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Devon Town Focus


Axminster Map image - PDF icon (4.61MB - pdf help)

Axminster is a small market town on the eastern border of Devon. The town is built on a hill overlooking the River Axe which heads towards the English Channel at Axmouth and is in the East Devon local government district. The market is still held every Thursday.

Axminster gave its name to a type of carpet. An Axminster-type power loom is capable of weaving high quality carpets with infinite colours and patterns. While Axminster carpet is made in the town of Axminster this type of carpet is now manufactured all over the world.

The history of the town is very much linked to the carpet industry, started by Thomas Whitty at Court House near the church in 1755. The completion of the early hand tufted carpets was marked by a peal of bells from the parish church as it took a great amount of time and labour to complete them. Axminster Railway Station was opened on 19 July 1860, with the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) offering direct services between Queen Street Station in Exeter and Yeovil. The station building was designed by the LSWR's architect Sir William Tite in mock gothic style. In 1903, the branch line from Axminster to Lyme Regis was opened. This branch line was closed with the Beeching cuts, in the 1960s. The engine has been preserved on the Bluebell Line, in Sussex, while the station was dismantled and reconstructed at New Alresford, on the Watercress Line, in Hampshire.

Axminster is the southern starting point of the Taunton Stop Line, a World War II defensive line consisting of pillboxes and anti-tank obstacles, which runs north to the Somerset coast near Highbridge.

Nearby Kilmington was used as a location for the 1998 LWT adaptation of Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The celebrity chef and TV presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has his River Cottage H.Q. at a 60 acre farm in the Axe valley. He has since purchased an old inn of the town to convert to an organic produce shop/market and canteen.






News and Events

Key Stats

  • The population of the Axminster Devon Town area for 2009 is 13854
  • In the last 10 years, the population has grown by 9.7%
  • Claimant counts for November 2008 were approximately 55 people
  • Job Seekers Allowance for the area reached 0.69% of the working age population in November 2008
  • District claimant count figures for 2008 showed a claimant count of 1.22% of the working age population
  • The Average income in 2008 for the Axminster Devon Town area is £29444.26 per household
  • Average house price for the area in 2007 was recorded as £279,180.94
  • In 2007 there were 80 year 11 pupils in this area
  • 57.5% of year 11 pupils attained 5 A*-C grades at GCSE
  • There are 78 year 6 pupils throughout the Axminster Devon Town area
  • 85.9% of pupils attained KS2 Level 4+
  • For statistical profiles on Axminster please click here