Great Torrington is a friendly and welcoming town, with good local amenities, independent shops, cafes and regular local markets. Built on the site of an ancient settlement atop an inland cliff with the River Torridge below, the town enjoys spectacular views across rolling hills and unspoilt green countryside.
Great base for exploring the region
Great Torrington is connected to many local villages and towns via a network of walking and cycling trails which makes it an ideal base for anyone who wants to explore the wider North Devon area.
One of the popular routes that goes through the town is the Tarka Trail which runs through North Devon following the route taken by the fictional Tarka the Otter in the book of the same name. Set in the very heart of Tarka Country, the wonderful landscape around Great Torrington has remained practically unchanged since Henry Williamson wrote his classic novel in the 1920s.
Great Torrington enjoys a wide range of attractions nearby too, giving you access to some of the region’s best loved activities. From here, it is easy to explore the enchanting gardens of the RHS Rosemoor and experience the magical blend of formal and informal gardens, or take a factory tour around Dartington Crystal to experience the traditional craft of glass making followed by a visit to the UK’s largest glass shop.
Rich local history
For many years, Great Torrington was valued for its strategic importance. Known locally as the Cavalier town, Great Torrington played a hugely significant role in the English Civil War, particularly in the Battle of Torrington which took place in 1646, which marked the end of Royalist resistance in the West Country. To this day, the town is recognised as being an important heritage centre, particularly for events from the 17th century. This and other local history can be further explored at the town’s Museum and through a variety of events that celebrates the town’s diverse history. For instance, every February, the Battle of Torrington is commemorated with a parade through the town and during the first week of May, there are annual Mayfair and Carnival celebrations.
Residents and villages alike are impressed every year by the Torrington Cavalier’s bonfire and firework display which takes place on the commons. These are put on to mark important dates in the town’s history.
Fancy taking in a show? Great Torrington’s events calendar also boasts those put on by The Plough Arts Centre which is a welcoming and dynamic venue for arts events showcasing a mix of local and national talent to suit the whole family, including theatre performances, concerts, comedians, art exhibitions and workshops.
Green space galore!
Great Torrington is surrounded on three sides by 365 acres of common land given to the people of Great Torrington in the 12th Century and since 1889, administered by a Committee of Conservators. The area is freely accessible to all, and visitors can walk the 20 miles of footpaths, ranging from the 9-hole golf course in the north; ancient wood and wild flower meadow in the west; and dropping down to the beautiful River Torridge to the south of the town. Walkers can also access the public land from the Tarka Trail.
Fascinating history, arts, crafts and culture, a beautiful setting and friendly locals all make a visit to Great Torrington worthwhile.