Four bus routes link Okehampton station to surrounding areas - to Bude (service 6), the Exeter service via Sticklepath (service 6A), to Tavistock (service 118) and to Launceston (service306).
Route map and geography of bus/rail links from Okehampton station
The 118 Bus/Rail Link from Okehampton station to Tavistock
The 118 bus service from Okehampton to Tavistock is supported by Devon County Council and it has been extended to run to and from Okehampton railway station. It serves places on the western side of Dartmoor and along the route of the closed Southern railway line at Lydford, North Brentor and Mary Tavy (station on former Great Western route).
Top Left - From Sourton village on the A386 Okehampton to Tavistock road a footpath gives access to the moor, here seen alongside the church. Top Right - As the footpath crosses the closed railway/Granite Way cyclepath at Bridge 620 Sourton Tors can be seen ahead to the east. Behind are views across to Bridestowe church 1½ miles away to the south west and still further to Launceston and Bodmin Moor.
Botton Left - In Lydford the castle can be visited for free during daylight hours. For further information. Bottom Right - Lydford has two pubs with accommodation at either end of the village plus a hotel in between.
From Lydford village the 118 bus passes near to both entrances of Lydford Gorge. For further information.
After travelling through North Brentor and Mary Tavy the 118 bus reaches Tavistock.
Top Left - Tavistock viewed eastward from the Bannawell Street Viaduct (Tavistock Viaduct Bridge 656 of the closed Okehampton route to Plymouth). Top Right - From the viaduct (also seen in the picture) Madge Lane leads down into the town centre.
Bottom Left - One of many things to do and see in Tavistock is the walk alongside the narrow canal, that was built in the early 19th Century to link to the River Tamar at Morwellham Quay. Bottom Right - The Tavistock Canal about to pass under Shillamill Viaduct (Tavistock Viaduct Bridge 665 of the closed Okehampton route to Plymouth). The canal does a ¾ mile loop to reach the canal tunnel mouth (Only a third of mile away to the WNW) that takes it through the hillside to Morwellham Quay.
The 306 Bus/Rail Link from Okehampton station to Launceston
The 306 bus service from Okehampton railway station to Launceston is supported by Devon County Council and it serves Bridestowe, Lewdown and Lifton before finally crossing the River Tamar and into Cornwall.
Above Left - Lewtrenchard St. Peter's church near Lewdown has a ring of 6 bells and an interesting history associated with Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924). Amongst many things he wrote the hymn 'Onward Christian Soldiers'. For more information see https://greatenglishchurches.co.uk/html/lewtrenchard.html. Above Right - ''Lifton village from outside the Arundell Arms, perhaps best known for its Ambrosia factory."
Top Left - Launceston Castle seen from St. Thomas Road. This is near the former railway stations and todays narrow gauge Launceston Steam Railway. Top Right - The South Gate in Launceston. Bottom Left - St. Mary Magdalene parish church, a grade 1 listed building and with a ring of 8 bells. Bottom Right - The High Street in Launceston.
"Also to be seen in Launceston is the narrow gauge steam railway built on a section of the former North Cornwall Railway."
Railfuture's previous suggestion for a dedicated Rail Link bus from Okehampton station to Launceston and co-ordinated with most trains has been partially achieved. This has been done by cutting the former through Stagecoach route 6A from Launceston to Exeter to run only as far as Okehampton and then to the station. The new bus number is 306 and is operated by Go Cornwall Bus. Unfortunately the 4 per day eachway frequency has not been improved. For Okehampton to Launceston this is far less than in the past. Just over two decades ago there were 9 services to Launceston and 10 back and made up of DevonBus 186, Western National X10, Tilleys 227 and National Express 505. Railfuture suggests a higher frequency service both on the A30 trunk road non stop and and others via the former A30 to serve Bridestowe, Lewdown and Lifton.
Station Road links Okehampton town centre with the station, but is also residential. To reduce pressure from too many buses on this road, it might be possible to have some direct access from Okehampton station to the nearby A30 trunk road via a bus 'Gateway'. From Okehampton station the bus route would use a new road created alongside the railway to Tors Road, turn left and cross the railway on Bridge 610, then cross the A30 Okehampton bypass. Buses would then turn right from Tors Road on to the westbound A30 using an upgraded emergency access road, which was indirectly created when the new A30 road cut through a former lane and a deviation had to be made.
The following Okehampton station links map shows the Launceston service inbound via Okehampton town centre as at present, but then outbound from the station direct onto the westbound A30.
The map shows existing bus routes from 30th October 2022 and suggested modifications around Okehampton that might be developed to enhance links to the Okehampton railway services. Dashed sections are Railfuture suggestions. For clarity the Exeter to Okehampton Station and Okehampton Station to Bude buses are shown in the same colour. Note service 345 has returned to Stagecoach and regained its 5A number.
Bus/Rail Connections from Okehampton East Parkway (Exeter Road) – developed from existing services
Those buses timetabled from 30th October 2022, which pass the railway at bridge 606 on Mondays to Saturdays, are summarised in the table below. In addition there are some once weekly services that would also pass Okehampton East Parkway station –
670 Thursdays only return service starts at Cheriton Bishop and runs to Okehampton via Spreyton, Whiddon Down, Throwleigh, Sticklepath and Belstone.
671 Wednesdays only return service starts at Newton Abbot and runs to Okehampton via Bovey Tracey, North Bovey, Moretonhampstead, Chagford, Whiddon Down and Sticklepath.
The table shows the number of buses timetabled in 2022 to pass bridge 606 near the suggested pedestrian entrance to Okehampton East Parkway station.
A further possibility would be to modify Stagecoach service 317 (formerly 75A/B) which runs from Bideford to Okehampton via Hatherleigh. After serving Moyses Meadow as at present, it could run east to Okehampton East Parkway. If service 5A (formerly 345) from Exeter to Okehampton via Hatherleigh was similarly extended, there would then be 11 weekday bus/rail connections between Okehampton East Parkway station and Hatherleigh (based on existing 2022 timetables).
Service 75B from Barnstaple is seen in Market Street, Okehampton (September 2020). This service (now 317) and only from Bideford) is one that could be extended east to connect with trains at the proposed Okehampton East Parkway station. Connecting at the Parkway station, rather than the main station, would avoid too many buses running via the residential Station Road in Okehampton. It would also better connect the new growth areas around the Parkway station with Okehampton town centre.
Return to, More on reopening the Okehampton line - Restoring the second route from Exeter to Plymouth around the north side of Dartmoor.
Bus/Rail Link from Totnes Station to Kingsbridge and Salcombe– the route, further connections, what to see and ideas for improvements__
The 164 bus link from Totnes to Kingsbridge (2021 population 5,700) is operated by Tally Ho! and is a well established service with a history of over 25 years of operation. Originally operated by Western National, Autumn 1998 saw Monday to Saturday services increase from 7 to 13 services each way. In recent years the 164 bus has been extended from Kingsbridge to Salcombe via Malborough and is now hourly for most of the day on Mondays to Saturdays. Buses run via Totnes station forecourt (down side platform London arrivals) and normally take 31 minutes to Kingsbridge and an hour to Salcombe. The last connection from Totnes is currently (October 2023) at 20:55. On Sundays and Bank Holidays there is a reduced service of 3 buses eachway between Totnes, Kingsbridge and Salcombe. A few Totnes to Salcombe buses deviate from the main road to serve Morleigh, East Allington and Harberton.In Kingsbridge connections can be made to places such as Aveton Gifford and Modbury until 19:50, and until 18:30 West Charleton and Torcross. Service 162 is operated by Tally Ho! on Mondays to Fridays and provides a connection 3 times daily between Kingsbridge and the coast at Outer and Inner Hope. The 162 service can also be caught at Malborough and from here the coast path at Bolberry Down is only 2 miles away on foot.
The 164 bus service operates a reasonable alternative to the former South Brent to Kingsbridge railway line closed in 1963, not least as the bus connects with the main line railway at Totnes where most trains stop, rather that South Brent which would have a more limited service even if reopened to passengers. In addition the bus now runs beyond Kingsbridge to Salcombe, a destination which was never achieved by the railway. Given the tight curvature of the former railway, the maximum speed which the line could be restored to is 45 to 50 mph and this would only give a 20 to 24 minute journey time from South Brent to Kingsbridge with a class 150 sprinter. The shorter time assumes only one intermediate stop at Loddiswell and when combined with a 3 minute reversal at South Brent would give a journey time from Totnes of 32 minutes and no faster than the bus. However, had the railway been retained a through Kingsbridge to Plymouth train service via South Brent would be much faster than todays Stagecoach service 3 bus via Modbury. Also, to travel from Kingsbridge to South Brent today requires making a connection to the Stagecoach GOLD service in Totnes with a journey time of around 1½ hours.
Suggested improvements would be a park and ride point on the rail-bus link route at Halwell midway between Kingsbridge and Totnes. This is the point where the 92 bus service from Dartmouth joins the route so giving 2 buses per hour to Totnes for most of the day. The 162 service form Inner Hope to Kingsbridge to have Saturday services and some though services to Totnes via Loddiswell and Avonwick.
Top Left - Halwell is a small village on the road from Kingsbridge to Totnes road and has a frequent bus service to Totnes, as it is served by services originating at both Salcombe and Dartmouth. A park and ride site could be considered on the edge of the village Top Right - Kingsbridge. Bottom Left - Kingsbridge bus station is small, but is convenient for the town centre and connections. Bottom Right - Malborough is close to the coastal path which is only 2 miles on foot. Northward from the churchyard there are views to Dartmoor.
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