Sports Ground claims a 6,000 capacity and indeed once pulled a crowd of that size to admire Gloucester City but 2,500 sounds more sensible.

The main stand has 200+ seats. This is set back from the pitch, raised slightly and with long ramped access. The Kingsley Road stand has 100 more seats, albeit with a row of pillars in front. There is low-stepped covered standing either side for 1,000. The vocal home supporters gather by the tea shed in this stand.

A mobile catering bar is opposite by the changing rooms/main stand and toilets. Unusually, the perimeter barriers are quite a distance from the pitch, very noticeably on the corners.

There are several car parks. Right off the main road, there is a small entrance to the car park behind the open goal. This is just big enough to squeeze a car through and holds about 50 cars. Just over the traffic lights, there is a council-owned car park which after noon on a Saturday is free for 2 hours.

Further down the road, more car parks spring up. Roadside parking is limited so easier to pay and display at £1 per hour. All car parks are no more than 5 minutes’ walk away.

The clubhouse beer won’t excite men with beards but is convenient. The Robins Nest club bar with its 120 capacity is upstairs but does uniquely boast a stair lift for the Disabulls together with the best view of the pitch. There are a range of bar snacks on offer.

The nearest pub is the Appledore Inn around the corner in Chingswell Street. A small vintage establishment with Sharps real ale and imaginative array of Thai food. Turn left past the Appledore Inn and left again into Bridgland Street and The Rose Salterne is on the left. This is a Wetherspoons house with the most varied beer choice and is the biggest pub by far in the town. Only 3 mins walk from the ground too. Check out the funky wall design in the foyer/smoking area.

If staying in Bideford, there are small guest houses and hidden hotels close to the ground.

If you’re considering a two-night stay, there are plenty of seaside locations on offer including nearby Appledore, Clovelly, and Westwood Ho! plus Braunton, Woolacombe and Ilfracombe all within a reasonable travelling distance. On the Saturday night there is also a chance for fans to meet the players and join them in a fun quiz night at the Robins Nest clubhouse with a 7pm start.

By Road: 156 miles – (EX39 2NG) Bideford is 10 miles SW of Barnstaple. From M5 J27 follow the A361 link road to Barnstaple then take the A39 to Bideford. Cross the high Torridge bridge. After the bridge, left at the island and the ground is 1/2 mile on your right opposite Morrisons.

By Jon Mather

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