Great Torrington, Devon
Great Torrington is a pretty little town built on a hill overlooking the River Torridge. It has a lot of history, mainly due to the part it played in the English Civil War with the Battle of Torrington marking the end of Royalist resistance in the West Country – hence the town earned its moniker, ‘The Cavalier Town’. You can learn more about that in the Heritage Museum, which despite being small has a surprising amount of things to look at.
If you were to stop off at Great Torrington for a walk around you’d that it’s big on community here; there’s a definite briskness, a liveliness, especially if you come in the first week of May when the three day Mayfair festivities take place. There’s Maypole dancing, entertainment and processions through the streets. Likewise in the summer months – a lot of visitors come to lap up the relaxed air of a Devon country town, and they love it. Shops are an interesting mix of mostly independently run one-offs, there are some good places to stop for a cup of tea or a bite to eat, and there’s a charming Victorian Pannier market.
If you enjoy walking and being in the beautiful countryside that North Devon is graced with, you’re in for a treat here because Great Torrington is in the thick of Tarka country. Oh yes, Henry Williamson’s famous otter was born on the River Torridge just a few miles away from here, and you can roam his territory on the Tarka Trail. A good route is to follow the old railway line from Great Torrington to Bideford – it’s 6 miles each way and can be done on foot or by bike. There’s also 20 miles of footpaths to explore on the common land that surrounds the town, given to the townsfolk in the 12th century, home to ancient woodlands, wildflower meadows and a 9 hole golf course.
Other things you can do here? You can have a tour of the Dartington Crystal factory and visit the on-site shop, or if gardens are your thing, you’ll like RHS Garden Rosemoor just a short drive away. The beaches of the North Devon coast are also within easy reach.
Hungry? Oh, try The Torridge Inn or the Puffing Billy Trading Co. Both have very good reviews.
All information correct at the time of writing