"Bere Alston, Bere Ferrers and the Bere Peninsula" Bere Alston by johngayton

Bere Alston Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 14 photos

The Bere Peninsula is the heart-shaped spit of land almost fully enclosed by the rivers Tamar and Tavy in the southwest corner of the County of Devon, adjacent to the Cornish border -the border here being defined as the mid-point of the Tamar.

Despite being only a couple of miles north of the city of Plymouth the lack of road bridges leading into the peninsula across either river have effectively rendered the area timeless. To the west the first road bridge over the Tamar is not until the A390 bridge at Gunnislake whilst to the east there's a small stone bridge at Denham (for a nice pic click HERE).

The Tamar Valley Line

This lack of accessibility by road is, for me at least, a bonus rather than a deterrent. The peninsula is bisected by the branch railway line between Plymouth and Gunnislake, the incredibly scenic Tamar Valley Line, which crosses the river Tavy just above its confluence with the Tamar.

Trains on this line stop at both Bere Ferrers and Bere Alton befrore continuing on to Calstock with its magnificent railway viaduct soaring above the Tamar, which is where the Bere Peninsula becomes mainland as it joins Cornwall.

The railway though was not all beneficial for the area. Well, certainly not from my personal viewpoint. Up until the completion, in 1890, of the line between
Lydford and Plymouth the peninsula had been known as the Beer Peninsula with its villages being similarly named - Beer Ferris is listed in the 1887 Bartholemews "Gazeteer of the British Isles". By some accounts now that the London and South West Railway Company (LSWR) had a direct route between Waterloo and Plymouth the company insisted that the stations signages should read "Bere" rather than "Beer" so as not to offend the trendy teetotalers of the day. So, as was the case with many place names around the country, the railway's influence changed the nomenculature - great pity as I do so love my beers ;-HIC!

Take The Train Then Walk!

The peninsula is mostly undeveloped and offers plentiful footpaths and bridleways, both inland and along the twin riversides, which make for enjoyable walking and of course photo-ops.

The only thing to be aware of is that on weekday afternoons (and even lunchtimes) the pubs don't open but the trains run every couple of hours from early until late and so the nearest boozer isn't that far away - a great walk is to take the train to either Alston or Ferrers and walk between the two to get the train onwards to the excellent Tamar Inn at Calstock, stop a couple of hours there and then get the train back to Plymouth.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Scenic And Unspoilt
  • Cons:Pubs Not Open in The Afternoons
  • In a nutshell:Another Of Devon's Great Day's Out By Train
  • Last visit to Bere Alston: Jun 2011
  • Intro Updated Apr 21, 2012
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Reviews (5)

Comments (4)

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    I would love to do that train journey and that railway station looks super cute!

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    You have me intrigued but I have lost my glasses and cannot see what is written...oh David loves train journeys

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Glad you documented the horrors that await any unsuspecting visitor to this place. I am surprised you survived at all. There should be a big fat red sign at then entrance! Maybe you should write a 'What to pack' tip? It could prevent others from suffering!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Apr 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    John, brilliant photos and commentaries here. Believe it or not, but in the late 1990's I once took the scenic Tamar Valley line from Gunnislake to Plymouth.


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