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

The Okehampton Train and the Dartmoor Explorer Bus

These listings are for winter 2023-24

The premise of this website originally 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. Public transport on Dartmoor improved dramatically with the resumption of the daily train service between Okehampton and Exeter. For the first time in fifty years the daily service resumed on 20th November 2021. The service is regular and reliable and allows easy access to and from Okehampton and from there down the west side of Dartmoor using the 118 bus.

The other very welcome development in May 2021 was the start of the Dartmoor Explorer Bus Service. For a time that was a daily service, one bus a day, but the daily service was abandoned in 2023 and replaced with a 6-week service at peak season in July and August. It remains to be seen whether this service will continue in 2024 or whether we will again return to the days with no bus service to central Dartmoor. The image here is of a booklet "Bus Away - Walk-a-day" produced by the Dartmoor national park back in the 1970s - it would be a short booklet based on the services today! However, we attempt to detail those services below.

News in 2023: £2 bus fares until end of 2024 and a new Okehampton Parkway station announced

This year has seen the announcement of government funding to cap single fares on buses, see: £2 bus fare cap. This scheme has been extended until December 31 2024. This applies to most Devon buses. For more Devon details see: Travel Devon: Bus Fares £2 or less

The other significant news in 2023 was the announcment in January for a new Okehampton Parkway train station. See: Green light for Okehampton Parkway station. The new station will be on the Dartmoor Line on the east edge of Okehampton, close to the A30 junction. This Transport Hub will be in addition to Okehampton’s existing station on the west side of the town, which will remain open.

Public transport services all year round

There are some services that are available all year round. The best options out of season, or on week days, are probably the train services to Ivybridge and Okehampton, the 38 bus which goes from Exeter through South Brent to Ivybridge (this was formerly the X38 Exeter to Plymouth). From Plymouth there are daily services to Tavistock such as Stagecoach 1 and the Dartline 118 service connects Tavistock to Okehampton. The 173 bus allows a good walk from Chagford with an evening return bus to Exeter.

There is also a daily bus service from Exeter to Moretonhampstead, Exeter to Newton Abbot (via Bovey Tracey) and Exeter to Okehampton (via Chagford). The Stagecoach 6A bus leaves early from Exeter and you can get off at Ramsley, Sticklepath or Tongue End Cross (for 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.

For those using services by multiple operators (e.g. Stagecoach, Dartline, Country Bus and Plymouth City Bus), it may be better value to purchase the multi-operator Devon Day Ticket, which is currently £9.60 for adults, £6.40 for children, or £19.20 for families of up to 2 adults and 3 children (prices as of Oct 2023). However, this is not valid on services operated by First.

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 (re-opened in 2023). 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.

The Tavistock Community Transport Association provide a weekday service around Tavistock and a once a month bus to Exeter, Falmouth (via Bodmin & Truro), Barnstaple and Torquay (via Ivybridge) on the first, second, third and fourth Saturdays of the month respectively. They advise booking in advance, see Tavistock Country Bus and Tavistock Country Bus Saturday Service. There are services on weekdays see Tavistock Country Bus Weekday Timetable.


Options for cycling on and around Dartmoor have improved considerably because of the re-opening of the Okehampton train line. The Granite Way can be used from Okehampton as a day out returning via the Okehampton train. It can in turn be combined by cycling on beyond Lydford through Peter Tavy and on to Tavistock to connect with the Drake Way which heads through Yelverton and then downhill to Plymouth. Another popular route adds the Tarka Trail to form the Devon Coast to Coast from Ilfracombe to Plymouth. A shorter version starting from Barnstaple train station. There is some very useful information on cycling routes on the DNP website, see Dartmoor National Park - Cycling.

Bicycles on the local trains require no booking and space is first come, first serve. That includes the Exeter to Okehampton, the Plymouth to Gunnislake and the Exeter to Barnstaple train services. The high speed trains that go through Exeter to Plymouth require advance booking but there is also a local train, the local train that stops at Ivybridge on the way to Plymouth that does not require booking. In reality, it is rare that you cannot get a bike on any of these trains. On the high speed train you can gurantee a space if you book and probably get a space if you don't book and you are on your own. Obviously, if it is a sunny peak season bank holiday weekend in August and multiple family or big groups attempt to use the available bike space simultanoeusly then there could be problems. The trains on all these routes are at least hourly - so worst case scenario on a busy day is you wait for the next train. The Gwr phone app allows booking of bicycle reservations as well as tickets.

See also: Cycling Book Review: Lost Lanes West

The information below was last checked for accuracy on 23/10/23. Check with TravelineSW before travelling!

This public transport page attempts to document current bus and train services to Dartmoor. The services over the year have seen a high degree of chop and change which makes maintaining this page very difficult. Typically many of the services are seasonal and will change in mid-September to a winter service. Details of the Dartmoor Explorer bus service have been removed as the service seems to be not running until further notice. The advice on any buses or trains is to check before travelling on Traveline SW or National Rail Enquiries. Please feel free to contact the author with any updates or corrections to entries here.

Contact email:

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 this service for very many years and this is a very welcome development.The daily Okehampton train will transform the public transport available to locals and to walkers. For further details see the Dartmoor Line.

The train service is now cheap and reliable with hourly trains every day. A single ticket Exeter to Okehampton is £4.20 (£2.75), a return £8.40 (£5.50). The prices in brackets being those with a one third reduction with a Devon & Cornwall railcard which costs £12 for a year (prices as of Oct 2023). An option is to use a Devon and Cornwall Day Ranger ticket cost £15 (1/3 off with Devon & Cornwall railcard so presumably £10), this then combined with bus journeys or cycling to get other train services.

The winter 2023 timetable is available for download here: Dartmoor Line Timetable valid from 21 May 2023 to 9 December 2023 - PDF (Mondays to Saturdays & Sundays) or see GWR timetables.

A great job has been done to make Okehampton Station a nice place to wait for trains, with the cafe, Dartmoor National Park information centre, book shop and museum.

It is a two carriage train with space designed for 4 bicycles although it is quite spacious and fits more in the designated space. The popular Granite Way trail from Okehampton to Lydford is a great day out for a short easy cycle ride. For a longer ride there is the option to combine the Granite Way with the Drake Way from Tavistock to Plymouth for a train home from Plymouth or for those prepared for a tougher ride the NCN route 27 northwards through Hatherleigh and on to the Tarka Trail to Barnstaple for a train home.

Dartline 118 Service link to trains

Devon County Council have funded a service that links with the trains at Okehampton Station, enabling onward travel to Tavistock via Lydford and Mary Tavy. The Dartline 118 service will be hourly with a bus that stops at the train station every two hours to meet the train and in the hour in between it will stop in central Okehampton. For walkers this opens up walks to and from Sourton, the Fox & Hounds, Lydford and Mary Tavy. From Tavistock it will also be possible to use the Plymouth Citybus 98 bus for onward travel to Merrivale, Princetown, Two Bridges, Postbridge and Yelverton. The last bus back to Okehampton from Tavistock is early evening. Alternatively, the 98 bus leaves Princetown for Yelverton at 18.08 from where the Stagecoach 1 goes to Plymouth for a train home.

The timetable is available here: Dartline 118 Okehampton to Tavistock Via Mary Tavy, Lydford timetable - PDF

New bus connections at Okehampton station to and from Bude and Launceston

Starting on 30th October 2022, there will now be direct bus connections at Okehampton station to and from Bude, Holsworthy and Launceston, timed with trains. The Launceston service is financially supported by Cornwall Council and Devon County Council. See below for timetables for 6, 6A, 118 and 306 which all now link with the train service.

For more details see coverage on Dartmoor Line: New bus connections at Okehampton station to and from Bude and Launceston

The Okehampton train service timetable from May to December 2022 last year is as follows (the winter 2023 timetable is almost identical with some of the trains running one or two minutes later, so this remains a convenient listing - the offical timetable is available here Dartmoor Line Timetable valid from 21 May 2023 to 9 December 2023 - PDF):

Dartmoor Line Timetable Summer 2022

Haytor Hoppa Summer Saturday service only

The Haytor Hoppa service is a Saturday only service from July 8th 2023 until 16th Sep 2023. The service is a circular route that starts from Newton Abbot and heads through Bovey Tracey on to Manaton then back through Bovey Tracey to return to Newton Abbot.The £2 single ticket scheme applies to this service. This service does not run during the winter but it is likely to run again next summer and the details are being left here for that reason.

The timetable is 271 Timetable (service likey to resume second Saturday in July 2024). See also Dartmoor National Park Authority: Haytor Hoppa.

Country Bus 39 & 271 Haytor Hoppa

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 for the winter of 2022 were released on 30th October 2022 and are available in some bus stations and tourist information offices and also online via: Devon Area Bus Timetable Booklets

The Visit Dartmoor website has a very useful guide to transport, see: Visit Dartmoor: Travel information - Getting to the park

See also: Dartmoor National Park Authority: Travel Information.

Dartmoor Explorer

This service is not currently running and it is unclear whether it will resume in 2024. It ran as a daily service untill early 2023 and the daily service stopped and was replaced by a 6-week peak summer, more freqquent, service in July-August 2023. 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.

Haytor Hoppa: Newton Abbot to Widecombe via Bovey Tracey (Country Bus 39 & 271) - Summer Saturdays only

Stagecoach 271 Timetable (service likely to resume in July 2024 and run through to early September). See also Dartmoor National Park Authority: Haytor Hoppa.

Exeter to Okehampton (Stagecoach 5A and 6A)

It is possible with the 6A service to leave Exeter and get off at Sticklepath or the minor stop Ramsley for direct access on to the northern moor. Through tickets are available onto the Stagecoach 6 service, for Holsworthy and Bude, however passengers must change buses at Okehampton Station.

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

Stagecoach Exeter - Sticklepath - Okehampton 6A (Mondays to Sundays including bank holidays, Sunday/Bank Holiday service operated by Go Cornwall Bus), use TravelineSW to see all the minor stops.

Bude/Launceston to Okehampton (Stagecoach Bus 6, Go Cornwall Bus 306)

These services serve Okehampton Station, from where there are countless walks available, for example onto Belstone Common via the East Okement Valley or onto Okehampton Common for Yes Tor and High Willhays. Alternatively, these connect with trains to Exeter and buses to Tavistock (see Dartline 118 below).

Stagecoach Bude – Holsworthy – Okehampton 6 (Mondays to Sundays including bank holidays, Sunday/Bank Holiday service operated by Go Cornwall Bus), timetable starts with 6A, scroll down for 6, use TravelineSW to see all the minor stops.

Go Cornwall Bus Launceston – Bridestowe Turn – Okehampton 306 (Mondays to Saturdays).

Exeter to Moretonhampstead via Dunsford (Country Bus 359)

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

Bridford – Exeter via Christow & Dunchideock (Stagecoach 360)

Stagecoach 360 Timetable (Mondays to Saturdays). Map of 360 route.

Exeter to Moretonhampstead via Drewsteington, Tedburn St Mary & Chagford (Dartline 173)

It is possible with the 173 service to get off at Chagford and have a long walk on to Dartmoor via Gidleigh with a return bus in the evening.

Dartline Coaches 173 Timetable (Mondays to Saturdays except public holidays).

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 Ivybridge via Buckfastleigh & South Brent (Stagecoach 38)

Exeter, Drumbridges, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, South Brent, Ivybridge (Mondays to Saturdays, also Sundays). Stagecoach 38 Timetable.

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

Stagecoach GOLD Timetable. (From 3rd September 2023).

Plymouth to Tavistock (Stagecoach 1)

Plymouth to Tavistock (Stagecoach 1) (Mondays to Sundays including Bank Holidays. The basic weekday service is 6 buses per hour between Plymouth City Centre and The George Park & Ride, with 3 buses per hour extending to Tavistock via Yelverton and Horrabridge).

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

Tavistock to Okehampton (Dartline 118) (Mondays to Sundays including Bank Holidays).

Tavistock to Yelverton Via Princetown, Postbridge (Plymouth Citybus 98 - formerly Oakleys/Target Travel)

This bus service can be combined with the Plymouth to Tavistock Stagecoach 1 (daily) to allow travel to Princetown and Postbridge from Plymouth.

Plymouth Citybus 98 Timetable (Mondays to Saturday).

Tavistock to Yelverton (via Walkhampton) to Milton Combe Circular 55. Tavistock to Yelverton (via Walkhampton & Meavy). Plymouth Citybus 55

This service allows access to Walkhampton. Plymouth Citybus 55 (Monday to Saturday).

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

This service allows access to Wooter, Shaugh Prior & Shaugh Bridge. Could be combined with walk to or from Ivybridge train station. Plymouth Citybus 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 - truro - falmouth
Second Saturday in the month - March to December

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 21 May 2023 to 9 December 2023). See also GWR Train Times

Train Exeter to Okehampton

The summer timetable starts on 15 May 2022 with trains every hour in both directions from early morning until late evening. The timetable is available for download here: Dartmoor Line Timetable valid from 21 May 2023 to 9 December 2023 - PDF (Mondays to Saturdays & Sundays). For further details see the Dartmoor Line.

Train Plymouth to Gunnislake (The Tamar Valley Line)

Winter service Plymouth to Gunnislake PDF: D5 Plymouth to Gunnislake (valid from 21 May 2023 to 9 December 2023). See also GWR Train Times

Page last updated 21/10/23