Totnes

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Arms of Totnes Town Council

Totnes (tot'nus) is a small town in the county of Devon in England, regarded as a part of the South Hams area. It was founded during the reign of Alfred the Great. It was once a borough and an important market town; indications of its former significance are given by the remains of the once formidable Normans Totnes Castle, now owned by English Heritage, dominates the town. It was built during the reign of William I of England. Equally notable is the medieval church, built, slightly down from the castle, of an unusual dark red stone. The leechwell still provides freshwater water, and is preserved from former days.

It is noted for its arch in the middle of the High Street. This medieval entrance to the walled town was destroyed in a fire in September 1990, before being rebuilt again. The town is built on a hill above the River Dart, which divides Totnes from it's modern sister Bridgetown, and is tidal up to Totnes, where it meets a 17th century wier. It provides navigation to seagoing boats and until 1995 was used for the import and export of goods.

Totnes is the southern end of the Dart Valley Railway which runs a tourist steam engine from Buckfastleigh. and has a wealth of architectural interest on a human scale. At the western edge of the town is the Dartington Hall Estate, which includes the Schumacher College and Dartington College of Arts. On the other side of town is the Sharpham estate which includes Sharpham College.

The town attracts people with alternative beliefs and has one of the largest New Age community in a small British town.

Charles Babbage spent a large part of his early life in Totnes. There is an exhibit of early computers in Totnes Museum.

Explorer William John Wills of Burke and Wills expedition fame was born in Totnes.

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