About usUntil the 20th Century, Ivybridge earned its living from tin, edge tools, corn, paper and cloth - the power for these enterprises provided by waterwheels driven by the energetic river Erme. Because of the bridge, this was also a prime spot to catch passing trade from Exeter to Plymouth, and as the latter grew in naval significance, Ivybridge developed coaching and accommodation facilities to match. The old bridge was bypassed in 1819 when the turnpike was straightened and the New Bridge built to lead more directly into the centre.
Much of the townscape around and south of the bridge area is of Georgian and Victorian construction - and all the interesting bits can be explored by following the Heritage Trail in the town guide, available from the tourist information centre.
Moorland walks are on the doorstep too - the 103 mile long Two Moors Way starts 250 yds north of the bridge, but there are plenty of shorter walks. Garden lovers should visit Lukesland Gardens, on the Harford road, but check opening times first. On the other side of the river, the path runs from the original Ivy Bridge to the remains of the original Brunel viaduct and into Longtimber Woods - a great place for a walk along the Erme or shady picnic.
Ivybridge shops are in Fore Street and nearby Glanvilles Mill shopping precinct. If you're self catering, check out the butcher, greengrocer and new delicatessen. Here also is the South Dartmoor Leisure Centre, with a range of facilities including indoor and outdoor leisure pools and the Tennis Courts with indoor and outdoor courts (see activity section). Endsleigh Garden Centre just outside Ivybridge has a huge range of plants, as well as gifts, books, toys, craft items and clothing. There is a local farm shop close by.
Three miles west of Ivybridge along the A38 is 'The Famous Lee Mill' - a local hot spot for woollen goods, clothes and gifts.
Ivybridge's new Tourist Information Centre is opening in April '08 at the following address:
The Watermark, Erme Court, Leonards Road, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 0SZ.
Tel: 01752 897035