By Coast & Country Cottages

With the Totnes to Sharpham walk so picturesque, we just had to make a visual guide to show you the natural beauty of one of South Devons glorious walks.

This moderately easy walk along along the Dart Valley trail takes you to Sharpham Vineyard, where you can sample locally-produced wine and cheese!

The bustling ancient market town of Totnes is situated at head of the estuary of the River Dart, and is the starting point to The Dart Valley Trail. Read more about sharpham walk.

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New retreat venue at Sharpham

Charity invests £1.6million in a new retreat venue at Sharpham

The Sharpham Trust is investing £1.6 million to convert a stable yard behind Sharpham House to a new centre for mindfulness courses and retreats.

The charity, which works to connect people to nature and themselves, has begun the creation of The Coach House - which will feature a new meditation space and 18 en-suite rooms.

The current, disused stableyard is a Grade II-listed building, dating back to 1760 when Sharpham House was built for the naval sea captain Philemon Pownoll.

Now work has begun to develop the single-storey quadrangle directly behind Sharpham House into a new retreat centre where participants can stay, amid historic grounds thought to have been landscaped by Capability Brown.

The Trust runs an annual programme of courses and retreats featuring mindfulness meditation and nature connection on the wider Sharpham Estate and on the adjacent River Dart.

“Prior to the pandemic we were finding that our programme was fully booked with long waiting lists,” said Trust Director Julian Carnell.

“As a charity we want to help as many people as possible and so creating more accommodation became a priority. The stable yard had become rundown and so there was a fantastic opportunity to give the building a new lease of life and restore it as part of the Sharpham Estate’s important heritage,” he said.

The Coach House behind Sharpham House INSIDE April 2021 LO RES
The Coach House

Retreats in The Coach House

The Coach House will join the Trust’s other retreat venues Sharpham House, The Barn Retreat and Woodland Campsite and it will offer a weekly programme for those in need of developing and deepening their mindfulness practice, compassion and their connection to nature.

Participants staying there will be able to spend a week living in community surrounded by the amazing natural environment of the Sharpham Estate.

They will spend time volunteering in the 18th century Walled Garden – helping to grow food for the retreats at Sharpham – and conserving the heritage and wildlife of the wider estate.

Helping 1,000 more people a year

Chairman of Sharpham’s Trustees Daniel Stokes said: “Our mission is to connect people to nature and foster mindfulness and wellbeing. There is now a plethora of research showing the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature.

“This project will enable us to help another 1,000 people a year, giving them a chance to spend time slowing down and reflecting in a beautiful natural setting,” he said.

Using local construction companies

The Trust is using South Devon firm Carpenter Oak to build the frame for an eye-catching glass structure linked to The Coach House which will be the new centre’s meditation and dining space.

Classic Builders, a local South West-based construction company, has been awarded the contract to convert the Coach House and hopes to complete the works by January 2022.

“We are delighted to be working with The Sharpham Trust on this significant local project. The Coach House is an important listed building, not only in a sensitive location but also next to Sharpham House. We’re looking forward to drawing on our years of experience delivering comparable works in similar settings to make this project a success,” said Adam Brimacombe, Director at Classic Builders.

The Trust has been busy over the last ten years developing its charitable programmes and refurbishing the heritage of its listed landscape and properties. Every year, some 2,000 people attend retreats, courses and events on the Sharpham Estate.

See our events here: www.sharphamtrust.org/Calendar  

A new fish finger takeaway in town

Cormack's Seafood recently launched a takeaway lunch menu from our fish shop. We sell a range of four sandwiches, featuring our handmade products. On offer at the moment is:

Classic Fish Finger Sandwich  £8
shoestring fries, tartar sauce, iceberg

Nashville Hot Fish Finger Sandwich £8
fish fingers, hot chilli dust, pickles, Cajun mayo

Plaice Katsu Curry Sandwich £9
Curry mayo, pickles, cabbage

Brixham Crab & Avocado Sandwich £10
Coconut, lime and chilli mayo, smashed avocado, crispy fried onions

Our fish fingers are made using line caught pollack from Devon and are battered in panko breadcrumbs, dill and spices. Our katsu fillets are inspired by Aarik’s (owner and chef) time working in South-East Asia and are made with plaice landed in Brixham.

fish finger

The takeaway is available every day from noon Tuesday to Saturday. We are located on Ticklemore Street in Totnes. 

Support local businesses

We may still be asking visitors to #ComeBackLater due to the latest Government advice to #StayAlert and #StaySafe however you can still support many of our local, independent businesses by shopping online with many offering free postage, or if you're local you can take advantage of some of the home deliveries available.

As always, let me know if I've missed anything. Local businesses, if you have any updates or NHS / key worker special offers please DM me and I'll add them to the list, thanks.

nhs.uk OFFER

China Blue - they have been giving away a little box of treats to the NHS army in blue, carers, police force and all other key workers in the area to say thank you. You can collect from the front door

The Kitchen Table - they are offering free stews to Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust paid for by the lovely community members. They can be claimed at any time but need to be collected

Devon Yurts - will offer special discounts to NHS workers as soon as they're able to re-open. Get in touch with owner Liz to find out more, discounts depend on the length of stay (ID to be presented please)

TTS Tyre Services - offering NHS workers free puncture service, free tyre safety checks & discounts on purchases

A Choice of Gifts from Out of the Blue - they will be offering 20% off to all NHS staff as soon as they are able to re-open (ID to be presented please)

Canoe Adventures Devon - watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they're able to open again.

Smitty's Hairsalon - watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they're able to open again.

JazKids - watch this space for their NHS offer for as soon as they're able to open again.

FAB Totnes - watch this space for their NHS / Key Worker offer as soon as they're able to open again with a discount and relaxation package

GIFTS / HOMEWARE

ME AND EAST - check their website or send them a DM. FREE postage with orders over £50 or £2.95 https://meandeast.com

China Blue - online shop including paint your own kits https://china-blue-shop.co.uk/collections/arts-crafts/products/paint-your-own-kit-mug-1

A Choice of Gifts from Out of the Blue - buy online www.a-choice-of-gifts.co.uk

Yvonne Comber - offering a 25% discount off her prints, hand embellished canvases and original paintings. www.yvonnecoomber.com - enter code LOVEISTHEANSWER at the checkout

Love Frankie - buy online https://www.lovefrankie.com

Little Blue Budgie - buy online https://www.littlebluebudgie.co.uk/ or phone 01803 847800 / message via facebook

Penelope Tom - buy online https://www.penelopetom.com/

Pagoda Interiors - free delivery for online orders https://www.pagodainteriors.co.uk/

FASHION

Colony Life Store - online orders via their website with FREE delivery on orders over £20 https://colonyshops.com

Conker Shoes - UK customers get FREE UK delivery for all orders made online including shoes, belts, bags, use code FREESHIP20 https://conkershoes.com

Salago - check out their online shop with this season’s ADINI and the 2020 sandals by Earth Spirit all with BIG DISCOUNTS. https://salago.co.uk

Fifty5a and Fifty5a men's store - offering free p&p and personal Totnes delivery via their telephone ordering - 01803 866681 or DM or email shop@fifty5a.com

SMALL-FOLK - check their online shop & free UK shipping (no end date). Use code POSITIVITY at checkout for the free postage https://small-folk.co.uk

ART

White Space Art - check out their online gallery. Offering 10% discount & free delivery on all artworks in the Easter exhibition (and across the site) while the gallery remains physically closed. Use discount code SPRING20. https://www.whitespaceart.com

Eastgate Gallery in Totnes - contemporary art and craft from local makers including jewellery, textiles, ceramics and much more. Shop online with FREE delivery https://eastgategallerytotnes.com/shop/

the bowie gallery Totnes Devon - the gallery lights are on daily during normal working hours (pre lockdown) so you can window shop at leisure. Contact Annie Bowie if there’s something you want to inspect closer or buy. Soon open by appointment!

TAKEAWAYS & HOT FOOD COLLECTIONS

The Cott Inn - open 7 DAYS A WEEK Monday to Saturday 4 - 8 pm and Sunday 12 - 3pm for takeaway services, drive through collection in the car park

Willow Vegetarian Restaurant - they will be offering take-aways from 3rd June. They're asking you to 'Keep your eye out for menus and details on ordering'

Waterside Bistro Totnes - their take-away menu is now open from Wed-Sat 5-8pm. Please order online https://www.watersidebistro.com/

Totnes Grill – Kebab and pizza delivery, call 01803 863835

Cafe Mumbai – From 5.30pm Tuesday to Sunday call 01803 866171

Room 101 – pizzas for delivery Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm, call 07727 278428

The Kitchen Table - still offering dairy, gluten & nut free stews and some houmous. Order for delivery call/ text Sima on 07583400998 or email sima@thekitchentable.org.uk to collect from the Totnes Indsutrial Estate kitchen

Pie Street - from 13th May take away & delivery Wednesday to Sunday 1pm-8.30pm. Call 01803 868674 to order http://www.piestreet.co.uk/

Lamaro Bakery – Italian food on Friday and Saturday 5-9pm, call 01803 862288

Silver Grill - The Totnes Chippy - Opening hours Tuesday - Thursday 16:45-20:00 Friday - Saturday 11:45-14:00, 16:45-20:00 with orders taken over phone and social distancing with one entrance and one exit

tamarindtree.totnes - on the Industrial Estate next to Kitchen Table with superb Indian food on Friday 1-8pm or Saturday 4-8pm. Let them know what you want by DM, phone 07768964024 or email tamarindtree.totnes@outlook.com

Taguchi-ya Canteen - Japanese food on Friday and Saturday collect 5-9pm, order online by Wednesday 12pm https://www.taguchiyacanteen.com/takeaway

Good Food House – Delivery from 6-10pm every day (except Tuesday when closed), call 01803 864696https://goodfoodhouse.co.uk/

Back for 2 Seconds – daytime opening in Fore Street

Pizzaside – Thursday to Sunday 5-8.30pm for collection or delivery. https://www.pizzaside.co.uk/

FOOD & DRINK

Sharpham Wine - grab a few bottles at sharpham.com at 10% off with the code sharpham10 on checkout

Roly's Fudge Totnes- buy online https://rolysfudge.co.uk

Ben's Farm Shops - Order and Collection service available via their website. Go to the collections form and add your order, they we will call for payment the next day and tell you to collect. https://bensfarmshop.co.uk/self-isolation-collection/

Earth.Food.Love - free delivery on orders over £20. Full product & price list on their website. Order via email. Click & collect option for those not in the delivery area. http://thezerowasteshop.co.uk

The Happy Apple - open with social distancing rules in place

A W Luscombe Butchers - delivering their products and a range of products from other local businesses including Annies Fruit Shop, New Lion Brewery, The Almond Thief, The Wild Fig Deli and more - check their FB page for more details and list of products in one of the images

Bridgetown Butchers - call 01803 866165/863323 to order where possible to help reduce waiting times in the shop. Minimum order for delivery £25 - free delivery within the Totnes area

McCabes and Halls Butchers are both also operating

Majestic Wine - email for delivery or call if over 70. tot@majestic.co.uk

Annies Fruit Shop - online with delivery to Totnes & the wider area www.anniesoftotnes.co.uk

The Refillery Totnes - daily deliveries to Totnes & Dartmouth areas, visit the website or call Tracy 07950 269955

Dartmouth Dairy - deliver to Totnes & surrounding villages on Monday & Thursday 🐄https://www.dartmouthdairy.com

Wine & Greene - delivering nationwide via courier and doing local drops every weekday (free over £20 to TQ9) - www.wineandgreene.com

Seeds 2 Tonnes - delivery service available, check their FB page

Bridgetown Stores - open Monday - Friday 2pm - 6pm Saturday & Sunday 11am - 3pm and delivering

Follaton stores - open normal hours 7am-8pm mon to sun with social distancing rules in place

Dartmouth Fine Foods - home delivery of frozen ready meals, alongside boxes of veg and essentials to Totnes and the surrounding areas - www.dartmoutfinefoods.co.uk

SERVICES

Barnes the Cleaners - free deliveries & collections daily for Totnes residents

The Potting Shed Totnes - email thepottingshedtotnes@gmail.com with your order, name, address and PHONE NUMBER and they will call you back

PHARMACIES

Most pharmacies are open with reduced hours and social distancing - please check each page and site for more details. Keep safe and well everyone 🌈🧡

48 hours in Totnes

Set in the heart of South Devon, between the wilds of Dartmoor and the sparkling waters of Start Bay, lies the bohemian market town of Totnes.

Easily accessible by train in under three hours from London, and with no need for a car while you’re there, Totnes is the perfect spot for a weekend break spent exploring the town’s independent shops and restaurants, fascinating markets and vibrant culture and music scene.

What’s more, a self-catering holiday property in Totnes with Toad Hall Cottages gives you the freedom to discover the town at your own pace, and after a long day exploring, you can relax and unwind in your very own home from home.


Day one
Having arrived and settled into your holiday cottage the night before, it’s time to start exploring!

Retail Therapy
Shops and markets flourish in Totnes, which flies the flag for Fairtrade and ethical retail. You can easily lose a contented morning browsing the unique gift shops and galleries that line the steep high street, or exploring the regular Friday and Saturday markets in Civic Square for unusual gifts.

Café Scene
Having worked up an appetite you’ll be spoilt for choice for lunching spots in Totnes from its chic restaurants and bistros to its vibrant cafés and delicatessens, this really is a foodie’s heaven. Choose from authentic Italian at The Curator Café & Kitchen, inventive vegetarian dishes at Willow or Seeds 2, or a leisurely lunch overlooking the river at Waterside Bistro as well as many more fantastic independent cafés and eateries.

The High Street

Ghost Cats, Castles & Cromwell
A good place to start discovering the rich and colourful heritage of Totnes is at the Totnes Museum on Fore Street. Here you can take a tour around a medieval kitchen and climb the iconic spiral staircase carved from a ship’s mast. The museum is also said to be home to a feline ghost with visitors regularly reporting to have felt the tail of an invisible cat against their legs while viewing the exhibits here!

From the museum, head to the nearby Grade I listed 16th-century guildhall on Ramparts Walk, one of Totnes’ most historic buildings. Home of the town council for over 450 years, this Tudor building still houses the table where Oliver Cromwell sat in 1646 during the final throes of the English Civil War.
And what better way to end your afternoon of discovery than a visit to Totnes Castle.

Standing strategically at the top of town, with far-reaching views across the town and beautiful Dart Valley, Totnes Castle is an immaculately preserved example of a Norman motte-and-bailey fortress and well worth a visit.

Live Music
If you still have some energy left after your busy day exploring, Totnes has a thriving and varied live music scene. So if you’re partial to a live gig head out in the evening to The Barrel House, The Bay Horse Inn or The Dartmouth Inn which all hold regular music nights to suit all tastes.


Day two

Pygmy Goats, Eagle Owls and Steam Trains
After a lazy Sunday morning breakfast at your holiday property, head to Totnes Rare Breeds Farm; a family-owned attraction dedicated to the preservation of endangered farm animals. A very hands-on attraction, here you can cuddle a guinea pig, feed the goats or smooth the feathers of a huge eagle owl, and lots more!

Close by you’ll find the South Devon Steam Railway, where you can hop on a vintage steam train and take a trip along the beautiful River Dart valley.

Sunday Lunch – Decisions, Decisions
Back in town there are serious decisions to be made – which pub to choose for Sunday Lunch when there are so many great free houses to discover. The answer is they’re all pretty good but some favourites include The Steam Packet Inn with its riverside beer garden and the highly acclaimed gastro pub The Bull Inn, or why not break from tradition at Pie Street .

And then when you thought you’d made up your mind someone mentions the Totnes Good Food Sunday Market! Devon’s largest fine food farmers market held on the 3rd Sunday of each month. Here you can sample and buy a wide range of quality produce from local producers or grab a take away from one of the street food vendors to eat al fresco in the sunshine.

Boats at the edge of the pier

Messing about on the River
If working off lunch out on the water sounds like fun then Totnes is certainly the place.

Canoe Adventures offers adventure-filled experiences on the River Dart for all ages and abilities. But if that all sounds like too much effort, why not hop aboard the Totnes to Dartmouth river cruiser, and savour some of the region’s most enchanting waterways.

And just like that the weekend is all but over, but the beauty of Totnes is that there are always new things to discover, so on your journey home, you could spend the time planning your next visit to this unique and fascinating town.


Where to stay
Couples will love Riverside Loft, a romantic waterside apartment overlooking Vire Island and the River Dart. Wake up to views of Totnes’ Castle from 10 Castle Street tucked beneath the ancient castle walls or as a complete contrast take a look at The Sidings an ultra-modern eco-house in the centre of town. Or for dog owners, 2 North Castle Mews is a colourful and contemporary dog-friendly townhouse, just moments from Totnes’ high street

For further information on holiday properties in Totnes and beyond visit
www.toadhallcottages.co.uk or call 01548 202020

The Bull Inn, Totnes

A radical new organic inn for Devon, squaring up to the seasonal veg hijackers and leading the way in doing business better. Is it possible for a pub to lead the way in sustainable food and ethical hospitality? It can, says organic publican Geetie Singh- Watson, provided fairness and authenticity as well as profit are at its heart. Geetie and the team behind the eight-bedroom organic inn aim to show through their actions that it’s possible to make choices based on decent values while being a serious player. Jump back 23 years when Geetie started out in the pub industry, ethical working practises weren’t even part of the industry agenda. Now, at least, the hospitality trade has woken up to the fact it needs to seriously shift its priorities. But there’s still far too much chat and not enough action. On the whole, it scores low when it comes to green thinking. Half-hearted requests to reuse towels aside, staggering water usage and eye-watering food waste are still the norm. In contrast The Bull Inn in Totnes, Devon will reopen its doors in early December 2019 after complete renovation, but this is not your usual we’ve-done-up-a-gastropub story. You will never see a generic foodservice delivery van outside, only farmers, co-ops and artisan producers making deliveries, and there will never be a packaged snack or bottled, transported water served at the bar. Instead this is an inn whose relationship with its community and its impact on the environment is as refreshingly engaged and honest and as you can hope to find. The inn aims to be sustainable to its core; with manager Phill Hughes and chef James Dodd at the helm the food served will be organic and the sourcing will be rooted in a logic that acknowledges the complexity of what we need to do to feed ourselves sustainably, but without being martyrs. This is a pub where you won’t find menu marketing greenwash. “The term ‘local, seasonal veg’ has been completely hi-jacked and is bandied around and abused so much that it now means nothing. A season for what? So often when you challenge places serving so called seasonal food it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. But we won’t be serving woody turnips in April when the UK crops run out; instead we will source beautiful veg from farmers we know further afield around the UK, Europe, alongside Fair Trade tropical fruit. But will never air freight and will never say we are something we are not,” explains Geetie. With no whiff of a theme or fairy light in sight the inn has been revived using upcycled, recycled and reinvigorated décor, from tables and curtains to radiators and doorknobs. The team is proving that new is not always best, that craftmanship should be valued above all instead of seeking homewares manufactured far away with cheap labour to feed the latest style trends. “We’ve got to find a way to live and enjoy life sustainably, and I believe that’s an exciting thing. We need to push ourselves out of the way we have always done things; Like all other business areas hospitality needs shaking up. Our aim with The Bull is to show that you can work with integrity and succeed,” Explains Geetie. The opening comes at a time of social and political upheaval in the UK, and the hope is that The Bull will be a beacon of togetherness and inclusivity for the Totnes community, visiting travellers and the team that works there. It will be a proper inn and a decent boozer, where brilliant food, ale and wine will jostle alongside a raft of community goings on. “I want to prove you can be radical, effective and have a positive impact on society and the environment while running a successful business too. It is not impossible!” continues Geetie. “We don’t claim we are perfect but we are trying our absolute best. You have to have hope that there is a better way.” This is Geetie’s fourth pub refurbishment, with the first being the iconic Duke of Cambridge in Islington. Organic since the beginning, Geetie was trailblazing sustainable business and thoughtful food in the 1990s, way before anyone gave a second thought to plastic straws and bottled water. Having said all that, The Bull is not a place steeped in worthiness; There will be plenty of fun there too. “By that I mean fun for all – the team, the suppliers, the customers. Fun should spread. It has always been a really strong motivator for me. Everything should always come back to doing things well and watching others getting fun out of it too.“ www.bullinntotnes.co.uk The Bull Inn will open its doors on 1st December 2019. Alongside amazing food and rooms, we have a beautiful on-site treatment space. Sharing the same sustainability values as The Bull, Sarah Carr and Jo Woolvett will be offering natural beauty treatments and holistic facials for men and women. Walking the walk: • Heat capture systems in the kitchen to create hot water downstairs • Solar capture on the roof to power heating in the bedrooms • 100% organic linens from Greenfibres in the eight bedrooms • Bedside lamps carved from Dartmoor wood by local craftsman Rodney Lomas • Ceramics by local artisan Pippi & Me • Mattresses from Naturalmat in Exeter About Geetie Singh-Watson MBE Geetie Singh-Watson is the founder of the first official organic pub in Britain, The Duke of Cambridge Organic Pub, in Islington, London. In 2009, she was awarded an MBE for ‘Services to the Organic Pub Trade’. An active campaigner and environmentalist, Geetie firmly believes that businesses must act responsibly and be led by their ethics and values. Her broadcast work includes presenting on BBC Back to the Land.
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