Why not take the time to retrace some of the town’s history for yourself by undertaking this heritage trail. On your own or with company, it will help pass a pleasurable and informative hour in some of the oldest parts of the town where a surprising number of fascinating artefacts still survive.
Starting at the Paper Mill in Harford Road –
The Mill – a paper mill was established on this site in 1787 by William Dunsterville. The oldest part of the current mill was built in 1862 with newer additions (in red brick) made in 1914 after a serious fire destroyed part of the building. Architecturally pleasing and still home to the town’s major industrial employer, paper manufacturer Arjo Wiggins, it is sadly the last remaining mill building in Ivybridge.
Walk 200 yards down the hill –
The Ivy Bridge - originally a pack horse bridge and first recorded as “Ivybrugge” in 1292. It was widened by Sir John Rogers of Blachford shortly after coach travel became the method to link towns and cities on the road to London. Look for the iron stave set into the lip of the bridge which was once filled with wood and lit at night for illuminating the highway. The Ivy Bridge was the subject of a famous 1813 painting by J M W Turner.
The Cart Stones – notice these on the side of the bridge; these were installed to stop runaway carts with ineffective brakes! Cart stones can also be found in Station Road.
The Boundary Stones – also set into the bridge were the boundary stones of the parishes which divided Ivybridge; only 2 now remain.
Walk a few yards down from the bridge (keeping on Harford Road) and look to your left –
London Court – formerly the site of the London Hotel, a typical coach exchange hotel built in 1785. The stables and coach horse exchange buildings can still be seen today.
Turn to your right and enter the Short Stay Car Park -
The Turbine Engine - located in the centre of the short stay car park. Amongst other tasks it generated electricity for the town. It was originally located roughly behind the current Somerfield’s unloading bay. Close by the turbine engine you will find the American war memorial, dedicated in 2001.
Keep straight ahead and continue the short distance down to the end of Harford Road, turn right to cross the river at the “new bridge” (built 1826), bear left into Fore Street (the war memorial will be on your right). After approximately 300 yards locate the service road into the Glanville’s Mill precinct on your left –
The Town Leat - found alongside the entrance to the service road to Glanville’s Mill precinct; the leat once powered the turbine engine known locally as “The Snail”.
Walk to the bottom of Fore Street and on the right just a few yards past Ivybridge Motors (formerly the site of the cattle market in about 1793) you will arrive at Grosvenor Court retirement apartments -
Pound Farm – by Grosvenor Court (formerly the site of the Grosvenor Hotel, an important coaching inn) turn right up the footpath known as “Pound Farm Lane”. As you turn the corner you will come upon Pound Farm, once a cider farm; notice the antiquity of the barnyard doors and walling.
Return down Pound Farm Lane into Fore Street and cross the road –
Methodist Church – construction of the Church was funded in 1874 by mill owner and entrepreneur John Allen, a major benefactor to the town.
Look back up the street a few yards and you will see -
Allen’s Cottages – built in 1867, just ten of the many houses John Allen built for his employees.
Walking down past the Methodist Church and turning the corner a few yards into Marjorie Kelly Way, cross the road at the pedestrian crossing and enter Keaton Road –
Keaton Road – again cottages built by 19th century benefactor, John Allen - likewise the adjoining roads of Clare Street and Park Street.
Around 50 yards past the Duke of Cornwall Public House in Keaton Road turn the corner to the left and after 100 yards come to Tor Homes’ Waterside House sheltered residential complex –
The Aqueduct – now a listed structure in the grounds of “Waterside House”; permission is available for individuals to view the aqueduct and the pit where the water wheel once stood.