Dartmouth, England

Exploring ties to America’s founding in the quaint town of Dartmouth, England

Dartmouth, England, is a lovely resort town on the western side of the south coast of the English Channel, at the mouth of the River Dart (which gave the town its name), in South Devon. We anchored offshore, just beyond where the River Dart flows past the old fortified Dartmouth Castle as the River meets the English Channel. With three days in port, we had the opportunity to explore the resort town and journey by boat up the River Dart to Totnes, at the mouth of the River, and by bus to the eastern fishing and resort town of Brixham, source of much of London’s seafood (especially local crab in season).
With a population of only about 5,000, Dartmouth was easily explored by walking and a local three-minute ferry took us across the River to the neighboring town of Kingswear where the buses to the coast and the steam train, heading north to Paignton, originated. We hiked to the historic Dartmouth Castle that was the fortified protection for the city against pirates trying to sail up river from the English Channel. Agatha Christie’s home on the River Dart, Greenway National Trust Holiday Home, is only a short bus ride north – we passed by it on our boat trip to Totnes and could see it from the River.
The town of Dartmouth has a long tradition of strategic importance for sailing ships. We were a year ahead of the town’s upcoming celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s sailing in 1620 from Plymouth, England.

Picturesque shops lined the street across the street from the “Boatfloat” marina which goes dry when the strong River Dart tide recedes Dartmouth, England.
In the foreground in Dartmouth, England, is Bayard’s Cove Fort, a 16th century fort, built by the Borough of Dartmouth, that contained heavy guns to protect the town from enemy ships, trading rivals and pirates; it was the last line of defense for the town, that was also protected by an iron chain across the estuary and guns at Dartmouth and Kingswear Castles at the river mouth. Kingswear, a separate town, is visible across the River Dart.
A beautifully decorated Tudor-style building in Dartmouth, England
St. Saviour’s Church’s interior, Dartmouth, England
Dartmouth’s Old Market was built originally on land reclaimed from the old Mill Pool as a pannier market, where eggs, poultry and fresh produce from local farms were sold; today it has a number of bric-a-brac, china and clothing stalls along with an outstanding fish monger’s stall where we bought a considerable amount of fish and seafood, stocking up our freezer for our upcoming 24-day voyage across the Northwest Passage (from Greenland across far northern Canada to Nome Alaska)

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