Lying just 15 miles from Plymouth on the River Tavy, Tavistock is the centre of the western moor. A little market town with very pleasing architecture, Tavistock is delightful in itself but also makes a great base for exploring attractions in the area. Outdoor enthusiasts head here for fishing, golfing and walking in nearby Dartmoor.
The history of Tavistock stretches back over 1000 years to the founding of a Benedictine Abbey in 974A.D. Once the largest and wealthiest abbey in Southwest England, the Abbey was dissolved in the 16th century and given to the Russell family, the future Dukes of Bedford It is to the 7th Duke of Bedford that Tavistock owes its present form. Putting his mining wealth to good use, he became Tavistock's greatest benefactor funding extensive town restoration and building houses for the workers. As such, Bedford Square, the Pannier Market and the Town Hall are all the Duke's work, marked by his signature, an engraved letter B.
The name Tavistock is derived from 'Tavy' the river by which it lies and 'stock' or market. Having received a Charter permitting a market to be held here in 1105, Tavistock has kept up the tradition and was voted Best Market Town in Britain 2004. Despite economical change and growth, Tavistock still serves as a centre for smaller towns in the vicinity. A market is held here everyday of the week with shoppers enjoying a range or products from local produce to antiques and crafts.
Tavistock offers a few short walks from its centre. The Viaduct Walk is a 3.2km walk in Devon's first ever nature reserve. The 1889 viaduct was part of the London to Plymouth line built by the London and South Western Railway Company. Alternatively, you can take Drake's Walk, a 4.8km trail to Crownhill Farm, Drake's place of birth (although the building doesn't actually exist anymore!). The start point is on Plymouth Road near Drake's statue. Tavistock also lies on the West Devon Way, a trail which runs between Okehampton and Plymouth. Great rewards for walks just 10 miles away at the edge of Dartmoor Forest. North of Mary Tavy, a track leads to Wheal Betsy, an old copper and lead mine which shut down in 1877. Just a little further north is Brent Tor composed of basaltic lava it has 12th century church dedicated to St. Michael at its top. You can either walk from Tavistock or leave your car in the village of North Brentor. For more information on walking in the area, head to the Tavistock Tourist Information Office.
Tavistock : Sightseeing and Attractions
A good place to take the kids for some family fun, Meadowlands is Tavistock's local indoor pool boasting a river rapid, water canon and spa. In the centre, you'll also be able to use the tennis courts or bowling green.
Address: Meadowlands Centre, Tavistock, Devon
Postcode: PL1 8SP Street Map
Contact: PH (01822) 617774
A multimedia entertainment centre for music, dance theatre and film. The Tavistock Wharf hosts changing art exhibitions, classical and rock concerts, musicals, plays and films.
Address: Tavistock, Tavistock, Devon
Postcode: PL19 8AT Street Map
Contact: PH (01822) 613928
|Tavistock Pannier Market|
A Pannier Market has been held in Tavistock every Friday for over 900 years. Today's building has stood here since the 1850's when the 7th Duke of Bedford was granted special permission to re-route the River Tavy to erect it. Markets are held in the Tavistock Pannier Market from Tuesday to Saturdays. Tuesdays is for antiques, Wednesday and Thursdays for Crafts and Fridays for the traditional Tavistock Pannier Market.
Address: Tavistock Pannier Market, Tavistock, Devon
Contact: PH 01822 611003
A tradition which hails back to the 12th century, the Tavistock Goosey Fair is held on the second Wednesday in October. Originally, farmers brought their geese here for fattening before Christmas but nowadays you'll have to content yourself with some goose served up at a local restaurant. An immensely popular event, the Tavistock Goosey Fair is served by traders from all over England. As well as stalls, fun rides and side-shows, music and lights buzz and beam bringing this market town to life.
Now mostly in ruins, Tavistock Abbey was once the richest and largest abbey in this part of England. These L-shaped remains serve as a reminder of a foundation that created this town and its famous pannier market. .. more
Admission: Free entry
Address: nr Bedford Square, Tavistock, Devon
Postcode: PL19 OAE Street Map
|Tavistock Trout Fishery|
One of the premier fisheries in the Southwest, Tavistock Trout Fisheries lies one mile from Tavistock on the A386. Given a 5 star rating by the respected monthly publication, Trout Fisherman, Tavistock has five fly fishing lakes, a tackle shop and tackle hire, fly fishing tuition and on-site accommodation.
Address: Parkwood Road, Tavistock, Devon
Postcode: PL19 9JW Street Map
Contact: PH 01822 615 541
A small operation, the Tavistock Museum is run by volunteers from the Local History Society. Housed in a Grade II listed building, the Tavistock Museum exhibits permanent displays detailing the history of Tavistock and the surrounding area.
Address: Quarry House, Tavistock, Devon
Postcode: PL19 0EH Street Map
Contact: PH 01822 612546
|Tavistock Tourist Information Centre|
The best way to enjoy Tavistock is nosing your way round its corners and streets. So why not start your tour by heading to the Tavistock Tourist Information Centre and pick up a copy of the Tavistock Trail leaflet? You can also book your accommodation, attractions and find out more about other sights in the area
Address: Bedford Square, Tavistock, Devon
Postcode: PL19 0AE Street Map
Contact: PH 01822 612938
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