Hidden away in it’s own little valley close to The River Dart between Totnes and Dittisham is the village of Cornworthy, The Dart Valley Trail is easily accessible with lovely walks beside the river bank and surrounding woodland. The Hunters Lodge in the village is a well known pub, known amongst visitors and locals for good food. On the edge of the village standing alone in a field is the remains of the gatehouse to an Augustinian Priory dating from 1231.
The adjacent village of Tuckenhay is located on the river Dart. Boasting 2 great riverside pubs, The Maltsters Arms and the Watermans Arms. From Tuckenhay it is easy to access Sharpham Vinyard and Totnes.
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Tuckenhay was first recorded as name in 1550 and possibly means “at the oak enclosure”.
The village has an industrial past and perhaps the greatest economic contribution to the hamlet has been the famed paper mill which opened in 1829 producing high quality handmade paper until the late 20th century. The mill payed higher wages than the local farms so it drew a labour force from a large area including Tuckenhay itself, Cornworthy, Dittisham and Ashprington. By the time the mill was extended in 1889 it employed over 100 staff. Prior to the paper mill opening the mill was used for wool production. The mill now has been converted into holiday accommodation.
In more recent times the village became famous for the Maltsters Arms which was purchased by the TV celebrity chef Keith Floyd in the later 1980s. When he was not running the kitchen, chefs included Jean Christophe Novelli amongst others. Keith Floyd was more often than not found at the bar than in the kitchen – as you would expect from this TV persona. The failure of the Maltsters led to his bankruptcy.
If you travel downstream from Tuckenhay towards Dartmouth then you will pass the village of Dittisham on your right and Greenway House your left. Sir Walter Raleigh and his half-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert were brought up at Greenway House which in later years became the home of Agatha Christie and now is run by The National Trust.
Sir Humphrey Gilbert founded the colony of Newfoundland, whilst his more famous brother Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony in North America, introduced mahogany into Europe, popularised tobacco smoking at court but ultimately was imprisoned in the Tower of London and then beheaded by James 1 in 1618. It is in the grounds of Hamlyn Coombe, just south of Dittisham, that Sir Walter is also thought to have experimented with the cultivation of potatoes for the first time.
Sitting between Totnes and Dartmouth these lovely villages are not far from the numerous bars, pubs and restaurants of both towns but also offer their own local drinking and eating establishments:
Mad Ruth Inn, Cornworthy. A local pub in every sense – check opening hours (01803 732204)
The Maltster Arms, Tuckenhay: This Creekside pub is very popular and once was owned by the celebrity chief Keith Floyd. Offering extensive inside and outside seating the pub is dog and child friendly and has wonderful views of the river. (01803 732350)
The Waterman’s Arms, Tuckenhay: Situated at the head of the creek – again popular for alfresco eating in the summer and cosy log fires during the winter months. Good pub food and local beers. Plenty of parking and dog and child friendly (01803 732214) http://thewatermansarms.net/
Heading towards Totnes from Tuckenhay you will find the pretty village of Ashprington which offers and popular eating pub and local vineyard:
The Durant Arms, Asprington offers very good locally sourced food. Particularly popular for its Sunday roasts this 18th Century Inn offers good beer and is dog friendly (01803 732240) http://www.durantarms.co.uk/
Sharpham Estate Vineyard, Ashprington, produce award winning wine and cheeses, offers wine tasting experiences and a very good al fresco café with breathtaking views of the River Dart plus guided walks through the vineyard (01803 732 203) https://sharpham.com/
On the water