Since time immemorial, deer have been drawn to graze in the sheltered meadows which line the banks of the river Dart in this Devonshire valley and quench their thirst in the cooling waters which flow here from high up on the moors and down towards the sea.
It may be that it was a favoured spot for these animals, and people who saw them thought to name the place for them as Buckfast, since the name can mean a place where deer feel safe
For nearly a thousand years, people have been drawn here, too. They have come to search for God. For God who is everywhere, certainly, but as they happened upon this place, they sensed that its beauty, its silence and tranquillity, its community of people who were similarly searching, made it a place where God might easily be found.
This is what the monastic community of Buckfast Abbey still exists for today. To be a place where the monks and all who visit them might find God. And so they chose those words of psalm 41: "Like the deer that yearns for the running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God" as their motto, to express their reason for being here and for welcoming all who are searching to drink from the stream of God’s delight.