Buckfastleigh and the adjacent abbey village of Buckfast are located on the southern edge of eastern Dartmoor, easily accessed off the A38 road. The bustling historic mill town is a favourite Dartmoor holiday base with families and outdoor enthusiasts, and it has a rich history. The town’s layout is medieval, especially evident around Fore Street, although many buildings date from its mill town boom time from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. A great spot to begin your tour is at The Valliant Solider, a former pub which today is a visitor centre and museum open across the summer season. Many of the original pub features and artefacts survive inside.
Accommodation in and around Buckfastleigh and Buckfast village includes a selection of charming Dartmoor cottages, including some extra special cottage retreats for two. Stay in an old thatched inn with rooms or one of the area’s beautiful country house hotels. Activity groups will find some great value bunkhouse accommodation in Buckfastleigh, and on the outskirts pushing into the National Park sit stunning rural boutique B&B boltholes perfect for romantic breaks, and easily accessed off the A38.
Attractions & Things to Do
Take a tour of Buckfast village and the ancient abbey, founded in 1018 and one of Devon’s most visited attractions, with beautiful grounds, a restaurant, book shops and gift shops. Family attractions in the area are many, and include award-winning Pennywell Farm and Wildlife Centre with its famous, enchanting miniature pigs nicknamed ‘teacup’ or ‘pocket’ pigs.
Buckfast Butterflies and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary is another favourite attraction – many visitors combine their visit with a trip on the South Devon Steam Railway directly adjacent to the attraction. Ancient caves can be found on the eastern side of Buckfastleigh Hill in a huge outcrop of Devonian Limestone in the Dart Valley. The Pengelly Trust has a museum on the site and offers guided walks. Indoor and outdoor rock climbing experiences are also on offer here.
See the Dart Valley by heritage steam train and hop aboard the 7 mile long South Devon Railway between Buckfastleigh and Totnes. Buckfastleigh is the headquarters of the steam railway, and in the 15 acre site surrounding the station there is a museum displaying heritage locomotives, a children’s play area and landscaped gardens, a workshop viewing gallery, a gift shop and refreshment rooms. You can also head off along a riverside walk and enjoy lunch in a riverside picnic area. Ample parking is onsite. A heritage bus service also runs regularly between Buckfastleigh station, Buckfast Abbey and the town centre.
Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.