Welcome to Modbury, a heritage market town that is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

GREAT DAYS OUT

Modbury is a great place to use as a touring base, as there is so much to explore and do in and around Modbury.

Here are some suggestions for great days out - and all with in a 20-mile radius.

Explorers’ Guide: Walks around Modbury

Once a Saxon meeting place, Modbury has a unique recorded history dating back to the Domesday Book. In the 1990s, the Heritage Lottery funded a project to identify and promote unique features of Modbury’s heritage. Twelve Heritage sites were identified; and these are highlighted in the Explorers’ Guide to Modbury, which can be bought in the Modbury Information Centre (for 50p) or purchased through the website for £1 (includes P&P).

Modbury guide Devon

The trail follows a circular route roughly within Modbury’s conservation area. Please be vigilant when crossing the road, especially where there are no pavements. 

After walking the route, a refreshing and nourishing cream tea awaits you at one of our cafes.

Devon Cream Tea

Burgh Island: 8 miles away

Burgh island was originally called St. Michael’s after the chapel which stood on the top like Saint Michael’s Mount. Over the years, the island became known as Burgh or Burrow; and the chapel was replaced by a huer’s hut. A huer was someone who looked out for shoals of pilchards and alerted the fishermen when the shoals were migrating from west of the Isles of Scilly in July and August each year. Today the Pilchard Inn on Burgh Island is the only remaining building that dates from the 14th Century. 

The other renowned building on the island is the Burgh Island Hotel. Recently the hotel has had a £1 million makeover and welcomes guests and day trippers. Originally, in the 1890s, the music hall star George H Chirgwin built a prefabricated wooden house on Burgh Island, which was used by guests for weekend parties. What became the Burgh Island Hotel was sold in 1929 to the film director, Archibold Nettlefold, who made silent films, until his studio was upgraded to sound production with the advent of sound film in the early 1930s.

Evil under the sun Agatha Christie

Nettlefold created a luxury retreat in the Art Deco style for wealthy guests amongst them Agatha Christie and Noel Coward. Evil under the Sun, one of Agatha Christie’s novels, is set on the island.

Burgh Island Hotel Devon

Burgh Island with the Sea Tractor in the foreground

A novel way to get to the island is to take the sea tractor, the third generation hydraulic Sea Tractor, the only one in the world. Designed in 1969 by Robert Jackson CBE (a pioneer of the nuclear power station programme in the ‘50s) in exchange for a case of champagne and costing £9,000 to build, the Sea Tractor is an historic icon. Recently renovated to her freshly minted state, she is the best way to arrive through the surf to Burgh Island. The tractor can carry up to 40 passengers, can operate in up to seven feet of water and travels at four miles per hour.

The Sea Tractor runs for hotel guests when required; but the public can join in the ride and the fare is £2.00 each way. It’s possible to walk to the island at low tide and leave one’s car in the Bigbury-on-Sea car park. 

https://www.burghisland.com/things-to-do/ 

Dartmoor:

Dartmoor was designated a National Park in 1951 and covers over 400 sq. miles. It is a haven for walkers, cyclists, riders, photographers, wildlife enthusiasts, historians and archaeologists. 

Dartmoor is beautiful, wild, and full of incredible places to explore. The granite that forms the bedrock was produced, in the depths of the earth, over 300 million years ago, and humankind has shaped it over the last 10,000 years. Together, they have made Dartmoor into a breath-taking landscape, full of varied habitats, from wooded valleys and hay meadows to magnificent mires and the wild open moor.

Dartmoor Devon

Dartmoor National Park Authority works with farmers, local communities and organisations across Dartmoor, to help conserve this special place. A recent example of this is the Moor than meets the eye Landscape Partnership Scheme. By working closely with other organisations, the authority has attracted funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake important conservation work, to explore the Dartmoor story. To explore this incredible landscape, visit the website at: http://www.dartmoor.gov.uk/ 

Totnes and Dartington:

Totnes is only 12 miles from Modbury and Dartington 13 miles away. Depending on what you plan to do, it is possible to combine a visit to both places, as Dartington is two miles from Totnes. Ideally, one should allow two days; a day for visiting Totnes and the second day out at Dartington because there is so much to see and do.  

From Saxon beginnings to today’s vibrant market town, Totnes has a reputation for its many historic buildings and monuments. One of the best ways to explore the town’s rich history and charming architecture is on foot.

Totnes is a market town, dating from 908 that combines alternative therapies, breathtakingly beautiful countryside and a fascinating history. Sitting on the banks of the River Dart, this unique and charming town has an international reputation for its lively and diverse community and relaxed atmosphere.

Things to do in Totnes

For shoppers Totnes offers an excellent range of small independent retailers. The town is well known for its support and promotion of ethical products, wholefoods and Fairtrade goods. In the Civil Hall square, you’ll find the weekly market which held on Fridays and Saturdays, an Elizabethan market held each Tuesday morning (May-September), when traders dress in Elizabethan period costumes and the Totnes Sunday Good Food Market held the third Sunday of the month in the Market Square.

As well as shopping and exploring the town’s history there are many wonderful things to see and do in and around Totnes. You can enjoy river trips on the Dart, discover one of the towns museums, visit Totnes Castle, take a ride on a steam railway or visit one of the many arts galleries.

If you love wine and cheese, then a visit to Sharpham Vineyard is the perfect day out - set on the banks of the River Dart, enjoy a tour of the winery and taste its award-winning local produce. For the kids, enjoy a day out at Pennywell Farm www.pennywellfarm.co.uk , the South Devon Railway www.southdevonrailway.co.uk , take a canoe trip up the River Dart www.getyourguide.com/DartRiver/Activities

The area around Totnes is stunning and there are several walks leading from the town which explores the river banks and surrounding countryside. To the North West of Totnes is Dartington, home to Dartington Hall Estate, with its historic house, listed gardens, barn cinema and shops https://www.shopsatdartington.co.uk/ and https://www.dartington.org/

Local Food and Drink

In and around Totnes the focus is on organic food that’s locally produced and seasonal. Riverford Farm is five miles away ,between Totnes and Buckfastleigh (TQ11 0JU), www.riverford.co.uk and the Sharpham Estate, renowned for its cheese and wine is five miles away off the A381 road to Kingsbridge and signed Ashprington www.sharpham.com

Totnes has an array of restaurants, cafe’s, pubs and wine bars, which offer a wonderful range of inspired cuisine with local produce at the heart of their menus.

The award-winning Totnes Sunday Good Food Market is held on the third Sunday of the month providing the chance to purchase and sample some of the very best in local South Devon produce.

Dartington – an old place with a new story

The Dartington Estate spans 880 acres. There are many walks to take around the estate and the choice is yours: the glorious gardens, the newly renovated Deer Park, longer walks around the estate and the trail/walk to the famous shops. There are designated dog friendly trails (dogs on-leads) and designated bird nesting areas where dogs are prohibited.

The Dartington Experiment began in 1925, when Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst bought a crumbling estate and began to explore how a place could change the world – attracting some of the greatest artists, educators and political philosophers of the 20th century in the process. Important British institutions – including the NHS and the Arts Council – emerged, and ground-breaking experiments in land use, farming and education took place.

There is such a huge a story to tell about Dartington, the best advice is to visit the website to discover the multifaceted elements, activities and events encompassing Dartington. www.dartington.org

Dartmouth

Situated on the banks of the picturesque River Dart, Dartmouth is the perfect year-round destination for a day visit from Modbury.

With numerous festivals and events, exhibitions and markets taking place throughout the year, as well as a great range of attractions and activities both in Dartmouth and nearby, there is always something happening in this vibrant harbour town.

If it’s food you love, there is no better place to immerse yourself in Devon’s local produce, from seafood to ice-cream and fudge, the town is a food-lovers paradise.

Britannia Royal Naval College, commonly known as Dartmouth, is the naval academy of the United Kingdom and the initial officer training establishment of the British Royal Navy. It is located on a hill overlooking the port of Dartmouth, Devon, England. Royal Naval officer training has taken place in Dartmouth since 1863. The buildings of the current campus were completed in 1905.

For more information on the website www.britanniaassociation.org.uk/tours about scheduled tours of the college.

Totnes Devon

Totnes High Street and the Plains

Depending on what you plan to do, it is possible to combine a visit to both places, as Dartington is two miles from Totnes.

Dartington Hall Devon

Dartington Hall in the springtime

From Saxon beginnings to today’s vibrant market town, Totnes has a national reputation for its many notable buildings and monuments. One of the best ways to explore the town’s rich history and charming architecture is on foot.

 Totnes Devon Postcard

Dartmouth:

Situated on the banks of the picturesque River Dart, Dartmouth is the perfect year-round destination for a day visit from Modbury.

With numerous festivals and events, exhibitions and markets taking place throughout the year, as well as a great range of attractions and activities both in Dartmouth and nearby, there is always something happening in this vibrant harbour town.

If it’s food you love, there is no better place to immerse yourself in Devon’s local produce, from seafood to ice-cream and fudge, the town is a food-lovers paradise.

Britannia Royal Naval College, commonly known as Dartmouth, is the naval academy of the United Kingdom and the initial officer training establishment of the British Royal Navy. It is located on a hill overlooking the port of Dartmouth, Devon, England. Royal Naval officer training has taken place in Dartmouth since 1863. The buildings of the current campus were completed in 1905.

For more information on the website www.britanniaassociation.org.uk/tours about scheduled tours of the college.

Dartmouth Devon

Plymouth:

Plymouth city is 12 miles from Modbury and is a lively place with events, gigs, theatre shows and exhibitions happening every week throughout the city.

Come for the South West's largest food festival, watch unforgettable fireworks or listen to incredible live music. No matter what time of year you visit, we can guarantee you'll find an event to suit every taste and age group.

Situated in a beautiful location, Plymouth is sandwiched between the incredible South West coastline and the wild beauty of Dartmoor National Park. There’s hundreds of years of history to uncover, from Sir Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada to the Mayflower sailing in 1620, to a city rebuilt following the Blitz during World War II.

Visit the Barbican and Sutton Harbour for quaint cobbled streets, a picturesque harbour and wealth of independent shops and restaurants. Here you’ll also find the National Marine Aquarium – the UK’s largest with more than 4,000 aquatic species, from sharks to shrimps and the perfect place to while away a rainy day.

History fans should stop by the Mayflower Steps and the nearby Mayflower Museum. Learn all about the departure of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower ship, who sailed from the UK to the American colonies in 1620 in search of religious freedom. Don’t forget the upcoming 400th anniversary commemorations of this in 2020.

Shoppers should make a beeline for the impressive architecture of the city centre, rebuilt following World War II. Visit Drake Circus for big brand names, or the West End for more unique independent stores. Here you’ll also find the unmissable Plymouth Market. A grade II listed building, it’s home to more than 100 stalls and eateries (with some of the best-rated in Plymouth amongst them).

Another unmissable spot is the historic Royal William Yard. Formerly a Royal Navy Victualling Yard, it’s a grand and imposing sight, and the largest collection of Grade I Listed military buildings in Europe. The Yard has now been transformed into one of the coolest spots to be, home to an array of restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries.

Royal William Yard Plymouth Devon

Royal William Yard

You can even navigate the city by boat – unsurprisingly, as Britain’s Ocean City, one of the best ways to appreciate this wonderful place is on the water. The water links are impressive, joining up the Barbican, Mount Batten, Royal William Yard and even further afield into Cornwall, with regular ferries running to Mount Edgcumbe and Cawsand.

These are just a few suggestions of things to do when visiting Plymouth. More information is available on the Visit Plymouth website at: www.visitplymouth.co.uk 

Plymouth Devon 

The Hoe with Smeatons Lighthouse, Plymouth

Paignton Zoo / Living Coasts / Slapton Leigh:

A trip to Torbay wouldn’t be complete without visiting one or several of the many attractions around the bay. Amongst the top place to visit is Paignton Zoo, a conservation and education charity; and one of the UK’s leading zoos, with over 2,000 animals over 80 acres.

Paignton Zoo Devon

The zoo is designed in habitats and laid out so visitors can get up close to some of the world’s rarest species. There is parking for over 1,000 cars. For more information visit the website: www.paigntonzoo.org.uk 

Slapton Leigh Devon

Slapton Leigh

Living Coasts is part of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust which also owns Paignton Zoo and Slapton Ley Nature Reserve. For more information visit the website at: www.livingcoasts.org.uk 

Paignton Pier Devon

Paignton Pier at dusk