The Idler Magazine


Posted in Crap Towns Archive on 4 August 2005

There is a common mis-conception that Tiverton is a nice, pretty little market town that overlooks the moors. Don’t trust the Devon tourist board: it’s a heaving, grey pit of nothingness.

Margaret Drabble�s novel �The Witch of Exmoor” contains the following passage:

“He gets himself dropped off at a service station just beyond Taunton. Thence he gets a quick lift to Tiverton, where he spends the night in a room over a pub, and, in the morning, takes stock.

Tiverton is a dump. Will Paine is surprised. He had thought it would be a pretty, West Country market town, full of smiling county people and expensive shops, but it is hilly and grim. Most of the shops seem to be selling second rate, second hand clothing in aid of obscure charities. The population looks grey and elderly and idle. Will walks along a pedestrianized High Street, through a car park or two, round a market precinct where nothing is happening at all. There is nothing for him here. Where are all the wealthy folk of the soft rich south. Clearly they do not hang out in Tiverton. Will decides to move on.”

John Wingate

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