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Totnes, Devon is an English Market town. The village of Dartington is just outside Totnes, as is Dartington Hall.


Back in the 1920s, an Englishman who had been in India working with Tagore on rural renewal projects married an American heiress he had met when they were both studying at Cornell (see their biographies [1]). They bought Dartington Hall, one of the oldest and largest manor houses in England, and started an assortment of development projects [2] in the area — a textile mill producing tweeds, several sawmills, a cider company, a glassworks, and so on.

Among the things they started was Dartington Hall school (now closed), using fairly novel methods. A.S. Neill's Summerhill [3] is a better-known example with a similar approach. Aldous Huxley sent his kids to Dartington Hall and based some of the educational methods in his novel "Island" on Dartington.

Today Totnes is a very cosmopolitan, diverse mix of people, and has a different atmosphere to many other towns in Britain, partly due to its lack of High Street chain stores.

Get In[edit]

By Train[edit]

Totnes station is a short walk from the town centre. It is served by Great Western Railway and Cross Country Trains

By Bus[edit]

National Express Operate regular services to many parts of the UK. Tickets MUST be booked in advance and can be very cheap if booked as far in advance as possible.

Stagecoach South West provide regular bus services to Paignton, Torquay, Plymouth , Exeter and Dartmouth.

Country Bus provide services to Newton Abbot and other local services.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Dartington Hall , now a conference centre, also offering gardens, a cinema, and walks around the Dartington estate. There are also pubs, cafes and accommodation available.
  • Dartington Shops A short distance away from Dartington Hall, a selection of independent shops, set in a wooded area. Well worth a look.
  • Dartington College of Arts [4]
  • Totnes Museum Located in an Elizabethian House on Fore Street, offers a variety of displays and activities.
  • Totnes Rare Breeds Farm Farm featuring a variety of rare breeds of animals. Located at the South Devon railways Totnes Station.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Theater, dance and music performances, see DartingtonARTS [5].
  • Furniture making courses [6]
  • Dartington International Summer School [7] of music
  • Totnes Castle Situated on a promontory, commanding the River Dart, Totnes Castle was built by the Normans at a point where three valleys meet. Earliest surviving parts of Totnes Castle date from the 11th century, in the form of earth works surrounding the site, with a later motte and bailey castle being constructed on the built-up earthworks. The stone work of Totnes Castle that has survived is likely to have been built over the framework of previous timber fortifications, as was common practice of this period.

During the 13th century the large, circular shell keep was built on top of the motte, but was reconstructed at the beginning of the 14th century when other renovation work was carried out, including the rebuilding of the entrance arch and stairways within the thickness of the walls. Some small-scale additional work took place at a later date. This circular stone keep stands to parapet height even today, and remains almost complete with the various shaped arrow slits visible around the top. Moreover, within the shell keep, stone foundations of a square tower have also survived.

Externally, a ditch separates the keep from the inner bailey. Although at one time this completely encompassed the motte, parts have now been filled in. The curtain wall around the inner bailey has largely disappeared, along with the domestic buildings contained within it, save for a few of the original foundations. Further protection was afforded to Totnes Castle by a moat, although again this been filled in over the years. Beyond the moat, an outer bailey would have provided farmland for Totnes Castle rather than any additional protection.

Despite little remaining of the original motte and bailey castle, other than the earthworks, the stone enclosure of Totnes Castle's keep, built at the summit of the motte, has survived to the extent of being one of the best preserved in England.</do>

  • Round Robin The round robin is an award winning tour, involving travel on a bus, steam train and also a river cruise, taking in Paignton and Dartmouth
  • South Devon Railway Preserved railway, operating from Totnes Station (just behind the mainline station) to Buckfastleigh, where there is a museum, minature railway and model shop. Theme days are held throughout the year, including Santa by steam and days out with Thomas the tank engine!

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Dartington Crystal [8], famous glassworks
  • Cider Press Center [9], a group of shops
  • Roly's Fudge, handmade Devon fudge  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Roundhouse Cafe [10]

  • Barrell House, (Top of town, corner of castle street and high street).  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The Albert Inn pub with it's own brewery (Bridgetown Brewery) offering live music and food theme nights. Located at Bridgetown, Totnes. Phone 01803 863 214,
  • The Totnes Brewing Company Independent, family run microbrewery, located on High Street, close to Totnes Castle. (TQ9 5PB). The brewing area is located behind the bar, so it is possible to see the beers being brewed.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Get out[edit]

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