Quest For A Shop

townWent for a quest to find a shop. A funny quest that we had to drive all the way to South Brent, Buckfastleigh, Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Morethonhampstead via A3124 then to Okehampton via A30. Then we drove down to Tavistock via A386. It was tiresome & the road was winding up to the moors right after Morethonhampstead. Very ‘ulu’ kinda place.

But upon reaching the mid of the moors, the scenery was spectacular. On the end of the northern side, the A3124 joins back to the A30 motorway. We stop by in Okehampton for a coffee break. Never reached here before, but it was quite a nice town, peaceful & quiet.

Too bad i didnt take my cam with me. Here are some short tale of those towns;

South Brent

South Brent

A small town just off A39, via the B3372 off slip. Not much info available about this town with the most reliable resource trace way back to 1881 census based on info

  • There were a total of 316 households, of which 36 were uninhabited.
  • There were 1299 residents, of which 515 were children (under 16), and 97 were over 65, together with 687 adults.
  • The old residents were 88 (3 of them) and youngest 3 weeks.
  • 688 of the residents were born in the Parish.
  • There were 34 Farms listed, covering a total of 4060 acres.

The town centre

Traits of this town;

  • A ‘tiny’ high street, only made up in the middle of 3 adjoining road in a form of a ‘Y’.
  • Ironically there were quite a number of property agents in the town centre. Wonder what is it for?
  • Police station is not in town centre
  • No Chinese people nor Chinese premises
  • Posh residential on the northern side of town
  • Farmland on the entrance & exit of town

Town websites: &

BuckfastleighTown where the famous Buckfast Abbey was located. Haven’t visit there yet, but did loved to! Well, Buckfastleigh “is a small market town in Devon, England on the A38 at the edge of Dartmoor National Park. It is part of Teignbridge District Council and (for ecclesiastical purposes) lies within the Totnes Deanery. It has a population of about 5,000. It is a centre of tourism, and is home to Buckfast Abbey, the South Devon Railway, and the Buckfastleigh Butterfly Farm and Otter Sanctuary.” Note that Totnes Deanery? Deanery is from the root word ‘dean’, yet another term for township used during the old medieval days. There were 2 hamlet nearby called High Dean & Dean Prior. This shows that this area still glorifies their ol’ ‘deanery’ system. (Source: Wikipedia)


Based on Wiki – “the original settlement was at Buckfast (which was around a mile away from Buckfastleigh), where an abbey was founded by King Canute around 1030. For some reason this abbey perished by the early 12th century but it was refounded by monks from Savigny in 1134-36. The abbey passed to Cistercian (Cistercian, an order known as the White Monks is a Roman Catholic order of enclosed monks) rule in 1148 and remained so until the Dissolution.

Buckfastleigh high street – only less than half mile

The famous Buckfast Abbey.

Another high street pic.

Buckfastleigh itself was The Clearing of Buckfast, and probably originated in the 13th century. It developed slowly as a wool town and by the mid 19th century had 4 woollen mills and 2 corn mills. A railway branch from Totnes to Ashburton was opened in 1872 which passed just to the east of the town. The section from Buckfastleigh to Totnes is now operated as a heritage railway by the South Devon Railway Trust.

Census data shows that in 1801 the population was 1525, and 2781 in 1901.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Traits of this town;

  • Nice abbey & medieval landmarks
  • Small town but industrious
  • Got only 1 chinese takeaway with few chinese household & a kebab shop
  • Confusing one way road in town centre will lead you back to town centre all the way again
  • Got only a half-mile long high street
  • Is quiet even on weekends
  • Surrounded by farmlands especially Buckfast
  • One of the South Devon area that you still see ‘deaneries’ being used repetitively in their parish

Town sites:



Another small town lies on the north of Buckfastleigh, which was closely associated with each other historical wise. Adopt the name of River Ashburn aka “the town by the Ashburn stream”. It was known also as “a small market town on the fringes of Dartmoor in Devon, lying adjacent to the A38 Devon Expressway. It was formerly important as a stannary town (a centre for the administration of tin-mining), and remains the largest town within the National Park, with a population of around 3,500.” As a medieval wool town it was famous for producing the red serge that was used in the making of the uniforms for the British Army!

Ashburton town centre

This is the only town I can see people thronging to pubs & restaurants in coat & tie during lunchtime. That shows it still has some life going on in the town. This is one of the small township but quite a number of offices.

Traditional country pub.

Traits of the town;

  • Emergency services (hospital, police station & fire station) are all located side-by-side in a row at the entrance to Ashburton
  • Town centre is at a ‘T’ junction
  • Traditional pubs & restaurants located in the heart of town located close to one another
  • A lively town with quite many offices with white collar workers
  • Got only 1 chinese takeaway visible

Town sites:

Newton Abbot

Newton Abbot

Located 5 miles off A38 via A383, Newton Abbot just like Ashburton & Buckfastleigh was also a market town in located on the River Teign, with a population of 23,580 (2001 census). The New Town of the Abbots (of Torre Abbey) was given the right to hold a weekly market on Wednesdays sometime between 1247 and 1251.

Newton Abbot high street

On the strength of the market it quickly became a successful thriving town and a good source of income for the Abbots. It then grew very rapidly in the Victorian era as home to the Great Western Railway trainworks depot. Newton Abbot has a racecourse and boasts three country parks; Decoy, Stover and Bradley. Part of Newton Abbot’s heritage is the historic Cheese and Onion Fayre, originally held on 5,6,7 November in honour of Saint Leonard. It is still held to this day, but earlier in the year at the beginning of September. (Source: Wiki)

Traits of the town;

  • Fun town, lots of game facilities
  • Lots of car dealers (surprisingly)
  • Targo Mill was located here
  • Road in town centre can jam for no reason

Town sites:

Bovey Tracey

Bovey Tracey

Bovey Tracey is a small town in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, its proximity to which gives rise to the “slogan” used on the town’s boundary signs, “The Gateway to the Moor”. The locals just call it ‘Bovey.’ (pronounced Buvvy). It is twinned with Le Molay-Littry in Normandy known colloquially as Le Moggy Litter Tray.

Bovey Tracey was an established Saxon community and was known as Boffa by 500AD. The town gained its second name from the de Tracey family who were “lords of the manor” after the Norman Conquest. One member of the family, William de Tracey, was implicated in the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett in Canterbury cathedral in 1170. It is thought that de Tracey built the parish church of St Peter, St Paul and St Thomas of Canterbury as penance for the murder. The church still stands today and has an unbroken list of vicars from 1258.

Streets of Bovey Tracey

During the English Civil War in 1646, Royalist troops were attacked in a local inn by members of Oliver Cromwell’s Roundhead army. If local legend is to be believed the Royalists escaped by throwing coins from the windows in order to distract the poorly paid Roundhead troops. The next day a battle was fought on nearby Bovey Heath ending in victory for Cromwell’s army.

The name of Cromwell lives on in the town today in both the popular pub “The Cromwell Arms” and the remains of a nearby stone arch, known locally (and incorrectly) as “Cromwell’s Arch”,. The arch is actually what is left of a priory that stood previously on the site. (Source: Wiki)

Traits of town;

  • Small town with winding roads
  • Small town with diverse cultures – chinese, indian & middle east
  • Lively town with posh pubs & bars

Town site:



Moretonhampstead is a fairly small market town in Devon, England. It lies on the edge of Dartmoor and is most notable for having the longest one-word name of any place in England. It is twinned with Betton in France.

This part of Devon was occupied by the Saxons soon after 682 AD. It was then divided into vast estates, one of which included all land within the boundaries of the rivers Teign and Bovey, and Mor Tun was its major settlement. The present parish, over 6000 acres (24 kmĀ²), is the residue of that ancient crown lordship. The Doomsday Book (1086 AD) shows that the Manor of Moreton, with some neighbouring manors, supported upwards of 5000 sheep. Wool and, in later years, the manufacture of woollen cloth formed the basis of the town’s economy for over 700 years. The setting up of a water-powered fuelling mill before the end of the 13th century confirms that by then this economy was already firmly established.

Moretonhampstead village streets

In 1207 AD King John granted a weekly market and an annual 5 day fair. These very early grants establish that Morton had by then developed into an important local community. It grew steadily through the Middle Ages and was very prosperous until the end of the 17th century, when the wool industry began to decline. But the town continued to be a local trading centre and a vital watering place for travellers on the difficult routes across Dartmoor and from Exeter and Newton Abbot. A series of disastrous fires in the last century destroyed many of Moretonhampstead’s ancient buildings, but sufficient still remains to demonstrate the Saxon and Medieval heritage, and the later industrial prosperity. Much of the town is designated a conservation area, with many listed buildings of architectural and historic interest and more soon to be listed. The whole parish is within Dartmoor National Park.

Traits of town;

  • Old as 40’s looks as if you are entering a pre-WWII town!
  • Narrow road in town centre – almost single lane all over!
  • High street about quarter of mile
  • Nothing so interesting apart of its market heritage

Town sites: &



The last town we reached on the top of the journey was Okehampton. I never reached here & it was my first time. We had a break of coffee before continuing journey back to Plymouth.

Okehampton is was located at the northern edge of Dartmoor, on the River Okement. The border of the Dartmoor National Park is just south of the town.

Like many towns in the West Country, Okehampton grew on the Medieval wool trade. Notable buildings in the town include the 15th century Chapel of St James, and Okehampton Castle. The town is also home to the Museum of Dartmoor Life[[2]]. Okehampton elected two members to the Unreformed House of Commons. The Reform Act 1832 abolished its representation as a rotten borough.

Oke main street. We had coffee on the left side of the pic.

The substantial army training camp on Dartmoor is reached via Okehampton, and is referred to as “Okehampton Camp”. It is managed by the Army Training Estate, and used by a variety of military units including many cadet training units. The Ten Tors event is run by the Army each year in early May from Okehampton Camp.

Okehampton’s location at the edge of the moor means that it has always been a route centre. The A30 trunk road now bypasses the town. Okehampton railway station is on the former northerly rail route from Exeter to Plymouth via Tavistock. The line from Exeter remains open for freight traffic because of Meldon quarry, just to the west of Okehampton. In summer the Dartmoor Railway operates a heritage railway service between Okehampton and Meldon Quarry.

In 1997 Devon County Council revived a passenger rail service from Exeter, on summer weekends only, in an attempt to reduce motor traffic to the national park. At other times the town is linked to Exeter and North Cornwall by regular bus services.

Traits of town:

  • Good for shopping – cheap stuff compared to Plymouth
  • Lively town with a blend of old & very modern structure
  • Looks isolated in the moor end but linked in all corners of the town via trunk roads & motorways
  • All their town website are well designed, that shows how modern & embraces ICT well

Town site: &

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