Great Torrington, is the historic market town situated
in the heart of North Devon. The centre of the Town
is sited on Castle Hill which has steep drops down to
the River Torridge, it is an ancient settlement which
has always been valued for its strategic importance
and is now highly valued for its spectacular views.
Torrington also known as the Cavalier Town, owns the
practically unchanged landscape captured by Henry Williamson
in his novel Tarka the Otter 1927.
Great Torrington had a significant role in the English
Civil War, specifically, the Battle of Great Torrington
in 1646 which marked the end of the Royalist resistance
in the West Country. This led to the eventual defeat
and execution of King Charles 1.
Great Torrington today is a vibrant community and people
in the town, proud of their heritage, can often be seen
dressed in 17th century costume for re-enactments, festivals
and celebrations or as volunteers at the popular "Torrington
1646" Visitor Attraction. Great Torrington also
has a wealth of local independent shops who have come
together with the aim of improving the experience of
visiting Great Torrington.
Torrington is surrounded by common land. Torrington
Commons covers 365 acres and has over 20 miles (30 km)
of public rights of way. The landscape features a variety
of habitats and a rich collection of flora and fauna.
This land was donated to the town in 1194 by Baron Fitzrobert
of Torrington. In 1889 the rights to this land were
transferred to an elected Committee of Conservators.
Mayfair is a great social event in Torrington. An annual
folk festival believed to date back to 1554, the children
of Torrington dance around the maypole set up in the
town square. The event takes place on the first Thursday
in May. Every few years there is a bonfire night celebration
that is second to none and then as Christmas approaches,
a candlelit "Big Sing". During this and supporting
this celebration the organisation the Torrington Cavaliers
play a huge role in the community spirit of Torrington.
Cavaliers, are an organisation of volunteers, renowned
for their initiatives in providing one of Torrington's
major attractions - their spectacular bonfires. This
year thousands of spectators converged on the town for
the 40th Anniversary of the Cavaliers when they burnt
down a replica of Great Torrington Castle. The Torrington
based group had spent the previous 18 months building
the castle, which was burnt to the ground on the 28th
Other attractions in Great Torrington include:
" The combined walking and cycle path, the Tarka
Trail makes 32 miles of traffic free travel through
the most picturesque countryside.
Crystal: A unique Factory, Visitors Centre, Glass
Shop and Restaurant of world famous Dartington Crystal.
Michael's, an Anglican Church grounds include a
mound said to contain the remains of 60 Civil War Royalist
Plough Arts Centre, a small theatre, cinema and
1646 Visitor Centre celebrates the town's role in
the Civil War through exhibitions and talks by guides
dressed in period costume and using the language of
" Great Torrington has a good selection of pubs
selling good food and a selection of real ales. These
Black Horse, Torrington
" Torrington enjoys lively twinning links with
the French town of Roscoff
in Northern Brittany.