Since Victorian times visitors in their thousands have flocked to Devon to explore
her scenic moors. Now, for the very first time, comes an intriguing alternative:
an award-winning walking guide to the undiscovered and immensely picturesque countryside
of mid-Devon. These Low Carbon walks (each starts from a railway station between
Exeter and Barnstaple) vary in length from two to 8.5 miles. Route-finding is easy;
every walk (more than 325 miles in all) is accompanied by its own Ordnance Survey
map. Author Peter Craske has known the area since the 1940s, and offers expert insight
to the villages, local lore and transportation changes that have taken place over
the past two centuries in Glorious Devon’s scenic heartland.
Tarka Line Walks is a 136-page full-colour book featuring 60 self-guided walks from
each of the thirteen stations along the 39 mile route. “The line passes through some
of the finest scenery in Southern England,” notes Julian Crow, FGW Regional Manager
for the West of England. “With this book we hope to introduce both locals and visitors
to the countryside made famous in Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter, and with the
hourly timetable that’s now operating on weekdays -- the best service the line has
ever had -- planning of walks has never been easier.”
Many walks are ideal for children, and list pubs, shops and tearooms along the route.
“You’ve no idea just what’s out there until you head away from the track,” confides
Peter Craske, who spent several years researching the walks and going over every
inch of the ground with Scrumpy, his 12 year-old rescued labrador. He promises his
readers “just about everything from picturesque villages to ancient watermills, from
a highway lined with gallows to a rector tried for murder.”
Craske is quick to stress the health and environmental implications of the project.
“In these days of dire predictions about rising obesity rates and associated health
problems, walking can do wonders for middle age spread (and doubtless other spreads!),”
he observes. “And taking the train, instead of the car, is gentle on the environment.
This way you’ll barely leave a carbon footprint.”
Advance copies have been enthusiastically greeted by press & public alike:
“At last, the definitive walking guide to mid-Devon! A real treasure-trove, full
of interesting historical facts and ideal for locals & visitors alike. Peter Craske’s
knowledge and advice make it an essential must-have.”
“I've been a keen walker for 40 years, but can honestly say that I have never before
seen such a professionally produced walking guide that also makes the reader positively
want to travel by train as an inherent part of the day out. I've seen a few guide
books in my time. Yours is probably the very best I have ever read.”
NG., Kingsbridge, Devon.
“I absolutely adore the style of the book. I have seen many, many such publications
over the years, but the layout and design style rarely comes up to this kind of standard.
I feel sure that many will find it incredibly useful for years to come.”
J.B., Ilfracombe, Devon.
“A model of what walks guides should be . . . Just reading it makes you want to get
on the next train and go there.”
P.S., Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
Tarka Line Walks by Peter Craske is produced by the Tarka Rail Association (TRA)
in partnership with First Great Western, and is published by the UK’s leading publisher
of walking guides, Crimson Publishing, well-known for their popular Pathfinder Guide
Available April 1, 2013 from all good bookshops,the Stationmaster's Cafe at Barnstaple
Platform 1. Amazon.co.uk. & Guardianbookshop.co.uk
RRP £9.99. ISBN: 978-1-78059-1827
To encourage Devon passengers to sample the countryside along the line, local rail
users’ group, the Tarka Rail Association, in partnership with First Great Western,
came up with a novel idea: a walks booklet to encourage travellers on the Exeter
- Barnstaple “Tarka Line” to explore the landscape on the other side of the window.
The original Tarka Line Walks was a 52-page full-colour booklet featuring 22 self-guided
walks from each of the eleven wayside stations along the 39 mile route produced by
the Tarka Rail Association (TRA), in conjunction with FGW, Devon County Council ,
the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership (D&CRP), Passenger Focus and other major stakeholders.
In fact so many sponsors lined up behind the project that there was a major dividend
for readers: the walks booklet was free.
The success of the walks booklet (it won Best Marketing Publication at the Association
of Community Rail Partnership Awards in 2009) inspired the author Peter Craske, accompanied
by his rescued labrador ‘Scrumpy’, to produce another set of walks, named appropriately
“More Tarka Line Walks”, in 2010.
Strictly speaking, we’re not quite the first to come up with this idea; back in the
years between the World Wars, when the line was managed by Southern Railway, the
company published several booklets with much the same objective.
TRAIN MAKING LOTS OF STOPS? GET OUT AND WALK!
To view sample pages of the Tarka Line Walks book click on either Chapelton Or Crediton f you require Adobe Reader to view the PDFs click here