This market town grew up around the bridge. In medieval times it was a short but dangerous crossing point on one of the county's major routes and chapels were built on each side in order that travellers could pray for a safe crossing. Around 1468 a 320ft. long and 9ft. wide roadway was built by John de Harlyn on 17 pointed arches. The premise that the bridge was originally built on packs of wool has not been ruled out  but seems unlikely. It is more probable that 'built on wool' means 'built on the profits from the wool trade'. By 1577 it had become the most travelled way in Cornwall and in 1646 Cromwell mustered an army to secure the pass against the Roundheads. The bridge was widened in 1852 and again in 1962 and over the next 20 years the town became a notorious bottleneck for traffic until the completion of the bypass in 1993. This combined with the opening of the Camel Trail - the re-opening of a length of disused railway track from St. Wenn to Padstow as a cycle path - has given the town a new lease of life. During the summer months, Wadebridge is fast becoming the first Cornish town in which cars are outnumbered by cyclists!