One of these days I’ll manage to spend a long, leisurely day in Totnes, just me and Angus. Maybe meet up with old friends, and generally just really get to introduce him my Totnes. Today was not that day! However, I at least managed a better show of it than last time we visited, and actually learned a few new things about the town myself, which was a pleasant surprise!
First up, having told him about the leechwells, I was determined to show him the site. Like many Totnesians I had grown up with the story about the leechwells being the place lepers were brought for healing. Thank you, Wikipedia, for debunking that one – or at least putting a large question mark over it! Instead, more interestingly to me, I discovered it has long been the site of a healing spring.
Kudos for actually getting to see it goes entirely to Angus! For various reasons not worth dwelling on, I was having something of a sense of humour failure trying to recall their exact location. Following “one last try”, just as we were about to turn back, there was hope!
It was worth it, too. Sadly they’ve cut away the foliage that used to grow overhead, but it was lovely to see the old leechwells as visited as ever. Apparently they’re also building (or maybe have built – there were signs of it across the way, but no time to investigate) – an additional area upon discovery of a further well.
That desire sated, we had a saunter down the High Street, where Angus found the perfect antidote to my previous humour failure, courtesy of Salago, a gorgeous shop which has been a stalwart of Totnes High Street for as long as I can remember.
Further down the High Street is the Brutus Stone, which I later discovered Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed to be the landing point of his mythical founder of Britain: Brutus of Troy. I knew it as an orating stone, so this extra bit of lore was another treat for me!
Of course, another important bit of local lore is the assertion by locals that, never mind Vire, Totnes is in fact twinned with Narnia. Far more fitting, I’ll grant you, and the t-shirts made me chuckle!
We walked right down to Vire Island, before heading back up the other side of the High Street, past the unmistakable and utterly delicious aroma of the handmade fudge shop…
We stopped for lunch at La Fourchette. I… wouldn’t recommend making the same mistake! Crap-awful service and a 40 minute wait for inedibly bad food. Terrible shame, especially considering the huge number of absolutely excellent places to eat in Totnes! Still, with that, our parking ticket had run out. To Dartmouth!
We were stuck behind a small convoy of military trucks for a fair bit of the way there. It wasn’t until I noticed the left hand drive sign that we realised they weren’t official military trucks, but re-enactors off to a big thing at Slapton Ley!
It was a perfect sunny afternoon for visiting Dartmouth – always glorious in this kind of weather! Again, one day I’ll take Angus there just him and me, but we still managed to see a fair bit of it.
Including the castle where, having mentioned feeling like he really ought to have a cream tea seeing as he was in Devon, I was only too happy to oblige! Unfortunately pretty bad scones, it must be said, but a cream tea in the sunshine by a castle overlooking the sea? I’d say that’s not bad as experiences go!
To complete this leg of the whistlestop tour, we drove back via Blackpool Sands…
…and Slapton Ley, which is particularly notable for the road running between two bodies of water: salt water ocean on one side, and fresh water on the other. Also seagulls. Hello, seagulls! One of those quintessential sounds that instantly transport me back to childhood.