Totnes Heritage Trust is engaged on a project to improve the open space surrounding St Mary’s Church with a view to revitalising the heart of Totnes’s heritage centre, which includes the Guildhall, the ramparts and
the site of the medieval priory. The former churchyard is the only green space in the high street that offers visitors direct and visible access.
The project design will draw on earlier community consultations, as well as incorporate new ideas proposed by the Totnes Heritage Trust, which is leading the project. The Trust recently made a successful funding application to Totnes Town Council to cover the design costs and has instructed landscape architect Andrew Rathbone of Rathbone Partnership.
Working in partnership with the town council, Totnes Trust and local heritage, gardening and artists' groups, we aim to deliver a green space project in a unique setting that meets the Town Council’s economic, environmental, social and culture/heritage priorities. It will also support its climate and ecological emergency targets, while increasing community participation and wellbeing.
To achieve these aims, the design will include:
1. The promotion of the site as a key tourist destination by giving consideration to pedestrian access, upgrading the frontage to make it more
welcoming, without moving existing monuments, and providing information boards at each entrance.
2. The improvement of the town centre’s natural and built environment by enhancing existing planting and creating new garden areas appropriate for a heritage site, as well as increasing biodiversity, wildlife habitats and
3. The encouragement of social contact and cohesion, and greater participation by children and young people, through the provision of more
seating and a storytelling circle.
The potential uses of such a space are manifold, including school trips, family activities, festivals, open-air performances, community activities and of course a place to eat lunch and enjoy some quiet reflection. During the past year, the Trust has collaborated in events on All Hallows and May Day with NDP Circus as well as open-air performances by the Dartington Playgoers.
A public consultation will be held later this year in St Mary’s Church as part of the design process.