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This village revolves around the famous abbey, which has been here for nearly a thousand years (it was founded in 1018), but it was rebuilt this century in just 32 years by only four of the monks.
The monks make tonic wine, stained glass windows, keep bees and run a farm. Of special interest is the Physic Garden, which contains scores of useful herbs. There is also the ubiquitous gift shop, but this one sells unusual beers, wines, preserves, perfumes, and crafts that have been produced by monks and nuns in abbeys and convents all over Europe.
The Two Moors Way, and the South Devon Millenium Trail pass through the town, while under the landscape is a system of limestone caves where the fossilized remains of sabre-toothes tigers and woolly mammoths have been found. Fossils and photographs of the caves are on show at the William Pengelly Cave Studies Centre in Russets Lane. (Link to be added)
Buckfastleigh was a centre for the wool trade in the sixteenth century, and there were five mills in operation. These were joined by corn and paper mills and a tannery in the nineteenth century.
Local festivals include Pear Pie Day in the spring and Lamb Pie Day in the Autumn, and May Fun Day.
The site of Trinity Church is said to be haunted by the ghost of squire Richard Cabell who died in 1677. Legends about Sir Richard and his pack of hounds are said to be the source of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle;s famous story The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Buckfastleigh is also the northern terminus of the Dart River Railway. (01364 642338) (link) It is also the home of The Pennywell Farm and Wildlife Centre (01364 642023) (link), the Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Otter Sanctuary, (01364 642916) (Links to be added)