Pictures of Tavistock
This pleasant market town plays host to what is possibly Devon's most entertaining annual fair, the Goose Fair, normally celebrated in the second week of October.
Interest in the town centres on the fast flowing River Tavy, whose banks straddle most of the area. The areas other waterway the Tavistock Canal can be followed on foot along its tow-path until it disappears into a tunnel. The canal was closed in around 1880, its barge trade being overtaken by the development of the railways. However, today its paths are impressive, offering a wonderful way to explore the picturesque Tamar valley.
Early history of Tavistock focuses on tin mining, this had given the region stability for many years before the 14th-century, when in 1305 the town rose to the importance associated with a Stannery Town established by Royal Decree.
The town gained its market charter in 1105 from King Henry I, this continues to this day and adds to the vibrancy and popularity of Tavistock, drawing in visitors from far and wide.
Earlier still a great abbey was founded here, this was in 974 AD. The abbey was founded by Ordulph, Earl of Devonshire, it was sited beside the River Tavy as a community house for Benedictine monks. Despite raids by Vikings when parts of the abbey were destroyed by fire, the abbey was later repaired and grew to be one of the most magnificent and influential religious houses in the West Country. All this ceased with Henry VIII's desire to marry Anne Boleyn, which brought about the Dissolution. Today there remains only fragments of the abbey, and apart from the medieval parish church of St. Eustachius, Tavistock is almost entirely of 19th-century build.
Tavistock is the birth-place of that great sea-faring hero Sir Francis Drake, who was born at Crowndale farm just south of the town in 1542. Close to the town visitors can see a fine statue of him, this is situated on the road to Plymouth, the port where he famously played a genteel game of bowls before setting out to beat the might of the Spanish Armada.
The town stands on the western edge of Dartmoor, in what is mostly an area of outstanding natural beauty, as such it offers a wealth of scenic beauty, lively places to visit including the famous indoor market and has many specialist shops to explore. It is rich in atmospheric inns and has plenty of restaurants, a fine theatre and entertainment complex, plus a lovely riverside park.
Tavistock, with its easy access to the treasures of the Dartmoor National Park, makes an ideal base for exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside, quaint Devonian villages, the rivers Tamar and Tavy, several National Trust properties, and Morwellham Quay which was once the centre of tin and copper mining, but is now transformed to offer a pleasant, informative family day out.
Tavistock lies between Launceston and Plymouth, it is therefore ideally situated for both coast and country holidays.
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