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Dartmoor ExplorerExeter – Moretonhampstead – Princetown – Tavistock (from July 2023)
The Dartmoor Explorer takes you on a journey through the historic Dartmoor National Park with scenic stops and options for food and visits.
Adult Day Pass from £10, child £5 and family £20
5 places to visitView journey Attractions
2 services, daily
Tavistock bus stationHow to get here
The ponies on Dartmoor aren’t wild animals. They all belong to farmers and in years gone by, they were used to transport things like food, wool and tin across the moor or they worked in the mines.
The magic and mystique of Dartmoor has, since prehistoric times, magnetised folk from all parts of the UK and far beyond. The Dartmoor Explorer isn’t for the faint-hearted and yet it starts in the vibrant, busy setting of Exeter City Centre before gradually winding its way right into the heart of the often moody, yet sombre and sometimes serene Dartmoor National Park. Tiny villages, burial mounds, granite tours and endless history comes to life as the bus navigates breath-scenery and all sorts of wildlife inadvertently or deliberately blocking its path. Feel the hairs on the back of your neck bristle as the sun comes up or goes down whilst you’re on your adventure or try and make out what’s in front as mist grows or dark, disapproving clouds gather. Stop off for respite, a light lunch or coffee or visit to Dartmoor Prison if you dare. Maybe go all the way through to the bustling town of Tavistock.
This service re-starts in July 2023.
Gateway to the Dartmoor Explorer:
By train to Exeter St. Thomas station or by bus to Exeter Bus Station. www.nationalrail.co.uk
Alternatively, by Megabus from Plymouth, Bristol or London to Exeter.
A Fab Day Out!
Leave Exeter on the 10:00 bus from the Bus Station or 5 minutes later at St. Thomas rail station and then enjoy the sumptuous scenery, stopping off at Postbridge which is your gateway to the Dartmoor National Park. The Life, Death and Landscape Exhibition in the Bronze Age Visitor Centre is a ‘must see’ and then take one of the marked walking trails in Bellever Forest, crossing over the stream on Postrbridge’s famous medieval clapper bridge. There’s time for a bite to eat before picking up the Dartmoor Explorer again at 15:14 to continue your journey to Tavistock, arriving at 15:50 or staying on to Gunnislake Rail Station at 16:05, maybe a pint or two in either the Cornish Inn, Buccaneer Inn or the Rising Sun.
A round-trip adventure for the more ambitious explorer
A thrilling full-circular tour can be enjoyed with the Dartmoor Explorer from Exeter to Gunnislake to pick up the beautiful Tamar Valley Line, which combines outstanding rolling countryside with tranquil river crossings, soporific villages, including the idyllic Bere Ferrers and Calstock, and charming Devon life. There’s great suspense as the train cautiously creeps its way over the Calstock viaduct with birds-eye views of the river below. The denouement of this incredible journey is the cross-sea approach into the vibrant naval town of Plymouth and from there the round-trip can be completed by rail back to Exeter, with the train easing its way in and out of cliffs, with waves crashing close to your carriage as the beautiful towns of Teignmouth and Dawlish beckon.
Arriving at 16:05 in Gunnislake on the Dartmoor Explorer, there’s time for a pint or two in either the Cornish Inn, Buccaneer Inn or the Rising Sun before the 17:33 train which, with one change at Plymouth will take you back to Exeter St Davids in time for dinner at 19:25 to complete a remarkable day out through the heart of Devon’s finest scenery and heritage.
Gateway to Dartmoor Explorer: By train to Exeter or by Megabus to Exeter from Bristol or London.