The unique character of Totnes and Salcombe

Totnes is a market town that sits at the head of the Dart estuary. It has prospered since medieval times and has grown a reputation for alternative therapies. Totnes is its main street, lined with a huge range of independent traders including butchers, bakers, fudge-makers, cheese producers, cafes, bistros, ethnic bags and bangles and banjolelesl. The iconic clock tower spans the street around the half-way mark.

This plaque is particularly interesting, coming from Oxford as I do.

Salcombe is a bit further west on the Kingsbridge Estuary. It has a long and rich history as a centre for fishing and as a trade port importing particularly fruit from Spain , the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

Ship building took place in the town and many small workshops still remain. In the past the town could boast sail makers, blockers, blacksmiths and sawyers.

The first holiday home was built here in the 1700s.

As ship building and trade declined so the town developed its recreational side and it became a bustling resort town with many holiday lets and a busy ferry to take holiday makers over the estuary to the beaches opposite.

All these Devon towns are worth a visit but I have learned a couple of things about them. Firstly parking is a nightmare and it usually takes several circuits of the car parks and streets before a space is spotted. Warning: 9 times out of 10, in order to park will require you to carry out parallel parking  maneuvers (when’s the last time you did that?). Secondly, any space is usually at the top of a hill, requiring a quick descent to places of interest but a laboured accent at the end of the day to rejoin your vehicle. Park & Ride schemes are sign-posted but all seem to be seasonal and none ran after October.

My one tip to you: park on the other side of the estuary to these tourist towns. In most cases at least one passenger ferry dashes about from A to B to C. Although a bit chilly on the water, it beats being stuck in queues in town. Check on-line before you travel.


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