There is only one principal station in North Devon, Barnstaple, the northern terminus of the Tarka Line from Exeter. The service runs seven days a week, with a broadly hourly service Monday - Saturday and a less frequent service on Sundays, with a journey time from Exeter of around an hour.
From Exeter there are local connections to Exmouth, Torquay, Paignton and Honiton and longer distance services to and from Cornwall, Bristol, Birmingham, The North, Scotland, Reading, London Paddington via Reading and London Waterloo via Salisbury. There are numerous bus connections from Barnstaple bus station to points along the coast path (see below). The bus station is around a 15 minute walk from the railway station and there are also frequent buses linking the railway station and bus station.
The following table lists the rail stations and routes that are useful for accessing the North Devon coast. Places on (or near) the coast path are marked in bold. For the timetables, see the links below.
|Exeter Central||Exeter St Davids, Newton St Cyres, Crediton, Yeoford, Copplestone, Morchard Road, Lapford, Eggesford, Kings Nympton, Portsmouth Arms, Umberleigh, Chapleton, Barnstaple||Barnstaple to Bideford, Barnstaple to Braunton||Exeter - Barnstaple line (Tarka line)||First Great Western|
All trains between Barnstaple and Exeter are operated by First Great Western Many trains from Barnstaple continue south to Exmouth, also on the South West Coast Path on the South Devon coast.
Pre-Printed timetable booklets should be available from Barnstaple station and are also listed in the North Devon bus guide that should be available from local tourist information centres. In addition timetables are available for downloading. See the links below
There are several web sites which allow you to search for rail information, some also provide information on fares. If you are booking train tickets in advance, it is advised to book your ticket on the website of the relevant train operator as this will typically offer you the lowest fares, on-line booking of tickets and free delivery. The sites below provide timetable information and some information on fares accross the rail network. Some also sell tickets, but you typically have to pay an additional booking fee where this facility is available.
The National Rail site has lots of information on the rail network, including a journey planner that gives the train times and fares, real time travel information and real time departure information for many stations. For the timetable, follow the link Planning Your Journey near the top left.
The TrainLine.com provides timetable, train fare information and it allows you to book a ticket in advance (which can be picked up at some stations or delivered to your house). It does require you to register first though and does charge a fee.
Duetsche Bahn (the German rail operator) provides (in English) an on-line timetable for all UK rail services. It also offers a list of calling points for all the trains (rather than just where you need to change), a map of the route taken and will produce a personalised PDF (Adobe Acrobat file) of the timetable between any two stations.
Rail Services in the UK sometimes have delays and disruption, so it is useful to check for potential problems before setting out. National Rail Enquiries is a telephone line (open 24-hours a day) which can provide timetable and current train running information. The number is 08457 48 49 50. Calls are charged at the local rate.
There is also a SMS text service to check current train running. To use this service, text the name of the station you wish to travel from to 84950 and you will recieve a message back in response listing the times of the next few departures from that station and whether the trains are delayed. You will be charged for using this service in addition to any charge your mobile provider may levy for sending text messages.
There is also on-line train running information available updated frequently. The main site lists problems and disruption (current and cleared), for the whole UK. In addition current live arrival and departure information is available for most stations in the UK. For North Devon, the relevant stations are listed below.
If you're travelling regularly by train, it might be worth investing in a Railcard, which offers discounts on most rail services. The following lists details of all the railcards that are available, their cost and validity. For further details and to apply, see the Railcards website.
|Railcard||Eligibility||Cost||Discount Available||Routes valid on|
|16-25 Railcard||Available to anyone aged 16 to 25 and to full-time students over 26.||£24 per year||1/3 off most standard class rail fares. Minimum fare applies before 10am on weekdays.||All routes nationwide, except preserved railways.|
|Senior Railcard||Anyone aged 60 or over.||£24 per year.||1/3 off most rail fares - see website for details.||All routes nationwide, except preserved railways.|
|Family and Friend railcard||Up to 4 adults and 4 children, but must be at least one child in group to qualify for the discount||£24 per year||1/3 off most adult fares and 60% off child fares. Must be at least 1 adult and 1 child travelling together and a maximum of 4 adults and 4 children.||All routes nationwide, except preserved railways.|
|Disabled Persons Railcard||People with certain disabilities, see website for more details||£18 per year or £48 for three years||1/3 off most rail fares.||All routes nationwide, except preserved railways.|
Bus services operate between many points on the South West coast path and also connect with major towns and cities and the National Rail network. There is a good network of bus services, mostly radiating from Barnstaple serving most towns and many villages along the South West Coast Path. The most difficult section of the coast path in terms of access by public transport is west of Westward Ho! where the only point on the coast path that has a bus service is Clovelly, although there is a service to Hartland a few miles inland.
The following table shows the bus routes that pass points on the coast path and the walks they are useful for. Points on (or near) the coast path are marked in bold. Although Barnstaple is on the coast path, due to the number of services from the town, only those that also serve other points on the coastal path are listed below. Bus services to Hartland are also listed as although Hartland village is a little over 2 miles inland it is the only place along this part of the coast you can access by public transport. There are no buses to Hartland Point or Hartland Quay.
|From||To||Walk||Service No||Operator||Approximate day time frequency (Monday-Saturday)||Notes|
|Minehead||Woodcombe, Porlock, County Gate, Lynmouth||Lynmouth to Porlock, Lynmouth to Combe Martin||300||Quantock Motor Services||4 times daily Monday - Saturday, 3 times daily Sundays (summer)||Open top double-decker bus used in summer. First service to Lynmouth and last service to Lynmouth on Sundays runs from/to Taunton|
|Lynmouth||Lynton, Barbrook, Woody Bay Station, Blackmoor Gate, Combe Martin, Watermouth Castle, Hele, Ilfracombe||Lynmouth to Porlock, Lynmouth to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe.||300||Filers Travel||3 times daily, seven days a week||Through tickets available from Minhead - Lynmouth service 300, some buses timed to connect at Lynmouth|
|Barnstaple||Goodleigh Cross, Bratton Fleming, Blackmoor Gate, Parracombe, Woody Bay Station, Barbrook, Lynton, Lynmouth||Lynmouth to Porlock, Lynmouth to Combe Martin, Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford||309, 310||TW Coaches||Broadly hourly, Monday - Saturday. No Sunday service||.|
|Barnstaple||Chivenor, Braunton, Knowle, Mullacott Cross, Ilfracombe, Hele, Watermouth Castle, Combe Martin||Lynmouth to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe, Croyde to Braunton, Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford||3 (Barnstaple - Combe Martin), 3A (Barnstaple to Ilfracombe only)||First Devon and Cornwall||Service 3 hourly, Monday - Saturday. Service 3A, twice per hour Monday - Saturday. Service 3 hourly on Sundays||Service 3A runs only on the Barnstaple to Ilfracombe section of the route. Service 3 runs to Combe Martin, except on Sundays where it also runs only as far as Ilfracombe. On Sundays, some services also service Barnstaple Railway station|
|Barnstaple||Muddiford, Ilfracombe, Hele, Watermouth Castle, Combe Martin||Lynmouth to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe, Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford||30||First Devon and Cornwall||2-4 daily||Provides mainly early morning and evening services to Combe Martin. Some buses on the route run only on Fridays.|
|Barnstaple||Muddiford, Milltown, Two Potts, Ilfracombe||Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe, Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford||301||Filers Travel||Hourly, Monday - Saturday||No Sunday service|
|Ilfracombe||Hele, Watermouth Castle, Berrynarbour||Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe||33||Filers Travel||3 daily, Monday - Saturday only||No service on Sundays|
|Ilfracombe||Lee Bay||Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe||35||Filers Travel||4 buses daily, Monday - Saturday||No sunday service|
|Ilfracombe||Mullacott Cross, Lee Cross, Mortehoe, Woolacombe||Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe, Woolacombe to Croyde||3B||First Devon and Cornwall||Monday - Saturday: Hourly, Sunday service during school summer holidays only||Some buses serve Woolacombe before Mortehoe|
|Barnstaple||Braunton, Mortehoe, Woolacombe||Ilfracombe to Woolacombe, Woolacombe to Croyde, Croyde to Braunton, Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford||303||First Devon and Cornwall||6 buses daily, Monday - Friday, 5 daily on Saturdays, 3 daily on Summer Sundays||.|
|Barnstaple||Chivenor, Braunton, Saunton, Croyde, Croyde Bay||Woolacombe to Croyde, Croyde to Braunton, Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford||308||Stagecoach in Devon||Hourly, Monday - Saturday. 6 daily Summer Sundays||No service winter Sundays. Some additional buses between Barnstaple and Braunton only|
|Barnstaple||Bickington, Fremington, Instow, Bideford, Northam, Westward Ho!||Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford, Bideford to Westward Ho!, Westward Ho! to Clovelly||1||First Devon and Cornwall||Monday - Saturday: Every 15 minutes, Barnstaple to Bideford, Every 30 minutes, Bidford to Westward Ho! Hourly on Sundays (Barnstaple - Westward Ho!)||Some buses run only Barnstaple - Bideford Monday - Saturday|
|Barnstaple||Bickington, Fremington, Instow, Bideford, Northam, Appledore||Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford, Bideford to Westward Ho!||2||First Devon and Cornwall||Monday - Saturday: Every 30 minutes, Sunday: Every 60 minutes||.|
|Barnstaple (bus and rail station||Bickington, Fremington, Instow, East the Water, Bideford||Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford, Bideford to Westward Ho!||21||Stagecoach in Devon||Every 20 minutes, Monday - Saturday||No service on Sundays|
|Barnstaple||Bickington, Fremington, Instow, Bidford, Landcross, Great Torrington, RHS Rosemoor Gardens, Beaford, Dolton, Winkleigh, Merton, North Tawton, Bow, Compplestone, Crediton, Newton St Cyres, Exeter St Davids rail station, Exeter Bus Station||Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford, Bideford to Westward Ho!||315||Stagecoach in Devon||Around once every 120 minutes, hourly at peak times. 2 per day on Sundays||Additional services between Bidford and Exeter and Bideford and Torrington|
|Barnstaple||Bideford, Landcross, Monkleigh, Frithelstock Stone, Stibb Cross, Milton Damerel, Holsworthy. Limited service on to Pyworthy, Bridgerule, Stratton, Bude. 1 Service on Saturdays extended to/from Plymouth (as X85)||Barnstaple to Braunton, Barnstaple to Bideford, Bideford to Westward Ho!, Hartland to Bude, Bude to Widemouth Bay||85, X85||Stagecoach in Devon||5 daily Monday - Friday (Barnstaple to Holsworthy only), 1 to Bude. Some other service have connections to Bude on service 285 from Holsworthy. 3 Barnstaple to Holsworthy on Saturdays and 1 Barnstaple to Bude.||X85 runs Saturday only and continues from Holsworthy to/from Plymouth and is operated by First Devon and Cornwall, not Stagecoach|
|Bideford||Northam, Westward Ho!, Appledore, Northam, Bideford (circular)||Barnstaple to Bideford, Bideford to Westward Ho!, Westward Ho! to Clovelly||16,16A||Beacon Bus||5-6 buses daily, Monday - Saturday||Service 16A operators the route as above but in reverse|
|Barnstaple||Bideford, Abbotsham, Ford, Fairy Cross, BUcks Cross, Clovelly Cross, Clovelly, Hartland. Sunday services extend to Bude||Barnstaple to Bideford, Bideford to Westward Ho!, Westward Ho! to Clovelly, Clovelly to Hartland, Hartland to Bude, Bude to Widemouth Bay||319||Stagecoach in Devon||6 buses a day Monday - Saturday, 2 on Sundays, extended to/from Bude||Some services do not serve Clovelly, only Clovelly cross (just over 1 mile from Clovelly). Bus serves Hartland village, not the quay or Hartland point. Some services Monday - Saturday have connections to Bude|
|Hartland||Baxworthy Cross, Welcombe Cross, Crimp Corner, Gooseham, Shop, Woodford, Morwenstow, Cleave Crescent, Coombe, Stibb Corner, Stratton, Bude||Hartland to Clovelly, Hartland to Bude, Bude to Widemouth Bay||319||First Devon and Cornwall||2-3 daily, Monday - Friday, 3 daily on Saturdays. No Sunday service||Some services timed to connect with Stagecoach 319 to/from Barnstaple. Sunday service available between Hartland and Bude on Stagecoach 319|
A few years ago, virtually all bus routes along the coast of North Devon were operated by First Devon and Cornwall, but as they have reduced services over the years, other operators now provide many services. This has the unfortunate side effect of making tickets for longer journies more costly, since tickets purchased from one bus company are not normally valid on buses run by different companies. However the following bus companies provides services along the North Devon coast.
|Quantock Motor Services||Quantock Motor Services are the operator of the coastal bus service through Exmoor, linking Lynmouth with County Gate (the Devon/Someset border), Porlock and Minehead, all on the coast path through Somerset. For details of Quantock services call 01823 251140.|
|Filers Travel||Filers Travel run a number of services based out of Ilfracombe, including the costal service 300 between Ilfracombe and Lynmouth, services around Ilfracombe and services between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe. For details of Filers service and fares, call 01271 863819.|
|First Devon and Cornwall||First Devon and Cornwall are one of the main operators in the area, providing a frequent network of buses between Combe Martin, Ilfracombe, Braunton, Barnstaple, Bideford and Westward Ho!, as well as services in the west of the county, from Hartland and on to Bude in Cornwall. For details of First Devon and Cornwall services, call 0845 600 1420.|
|Stagecoach in Devon||Stagecoach in Devon provide a network of services accross North Devon from Croyde to the north down to Barnstaple, Bideford and on to Clovelly and Hartland. For details of Stagecoach services in Devon call 01271 329089.|
|TW Coaches||TW Coaches provide the services between Barnstaple and Lynton and Lynmouth. For details of TW Coaches bus services call 01769 572139.|
|Beacon Bus||Beacon Bus provide a small network of services based around Bideford and Westward Ho! although are currently expanding to operator a wider range of services in the area. For details of Beacon Bus services and fares, call 01805 804240.|
|Bus timetable information is available from the Traveline South West site, operators concerned, or from Traveline telephone information on 0870 608 2 608. The website also includes a journey planner, and includes rail information. Devon County Council also publishes printed bus guides to various areas of Devon, including North Devon. The bus timetable guide is available from tourist information centres, some bus stations and selected shops in the area, free of charge and can also be ordered free of charge by calling 01392 382800.|
A passenger ferry service links Instow with Appledore accross the Torridge. This avoids the need to walk into Bideford in order to cross the river via the bridge. The ferry service runs during the summer only, from May to October and information can be obtained on 01271 423585.
Rover Tickets provide a way to travel on bus and train services for several days at a time, without having to purchase seperate tickets. If your in the area for a few days it is worth looking into.
Offers unlimited travel on all services in North Devon that are operated by First Devon and Cornwall. Cost is £3.60 per day at the time of writing.
Offers unlimited travel on most services operated by First Group within South West England as well as many services supported by Devon County Council. Cost is £6.20 off peak (after 9:00am on weekdays) and £7 before 9:00am.
Provides unlimited travel for one day on all services operated by Stagecoach Devon, as well as many services that are supported by Devon County Council.
Provides unlimited use for one day on all services operated by Stagecoach Devon within North Devon. This differs from the ticket above, which is valid in all parts of Devon.
The National Bus Pass scheme is a nationwdife free bass push available to anyone aged 60 and over and provides free unlimited off-peak bus travel accross the UK after. In Devon the pass may be used between 09:30 and 23:00 on weekdays and any time at weekends and on public holidays.
There are several tickets relevant to the North Devon coast that are available for use on rail services.
The Devon Day Ranger is available after 09:30am on weekdays and at any time at weekends and provides unlimited train travel within Devon for £10 per day. For details Click Here.
The Freedom of the South West 3 in 7 day rover provides unlimited off-peak use of all National rail services in Devon and Cornwall as well as most parts of Dorset and Somerset. The ticket can be used on any 3 days out of 7 (selected by marking a cross in the appropiate boxes on the ticket) and is available to use on all services at weekends and services after 09:00am on weekdays. The ticket costs £70.00 and further details are available here.
The Freedom of Devon and Cornwall 8 in 15 day rover ticket is a ticket that enables unlimited off-peak use of all National Rail services in Devon and Cornwall. The ticket is valid at any time on weekends and after 09:00am on weekdays and costs £60. You select the days you wish to use the ticket by placing a cross in the appropriate boxes and it can be used for a maximum of 8 days in a 15 day period.
The The Freedom of Devon and Cornwall 3 in 7 days rover provides unlimited off-peak use of all National Rail services in Devon and Cornwall for any 3 days in 7. It is valid after 09:00 Monday - Friday and any time at weekends and the ticket costs £40.
The Freedom of the South West 8 in 15 days rover provides unlimited off-peak use of all National Rail services in Devon and Cornwall as well as most of Dorset, Somerset and parts of Wiltshire. The ticket is valid after 09:00 on weekdays and any time at weekends. The ticket costs £95.
The Tarka Line Ranger is a rail ticket providing unlimited off-peak use of the Tarka Line, the name given to the railway line between Barnstaple and Exeter. The ticket is available after 09:00 on weekdays and all day at weekends and provides unlimited use of all trains on the line during the time of validity. It costs £7.00
The following tickets provide use of both bus and rail services for a period of time in and around North Devon.
This ticket is designed for those wanting to explore the Dartmoor National Park and surrounding areas by public transport. It operators on Sundays and public holidays through the summer months. The ticket costs £6.00 for the day and provides unlimited use of the Dartmoor Line (Exeter to Okehampton) and Tamar Valley line (Plymouth to Gunnislake) rail services (except on bank holidays) and also provides unlimited use of all Stagecoach Devon bus services and all bus services in Devon operated by First, except route 92. The ticket is available from staffed railway stations or on the first bus you board.
There North Devon Public Transport Map is available at the link below and shows all bus and train services, with a guide to frequency, in North Devon.