Ivybridge is a small town surrounded by stunning countryside and is on the southern tip of the moors, so there is easy access to Dartmoor National park as well as the seaside. The name comes from the bridge over the fast flowing River Erme which powered the towns mills. Being approximately 9 miles east of Plymouth the surrounding roads allow easy access to the town which has a history of traditional South Devon industries such as milling and cloth making
A Brief History
The Domesday Book of 1086 mentions the first settlement in Ivybridge which was the manor of Stowford however Ivybridge was first mentioned in 1280 as a place to cross the River Erme, on the Exeter to Plymouth route. The bridge which was covered in ivy, hence the name, was a small hump backed bridge built in the 13th century and the only means of crossing the river until 1819. It was an essential part of the village. There was a chapel on the site of Saint John’s Church since 1402 although the current church was built in 1790. In the time of the industrial revolution the flow of the river was harnessed to power the mills– a corn mill, tin mill and an edge mill. Glanville’s Mill (a corn mill) was situated in the town centre and the shopping centre is now named after it. In 1819 a ‘New Bridge’ was built joining Fore Street and Exeter Road. Also in the 19th century the South Devon Railway Company built its train route through Ivybridge and a paper mill was built along with housing for its workers. In 1977 Ivybridge became a town and during the 1980’s and 90’s the population swelled to more than double possibly due to the new A38.
Points of Interest
Two Moors Way is for the energetic. The route is 102 miles long across Dartmoor and Exmoor with Ivybridge being the starting point. The way is well marked with directions and information boards with reference to places of interest along the way. Perfect for a walking holiday challenge.
A visit to the town would not be complete without a trip to the original ivy bridge. A historical path trodden by Turner who immortalised the bridge on canvas.
Lukesland Gardens are 24 acres of gardens including a brook cascading through the valley of the River Erme. Wild flowers, flowering shrubs and woodland gardens along with the café and seasonal events for all the family.
The Watermark Centre on Leonards Road contains a cinema, a coffee shop and bar. There is live music, comedy and theatre events regularly hosted. It is also where the tourist information centre resides – the centre of the town.
As is common in a lot of Devon towns Fore Street is the main high street or shopping area in Ivybridge, with an array of shops and restaurants and access to Glanville’s Mill shopping centre, this is the place to start exploring. There is a health store and therapy centre, post office, hair salon, a bakery, bistros and a Co-operative food store as well as crafts and arts and gift shops. Just outside of Ivybridge there is a garden centre and further on in Lee Mill is a Tesco supermarket.
Where to Eat
For a small town there are a great selection of public houses to choose from with the Anchor Inn, Trehill Arms, California County Inn, Cornwood Inn and Westward Inn. All offering locally sourced food and ales. For something different there is Nandon Indian restaurant, the Ivy Fish Bar and also My Kitchen which although small has an extensive menu.
There are no annual events in Ivybridge but there is always something going on whether that is live music in a pub or a musical show at the Watermark. The tourist information centre will have the full listings.
There are car parks at Glanvilles Mill and also on Leonards Road, Erme Court and Harford Road.
ATM’s & Banks
On Fore Street you will find a Lloyds TSB with ATM, and a NatWest ATM. Within Glanville’s Mill there is a Skipton Building Society and a Cooperative Bank with ATM’s. There are also cash machines in McColls on Costly Street, Endsleigh Garden Centre and the Tesco on Centre Avenue.
There are public facilities at Glanville Mill, Leonards Road car park and also at the Watermark Centre on Leonards Road.