Welcome to Hatherleigh
The small market town of Hatherleigh lies just to the north of Okehampton in the rolling countryside north of Dartmoor and its narrow streets are bordered by colour-washed cob and thatched cottages.
Though it vies for the title of smallest town in Devon, it has a big personality and a particularly vibrant and close-knit community with a busy social calendar throughout the year.
A settlement at Hatherleigh was first recorded in 981 when it was confirmed as part of the endowment of Tavistock Abbey, however evidence of a Roman Tilery might point to civilization here dating back to around 70 AD. The town was granted license to hold a market by Henry III in 1220, and the current Tuesday market came into being in 1693.
The 15th Century church of St. John the Baptist has a prominent position overlooking the town and came to unfortunate fame in 1990 when the medieval wooden spire was blown over in a storm, crashing through the nave roof and causing extensive damage. The church has now been restored to its former glory and continues to be the heart of the community.
The town puts on a fantastic carnival in early November involving flamboyant crepe-paper floats and flaming tar barrels being dragged through the streets of the town. The carnival itself started in 1903 with the aim of raising money for the local hospital (a tradition which continues today), but the spectacle of the flaming tar barrels is thought to date back much further. Attending the carnival is a must for all residents and visitors!
What’s on the High Street
A vibrant community market is held each Tuesday morning from 9am-1pm, with fresh local produce on sale as well as plants, household goods, live poultry and small animals. The new purpose-built pannier market is under construction and will be open for business soon!
The town also houses two pubs, The George and The Tally Ho!, a family-run café, a fish & chip shop, two hairdressers, a busy post office, a garden shop as well as a nursery, a long-established pottery, an art gallery and a picture framing business.
Primary schooling is available in town at the Ofsted ‘Good’ rated Hatherleigh Community Primary School.
Secondary schooling is available in the nearby towns of Okehampton, Chulmleigh, Holsworthy and Torrington.
Universities are located in Exeter to the east and in the maritime city of Plymouth to the south, and a number of further education colleges are available across Devon and Cornwall.
Road: The town is located at the intersection of the A386 which connects Plymouth to Bideford and the A3072 connecting Hatherleigh to Bude on the north Cornish coast.
Rail: A short drive to Okehampton enables you to catch the reinstated ‘Dartmoor Line’, with hourly service to Exeter from where you can connect on to London via the Penzance to Paddington Line.
Bus: Services connect to nearby local towns including Okehampton, Crediton, Holsworthy, Exeter and Bideford.
Things to do in Hatherleigh
Outdoor pursuits: Hatherleigh has miles of public footpaths and ancient rights of way, including those across Hatherleigh Moor which offers spectacular views to the south over to the rugged tors of Dartmoor.
If your passion is cycling, just a few miles to the north of the town you can access the traffic-free section of the wonderful Tarka Trail, providing connection all the way to Braunton in North Devon. To the south of town, the Granite Way cycle route runs along a former train line around the shoulders of Dartmoor for 11 miles from Okehampton to Lydford.
Sport and recreation: The town has thriving football and cricket teams as well as an active bowls club. A recently updated play park and adjoining large skate park alongside the river provides a fantastic space for the younger members of the community to let off steam and get outdoors. The thriving community centre provides a base for many local groups and clubs including an amateur dramatics society, and is a popular social venue.
Attractions in the area include War Horse Valley Farm Park (the farm around which the book by Michael Morpurgo was set), Meeth Quarry Nature Reserve, the stunning RHS Rosemoor just to the north, and just for the grown-ups, the Gotland Gin distillery nearby in Highampton and in Sam’s Cider in Winkleigh. The wonderful Hatherleigh Visitor & Information Centre on the square can provide much more information!
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