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BARNSTAPLE TODAY 

Barnstaple is a large and thriving market town, the ‘capital’ of North Devon. 
 
The town has a population of just over 25,000, but this figure doubles when the immediate surrounding parishes are included. In fact it serves 130,000 people across the nearby area. Barnstaple is fast expanding too, with new housing developments expected to add 8,000 to the population over the next 15-20 years. 
As the main town in North Devon, Barnstaple has much to offer residents, visitors, and workers: 
 
A large town centre, now spanning both sides of the River Taw and featuring a wide selection of major national retailers and independent shops. See www.barnstaple.co.uk for more information about what’s on offer. 
 
A wonderful heritage offer with many historic buildings, including Barnstaple Guildhall, the Pannier Market, St Anne’s Arts & Community Centre (once a medieval chantry chapel), Penrose and Pilton Almshouses, North Devon Athenaeum (now the Museum), the Albert Clock, Queen Anne’s Walk, and the towns churches. The town also hosts a range of annual events steeped in history, including Barnstaple Fair, Barnstaple Carnival, and Pilton Green Man Day. 

CULTURE 

Culture galore, with the region’s major theatre, the Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon, a multi-screen cinema, art galleries, arts and cultural events at the Guildhall, St Anne’s Arts & Community Centre and elsewhere, and regular live music at small and medium sized venues right across the town. 
 
A strong educational offer, with 13 schools including two secondary. The further and higher education college, Petroc, is one of the leading colleges in the South West. 
 
Sports for all with North Devon Leisure Centre, Tarka Tennis Centre, successful football and rugby teams, water sports on the River Taw, Parkrun, gyms, and diverse range of sports clubs. 
 
Leisure activities to suit all tastes, including a wide range of cafés and restaurants, 17 parks and play areas, riverside walks on the Tarka Trail, town tours, pubs and clubs, go karting, and ten pin bowling. 
 
A strong local economy supporting 40,000 jobs with major employers in the retail, tourism, manufacturing, advanced scientific, health and education sectors. Unemployment is lower than the national average. 
 
Nearby, some of the UK’s most beautiful coastline, and major tourist destinations such as Ilfracombe, Woolacombe, Combe Martin, Lynton, Lynmouth, Croyde, Braunton, Saunton and Westward Ho! 
 
Good supporting infrastructure including North Devon District Hospital and community health services, a railway station, road links to the M5, Exeter and Plymouth, and a bus station.