Distance from Cottage Hotel: 19 miles / 31 kilometres (35 minutes by car)
Totnes is a unique market town, full of character on the estuary of the River Dart. It is just over half an hour drive from Hope Cove, and a route that takes you through picturesque villages and rural landscapes.
The history of Totnes dates back to approximately the year 907, when Totnes castle was built. The castle has dominated the town for centuries, and today, once at the top, you can enjoy views across Totnes and beyond. By the 12th century, Totnes had become an important market town due to its location on one of the main routes in the South West and being on the estuary.
Totnes is said to be home to the "new age" or "alternative" society and this has led it to having a thriving musical, art and theatre scene and the Bohemian lifestyle. This has been very much reflected in the town's high street. Totnes has a large number of independant unique and boutique shops, ranging from kitchenwares, perfumeries, natural health, and craft. In 2007, Totnes was the first town to introduce its own currency, known as the "Totnes pound". This was an initiative to keep money within the local economy and the town.
There are a number of landmarks through Totnes. Firstly the Norman castle which now belongs to English Heritage, a fine example of a stone shell-keep. Along Fore Street, one of the main shopping streets of Totnes you will find the Tudor butterwalk, a covered walk way to protect the meat and dairy sold underneath. Keep going down you shall find the Church of St Mary, made of Devonian sandstone and with a tower standing at 120 feet/37 metres. Further down you will find the East Gate Arch, which was rebuilt in 1990 after a fire.
On the outskirts of Totnes, approximately 2 miles/3 km down the Estuary is the Sharpham estate that overlooks the Dart Valley. The estate is home to the Sharpham Vineyard which produces English wines and cheeses. Here they offer various tours of the grounds and tastings of their wines and cheeses.