For a taste of Dartmoor village life, the pretty foodie town of Chagford, on Dartmoor, has a Devonshire Dairy, where they sell cheeses and clotted cream and whip up their own ice cream and desserts. Nearby Blacks Deli is a long-established family run affair, where produce from local artisanl producers line the shelves. Wholefoods sells organic fruit and vegetables, and new wine shop Jaded Palates stocks Devonshire ciders, ales and wines. The owner is knowledgeable and passionate so just ask if you get overwhelmed by the choice. Closed Wednesday afternoons.
Ashburton is an elegant town whose fine slate-hung frontages house a well-to-do selection of antique shops, delis, cafes and restaurants.
DEVON GUILD OF CRAFTS, BOVEY TRACEY
The largest contemporary crafts centre in the South West, displaying beautiful pieces in an idyllic riverside setting, this former millhouse on a river in Bovey Tracey stocks a lovely range of products made by local artisans, including pottery, wrought iron pieces, jewellery and leatherwork. There are art and craft exhibitions, housed in airy white-walled studios, and upstairs is a rustic café, which sells a delicious salads and homemade cakes. There’s also variety of workshops on offer that might persuade you to try your hand at knitting, calligraphy, printmaking or weaving.
Described as being ‘Selfridges’ food hall in the middle of a farm’, Darts Farm has done so much to promote regional produce it's something of a legend in the south-west. A favourite is the Fish Shed, a restaurant, fishmonger and take-out place rolled into one: the fish will have been caught that day.
Undeniably pretty, the pastel coloured houses, steep streets and sandy coves of this boating town attract ‘up country’ yachtie visitors in their hundreds in the summer.
Known for its laid-back, hippie scene, Totnes is a smaller, more manageable centre than Exeter. A fantastic cheese shop, Riverford Organic farm shop and a bevy of tea-rooms are among the bonuses for shoppers, while the town’s castle ruins and city ramparts will satisfy history-lovers. Hippyish Totnes is a place where the independent spirit is cherished – they even have their own currency, the Totnes pound. This is the place to come for wholefoods, eco and organic stores. Social Fabric on the High Street sells bright yarns and fabrics and they also run a variety of craft workshops, from lampshade-making to felting. Aromatika sells organic and natural skincare products, while Arcturus Books stock mind, body and spirit titles. The Seeds2Bakery uses only local organic stone ground flour, while the Wild Fig Deli specialises in gluten-free and vegetarian food. Drift Records stock new music, with a policy that ranges from left field minimal tech house to home-recorded roots music from the Appalachian Mountains.
Devon’s congenial capital has a fine Norman cathedral, a flourishing university, pretty Georgian streets, a few Roman ruins and a 14thcentury network of underground passages. The quayside has been attractively renovated, with antique and craft shops, cafés and pubs.
The estuary-side town of Topsham is a delight: its narrow lanes wind towards the harbour, which is ringed with restaurants, pubs and antique shops and markets. Other attractions include an appealing run of 18th-century Dutch-style gabled houses, a long riverside strand, huge antiques market on the quayside and the frilly Georgian Tea Rooms at 35 High Street (01392 873465), which are consistently voted the best in Devon – quite an achievement in the county that is the undisputed home of the cream tea..
Dartmouth is a gem of a town, with ancient narrow streets, boutique shops, art galleries and delicatessens. A cobbled market place has colourful stalls and farmers markets supplying local produce.