When the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England votes you Best Market Town 2004, you know you’re doing something right. Tavistock is a lovely place to live, in a beautiful area where there is an enormous amount to see and do.

The setting, just on the western edge of Dartmoor National Park, is second to none, and property prices reflect this but there are also some bargains to be found, and local agents are happy to help you find them. The town is renowned for its friendliness first and foremost. People who move there are not treated with the kind of suspicion which characterises some communities, and this was reflected in the CPRE’s statement when they said that a good market town has ‘community spirit and civic pride, local markets, events and festivals and good planning.’

History and Markets

Tavistock is an historic town of 11,000 people which grew up around the original Benedictine Abbey, founded in AD974 by Ordulph, Earl of Devonshire.

It received its market charter in 1105 and to this day the Pannier (basket) market and the farmers’ market flourish, contributing immensely to the character and unity of the town.

The Pannier market these days is a different market each day, ranging from antiques and collectibles on Tuesdays to goods and crafted wares on Thursdays, so there is always something different to browse.

The farmers’ market is held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday morning every month in Bedford Square, in front of the town hall and has a regular selection of everything from local jams and preserves to local-caught fish.

Tavistock was also granted a license to be a Stannary town in 1305, which allowed for miners to have their tin officially assayed before sale.

All this means that for centuries Tavistock has been an economic and cultural centre for the south west, as can be seen today.

Arts and Museums

There are a couple of good cultural centres in Tavistock, including Tavistock Wharf, which hosts many events from cinema showings to concerts and book fairs. The Abbey ruins are also worth a visit, to get a sense of the history of the place. As well as the Wharf there is also a very good local Museum on Drake Road which is open from Easter to October.

Activities and Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National Park is one of the most beautiful areas of landscape in Britain, and to have it on your doorstep is a real honour. Hundreds of miles of walks, cycle routes, pony treks, and canoeing on the river Tavey only a couple of miles away.

As well as walking and riding, there is an immense wealth of nature to be spotted and jotted, from Kingfishers on the river to big cats on the moor, and there are challenges for those who think walking tame. Scaling granite outcrops and hang-gliding are just two of the more adventurous activities in which one can indulge.

You can also explore Dartmoor’s literary heritage, from folk tales to Conan Doyle, the Moor has resonated with storytellers down hundreds of generations.

Property in Tavistock

A combination of the knock-on effect of spiralling London prices, and the South West’s reputation for being the latest ‘hotspot’, property prices are high, and rising.

However one of the advantages of looking for a property in the area is that in Devon there is no particular town or village which is ‘the one’ which means that people settle in many pretty villages and towns, but there is not a demand for one more than another.

Tavistock is relatively small, but there are good, well built properties there which can still be bought for a price which will be a good deal more than it was three years ago, but which is also pretty safe as an investment for the future. Investments apart, however, living in such a wonderful area is worth paying a wee bit more for, many would argue.

For more on property in Devon read our property guide to the popular West Country county here.