Great Torrington is a traditional market town in North Devon with a variety of award-winning shops selling fine local produce and a restored Victorian Pannier Market brimming with craft outlets and quirky shops. Devon’s heritage North Coast is an easy drive away and the town also serves as a great gateway into the interior and nearby Dartmoor. Explore Great Torrington’s famous links with the English Civil War on the Civil War town trail – the last major battle in the English Civil War was fought here and Great Torrington was unique in its siding with the king during the war whilst all around the town sided with Cromwell’s Roundheads! After exploring the town trail head to the Torrington 1646 cafe for a delicious range of food and drink served by waitresses in period costumes. Great Torrington also sits alongside the Tarka Trail, a traffic free family friendly walking and cycling trail running 180 miles through the heart of North and Central Devon. The scenic stretch of the trail between Great Torrington and the attractive town of Bideford to the North is just 6 miles.
Attractions & Activities
Attractions in and around the town cater for a variety of tastes from families to horticultural, craft and heritage fans. Visit Devon’s famous contemporary glassware centre, Dartington Crystal in Great Torrington with a visitor centre and factory experience. Rosemoor, a Royal Horticultural Society garden gem is also in the area featuring beautiful cottage and herb gardens, herbaceous borders, sub-tropical plantings and the large popular rose garden brimming with best West Country roses. The free entry Torrington Heritage Museum offers lots of information on this ancient market town’s history and the Plough Arts Centre in the town features theatre performances, a dance studio, a cafe, restaurant, bar and a gallery.
Ancient common lands surround Great Torrington, given to the town in the 12th century. The 365 acres of commons contain a wonderful choice of woodland, meadow and river valley walks. Pick up walking guides at the Tourist Information Centre at Castle Hill next to South Street car park in the town centre. Hire bikes from Torrington Cycle Hire and head off along the Tarka Trail popular with experienced cyclists and families alike. Great Torrington Golf Club’s 9 hole golf course, a 5 minute drive from the centre, offers a great challenge and some spectacular views from its heathland location high above the River Torridge. The River Torridge is also a top spot for salmon and trout fishing.
Festivals & Events
Great Torrington is a real Devon festival town hosting numerous festivals and events through the year. It’s ‘all for one and one for all’ during Great Torrington Cavaliers’ special events in the town which include popular bonfire days. The town commemorates its famous civil war Battle of Torrington annually in mid-February with a torchlight procession and a free fireworks display. During May events include the May Fair, held in the town since 1554, and the Torrington Carnival. In June Great Torrington hosts many arts and music events which form part of the wider North Devon Festival. There are also many regular events at nearby RHS Garden Rosemoor, particularly the June and September Rose Festival.
Getting Here & Where to Stay
Visitors arriving by road from the North should exit the M5 at Junction 27, then continue along the A361 to Barnstaple, and along the A39 for Bideford. Exit onto the B3232 to Great Torrington. From the South, exit the M5 at Junction 31, then onto the A30 west. At the Whiddon Down roundabout take a left turn, then right onto the A3124 for Great Torrington. A superb choice of holiday accommodation is available in and around Great Torrington from central family run Bed & Breakfast accommodation to numerous rural guest houses and cottages in the surrounding commons and countryside.