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10 April 2021

What the towns and villages have to offer on the South of Dartmoor

Stickwick is surrounded by wonderful towns and villages, all full of history and heritage. Why not visit three of our favourites – just a 20-minute drive from us.

Totnes

Totnes provides an exciting sense of adventure, with its ancient castle overlooking this quaint, spiritual and historic market town set on the banks of the pretty River Dart. Check out the Totnes Castle. 

Wander up one side and down the other to take in all that the colourful High Street with the special vibe Totnes has to offer. The imposing, much photographed medieval East Gate Arch dominates the town and houses the attractive and famous clock. 

The shops have an easy-going charm, mostly independent, specialising in a fascinating array of unique alternative therapies, art galleries, interior design, fair trade, ethical goods and wholefood.

Enticing markets with special events, such as ‘Elizabethan’ and ‘Good Food’ take place on different days, check out the website to make sure you don’t miss anything. 

There is a lively and diverse café culture in the town with tempting organic food, wine bars, pubs and restaurants, including some by the river, which is perfect on a sunny day.

The Tourist Information (see www.visittotnes.co.uk) is in the market square and will be able to provide you with details and ideas of how to get the most from your visit, including walks from the town along the river, exciting boat trips, Fashion and Textile Museums.

Totnes has easy to access car parks throughout the town.

On your way out of Totnes towards Dartmouth why not stop at Sharpham Vineyard, Sharpham Estate, Totnes TQ9 7UT. See the website for further details.

In the perfect climate and soil of this beautiful area, Sharpham is able to produce world class British wine on their 500-acre site beside the River Dart. Enjoy a relaxing walk and feast your eyes on the spectacular scenery.

There is a purpose-built creamery next to the winery producing award-winning handmade cheeses.

Book a table to dine at the alfresco café, serving a diverse menu of dishes, accompanied by a glass of their delicious Devon produced wine.

Tours and tastings are bookable, so don’t miss out. Sadly, 2021 is the last year that Sharpham will be at this location, owing to their move to a sister vineyard further down river.

Buckfastleigh

A proud place full of history – a former wool town, with many mills still standing. All the family will enjoy the adventure of an exciting trip on The South Devon Steam Railway, TQ11 0DZ, which puffs nostalgically alongside the River Dart, with views of farms, woods and countryside between Buckfastleigh and Totnes Riverside Station (a twenty-minute walk from the town).

Train lovers will be enthralled by the sights and smells, as well as being able to go behind the scenes at the workshops, signal boxes and museum. Photo opps a-plenty.

Visit the website for the line’s history and take a virtual journey to whet your appetite for a trip on the real thing, as well as details of special events, timetable and bookings. There is a great gift/model shop with books, model railway and souvenirs, as well as children’s playground, picnic area and refreshments.

Close to the railway is the Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies. Plenty of time can be spent in this area whatever the weather. There are special offers for tickets which will combine this attraction with the train journey to Totnes Riverside Station – and the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm.

The picturesque train journey pauses at Staverton, with its relaxing riverside walks and a Buffet Car selling drinks and snacks to enjoy before catching a later train.

You can’t miss the chance to see Buckfast Abbey which dates back to 1018 and today it is a working, self-sufficient home to a community of Benedictine monks. Find out about the history of the Abbey, how the monks live and the work they do in the community.  

The awe-inspiring and historic Abbey is a stunning back drop to the beautifully laid out tranquil gardens, that are worth visiting at any time of the year. Inspiringly well-designed sections thrill your senses and encourage you to relax and forget the day-to-day hubbub of life.

Browse in the Monastic Shop, information point, bookshop, or excellent gift shop selling the famous Buckfast Tonic Wine.

The self-service Grange Restaurant is bright and airy with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Hot and cold food, with drinks, snacks and cakes.

Plenty of free parking and you can easily spend half a day here.

Check the website for times of services, musical concerts and details of special events.

Ashburton – Gateway to Dartmoor

Steeped in history and was once an important ancient tin mining town. There are still unusual ceremonial heritage events held in the town and they are great fun (the main Portreeve and Bailiff ale tasting and bread weighing ceremony is usually the third Saturday of July).

There is an interesting museum housed in a quaint high street building – well worth a visit and will fascinate all the family. Among the local history artifacts, is a collection of items on North American Indians. Check opening times at the museums website.

The Town is now an attractive rural town with galleries, books shops, information centre, old fashioned hardware shop and good quality craft and gift shops.

If you’re an antiques enthusiast, or simply enjoy mooching around antique and second hand shops, this is the place for you! Ashburton has developed its own ‘Antiques Trail’, so you don’t need to miss anything.  

There is a selection of pubs, cafes, restaurants and an artisan bakery, easy parking.

Travel by car via the A38, or take a scenic drive across Dartmoor to enjoy the stunning, varied landscapes, ponies, sheep, cattle, flora and fauna on the way.

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