Category: Blog

Get out with Totnes Ramblers

Totnes Ramblers have launched the Franklin Trail information board they have installed on the Plains in Totnes, so local people and visitors to the town can find out more and look at a map of the trail.

The Franklin Trail is a circular walk around Totnes which came to life as part of a legacy bequest from a member of the Totnes Ramblers, Mr Edward Franklin. It is a 6¾ mile, waymarked, circular walk, starting on the Plains in the centre of Totnes, with several points of interest along the way including

Totnes Riverside Station and Fishchowter’s Lane. Totnes Ramblers launched the Trail in 2017 and this year made improvements including the information board, benches and additional fingerposts. The new features have been installed thanks to the efforts of committee members, including Chairman Andrew Chadwick, Footpath Officer Trevor Walker, Chris Leigh and Anna Lunk.

Two benches have been installed, the first is above the Follaton Oaks development and has views across to Haytor on Dartmoor. The second bench is on Fishchowter’s Lane and as well as good views over the town it provides a welcome rest as you walk up the hill. To guide walkers around the Trail five new finger posts were installed on Fishchowter’s Lane, Copland Lane, Barrack Hill, Riverside near Brutus Bridge and near the Hydropower scheme on the River Dart.

Totnes Ramblers Chairman Andrew Chadwick said: “We are delighted to launch the new information board and encourage locals and visitors alike to come and look at it and try the Franklin Trail for themselves.”

More information about the Franklin Trail and a downloadable map can be found on the Totnes Ramblers website ramblers. The website also includes details of the group’s walks programme. Totnes Ramblers welcome newcomers to join them for a walk in the beautiful countryside of South Devon.


Members of Totnes Ramblers join Chairman Andrew Chadwick (third from
left) to launch the Franklin Trail information board on the Plains, Totnes (photo credit, Alan

Totnes Christmas Markets and Late Night Shopping

Make magical memories for Christmas 2023 at the Totnes Christmas Market and Late Night Shopping events on Tuesdays 5, 12 and 19 December 3pm-9pm. The whole town will be getting into the festive spirit with entertainment, good food and drink, artisan shopping and much more.

Festive Fun in Totnes

Meet family and friends to enjoy free music and entertainment as you sip on a mulled cider and savour the special Christmas atmosphere.

From juggling and local performers from Jamming Station and Totnes Dance to Morris Dancing, take a look at the schedule of what's on, where and when:

Totnes Xmas schedule 2023
Free entertainment at the Totnes Christmas Markets

Find unique gifts for loved ones from local makers in over 70+ local artisan stalls in the Christmas Markets as well as in Totnes’ independent stores.

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Meet local makers

Feast on food from a choice of curated street food stalls and Totnes’ fabulous choice of cafes and restaurants. This year we have two special food court areas. One in the Civic Hall carpark behind the Market Square and one at The Mansion, Fore Street - from churros to world food, there's something for every taste.

Discover something special throughout the town

The Mansion will be a family-friendly venue for food and drink, entertainment and much more. Don't miss their mulled wine!

Totnes Elizabethan Museum will be joining in the festivities. The museum will be open and there will be special seasonal family activities from 3pm-6pm.

Listen to your favourite carols with performances from local schools and community choirs outside St Mary's Church.

5 December: St John's Primary School at 4.30pm, The Grove Primary School at 5.15pm, St Christopher's at 6pm, St Mary's Church Choir and Totnes and Bridgetown Church Choir 6.30pm-7.30pm

12 December: St Mary's Church Choir and Totnes and Bridgetown Church Choir from 6pm-7.30pm

19 December: St Mary's Church Choir and Totnes and Bridgetown Church Choir sing for the Lantern Procession 4pm-4.30pm and again from 5.30pm-7.30pm

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Carol singing

You can browse the indoor covered gift market in the Civic Hall where you'll find a selection of crafts and special goodies. Please click here for a list of stalls.

70+ artisan market stalls and street food vendors will be located throughout the town. Please click here for a list of stalls.

Enjoy free music and street entertainment throughout the town. On 19 December at 4pm watch or join in with a magical illuminated lantern parade organised by Totnes Carnival.

Getting to Totnes Christmas Market

For information on getting to the Totnes Christmas Market by train or bus, please click here.

For parking information, including EV parking in Totnes, please click here. Totnes town centre car parks are run by South Hams District Council and there is no charge to park after 6pm. Find out more here.

There will be a Park and Ride operating from Follaton House, Plymouth Road on the Christmas Market evenings. 5pm until 10pm (Plymouth Rd, Totnes, TQ9 5RS)

Follaton - Rotherfold - Station - opp Seven Stars (Seven Stars stop/pick up after 6.30pm only) running every 10/15 mins*

*This shuttle service is kindly funded by a Customer and Community Improvement Grant from Great Western Railway (GWR)

GWR Grouped Logo GREEN

No ticket fee, donations only accepted.

Totnes Christmas 2023

Totnes: Great British Breaks

The Devon market town has an eco outlook and vegan vibes

Why? This colourful Devonian market town is famed for its bohemian vibe, fierce independence and social innovation. But the pioneering Totnes Pound, which can only be spent in the town, is being taken out of circulation next Sunday, and the Lexus set are moving in. Locals say that times are a-changin’ — so visit now. You can read the article in full here.

Totnes Christmas Markets by train or bus

You will know that Christmas has truly begun when you soak up the festive spirit at the Totnes Christmas Market and Late Night Shopping Events on Tuesday 5, 12 and 19 December from 3 - 9pm. But how are you going to get here?

Check out our guide below which tells you all you need to know about travelling sustainably by bus and train.

Sustainable Travel to The Totnes Christmas Market and Late Night Shopping Events

Making sustainable travel choices for the Totnes Christmas Markets and Late Night Shopping Events is simple.

Totnes is a 30 minute train journey from Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay, so relax and enjoy yourselves without the worry of having to drive home. When you arrive, the town is a 10 minute walk from the station, and to make life even easier, we have a shuttle bus service running between the train station and the town and a park & ride service from Follaton House.

The Stagecoach Gold Bus takes 1 hour from Plymouth or 20 minutes from Paignton.  Buses stop outside the Royal Seven Stars at the bottom of the town.

See below for train and bus times and details of the shuttle bus.

Travelling to Totnes Christmas Markets by Train

From Exeter St David's, (30 min journey) trains depart : 14.12, 14.49, 15.17, 15.25, 15.49, 16.15, 16.28, 16.49, 17.17, 17.49, 18.20, 18.49, 19.11, 19.20

From Newton Abbot, (11 min journey) trains depart : 14.32, 15.09, 15.37, 15.50, 16.09, 16.35, 16.54, 17.09, 17.38, 18.09, 18.41, 19.09, 19.33, 19.43

From Plymouth, (27 min journey) trains depart : 14.27, 14.48, 15.15, 15.27, 16.15, 16.27, 16.50, 17.23, 17.50, 18.16, 18.27, 18.48, 19.50

From Torquay (need to change at Newton Abbot), trains depart (35-50 min journey): 14.44, 14.58, 15.27, 15.56, 16.21, 16.45, 17.24, 18.24, 19.10, 19.25.

Travelling to Totnes Christmas Markets by Bus (the Gold Bus)

From Paignton (Stand 12)(20 mins.), bus departs: 14.35, 15.05, 15.36, 16.20, 16.40, 17.20, 18.00, 18.40, 19.10, 19.40

From Plymouth (Royal Parade stand A13)(approx 1 hr), bus departs: 14.00, 14.35, 14.45, 15.00, 15.35, 16.05, 16.50, 17.20, 18.10, 19.10

Travelling Home by Bus (the Gold Bus)

For Paignton depart Totnes (opposite Royal Seven Stars Hotel, stop E) at: 17:22, 18.07, 18:35, 19:17, 20:11, 21:11

For Plymouth depart from Totnes (opposite Old Town Mill, stop D) (calling at Dartington, South Brent and Ivybridge) at: 17:21, 17:43, 18:20, 19:00, 19:27, 19:57, 20:57, 21:57

For detailed bus timetables from Totnes check out take a look at the interactive map from Devon Bus

Or the updated Stagecoach Gold Bus timetable

Travelling Home by Train

Trains for Plymouth depart Totnes at 17:06, 17:21, 17:49, 18:21, 18:52, 19:21, 19:44, 19:54, 20:23, 20:46, 20:56, 21:14, 21:22, 21:49, 22:12, 22.23. Times in bold call at Ivybridge.

Trains for Exeter St. David's depart Totnes at 17:18, 17:49, 18:19, 18:43, 18:53, 19:17, 20:17, 20:54, 21:55, 22:55. Times in bold call at Newton Abbot, Teignmouth, Dawlish & Dawlish Warren.

Trains for Torquay (changing at Newton Abbot) depart Totnes at 17:18, 17:49, 18:19, 18:43, 19:17, 20:54, 21:55, 22:55.

For the latest service details and changes, always check the links below before travelling.

Park and Ride from Follaton House/ Shuttle Bus from Totnes Station

Bob the Bus will provide a Park and Ride service from Follaton House Car Park, Plymouth Road, TQ9 5RS and from the train station. The service operates from 5pm to 10pm, dropping and collecting shoppers at the Rotherfold at the top of town.

From 6.30pm buses will also stop to drop or collect shoppers at the Royal Seven Stars at the bottom end of town (to save you a walk back up the hill!) The service runs approximately every 10 minutes and ends at 10pm.*

*This shuttle service is funded by a Customer and Community Improvement Grant from Great Western Railway (GWR).

Free (donations are welcomed.)

The Bull Inn, Totnes

A radical new organic inn for Devon, squaring up to the seasonal veg hijackers and leading the way in doing business better. Is it possible for a pub to lead the way in sustainable food and ethical hospitality? It can, says organic publican Geetie Singh- Watson, provided fairness and authenticity as well as profit are at its heart. Geetie and the team behind the eight-bedroom organic inn aim to show through their actions that it’s possible to make choices based on decent values while being a serious player. Jump back 23 years when Geetie started out in the pub industry, ethical working practises weren’t even part of the industry agenda. Now, at least, the hospitality trade has woken up to the fact it needs to seriously shift its priorities. But there’s still far too much chat and not enough action. On the whole, it scores low when it comes to green thinking. Half-hearted requests to reuse towels aside, staggering water usage and eye-watering food waste are still the norm. In contrast The Bull Inn in Totnes, Devon will reopen its doors in early December 2019 after complete renovation, but this is not your usual we’ve-done-up-a-gastropub story. You will never see a generic foodservice delivery van outside, only farmers, co-ops and artisan producers making deliveries, and there will never be a packaged snack or bottled, transported water served at the bar. Instead this is an inn whose relationship with its community and its impact on the environment is as refreshingly engaged and honest and as you can hope to find. The inn aims to be sustainable to its core; with manager Phill Hughes and chef James Dodd at the helm the food served will be organic and the sourcing will be rooted in a logic that acknowledges the complexity of what we need to do to feed ourselves sustainably, but without being martyrs. This is a pub where you won’t find menu marketing greenwash. “The term ‘local, seasonal veg’ has been completely hi-jacked and is bandied around and abused so much that it now means nothing. A season for what? So often when you challenge places serving so called seasonal food it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. But we won’t be serving woody turnips in April when the UK crops run out; instead we will source beautiful veg from farmers we know further afield around the UK, Europe, alongside Fair Trade tropical fruit. But will never air freight and will never say we are something we are not,” explains Geetie. With no whiff of a theme or fairy light in sight the inn has been revived using upcycled, recycled and reinvigorated décor, from tables and curtains to radiators and doorknobs. The team is proving that new is not always best, that craftmanship should be valued above all instead of seeking homewares manufactured far away with cheap labour to feed the latest style trends. “We’ve got to find a way to live and enjoy life sustainably, and I believe that’s an exciting thing. We need to push ourselves out of the way we have always done things; Like all other business areas hospitality needs shaking up. Our aim with The Bull is to show that you can work with integrity and succeed,” Explains Geetie. The opening comes at a time of social and political upheaval in the UK, and the hope is that The Bull will be a beacon of togetherness and inclusivity for the Totnes community, visiting travellers and the team that works there. It will be a proper inn and a decent boozer, where brilliant food, ale and wine will jostle alongside a raft of community goings on. “I want to prove you can be radical, effective and have a positive impact on society and the environment while running a successful business too. It is not impossible!” continues Geetie. “We don’t claim we are perfect but we are trying our absolute best. You have to have hope that there is a better way.” This is Geetie’s fourth pub refurbishment, with the first being the iconic Duke of Cambridge in Islington. Organic since the beginning, Geetie was trailblazing sustainable business and thoughtful food in the 1990s, way before anyone gave a second thought to plastic straws and bottled water. Having said all that, The Bull is not a place steeped in worthiness; There will be plenty of fun there too. “By that I mean fun for all – the team, the suppliers, the customers. Fun should spread. It has always been a really strong motivator for me. Everything should always come back to doing things well and watching others getting fun out of it too.“ The Bull Inn will open its doors on 1st December 2019. Alongside amazing food and rooms, we have a beautiful on-site treatment space. Sharing the same sustainability values as The Bull, Sarah Carr and Jo Woolvett will be offering natural beauty treatments and holistic facials for men and women. Walking the walk: • Heat capture systems in the kitchen to create hot water downstairs • Solar capture on the roof to power heating in the bedrooms • 100% organic linens from Greenfibres in the eight bedrooms • Bedside lamps carved from Dartmoor wood by local craftsman Rodney Lomas • Ceramics by local artisan Pippi & Me • Mattresses from Naturalmat in Exeter About Geetie Singh-Watson MBE Geetie Singh-Watson is the founder of the first official organic pub in Britain, The Duke of Cambridge Organic Pub, in Islington, London. In 2009, she was awarded an MBE for ‘Services to the Organic Pub Trade’. An active campaigner and environmentalist, Geetie firmly believes that businesses must act responsibly and be led by their ethics and values. Her broadcast work includes presenting on BBC Back to the Land.

Paddleboard and kayak on the River Dart in Totnes

Do you want to paddleboard or kayak on the River Dart in Totnes? With fabulous wildlife to spot and stunning views, getting out on the water is a truly memorable experience. Read on to discover where to go and what to look out for.

Kayaking at Sharpham

Totnes to Stoke Gabriel Paddle Trail

The River Dart in Totnes is a beautiful spot to paddleboard or kayak. However, because of the tidal pull, exploring the River Dart below the weir in Totnes does require a little pre-planning.

For advice on where to launch and how to enjoy the river safely, take a look at Dart Harbour Authority's Paddle Trail from Totnes to Stoke Gabriel.

One of the best places to launch is at Longmarsh, Totnes. There's a car park here and an easy to access slipway. Find Longmarsh car park at the bottom left corner of the town map.

Bring your own SUP or kayak or hire one from Totnes Kayaks or Paddle Devon. Canoe Adventures also runs adventure canoe trips (often incorporating a paddle to a pub) suitable for everyone, including family groups.

If you're looking for a coastal kayak adventure, get out on the water with Sea Kayak Devon. Join them to explore rocky coves and hidden spots along South Devon's stunning shoreline where the River Dart meets the sea.

Photo: Rich Carus
Look out for wildlife along the river, including seal and herons. Photo: Rich Carus

Paddleboard and kayak on the River Dart in Totnes above the weir

For a relaxing day on the water above the weir in Totnes, away from the tidal pulls, launch from the small launch pontoon on the access for all path just above the weir. There's also a natural beach at the end of the concrete path on Dartington Estate where you can launch or stop and enjoy a picnic.

From the resident wildlife to the steam trains puffing along, there’s lots to spot as you paddle along this part of the gently meandering river.

If you don't have your own kit, hire a kayak, canoe, or SUP from Dynamic Adventures on Dartington Estate.

If you plan to paddleboard or kayak on the River Dart, always be aware that the river can rise very quickly after heavy rain.

credit @dartsidescenics
photo @dartsidescenics

Let the river boat gently ease you down the Dart

Finally, if that all sounds like too much effort, you can let someone else do the hard work. Enjoy a 90-minute cruise to Dartmouth with the Dartmouth River Boat Company. Sailings are tide dependent so check the timetable and book ahead.

DEx Totnes
Enjoy boat trips in Totnes

Plan your visit

To plan your stay in Totnes, take a look at where to stay, where to eat and other things to see and do.

South Devon Railway

After the South Devon Railway (SDR) stopped running Mince Pie trains after Christmas on Wednesday 1 January, work began in earnest on the winter track renewal plan between Staverton and Totnes where approximately 1/3 mile of old track will be re-laid with new flat bottom rail instead which will help ease future maintenance and cost considerably. And, with the SDR needing to undertake such a large, on-going programme of important work on both the railway track and locos and rolling stock over the winter period and into 2020, a reluctant decision was made last year not to run any train services over the coming February half-term period. That said, the SDR was well aware that a good number of visitors and local people will probably still arrive at the railway during the February school holiday and be expecting to see the line in Springtime despite there being no advertised services running. An SDR spokesman said: "Many people will expect the SDR to be open for business in February simply because we always have been in recent years when they can enjoy the glorious display of early Spring  line-side flowers and open views of the river, so the SDR felt it's important that something is provided for people to see and do rather than them simply finding that the railway was closed and then being disappointed. "Whilst there was no way a normal pattern of train operation could be provided without causing serious disruption to the tight schedule of vital winter works, and following a series of detailed discussions with all of the departments involved, a plan has just been drawn up which will see a limited train service for visitors with just minimal disturbance of important winter works. "As a result, diesel rail-car No.W55000, affectionately known as the 'Bubblecar' due to its great all-round visibility, will operate a limited shuttle service each day from Saturday 15th February to Sunday 23rd February between Buckfastleigh and Staverton only. South Devon Railway
"Trains will be running every 45 minutes with the first one leaving Buckfastleigh at 10:30 and the last one departing at 15:25, with a slightly extended break at lunchtime. In addition, it's planned to stable a static steam locomotive in the platform at Buckfastleigh where the loco's footplate will be accessible for visitors to inspect.  Totnes station will remain closed however. "This compromise solution will give some level of service to valued visitors and locals whilst minimizing the disruption to the winter work programmes for the SDR's locomotive, carriage & wagon, and civil engineers. The Buckfastleigh café and shop will also be open and, subject to weather, the gardens will also be accessible and, in addition, it's hoped that the museum can be opened too." Please check the SDR website for more details at: and some colour photos are attached for your use of the Bubblecar courtesy of Sarah Anne Harvey.

Here, There & Everywhere on foot in 2023

Dittisham Hideaway share their favourite walks along and near the River Dart in their new Walking Booklet and Ferry Guide:

The River Dart is the perfect location for you to explore the area both on foot and by boat. Ranging from 1-8 miles around historical towns, through woodlands, along costal paths and hopping on the occasional ferry. What’s more, guests staying at Dittisham Hideaway will receive a complimentary return ferry
journey to Greenway House -The holiday home of the famous and much-beloved author Agatha

Click here to read more.

From Troy to Totnes – The Tale of the Brutus Stone

"Here I stand and here I rest, and this good town shall be called Totnes". These are the words with which Totnes is said to have been founded by Brutus the Trojan while standing on Fore Street's easily missed granite attraction – The Brutus Stone.

Brutus in Britain

According to the legend of the Brutus Stone the origins of Totnes stretch all the way back to ancient Troy. After accidentally killing his father Brutus set off to Greece with his army of followers, where he defeated the king Pendrasu. The king gave Brutus his daughter to marry, and 324 well-stocked ships, at least one of which ended up on the River Dart. Following the advice of the oracle Diana, who suggested the Trojans should travel to an island in the Western Seas that was possessed by Giants, Brutus set sail for Great Britain – at the time called Albion. It was on the Brutus stone that he made his proclamation after landing on Britain's shores, undeterred by the giants and attracted to Totnes by its location and fish-filled rivers. Not only was Totnes named by Brutus, but it's said he named Britain after himself.

Ice Age to New Age

The Brutus legend is recorded in several ancient books, though there's little evidence to suggest any of it is true. The stone itself probably settled in its location during the great Ice Age, and may have been called several things which sounded similar to 'Brutus'. More recently, when Fore Street was widened in 1810, the stone was reduced in height from 18 inches above ground to the level of the pavement. Whether or not Brutus stood on the stone it's a town custom that royal proclamations should be read there by the mayor. No matter how true they are, the legends surrounding Brutus and the stone persist and are enjoyed to this day. Visitors to Totnes can see the stone in the pavement on their right-hand side when walking up Fore Street next to number 51.

Be an eco-tourist

Be an eco-tourist - by Blueriver Cottages

At Blueriver Cottages, we strive to make the right choices for environmental sustainability. In this blog, we offer a few suggestions so that our guests and other visitors to this beautiful area can help us to protect the local environment, wildlife and economy for all to enjoy!

How to go green

At your cottage, reduce energy by switching off lights and closing windows if heating is on. Please visit for more information on what you can do to save energy at home and when on holiday.

Locally made crafts and souvenirs are not always cheaper, but purchasing them ensures your contribution to the economy will have a more direct and positive impact.

Some destinations are just harder to reach, so consider renting a hybrid or hybrid vehicle. Walk, bike, or use public transportation to get around whenever possible.

Take a BPA-free water bottle you can refill over and over again at many eateries. Refuse plastic straws.

There are monthly beach cleans to take part in but you don’t have to wait for those - spend 10 minutes before you leave the beach to do your bit.

Support the region’s farmers, get a more authentic taste of the cuisine and cut your carbon footprint even more.

Totnes is the world’s first Transition Town. Take part in one of their walks to find more out about the pioneering projects.

Help us to look after the beautiful landscape and wildlife of our county by not littering, guarding against fire and using footpaths and cycle-ways responsibly. Ensure you follow the Countryside Code.

You can take a look at Blueriver Cottages’ collection of holiday homes in South Devon and Torbay by clicking here.

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