With a population approaching 13,000, Ivybridge is the largest town in the South Hams, South Devon. Largely due to easy access to the A38 and the quick commute to Plymouth nine miles to the west. It lies at the southernmost tip of Dartmoor and, for this reason, is also a popular centre for walkers and year-round tourism.
History of Ivybridge in Brief ...
First recorded as ‘Ivybrugge’ in 1292, the town takes its name from a narrow pack horse bridge which, at the time, provided the only crossing point of the river Erme. The river was key to the area’s commercial success from the growth of the wool trade during the 17th century and the Industrial Revolution in later years. There have been variously a tucking mill, corn mill, tin mill and paper mill harnessing the river’s power. In the 1840s the extension of the railway, skirting Ivybridge to the North, further enhanced the area’s prosperity and its importance as a staging post between Exeter and Plymouth. The A38 bypass was constructed in 1973 and Ivybridge was accorded town status in 1977. It rapidly expanded during the 1980s and ‘90s to become the popular dormitory town it is today.
It's a Fact !
The ‘ivy bridge’ became the subject of a painting by J M W Turner in 1813.
In 1549, local resident John Bury became a ringleader of the famous Prayer Book Rebellion. As a consequence of his involvement, he was hanged in 1550.
In 1846, the Duke of Wellington, frustrated by a delay in a change of horses at Ivybridge, decided to walk the rest of the way to Plymouth, enjoying the company of fellow travellers along the way and refusing all subsequent offers of transport!
Explore Ivybridge in South Devon
Ivybridge is a multi-faceted destination, as you might expect from its proximity to both Plymouth for commuting, and the moor for leisure pursuits. The recently-constructed Watermark centre provides a focus for business and entertainment in the town, housing the local library, information point, conference facilities, cinema and performance space. On the outskirts of the town there is the highly-regarded South Devon Tennis Centre which draws participants from across the region. Ivybridge also marks the starting point of the Two Moors Way trail which extends 102 miles across the county to Lynton in North Devon.
For nature enthusiasts, the varied walks along the river Erme, and the Erme-Plym Trail, provide many opportunities to observe the local wildlife. For a more exotic experience, there is the Dartmoor Zoological Park based at nearby Sparkwell and made famous by a book written by its owner, and subsequent film. Sparkwell is also home to Anton Piotrowski, MasterChef winner and head chef of the Treby Arms in the village. For history buffs, the National Trust’s Saltram House can be found on the outskirts of nearby Plympton, together with the ancient and picturesque stannary town of Plympton St. Maurice and its Norman motte and bailey castle featured in the BBC’s Time Team programme.
There is ample parking in Ivybridge for visitors wishing to browse the shops including those in the popular riverside Glanvilles Mill arcade, or wanting to enjoy one of the films or concerts held regularly at the Watermark throughout the year.