BUCKFASTLEIGH is a large manufacturing village, in two parts, called Higher and Lower Towns, pleasantly seated on the western side of the fertile valley of the river Dart, 2½ miles S. W. by S. of Ashburton. It has about 300 woolcombers, several corn mills, and four blanket and serge mills; but only two of the latter are at present occupied, and give employment to about 400 hands. Its parish had 1525 inhabitants in 1801, 2445 in 1831, and 2576 in 1841; and comprises 4379A. 3R. 35P. of cultivated land, and 1072½ acres of open moorland, on the eastern side of Dartmoor Forest, whence two rivulets flow to the Dart, irrigating the meadows in their courses, affording the combers ample means for washing their wool, and uniting their streams near the village, which had formerly a weekly market on Tuesdays, granted to the abbot in 1352; and still has two fairs for cattle and wool, on the third Thursday in June and the second Thursday in September. The parish rises in bold hills from the village, and has quarries of limestone and a sort of black marble. It comprises the hamlets of Buckfast, Scorraton and Runnaford Coombe; several neat mansions, commanding beautiful views; and a number of scattered farm-houses. Great quantities of cider are made here, and in one year, an orchard of one acre produced 4000 gallons.
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