Totnes Area Guide


Dating back to 907 AD Totnes is a fascinating historical town. It is this combined with a good range of shops, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants, an independent cinema not to mention many interesting attractions make it stand out as a very special place. Located in the heart of South Devon on the banks of the River Dart, this unique and charming town has an international reputation for its lively and diverse community whilst also having a relaxed atmosphere, which means it has something for everyone.

Totnes has an excellent range of small independent retailers and unique shops, with a focus on fair trade goods, handmade crafts and ethical products alongside quality clothes, seasonal food, beautiful gifts and so much more. Every week the town bustles with lively, local traders selling crafts, gifts and food on Fridays and Saturdays, an Elizabethan market held each Tuesday morning (May-September), when traders dress in Elizabethan period costumes and the Food Market every third Sunday of the month.

The town has a wealth of history to explore with many historic buildings lining the streets plus local museums, the atmospheric Guildhall which has been the home of the town council for over 450 years, the Norman motte and bailey Castle which overlooks the town, and the beautiful St Mary’s Church which is open to the public all year.

Totnes was also one of the first Transition Towns in the UK, TTT as it is known very briefly is a community-led and run local charity that exists to strengthen the local economy, reduce the environmental impact, and build up a resilience for a future with less cheap energy and a changing climate. Their work ranges from increasing low impact affordable housing, sharing skills, creating livelihoods, reducing energy costs and carbon emissions, growing the local food economy to   working in partnership with other local projects.

There are two good primary schools, The Grove & St Johns which feed into King Edward VI community college (KEVICC) and in addition to this are 3 grammar schools in the catchment– Torquay Boys, Torquay Girls and Churston which is co-educational.

Last but not least Totnes is blessed to be located at the highest navigable point of the River Dart, which provides a stunning backdrop to the town and is much used and loved by locals and tourists alike. There are innumerable river walks, busy cycle paths, an active kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming scene and in addition both the Totnes Boating Association and the Totnes Rowing Club are busy and popular clubs. And if one wants to go further afield it is also possible to catch a boat to Dartmouth, or a steam train to Buckfastleigh.

So much to do, it is hard to know where to start!