It's easy to explore beautiful North Devon on a car-free day out.
  • Hourly trains (Exeter to Barnstaple), seven days a week
  • Scenic journey on the Tarka Line
  • Explore the Tarka Trail on foot or by bike
  • Easy onward buses outside Barnstaple railway station
  • Visit from London, Bristol, Birmingham and more (change at Exeter St David's)
Family walking the Tarka Trail - photo by Stephen Ring
Barnstaple is a great base for exploring North Devon. Take an easy stroll or bike ride on the Tarka Trail right from the station or head for the coast. Many buses leave from the station. Find out more:
Foodfest at Barnstaple Pannier Market
Treat yourself to some of Devon’s finest produce at riverside cafes, cosy pubs and award-winning restaurants. And don’t miss the local food events at Barnstaple’s Pannier Market. Find out more:
Make your journey part of the adventure by arriving on the scenic Tarka Line from Exeter.
Trains depart hourly from Exeter St Davids and Exeter Central (Monday-Saturday, less frequent on Sundays). The Off-Peak Day Return fare to Barnstaple is £11.60. You can hop off at stations along the route as long as you continue travelling in the same direction (i.e. towards Barnstaple on your outward journey and towards Exeter on your return). Great country pubs and walks await.
The capital of North Devon, Barnstaple is a bustling market town with a beautiful setting on the estuary of the River Taw. The town centre is a short walk (see map) from the station.
There are food and other events all year round and the famous Pannier Market (pictured) runs six days a week. Browse the fresh produce, arts, crafts and antiques.

Photo courtesy of Devon County Council

Walk or cycle this beautiful traffic-free route, a former railway, alongside the estuary of the rivers Taw and Torridge. Hire bikes at Barnstaple railway station from Tarka Bikes between late March and November. Booking is advised, especially in summer.

Along the trail

Along the trail

Fremington Quay
2.5 miles from Barnstaple station
Stop off at the Fremington Quay Cafe for fantastic food and great views over the River Taw. Homemade fare is complemented by the best produce from local bakers, butchers and growers. The cafe itself is housed in a recreation of the old station building which served the quay and has been sympathetically renovated.
6 miles from Barnstaple station
Watch the boats and wading birds, try crabbing from the quay or wander the sandy estuary beach. There are some great places to eat, drink and buy local produce. Then sit back and enjoy the views across the water to Appledore. More
20 min on bus 21 from Barnstaple railway station
By ferry from Instow
Take the short ferry ride from Instow across the water to the fishing village of Appledore. Wander the narrow winding streets and visit the Maritime Museum. The ferry runs from April to October. Limited times each day (due to tides). Check ferry times. More
9 miles from Barnstaple station
Cross the bridge over the River Torridge to explore Bideford's Pannier Market, independent shops and fortnightly farmers' market. Visit the Burton Art Gallery (free entry) which has a range of exhibitions, gallery of local crafts and houses the Cafe du Parc. More
30 min on bus 21 (and other buses) from Barnstaple railway station

Woolacombe beach

Visit North Devon's picturesque coast line, fantastic for walking the South West Coast Path or hitting the beach.
Take the 21 bus from Barnstaple railway station. Be in Ilfracombe in an hour, or get off after 50 minutes at Mullacott Cross and take the 31 to Woolacombe. Look up bus times.
An award-winning beach, recently voted the best in Britain. Neighbouring Barricane Beach has a great cafe (Easter to September) serving curry on the beach. More
Visit this picturesque fishing port, often described as North Devon’s cultural hub thanks to its galleries, theatre and top restaurants. For a slice of history, visit the famous Tunnels Beaches. More
Map tiles by Stamen Design, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL.
Rail information
Where to eat
Discover award-winning eateries, top local produce and food events in the Tarka Line Foodie Guide, available online or at staffed stations.
You can also get the North Devon Food Trail app for 100 unmissable places to eat and drink, as recommended by locals.
Make a weekend of it. Find great hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation to suit you at
Promotion supported by the Designated Community Rail Development Fund,
a joint initiative of the Department for Transport and ACoRP, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.
Promotion supported by the Designated Community Rail Development Fund,
a joint initiative of the Department for Transport and ACoRP, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.