Totnes Railway Station
Totnes railway station isn’t far from the town and the only way to get there is to walk really. If you’ve got luggage with you though you may wish to take a taxi and there are always plenty waiting outside.
The one good thing about Totnes station is the Signal Box Café next to the northbound platform. Totnes has numerous vegetarian outlets but this isn’t one of them. They do a super full English and is the perfect way to start your journey. It’s a cheap and cheerful greasy spoon sort of a place and any self respecting lorry driver would be proud to start his day here. Whenever I start a journey from Totnes I always grab a bacon sarnie to take with me but it’s nice enough to just sit in the signal box and watch the trains below.
Both First Great Western and Cross Country train companies operate through Totnes and they all stop here which makes it a convenient place to travel from, especially within Devon and Cornwall.
Rail fares are notoriously expensive in the UK but the Devon and Cornwall region is surprisingly cheap in comparison, especially if you have a railcard. If you’re staying in the Totnes area you’ll be surprised how far you can get in a day and how cheap it can be. You can be in Penzance in two and a half hours and the cost, with a railcard, would be just £11.20 return (July 2014).
In the summer months traffic can be heavy in the area so make sure you allow enough time to get to the station or else you might have to spend longer in the Signal Box Café longer than you bargained for.
Totnes By Train
Totnes has a mainline station about midway between Exeter and Plymouth and is served by both Cross Country and First Great Western services with many of the latter being on the London Paddington to Penzance route. Trains run with a daytime frequency of two per hour with a travel time of roughly 30 minutes to either Exeter or Plymouth.
The station has very basic facilities - ticket office (daytimes only), ticket machine, some sheltered seating, toilets and the Signal Box Cafe (daytimes only). It is located at the end of Station Road and is about a five minute walk from the town centre. You can also get into town by following the riverside footpath through the little industrial estate. There's a useful map on the wall of the ticket office.
For onward travel there's a local bus stop (use "other" website) and usually a couple of taxis at the rank.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
The Riverside Walk From Station To Town
Totnes Railway Station is about a five minute walk from the town centre following the direct route of Station Road. However if you are in no rush you can go left from the station's platform 1 exit and follow the riverside footpath.
This first goes through a small, slightly scruffy, industrial estate but when you get to the river bank it becomes a pleasantly scenic wander with the gloriously pastoral scenery of the South Hams "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" all around.
First off is the footbridge across to the South Devon Railway, the seven mile heritage line along the Dart to Buckfastleigh, and the Rare Breeds Farm. Unfortunately both of these are closed for much of the winter and so the footbridge was gated shut halfway across during this November visit. I could still get up to the halfway which is where I took the first pic looking upstream.
The footpath then follows the river's elbow as it bends round towards the town where the heron on pic #2 was waiting patiently at what looks like the fields drainage outlet on the opposite bank. I watched for a while but he wasn't having much luck and so I continued.
As you get to the Brutus Bridge you have the choice of staying with the river or heading into the centre from there - this latter option takes you to where the Tourist Information Centre is which worked out ideal for my first visit.
- Hiking and Walking
It is possible to but a ticket called a "Round Robin". This takes you in a full circle, from Paignton to Kingswear on the steam train, the Ferry from Kingswear to Dartmouth. The from Dartmouth a cruise up the River Dart to the wonderful town of Totnes & then from Totnes a bus back to Paignton. This whole trip cost ?13.50. Good value for money, I thought!
You can pick up this trip up any of the points mentioned, you do not have to start it at Paignton.
- Sailing and Boating