Ivybridge marks the official start and end of the Dartmoor Way for most walkers, the train station here lying right on the London to Cornwall line, making this the easiest and quickest location on the route for arriving and departing. Ivybridge is the walker’s entrance to the mighty Dartmoor National Park, The Dartmoor Way and the Two Moors Way.
Although the nearby manor of Stowford is documented in the Domesday Book, first mention of Ivybridge was in the 13th century when the small granite packhorse “Ivy Bridge” was the only means of crossing the River Erme. Still in use today it was immortalised in paint by non-other than Turner in 1813. You can still see the iron stave in the bridge wall which was lit at night to illuminate this vital crossing.
Ivybridge subsequently became an important staging post for carriages between Exeter and Plymouth for the next five hundred years until 1819 when other routes across the river became possible. This coincided with the Industrial Revolution, a growth of wool, corn and paper mills which, together with the arrival of the railway, brought jobs and expansion into the small town it is today.
Ivybridge’s position on the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park marks the beginning and connection for a number of walking trails, most importantly the start of the Dartmoor Way and the Two Moors Way but also the link with the Erme Plym Valley Trail to Wembury and the South West Coast Path in South Devon.
There are a few B&B’s in the town and one large Inn, one or two more upmarket country house hotels are found in the nearby villages. The main shopping area of Fore Street has a number of independent businesses and evening meals can be found at any one of the six pubs or alternatively at a choice of restaurants from Indian and Greek to fish and chips.
Intel Free Press, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons