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Barnstaple acts as a sub regional
centre for North Devon and also for parts of North Cornwall, West Somerset
and Mid Devon. It also acts as a centre for its resident population and local
Whilst Barnstaple has a population of approximately 25,000 residents, it serves a wider population of over 130,000 people in its sub regional service role for North Devon More importantly, Barnstaple, is the main centre for public administration, health services, employment, commerce, education and culture, sport and recreation, all this success is allied to its location, road alignment and positive character.
Barnstaple has 9 Primary schools and 2 Secondary Schools along with North Devon College which is situated on a Sticklepath hill which overlooks the town. North Devon College is a Tertiary College providing sixth form education, vocational and non-vocational courses.
Along side the river close to the centre of Barnstaple is the North Devon Leisure Centre. The centre offers good car parking and has facilities for a large range of indoor leisure activities, the top floor consists of a fitness studio with the latest cardio-vascular and resistance fitness training equipment.
Local sporting facilities are on a par with the town's other activities and there are splendid opportunities for fishing, boating, yachting, lawn tennis, putting, bowling (both lawn and ten pin) and shooting. Golf courses are located at Westward Ho!, Saunton (two courses), Libbaton, Ilfracombe, Torrington and Portmore (pay and play plus a driving range).
On the market days of Tuesday, Friday and Saturday the town is a hive of industry but there are many other things which attract visitors from the surrounding countryside. The excellent range of shops, from locally owned shops to the large national stores, the Queens Theatre, The Central Cinema, the Leisure Centre, night clubs, restaurants, museums etc., are all amenities which bring people to the town.
Barnstaple’s Long Bridge has 24 arches which date from 1834. Barnstaple was used to import timber and coal, there was also a small fishing fleet, and Coasters playing the Bristol Channel Ports. Albert Clock Tower in the Square just off the Bridge
How to get to Barnstaple.
To enter the region by motorway from the East, choose the M4, taken from the M25, which links directly to the West Country via Swindon and Bristol. To travel further by motorway into the heart of Devon continue on the M5 terminating at Exeter. The estimated direct journey time from London to Exeter is approximately 3hrs and 30 mins.
For deeper excursions into North or South Cornwall the driver can choose between the A30, crossing the top of Dartmoor and continuing on through Bodmin Moor, or the A38 which lies south of Dartmoor and continues further to coastal regions.
The M3 from London offers the chance to take a more leisurely drive to the West Country once it joins the A303. The dual carriageway gives the opportunity to pass by Stonehenge, and to continue on through small villages and market towns to destinations throughout the South West.
From the Midlands and the North of England, the M6 followed by the M5 offers a superb link to the South West, entering the region via Gloucestershire, Bristol and onward through Somerset and Devon.
South West England Public Transport Information can be found by visiting the following link: www.travelinesw.com or www.transportdirect.co.uk
The South West is served by an excellent rail network covering the entire region. All major networks supply links to the region, and the mainline stations of Paddington and Waterloo both offer direct services from London. The Paddington service is both fast and direct with the fastest travel time to Exeter just over two hours. The route from Waterloo station travels through many county towns and provides a wonderful way to enter the region at more leisurely pace. Rail links from the North of England and the Midlands provide excellent high speed services to the South West with direct services passing through Birmingham New Street.
First Great Western provide services between London Paddington, South Wales, the Cotswolds and the West Country. First Great Western bookings 0845 7000 125. www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk
- Train times and fares information 0845 748 4950 or www.nationalrail.co.uk or www.thetrainline.com
First Southern National for information on bus, rail and tram services including information and online ticket purchasing www.firstgroup.com
Virgin Trains operate services from Birmingham, Bristol, the North and Scotland. Virgin Trains bookings 08457 222 333 or www.virgintrains.co.uk
The railways of Devon and Cornwall offer some of the most scenic journeys in Britain. Serving picturesque small villages, historic market towns and bustling cities, Devon and Cornwall's great scenic railways provide a vital link for local people and allow tourists and visitors to explore fascinating places without a car, many off the usual tourist 'beaten track'. www.carfreedaysout.com
The South West has a wide range of domestic and European air services from its main airports at Bristol, Bournemouth, Exeter, Plymouth and Newquay. Both Land's End and Penzance airports offer frequent flights to the Isles of Scilly. It is also possible to fly direct from London Gatwick to either Plymouth or Newquay airports.
National Express Coaches www.nationalexpress.com supply regular services to all major cities in the South West and provide links to many of the smaller destinations that the traveller may like to reach. Megabus www.megabus.com also operate a number of services to the region. Many of the regions have local services that provide bus links to out of the way destinations and these can be found in local directories.
National Express operates the service from London Victoria and Heathrow Airport runs up to five times a day. Where direct services are not available, passengers can make a simple connection at cities like Bristol, Birmingham and London. For details of your nearest National Express agent call 08705 808080 and for National Express travel tickets and credit/debit card bookings, call 08705 808080 or www.nationalexpress.co.uk
Truronian Buses web page, Truronian www.truronian.co.uk has timetables and information relating to bus services to the Eden Project, however, there are a number of companies that operate throughout the region on timetables. Visit www.showbus.co.uk for further details highlighting the region you are interested in travelling to / from.
Regular sailings are provided by ferries from France, Belgium and Spain to ports in the South West of England all of which are served by excellent rail and coach links. As a foot passenger or driver, the ports of Plymouth and Poole provide links with the continent, and the ports of Weymouth and Bournemouth have regular crossings across to the Channel Isles. The ferry port at Penzance provides a regular service to the Isles of Scilly.
Air Southwest offers frequent low-fare flights to Bristol, Plymouth and Newquay from London (Gatwick), Manchester, Leeds-Bradford, Dublin and Jersey. The link from London (Gatwick) to Plymouth and Newquay operates four times every day, providing worldwide connections to the South West. Visit www.airsouthwest.com or call 0870 241 8202
Flybe operates flights from Exeter Airport to Belfast City, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Jersey, Guernsey, Dublin, Malaga, Alicante, Faro and many other destinations throughout Europe.
Bookings: 0871 700 0535 (10p/min)
Information: 0906 209 0005 (£1/min)
Bristol International Airport offers a modern, efficient and friendly passenger experience, and was recently voted Best UK Airport by readers of the specialist travel magazine "Wanderlust". It is an ideal "Gateway to the South West", offering frequent, direct services from most regions of the UK and Ireland. To find out more, follow the link. Our telephone number is 0870 12 12 747 or www.bristolairport.co.uk
British International operates the only two destination air service to the fabulous Isles of Scilly. This service, the longest running scheduled helicopter service in the world, flies daily (except Sundays) to St Mary's and Tresco and offers fast and efficient flights throughout the year.
Telephone 01736 363 871 or www.islesofscillyhelicopter.com
The Isles of Scilly Skybus operates daily flights between Land's End and St Mary's (year- round excluding Sundays) and between St Mary's and Newquay, Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol (excluding Sundays and with a reduced service in the winter months). Contact 0845 710 5555 or www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk
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