It hosts an arts festival in July, and a carnival in November featuring two flaming tar barrel runs. The Walruses meet on New Year's Day to jump into the River Lew to raise money for local good causes. An annual half-marathon called the Ruby Run takes place usually in June between Holsworthy and Hatherleigh, starting from each town in alternate years.
Hatherleigh Market has weekly sales of sheep, cattle, poultry with increased sales on Tuesdays. It is the smallest town in Devon. Hatherleigh is home to three pubs, The Bridge Inn, The Tally Ho and The George. The George was burned down in an arson attack on December 23, 2008 and has subsequently been rebuilt and re-opened in 2010. More than 100 firemen from across the county were drafted in to help fight the blaze which was still burning well into the early hours of Christmas Eve. Hatherleigh also contains hairdressers, craft shops, a beauty salon, a butcher, a newsagency, a bakery, a convenience shop and a post office.
The parish church is dedicated to St John the Baptist and has a western tower topped by a shingled spire. The nave and aisles are divided by granite arcades. The font is Norman and the original wagon roofs remain.
An obelisk one mile (1.6 km) east of the town commemorates Lt Col. William Morris (d. 1858 in India): it was built in 1860.
Hatherleigh was the 7th stage of the Tour of Britain in September 2009.
There is an electoral ward with the same name. The population at the 2011 census was 2,218.