Saturday, 8th April, 2023

We set the alarm for 6:30am this morning so we could get on our way in order to arrive at the South Devon Railway by 9:30am. After a wrong turn, we just made it! The half-hour ride from Buckfastleigh to Totnes Riverside was relaxing. The track follows the River Dart for most of the time, making the trip quite scenic. On our arrival at Totnes Riverside, we went to Totnes Rare Breeds Farm.  The idea of these rare breeds farms is to save from extinction species of farm and other domestic animals that are no longer popular. We saw a number of animals and birds which were unfamiliar to us. I particularly enjoyed the owls. On our return to Buckfastleigh Station, we visited Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Otter Sanctuary. As the name suggests, there were butterflies and otters to see! There were many colourful plants in the butterfly house which were not only attractive for butterflies. There is also a miniature railway there. All of this was included in a £23 ticket which I thought was good value.

At first sight, I thought this was a guinea pig but it is actually a common degu which are native to Chile.

This was definitely a guinea pig!

These are Baldwen Welsh Mountain Sheep.

The aptly-named Pot-Bellied Pig is from Vietnam.

A Golden Guernsey Goat

This duck with the interesting hairstyle is a Miniature Crested Silver Appleyard Duck

Oscar, the White-Faced Scops Owl

For our return trip, a different engine hauled the train.

There were more tortoises at the butterfly farm than I had ever seen together before!

It was only the beginning of butterfly season so there were not a great number for us to see. Those which were there were lovely!

These two had just emerged from a chrysalis. The metamorphic process from caterpillar to butterfly is really quite mind-blowing!

The otters had just been fed so they were not very active.

Our next stop was Buckfast Abbey. Unlike most of the abbeys and monasteries in England, this one is a going concern. Like the others, it had been largely destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII but this one has been rebuilt from 1882 when the site was purchased by a group of French Benedictine monks. The church is beautiful as are its surroundings. There is a conference centre and tea rooms. I enjoyed some broccoli and stilton soup at a very reasonable price. The Abbey Church was consecrated in 1932 and the building of other edifices has continued to the present day.

The large organ is mostly at the rear of the church but there are also pipes in the archways above the monks' stalls.

That's quite an organ - I would have loved to try it out!

Looking up to the tower

This chapel is located behind the high altar.

This little Methodist Church is now surrounded by the Roman Catholic Abbey. I wonder what its founders would have thought of that!

We arrived safely at our accommodation in Truro with comfortable time to locate St George's Church where we attended the Easter Vigil Service. St George's is a lovely building but it has a very small congregation. Although there is a pipe organ, there is no choir or organist so the music was all played over their sound system. This was not always entirely error free!

After a very nice meal at the Wig & Pen pub, we returned to our accommodation.

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