I have only recently discoved what this ancient stannery town on the western edge of Dartmoor has to offer. A 9th century Benedictine Abbey sits in the heart of the town, which was destroyed by Vikings soon after it was built but quicky restored. Tavistock's most famous son is Sir Francis Drake in the mid 15th century. (he was in command & defeated the Spanish Armada)
The town sits on the River Tavy and plays host to one of the countrys most popular Goosey Fayre on the second Wednesday in October. Traditionally the fayre dating back to the 12th Cenury is when local farmers came to sell their geese after chasing then through the streets of the town. We went for the first time this year & now it is more of a commercial even although we did see a few geese.
This is a lovely place to explore & wander around with some lovely gardens along the river, I shall definately be returning soon.
An Abbey has been on this site since the 10th century. Henry the 8th supressed the Catholic church in the mid 1500s, so from 1539 the Abby was disbanded & damaged. In 1882 the Abbey was reopened with the monks themselves rebuilding the Abbey.
The most impressive part of the Abbey I feel is the huge round ornate window on the far end, from memory I think it is in its own private chapel. There are rose gardens for you to wander around a pleasant cafe & gift shop.
Buckfast Abbey has half a million visitors a year. So can be busy weekends & obviously Sundays
Newbridge is an ideal area to spend a day, the river is deep enough to swim here, although I would only recommend it if you are a strong swimmer. Even in summer the water is freezing, you have been warned!
There are also large grassy areas where you can play ball games, sunbathe and picnic etc. Plus toilets & a Dartmoor information centre. It is also a popular starting point for canoeists.
Newbridge is also known to locals as Spitchwick!
This is what remains of the Templers Way Tramway at Haytor. The granite tramway was opened 1820 to transport granite from the quarry at Haytor down to the Stover Canal at Veniford, a distance of 10 miles. From here it was taken to Teignmouth on the South Devon coast by barge, then shipped to London. Horses & ponys were used to pull the trams, apparently 18 horses for each group of 12 trams were used.
The contact was undertaken by George Templer, hence the name. Today it is popular walking trail, with many part of the tramway still visable long the way.
Haytor is the most distictive Tor on Dartmoor and one of the most easily accessible with it being very close to the road & carparks nearby. Within about 10 minutes of hill walking you can be at the base of the of the huge granite tor. Views from here down towards the sea and over the surrounding moorland are magnificent. If you have a head for heights you can attempt to climb the tor itself, but it isnt as easy as it looks, dangerous too if you are not competent.
The horse pulled tramtracks are still visible here, from days of the granite quarry near by. There is a Dartmoor Authority Information Centre, toilets and usually in season an icecream van in the largest carpark. On the one day of the year we may have snow, Haytor is packed with people making the most of it.
Dartmeet is a lovely stretch of the River Dart, lots of rocks in the river to mess around & it is even possible to hop cross the river in the summer.
It is here East & West Dart converge in to one main river. Dartmeet is also known as Badgers Holt, there is a plesant cafe, which serves anything from cream teas to a roast dinner, gift shop, toilets & very mini fowl area farm zoo.
The main attraction here is the river, it gets packed here in the summer with people bringing picnics & staying for the day.
Princetown is situated on the bleak west of Dartmoor. Home to the infamous high security prison which dominates the approach road to Princetown. The prison originally held French & American prisoners of war in the early 1800s & changed to a domestic prison in 1850. There is talk of the prison closing, when this happens there will be very little work in this tiny town.
The Dartmoor Vistor Centre here is well worth a visit, apart from that there is really nothing to see in Princetown apart from the views, a couple of pubs, a post office, shop & cafe.
The River Dart and other small rivers & streams are a wonderful attraction & playground, both on Dartmoor & in Devon has a whole.
The Dart begins its journey deep in the moors, East and West Dart joining in to one river at Dartmeet. With many tributaries joining it as it weaves its way southwards eventually entering the sea at Dartmouth. Rafting, swimming, canoeing, fishing, & further downstream sailing, rowing & boating are all activities to be enjoyed. Plus of course just sitting next to it enjoying the view.
There are 8 reservoirs on Dartmoor covering 516 acres of the moor. These are Trenchford (1907), Burrator (1898), Meldon (1972), Fernworthy (1942), Avon Dam 1957), Tottiford (1861), Kennick (1884), Venford (1907). Only Meldon I do not have any recollection of visiting, but I imagine I must have at some time or other.
I think of the reservoirs as almost being oasis in the bleakness of the moors, with most being surrounded by beautiful forest & of course the lakes themselves.
Some you can get a fishing permit for and some you can walk all the way around with picnic areas over looking the water.
360 degree view of HAYTOR