A local

A local's guide to Bovey Tracey

It’s no surprise that with beautiful beaches, bustling towns and pretty harbours, Devon is one of the top holiday destinations in the UK. But sometimes the beauty of the Mid Devon towns and villages gets forgotten in favour of the draw of the seaside. Let’s just take a few minutes to tell you why we love the welcoming market town of Bovey Tracey with its maze of streets and pretty parks.

Stay with us whilst we guide you through some of the best bits of Bovey Tracey and provide some suggestions of where you can create a home from home whilst holidaying in this truly lovely part of Devon.

About the town

Situated on the edge of beautiful Dartmoor, Bovey Tracey is a Devon market town steeped in history and with all the charm of a quintessential Devon village. With just 6,000 inhabitants, this peaceful place will allow visitors to wind down to a slower pace and truly relax. Also known as ‘The Gateway to the Moor’ and with the appeal of rugged landscapes and over 100 listed, traditional and unique buildings, it’s no wonder that visitors come here to experience a slice of Devon life.

Events and places to visit

If you’re thinking about cooking up a real storm for dinner, take a trip to Union Square on the first or third Saturday of the month to discover the farmers’ market which is brimming with fresh local produce including meat, fresh fish, cheese and preserves.

Once you’ve picked up your delicious fresh goods, pack a picnic and enjoy it in the splendour of the National Trust’s Parke Estate which is on the fringes of Dartmoor and a mile walk from the town itself. Explore the secret garden, picnic in the orchard or stroll, bike or jog through the woodland and past the river.

When the children are in need of entertainment, take them to the fascinating House of Marbles where you can be entertained for hours by the myriad of mechanical marble runs and many other hidden amusements. With the museum of glass and Bovery Pottery as well as a restaurant and secret garden, not to mention the shop where you can buy many traditional toys, you can while away many a happy hour here.

Getting outdoors

With Haytor as a stunning backdrop, Bovey Tracey provides the perfect access point for you to don walking boots and explore 358 square miles of dramatic Dartmoor National Park. Adrenalin junkies won’t be short of a thrill with a range of sports to choose from: you can canoe, kayak and climb at various points, enjoy a relaxed ramble across the moor, or discover the perfect picnic spot.

Travel the Templer Way - an 18-mile trek between Dartmoor and Teignmouth on the south coast which skirts the edge of Bovey Tracey. Simply lose yourself in the spectacular beauty of the open moors and take in valleys, woodland and quays and locks along the way.

Bovey Tracey is also an ideal location for golfers with beautiful views of Dartmoor from across the coast.

The food and drink

For a very small town, Bovey Tracey has a surprisingly good selection of restaurants, bars and coffee shops.  Located at the Parke National Trust Estate, the Home Farm cafe ( uses rustic, local, in-season ingredients to produce delicious brunches, lunches and afternoon teas. From Thursday to Saturday you can even enjoy a romantic evening meal as the cafe is transformed by candlelight.

An alternative is The Terrace - a licensed cafe with a great reputation for locally sourced food. Enjoy a bite to eat in relaxing surroundings; there’s even a rooftop terrace for enjoying the local views. There are also a number of pubs including the Cromwell Arms and Bell Inn which produce good food.

The accommodation

Offering a gateway to Dartmoor, a stay at one of our fabulous Bovey Tracey properties offers guests the chance to explore the sights and rugged beauty of the area before cosying up back at the cottage. From gorgeous rural retreats for two, to larger properties for families and groups, as well as a great range of dog-friendly, spend some time browsing our collection and find exactly what you’re looking for.

If you’d prefer to spend your holiday in a Dartmoor hotel, we also have a range of those to choose from. Why not consider the absolutely stunning Bovey Castle which is set against 275 acres of beautiful countryside - this luxurious abode boasts fabulous bedrooms as well as some great self-catering lodges, not forgetting the Elan Spa and 18-hole golf course.

And you don’t have to stay here to take advantage of the amazing activities Bovey Castle has to offer which include: an Off Road Experience track, cider and sloe gin making as well as archery and falconry.

The history

Its name derives from the River Bovey (originally Bovi) that threads its way through the western edge of the town and also from the de Tracey family who settled in the area after the Norman Conquest. William de Tracey was one of the four knights who, supposedly at the will of King Henry II, was complicit in the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a Becket. Part of his penance for the murder was to rebuild the town’s church of St Peter, Paul and Thomas after 1170. The current church’s architecture is mainly that of the 14th and 15th centuries.

If you feel that this slice of insight into Bovey Tracey has whetted your appetite, why not browse our great range of cottages in Bovey Tracey and find whatever you’re looking for to enjoy a memorable trip.

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