As the Gateway to Exmoor, South Molton makes a great base to explore the local area. Dating back to Saxon times, this classic British market town is formed around a pretty central square with impressive historic buildings to either side.
Rich textile history
The town is thought to have originated in the Saxon times and has historically been one of much importance, having been recorded to have four priests, which is much higher than the average number. According to historians, the town has been thriving as a market place since the earliest records and residents still celebrate the charters granted by royalty for the market every June.
Originally, much of the town’s wealth is thought to come from the fact that it was an important centre of the UK’s wool trade. You can find out about this and much more by taking the town Heritage Trail or by visiting the award-winning local Museum to find out more.
Thriving market place
While the type of markets held at South Molton has changed over the years, they have kept much of their original feel and traditional markets take place twice a week in the main square. The square itself is surrounded by a number of small, independent shops, the fronts of which remain largely unchanged.
The markets are a great way to sample some of the area’s acclaimed local produce, with producers offering everything from home grown vegetables, locally prepared sausages and local fish.
This local produce can also be found at the various eateries in and around the town. South Molton has really built a reputation for the quality of its cafés, the majority of which serve locally sourced food and are wonderful places to stop and refresh while exploring. They are especially welcomed by those who have spent the day on Exmoor, as the town is just on the edge of the National Park. Even if you haven’t been having an adventure, the cafes are friendly and warm and offer a great place to while away the hours while people watching.
The town is home to a number of independent shops selling everything from handmade chocolates to boutique homeware – perfect for holiday souvenirs!
One popular and unique gift is locally sourced honey from the nearby Quince Honey Farm. Not only is this a great source of local honey, which is used to make a whole host of products, from beauty items to candles and of course, edible ingredients, but is also a fun place to visit for the day. The farm allows you to see the world’s largest exhibition of honey bees up close, as well as showing you how honey is farmed and of course, there are a whole host of themed activities and workshops being held there all year around.
With a programme of lively events throughout the year, there’s always something going on in South Molton – from vintage rallies to celebrations of the town’s agricultural heritage.