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“Part of a great family day out and a suggestion... read on!”

Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Calstock
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Tamar Valley Line from Plymouth to Gunnislake is one of the South West's most scenic branch lines. Highlights include great views of the Royal Albert Bridge, the journey through the rolling countryside and crossing the 120-ft high Calstock viaduct. Calstock is a great place to get off - with a top country pub serving excellent food and a riverside walk to the National Trust's Cotehele property.
Beaworthy, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Part of a great family day out and a suggestion... read on!”
Reviewed 12 April 2014

This line survived the Beeching cuts in the 1960's and is now a great asset to our visitors who would really like to see some of the most wonderful scenery in the south west. What is more, a trip on the line can be enjoyed at amazingly low cost. Generally, heritage railways need to charge high fares in order to survive and run historic locomotives and vintage rolling stock not to mention the overheads of keeping the line safe and sound. The Tamar Valley is not a heritage line as such. However, you could be forgiven in thinking that when you stop at the delightful station at Calstock after passing over the nearby viaduct. Bog-standard Class 158 DMU's are used instead of steam but the welcoming attitude of the on-board duty guard and station staff at Plymouth does great credit to First Great Western who operate the slow and delightful service.
We (two adults) took three of our grand children out for a day trip - Barnstaple - Exeter on the Tarka Line then onwards via the newly repaired section at Dawlish, on to Plymouth, up the Tamar Valley and back for just £20.60. Catch the 09:43 from Barnstaple.

Visited April 2014
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3 Thank 3akwasi3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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23 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Colwyn Bay, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Classic Branch Line!!!”
Reviewed 1 June 2013

If you have a couple of hours to kill in Plymouth, why not escape to Gunnislake? Got to be better than shopping! A bargain at £5.20 return (May 2013) and cheaper than the car park! . Once beyond Plymouth dockyards, the scenery is spectacular as the DMU slowly wends its way up to Bere Alston (some gradients up to 1:73), then reverses to Gunnislake. The combination of river views and rolling countryside is excellent. In addition to the scenery, the numerous small stations all possess signs of faded grandeur and long-gone infrastructure. Calstock Viaduct is a gem! I was also amazed how busy the train was. I wish I'd had time to alight at some of the stations and investigate the area more.
"I'll be back".

Visited May 2013
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5 Thank fentonia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Great Experience”
Reviewed 27 April 2013

My wife and I decided that we would like a little adventure in our lives so we took the boat from Calstock pier down the Tamar to Plymouth and then returned to Calstock via the Tamar Valley Line. It was an exceptionally wonderful day out thoroughly enjoyed by the three of us - couldn't do it without our little dog Lucy could we? Car parking is free at Calstock station, then a short walk down hill to the pier to wait for the boat to depart - yes dogs are allowed on the boat - details of trips can be obtained from info@plymouthboattrips.co.uk Sailing under the famous Calstock Viaduct down past Cotehele Quay (Cotehele House is well worth a visit especially in December for the dried-flower garland and at Easter for the daffoldils) as the river winds its way to the sea. The views are incredible especially as the boat nears the Tamar Bridge and the Royal Naval Dockyard with the busy Torpoint Ferry rushing across the Tamar from Devon to Cornwall and back again. Wonderful views of Mount Edgecumb House and Park, the Sound, Drake's Island, Plymouth Hoe - far too many to list. This river trips makes you glad that digital photography is now available to all as the river and train trips have some spectacular views. Landing at the Barbican it's a short walk to the lovely Dutton's café (dogs allowed and catered for) up Madeira Road towards the Hoe. After enjoying the views from the Hoe it's a pleasant walk to the station to catch the wonderfully scenic Tamar Valley Line back to Calstock via Devonport, Dockyard, Keyham, St Budeaux, Bere Ferrers, Bere Alston, Calstock terminating at Gunnislake) . This fourteen mile journey is so full of views and landscapes that must make it one of the most scenic routes; Devonport Dockyard, Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge, Tamar Road Bridge, crossing the Tavy Viaduct to the Bere peninsular, reversing at Bere Alston with the slow crawl from this station around the curve which brings the line onto the fabulous Calstock Viaduct that you went under earlier that day on the boat to Plymouth. Time then to relax and enjoy an evening meal at one of the nearby hostelries and reminisce on the day's adventures. Ah, very happy memories come flooding back with loads of photographs to jog the old grey cells.

Visited May 2012
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18 Thank Lasapiniere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Devon, UK
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Great scenic railway line”
Reviewed 10 January 2013

The Tamar Valley Line provides local train services from Gunnislake and Calstock, via Bere Alston to Plymouth. It's well used by commuters, school children and shoppers but also provides access to a range of beauty spots and attractions in the valley.

The ride offers an insight into the industrial heritage of the Tamar Valley, now part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. From the train you can glimpse mine chimneys and similar relics. Indeed the upper section of the railway from Gunnislake to Calstock follows the route of the former East Cornwall Mineral Railway that took ores and stone from the local mines and quarries to Calstock Quay for onward shipment by river. From up here there are splendid views across the valley, and there is the impressive Calstock Viaduct that connects the branch to the (now truncated) former main line.

From Calstock Station the visitor can take a woodland walk to Cotehele House, a Tudor mansion owned by the National Trust. There are also pubs, cafes and art galleries nearby.

Trains run seven days a week at roughly two hourly intervals. There is free car parking at all the local village stations in the Tamar Valley (but not in Plymouth where the station car park is ludicrously expensive!).

There are "four for two" (or three for two) fares available which make this a good value day out for small groups.

Visited November 2012
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15 Thank JohnADLewis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cornwall
Level 6 Contributor
385 reviews
127 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,328 helpful votes
“Delightful return journey.”
Reviewed 5 December 2012

Thanks Tripadvisor for coaxing us into this trip and linking us to the website above that guided us firstly to the detail of the Tamar Valley line and then some others. The suggestion that we get a return ticket from Plymouth to Gunnislake and then break the journey for drink and food on the way back turned out to be ideal. And Calstock (the Boot) was just right for that.. There are several different phases to the journey. The dense dull city, the run from the dockyard through to the views across the wide estuary and then under and looking up at the Brunel rail and sixties road bridge, the delightful run up across the Tavy and through lush farmland to the Calstock viaduct and the steeper wooded parts of the last navigable parts of the Tamar. We really enjoyed ourselves. Note the times of the trains. More early morning and tea time when the kids and commuters are travelling and then every hour or so. In the summer time it's a pity there isn't maybe one more late evening train for drinkers like us but I suppose it's better that the line is kept financially viable than pandering to our whim. We can also recommend a little booklet we bought very cheaply at a station Rail Trails - From Track to Trail, which deals with some of the lesser known local railway lines and their links or convenience to local walks.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
10 Thank DougalM_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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