The Pilton Festival takes place in the village of Pilton, the oldest part of what is now the North Devon town of Barnstaple. Pilton began life as one of King Alfred's Burghs - a fortified site and township - around 882 AD. The name is thought to come from Pill - meaning creek - and Tun - meaning a stockaded farmstead. The Benedictine Priory of Pilton, founded in the 10th Century as a cell of Malmesbury Abbey and dissolved at The reformation in 1536, stood where the Church of St Mary stands today at the top of Pilton Street.
On the third Saturday in July each year, the Pilton Festival Parade starts in The Square at the southern end of Barnstaple High Street in The Square and proceeds to Pilton House and Rotary Gardens via the Barnstaple High Street, Pilton Causeway and Pilton Street. Pilton Street is full of fairground attractions, stalls, stages and street performers in addition to the two pubs and existing shops. Rotary Gardens is also full of craft stalls, fairground attractions, food and drink outlets and other attractions. The Festival Pageant takes place in the grounds of Pilton House.