South Devon is well served by the railway, with the Great Western main line running through much of South Devon, including part of it along the coast. There are stations in East Devon, on the West of England Line (London Waterloo - Exeter), from where there are connections to the coast. There is a branch line from Exeter to Exmouth with frequent services giving access to the coast. Accross the Exe estuary, the Great Western Main line has stations at Starcross, Dawlish Warren, Dawlish and Teignmouth, all on the coast path with frequent services operating to most stations. A branch line from Newton Abbot has stations on the coast at Torquay and Paignton. Further south, the Paignton and Dartmouth steam railway runs from Paignton to Kingswear, giving access to the coast path at Goodrington, Kingswear and Dartmouth (via a short Ferry Crossing). Further west there are stations at Totnes (bus connections to Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Salcombe), Ivybridge and Plymouth (for the coast path and bus links to the east).
The main line is one of the most sceninc railways in the world, running along the Exe estuary from Exeter, before joining the coast for the journey between Dawlish Warren and Teignmouth. From Teignmouth, the line heads up the edge of the river Teign to Newton Abbot. From here the branch line to Paignton rejoins the coast, and the main line continues around the south edge of Dartmoor to Plymouth. This is definitly the best way to travel between points on this section of the coast path as in some places you get a better view from the train than the coast path. In winter the storms do sometimes close the coastal section of the railway line - looking at the picture to the right you can see why! (photo courtesy of Globe Video Films).
The following table lists the rail stations and routes that are useful for accessing the South Devon coast. Places on (or near) the coast path are marked in bold. For the timetables, see the links below.
|Exeter St Davids||Exeter Central, St James Park, Polsloe Bridge, Digby and Sowton, Topsham, Exton, Lympstone Commando, Lympstone Village, Exmouth||Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton||The Avocet Line||First Great Western Trains|
|Exeter Central||Exeter St Davids, Exeter St Thomas, Starcross, Dawlish Warren, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torre, Torquay, Paignton||Exeter to Dawlish Warren, Dawlish to Dawlish Warren, Dawlish to Teignmouth, Teignmouth to Babbacombe, Torquay to Babbacombe, Torquay to Paignton, Paignton to Brixham||The South Devon Coastway||First Great Western, South West Trains, Cross Country Trains|
|Paignton||Goodrington Sands, Churston, Kingswear||Paignton to Brixham, Brixham to Kingswear, Dartmouth to Torcross||The Paignton and Dartmouth Railway||The Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway|
|Exeter Central||Exeter St Davids, Exeter St Thomas, Starcross, Dawlish Warren, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Ivybridge, Plymouth||Exeter to Dawlish Warren, Dawlish to Dawlish Warren, Dawlish to Teignmouth, Teignmouth to Babbacombe, Plymouth to Wembury||The South Devon Coastway||First Great Western Trains, South West Trains, Cross Country Trains|
|Barnstaple||Chapleton, Umberleigh, Portsmouth Arms, Kings Nympton, Eggesford, Lapford, Morchard Road, Copplestone, Yeoford, Crediton, Newton St Cyres, Exeter St. Davids, Exeter Central||Exeter to Dawlish Warren||The Tarka Line||First Great Western Trains|
|London Waterloo||Woking, Basingstoke, Overton, Whitchurch, Andover, Grateley, Salisbury, Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherbourne, Yeovil Junction, Crewkerne, Axminster, Honiton, Feniton, Whimple, Pinhoe, Exeter Central, Exeter St. Davids||Exeter to Dawlish Warren||The West of England Line||South West Trains|
|London Paddington||Reading, Swindon, Chippenham, Bath, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Newbury, Pewsey, Castle Cary, Westbury, Taunton, Tiverton, Exeter St Davids||Exeter to Dawlish Warren||The Great Western Line||First Great Western, Cross Country Trains|
|Plymouth||Devonport, Dockyard, Keyham, St Budeaux (Victoria Road), Bere Ferrers, Bere Alston, Calstock, Gunnislake||Plymouth to Wembury||The Tamar Valley Line||First Great Western|
Most rail tickets (such as day returns) are valid on any of the train operators below (except for the Paignton and Dartmouth steam, which is private). Advance purchase tickets are normally limited to the booked train only.
Pre-Printed timetable booklets are available from all staffed stations around South Devon. Most larger stations are staffed (including Exeter, Plymouth, Exmouth, Dawlish, Torquay, Paignton and Teignmouth). In addition some of the rail operators have provided timetables for downloading on their web sites. See the links below
There are several web sites which allow you to search for rail information, some also provide information on fares.
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 has a habit of offering trains for which it lists no valid fare!.
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 takes and will produce a personalised PDF (Adobe Acrobat file) of the timetable between any two stations.
Rail Services in the UK sometimes suffer from delays and disruption, so it is useful to check for potential problems before setting out. National Rail Inquiries 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 on-line train running information available updated frequently. The main site lists problems and disruption for the whole UK. In addition current live arrival and departure information is available for all stations in the UK. Please see the links below for your station.
If you're travelling regularly by train, it might be worth investing in a Railcard, which offers discounts on various rail services. The following cards are available. Note that they do have different validty and different discounts to so do check which offers best value for you.
|Railcard||Eligibility||Cost||Discount Available||Routes valid on|
|Young Persons Railcard||Available to anyone aged 16 to 25 and to full-time students over 26.||£26 per year||1/3 off most standard class rail fares. Excludes some advance purchase tickets. Minimum fare applies before on weekdays.||All routes nationwide, except preserved railways.|
|Senior Railcard||Anyone aged 60 or over.||£26 per year.||1/3 off most rail fares - see website for details.||All routes nationwide, except preserved railways.|
|Family Railcard||A minimum of 1 adult and 1 child (under 16) and a maximum of 4 adults and 4 childern per card. All must be travelling together.||£26 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.|
|Network Railcard||Anyone. A single card is valid for a minimum of 1 person and a maximum of 4 adults and 4 children travelling together.||£25 per year||1/3 off most adult rail fares and 60% off most child fares, but only on certain routes. A minimum fare applies on weekdays so discount may be less than stated on weekdays for short-distance fares. Off-peak use only.||Most trains in the former Network South East Area. In Devon, this covers trains from London Waterloo - Exeter (but not beyond Exeter), operated by South West Trains, and also London Waterloo - Weymouth trains (for bus connections to East Devon). Not avilable on services in Devon operated by Wessex Trains, First Great Western, Virgin Trains or Wales and Borders Trains.|
|Disabled Persons Railcard||See here||£18 per year||1/3 off most rail fares.||All routes nationwide, except preserved railways.|
|Devon and Cornwall Railcard||Anyone over 16 resident in Devon or Cornwall.||£10 per year.||1/3 off most off peak rail fares within Devon and Cornwall.||All routes and services wholly within Devon and Cornwall.|
Most of the timetables below should be up to date, but you are strongly advised to contact the operator to confirm before travelling.
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. The South Devon section has some good bus services operating to coastal towns, with many running very frequently. The worst section is probably the South Hams, to the west of Salcombe towards Plymouth. Some bus services run only during the summer or during the week only and may run different timetables at weekends or during school holidays.
The following table shows the principal bus routes that pass points on the coast path and the walks that they are useful for. Points on (or very near) the coast path are marked in bold. The table below concentrates on services along the coast and principal services to the coast, particularly in the more rural areas. It does not covery many (mostly local) services in large towns and cities along the coast such as Torbay and Plymouth.
|From||To||Walk||Service No||Operator||Approximate frequency|
|Weymouth||Radipole, Upwey, Dorchester South Station, Dorchester, Poundbury, Martinstown, Winterbourne Abbas, Bridport, Chideock, Morcombelake, Charmouth, Lyme Regis, Uplyme, Axminster, Axminster Station||Beer to Lyme Regis||31||First Dorset||Hourly Monday - Saturday, Once every two hours on Sundays|
|Exeter||Newton Poppleford, Sidford, Beer, Seaton, Colyford, Rousdon, Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Morcombelake, Chideock, Bridport, West Bay, Burton Bradstock, Abbotsbury, Portesham, Chickerell, Westham, Weymouth, Preston, Osmington, Wool, Wareham, Wareham Station, Sandford, Poole||Beer to Lyme Regis, Sidmouth to Beer, Exeter to Dawlish Warren||X53||First Dorset||Once every two hours, seven days per week. Some additional services at peak times|
|Lyme Regis||Rousdon, Axmouth, Seaton, Beer, Branscombe, Sidford, Sidmouth||Beer to Lyme Regis, Sidmouth to Beer, Budleigh Salterton to Sidmouth||899||Axe Valley Mini Travel (Tel 01297 625959)||Once every two hours Monday - Saturday (no Sunday service)|
|Exeter||Clyst St Mary, Newton Poppleford, Sidmouth, Sidford, Sidbury, Honiton, Seaton||Sidmouth to Beer, Budleigh Salterton to Sidmouth||52A, 52B, 52C||Stagecoach in Devon||Every 30 minutes (Exeter to Sidmouth), Every 60 minutes Exeter to Honiton and every 60 minutes Exeter to Seaton Monday - Saturday. Hourly Exeter to Seaton on Sundays with some additional services between Exeter and Sidmouth. No Sunday service to Honiton|
|Exmouth||Littleham, Budleigh Salterton, Otterton, Newton Poppleford, Sidmouth||Sidmouth to Beer, Budleigh Salterton to Sidmouth, Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton||157 (Exmouth to Sidmouth), 357 (Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton)||Stagecoach in Devon||Every 30 minutes Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton and hourly to Sidmouth, Monday - Saturday. Sundays hourly Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton, 4 daily extended to/from Sidmouth.|
|Exeter||Topsham, Lympstone, Exmouth, Brixington||Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton||57||Stagecoach in Devon||Every 15 minutes Monday - Saturday, Every 30 minutes on Sundays|
|Exeter||Littleham, Budleigh Salterton||Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton, Budleigh Salterton to Sidmouth||58||Stagecoach in Devon||4 daily Monday - Friday only|
|Exeter||Exminster, Kenton, Starcross, Dawlish Warren, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Bishopsteignton, Newton Abbot||Exeter to Dawlish Warren, Dawlish to Dawlish Warren, Dawlish to Teignmouth, Teignmouth to Babbacombe||2||Stagecoach in Devon||Every 20 minutes Monday - Saturday. On Sundays every 30 minutes between Exeter and Teignmouth, hourly Exeter to Newton Abbot|
|Teignmouth||Shaldon, St Marychurch, Torquay||Dawlish to Teignmouth, Teignmouth to Babbacombe, Torquay to Babbacombe, Torquay to Paignton||32T||Stagecoach in Devon||Every 30 minutes, Monday - Saturday, hourly on Sundays.|
|Newton Abbot||Kingskerswell, Torquay, Preston, Paignton, Broadsands, Brixham||Torquay to Babbacombe, Torquay to Paignton, Paignton to Brixham, Brixham to Kingswear||12 (Newton Abbot to Brixham), 12A (Torquay to Brixham)||Stagecoach in Devon||Route 12 : Every 10 minutes Monday - Saturday, Every 15 minutes on Sundays. Route 12A Hourly Monday - Saturday and on Sunday local service between Torquay and Paignton only|
|Newton Abbot||Ashburton, Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Dartington, Totnes, Paignton||Torquay to Paignton, Paignton to Brixham||88||Stagecoach in Devon||Hourly Monday - Friday. Saturday hourly between Newton Abbot and Totnes with some services on to Paignton. No Sunday service.|
|Brixham||Kingswear||Paignton to Brixham, Brixham to Kingswear, Dartmouth to Torcross||22, 24||Stagecoach in Devon||Every 30 minutes Monday - Saturday, hourly on Sundays.|
|Torquay||Marldon, Totnes, Harbetonford, Halwell, Darmouth||Torquay to Babbacombe, Torquay to Paignton, Brixham to Kingswear, Dartmouth to Torcross||111/112||Stagecoach in Devon||Hourly Monday - Saturday. Sundays 6 per day Totnes to Dartmouth, 3 per day Torquay to Dartmouth|
|Torquay||Paignton, Totnes||Torquay to Babbacombe, Torquay to Paignton, Paignton to Brixham||100||Riverlink (Dart Valley Railway)||Hourly summer only (daily)|
|Paignton||Churston, Kingswear||Torquay to Paignton, Paignton to Brixham, Brixham to Kingswear, Dartmouth to Torcross||120||Stagecoach in Devon||Hourly Monday - Saturday. No Sunday service.|
|Torquay||Paignton, Totnes, Dartington, South Brent, Ivybridge, Plympton, Plymouth||Torquay to Babbacombe, Torquay to Paigton, Paignton to Brixham, Plymouth to Wembury||X80/X81||First Devon and Cornwall||Monday - Saturday : Hourly Torquay to Plymouth, Every 30 minutes Torquay to Totnes. Once every two hours on Sundays.|
|Dartmouth||Stoke Flemming, Blackpool, Strete, Slapton, Torcross, Kingsbridge, Modbury, Yealmpton, Brixton, Elburton, Plymstock, Plymouth.||Brixham to Kingswear, Dartmouth to Torcross, Torcross to Salcombe, Plymouth to Wembury||93||First Devon and Cornwall||Hourly Monday - Saturday, 4 daily on Sundays|
|Exeter||Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Harbetonford, Halwell, Kingsbridge, Salcombe||Exeter to Dawlish Warren, Salcombe to Soar Mill Cove, Torcross to Salcombe||X64||Stagecoach in Devon||Approx every 90 minutes Monday - Saturday between Exeter and Kingsbridge only. Twice per day between Exeter and Salcombe on Sundays. No service to Salcombe Monday - Saturday, see route 606.|
|Kingsbridge||Malborough, Salcombe||Torcross to Salcombe, Salcombe to Bantham/Bigbury||606||Tally Ho Coaches||Hourly Monday - Saturday, 2 per day on Sundays|
|Kingsbridge||Thurlestone, South Milton, Malborough, Galmpton, Inner Hope, Outer Hope, Galmpton, Malborough, South Milton, Thurlestone, Kingsbridge||Torcross to Salcombe, Salcombe to Bantham/Bigbury||162||Tally Ho Coaches||3 daily, Monday - Saturday only.|
|Plymouth||Yealmpton, Modbury, Kingston, Ringmore, Challaborough, Bigbury on Sea||Salcombe to Bantham/Bigbury, Bigbury to ??, Plymouth to Wembury||875||Tally Ho Coaches||1 bus each way on Fridays ONLY.|
|Plymouth||Plymstock, Elburton, Brixton, Yelampton, Newton Ferrers, Noss Mayo||Plymouth to Wembury||94||First Devon and Cornwall||Approx once every two hours Monday - Saturday, No Sunday service.|
|Plymouth||Plymstock, Elburton, Wembury||Plymouth to Wembury||48||First Devon and Cornwall||Approx once every two hours with additional service Monday - Saturday. 4 daily on Sundays. On Sundays most buses continue to Yelverton and Burrator|
|Exeter||Drumbridges, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Plymouth||Exeter to Dawlish Warren, Plymouth to Wembury||X38||Stagecoach South West||No|
|Exeter||Kingskerswell, Torquay, Paignton||Exeter to Dawlish Warren, Torquay to Babbacombe, Torquay to Paignton, Paignton to Brixham||X46||Stagecoach in Devon||No|
Tickets purchased from one bus company are not normally valid on buses run by different companies.
|Stagecoach Devon are the main bus operator in Devon and provides services around East Devon, Exeter, Teignbridge, Torbay and the South Hams. They run frequent local services and longer distance express services from Exeter to Torbay, Kingsbridge and Plymouth. Single and return fares are reasonably priced, and most of their services run fairly frequently. For information on Stagecoach services call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 or Stagecoach on 01392 427711. They also have bus stations or information shops (which have timetables and staff available to ask) at Exeter (bus station), Paignton (bus station) and Torquay (shop).|
|First Devon and Cornwall run bus services around Plymouth and services around Torbay and the South Hams area. They have a travel shop at Plymouth bus station and can be contacted on 0845 600 1420.||First Dorset run bus services in West Dorset and parts of East Devon including the popular Jurassic Coast link service between Exeter and Poole covering much of the coast path. They can be contacted on 0870 0106 022.|
|Axe Valley Mini Travel (AVMT) run services around the Axe Valley, including coastal services around Seaton, Beer and Lyme Regis. Telephone 01297 625959 for more information.|
|Tally Ho operate local services around the South Hams, mainly centered around Kingsbridge. For details of services see their website or call 01548 853081.|
|River Link operate boat services on the river Dart as well as local bus service around Dartmouth and Paignton. For more information on their bus services, call 01803 834488.|
|Bus timetable information is available from the Traveline South West site, operators concerned, or from Traveline telephone information on 0870 608 2 608.|
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.
Known as FirstDay, FirstWeek, FirstMonth, First3Month and FirstYear these tickets are unlimited travel tickets for First in Dorset or First in Devon/Cornwall and as implied by the names are valid for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months or 1 year. Day, week and month tickets are available from bus drivers. Longer period tickets can be bought at bus information shops and some tourist information centres in the area.
This ticket currently costs £6.50 and is valid for 1 day on all Stagecoach Devon services and also all services operated by Western Greyhound in Cornwall, and the Riverlink 100 service. Weekly tickets are also available.
This ticket currently costs £8 and is valid for 1 day on all Stagecoach Devon and Plymouth CityBus services and also all services operated by Western Greyhound in Cornwall, and the Riverlink 100 service. Weekly and longer tickets are also available.
This ticket is available on Sundays only, and allows unlimited use of the Dartmoor Line Railway (Exeter - Okehampton) and Tamar Valley Line Railway (Plymouth - Gunnislake). It is also valid on a network of bus services runnng through Dartmoor, some of which run to South Devon. The tickets costs £6.50
Two tickets relevant to the South Devon coast are available.
The Devon and Cornwall Rail Rover provides unlimited off-peak use of all national rail lines in Devon and Cornwall for and 3 in 7 days or any 8 in 15 days. The ticket costs £40 for 3 days or £60 for 8 days.
The South West Rail Rover provides unlimited off peak use of all National Rail lines in Devon and Cornwall and most routes in Dorset and Somerset. It costs £70 for any 3 in 7 days or £95 for any 8 in 15 days.
Devon Day Ranger provides unlimited off peak use of all National Rail lines in Devon for 1 day and costs £10.
There are several public transport maps available for the South Devon area. Click one of the links below.