Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks, walking the Stone Rows and Stone Circles of Dartmoor
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Dartmoor Resource: Guide to Dartmoor Public Transport

Guide to Dartmoor Public Transport

First Buses dartmoor Explorer

Great news in 2021 – New Dartmoor Explorer Bus and Okehampton Train

There have been two very welcome developments in 2021 which could transform public transport to Dartmoor. The first is the new daily Dartmoor Explorer bus service from First Buses starting on 16th May 2021. The second is the very welcome announcement that later in the year there will be launched a daily train service between Okehampton and Exeter. The details of the train service are yet to be announced so we will look at the new bus service first. Also on this page are listings of the various bus and train services useful for transport around Dartmoor.

Dartmoor Explorer Bus

The Dartmoor Explorer is a modest start with just one bus a day from Exeter and Plymouth across the central moor in both directions. First buses have four buses in the Dartmoor Explorer fleet and it is quite possible the service may be extended in the summer months.

This is the first time that the central moor has been accessible by bus since the Transmoor bus service last ran in 2015. Once again central Dartmoor is accessible by public transport for those travelling without a car.

The service is initially very limited so it will not yet be possible yet to do an outward journey for the whole route and then get a return journey. However, it is a game changer for those prepared to camp or stay overnight or for those prepared to walk across the moor to get home using another bus or possibly the train from Ivybridge.

The main stops will be:

Exeter - Dunsford - Moretonhampstead - Warren House Inn - Postbridge - Princetown - Tavistock - Yelverton - Plymouth

Currently it would appear buses leave in both directions from Exeter and Plymouth at 10 AM and travel approximately two-thirds of the route and terminate and then turn around and return home. The bus from Exeter sets off at 10 AM and arrives at Tavistock at 12 midday where it stays for an hour before setting off at 1 PM on the return journey to Exeter. In the opposite direction the bus from Plymouth goes to and from Moretonhampstead arriving there at 11.46 AM and starting the return journey back to Plymouth an hour later.

The current timetable results in two buses a day in both directions for the central stops between Moretonhampstead and Tavistock. From Exeter you could, for example, arrive at the Warren House Inn at 11.19 AM and catch a return bus from the same location at 13.40 PM. So a very short walk and a pint in the pub is possible. Of course, it is also a beautiful bus journey and the bus will be a double-decker. Currently there is not enough time for a serious walk but it will be possible to combine using this bus with other bus services to walk the northern or southern moor. A long walk could be combined with a bus home from Okehampton, Ivybridge (or train), Chagford, Yelverton or Tavistock. There are also buses that run much later between Tavistock and Plymouth and between Moretonhampstead and Exeter.

The new bus transforms the situation for backpackers wanting to wild camp. For the first time for years, you can get a bus out to the central moor and camp overnight and return on the bus the next day. Currently the bus is timetabled to run at the same time every day of the week, including weekends and bank holidays. Wild camping can be a fabulous way to explore Dartmoor but the central ethos behind wild camping is to leave no trace. Those in the wild camping community are very insistent that people need to understand that wild camping is not the same as free camping. Wild camping is permitted only in certain areas of Dartmoor and you should check the Dartmoor National Park website before you start. There are very strict rules against fires including barbecues on the moor - if you want a campfire then please go to an official campsite that allows it. Likewise wild camping is not permitted for large tents or large groups. There are useful links on the Dartmoor National Park website for Campsites and Caravan Parks and a map of the areas where wild camping is permitted.

The full timetable for the Dartmoor Explorer bus is as follows, this is daily including weekends and bank holidays.

First Buses dartmoor Explorer

Daily Okehampton Train Service

In late 2020 it was announced by government that funding would be made available for a daily train service between Okehampton and Exeter. Campaigners have been pushing for a daily service for very many years and this is a very welcome development. As with the Dartmoor Explorer a daily Okehampton train will transform the public transport available to locals and to walkers. Currently it looks likely that the service will start late in 2021 or possibly next year. A lot of work is being carried out to make the rail infrastructure and Okehampton train station ready. Initial plans are for trains running each way every two hours with the possibility of them becoming hourly later. For further details see the Dartmoor Line.

Guide to Dartmoor Public Transport

The premise of this website was to give a guide to visiting interesting prehistoric sites using public transport. This was back when the Transmoor Bus made the central moor accessible for those without cars in the summer months until it stopped in 2016. The new Dartmoor Explorer bus opens up the possibility of visiting the central moor without a car once again. In addition it is possible to get to Postbridge and Princetown via Yelverton and or Tavistock with connecting services from Plymouth to Yelverton.

There are many good B&Bs and campsites around the moor and wild camping is permitted for back packers. Chances are if you want to explore the central moor and you are not based in Plymouth or Tavistock you will now need to stay overnight. The two pubs in Princetown have bunk house facilities and the Plume of Feathers has camping facilities at the rear of the pub. The website of the Plume of Feathers says it will reopen on June 21st 2021. The Dartmoor National Park website has a useful guide of Campsites and Caravan Parks. If you are not a backpacker and you are not familiar with the concept of leave no trace then you will be wanting the comfort and facilities of a campsite.

There are other services that are available all year round, including a much reduced bus service. The best options out of season, or on week days, are probably the train to Ivybridge and the X38 bus which goes through South Brent and Ivybridge. From Plymouth there are daily services to Tavistock such as Stagecoach 1 and the Dartline 118 service connects Tavistock to Okehampton.

There is also a daily bus service from Exeter to Moretonhampstead, Exeter to Newton Abbot (via Bovey Tracey) and Exeter to Okehampton. The Okehampton buses leave early from Exeter and you can get off at Sticklepath, Ramsley or Belstone for a more direct route on to the moor. The Exeter-Okehampton bus can be combined with the Dartline 118 to get access to the west of the moor (e.g. Dartmoor Inn) on a weekday from Exeter.

The Tavistock Community Transport Association provide a weekday service around Tavistock and a once a month bus to Exeter, Truro and Plymouth on the first, second and third Saturdays of the month respectively. They advise booking in advance, see Tavistock Country Bus and Tavistock Country Bus Saturday Service.

Dartmoor transport - please help to keep this guide accurate!

Transport to Dartmoor is seasonal and subject to change. Often seasonal timetables are not published until late into the previous season. The best effort is made to ensure the details below are accurate but with services provided by at least 5 bus companies maintaining this page is proving very difficult. It is not helped by the fact that the smaller bus companies keep moving their PDF timetables around so links can go rapidly out of date. Any feedback with suggested corrections or additions to improve this listing is most welcome!

Contact email: info@dartmoorwalks.org.uk

The information below was last checked for accuracy on 03/05/21. Check with TravelineSW before travelling!

Useful Public Transport Links

Bus times can be checked on Traveline SW and train times on National Rail Enquiries.

Devon County Council provide an excellent guide to public transport, see Travel Devon. It includes Devon transport: Interactive bus map. With this interactive guide you can zoom in to see the area you are interested in and then click on the route number which then gives you the option to get the relevant timetable.

The very useful Devon County Council area bus timetables are available online via: Devon Area Bus Timetable Booklets

See also: Dartmoor National Park Authority: Travel Information.

Dartmoor Explorer

This service goes across Dartmoor between Exeter and Plymouth in both directions. Stops include; Exeter, Dunsford, Moretonhampstead, Warren House Inn, Postbridge, Two Bridges, Princetown, Tavistock, Yelverton, Plymouth.

First Buses Dartmoor Explorer (Daily including weekends and bank holidays).

Haytor Hoppa: Newton Abbot to Widecombe circular via Bovey Tracey (Country Bus 271)

Currently suspended. Country Bus 271 Timetable (Saturday Only 25th May to 14th Sep 2019). Map of 271 route.. See also Dartmoor National Park Authority: Haytor Hoppa.

Exeter to Okehampton (Stagecoach 5 and 6/6A)

It is possible with the 6A service to leave Exeter early on a week day and get off at Sticklepath, South Zeal or the minor stop Ramsley for direct access on to the northern moor.

Stagecoach Exeter - Hatherleigh - Okehampton 5A (Mondays to Saturdays), use TravelineSW to see all the minor stops.

Stagecoach Bude - Exeter (via Okehampton) 6/6A/X6 (Mondays to Sundays including bank holidays), use TravelineSW to see all the minor stops.

Exeter to Moretonhampstead via Dunsford (Country Bus 359)

Country Bus 359 Timetable (Mondays to Saturdays). Map of 359 route.

Bridford – Exeter via Christow & Dunchideock (Country Bus 360)

Country Bus 360 Timetable (Mondays to Saturdays). Map of 360 route.

Exeter to Moretonhampstead via Drewsteington & Chagford (Dartline 173)

Dartline Coaches 173 Timetable (Mondays to Saturdays: Timetable valid from 17/06/2018 until further notice).

Exeter to Newton Abbot via Bovey Tracey (Stagecoach 39)

Stagecoach Buses Service 39 (Mondays to Saturdays & Sundays).

Newton Abbot - Okehampton Via Moretonhampstead, Chagford (Country Bus 178)

Country Bus 178 Timetable (Mondays to Saturdays). Map of 178 route.

Exeter to Plymouth via Buckfastleigh, South Brent & Ivybridge (Stagecoach X38)

Exeter, Drumbridges, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, South Brent, Ivybridge, Plymouth (Mondays to Saturdays, also Sundays). Stagecoach X38 Timetable. (valid from 3rd January 2017)

Torquay to Plymouth Via Totnes - South Brent - Ivybridge (Stagecoach GOLD)

Stagecoach GOLD Timetable. (From 27th October 2019).

Plymouth to Tavistock (Stagecoach 1/X1)

Plymouth to Tavistock (Stagecoach 1/X1) (week days and weekend, Timetable valid 27/10/2019 until further notice).

Tavistock to Okehampton Via Mary Tavy, Lydford (Dartline 118)

Tavistock to Okehampton (Dartline 118) (Mon-Fri and Saturdays, Timetable valid from 03/09/2019 until further notice).

Tavistock to Yelverton Via Princetown, Postbridge (Oakleys, formerly Target Travel 98)

Holsworthy / Oakleys Bus 98 Timetable (Mondays to Saturday).

Plymouth to Princetown via change at Yelverton (Plymouth Stagecoach 1/X1 & Oakleys, formerly Target Travel 98)

Use the Plymouth to Tavistock Stagecoach 1/X1 (daily, see above) and change at Yelverton (roundabout) for the Oakleys, formerly Target Travel 98 Tavistock to Yelverton via Princetown service Bus 98 Timetable (Monday to Saturday).

Tavistock to Yelverton (via Walkhampton) to Milton Combe Circular 55. Tavistock to Yelverton (via Walkhampton & Meavy) 56. Oakleys Coaches 55 & 56

This service allows access to Walkhampton. Oakleys Coaches 55 & 56 (Monday to Saturday).

Plymouth to Lee Moor to George Junction (via Shaugh Bridge & Wotter). Oakleys Coaches 59

This service allows access to Wooter, Shaugh Prior & Shaugh Bridge. Could be combined with walk to or from Ivybridge train station. Oakleys Coaches 59 (Monday to Saturday).

Tavistock Country Bus alternate Saturday Service

Timetables for the following services are availabe on the Tavistock Country Bus website. This is a community and volunteer run bus service and their website says services are gently returning from April 2021.

123 tavistock - horrabridge - princetown - postbridge - moretonhampstead - exeter
First Saturday in the month - March to December

119 Tavistock - gunnislake - callington - liskeard - bodmin - st austell - truro
Second Saturday in the month - March to December

118 tavistock - HATHERLEIGH - ROSEMOOR - TORRINGTON - BIDEFORD - BARNSTAPLE
Third Saturday in the month - April to September

111 tavistock - yelverton - lee moor - cornwood - ivybridge - totnes - paignton - torquay
Fourth Saturday in the month - April to September

112 TAVISTOCK - princetown - ashburton - newton abbot - dawlish
Fifth Saturday in the month - April to September

Devon Trains: Taunton and Exeter to Paignton and Plymouth (GWR timetable)

Regular trains daily all year from Exeter to Torbay and Plymouth includes Ivybridge PDF: D timetable showing trains from London, Bristol and Taunton to Exeter, Torbay and Plymouth (valid from 16 May 2021 until 11 Dec 2021). See also GWR Train Times

Train Exeter to Okehampton

Summer Sunday only service but possibly daily when it is resumed. These services run from towards the end of May until the middle of September. The service was cancelled in 2020 but in late 2020 it was announced that there is the go ahead for the service to become a daily service. Presumably this will happen after the covid crisis has ended hopefully later in 2021. As yet no date has been announced.

Train Plymouth to Gunnislake (The Tamar Valley Line)

Winter service Plymouth to Gunnislake PDF: D5 Plymouth to Gunnislake (valid from 16 May 2021 until 11 Dec 2021). See also GWR Train Times

Dartmoor Railway (Okehampton to Meldon Quarry)

The Dartmoor Railway is currently in administration and services have been indefinitely suspended. The Dartmoor Railway is the name given to the 15.5 mile long line that runs across the northern edge of Dartmoor between Meldon Quarry in the West and Coleford Junction near Yeoford, in the East. The route operates between Meldon Quarry and Sampford Courtenay via Okehampton. During the summer there was a regular weekend service from Okehampton to Meldon Quarry.

Page last updated 03/05/21