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Scenic rail ale trail along the SWR network launches at Honiton Station

A new Salisbury to Exeter Rail Ale Trail has been launched to encourage people to visit local pubs by train across the South Western Railway network.

Organised by the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership and Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership (CRP) with the support of South Western Railway, the Rail Ale Trail consists of 19 pubs dotted along the railway line linking the two cities, all of which are within easy reach of the stations in the towns and villages they serve.

At each participating pub, ‘trailers’ can collect a stamp when buying a drink and showing their train ticket. Once they have collected ten stamps, they can then claim a free special Rail Ale Trail t-shirt by sending the stamped sheet and rail ticket to the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership.

One of the pubs included in the trail is the Vine Inn and Tearoom in Honiton. Just a short walk from Honiton Station, where a team of dedicated station adoption volunteers tend to the station, this pub was the setting of the launch event on 15 May.

Richard Burningham, manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, said: “The Salisbury to Exeter Rail Ale Trail is all about encouraging people to explore the places served by the line and to visit local pubs, thereby helping the economy.”

Derek Beer, chair of the Blackmore Vale CRP, said: “The Rail Ale Trail gives another really good incentive for locals and visitors to explore our towns and villages and enjoy a decent drink and bite to eat at the same time.

“Our pubs and inns are the heart of our rural towns and villages, and a visit so often unlocks a host of local information and history. It is quite an exciting adventure to set out on the train and being environmentally sound as well.

“It’s the first time we have done anything like this, and it’s great to be doing it with the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership. When adventurers have completed our trails, they might like to take the train further west to explore even more delights.”

Paula Aldridge, community rail manager for South Western Railway, said: “We’re delighted to be involved with such an imaginative way to explore the railway network in a beautiful part of the country, all whilst supporting some of the small and independent businesses which are the lifeblood of their local communities.”

Details of the new Rail Ale Trail can be found here.

Find out more about South Western Railway’s work in the community here.