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South Devon CAMRA Branch Pub Crawls for the 2012 National CAMRA AGM Weekend Fri 30 March - Sun 1 April 2012

A suggested Paignton pub crawl.
Starting from Paignton Bus Station exit towards the railway station and turn left and first left again and the Lime Tree (1) is clearly visible at the end of the road with one large drinking area selling Bays and Otter beers and a stage for hosting live music at weekends.  You can now take a shorter route by turning right out of the pub and right again at the main road and continue past Tesco’s and the Post Office to the Isaac Merritt (4). Alternatively, turn left at the main road and continue for five minutes until a dominant sculptured tree trunk appears where you should turn right into Fisher Street and the Torbay Inn (2) is on the left hand side. This is a gem of a largely unspoilt back street local with the survival of two separate bars and an outside yard. Friendly and inviting, with beers from St Austell (Tribute), Butcombe and Courage, but no food and does not open until 1pm. On leaving turn immediately left and follow the road round into St Michaels Road and continue for a few minutes to the Devonport Arms (3). Although very much ‘faded’ and in need of a little outside treatment it still has three bars serving Sharps Doombar, Courage and a guest ale on the third pump. As it is situated in the middle of terraced streets it is likely to be lively with locals at weekends. To return to the town centre you could catch bus 25 or, if on foot, exit and turn immediately left and continue to the main road at the top. Here you should turn right and follow the road back to the town centre until you see Tesco’s. Turn left and the GBG listed Isaac Merritt (Wetherspoons) (4) is on the right hand side. This is often described as the quality assurance department of Paignton and named after the man who created the Singer sewing machine.  Relatively small, but very welcoming with a wide range of clientele, a family friendly rear restaurant, and unusually, an outside drinking area. There is always a good range of beers. On leaving turn left and continue to Tesco’s on the corner where you turn left and go straight down.
 Once you have crossed the level crossing there are rows of typical seaside gift shops and half way down on the left hand side is the GBG listed Henry’s Bar (5). This is a highly unlikely venue to find quality real ale, but beers from Bays, Skinners, Teignworthy and Sharps Doombar prove otherwise. Relatively compact with an outside drinking/smoking area and good value food and has now added a range of Venton’s cider. Cross the road and a little way down is the Talk of the Town (Wetherspoons) (6) with a plaque outside explaining the history of the building and a small terrace towards the rear. Relatively small by Wetherspoons standards with beers from both the local area and much needed variety from further afield. Exit and turn right towards the sea front.  On arrival cross over the road where you will see the Flagship (7) advertising itself as a family pub which is no surprise as it is so close to the beach.  Large, but separated into different areas, with three hand pumps all serving Bays and a strong food emphasis.  Unusually, there is a grab machine normally to be found in the local amusement arcades.  Returning to the road and the Spinning Wheel (8) is a hundred yards down on the opposite side of the road with a manufactured olde world feel with low ceilings and barrel seats. There are two hand pumps serving Bays and Hobgoblin. On leaving turn left and a few hundred yards down is the Inn on the Green (9). A strong food emphasis with a children’s area and generally decorated with fishing nets, pots, buoys and floats, but the beer is generally good from four hand pumps probably serving Brakspears,  Marstons and Hobgoblin.
Bob Southwell

  1. = Gerston Road
  2. = 34,Fisher Street, TQ4 5ER
  3. = 42, Elmbank Road/St. Michaels Road
  4. = 54-58, Torquay Road, TQ3 3AA
  5. = 55, Torbay Road, TQ4 6AJ
  6. = Torbay Road
  7. = Eastern Esplanade
  8. = Esplanade
  9. = Esplanade

Some bus pub crawls in South Devon

1. Newton Abbot, Chudleigh Knighton and Chudleigh via bus 39 and 182 (not stagecoach, but accepts explorer tickets), but both services close down in the early evening.

Bus 39 leaves Newton Abbot Bus Station at 45 past the hour and arrives in Bovey Tracey approximately on the hour.  The bus stops in Union Square and the Cromwell Arms is on the left hand side and for ‘early birds’ opens at 1100. Here you will find a full range of St. Austell beers with two drinking areas and a separate area for dining. There is also a good garden to the rear adjoining the car park.

The bus will leave again on the hour and I would suggest you go directly to Chudleigh and the GBG listed Bishop Lacy which opens from 1200. The public bar has a magnificent fireplace whilst the other bar is more likely to be used by diners. Beers are from West Country suppliers including O’Hanlons, Exeter and Branscombe Vale.

You can now catch either bus 39 or 182 back to Chudleigh Knighton and the Anchor with its largely unspoilt public bar and large rear garden. Beers will vary but tend to be from local Devon brewers including Teignworthy. Note it will open from 1500 hours only.

Returning by bus it would be better to catch the 182 to Newton Abbot which goes more directly, saving 20 minutes on the 39 route.

Cromwell = Fore Street, TQ13 9AE
Bishop Lacy = 52-53, Fore Street, TQ13 OHY
Anchor = Plymouth Road,TQ13 OEN

2. Newton Abbot to Ashburton, Buckfast, Totnes and Paignton (either way) via bus 88, but note that this service closes down very early in the evening.

 

The bus generally leaves at 40 past the hour arriving in the centre of Ashburton just before the hour. On arrival you will see the GBG listed Exeter Inn on the opposite side of the road with its two small bars selling Dartmoor IPA and guest beers. Note that this pub will close at 1430. You can now walk to the Dartmoor Lodge, although some care is needed on this busy bit of road, and it will take about 10 minutes. When you reach the junction at the end turn briefly left and then right with the pub now on the right hand side. Beers are likely to be Devon sourced from Exmoor, Bays, and Dartmoor with guests.

The bus stop is on the opposite side of the road and the service is hourly and just past the hour. You now take the relatively short journey to the Abbey Inn at Buckfast which takes its name from the monastic building a short distance up the road where the bus will turn round. The pub is in a beautiful setting on the river Dart, and within the Dartmoor National Park, with outside drinking potential. The beers are from St. Austell and include the highly rated Proper Job.

The next bus leaves at 7 past the hour for Totnes where you alight next to the Seven Stars which is a large hotel with a substantial drinking areas and selling a range of Devon beers including Dartmoor Jail. Having alighted from the bus turn left and cross the river Dart where you will find the Albert Inn and the home of the Bridgetown brewery. The pub is narrow leading out to the brewery at the rear and a very pleasant outside drinking area. The AA (or real emergency service) is generally available, as might some of their other beers, together with guest ales. There are many other pubs in Totnes (both around the bridge area and along the high Street) including the GBG listed Bay Horse which is reached by following the relatively steep high street right to top, and almost out of town, where it is on your right hand side. Beers are generally from Otter and Dartmoor with guests and the rear garden is a very pleasant surprise.

Buses now return to both Newton Abbot and Paignton, although be very careful with timings during the evening.

Exeter Inn = 26, West Street, TQ13 7DU
Dartmoor Lodge = Pear Tree Cross, TQ13 7JW
Abbey = 30, Buckfast Road, TQ11 OEA
Albert = Bridgetown
Bay Horse = 8, Cistern Street, TQ9 5SP

3. Paignton to Kingswear, Brixham and Paignton circular.(Buses 12, 120 and 22/24)

Note that there is a lot to cover on this crawl, but it can be broken down and done on separate occasions and can also be done in reverse.

Leave Paignton Bus Station on bus 12 (destination Brixham) which are every 10 minutes during the day and 20 minutes in the evening and take the short ride to Goodrington, alighting at a small parade of shops next to a catholic church. Opposite is the 1930’s architecture of the Waterside selling Courage and at least one unusual guest which on the last visit was Milk Street.

Return to the same bus stop and catch the next 12 to Churston station. Cross the road and take a right turn in to Greenaway Road and continue downwards to the village of Galmpton.  At the bottom, and at the beginning of Stoke Gabriel Road, is the Manor Inn and a typical multi-roomed village pub at the heart of local activity serving Otter, Sharps Doombar, Skinners and St. Austell beers.

Retrace your steps back to the original bus stop and either catch another 12 bus or walk the short distance to the entrance to Churston Ferrers village. Walk along the road for about 10 minutes until you reach a T junction where you turn left and at the end is the Churston Court Hotel. The bar is really a baronial hall with paintings, armour and a massive fireplace serving Dartmoor Jail and Legend, Sharps Doombar and Abbot Ale. If the weather is fine there is superb outside drinking on the lawn.

Returning to the main road you now have the choice of catching the next 12 bus into Brixham or walking back along the main road towards Churston station to pick up bus 120 to Kingswear. (Note that it is hourly and therefore some time planning is necessary and the last bus is about 1930 back) When you arrive admire the excellent view over the Dart and Dartmouth and then take the road downwards towards the water and first left up a narrow road to find the GBG listed Ship on the left hand side and tucked away behind the church. Beers are from Adnams and Otter with guests, which can be enjoyed from a patio with excellent views, and the pub also has a good reputation for food.

To get across the water to Dartmouth you will need to take the ferry (note the car ferry is slightly cheaper for pedestrians) The pedestrian ferry will land you next to the inner harbour which is overlooked by the GBG listed Royal Castle Hotel with two bars. The right hand side is very smart and for both eating and drinking whilst to the left it is more likely to be just for drinking.  On leaving turn right and follow the road along until you reach a steep flight of steps. At the top you will find the GBG and Grade II listed Cherub serving beers from St. Austell, Otter and Sharps as well as guests.

You now need to return via the ferry to Kingswear and the bus drop off point (the Banjo) with buses 22/24 to Brixham with a late evening service. When you arrive walk down to the harbour, where the Golden Hind is moored, and turn left along the harbour side to the Crown and Anchor with its maritime themes. Beers are likely to be local including Bays, Teignworthy or Red Rock plus Old Rosie cider that can be enjoyed sitting outside over-looking the harbour. Retrace your steps back towards the Golden Hind to find the modern Old Market House selling St. Austell beers with a restaurant upstairs. On leaving walk along the other side of the harbour to the Prince William which is has very much a restaurant feel about it, but the beers from St. Austell are good and there is ample drinking outside to avoid the diners. Follow the harbour back towards the town to locate two pubs on the corner of the harbour area very close to each other in the Hole in the Wall (Bays and Otter) and the Blue Anchor (Fullers London Pride, Sharps Doombar and Dartmoor). Finally, by leaving the Blue Anchor and walking up the main street you will come to a junction and the Vigilance will be found to the left on the opposite side of the road. This is an excellent Wetherspoons establishment where you are likely to find beers other than from the West Country. On leaving, turn left and cross the lights and turn right into the area where the 12 bus will return to Paignton (and Torquay and Newton Abbot) until a very late hour.

Bob Southwell

Waterside = Dartmouth Road, Goodrington
Manor = 2, Stoke Gabriel Road, TQ5 ONL
Churston Court = Bascombe Road
Ship = Higher Street, TQ6 OAG
Royal Castle = The Quay, TQ6 9PS
Cherub = 13, Higher Street, TQ6 9RB
Crown and Anchor = Quay
Old Market House = Strand

 

Some suggested pubs in Newton Abbot.
It is probably best to start at the furthest point from the station and then work your way back.
Come out of the station, cross the road and turn right and then follow the main road in to the town centre bearing left into the a pedestrian shopping area and continue past the clock tower. Cross the road at the end and the Woolborough (1) is about 100 years on the left hand side opposite the large Asda car park. The walk should take about a quarter of an hour. Alternatively, if you arrived by bus on number 12 turn left off the bus to the traffic lights and go straight across into the Asda car park and the Woolborough is on the main road opposite. A small, friendly and compact pub with up to five West Country beers available including Teignworthy and especially the Reel Ale, Tribute and Doombar two of which are likely to be on gravity. Note the etched windows portraying the past in the form of brewers Ford, Knight and Starkey of Tiverton. There is also an interesting rear patio area. On leaving turn right and trace your route back past the clock tower turning right into a short pedestrian walkway. The regularly listed GBG Union Inn (2) is on the right hand side and as the pub sign indicates it is named after the final Act of Union with Ireland in 1801 thereby completing the four nations. One simple bar, dispensing a number of West Country beers one of which is likely to be from Teignworthy and all competitively priced.  The food is also excellent value. Turn right and you immediately enter East Street with the Jolly Abbot (3) on the opposite side of the road. Again West Country beers are prominent in the form of St. Austell Tribute and Skinners plus one other that can be Abbot Ale. Relatively small and very ‘woody’ with leaded windows at the front and a beer garden to the rear. On the opposite side of the road is the Locomotive (4) which extends into smaller drinking areas to the rear and past a massive fireplace and a parrot behind the bar. Adnams beers are generally available with one other which might be Spitfire.
On exiting turn left and continue along East Street, past the home of the defunct Dartmouth Brewery, until the Cider Bar (5) appears on the left hand side which is the current National Cider Pub of the year. This really deserves a separate visit being utterly traditional with its impressive range of real cider, perries and various fruit and vegetable wines. The ham or cheese and onion rolls are just as impressive. Be warned the ciders are at least 6% and some moderation would be necessary if the remaining pubs are to be reached! Turn left and left again into the first road and the GBG listed Richard Hopkins (6) (Wetherspoons) is at the bottom on the left hand side and, unusually, it has an outside patio on the main road. Up to six guest beers which are often from local breweries including Dartmoor, Hunters, Red Rock and Teignworthy and despite being large and spacious it is broken up into separate drinking areas. Turn right outside into Queen Street and retrace your steps back towards the station. Overlooking the station is the Queens Hotel (7) with a small and comfortable bar serving Teignworthy beers. Even closer to the station is the Railway (8) (previously Railway Hotel) and apparently the skittle alley at the rear is actually owned by Network Rail. Courage Best and Directors are generally available with at least one guest beer. A small and cosy pub with a wooden floor and cast iron pillars with much railway memorabilia and covered outside drinking area. For railway enthusiasts you could have left the pub and in seconds have joined the now closed Moretonhamstead branch from the bay platform adjoining the pub. Alas, no more it now takes a few more seconds, but not many, to return to the station.
Bob Southwell

  1. = 55, Woolborough Street, TQ12 1JQ
  2. = 6, East Street, TQ12 1AF
  3. = East Street
  4. = East Street
  5. = East Street
  6. = 34-42, Queen Street/King Street TQ12 2EW
  7. = Station Road
  8. = Station Road

 

A suggested pub crawl Babbacombe to Torquay harbour side.
Catch bus number 32 (St. Marychurch every half hour) or number 11 (Teignmouth and hourly but no evening service) from Torquay Strand up to Babbacombe. You need to alight at Babbacombe at a small parade of shops and cross the main road and head towards Babbacombe Downs Road which runs parallel to the main road. The starting pub is the relatively small Buccaneer (1) with an excellent panorama over the bay and selling St. Austell Tribute and HSD and entered via an outside patio drinking area. Leaving the pub and turning right you will shortly come across the Babbacombe Inn (2) on the same side of the Road. The three hand pumps are difficult to spot being slightly below bar level but usually serve Courage Best, Bays Gold and one other beer. This is a large open plan pub that is both family friendly and offering good value food. Turning right again and crossing the road you will see a road descending sharply and heading down towards the Cary Arms (3). If you thought the previous views were good then this is now even better. The spectacular Cary Arms is not quite at beach level but commands some of the best sea views in the West Country which can be enjoyed from an outside drinking patio with the beers likely to come from Bays and Otter. As might be expected from such a lavish location it is relatively expensive, but by no means exclusive and definitely worth the visit. Whichever way you leave it is very sharply up hill. You could retrace your steps up the hill and re-join the main road from where you started and turning left back towards Torquay. Alternatively, you could take the footpath at the back of the pub onto Babbacombe Downs and either branching right and back towards the main road or taking the longer route by following the coast path. If you take the latter you will come out above Anstey’s Cove and will need to go down across the football pitches and turn right up Ilsham road. Either way you will find The Kent’s (4) at Wellswood on the corner of the main road. This one bar pub offers a CAMRA discount during the week, and the beers are likely to be Dartmoor Jail and Otter. In addition there is usually a cider. The next stage continues the downward theme and can either be walked or reached via a short bus ride.  You will have to get off at the museum and go behind to find the Griffin (5) in the Yardley Manor Hotel on the site of the now demolished Winter Gardens. All the beers are on gravity from the Cask Ale Club plus one other which is likely to be from Red Rock brewery. The next stage is to continue down towards the harbour area which can get enormously busy with the younger set and especially at weekends. The first pub is the Clocktower (6) on the main road just above the harbour and also selling beers from the Cask Ale Club as well as Fuller’s London Pride.  Turn left outside, and briefly continue towards the harbour and turn sharp left up a short road (Park Lane) to find two havens of tranquillity. The first is the GBG listed Hole in the Wall (7) with beers from Bays, Butcombe, Otter, Sharps, Shepherd Neame and Wadsworths. This is the oldest pub in Torquay dating from 1540 with low beams, a cobbled floor and a restaurant to the rear and differentiates itself from some of the surrounding institutions by making it quite clear that stag and hen parties are not welcome. Next door is the simply laid out Devon Arms (8) with one small bar with the beers likely to be from Otter. Finally, back into the Strand where two Wetherspoons pubs can be found. The first is the London Inn (9) which is on two levels with a set of stairs linking the two. The second is the Green Ginger  (10) 150 yards away having turned right with both serving a combination of local Devon beers and that rare commodity of beers from outside the South West.

  1. = 44, Babbacombe Downs Road, TQ1 3LN
  2. = Babbacombe Downs Road (Torquay side of (1)
  3. = Beach Road
  4. = Babbacombe Road/Ilsham Road
  5. = Braddons Hill Road East/Babbacombe Road
  6.  = Torwood Street
  7. = 6, Park Lane, TQ1 2AU
  8. = Park Lane and next to (6)
  9. = Strand
  10. = Cary Parade
 

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