A virtual tour of Rails & Ales Beer Festival held at South Devon Railway Staverton Station, offering a great selection of ales, craft beers and ciders.
Updated: 21st May 2023
- Added more 360, standard images & updated prices
This Rails & Ales Beer Festival is a small social affair on the station platform. During the day it’s fairly quiet, not getting busy until late afternoon. You make you’re own entertainment as there are no bands playing until the evening, but if you’re with the right group of people that doesn’t matter so much. For 2023 they did have music playing in the background all day before the bands turned up.
The beer festival is free entry so you can come and go as you please. If starting the day early and you buy the ranger ticket, make a day of it by going to Buckfast at some point and check out some of the pubs there. We also went to the old 60’s pub Valiant Soldier museum, which was really interesting and definitely worth checking out if you haven’t been in there before.
The ticket office is turned into the main ale bar and the craft beer, ciders, PIMMS, wines etc can be found in the garden with the BBQ.
It’s cash only, so make sure you have enough before arriving. 2023 you can pay using contactless, so you no longer have to make sure you have enough cash for the whole day.
The first time I came 2016 there was a couple old train carriages where you could climb aboard and enjoy your drink inside, which I thought really added to the character of the festival. Sadly the next time I came 2019, there was only the food carriage and no others to be seen. I did witness in 2018 a lady try and climb down from one of the carriages facing forward/outward and she slipped, fell and hurt herself. Perhaps this may be the reason they have taken them away, but surely it’s common sense not to climb down a ladder with your back to it 🤦♂️
One year as you can come and go as you please, we deciding to walk up to the Sea Trout Inn for a beer, but it’s a lot further to walk than you think it is.
The last trains are usually around 9pm depending on the direction you want to go, check the time table on the Rails & Ales website. I tend to leave earlier and then carry the night on in Totnes. You may also want to check the last bus home from Totnes, as this year 2023 for some reason the busses stopped early. At 11pm we were left with getting a £20 taxi back to Paignton and that was after haggling it down from the initial quote of £30.
They actually have a few beer festivals during the year with the spring, Summer and the 1940’s Festivals. It’s a shame they don’t have a special price for those just wanting to go to the festival at Staverton, the midway point on the line and leave anytime. You can only buy a single or return to Staverton if you choose a specific time slot of arrival and again time to leave. If you don’t want to be limited by clock watching all day you have to buy the full ranger ticket which covers the full line to/from Totnes and Buckfastleigh, which makes it quite an expensive day out and so off putting for many.
- A barbecue on Friday & Saturday evening
Chilli on Sunday evening
- Buffet car serving a variety of hot and cold foods and soft drinks
- A ‘just for fun’ quiz on Sunday evening
- Staverton Bar open between 11:00 and 22:00 (18:00 Monday).
- Outdoor and undercover seating
- Cash and card payments taken
The station was opened by the Buckfastleigh, Totnes and South Devon Railway on 1 May 1872. The railway was amalgamated into the Great Western Railway in 1897 and this in turn was nationalised into British Railways on 1 January 1948.
- The station closed to passengers in November 1958 although goods traffic on the line continued until 7 September 1962.
- It was re-opened by the Dart Valley Railway, a heritage railway, on 5 April 1969. The South Devon Railway Trust took over the running of the line on 1 January 1991.
It’s free entry to the festival,
but it’s a cash only. Make sure you have enough on you before arriving. Cash and card now accepted.
- Pint is £4.00, 2023.
- Half is £2.00, 2023.
- No £50 notes.
- No cash machine, but card is accepted.
If traveling by train standard train fares apply. Single, return or ranger fares are available between Totnes, Staverton and Buckfastleigh. Single & return are a little cheaper but you have to book a specific time you want to arrive and leave. The ranger your free to choose any train along the whole route.
- Adult £23, 2023
- Child (Under 3) Free
- Child (3-15) £16, 2023
- Senior Citizen £22, 2023
- Family (2 adults & 2 children) £69, 2023
- Dogs £2.50, 2023
- Special fares are available for groups of 10 or more visitors booking together
Tip: If starting the day early, buy the ranger ticket and make a day of it by going to Buckfast at some point and check out some pubs there.
Tip: Save money and catch the 88 bus from Coronation Rd to Huxhams Cross and walk down the hill.
Over 45 real ales, craft beer and ciders, plus wines, Prosecco, Pimm’s.
- Staverton Bar open between 11.00 and 22.00
- Over 45 Real Ales
- Up to 8 Craft Beers
- 12 traditional and fruit ciders
- Outdoor and undercover seating
- Cash and card payments taken
The Staverton Buffet Coach opens to serve a variety of hot & cold snacks, teas, coffees and soft drinks all day. The BBQ tent serves up the usual burgers and hotdogs. I did find Saturday night the BBQ ran out of food and closed early.
- On-train Buffet on some services offering hot and cold drinks, beer, cider, wine, cakes and hot pasties
- Staverton Buffet Coach open between 10.00 and 16.00, serving pasties, cakes and hot & cold drinks
- Festival BBQ open between 12.30 and 20.00
Tip: Be quick though, the steak & ale pies and pasties sell out fast.
There are no bands playing, just trains coming and going all day long from both directions. For the first time in 2023 there will be live music at the festival during the evening.
- CAHOOTS – Friday (classic tunes from the 60s & 70s)
- FIREBIRD – Saturday (80s rock)
Music will kick off at 19.00 and finish at 21.30.
- On Sunday evening there is a quiz just for fun from 19:00.
Getting around is easy it’s mostly all on the level with only a few steps to get from the platform down to the food and craft beer area.
The first time I came 2016 there was a couple old train carriages which you could climb aboard and enjoy a drink, which I thought added to the character of the festival, sadly the next time 2019, there was only the food carriage and no others. I did in 2018 witness someone try to climb down from a carriage facing forward/outward and fell. Perhaps this may be a reason they have taken them away, but surely it’s common sense not to climb down a ladder with your back to it 🤦♂️
Staverton, Totnes TQ9 6AG. If you are visiting the festival, there is no car parking at Staverton, so take the train from Totnes or Buckfastleigh. There’s a large free car park at Buckfastleigh or, if you’re coming by train, the station at Totnes Riverside is about a 500 yard walk behind the main line station.
- Car, There is No Parking at Staverton Station.
- Bus, from Totnes the catch the 88 from Coronation Road, get off at Huxhams Cross and then its a 13 minute walk down the hill.
- Train, The station at Totnes Riverside is about a 500 yard walk behind the main line station. Running all day with departures from each end of the line (Buckfastleigh and Totnes) at frequent intervals throughout the day.
- Badger Cabs 01803 840400
- Totnes taxis ltd 01803 868686
- South Hams Cabs 01803 840404
- South West Taxis 07803 126396
- If starting the day early, buy the ranger ticket and make a day of it by going to Buckfast at some point and check out some pubs there.
- Entry is free so you can come and go as you please.
- If you plan on eating don’t leave it to late as both the buffet coach and BBQ tent ran out early on the Saturday.
- Walk up to the Sea Trout Inn for a beer, however it’s a lot further than you might think.
- Save money and catch the 88 bus from Coronation Rd to Huxhams Cross and walk down the hill.
- Steam and diesel trains usually run alternately.
- There is NO PARKING available at Staverton, so it’s best to use the train to take you there.
- At Buckfastleigh there is a large FREE car park and there are nearby bus stops for routes between Plymouth and Exeter.
- The last trains are usually around 9pm depending on the direction you want to go, check the time table on the Rails & Ales website.
- Always ask for a taster and don’t be afraid to try 3 or 4 before you settle on one.
- Never ask for a full pint, you can’t over fill a pint!
- Free drinking water is provided.
- Cash or card payments.
- There is No cash machine at the festival.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen, if it’s a scorcher.
- No under-18s are permitted.
- For more info go to www.southdevonrailway.co.uk/events/rails-ales/
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?