Dartmouth Heritage Trail opens

In November 2019, Dartmouth will launch its own Mayflower heritage trail in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the famous voyage.

It will tell the story of relationship with the journey undertaken by the Pilgrims, while visitors and residents alike will be walking in the footsteps of the Pilgrims.

There will be well-presented educational content, including a digital app to enhance the story. Dartmouth’s Trail is linked to the National Mayflower Trail that will chart the story of the Pilgrims from their birthplaces to their settlement in the New World.

The Trail will consist of three sections:

  • A Town Trail that will take visitors around the historic streets and points of interest: The Museum, Pillory Square, The Butterwalk (1635), St. Saviours Church (1372), Agincourt House (14th century), Bayards Cove (1539) and Bayards Cove Fort (1510), where the Mayflower and Speedwell were moored in 1620.
  • A Walking Trail that will link Townstal – the original settlement – with the port, beginning at St Clements Church (14thcentury & the ‘Mother Church’), Old Mill Creek, and down the ancient streets – walking in the footsteps of the Pilgrims – with many interesting historic buildings along the route.
  • A Castle Trail will take visitors from Bayards Cove to Dartmouth Castle (1488), St Petrox Church (1641) and the Civil War fieldworks on Gallant’s Bower (1642).

All three Trail elements will link up, and will also link with a River Trail, taking in the historic seafaring locations and the Pilgrim’s encampment further up river.

There are several points of interest to visit which will be part of the Trail, including:

The Museum, which will house a Mayflower exhibit and a Scale Model of the Mayflower, built by local shipwrights with students from the Noss Marine Academy,

St Saviours Church (1372) with its altar dating from James I, and the ornate rood screen and the south door with its medieval ironwork,

The Butterwalk (completed 1640) a gabled Tudor building with four stories, oriel windows, overhanging the pavement and supported on a colonnade.

Butterwalk in Dartmouth

The Plantation Garden, in Coronation Park, will emulate the food growing techniques adopted by the early settlers in the New World with the help of the indigenous people. It will be participative and educational, showing the fusion of two horticultural cultures and food growing techniques.

A metal Sculpture of a figure representing a Separatist en route to the New World, will be designed and created by Dartmouth Academy students working with an artist.  It will be situated on the South Embankment and will be under planted with grasses to give a Prairie look.

The trail will pass Agincourt House (14th century), and end in Bayards Cove (1539) where the Mayflower and Speedwell were moored, and remains virtually unchanged since 1620.  Bayards Cove Fort (1510) stands at the southern end of the cove.  The trail could be extended here, by walking out to Dartmouth Castle (1488) and St Petrox Church (1641).


The Mayflower Trail will link up with a River Trail by boat up the River Dart, taking in the historic seafaring locations at the Pilgrims encampment, the Raleigh and Gilbert estates, Sharpham, Dartington and Totnes.

There will also be a History Trail marked by a series of mosaic panels, created by students and special interest groups and societies.  They will depict a range of historical events involving Dartmouth, at key locations in town.  These events would include, in addition to the Mayflower story, the departure of ships for the 2nd and 3rd Crusades, the wine trade with Bordeaux, the Triangular Cod Trade with Newfoundland, the Privateers, the Armada, the Civil War, the Flavel non-conformists, Thomas Newcomen’s invention of the steam engine, George Bidder Parker’s development of the steam trawler and the World War II D-Day preparations.

Visitors will be able to select parts of the Trail or link them together, and trail maps, quizzes and information will be available at the Museum, Visitor Centre and Park and Ride.

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