Situated between Dartmoor National Park and South Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Totnes and the South Hams are really well set up for visitors. Accommodation within a 5 mile radius of Leather School ranges from town based hotels to cosy B & B’s within a few minutes’ walk of our workshop. Quite often participants choose to stay by the sea, with the nearest of the English Riveria resorts just 8 miles away.
Why come to South Devon for a course?
Along with Leather School being one of the best resourced leathercraft teaching facilities in the country, there are plenty of additional reasons for coming to South Devon; two main ones are the buzzing arts and crafts community that exists around Dartington and Totnes, and the sheer beauty of the place!
Leather School’s workshop is located on land owned by Dartington Hall Estate, where Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst set up their pioneering arts and crafts education project in the 1920s. For almost a century this has drawn artists and craftspeople to the area, including the potter Bernard Leach. The resulting creative legacy is something that Leather School is proudly part of
Totnes and Dartington draws a range of craftspeople to live and work here; at one point there were two independent leather shoemakers in Totnes, Conkers and Green Shoes (Green shoes have since moved onto Dartmoor). At the Shops at Dartington and along Totnes’ picturesque Elizabethan high street you’ll find all manner of shops selling locally made crafts, such as Me and East. Further afield is Britain’s last surviving Oak Bark Tannery in East Devon, and this is a key reason why Leather School and Tanner Bates are located in the region
Head off in any direction from Leather School and you’ll find yourself in the rolling red-soiled rural landscape of South Devon. To the north lay the wild hills of Dartmoor, where the rocky tors, rivers and moorland can make you feel like you’re in a much more remote place. The beautiful river Dart winds down off the moors, skirting Dartington and the delightful gardens of Dartington Hall, before arriving at the tidal reach in Totnes. There are plenty of walks that will lead you by the river and up into wooded hills taking you to nearby villages with great pubs.
Dartington and Totnes are well connected; there is a mainline train station for trains connecting directly to London, Bristol, Birmingham and even as far as Edinburgh in one direction, and to Plymouth and Penzance in the other. The M5 motorway turns into the A38 Devon Expressway, and Dartington is just 5 miles off of this high speed dual carriageway.
Devon – other things to do
We know that many of our participants come down to Devon with their families and friends, so it is good to know that there are plenty of things for them to be doing whilst you are immersed in one of our courses.