Club Spotlight: Dart Totnes

Named after the river, Dart Rowing Club was formed by local businessmen
in 1861, and named after the town, Totnes Rowing Club was formed soon
after for the local working men. Seven years later the two clubs merged
and Dart-Totnes ARC was established.

After occupying several different temporary waterside sites with
limited boat storage and facilities the club finally built its present
headquarters in 1985, largely using the skills of its own members at a
cost of £40,000.

In the mid nineties the club’s membership had doubled and the club’s
fleet of boats was similarly increased through a Foundation for Sport
and the Arts grant. With an eye for further development the club joined
the ARA’s Project Oarsome in 2002. The associated benefits of Project
Oarsome meant a further increase in those using the facilities through
the clubs links to two local schools.

Whilst the current premises had served rowers and the wider
community well, club growth and the popularity of rowing had limited
facilities. To accommodate the continued development they needed to
increase the capacity of their facilities, and this summer Dart-Totnes
ARC celebrated the opening of a £232,000 extension to the boathouse.

Funded largely through a community club development grant from the
ARA the improved facilities now provide access for people with
disabilities, a significant increase in boat storage, new changing and
shower facilities and a gym, which club chairman Simon Gifford-Mead
claims ‘has one of the best river views’.

The extension was opened by World adaptive rowing Champion, Alan
Crowther. Alan, wearing all three of his gold medals, requested just
two things from members as he opened the new building, ‘smile when you
enter the club, and smile again when you leave.’

The new extension increases the scope for hosting courses and is
also a community resource for other sports and activities in the area.
As well as Project Oarsome the club is home to a group of World Class
Start athletes.

Dart-Totnes hosts an annual regatta each June as part of the West of
England calendar. Each spring they run one of the longest non-stop head
races from Totnes to Dartmouth and a mini head race in November.

Dart Totnes is affiliated to the ARA, it is Sport England Clubmark
accredited and their extension was funded through the Community Club
Development Programme a Department for Culture Media and Sport funded
initiative co-ordinated by Sport England and the ARA.

Club website: www.darttotnes.co.uk (external link)

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