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Devon’s Far East - A view from our expert author
Axminster's Minster Church of St Mary the Virgin dates from the 13th century © Tony Cobley, Heart of Devon Images
The Axe still cuts like a knife through the region, carving its valleys and whittling its hills, along with its sister river the Coly.
The Beeching railway closures in the 1960s shortened the train’s coastward ‘rush’ somewhat, although the little tram between Colyton and Seaton now travels on part of its old route, but the ‘watered valley’ that borders this area is still beautiful. The Axe still cuts like a knife through the region, carving its valleys and whittling its hills, along with its sister river the Coly. Both give their names to several places in the area. In 1805, Axminster and Kilmington were both on the ‘Trafalgar Way’, the 271-mile route from Falmouth to London up which news of the victory at Trafalgar was rushed by post-chaise. The four horses were changed 21 times during the journey, which took a breathless and bone-shaking 37 hours; the ninth change was in Axminster, at a recorded cost of £1.11.7. Other East Devon towns along the route included Exeter, Honiton and Wilmington. For this chapter we have taken the Far East as extending from the Somerset border to the north, Dorset to the east and the little Umborne Brook, a tributary of the River Coly, and the A30 to the west.