Welcome to Totnes!
A burh, or fort, founded in 950AD at the lowest crossing point on the Dart, Totnes is the second oldest borough in England, after Malmsbury in Wiltshire. The earliest record of the town dates back to the reign of Edgar (959-975), when coins were minted here for the first time.
The town went on to become rich on the back of its cloth trade - so much so that King John granted it a royal charter in 1206, making it only the second town in Britain to receive/buy this honour. This charter meant the town was free to make its own laws, and merchants also obtained the right to set up their own guild, which was an enormous boon to their trading position.
By the 16th Century, Totnes was said to be the second richest town in Devon after Exeter, largely thanks to the export of tin.
Nowadays, the town, with its architectural heritage and many independent shops, is a vibrant tourist destination, named 'one of the ten funkiest places in the world' by British Airways Magazine and ‘the capital of New Age chic’ by Time magazine.
The high street is buzzing at all times of the year, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, when the Civic Square is full of market stalls selling everything from locally grown produce to hand-carved bowls and eclectic second-hand goods.
From the town centre you can enjoy many beautiful walks, notably downriver to the Sharpham estate and vineyard, and upriver to the Dartington estate, which in 1925 was bought by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst and became the famous Dartington Experiment. The Elmhirsts set up farming, forestry and educational projects, restored the beautiful 12th-century Dartington Hall and in so doing became a magnet for artists, architects, writers, philosophers and musicians from around the world, creating an exceptional centre for creative activity which endures to this day.