Totnes, in a fine landscape setting on the southern edge of Dartmoor, was founded by the Saxons close to an important crossing on the River Dart. What gives Totnes its special identity is slate, quarried locally, and hung vertically, often in decorative patterns, on many of the old and originally timber-framed houses. Inside some of these houses there is a series of handsome plaster ceilings. Totnes also has, unusually for England, some covered shopping arcades known as 'piazzas' and an ancient Guildhall, and 'while it isn't quite one of the most beautiful of our small towns,' says Alec Clifton-Taylor, 'it is one of the most distinctive and the preservation of its individuality is vital.' From BBC Archives.