What’s going for it? What a joyful town Tavistock is. Is there something in the Tavy? Or maybe it’s the town’s geographical DNA. The up-down topography, perhaps; the rollercoaster hills, Dartmoor photobombing at the end of every street? Its position, on the “other” side of Devon, means it’s rarely rammed with tourists and too far from anywhere much to have succumbed to chainstores and Frankie & Benny’s. Instead its centre is plump with (seemingly) perky shops, pubs, cafes and all manner of enterprises, like Creber’s grocery and Warrens bakery. Every street and alley is a delight, its beautiful architecture mostly down to a spot of relatively benign dictatorship. The Dukes of Bedford dominated the town until the 20th century, and the Bedfords were very partial to a grand design; it was they who commissioned Covent Garden’s piazza in London in the 17th century, bringing classical architecture to barbarous England, and they liberally peppered Tavistock with equally exotic delights. PS: you’re too late to fatten your goose for Christmas; Tavistock’s famous Goose Fair has just finished. What about a turkey crown from Iceland?
The case against Relatively off the beaten track, which has its advantages and its disadvantages. No trains (see below).
Well connected? Trains: not in the town, but, tantalisingly, five miles away in Gunnislake, across the Tamar in Cornwall. Services every two hours to Plymouth (45 mins). Driving: 20 mins to the A30, 25 to Okehampton and Launceston, 30 mins (if you’re lucky) to Plymouth. Buses: several a day connect to Okehampton, Plymouth and Dartmoor.
Hang out at… The Cornish Arms serves some good upper-crust pub food; cosy, too.
Where to buy The historic centre has some lovely period homes, especially west, on, appropriately enough, West Street, and Plymouth Road up to Watts Road, including some very fine Regency houses; as well as up the hill around Bannawell Street for cottages. Search south of the river around Whitchurch Road, too. Large detacheds and townhouses, £450,000-£900,000. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £250,000-£450,000. Semis, £185,000-£400,000. Terraces and cottages, £150,000-£275,000. Flats, £125,000-£325,000. Rentals: a few; a one-bedroom flat, £500pcm; a three-bedroom house, £800pcm.
Bargain of the week Huge, nine-bedroom, grade II-listed 17th-century house, with 19th-century renovations, plus your own tower, £650,000, struttandparker.com.
From the streets
Sarah Denne “Tavy Cleave on Dartmoor: a barren but beautiful walk with deep swimming pools. I suspect Tavistock is not bursting with Guardian readers.”
Peter Fox “A focus on buying local produce and supporting local shops.”
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