About Great Torrington

Great Torrington Town HallGreat Torrington had a significant role in the English Civil War, and the Battle of Great Torrington in 1646 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. 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.

May Fair is a great social event in Torrington. In an annual folk festival believed to date back to 1554, the children of Torrington dance around maypoles 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". Torrington Cavaliers play a huge role in the community spirit of Torrington by supporting these and other activities and events.

Foxgloves on Torrington Commons

The Torrington Cavaliers, an organisation of volunteers, play a major role in fostering the community spirit of Torrington by supporting these and other events. They renowned for their initiatives in providing one of Torrington's major attractions - their spectacular bonfires. On the 28th August 2010, thousands of spectators converged on the town for the Cavaliers' 40th Anniversary, when they set fire to a replica of Great Torrington Castle that had been eighteen months in the making.

Other attractions in Great Torrington include:

  • The Tarka Trail: 32 miles of traffic-free walking and cycling, through the beautiful Devon countryside.
  • Dartington Crystal: guided tours of a hand-crafted glass factory, with visitor centre, shop and restaurant.
  • RHS Rosemoor Gardens.
  • St Michael's: an Anglican Church whose grounds include a mound said to contain the remains of sixty Civil War Royalist prisoners.
  • The Plough Arts Centre: a small theatre, cinema and art gallery.
  • Great Torrington has a good selection of pubs selling good food and a selection of real ales. These include The Black Horse, Torrington Arms, and The Cavalier.
  • Torrington enjoys lively twinning links with the French town of Roscoff in Northern Brittany.

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