• Walks in and around Totnes

    From sweeping Dartmoor views to riverside meadows buzzing with wildlife, there’s lots to discover when you walk in and around Totnes. Whether you’re looking for the best dog walk in Devon or a family-friendly stroll for pushchairs and scooters, here’s our top pick of walks in Totnes Devon.

    Totnes to Dartington Walk

    4 miles / 6km round trip (6 miles if you continue to Dartington Estate)

    This accessible for all walk leads from Borough Park in Totnes to the Cider Press Centre at Dartington. Here you can pause to look around the shops and cafes, where you’ll find a strong focus on local makers and ingredients before retracing your steps back to Totnes. For a longer walk, carry on from The Cider Press Centre to Dartington Hall. Here you can visit their formal gardens, Deer Park and discover more places to eat.

    access for all map walk in Totnes

    Travelling along the River Dart, the path is mainly flat. There’s a choice benches along the way to stop, relax and look out for birds and other wildlife. The path is ideal for pushchairs, scooters and bikes too. The extended walk from the Cider Press to Dartington Hall does involve a hill so may not be suitable for all.
    Click here for more information.

    Click here to view this walk on OS Explore.

    Dogs are permitted on the path to Dartington and in the Estate but not in Dartington Hall gardens.

    Dartington Deer Park Map
    Dartington Deer Park Map

    For an extended loop walk including Dartington, click here.

    Walk from Totnes to Sharpham and Ashprington

    10km / 3 hours

    A popular walk from Totnes to Sharpham House and Ashprington (where you’ll find a pub for a quick pit stop). The main path is firm and suitable for bikes and walking. There are some hills and this walk is considered moderate. Keep your eyes peeled as you walk as lots of wildlife make a home in the fields and reed beds beside the river. At Sharpham, turn around to enjoy the spectacular view of the river with Totnes in the distance. You’ll also find a couple of benches along the way for a mid-walk rest or picnic.

    Dogs are welcome on the path to Sharpham, however some parts cross a conservation area. As a result, owners are requested to keep dogs on leads in some places to avoid disturbing wildlife.

    There is an option to turn this into a circular walk using the footpath which follows along the edge of the river.

    Take a look at the map here.

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    The path to Sharpham with The River Dart and Totnes in the background

    Walks in Totnes: Franklin Totnes Trail

    The Franklin Totnes Trail is a 6 ¾ mile circular walk through the countryside which starts and ends in Totnes town centre. There are lots of interesting points and fine views along the way.  The path is steep in places and it should take the average walker three to four hours to complete. If time is limited, there are options to shorten the walk by ¾ mile, 2 ¾ miles or 4 miles. This walk is suitable for dogs but be aware some paths are near roads.

    View from the Franklin Trail walk in Totnes
    Views from the Franklin Trail Totnes Walk

    To view this walk on OS Explore, please click here.

    Longmarsh Measured Mile

    If you’re looking for a gentle walk in Devon, the Longmarsh Measured Mile is right for you. This mile long, easy walking route alongside the River Dart is flat and suitable for people using wheelchairs and buggies as well as scooters and bikes. It starts on the Plains in Totnes just by the roundabout and is ideal if you’re looking for a gentle stroll away from the hustle and bustle of town.

    The Measured Mile is marked with purple stickers and there are waymarks at quarter mile intervals. From the Plains, turn right, cross the bridge, turn right at Seymour Rd, turn right at Steamer Quay Rd and follow the riverside path to its end at Longmarsh.

    There is plenty to see along the way. You may spot Cormorants on the river bank and Seals often swim up river on the incoming tide from Dartmouth. Kingfishers are resident in the marshy area at Longmarsh behind the Measured Mile. The river can be busy with paddle boarders, rowing boats and ferries from Dartmouth and Torbay.

    There are benches along the way as well as a cafe, car parking and public toilets. Dogs are welcome, especially in the wide green space at Longmarsh. However, please note parts of this walk are on pavements beside a road in the town.

    Find out more.

    Walks in Totnes Devon: Longmarsh
    Walk the measured mile at Longmarsh, Totnes

    To view the Measured Mile on OS Explore, please click here.

    Walks in Totnes Devon: Dart Valley Trail

    12 miles/19km

    As promoted on TV by Julia Bradbury, the Dart Valley Trail follows the course of the River Dart and links Dartington with Dartmouth, travelling through Totnes at the midway point. With many quaint villages and the magnificent Sharpham Estate along the way, there are plenty of picnic spots or refreshment stops on route. This walk can be also shortened into more manageable sections or cycled.

    Dogs are welcome on the path to Sharpham, however some parts cross a conservation area. As a result, owners are requested to keep dogs on leads in some places to avoid disturbing wildlife.

    Click for more information.

    Sharpham Estate view with Totnes in background
    Sharpham Estate with Totnes in the background

    Totnes Town Trail

    Walks in Totnes Devon are not just about the countryside. Discover local legends and appreciate the fine architecture and pretty streets on a 60-minute self-guided walk through town.  Be warned, there’s a steep up-hill gradient as you climb up Fore Street and High Street. Luckily, there are also plenty of cafes to stop and rest and enjoy a cake and coffee!

    Totnes is dog-friendly. You’ll find water bowls located outside several shops when your four-legged pal needs a drink.

    Click here for a map and information.

    Totnes Castle seen on a walk in Totnes
    Explore the history of Totnes
    town trail map outlining a 60 minute Totnes Walk
    Totnes Town Trail

    Walks in Totnes Devon: John Musgrave Trail

    35 miles in its entirety or 18.5 miles from Cockington to Dittisham

    For the more adventurous walker, the entire John Musgrave Trail is a 35 mile walk from Maidencombe (outside Torquay) to Brixham. The walk can be split into more manageable sections including from Cockington to Totnes (9 ½ miles) and Totnes to Dittisham (9 miles).

    The walk from Cockington takes in Occombe Farm where you can stop at the cafe, the village of Marldon and the romantic ruins at Berry Pomeroy. The Dittisham section follows a similar path to the Dart Valley Trail and takes in many villages including Tuckenhay and Cornworthy.

    Click here for more details and map.

    Walks in Totnes: John Musgrave Trail passes Berry Pomeroy Castle
    Berry Pomeroy Castle is a stop on the John Musgrave Totnes Walk

    Totnes to Berry Pomeroy Castle circular walk

    12.5km / 3.5 hours round walk (allow more time to explore the castle ruins)

    Combine walking with history when you enjoy the circular walk to the splendid English Heritage-managed Berry Pomeroy Castle. Take a look at the map here.

    Treat yourself to coffee and cake after your Totnes walk

    Don’t forget to treat yourself to delicious coffee, cake, or smoothie after you’ve enjoyed our choice of walks in Totnes Devon. Check out our pick of cafes and restaurants in Totnes catering for every taste. For more inspiration on things to see and do, go to www.visittotnes.co.uk

  • Things to do in Totnes

    Discover the postcard-pretty, bustling town of Totnes.  With a thriving market and a lively independent shop and café scene unfolding in the shadow of the impressive Totnes Castle, there’s lots to see and do throughout the year. Read on to discover our top 6 things to see and do as well as the best places to eat and shop in Totnes.

    A word of warning: you’ll need more than a day to enjoy it all!

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    View of Totnes and the River Dart from the castle

    Top 6 Totnes see and do

    1. Get a birds-eye view of the town from the ramparts of Totnes’ classic Norman motte and bailey castle. The castle is managed by English Heritage.
    2. Relax with lunch, wine tasting and vineyard walk at the award-winning Sandridge Barton winery.
    3. Get out on the water when you hire a kayak or let the river boat gently ease you down the Dart.  Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including herons and seals.
    4. Enjoy a wander around the Dartington Estate, where you can spot the herd of deer and amble along the riverside. The formal gardens are home to a Henry Moore sculpture and a kids trail. Enjoy a post walk coffee in the choice of cafes.
    5. Let off steam on The South Devon Railway. Look out for special events happening throughout the year or make your dream come true when you book a drive-a-train experience.
    6. For a not too strenuous stroll, follow the town trail which takes you past some of Totnes’ most important sights. Download the route, complete with information on what to look out for along the way at: www.visittotnes.co.uk/town-trail  
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    Look for wildlife on a cruise up the River Dart to Totnes
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    Take a trip on South Devon Railway

    Where to shop and Totnes Market

    Named by The Telegraph in November 2022 as one of Britain’s 15 Best High Streets, wander through Totnes to discover everything from chic but sustainable clothing to stylish ceramics from local makers.

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    Totnes’ Castle looks down over the town

    Stroll along the mostly flat path from Totnes to Dartington Cider Press Centre (approx. 2 miles or 40-minutes walk).  Here you’ll find a vibrant and eclectic range of shops offering perfect gifts with a focus on arts and crafts. There’s also a carefully curated selection of locally sourced food and drink for picnics by the river.

    Totnes Market is held every Friday and Saturday

    Don’t miss: Totnes has a vibrant weekly market 9am until 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays all year round in the Market Square in the centre of town. From fresh local produce, street food and jewellery to vintage clothing and antiques, there are lots of treasures waiting to be found.

    On the third Sunday of every month head to the Food and Craft Market in the Market Square. From April to October there’s an indoor artisan market on the second Tuesday of the month in the Civic Hall. On Tuesdays from May to September, you’ll find the Elizabethan Charity market taking place in Totnes Market Square. The popular Totnes Christmas Market and late night shopping evenings take place on the first three Tuesdays of December.

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    Enjoy tastings and vineyard walks at Sandridge Barton, the home of Sharpham Wine

    Where to eat in Totnes

    Savour South Devon’s finest food in Totnes. As you’d expect, the town’s cafes and restaurants make full use of the bountiful harvest of fresh, local, seasonally available food.

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    Waterside Bistro

    Sunny day? Enjoy lunch beside the river at Waterside Bistro, with tasty titbits including mussels, classic burgers, and moreish pizza. For supper, try the award-winning, organic The Bull Inn – described by The Sunday Telegraph as “9/10. Charmingly eclectic and lovingly restored – exceptional food and drink.”

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    The Bull Inn

    Don’t miss: Experience TripAdvisor’s top choice for the best ice cream in Devon – Delphini’s Gelato. From pistachio to vegan double chocolate, there’s a changing menu of creative flavours, handmade on the premises.

    Messing about in boats

    The River Dart is at the heart of Totnes and has helped to make it the very special place it is today. For a relaxing day on the water above the weir in Totnes, away from the tidal pulls, hire a kayak, canoe, or SUP from Dynamic Adventures on Dartington Estate. 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.

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    kayak LR

    Exceptional engineers and explorers

    Anyone with an interest in computers or technology should not miss the room at Totnes Museum dedicated to one of Totnes’ brightest former residents – Charles Babbage. Babbage is considered by many as the “father of the computer”. His Difference Engine and Analytical Engine rank as two of the startling intellectual achievements of the 19th century.

    Totnes Museum is free to visit (donations welcome)

    William Froude, the world’s first naval architect, carried out his pioneering vessel resistance and stability testing in Totnes. After a spell working for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Froude began to develop his theories about the movement of ships in water using his own models on the River Dart. The ruined church on Dartington Estate houses a cross bearing his name as his father was rector there. 

    Totnes is also well-known down-under as the birthplace of William Wills, who was the second-in-command of the ill-fated 1860-1 Burke and Wills expedition – the first expedition to cross Australia from south to north. Visit The Guildhall to discover more.

    Making lasting memories

    Cycling the Dart Valley Trail
    Cycling the Dart Valley Trail

    The beautiful South Devon countryside and historic town of Totnes have long provided inspiration for artists and makers.  But Totnes is not just the best place to buy beautiful, handcrafted gifts in Devon. It’s also the place to come to experience the joy of making and create something yourself under the watchful guidance of a local artist like Steve Robinson. This award-winning glass artist specialises in kiln-forming to create his unique tactile and colourful work. Join one of his regular workshops throughout the year, which are suitable for all abilities.

    There’s also a great choice of short courses, walks and retreats on offer. From foraging and family nature walks to learning to paint or ferment your own food, check out what’s on at Sharpham Trust and Dartington Hall.

    Totnes Castle
    Totnes Castle from above

    Getting here:

    From Dartmouth

    Boat: 90 mins cruise with the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company (return by boat or enjoy the Round Robin option including travel on the steam train and bus.)

    Drive: 30 mins. Parking information, including EV charger locations: www.visittotnes.co.uk/see-and-do/plan-your-visit/parking-in-totnes/

    Bus: 45 mins (Stagecoach 92 from The Pontoon in Dartmouth)

    From Plymouth / Exeter

    Train: 30 mins (Totnes train station is just a few minutes walk from the high street)

    Drive: 45 mins via A38 Devon Expressway

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    Dartington Hall Gardens

    Plan your day in Totnes

    Discover what’s on, book experiences, and plan your day: www.visittotnes.co.uk. If you need longer to explore, check out our top pick of where to stay.

  • 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.

  • Summer in Totnes – What’s on in August

    This August, enjoy the festival feeling every day in Totnes with lots of things to do and see.   From music and puppet theatre to traditional fairground rides and a rather odd spotting competition, there’s something for all ages.  Read on to discover our top pick of what’s on this summer in Totnes.

    Totnes Summer Fair

    Totnes Summer Fest 1200x628 1

    What: Come to Totnes to enjoy a day of family fun and games at the Totnes Summer Fair:

    free traditional summer games (including hook-a-duck)

    – vintage rides (including a children’s traditional carousel and swing boats)

    free live music and street entertainment

    – a free puppet show

    – delicious street food

    free kids crafting activities

    free face painting

    – local gift stalls

    Where: Totnes Market Square and Civic Hall

    When: Wednesday 23 August 11am-5pm

    For more information: Go to www.visittotnes.co.uk/whats-on/totnes-summer-fair/

    Summer Sounds

    stmarysnorthcrop May 21

    What: Summer Sounds is a music-filled, action-packed series of events and concerts at St Mary’s and St John’s Churches.  Running from Tuesday 15 August to Saturday 26 August, there are lunchtime concerts and daytime and evening events to suit all ages.  Don’t miss “Come and Sing Musicals and More” for 10-14 year olds, Peter’s Puppets aimed at 4-9 year olds, or the St Mary’s Matronal Procession through the town.

    Where: St Mary’s Church, High Street Totnes and St John’s Church, Bridgetown

    When: 15-26 August 2023

    For more information: www.stmarysandstjohnstotnes.org/summer-sounds-23

    Totnes Odd Object Competition

    odd object

    What: Join the fun and see how many odd objects you can spot in the windows of shops and businesses in Totnes this summer. ‘Odd objects’ range from things like a paperclip in the sweet shop to a Lego mini-figure in the jewellers.  There are even cash prizes for the most objects spotted!

    Pick up your entry form from Arcturus Books 46 Fore Street – entry forms cost £1 with proceeds going to support the Totnes Carnival Christmas Lantern Procession.

    Where: Throughout Totnes (check the list on the entry form and look in windows for signs).

    When: 21 August to 2 September. You can complete the competition in your own time but be warned, some are fiendishly hard to spot!

    For more information: Go to www.facebook.com/totnescarnival

    Theatre Royal Plymouth Barn Dances

    Barn Dance 2023 Newsletter Image

    What: Theatre Royal Plymouth proudly presents ‘Barn Dances’, a family-friendly, toe-tapping experience with the talented Freedom Fields Ceilidh Band!  Join them in Totnes this summer for an unforgettable evening of live music, dancing and delicious beer, cider and pasties.  Suitable for all ages.

    Where: Civic Hall, Totnes

    When: Saturday and Sunday 5 and 6 August 2023. Choice of 12noon and 6pm performances on both days.

    For more information: Go to www.theatreroyal.com/whats-on/barn-dance-totnes/

    Family Fun at Totnes Elizabethan Museum


    What: Don’t miss a choice of family-friendly activities at Totnes Museum this summer, including free weaving and candle dipping workshops.

    When: The Museum will be open Monday-Saturday 10am to 4pm, as always entry is free but donations are welcome. All events this summer are free and there is no need to book ahead.

    For more information: https://www.totnesmuseum.org/

    Find more summer events on our What’s On pages

  • Your ultimate guide to markets in Totnes

    From fresh local produce and the best street food to vintage collectables and handcrafted goodies, there’s lots to discover when you visit a market in Totnes.  Here’s our guide to the best Totnes markets, which are popular with visitors and locals alike.

    Friday and Saturday Totnes Market

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    Totnes Market

    Where: Totnes Civic Square (also known as Market Square)

    When: 9am to 3pm on Fridays and Saturdays all through the year

    What to expect: Discover an eclectic mix of stalls including street food, plants, locally grown fruit and veg, clothing, bread and baked goods, local farm fresh meat, jewellery, vintage goods, curios and collectibles and homemade soaps.

    Totnes Indoor Artisan Market

    Totnes Indoor Artisan Market
    Totnes Indoor Artisan Market

    Where: Totnes Civic Hall (above the Civic Square)

    When: Second Tuesday of the every month April-November (2023: 11 April, 9 May, 13 June, 11 July, 8 August, 12 September, 10 October, 14 November)

    What to expect: Over 20 local makers, including jewellery, knitted toys, handmade chocolate, clothes and textiles, cards and prints, mosaic art, and dried flowers. 

    Totnes Elizabethan Market

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    The Elizabethan Market

    Where: Totnes Civic Square (also known as Market Square)

    When: Every Tuesday from May to September

    What to expect: Charity market with stallholders dressed up in Elizabethan costume. Find knitted goods, jewellery, local crafts and more.  Don’t miss ‘Lady Katherine’ (Rosemary Griggs) in her Tudor finery as she opens the first market of the season on 2 May 2023.

    Totnes Sunday Food and Craft Market

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    Sunday Food and Craft Market

    Where: Totnes Civic Square (also known as Market Square)

    When: Third Sunday of every month from 10am – 3pm

    What to expect: delicious takeaways and food from local producers as well as handmade crafts.

    Sea Change Weekender Food and Drink Market

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    Sea Change Food and Drink Market

    Where: Totnes Civic Square (also known as Market Square)

    When: Sunday 28 May from 12noon until late

    What to expect: After a heady Friday and Saturday, Sunday is chill out day in Totnes with tunes from the team at Sea Change served up in the Civic Square alongside the Sea Change Weekender bar with Verdant Brewing Co and a choice of street food and stalls from some of South Devon’s best foodie producers. Come and wind-down with friends at this relaxed community day in the middle of the town and take in all the niceness that Totnes has to offer. 

    Totnes Summer Fair

    street food
    Enjoy street food

    Where: Totnes Civic Square (also known as Market Square)

    When: 10am-6pm Wednesday 23 August

    What to expect: Roll-up, roll-up for a classic summer fair in the heart of Totnes.  Kids can get their thrills on vintage rides, including a hand-turned carousel and traditional swing boats or have a go at hook-a-duck.  Fill up on fabulous street food, sit back and enjoy live music and entertainment, and browse over 50 stalls from local makers.

    EAT: Riverford Food Festival


    Where: Longmarsh and Steamer Quay, Bridgetown, Totnes

    When: Sunday 10 September 10am-4pm

    What to expect: Over 70 local food and drink producers with entertainment and demos.  Find out more at www.eatfestivals.org/

    Totnes Christmas Market and Late-Night Shopping

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    Totnes Christmas Market and Late Night Shopping

    Where: Totnes Civic Square (also known as Market Square) and throughout the town

    When: 3pm-9pm on the first three Tuesdays of December: 5, 12 and 19 December 2023

    What to expect: Make magical memories and get into the festive spirit with live music and street entertainment, good food and drink, fairy lights, artisan shopping and much more at Totnes Christmas Market and Late-Night Shopping.

    Meet family and friends to enjoy free music and entertainment as you sip on a mulled cider and savour the special Christmas atmosphere. Feast on food from a choice of curated street food stalls and Totnes’ fabulous choice of cafes and restaurants. From waffles and world food to fish tacos, there’s something for every taste. 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. And browse the indoor covered gift market in the Civic Hall where you’ll find a selection of crafts and special goodies.

    Getting here

    Totnes is a 30-minute train journey from Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay. When you arrive, it’s just a short walk into town.




    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.

    There are also regular buses from other local towns and cities including Dartmouth and Exeter.

    For detailed bus timetables from Totnes check out the South Hams bus service timetable 

    Or the updated Stagecoach Gold Bus timetable

    If you’re visiting in an electric vehicle click here for a map of the local charging points.

    For a map of places to park your bike, please click here.

  • 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: your insider guide

    Set halfway between moor and sea on the beautiful River Dart, the thriving town of Totnes is a South Devon gem. From spotting wildlife and having fun on the water to discovering hidden histories and enjoying the best local food, if you’re looking for things to do and see in Devon, you’ll find something for everyone with our insider guide to Totnes.

    Aerial shot credit to Artur Niedzwied 2
    Photo: Artur Niedzwied

    Eat and Drink in Totnes

    Are you looking for the best Devon food and drink? The rolling hills around Totnes provide a bountiful harvest and you’ll find a choice of cafes and restaurants making the most of the local, seasonal produce. Cool off with a home-made gelato, grab a vegan baked beetroot falafel with hummus, refuel after a walk with a cardamom bun and coffee, or sit by the water’s edge with pizza and Moules Mariniere.

    waterside LR
    Enjoy al fresco dining

    Discover Devon’s historic Totnes

    Meander along the streets to admire the town’s historic buildings in the shadow of the town’s majestic Norman motte and bailey castle. The medieval Dartington Hall and Gardens is a pleasant walk from the town centre. Totnes Museum is a treasure trove that’s not to be missed.

    dart valley trail
    Dart Valley Trail

    Experience nature close up on holiday in Devon

    Feeling adventurous? Hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board or join a guided canoe tour to spot local wildlife along the river.  If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, enjoy the choice of riverside walks to Dartington and Sharpham. Walks start and finish in the town.

    Fun on the River Dart


    If you like to shop, you’ll love the treasures on offer in the independent stores lining Totnes’ thriving high street. There’s a strong emphasis on local and handmade goods, with everything from fashion to fudge ready to tempt you. On Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year, the market square buzzes with over 50 stalls. These sell an eclectic mix of vintage collectibles, food, and crafts.

    Getting here

    Totnes is a 25-minute drive from Torquay and a 40-minute drive from Plymouth.  You’ll find a number of public EV charging points, including one at Morrisons supermarket, Coronation Road. The Gold Bus runs every 30 minutes and takes 50 minutes from The Strand, Torquay and 1 hour from Plymouth. Totnes is a 30-minute train journey from both Plymouth and Torquay.

    If you’d like to arrive in style, The Dartmouth Steam and River Company operate boat trips to Totnes departing from Dartmouth and or hop aboard a vintage train from Buckfastleigh with the South Devon Railway.

    steam train
    Steam Train beside the River Dart

  • Seven Best Historical Sites To Explore In Totnes

    There’s a wealth of history and heritage to discover as you wander through the streets of Totnes. Here’s our top pick of what to see.

    Photo: Artur Niedzwiedz

    Totnes Castle

    The classic Norman motte and bailey Totnes Castle is managed by English Heritage. Climb to the top of the keep for stunning views over the town of Totnes and across to the River Dart. You can enjoy a picnic in the peaceful grounds under the shelter of age-old trees. There is plenty of space for families to relax on a summer day.

    Thought to have been built by Juhel, a commander in William the Conqueror’s army, originally the castle was an earthwork and timber construction.  In the early 13th century, the shell keep was built to crown the mound and was later rebuilt and this is what you can see today. Circular in shape, it is one of the best preserved of the three such keeps in Devon. You can still see the defensive arrow slits and battlements if you look closely.

    Just a 1-minute walk from the high street, the castle is an ideal addition to any day out in Totnes.  If castles are your thing, don’t miss Dartmouth and Berry Pomeroy Castles. These are both also managed by English Heritage and are just a short drive away.

    For opening times and prices, go to: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/totnes-castle/

    guildhall web
    The Guildhall

    The Guildhall

    The Guildhall offers another fascinating insight into the history of the town. It was built in 1553 on the ruins of the medieval priory, founded in 1088. The Guildhall has been the heart of the town’s administrative, legal and ceremonial life for centuries, serving as court, prison and meeting place. You can still see the original cells where, until 1887, prisoners awaited trial and punishment. Step inside to climb the 17th century stairs to the elegant Council Chamber, with its plaster frieze. The Chamber is also home to a table where Oliver Cromwell is said to have sat in 1646.

    Free (donations welcome). Open Monday to Friday 11am-3pm May-September (excluding Bank Holidays). The Guildhall is still used for Town Council meetings and other events so check first before visiting.

    For more information, go to www.totnestowncouncil.gov.uk/our-services/guildhall/

    Totnes Museum

    Totnes Museum

    Totnes Museum in Upper Fore Street is housed in a beautifully restored Elizabethan merchant’s house and is free to visit (donations welcome).  The museum houses a wide range of treasures and includes a room a room dedicated to Charles Babbage ‘father of the computer’ who once lived in the town. Hidden away behind the museum is a lovely garden. Reminiscent of herb gardens of the Elizabethan period, this is a wonderful space to take a step away from the bustle of the busy town and smell the roses.  For more information, go to www.totnesmuseum.org/

    The East Gate Arch
    The East Gate Arch

    Kathy Alexander Tour Guide – Totnes Town Tour

    Spend a morning exploring historic Totnes on an informal, friendly stroll around town with experienced tour guide, Kathy Alexander.  Join Kathy on a walk to discover more about the key historic sites in Totnes, including the Castle, The Eastgate Arch, The Guildhall and the Market Square. Tours run on Thursdays from April through October starting at 10.30am outside Visit Totnes Office, Market Square.  £8 per person, £4 under 16’s.  Private group tours are available any time of year by arrangement.  For more information, email [email protected] or call 07733197740

    South Devon Railway

    Steam along the track with South Devon Railway

    Step back in time with a journey on popular heritage line South Devon Railway (SDR). The beautiful 7-mile journey to Totnes runs alongside the River Dart and takes half an hour. The station is a 15-minute walk from the centre of Totnes or it is possible to catch a Bob the Bus (low floor accessible bus) from various stops in the town to the mainline station (a 450m walk away from the SDR Totnes Riverside station). 

    Go to https://www.southdevonrailway.co.uk/ for more information on trains, timetables, and special events or to book a drive a steam train experience.

    brutus stone
    The Brutus Stone in Fore Street

    The Brutus Stone

    The Brutus Stone features in legend as the place where Brutus the Trojan, founder of the British people, first stepped ashore.  Brutus is said to have declared “Here I stand and here I rest, and this good town shall be called Totnes” (although there is no proof this ever happened.) 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. You can see the stone in the pavement on their right-hand side when walking up Fore Street next to number 51.

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    St Mary’s Church

    St Mary’s Church

    This historic building, open daily from 8.45 am to 5.00 pm, is well worth the visit. Built in the 15th century by townspeople on a site where Christians have worshipped for over a thousand years. Of particular interest to visitors are: the magnificent 15th-century sandstone rood screen; the Kempe stained glass window; the Willis organ built in 1861; the restored oak waggon roof; the fine brass candelabrum in the nave; the Blackhall monument and the memorial plaque to Walter Venning (1781-1821), Russian prison reformer.

    In 2019, Totnes Heritage Trust commissioned an enormous map of Totnes which is now on the floor of St Mary’s Church. Drawn by local artist Anna Ventura, it is more than just a representation of the physical town. The map is also a snapshot of Totnes, with stories and characters that local residents will recognise.

    The church is also used for music events throughout the year.

    Find out more about Totnes and the surrounding area:


    [email protected]

  • Christmas in Totnes: Your Guide to What’s On

    Christmas is the season to be jolly – and you’ll find no shortage of festive fun in Totnes, Devon. From fabulous light shows and festive markets to a magical Santa’s Grotto, see our top pick of things to do to help you and your family make some magical Christmas memories.

    The Best Christmas Markets in Devon

    Totnes Christmas Market
    Free entertainment at Totnes Christmas Market and Late Night Shopping

    One of Devon’s most loved festive markets, the Totnes Christmas Market and Late Night Shopping evenings take place on Tuesday 5, 12 and 19 December 3pm-9pm. Spread throughout the town, this family-friendly night out will get you in the festive mood, promising over 80+ gift stalls, two dedicated food courts with your favourite street food, and brilliant free street performances from a pick of local singers, dancers and entertainers.  Totnes Museum will also be open from 2pm-8pm with free family activities 3pm-6pm.

    On 19 December, don’t miss the magical lantern parade organised by Totnes Carnival, which will set off on a route from the top of town to the bottom at 4pm.  Join in or watch – click here to find out more.

    If you’re on the hunt for unique handcrafted presents, don’t miss The Dartington Great Hall Craft Fair 1-3 December.  Find stands showcasing high quality contemporary craft and design including ceramics, printmaking, jewellery, textiles and more alongside music, workshops, food and merriment throughout the weekend.

    Find out more here.

    See Santa

    See Father Christmas at Dartington Hall

    A little bird has told us that Santa himself is set to pay Dartington Estate a visit each weekend and during the school holidays this December!

    Father Christmas will be parking his sleigh and settling into a magical Grotto in Dartington’s historic Courtyard. He cannot wait to meet little ones and tell them all about life in the North Pole and how Rudolph and friends are. He’ll also have news about all the hard work his helper elves are doing to get ready for the “big night”. Santa will of course be giving out little gifts too!  Plan your visit.

    All Aboard For Some Festive Fun

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    Dartmouth Steam Railway’s Train of Lights

    The mesmerising Train of Lights from Dartmouth Steam Railway will be getting your magical Christmas on track from 24 November to 30 December. This multi award-winning Christmas experience was the UK’s first ever steam train of lights and it is now the must-see event in the South West festive calendar.  The 2023 show will capture the magic of our previous shows and will also have new displays and surprises.

    Find out more: https://visittotnes.co.uk/whats-on/train-of-lights/

    polar express
    Full steam ahead on the Polar Express

    Another way to steam into Christmas is with tickets to ride South Devon Railway’s Polar Express.  Running on selected dates from 24 November – 23 December, throughout your train ride you’ll be entertained, meeting the Conductor and his crew. All the while the train steams towards the ‘North Pole!’  Here you’ll meet Santa and one of his friendly elves. He will climb on board the train to meet you all. The Conductor will even clip your Polar Express tickets just like in the film.

    Book now

    The South Devon Railway also have just the ticket for keeping all ages entertained between Christmas and New Year.  Their Heritage Steam Railway service will be running every day between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day – the ideal way to get everyone out and about during the holidays.

    Plan your day

    Light Up Your Xmas

    GloWild at Paignton Zoo
    GloWild at Paignton Zoo

    Get set to GloWild at Paignton Zoo until 2 January.  Head into the zoo after dark for an immersive light experience featuring a variety of beautiful, interactive light installations, entertainers, and a silent disco.  Get your tickets now

    Paint Splatter Neon Graphic adventure
    Enjoy a neon adventure this Christmas

    Prepare yourself for an innovative and exhilarating winter journey! Ignite your inner adventurer with neon bows and arrows, and ascend neon-splashed walls for an unparalleled rock-climbing experience on the quarry wall. Then, soar through the forest on a Zip Line illuminated by UV light with Dynamic Adventures. 7, 14, 21 December 2023.  Find out more

    Getting To Totnes

    Travel by bus: Don’t forget, bus tickets are just £2 per single journey.  Trains run regularly (Totnes on the mainline between Exeter and Plymouth) Click here for more travel information.

  • Wake up to the best breakfast in Totnes

    Start a day exploring Totnes right with our top pick of the best breakfasts in town. Treat yourself to a breakfast cocktail, enjoy speciality wood roasted coffee with pastries, grab a full English or opt for a vegan granola: there’s something for every taste. 

    Waterside Bistro

    When: Breakfast served from 10am-11.45am every day

    Where: Beside the river at The Plains at the bottom end of town

    Riverside views. Dogs allowed on terrace

    waterside LR

    Al Fresco breakfast or brunch at Waterside Bistro

    Satisfy your morning hunger pangs with a traditional bacon or sausage bap (vegan options available) or go continental with a croissant or pastry at Waterside Bistro.  Pair with a choice of regular and herbal teas, coffees (including syrups if you have a sweet tooth) or luscious hot chocolate.

    The Bull Inn

    When: Breakfast from 8am to 10.30am every day

    Where: The Rotherfold Square at the top of town

    Organic – Radical – Ethical

    BULL 1
    The Bull Inn

    Walk through the historic Narrows to The Rotherfold to find the award-winning, organic The Bull Inn. Here you can enjoy a fresh organic breakfast, ranging from porridge, pancakes and frittata to the ‘Full Bull’ Wash it down with a Seriously Early Mary (Organic vodka, house-made chilli sherry, organic tomato juice, lemon juice, spices & seasoning).

    Green Table, Dartington

    When: Homemade breakfasts from 9am-11:30pm daily

    Where: Dartington Hall

    Outside seating available (dogs permitted)

    the green table
    The Green Table, Dartington

    Stop to enjoy a homemade breakfast at The Green Table before a walk around the Dartington Hall gardens or estate. American-style pancakes ooze with maple syrup, try the house Granola served with yoghurt and compote or with soya or oat milk, or go traditional with the free-range Green Table Breakfast featuring local-butcher’s sausages and bacon.

    The Curator

    When: From 9am – 2pm (breakfast baps from 8am weekdays)

    Where: The Plains at the bottom of town

    Sunny on-pavement tables where you can watch the world go by  

    Breakfast at The Curator

    Perfect for early birds, The Curator’s handy breakfast baps are available from 8am on weekdays to have in or takeaway. The rest of the breakfast and brunch menu is served from 9am-2pm and is made in-house using all locally sourced ingredients. Choose from sweet and savoury delights, light bites and large plates ranging from poached eggs on toast, toasties, sweet baked brioche as well a full breakfast in both meat and veggie forms. Enjoy with a cup or two of their wood-smoked artisan coffee – made here in Devon!  If you’re at the top of the town, pop into The Curator’s second outpost at The Butterwalk (opposite the Market Square) for signature coffee and baked goods.

    Wild Thyme Deli and Kitchen

    When: From 9am Mon – Sat (from 10am on Sundays)

    Where: China Blue, Station Road

    Free customer parking and secret garden style patio for alfresco dining

    wild thyme3
    Start the day at Wild Thyme Deli and Kitchen

    Sit back and enjoy a choice of delicious home-baked breakfast, including granola, classic full English and avocado and pear on toast. Partial to a pastry? You’ll love indulgent treats waiting for you courtesy of Wild Thyme’s in-house pastry chef. All served with freshly ground artisan coffee.

    Totnes Market

    When: From 9am Fridays and Saturdays and on the third Sunday of every month

    Where: Civic / Market Square just off the high street

    Market resized
    Find yummy local produce and street food on sale at Totnes Market

    Fridays and Saturdays all through the year are market days in Totnes.  You’ll find stalls from local producers selling morning treats including freshly baked croissants and farm-fresh bacon baps in the Civic Square.  On the third Sunday of every month head to the Square for the monthly Totnes Food and Craft Market where you can indulge in more delicious local goodies. Click here to find out more.

    Sunrise on Sharpham Walk
    Sunrise on the riverside walk to Sharpham

    Post-breakfast walks in Totnes

    After your breakfast, you’ll be ready to tackle one of the many brilliant walks in and around Totnes.  Keep things on the level with a walk on the accessible for all path at Longmarsh, which follows the river side.  Take in views of the river Dart with Totnes behind on the walk to Sharpham and Ashprington or look for wildlife walking alongside the Deer Park at Dartington. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, stride out on the Franklin Totnes Trail or  Dart Valley Trail.  Find these walks and more, with details of distances, directions and maps here.

    Fuelled up to explore Totnes’ history and heritage

    Use up your energy with a walk up the steps to the top of Totnes Castle.  A classic Norman motte and bailey castle now managed by English Heritage, the climb will reward you with views of the town and towards the River Dart and Dartmoor.  Open daily during the summer season, you’ll find the entrance at Castle Street.  Click for more information.

    Enjoying delicious local produce all day long

    Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it’s not the only one.  You’ll find wonderful local lunches and supper in all our cafes and restaurants. Find more details on where to eat in Totnes here.

    sunrise river
    Wake up to the best breakfasts in Totnes
  • Top 4 wild swimming spots in and around Totnes

    Looking for the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing dip in the River Dart or off the South Devon coast? Dive on in to discover our top 4 picks of the best places to go wild swimming in and around Totnes.

    1) Just above the weir in Totnes

    River dart above the weir low
    Swim in the River Dart above the weir at Totnes

    Location: On the Access for All path between Totnes and Dartington

    Getting there: It’s a short 5-minute walk from Totnes Station or 10-15-minutes walk from the centre of town.

    What to expect: Popular with local swimmers, the River Dart pools reasonably deeply at this spot just above the weir. You may be joined on your swim by Mandarin ducks, which live all along this stretch of the river. Also keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers because these are regularly spotted here.  You’ll find a handy platform on the bank at this wild swimming spot in Totnes to make it easier to get in or out. This also makes it a popular location for launching kayaks and SUPs. Because it’s above the weir, you don’t need to worry about tidal currents. However, the river can flow quickly at times so check local conditions before you get in.

    Treat yourself afterwards: Head back into town for a wide choice of cafes and restaurants including The Bull Inn, Wild Thyme and Waterside Bistro

    2) Dartington ‘Beach’

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    Swimming in the river at ‘Dartington Beach’

    Location: Dartington Estate. Head down the concrete path (at the point where the road splits towards Aller Park and the Deer Park.)

    Getting there: Dartington is a 2 mile walk or 7 minute drive from Totnes and there’s plenty of parking at Dartington Hall.

    What to expect: There are lots of spots along the riverbank on the Dartington Estate where you can take a dip. The largest entry point is locally known as Dartington ‘Beach’ because of the gently shelving bank of shingle/sand. Dynamic Adventures launch their kayak trips from here and it’s a favourite spot to play and swim for families. With a beautiful meadow behind you and the South Devon Railway steam train track on the opposite river bank, it’s a great spot for a picnic too.

    Post-swim coffee: Grab a flat white and cardamom bun at The Green Table at Dartington for a post-swim pick me up.

    3) Elberry Cove, Torbay

    Elberry Cove

    Location: Near Churston, Torbay

    Getting there: Around a 20 minute drive from Totnes + 10 minutes walk from either Churston village or Broadsands Beach car park.

    What to expect: With the sun shining you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in Greece. Swim in the crystal clear waters from this gently shelving pebble beach.

    4) South Milton Sands, Thurlestone

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    South Milton Sands

    Getting there: Approx 40-minute drive from Totnes with a small National Trust Car Park at the beach. Please be aware the beach is accessed via a narrow lane.

    What to expect: Swim out to the iconic arch – the Thurlestone – which gives the neighbouring village its name.  Back on the beach, relax and soak up the view towards Burgh Island.  This dog-friendly beach is also perfect for the bucket and spade brigade thanks to the sand and fine shingle. Rockpools are exposed at low tide and it’s a popular beach for paddle boarders and kayakers too.

    Stay on to watch the sunset: Grab a post swim pizza at Rockbox (during August) or get a drink and a bite at the South Milton Sands Café.

    Enjoying the water safely

    Remember: If you’re planning a dip in the River Dart or sea, always follow the guidance of the RNLI. Choose your spot carefully and always check the weather and tides. For more safety advice go to: https://rnli.org/safety/choose-your-activity/open-water-swimming

    Water quality

    Check the water quality at beaches near Totnes using South West Water’s WaterFit Live Map

    Getting to Totnes

    Train or bus: Totnes is a 30-minute train journey from Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay. The Gold Bus runs every 30 minutes and takes 50 minutes from The Strand, Torquay and 1 hour from Plymouth.

    Driving: Totnes is a 40-minute drive from Plymouth and 50-minutes from Exeter.  You’ll find a number of public EV charging points in the town.

    If you’d like to arrive in style, The Dartmouth Steam and River Company operates boat trips to Totnes departing from Dartmouth and or hop aboard a steam train from Buckfastleigh with the South Devon Railway.

    Find out more.

    Make more than a day of it

    Enjoy a sunrise or sunset swim when you stay a night or more. Check out our top picks of places to stay in Totnes

    For more inspiration on what to do and what’s on or to book activities and plan your day, check out www.visittotnes.co.uk or follow @visittotnes on Instagram and Facebook

  • Finding the perfect holiday cottage by the River Dart

    By Coast & Country CottagesSerene, beautiful, unspoilt: The meandering River Dart weaves its way through rolling countryside, its banks lined with undulating fields and woodland, interspersed with copious picturesque beauty spots. Whether you are hoping to enjoy long riverside walks, planning on spotting rare wildlife, or simply looking for a peaceful place to rest, the ‘Dart’ is a fabulous South Devon destination. That’s why the team of holiday experts at Coast & Country Cottages have put together a helpful guide to finding the perfect holiday cottage by the River Dart. From cosy cottages with wood burning stoves, to grand houses accommodating all the family, here are five tips to finding the ultimate retreat.  


    The River Dart

    Enjoy the view!
    When holidaying by the River Dart, the views are nothing short of exceptional. Whether it is from your property itself, or from the nearby coast path, the landscape in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is second to none. Wildlife lovers will be in their element, particularly around Dittisham, where it is not unusual to see seals bobbing in the water or basking in the sunshine. These beautiful marine mammals are more commonly spotted on the quieter stretch of the river, between Dittisham and Totnes, whilst dolphins can sometimes be seen playing in the Dart further downstream in Dartmouth

    Many of the holiday cottages in Dartmouth and Kingswear boast sea and river views, allowing guests the opportunity to watch life on the water, without even having to leave their balcony or living room. These properties might be particularly of interest to history buffs, as the port of Dartmouth is where The Mayflower set off from on its voyage to the ‘new world’! With 2020 marking the 400th anniversary of this momentous event, there has never been a better time to holiday by the River Dart.  

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    Oliveta House

    Relish in both coast and countryside
    One of the wonderful things about holidaying in South Devon is it combines both stunning coastline and picturesque countryside. This means, choosing a holiday property on the river’s edge, or nestled in the heart of the countryside, doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t enjoy both! 

    Gitcombe Estate is a collection of nine luxury holiday homes, sleeping 4-13, complete with an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, tennis court and children’s play area. Why not book a large property or multiple cottages, and encourage parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins to join you? Situated near the village of Cornworthy, the estate is surrounded by countryside but the River Dart remains easily accessible, via the Dart Valley Trail. This is an impressive rural bolt hole for family holidays, offering guests the best of both worlds! 

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    32 Dart Marina

    A special location for a special occasion
    Whether it’s a special anniversary, a milestone birthday or a family celebration, the River Dart is a memorable backdrop for an extra special getaway. At Coast & Country Cottages we have properties ranging from luxury homes sleeping 16, to romantic boltholes for two. No matter what the occasion, we have holiday properties where you can make memories that will last a lifetime.  

    Why not book a retreat with your loved one at the luxurious Dart Marina apartments. Offering stylish accommodation overlooking the River Dart, guests at many of these state-of-the-art properties can enjoy complimentary use of the Dart Marina Spa too. Or for a larger group looking for a truly ‘WOW’ property, Oliveta House is unbeatable. Situated in a charming valley just outside of Dartmouth, this mesmerising home offers the ultimate in luxury, with everything from a cinema room, to swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) , and a hot tub

    Whatever you are planning to celebrate, book your River Dart holiday cottage today. 


    Vantage Point, Hillfield Village

    Stay during an event by the Dart
    The towns and villages surrounding the River Dart host many events throughout the year, especially Dartmouth and Totnes. Why not combine your trip to explore the River Dart with one of the area’s many festivities?

    With events including Dartmouth Royal Regatta, Dartmouth Food Festival and Dart Music Festival to name a few, there’s no shortage of unforgettable experiences! 


    Berry Cottage

    Making the most of the water
    Want to sail, go crabbing, or enjoy a spot of kayaking and paddleboarding? There’s so many ways to enjoy the River Dart! Home to arguably the best place to go crabbing, Dittisham, our properties located on the waterfront are superb for making the most of this! The riverside retreat Berry Cottage is particularly well positioned for an afternoon crabbing on the quay. 

    For keen sailors or kayakers, Kingswear and Dartmouth are great places to find accommodation, as they offer easy access to the river. Why not book Armorel House, or the Moorings? If you are looking to try surfing instead, choose a property closer to Blackpool Sands and the Start Bay coastline, like those at Hillfield Village.   

    With so many holiday cottage options by the River Dart, perfect for any occasion, you are sure to find the ideal base for your waterside getaway. Book your break with award-winning holiday letting agency Coast & Country Cottages today. 

  • The Dart and Totnes – Bridges and Bridgetown

    Flowing from two sources on Dartmoor, down to the sea at Dartmouth, Totnes is an important stop along the River Dart situated between the moors and the river’s mouth. The town offers an excellent jumping off point for exploration of the river whether by foot, boat or canoe, and is the point where it becomes tidal.

    Even for those who just want to admire the river without getting their feet wet there are many ways to enjoy the Dart, and many things Totnes has to thank the river for – and the two bridges crossing it.

    Bridges and Bridgetown

    Totnes Bridge has the honour of being the last bridge to cross the Dart before it reaches open sea, as plans to build a railway bridge across the river mouth from Kingswear to Dartmouth in the late 1900s never came to fruition.

    There have been multiple bridges across the river in Totnes beginning with a river ford and evolving to the familiar stone bridge today. It was once a toll bridge that separated Bridgetown from Totnes until it was opened up on October 31st 1881 for everyone to cross.

    A second bridge was built in 1982 and although less picturesque than the older bridge was necessary for the increasing amounts of traffic passing through Totnes and across the Dart. It is named the Brutus Bridge after the legendary founder of the town.

    Whichever side of the bridge you’re on there are many places to enjoy the river from. Vire Island is worth a visit for anyone looking for a nice spot to enjoy a picnic. Although not a proper island the 400m peninsula is named after the French town Totnes is twinned with (not Narnia) and is the perfect spot for contemplating the river from in the summer. And there are plenty of restaurants  and cafes to eat or enjoy a drink in, high tide or low, rain or shine.

  • 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.

  • Wild animals caught on camera at rewilding site Sharpham

    Thrilling images of animals and birds have been caught on camera on the Sharpham Estate, near Totnes, South Devon.

    Foxes, a tawny owl and a hedgehog are amongst the creatures caught unawares by hidden cameras on the Estate, around the site of the Sharpham Trust’s rewilding project which began earlier this year.

    The Trust was awarded £177,400 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to make more space for wildlife and take action for nature in a three-year project called Sharpham Wild for People. The grant will help in turning the Sharpham Estate organic, re-wilding parts of its historic landscape and helping more people engage with the nature there – from members of the public to students of conservation learning to use camera traps.

    “These first pictures of hedgehogs are amazing because as far as we know this is the first record of them being this far into the estate for over 20 years.” said Simon Roper, from Ambios Ltd, the nature conservation & education organisation which deployed the cameras via its trainees.

    “Although our rewilding project has only just begun it is so encouraging to get this image of an animal likely to benefit from our future work in restoring nature.  Sharing these pictures is a step towards connecting people with nature,” he added.

    Sharpham Trust Ambios camera trap pheasant
    Sharpham Trust Ambios camera trap pheasant

    Camera Trapping

    The day- and night-time images show a variety of feathered and furred animals, from a Tawny Owl in a tree to a Blackcap by a pool.

    There’s a fox, believed to be a nursing mum, a song thrush bathed in the sun’s rays, a crow close-up and a variety of songbirds beside a pond.

    One of the happiest sights is a hedgehog, caught in a night-sight shot, snuffling in undergrowth.

    “Hedgehogs have been in decline for many years,” said Jack Skuse, Director of Ambios Ltd, the nature conservation training organisation helping Sharpham Trust to deliver The National Lottery Heritage Fund project. “It was exciting to catch one on camera.  This is the mating season, so perhaps this one was looking for a mate.”

    The images were collected by students on an Ambios course in camera trapping.  The hedgehog pictures were gathered by student whose place is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

    Sharpham Trust Ambios camera trap fox 4
    Sharpham Trust Ambios camera trap fox 4

    Organic conversion for Sharpham farmland

    An important aspect of the project Sharpham Wild for People is the exploration of organic farming techniques such as less-intensive grazing, in order to support biodiversity.

    Ambios Ltd already operates Lower Sharpham Farm, an organic farm on the Sharpham Estate, and has just signed a tenancy to take over a further 50 acres of Sharpham parkland, which will be restored to parkland and wood pasture (a habitat with trees that would have characterised Sharpham parkland at the time of its design, in 1762). An additional 137 acres of land has been leased to farmer David Camp for organic conversion.

    “A key mission for Sharpham is to care for wildlife and enable people to connect with our natural world,” said Trust Director Julian Carnell.

    “Because of this project, almost all the estate land will be managed organically which has proven benefits for wildlife,” he said.

    Sharpham Trust Ambios camera trap tawny owl
    Sharpham Trust Ambios camera trap tawny owl

    The effects of Covid-19

    The project was to include school visits, public events, volunteering & training opportunities this summer and autumn, in order to enable a wider range of people to engage with and understand the land’s natural heritage.

    The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that these have been postponed. However, the Trust hopes to start some of these in September, and is pressing ahead with other project goals such as introducing livestock, fencing and surveying wildlife. 

    Sharpham Trust Ambios camera trap hedgehog
    Sharpham Trust Ambios camera trap hedgehog
  • Support local businesses

    We may still be asking visitors to #ComeBackLater due to the latest Government advice to #StayAlert and #StaySafe however you can still support many of our local, independent businesses by shopping online with many offering free postage, or if you’re local you can take advantage of some of the home deliveries available.

    As always, let me know if I’ve missed anything. Local businesses, if you have any updates or NHS / key worker special offers please DM me and I’ll add them to the list, thanks.

    nhs.uk OFFER

    China Blue – they have been giving away a little box of treats to the NHS army in blue, carers, police force and all other key workers in the area to say thank you. You can collect from the front door

    The Kitchen Table – they are offering free stews to Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust paid for by the lovely community members. They can be claimed at any time but need to be collected

    Devon Yurts – will offer special discounts to NHS workers as soon as they’re able to re-open. Get in touch with owner Liz to find out more, discounts depend on the length of stay (ID to be presented please)

    TTS Tyre Services – offering NHS workers free puncture service, free tyre safety checks & discounts on purchases

    A Choice of Gifts from Out of the Blue – they will be offering 20% off to all NHS staff as soon as they are able to re-open (ID to be presented please)

    Canoe Adventures Devon – watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they’re able to open again.

    Smitty’s Hairsalon – watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they’re able to open again.

    JazKids – watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they’re able to open again.

    FAB Totnes – watch this space for their NHS / Key Worker offer as soon as they’re able to open again with a discount and relaxation package


    ME AND EAST – check their website or send them a DM. FREE postage with orders over £50 or £2.95 https://meandeast.com

    China Blue – online shop including paint your own kits https://china-blue-shop.co.uk/collections/arts-crafts/products/paint-your-own-kit-mug-1

    A Choice of Gifts from Out of the Blue – buy online www.a-choice-of-gifts.co.uk

    Yvonne Comber – offering a 25% discount off her prints, hand embellished canvases and original paintings. www.yvonnecoomber.com – enter code LOVEISTHEANSWER at the checkout

    Love Frankie – buy online https://www.lovefrankie.com

    Little Blue Budgie – buy online https://www.littlebluebudgie.co.uk/ or phone 01803 847800 / message via facebook

    Penelope Tom – buy online https://www.penelopetom.com/

    Pagoda Interiors – free delivery for online orders https://www.pagodainteriors.co.uk/


    Colony Life Store – online orders via their website with FREE delivery on orders over £20 https://colonyshops.com

    Conker Shoes – UK customers get FREE UK delivery for all orders made online including shoes, belts, bags, use code FREESHIP20 https://conkershoes.com

    Salago – check out their online shop with this season’s ADINI and the 2020 sandals by Earth Spirit all with BIG DISCOUNTS. https://salago.co.uk

    Fifty5a and Fifty5a men’s store – offering free p&p and personal Totnes delivery via their telephone ordering – 01803 866681 or DM or email [email protected]

    SMALL-FOLK – check their online shop & free UK shipping (no end date). Use code POSITIVITY at checkout for the free postage https://small-folk.co.uk


    White Space Art – check out their online gallery. Offering 10% discount & free delivery on all artworks in the Easter exhibition (and across the site) while the gallery remains physically closed. Use discount code SPRING20. https://www.whitespaceart.com

    Eastgate Gallery in Totnes – contemporary art and craft from local makers including jewellery, textiles, ceramics and much more. Shop online with FREE delivery https://eastgategallerytotnes.com/shop/

    the bowie gallery Totnes Devon – the gallery lights are on daily during normal working hours (pre lockdown) so you can window shop at leisure. Contact Annie Bowie if there’s something you want to inspect closer or buy. Soon open by appointment!


    The Cott Inn – open 7 DAYS A WEEK Monday to Saturday 4 – 8 pm and Sunday 12 – 3pm for takeaway services, drive through collection in the car park

    Willow Vegetarian Restaurant – they will be offering take-aways from 3rd June. They’re asking you to ‘Keep your eye out for menus and details on ordering’

    Waterside Bistro Totnes – their take-away menu is now open from Wed-Sat 5-8pm. Please order online https://www.watersidebistro.com/

    Totnes Grill – Kebab and pizza delivery, call 01803 863835

    Cafe Mumbai – From 5.30pm Tuesday to Sunday call 01803 866171

    Room 101 – pizzas for delivery Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm, call 07727 278428

    The Kitchen Table – still offering dairy, gluten & nut free stews and some houmous. Order for delivery call/ text Sima on 07583400998 or email [email protected] to collect from the Totnes Indsutrial Estate kitchen

    Pie Street – from 13th May take away & delivery Wednesday to Sunday 1pm-8.30pm. Call 01803 868674 to order http://www.piestreet.co.uk/

    Lamaro Bakery – Italian food on Friday and Saturday 5-9pm, call 01803 862288

    Silver Grill – The Totnes Chippy – Opening hours Tuesday – Thursday 16:45-20:00 Friday – Saturday 11:45-14:00, 16:45-20:00 with orders taken over phone and social distancing with one entrance and one exit

    tamarindtree.totnes – on the Industrial Estate next to Kitchen Table with superb Indian food on Friday 1-8pm or Saturday 4-8pm. Let them know what you want by DM, phone 07768964024 or email [email protected]

    Taguchi-ya Canteen – Japanese food on Friday and Saturday collect 5-9pm, order online by Wednesday 12pm https://www.taguchiyacanteen.com/takeaway

    Good Food House – Delivery from 6-10pm every day (except Tuesday when closed), call 01803 864696https://goodfoodhouse.co.uk/

    Back for 2 Seconds – daytime opening in Fore Street

    Pizzaside – Thursday to Sunday 5-8.30pm for collection or delivery. https://www.pizzaside.co.uk/


    Sharpham Wine – grab a few bottles at sharpham.com at 10% off with the code sharpham10 on checkout

    Roly’s Fudge Totnes– buy online https://rolysfudge.co.uk

    Ben’s Farm Shops – Order and Collection service available via their website. Go to the collections form and add your order, they we will call for payment the next day and tell you to collect. https://bensfarmshop.co.uk/self-isolation-collection/

    Earth.Food.Love – free delivery on orders over £20. Full product & price list on their website. Order via email. Click & collect option for those not in the delivery area. http://thezerowasteshop.co.uk

    The Happy Apple – open with social distancing rules in place

    A W Luscombe Butchers – delivering their products and a range of products from other local businesses including Annies Fruit Shop, New Lion Brewery, The Almond Thief, The Wild Fig Deli and more – check their FB page for more details and list of products in one of the images

    Bridgetown Butchers – call 01803 866165/863323 to order where possible to help reduce waiting times in the shop. Minimum order for delivery £25 – free delivery within the Totnes area

    McCabes and Halls Butchers are both also operating

    Majestic Wine – email for delivery or call if over 70. [email protected]

    Annies Fruit Shop – online with delivery to Totnes & the wider area www.anniesoftotnes.co.uk

    The Refillery Totnes – daily deliveries to Totnes & Dartmouth areas, visit the website or call Tracy 07950 269955

    Dartmouth Dairy – deliver to Totnes & surrounding villages on Monday & Thursday ?https://www.dartmouthdairy.com

    Wine & Greene – delivering nationwide via courier and doing local drops every weekday (free over £20 to TQ9) – www.wineandgreene.com

    Seeds 2 Tonnes – delivery service available, check their FB page

    Bridgetown Stores – open Monday – Friday 2pm – 6pm Saturday & Sunday 11am – 3pm and delivering

    Follaton stores – open normal hours 7am-8pm mon to sun with social distancing rules in place

    Dartmouth Fine Foods – home delivery of frozen ready meals, alongside boxes of veg and essentials to Totnes and the surrounding areas – www.dartmoutfinefoods.co.uk


    Barnes the Cleaners – free deliveries & collections daily for Totnes residents

    The Potting Shed Totnes – email [email protected] with your order, name, address and PHONE NUMBER and they will call you back


    Most pharmacies are open with reduced hours and social distancing – please check each page and site for more details. Keep safe and well everyone ??

  • Local Heroes of Totnes

    In addition to inspiring a few modern musicians Totnes has had its fair share of historic success stories. Whether it’s the early exploration of Australia, or a connection to the inventor of the computer, the town has been home to important pioneers in their field. Below are four famous local heroes who have either lived in or were born in Totnes.

    William John Wills
    Visitors to the town may notice the Monolith that stands at the bottom of Fore Street. This is a monument to the explorer William John Wills, born in Totnes, the son of a local doctor. In 1861 he was part of an expedition that became the first to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria and cross Australia from North to South.

    Mary Wesley
    Although she wasn’t born in Totnes the famous novelist Mary Wesley did call it her home, and while living in Totnes wrote ten bestsellers. During her lifetime she sold over three million copies of her books in total.

    Charles Babbage
    Although it’s debatable whether Babbage was born in Totnes the farther of modern computing is definitely linked to the town. Not only was his Grandfather Benjamin Babbage the mayor of Totnes in 1754 but Babbage attended the King Edward VI Grammar school as well.

    Dorothy Elmhirst
    Last but not least Dorothy Elmhirst will be remembered for co-founding the Dartington Hall project with her husband Leonard. After buying the hall in 1925 the Elmhirsts set about restoring the place and turned it into a project that promoted progressive education and rural reconstruction.

    As Totnes continues to be an inspiring place for artists, musicians, and innovators who knows what the future might hold for those born or living in the town today. Visitors can find out more about these local heroes by visiting Totnes museum, taking a stroll out to Dartington Hall or just walking around town.

  • The River Dart and Totnes – Trade and the Town

    As well as being a key feature of the town’s picturesque landscape the River Dart has been an important part of trade in Totnes for hundreds of years. Today Totnes is a tourist hotspot but up until the late 20th century it was an important trading post on a busy river.

    Wool and Wealth

    Totnes owes much of its Elizabethan charm to the River Dart, the trade it enabled making many merchants rich and allowing them to build luxurious houses that still stand to this day. In the 16th century Wool and tin were the main exports, and helped Totnes to become the second wealthiest community in the country.

    As Totnes failed to respond to new trends in cloth manufacturing, and tin production in Ashburton declined, the boom failed to last and trade on the river diminished. However, as of 1636 it was still rated the country’s fifth wealthiest community. As debris from the last of the tin mines made it difficult to navigate the river, traders started to go to Dartmouth instead.

    Plains Sailing

    It may not have recaptured the town’s Elizabethan heyday but the area of Totnes now known as The Plains was once a thriving district of factories exporting the goods they produced via The Dart. Notable businesses included cider makers Bentall, Lloyd and Co, and Symons and Co. Today upmarket residences can now be found where the factories once stood.

    Although the coming of the railway reduced the demand for traders on the river the Dart remains an important part of the town’s economy as a tourist attraction. Anyone visiting Totnes can make the most of the beautiful river, whether it’s by hiring a canoe, walking along its banks, or taking a cruise down to Dartmouth.

  • Totnes Castle

    Totnes Castle stands on a 17.5 meter high manmade motte, which looms over the historic medieval town of Totnes. From its battlements, it commands a splendid and picturesque view across the town below as well as offering scenic views of wild and rugged Dartmoor. Totnes Castle is steeped in a rich and varied history and is the one of the best surviving examples of a Norman motte and bailey castle. Both ‘motte’ and ‘bailey’ are old-French words, ‘motte’ meaning ‘hill’ or ‘mound’ while ‘bailey’ meaning ‘low yard’. Due to Totnes’s strategic position and close proximity to the River Dart, Totnes was a logical place to build a motte and bailey castle.

    Totnes was a well-known port town and had a reputation of being one the best places to harbour a boat; this was due to how far a ship could navigate inland. Evidence of this can be found in a book called “Historia Regum Britanniae” which was written in 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. With a port, Totnes became a fairly wealthy town, as a result of this influx of prosperity, King Edward the Elder in 907 had the town fortified, this resulted in Totnes becoming one of the only fortified towns in the South West, which is evidence that Totnes started to become distinctly affluent. However later on in the town’s history, the mint in Totnes at the time of 1036 (thirty years before the Norman Conquest) had ceased minting, which was an indication that the importance of the town had started to dwindle. Totnes was accorded with a royal charter by King John in 1206, which transformed Totnes into a free town. This meant that Totnes was allowed to formulate its own laws. However Totnes grew to be once again a very prosperous town and in 1523 it was the second richest town in Devon and sixteenth richest town in the whole of England.

    Read more about totnes castle 

  • Enjoying Dartmoor without a car

    Car(e) free Dartmoor

    Visitors to south Devon, particularly those from Europe, are frequently taken aback at the lack of public transport into and around the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. Even if you’re staying in one of the so-called “gateway” towns like Ashburton or Bovey Tracey, it’s not possible to get up to the moor without hiring a taxi or walking for miles on roads before you get to proper moorland scenery. But there are ways for visitors to Totnes to enjoy Dartmoor without a car. Here’s a few of them:

    From Totnes you can get the excellent Stagecoach Gold bus to Ivybridge or South Brent (runs every half hour and even hourly on a Sunday). From both of these towns the walks onto the moor are on footpaths — and if you’re a confident walker able to read a map and compass you can walk from one to the other via some fabulous Dartmoor scenery.

    Ivybridge lies on the lovely river Erme and you can follow the river upstream from the town centre through beautiful woodland, then cut across to the picturesque hamlet of Harford and onto the open moor at Harford Moor Gate. The energetic can walk from here all the way to Piles Copse, one of the three areas of ancient woodland on Dartmoor and an idyllic spot for a picnic. The Two Moors Way runs along the ridge above, and you can follow it back into town passing prehistoric stone rows and with magnificent moorland views.

    In South Brent you can follow footpaths up the equally lovely river Avon valley, via Lutton and Didworthy, then walk up the bridlepath to Corringdon Ball and the Glazebrook valley where there are many prehistoric remains and great high moor scenery. Return on footpaths via Aishridge and Aish.

    On Saturdays between May and September, you can take advantage of the Haytor Hoppa which drives across the moor taking in sights such as Hay Tor, Widecombe and Hound Tor. Take the train to Newton Abbot and pick the bus up there. You can hop off at one place and hop on again at another, thus enjoying a linear walk or two, and eventually returning to Newton Abbot train station. There are four buses and day and the timetable can be found here.

    If you’re used to camping and carrying your own equipment, you can take advantage of the fact that Dartmoor is the only national park in the country that allows wild camping. Take a small tent and pitch it at least 100m from a road or house and the moor is your oyster (with the exception of a few areas – see link below). You can walk from Ivybridge to Okehampton or follow the Two Moors Way from Ivybridge on a more easterly route, finishing somewhere like Chagford. It goes without saying that you need a compass, a map and the ability to navigate before you venture out onto these high moorland routes! Information on wild camping can be found here. Buses can take you from Okehampton or Chagford back to Exeter and from there by train back to Totnes.

    If you’re not comfortable with negotiating your own route or you’d like the benefit of a guide who can introduce you to the hidden delights and history of Dartmoor, contact Dartmoor Walks and Rides This Way. Based in Ashburton, which is served by the regular 88 bus from Totnes, I can meet you at the bus stop and take you for a half-day or full-day exploration of the moor either on foot or on an electric bike. But I’m afraid the 88 bus doesn’t run on Sundays…..

    4 people on bicycles

  • Festive fun, music and family entertainment

    Find out what’s on, when, and where during our Christmas Market and Late Night Shopping evenings*

    Totnes Schedule v2 2 1

    *timings are subject to change

  • Our visit to Totnes by Conversant Traveller

    It had been a day of dappled light and dragonflies. A day of strolling beside sun drenched vineyards, lazy meandering rivers and fragrant herb gardens alive with butterflies. As Hubbie and I sipped chilled glasses of sparkling wine and tucked into tranches of local cheese, we could be forgiven for thinking we were in the south of France, rather than southern England. We’d been exploring Devon, a county famous for it’s mysterious moors, sandy beaches, and national parks, yet it was a medieval market town that had our full attention today. It turns out there are plenty of fun things to do in Totnes, without a moor, beach or park in sight!

    Totnes has a colourful and legendary history, packed full of mythical kings, lords and rebels, and merchants and soldiers. Today it’s known more for its cultural scene, independent local shops and a rather unique cosmopolitan countryside vibe. The town sits on the picturesque River Dart, the sort of tranquil pastoral scene where you’d expect to encounter characters from Wind in the Willows. There are lots of things to do in Totnes, from castles and museums to steam trains and boat trips, but we had our eye on something a little different.

    Vineyards, ghosts and lettuce!

    Saxon in origin, Totnes has been known for both craft and industry, and was once an important and prosperous centre for trade. Although it is still a thriving market town, the Totnes of today is more popular with the artistic community and attracts visitors from near and far to enjoy the buzzing cultural scene and picturesque countryside. The focal point is Totnes castle, commanding a dominant position overlooking the town, and the intriguing range of independent shops, cafes and galleries are all within easy walking distance. There is also plenty to do in the surrounding area, so we spent a fun filled day checking out the best things to do in and around Totnes. Read more about Conversant Traveller

  • Getting to Totnes

    Making sustainable travel choices is simple. Totnes is a 30-minute train journey from Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay. The Gold Bus runs every 30 minutes and takes 50 minutes from The Strand, Torquay and 1 hour from Plymouth.

    When you arrive at the station, it’s a 10 minute walk into the town. The local Bob the Bus town connection service stops at the station.  If you want to take a taxi, it’s wise to book in advance as availability can be limited especially at busy times.

    For detailed bus timetables from Totnes click here.

    For detailed train times check the following websites




  • 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.

  • Revamp of the Bull Inn

    Article by Kate Philbin at the Totnes Times.

    As the planning application was submitted for the transformation of a historic town centre pub, the woman behind the plans has been speaking out about her extraordinary life.

    Geetie Singh-Watson, 48, known to many as the wife of Riverford entrepreneur Guy Watson, is the driving force behind the redevelopment of The Bull Inn in Totnes which aims to become an organic gastropub with letting rooms upstairs. However, it is not an extension of the Riverford empire but a project in its own right and it is hers and hers alone, Geetie insists. She says that people assume The Bull will be run by Riverford or is being financed by Riverford but actually it is neither.

    Raised on a commune in Herefordshire by a mother who was a builder, Geetie was no stranger to hands-on manual work from an early age. Her mother, Liz Singh, bought and restored a derelict cottage, installing everything from the sewage system to the windows. She was “a powerful role model” for Geetie as was her father, Gurmukh Singh, a Sikh entrepreneur who first came to the UK in the 1950s. He founded the first Indian restaurant in London that was owned by its staff. One of its backers was Salman Rushdie.

    Later, her mother remarried and her stepfather, Geoff Petty, an educationalist whose work is used to this day by schools such as Totnes Progressive School, also proved a great role model. At the age of 28, Geetie opened her first “values-driven gastropub”, The Duke of Cambridge in Islington. Inspired by her hardworking parents and the example set by women like Anita Roddick, Geetie was determined to create a thriving pub business that was both ethical and profitable, without compromising on staff welfare or the quality of ingredients.

    She needed £350,000 to build the business. “I asked everyone I knew if they would be interested in investing. No one gave anything they couldn’t afford to lose, it was a gamble but it was fun.” The pub broke even in its first year. Geetie admits she was “too young and cocky” and she “should have listened” to advice from Anita Roddick, who told steadily to build a stable and effective business. Instead, swept along by the dotcom boom, Geetie bought two more pubs in London. “As the business expanded the passion got lost. Within five years I
    sold off the two other pubs and just kept The Duke of Cambridge. Overall it was a positive experience but I felt bad for the investors.” Despite these knockbacks, Geetie believes the experience gave her a far greater understanding of business. “You don’t learn in business when you are being successful, you learn from your failures. If I were investing I would never invest with someone who hasn’t failed at least once because they know nothing.”

    Geetie sold The Duke of Cambridge to Guy Watson four years ago. At the time she was a trustee of the Soil Association and a founder member of the London Food Board with Ken Livingston. She was also working with schools in deprived areas to teach children about healthy cooking. When she met Guy it wasn’t exactly a match made in Heaven.
    She said: “I had known of him in the organic world for many years but he came to talk to me in 2007 about setting up a pub in London. I thought, what are you doing here on my patch? I was very frosty.” The pair met again some years later through the Soil Association and it was a very different meeting. “I realised our business values were completely aligned and that
    he was extraordinary.” They married in 2014. Geetie spent three years running The Riverford Field Kitchen but stopped to concentrate on developing The Bull.

    She has always been fascinated by town centre pubs and looks out for any that are for sale in a town “in the way that other people look out for houses”. She said: “I love The Bull. It looks beautiful and it has great views and a big, corner site in front of an open square. It is slightly off the beaten track which I love as it means tourists have to put some effort into discovering it.”

    The pub is currently in a run-down condition and requires extensive restoration. Geetie has plans to turn it into an organic, values-driven gastropub but without losing its traditional heritage. Its name won’t change as she believes “pub names should be protected, they are part of our history”. The restoration work, which will cost in excess of half a million, is being funded by the sale of Geetie’s London flat. “I rather like the fact that property equity, which feels like an unfair distribution of wealth, is being used to bring a historic Totnes pub back to life.”

    If all goes to plan, the pub will open in Summer 2019. Around 30 jobs will be created and it will use local, organic suppliers. Geetie said: “I grew up in a staunchly feminist household – my mum could strip down a car engine! The fact that people assume Guy is funding my business has opened up a new conversation in our household about feminism. It is great. Guy is a real feminist, he took my name when we got married. It is an exciting time.” The planning application for The Bull is available on the SHDC website, reference: 3376/18/LBC




  • Review of the White Hart at Dartington

    By Muddy Stilettos

    Hey, culture vultures, its time to eat! Muddy feasts more than just her eyes on The White Hart’s new Devon o’clock menu. 

    Click here to read the full review.

    The White Hart at Dartington

  • Fun for the Family and Free: Summer holidays with the kids in Totnes

    Keep the kids entertained without busting the budget with these free family-friendly things to do in Totnes this summer.

    Join the parade

    parade 2 1024x682 1
    Music, dancers and fire at the Totnes Festival Grand Parade

    Featuring giant puppets, music, dancers and a fabulous firelit finale, join in the fun at the Totnes Festival Grand Parade on Sunday 21 August. Alternatively, come along to enjoy the spectacle and party atmosphere.

    Starting at Steamer Quay at 2pm, the parade will work its way through the town finishing with a big party at Borough Park at 5pm. Anyone who fancies getting dressed up or building something that can be pushed, pulled, or carried over the two-mile route is encouraged to take part.

    Free for all, suitable for all ages.

    For more details (including details of a free workshop on Saturday 20 August to help you make props for the parade) click here.

    Kick an orange

    orange race
    Fruity fun

    The famous Totnes Orange Races are sure to a-peel to all ages. It was inspired by the town legend of an unfortunate Elizabethan boy (rumoured to have been Sir Francis Drake) who dropped a precious orange, which rolled down our steep High Street. The races are fun to watch or you can sign up to take part and see if you can be first to kick your orange down the course.  Starting at 11am on Tuesday 16 August, it includes races for children (avoiding the steep hill!)

    Meet at the Market Square to sign up before the races start. Oranges provided.  Great fun and a friendly atmosphere!

    Learn some strictly fabulous dance moves

    DSC07125 1024x809 1
    Keep dancing

    Former BBC Strictly Pro Andrew Cuerden invites you to join him for some FREE and fun outdoor ballroom and Latin dancing alfresco style!

    No matter your age or ability you are welcome to come and either watch or join in the classes and social dancing. There is combination of basic dance tuition and in-between the classes. All are welcome to get on the “dancefloor” to practice their dance moves with or without a partner. Finally, even if you don’t know any ballroom and Latin dancing you are still welcome to come and have a boogie.

    Monday August 15 at Totnes Market Square 5-30pm-7.30pm

    Wednesday August 17 at St Mary’s Churchyard, Totnes 4.30pm-7.30pm

    Thursday August 18 at Totnes Market Square 4.30pm-7.30pm

    Find out more

    Fire, Fury and Gargoyles

    IMG 2221
    Fantastic beasts in Totnes

    Devised and directed by Totnes Festival’s Paul Liengaard, Find Your Inner Gargoyle (FYIG) is a 60 minute live theatrical circus installation and performance. It takes place on and around St Mary’s Church in Totnes at dusk (approx. 8.30pm) on Saturday 20 August.

    Delving deep into the very nature of the wood and stone they are carved from, FYIG will explore this world of demons and fantasy and transform it into a theatrical celebration of somewhere beyond humanity. Using the magnificent St Mary’s Church as set and backdrop, FYIG will transport you to a dark world of fire, fury, and fantastical creatures.

    This event will be using fire and pyrotechnics and is suitable for all ages. The event is free and no booking is required. For more info click here.

    Fishy goings on

    LEAP into an adventure

    Join MED Theatre for LEAP – a family-friendly, fishy adventure this summer as part of the Totnes Festival!

    Folklore, movement and education come together in this tale about the salmon of Devon’s rivers and how we could all play our part in saving their water habitat.

    This is a free event but ‘Pay What You Decide’ donations are welcome after each show. All proceeds will help to fund MED Theatre’s work with young people and adults at risk of isolation.

    23 August at Vire Island, Totnes. 10.30am, 11.30am and 12.30pm: each show 30 mins approx. Suitable for all ages, please bring chairs or blankets to sit on.


    Go wild for moths

    Privet Hawk Moth
    Privet Hawk Moth

    Find out more about moths in Sharpham’s fun, family event that’s FREE for under-18s.

    You can learn about moth and butterfly life-cycles and create your own moth-wing designs. Ranger Phil Wilson will set a moth trap in Sharpham’s woodland the night before ready for a big Moth Reveal at this event. This will allow you to get close-up to these fascinating insects before safely releasing them back into the wild.

    Finally, there will also be a circular walk down to the fields on the Sharpham Estate to look for day-flying moths and butterflies.

    The event runs from 10-12.30pm and it is free for under 18s. Book here

    More fun for all ages …

    For more inspiration and a list of the best events for all ages in and around Totnes, go to www.visittotnes.co.uk/whats-on/

    For more family-friendly days out, take a look at www.visittotnes.co.uk/see-and-do-tax/family-fun/  

  • 48 hours in Totnes

    Set in the heart of South Devon, between the wilds of Dartmoor and the sparkling waters of Start Bay, lies the bohemian market town of Totnes.

    Easily accessible by train in under three hours from London, and with no need for a car while you’re there, Totnes is the perfect spot for a weekend break spent exploring the town’s independent shops and restaurants, fascinating markets and vibrant culture and music scene.

    What’s more, a self-catering holiday property in Totnes with Toad Hall Cottages gives you the freedom to discover the town at your own pace, and after a long day exploring, you can relax and unwind in your very own home from home.

    Day one
    Having arrived and settled into your holiday cottage the night before, it’s time to start exploring!

    Retail Therapy
    Shops and markets flourish in Totnes, which flies the flag for Fairtrade and ethical retail. You can easily lose a contented morning browsing the unique gift shops and galleries that line the steep high street, or exploring the regular Friday and Saturday markets in Civic Square for unusual gifts.

    Café Scene
    Having worked up an appetite you’ll be spoilt for choice for lunching spots in Totnes from its chic restaurants and bistros to its vibrant cafés and delicatessens, this really is a foodie’s heaven. Choose from authentic Italian at The Curator Café & Kitchen, inventive vegetarian dishes at Willow or Seeds 2, or a leisurely lunch overlooking the river at Waterside Bistro as well as many more fantastic independent cafés and eateries.

    The High Street

    Ghost Cats, Castles & Cromwell
    A good place to start discovering the rich and colourful heritage of Totnes is at the Totnes Museum on Fore Street. Here you can take a tour around a medieval kitchen and climb the iconic spiral staircase carved from a ship’s mast. The museum is also said to be home to a feline ghost with visitors regularly reporting to have felt the tail of an invisible cat against their legs while viewing the exhibits here!

    From the museum, head to the nearby Grade I listed 16th-century guildhall on Ramparts Walk, one of Totnes’ most historic buildings. Home of the town council for over 450 years, this Tudor building still houses the table where Oliver Cromwell sat in 1646 during the final throes of the English Civil War.
    And what better way to end your afternoon of discovery than a visit to Totnes Castle.

    Standing strategically at the top of town, with far-reaching views across the town and beautiful Dart Valley, Totnes Castle is an immaculately preserved example of a Norman motte-and-bailey fortress and well worth a visit.

    Live Music
    If you still have some energy left after your busy day exploring, Totnes has a thriving and varied live music scene. So if you’re partial to a live gig head out in the evening to The Barrel House, The Bay Horse Inn or The Dartmouth Inn which all hold regular music nights to suit all tastes.

    Day two

    Pygmy Goats, Eagle Owls and Steam Trains
    After a lazy Sunday morning breakfast at your holiday property, head to Totnes Rare Breeds Farm; a family-owned attraction dedicated to the preservation of endangered farm animals. A very hands-on attraction, here you can cuddle a guinea pig, feed the goats or smooth the feathers of a huge eagle owl, and lots more!

    Close by you’ll find the South Devon Steam Railway, where you can hop on a vintage steam train and take a trip along the beautiful River Dart valley.

    Sunday Lunch – Decisions, Decisions
    Back in town there are serious decisions to be made – which pub to choose for Sunday Lunch when there are so many great free houses to discover. The answer is they’re all pretty good but some favourites include The Steam Packet Inn with its riverside beer garden and the highly acclaimed gastro pub The Bull Inn, or why not break from tradition at Pie Street .

    And then when you thought you’d made up your mind someone mentions the Totnes Good Food Sunday Market! Devon’s largest fine food farmers market held on the 3rd Sunday of each month. Here you can sample and buy a wide range of quality produce from local producers or grab a take away from one of the street food vendors to eat al fresco in the sunshine.

    Boats at the edge of the pier

    Messing about on the River
    If working off lunch out on the water sounds like fun then Totnes is certainly the place.

    Canoe Adventures offers adventure-filled experiences on the River Dart for all ages and abilities. But if that all sounds like too much effort, why not hop aboard the Totnes to Dartmouth river cruiser, and savour some of the region’s most enchanting waterways.

    And just like that the weekend is all but over, but the beauty of Totnes is that there are always new things to discover, so on your journey home, you could spend the time planning your next visit to this unique and fascinating town.

    Where to stay
    Couples will love Riverside Loft, a romantic waterside apartment overlooking Vire Island and the River Dart. Wake up to views of Totnes’ Castle from 10 Castle Street tucked beneath the ancient castle walls or as a complete contrast take a look at The Sidings an ultra-modern eco-house in the centre of town. Or for dog owners, 2 North Castle Mews is a colourful and contemporary dog-friendly townhouse, just moments from Totnes’ high street

    For further information on holiday properties in Totnes and beyond visit
    www.toadhallcottages.co.uk or call 01548 202020

  • 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.)

  • Eat al fresco in and around Totnes

    There are many ways to enjoy eating al fresco in and around Totnes with delicious menus at riverside restaurants, pretty pub gardens and high street tables, but why not take your open air eating to another level and have a picnic in a unique location with far reaching views of the countryside. With July being National Picnic Month what better time to do so.

    When it comes to deciding where to kick off your shoes and lay your blanket we have many beautiful locations for you to try.

    Why not explore the River Dart and neighbouring coast from a whole new perspective with Canoe Adventures and Sea Kayak Devon and choose a secluded spot along the way to stop for lunch. Or with the Dart running through Totnes you can sit along the bank of the river and watch the boats go by while enjoying your plate of nibbles. There are also many natural and leafy parks and gardens in and around town and on Dartington Estate where you can stop and relax, enjoy your food at leisure and watch the children play.

    You could combine your picnic with a short walk or cycle from Totnes to Sharpham Cheese and Wine, Dartington Estate or the Shops at Dartington where you can stock up on more local food and drink, have a wander and soak up the superb views of each location.

    Take a steam train to Buckfastleigh with South Devon Railway where you can walk (or take a bus) to Buckfast Abbey and enjoy your food in the stunning grounds, or walk along the river while listening to the birds sing. Climb to the top of Totnes Castle and gaze at the wonderful views of Totnes and beyond or visit Berry Pomeroy Castle, both offering the perfect location to enjoy your refreshments.

    When it comes to deciding what to pack for your picnic the wide variety of delis, cafes, independent shops, farmer’s markets and bakeries in Totnes, Dartington and Sharpham mean you can ditch the soggy sandwiches and create a fresh, local and seasonal feast fit for all.

    If you fancy some Devon Blue or Sharpham Rustic cheese to go with your crusty bread, visit Sharpham Wine and Cheese or Country Cheeses and Saveurs, The Old Bakery or Flour & Rice for the loaf. For some fresh fruit and the all important salad grown locally in Devonshire soil try Annie’s or The Happy Apple, or if you’re feeling more Mediterranean why not grab some olives, charcuterie or continental cheeses from Mangetout, Jano or Amalie’s Deli. And no picnic is complete without a slice of homemade cake so stop off at Waterside Bistro or one of the many cafes or bakeries in and around town for some tasty treats.

    Most cafes and independent food outlets in town will also supply take away drinks from the likes of Luscombe to keep you hydrated on those balmy summer days…or why not sample a bottle of something fizzy or fruity from the Totnes Wine Company, the only shop in town to stock the entire range of Sharpham wine.

    For those who’d like all the pleasure of eating in nature but don’t have time to prepare the food, The Kitchen Table specialises in outside catering and sources all of their key ingredients from within 30 miles of Totnes, so you will get quality, local food without any of the hassle.

    Don’t forget to pack your sun cream or raincoat for those unpredictable days but most of all, stop, relax and enjoy your day being at one with the world.

  • 2023 Map and Guide

  • Totnes: Great British Breaks

    The Devon market town has an eco outlook and vegan vibes

    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.

  • Five Brilliant Bookshops You’ll Love In Totnes

    We celebrate Independent Bookshop Week (17-24 June 2023) with our guide to Totnes’ FIVE brilliant independent bookshops.  From the thrill of brand new, never-opened pages to that familiar scent of a pre-loved classic, come to browse the shelves. You’ll find your next literary love with our pick of bookshops in Totnes Devon. 

    shop image
    The Eastgate Bookshop drawn by local illustrator Hennie Haworth

    The East Gate Bookshop

    Wander up Fore Street towards the iconic East Gate Arch to find the award-winning East Gate Bookshop.  The husband-and-wife team behind this fully independent literary emporium have over thirty years’ experience in the book trade between them.  Catering to all readers, you can find everything from best sellers (including signed copies) to books by local authors. There’s a strong focus on books regarding the natural world. From nature writing to identification guides and books concerning environmental issues.

    Owner Nigel adds: “Recently we have expanded our children’s range and expanded our fiction section by moving it upstairs into our lovely mezzanine. We aim to create an inviting space, where people feel welcome and comfortable spending quality time browsing our comprehensive range of books.”

    Dartington Trust Books

    Dartington Trust Books

    On the corner of the Market Square, you’ll find Dartington Trust Books with its fabulous choice of books for all ages as well as other beautifully curated gifts. 

    You’ll find a strong emphasis on the arts, ecology and social justice within the pages on the shelves. Manager Graeme Estry explains: “We aim to reflect and articulate the ethos of the Trust, which is a progressive and practical synthesis of arts, ecology, social justice and learning. In line with the history of Dartington, we champion committed, independent and experimental thought, with a focus ranging from the local to the international.”

    World-renowned Arcturus Books

    Arcturus Books

    Arcturus Books has been a consistent and inspiring presence in Totnes for over 30 years. Nicknamed ‘Self-Help Central’, Arcturus Books aims to be ‘deliberately different’, specialising in books that support the soul.  Owner Meg Sims explains: “Although we do stock the bestsellers, we aim to cater for the reader who is looking for something that little bit different. At Arcturus, you will find an ever-changing collection of books on all genres. From psychology to self-development, spirituality to health and nutrition, the environment to history and many more in between.  We also hold an extensive range of books on Wicca, Pagan and Magic, as well as a stock of sage and incense. Beyond books, we also offer a unique selection of tarot and oracle cards. These vary from beginner’s sets to those seeking more variety and inspiration for your readings.”

    Run by Meg and Will, you’ll find Arcturus at the junction between Fore Street and Station Road.

    Castle Bookshop
    Castle Bookshop

    Castle Bookshop

    Take a step away from the High Street to find the delightful Castle Books. Located on Castle Street in the shadow of Totnes’ fabulous Norman motte and bailey castle, this gem of a second-hand bookshop is the place to head if you love old books.  Inside, you will find a wonderful selection of everything from children’s books and classics to rare and out-of-print books. Volunteer Gill added: “Castle Books is a community bookshop. Run by volunteers with a love of all things literary, the shop sells (and buys) pre-loved books. The window is always a delight and highly topical, and the shop itself is full of surprises. Don’t miss it!”

    Oxfam Books

    Oxfam Books

    Finally, in your hunt for the best bookshops in Totnes Devon, don’t miss Oxfam Books and Music. You’ll find this dedicated store located on The Narrows, towards the top end of the town. The books on offer range from current-day Top 10 bestsellers to the rare and antiquarian. You never quite know what you’ll find!  What you can be sure of is that you’ll get a great deal, make a sustainable choice, and help support charity in one go with every purchase.

    Melinda from Oxfam Bookshop added: “The Oxfam Book Shop is a treasure trove for books on almost any topic. Opened in 2005, the shop is supplied with donations from the local community, and supported by a team of book loving volunteers. It’s a great place to pick up a good novel, or search for something unusual or antiquarian. Most popular with customers are the Literature, Arts and Mind, Body Spirit sections, but we stock everything from plays to politics, cooking to crafts and much much more.”

    Find out more

    To find out more about getting to Totnes and other nearby places to visit and where to eat, go to www.visittotnes.co.uk

    Dartington Book
    Dartington Trust Books is next to the Market Square
  • 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 energysavingtrust.org.uk 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.

  • The atmospheric town taken by the sea

    Only 18 miles from Totnes the village of Hallsands near Kingsbridge in south Devon is the village that fell into the sea. To say the village is still there would be bending the truth slightly, however the remains (which are now closed) can still be seen from the safety of a viewing platform over the cliffs.

    No-one knows exactly when Hallsands was established although some say it was probably in about 1600 and growing in the 18th and 19th centuries. By 1891 it had 37 houses, the London Inn and a population of 159 with a very close community. Most residents owned their own homes and depended on fishing, mainly crab, for a living. It was a hazardous business with irregular earnings and frequent losses at sea. Everyone, including women and children, helped haul in the boats and nets.

    Everything was fine until the 1890s when the Admiralty decided that the naval dockyard at Keyham near Plymouth should be expanded which required hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete. In January 1896 the construction company Sir John Jackson Ltd was granted permission to dredge shingle from the coast between Hallsands and neighbouring Beesands. Many fishermen at the time, who knew the area offshore intimately, opposed the plans saying the dredging would alter the seabed as well as the beach and what was taken would certainly not be replaced.

    Despite the resident’s protestations dredging began in the spring of 1897 and during the next four years some 660,000 tonnes of material were removed. Activity was eventually paused when opposition from several fishing villages grew as they saw their shingle beaches being relentlessly carried away.


    It took 18 years from the start of the dredging to the final destruction of Hallsands village. It had been assumed that the removal of any shingle would be replaced naturally but we now know that the same shingle which protects the nearby villages of Beesands and Torcross was deposited thousands of years ago during the ice ages, and is not being replaced.


    An inquiry was established in response to protests from villagers who feared the dredging might threaten their beach and village, but dredging continued after it was decided that the activity was not likely to pose a significant threat. However by 1900 the level of the beach had started to fall and in the autumn storms that year, part of the sea wall was washed away. In November 1900, villagers petitioned their Member of Parliament, Frank Mildmay complaining of damage to their houses, and in March 1901 Kingsbridge Council wrote to the Board of Trade complaining of damage to the road.

    The Liberal MP for the area was extremely supportive of the residents of Hallsands and on more than one occasion offered his own money to help out the residents.

    In September 1901 a new Board of Trade inspector concluded that further severe storms could cause serious damage and recommended that dredging be stopped and on 8th January 1902 the dredging licence was revoked.

    On 26th January 1917 a combination of easterly gales and exceptionally high tides breached Hallsands’ defences and the village fell into the sea! Miraculously no one was hurt but many families had to relocate to neighbouring villages having lost everything.

    Only one house was left standing after the destruction. The owner Elizabeth Prettyjohn stubbornly refused to leave and lived there with her chickens until her death in 1964. She acted as a guide to the visitors who came over the years curious to see the remains of the village. Today her house is used as a summer holiday home.
    Another famous Hallsands resident was Ella Trout together with her sisters Patience, Clara and Edith. When their fisherman father, William, became sick, Patience and then Ella gave up school and operated his boat which was the only source of income for the family. William died in 1910 when Ella was 15 years old. On 8th September 1917, after the Hallsands disaster, Ella was crab fishing with her 10 year old cousin William when they saw the SS Newholm struck by a naval mine one mile south of Start Point. With William Stone, another fisherman in the vicinity, they rowed to the scene and helped rescue nine men. In recognition of her bravery she received the Order of the British Empire.

    The sisters, with compensation for the destruction of their cottage at Hallsands plus some earnings, built Trout’s Hotel on the cliff above the deserted village. The Trouts ran the hotel successfully until 1959. More recent owners moved down from London and attracted some of their well-known friends to stay including Danny La Rue and Larry Grayson, and for years their signed photographs hung on the walls of the dining room. The hotel has since been turned into apartments now called Prospect House.

    In more recent years the story of Hallsands has been turned into an opera called ‘Whirlwind’ commissioned by acclaimed company Streetwise Opera and written by Will Todd, one of the country’s leading young opera composers, and Ben Duwell, and has also featured in a book by Steve Melia called “Hallsands; A Village Betrayed”.

    You can walk to Hallsands from the villages of Beesands or Torcross following the South West Coast Path. Beesands, albeit a small village, has a café and toilets and free car parking. Torcross is bigger with a few cafes and a pub and more (charged) parking. Please note that you can no longer drive from Blackpool Sands to Slapton Sands and then on to Torcross because of the recent storms and road damage which in itself is somewhat ironic.

    Hallsands and Beesands are both walkable with a moderate degree of accessibility from Torcross, which has ample (paid) parking. Beesands however has free parking. If driving from Totnes head for Dartmouth, then Slapton and finally Torcross.

    If you want to travel by bus you can take the 164 to Kingsbridge or the X64 to Dartmouth and then catch the number 3 to Torcross. All routes joining the coastal villages are part of the South West Coast Path and therefore accessible at all times.

  • 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 and surrounding area in the Spotlight . . .

    Written by Jeremy Holloway, Visit Totnes Informtion Officer

    Totnes, and the surrounding South Devon area, has often had a starring role in films and television series. Churches, historic houses, ferries, even harpoon guns, carnivorous crabs and suicidal fish, they’ve all played their part.

    Down the River Dart from Totnes is “Lighthaven”, as featured in the television series The Coroner, a town better known as Dartmouth to locals of course. The hit daytime show stars Claire Goose as single mum Jane Kennedy who returns to her hometown to investigate murders alongside childhood sweetheart Detective Sergeant Davey Higgins.

    Producer Sandra MacIver says “We wanted to feature Dartmouth as a major location as it’s so beautiful and the view across to Kingswear is breath-taking. The way the light twinkles across the River Dart always makes it feel like summertime, even in February. The slogan we use for The Coroner is ‘summer holidays all day long every day’. “Dartmouth provided us with a town feel to our fictional Lighthaven,” says Sandra. “We’re made very welcome by the locals. They help us out a lot and we in turn we try and keep ourselves discreet and not get in the way of the busy town.”

    Amoungst other sites used in the filming of The Coroner are Blackpool Sands, Leonards Cove, Slapton Sands, Bellever Forest, Bonehill Rocks, Hound Tor and Salcome. And not forgetting the Dartington Estate of course as this features regularly throughout the series, and is where The Coroner’s production office was based.

    Dartmouth is not of course new to being featured on television as it was also used for the Onedin Line, a 1970s BBC shipping drama set in Liverpool. Bayards Fort, the scene of many TV series, was used in the series and is at the far end of Bayards Cove from whence to Pilgrim Fathers sailed a long, long time ago.

    Further along the coast at both Bigbury on Sea and Burgh Island Agatha Christie’s two famous sleuths and acclaimed crime-solvers Poirot and Miss Marple have been filmed, starring David Suchet and Geraldine McEwan respectively. The beach at Bigbury on Sea has also been seen in television shows such as the 1980s’ classic Lovejoy and GMTV’s slimming segment Inch Loss Island (starring Anton du Beke).
    As well as the setting for various adaptations of Christie’s Evil Under The Sun, the location also featured in the 1965 film Catch Us If You Can, starring the British band The Dave Clark Five.

    Further along the coast is the port and seaside town of Teignmouth, used for The Mercy, the Donald Crowhurst Movie. Filmed in Teignmouth in June 2015 and starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz the film tells the story of the doomed yachtsman Donald Crowhurst. The film was released in February 2018.

    Moving inland as far as the parish of Marldon, in the small village of Compton, Compton Castle was used as the estate of one of the characters in the film Sense and Sensibility. Sense and Sensibility was a hit screenplay directed by Ang Lee and based on the Jane Austen novel. With an all-star cast, featuring Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant it managed to be nominated for seven Academy Awards with Emma Thompson scooping the Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, having written the script as well as staring in the film herself.

    St Mary’s Church in Berry Pomeroy also makes an appearance in the final wedding scene of the film and is situated not far from Totnes. Built in the 1490’s this historical building is still a large part of the community at Berry Pomeroy. Nearby is Berry Pomeroy Castle, rumoured to be one of the most haunted places in England, making the Castle and St Mary’s Church a great day out for film lovers and history buffs.

    Moving even further inland and thanks to the release of the popular film War Horse, co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, Dartmoor National Park is now a must see destination when coming for a holiday in South Devon.

    The box-office hit, released in the UK on 13th January 2012, focuses on the captivating story of a farm boy from Devon, Albert Narracott (played by Jeremy Irvine) who grows attached to his young horse, Joey. After a heavy downpour which destroys the family’s turnip crops, his father, is forced to sell the horse to the army so that he can pay his rent. The blockbuster takes the audience through a moving journey about how Albert joins the army in search for his horse Joey after he is shipped to France during the First World War. Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston have roles in the movie.

    Locations used included Haytor, Combestone Tor, Venford Reservoir, Meavy and Sheepstor. Spielberg praised the beauty of Dartmoor, saying “I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.”

    Many of the locations used in War Horse are in rural areas on Dartmoor but are still within a short driving distance of Totnes.



  • Award-winning Roly’s Fudge

    Roly’s Fudge are celebrating winning the Taste of the West “Sauces and Accompaniment” Champion Award for 2021, with their Roly’s Salted Caramel Fudge Sauce.

    The award is the most coveted food and drinks award in the South West for foods at the top of their category.

    Roly’s Fudge Sauce beat many other contenders for the Champion award.

    It is the fourth Champion award for Roly’s Fudge, which has previously won Champion Confectionery for Salted Maple & Pecan twice, as well as Champion Confectionery for Cherry Bakewell Fudge last year.

    All of the fudge flavours and sauces entered were handmade with traditional ingredients in Roly’s Fudge, which continues with the same recipes that the Totnes shop has used for more than 20 years.

    rolys fudge 1

    According to John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West: “These awards underpin our core values and strengthen our regional brand, a brand which is attracting considerable interest from new markets – both nationally and internationally, and is now helping to attract more and more visitors to our region each year so playing a major part in our visitor economy. Our sincere congratulations to all the finalists and overall winners, and to all of our valued sponsors and partners who continue to support us.”

  • Creating memories that last a lifetime

    For a fun and memorable experience that you can take away with you, China Blue’s Ceramic Studio has been designed with you in mind. The largest of its kind in the South West, Paint Your Own offers a fantastic range of pottery for the whole family to decorate. Simply pop in, choose your ceramic, and get painting!

    There are three children, one boy and two girls. She raises her hand.

    The wide range of activities that we offer include:

    Pottery painting – Simply pop in, choose your ceramic and get painting! We will then glaze your masterpiece ready for collection in person or to be sent straight to your address.
    Paint & Go – Don’t want to wait to have your finished piece? Decorate your chosen ceramic with poster paints and you can take it away with you  the very same day! (Please note: these ceramics arenot food safe or waterproof).
    Hand and foot casts – Looking for a special memento of your little one? We can help you create a unique hand or foot cast to treasure forever.
    • Pot throwing – If you like the idea of making something from scratch, our friendly and helpful staff offer pot throwing sessions, which are also available as a gift voucher.
    • Parties and events – we can accommodate birthday parties, hen/stag do’s, school visits, creative workshops and team building events with a private studio and WiFi.

    To find out more or to book an event, call us on 01803 860908 or email [email protected]

    The fun doesn’t end once you’ve finished your masterpiece. Browse China Blue’s lifestyle store for a great selection of fun and contemporary gifts from exclusive brands, including:
    • Tableware and decorations
    • Lights and lamps
    • Vases and glassware
    • Soft furnishing
    • Beauty and toiletries
    • Food and drink

    All that creativity and shopping can be tiring, so why not take a break in China Blue’s tempting café? Delicious savouries and sweets are freshly made daily, perfect with a cup of tea or freshly brewed bespoke coffee. Relax indoors or outside in our lavish patio area, perfect for those warm summer days.

    Just some of the treats available include:
    • Cooked breakfasts
    • Brunches
    • Croissants, cakes and cream teas
    • Jacket potatoes
    • Ciabattas and sandwiches
    • Soups and salads
    • Pastries, quiches and pies

    We also have a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options available.

    For more information, call us on 01803 860906 or email [email protected]

  • Experiencing the River Dart has never been easier…

    To say that we’re raring to go is an understatement! Like everyone at the moment, we’re poised and ready to go just as soon as the government says we can: shiny clean SUPS, canoes and kayaks ready for hire; river sparkling; safety measures in place; and instructors shaven and shorn (OK, maybe not the last bit). We’re hoping to open up on March 29th and are taking bookings from now.

    If you’re itching to get out onto the river after walking its banks for these long winter months, you’ll be pleased to know that the wait is over. Whether pootling off or powering away, wobbling or gliding on the SUP, you’re welcome to hire the boats and paddleboards, no experience necessary. A gorgeous family-friendly stretch of the Dart with enough space to feel like you have it to yourself.

    Find us at the beach at the bottom of the concrete track on the meadows (Dartington Estate) every weekend + 7 days a week through school holidays* where you can turn up any time between 10-4pm and hire whatever craft you fancy for only £10pp/h (50% NHS discount on the first hour). If you’d prefer to let someone else do the work, book a half or full day with an instructor who’ll teach you some tricks and take you wherever you want, within reason! Book at: dynamicadventurescic.co.uk/activities

    Leaning into local outdoor life.

    If you prefer to stay dry, there’s plenty of options. Let us take you rock climbing, bouldering, weaselling, scrambling and abseiling on Dartmoor. Or build your own Half Day Adventure by combining any three of these fun activities: assault course, abseiling, ziplining, high ropes, archery and climbing on our 70ft crag.

    Outdoors together again.

    Thank you for your ongoing support of our CIC – we’re looking forward to seeing you as soon as is safe and whatever the weather! Hurrah!

    *subject to river conditions – check Facebook/ Instragram/ website for update

    For more information, see out page by clicking here.

    canoe on the dart
    Dynamic Adventures

  • Independent Totnes Cinema

    How many High Streets in Great Britain can boast their very own independent art-house cinema?

    Totnes Cinema CIC is a social enterprise, set up by a local couple, passionate about film and excited about Totnes. So far the project has been entirely funded by local donations and memberships and the success of its carefully chosen programme, and we still have plenty more to do!! All the bar staff, stewards, and musicians volunteer their time and are paid with the chance to watch the film.

    Totnes Cinema is located in the heart of Totnes, down a hidden passageway just off the High St. Our mission was to bring back the magic of cinema to our local town. We were inspired by a wonderful photograph, taken in the late 1940s of boys holding banners saying “Save our Cinema,” and in true Totnes style, they marched up the High St to make their feelings known. There had been a cinema in Totnes from the early days of film and the last remaining one, The Romany, closed its doors in 1964 due to falling audiences. The building became the well-loved Totnes Library until its expansion and relocation, and the building fell empty. As a local couple, film lovers and with teenage children, we took on the challenge of re-creating a cinema for our local town center to create a social and cultural hub in the town.

    As you leave the hustle and bustle of the market day, you are taken into this unique and surprising space, more like a Berlin cabaret than a cinema, with subdued lighting, comfy sofas, bistro table and chairs and luxurious cinema seats on the balcony. We even have a baby grand piano!

    As a truly independent cinema, we can offer a wide range of films, carefully chosen from all genres including classic black and white film noir, the best from musical theatre, and modern-day classics and Oscar winners.

    With a fully licensed bar which stretches the width of the building, beneath an enormous screen we encourage people to come early and enjoy cocktails, fine wines, and craft beers and to meet up with friends, often with live music and a showreel of classic adverts. There is always someone around afterward, to chat and discuss the film. On a Saturday you can pop in for excellent coffee and homemade cake, as our “mystic portal” opens up to daylight.

    We believe we add to the uniqueness of our wonderfully independent High St and complement all the many individual traders and businesses around us, bringing life to the evenings on the High St as well as the days.

    Jane Hughes, Director of Totnes Cinema

  • 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: www.southdevonrailway.co.uk and some colour photos are attached for your use of the Bubblecar courtesy of Sarah Anne Harvey.

  • 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.