An intriguing town trail steeped in history

Discover some local legends while appreciating the stunning architecture and pretty streets on this short walk through town.

1. Start at the Town Mill. Here you will find a restored Victorian water wheel and The Image Bank and Rural Archive which holds a growing collection of photographs dating back to the 19th century.
.

2. Totnes Bridge was designed by the Devon architect Charles Fowler. Built in 1828, it replaced an earlier bridge, the foundations of which can be seen at low tide. A walkway leads down and around Vire Island, named after the Normandy town twinned with Totnes.
.

3. Make your way to The Plains, once part of a large tidal marsh. Many of the buildings were originally warehouses. A stone obelisk commemorates William Wills, explorer of Australia and born here in 1834. The two granite pillars which originally stood between the converted chapel and the Dartmouth Inn marked the gateway to Town Marsh stretching to the south towards St Peter’s Quay. Note the town coat of arms and the date 1687.
.

4. Return to Fore Street. On the corner you’ll find the Royal Seven Stars Hotel dating from the 17th century and reputedly built on the site of a medieval hostelry.
.

5. Walk up the hill taking time to observe the rich variety of architectural styles above the shops. Many of these properties were built for the town’s wealthy merchants in the 16th and 17th centuries.
.

6. Cross Fore Street. In Bank Lane, on the left, is the 18th-century Gothic House. Continue up Fore Street to the imposing Mansion of 1795, once the grammar school and now used for the community. Totnes Library is located behind here.
.

7. Walk back across Fore Street to the Brutus Stone. This features in legend as the place where Brutus the Trojan, founder of the British people, first stepped ashore.
.

8. The Elizabethan House Museum is one of the finest restored Tudor town houses in the country. Built in about 1575 for cloth merchant Walter Kellond, it has twelve galleries, a courtyard, and a herb garden. The house has many original features and has been carefully restored.
.

9. Pass beneath the East Gate Arch, once the gateway to the medieval town and faithfully reconstructed after a devastating fire in 1990.
.

10. Climb the steps on the right to Ramparts Walk. Follow the line of the old town wall behind the beautiful St Mary’s Church.
.

11. Totnes Guildhall was built in 1553 on the ruins of the medieval priory, founded in 1088. For centuries it has been the heart of the town, serving as a court, prison and meeting place.

12. The late 15th-century Parish Church of St Mary is built of deep red Devon sandstone and it is particularly noted for its 120 foot tower and stone roodscreen.
.
13. Returning to the High Street, notice the house of Nicholas Ball, a prosperous merchant whose widow married Thomas Bodley in 1586, using her wealth to found his great library at Oxford.
.

14. The covered pavement arcade known as Butterwalk was built in Tudor times to protect dairy stalls from the weather, whilst the covered Poultry Walk opposite
sheltered poultry stalls.

.

15. At the 16th-century Bogan House is the Totnes Fashion and Textiles Museum. This is the most intact Tudor Merchant’s House in Totnes. Find them on Facebook for more information.

.

16. At the top of the High Street turn right into Castle Street to Totnes Castle (English Heritage) built by Judhael, the 11th-century Norman overlord of Totnes. From the ramparts appreciate the castle’s superb defensive position and enjoy magnificent 360 degree views.

.

17. Return towards the High Street turning right into the Narrows, a colourful area of town with numerous individual shops and eateries, and Rotherfold Square, once a cattle market and now home to some lively events and community seating. Both well worth taking the time to visit.

.

18. Turn left into Leechwell Street then into the attractive narrow pathway of Leechwell Lane where you will find the ancient Leechwell, a channelled natural spring reputed to have healing properties. From here you can rest in the tranquil Leechwell Gardens before continuing to the Civic Square.
.

19. Finish your walk at the Civic Square. Each Friday and Saturday, you can enjoy the pannier markets, Elizabethan Charity and Craft Market on summer Tuesday mornings and the monthly Good Food Sunday Market.
.
.
Find out more about the history of Totnes with a Heritage Tour from local guide Kathy Alexander 07733 197740