This was my first walk in the Tamar Valley, and I chose Bere Alston because it’s a quick train journey from Plymouth. It was only when I was looking at trails starting from Bere Alston, that I discovered I could do a circular to walk by the Calstock Viaduct.
If you google Tamar Valley, the Calstock Viaduct comes up in lots of photos, I didn’t know where it was exactly, so I was super pleased when I realised it could feature in this walk.
Fun Fact: Bere Alston is in Devon, Calstock is in Cornwall.
What was the circular walk like from Bere Alston to the Calstock Viaduct?
I was super impressed with this walk. Lots of lovely flowers and wild garlic (time of year dependant of course), woodland, cute villages, lovely hill views, and of course, the impressive viaduct.
Although you will be walking alongside the Tamar River for a lot of it, you don’t see it that much. Well, you see it when you walk along the Calstock Viaduct section, but for the rest, it is mostly hidden by the woodland, with occasional peaks of view. When you walk up a hill later on in the walk, you will get a better view down to it.
That hill in question is the only big one, and it’s not that big. So this walk is pretty easy. Saying that, it’s a bit of an uphill to walk into Bere Alston at the end, but you don’t notice it too much.
Logistics for the circular walk from Bere Alston to the Calstock Viaduct
- Start/Finish: Bere Alston station
- How to get there: You can get a direct train from Plymouth, journey time 23min. The number 87 bus will get you here from Tavistock.
- Distance: 6 miles
- Time: 2h15min
- Difficulty: Easy
- Terrain: A little bit of road, dirt trail, grass
- Amenities: A co-op and public toilets in Bere Alston (a bit of a walk from the station, but this walk takes you through there, at the end). There is also a brewery at Bere Alston, although I’m not clear on access and opening times. A couple of tea rooms, and places to eat at Bere Alston. Along the rest of the route, there are no amenities, I don’t even recall seeing any benches.
- Dog friendly: Some stiles. One has a gate option, although there is another one that could be an issue. I will show you when I describe the walk below. One field with sheep. Other than that, I didn’t see any livestock and don’t recall livestock signs.
Tips for the the Bere Alston Calstock Viaduct walk
- It looks like it has the potential to be muddy if it’s been raining. I would suggest waterproof hiking boots if that’s the case.
- There is an alternate route to finish the walk. I had tried it, but got forced away due to a cow situation. So I ended up doing a bit more road walking than planned. I will show you the alternate route when I describe the walk below.
- Trains in and out are every 2 hours only (at different times for each direction). Bare this in mind when planning the walk. It actually works out ok, by the time I finished the walk, it was about 20min wait for the next train. If I had missed that though, it would have been a 2 hour wait.
- If you want to finish at a pub, then you may have the brewery option in Bere Alston, but you need to check.
Map for the circular walk from Bere Alston to the Calstock Viaduct
More walk ideas (with links to full guides) near Bere Alston and the Calstock Viaduct will be at the end
A Guide To The Circular Walk From Bere Alston To The Calstock Viaduct
One thing I want to say before I start, is that the sun was super harsh today. As such, the photos aren’t great. It was a bit of a bummer because the walk was really beautiful in places, and the photos don’t do it justice. Anyway…..
Out of Bere Alston station, go right, and a bit further along you should see a trail signpost directing you along a trail to the left.
At the next big junction, take the left turning. You will be walking on a gravel type road, and will get a lovely view to the right across the hills of the Tamar Valley.
There is another little junction coming up. The right is private to a farm. So you go left. It’s nice and hedgy and bushy, with some flowers along here.
Further along, you will reach a junction, with wooden ladder steps to the left, a gate ahead, and a trail to the right. Although the ladder steps look inviting, don’t go that way. Go along the right trail.
Walk along the jungle like trail with wild garlic
The trail will soon be lined with lots of wild garlic (remember, time of year dependant), and then past the wooden fence, everything becomes more overgrown and jungle like. It was pretty cool with all the fern and trees overhanging into the trail, with even more wild garlic than before.
The trail will take you downhill, and through a gate at the end to exit the jungle vibes.
The Tamar River and Calstock Viaduct
When you walk through the gate, look out for the hand shaped hedge thing. It gave me a good chuckle. Pointing the way along the trail.
There was a man sitting in his front lawn here, I mean what a place to have a home and front lawn, a wild garlic trail behind, and the Tamar River in front. We started chatting, and then he let me go into his other garden (yes, he has 2), which is right on the river, with a view across to the Calstock Viaduct.
The woodland trail
The actual trail goes around the front of the house with the hand hedge, to lead through a wooden gate and into the woods. There is a junction through here. Take the right one.
Now the trail undulates a bit. You will be walking right alongside the Tamar River, but only get little peaks of it through the trees. You will get a peak to the Calstock Viaduct a bit further into the walk along this woodland trail.
When you reach the stream, go across it and pick up the trail directly opposite and uphill to continue the walk through the woods. There is a junction coming up, where you need to turn right. I can’t actually remember which junction, as it all looks the same. I think it might be this one:
To be sure, look to the right, and if you can see that the trail leads out of the woods, then this is the one.
Walk along the Tamer River and under the Calstock Viaduct
The trail will lead you onto a ridgeways of sorts, where you will get a fantastic view to Calstock across the river, and the viaduct ahead.
Now follow this trail to take you to and under the viaduct. I find it interesting how there is no walkway to get you over to Calstock. The only way I can see, is via the viaduct, so you can only go over to Calstock by train from this side.
Once past the viaduct, just keep going straight towards the trees at the end, where the trail will curve to the left.
This whole bit of walkway is quite overgrown with long grass and some stinging nettles. So be mindful of that. I also wondered about the tick situation around here.
Walk along the fields and into more woods
Following the trail as it curves around, it will lead you to a wooden stile (the potential tricky one for dogs). Go over it, and follow the grass trail to the right.
This will lead you past the wall of a house ruin, and into another field. In that next field, keep to the path to the right along the river. This will lead you to the next stile. This one has the gate which opens.
You will now be on a pretty woodland trail again, with some nice peaks of views through the trees to the Tamar River.
There is a junction coming up, where the yellow arrow points you uphill to the left. Follow this and keep going to reach a wooden gate.
The trail continues straight ahead, past a house on the left and picnic benches on the right. I had this feeling that the picnic benches belonged to that house, so I avoided sitting on them.
In fact, once through the next gate, it felt very much like I was on someones private land, especially as they had their washing hanging up basically on the trail.
This is the correct way, but I wanted to get on quick, incase there was a guard dog that didn’t like my presence. So I followed the main path/road thing around to the left to exit through the next gate.
The farm and viewpoint alternate route
Through that gate and out of the ‘private area’, take the path downhill to the right. Things really start to open up now, and you will get a view to the river and the farm house down to the right.
As you approach the entrance to the farm (which is where the trail goes), there is a sign on the gate on the left, pointing to a ‘beautiful river view detour’. Of course I decided I would take that detour.
This leads you to the sheep field, where you should be able to make out a faint trail running partly up the hill and then straight across it.
You really do get a beautiful river view from up here. The sign wasn’t lying.
Back to the woodland
On the other side of the field, you will walk through a gate and along another trail, potentially lined with wild garlic. You should be walking on a trail on the top of a hill now, with a fence to your left.
Keep going, and when the trail spilts ahead, you can take either. They will both lead you downhill to the right, where you will find another gate at the bottom on the left. Go through it, and then through more woodland and along a garlic lined trail.
This should at some point lead you along the bottom of a field.
The hill and views
At the end of that field, the trail will curve to the left to take you up the hill, where you will get a fantastic view back down into the valley. Although this isn’t the highest point of the walk, it was the only point I felt I had big a hill climb.
As you make your way up, look out for a gate on the right. When you go through that, you will walk down to a wooden bridge thing, and then up and through another gate into another field.
This bit could be potentially confusing. As you walk through the gate, there is another gate to the left with a trail marker. This is not the way you go. Instead, go straight across the top of the field. Up here you will have a lovely view down to the Tamar River.
Keep going through the hedge opening and right to the end, following the perimeter of the field as it then curves you down to the right.
As you are walking down, you will want to go through the second gate on the left.
Through here, you will walk along a wooden walkway thing, then turn left at the end. This will take you through a bit more woodland and then out towards what looks like a farm building (the stone house).
The road and the first cows
Follow the trail towards the stone farm building thing, and you should reach a wooden gate to take you up to it. As you walk up, follow the path to the right and onto the road.
You will now be walking on road for a little bit, but it’s not a busy road. Or it wasn’t for me anyway.
First the road takes you uphill, and then levels out. I passed a field with lots of aggressive looking cows. I was quite please we were separated by fence, and that I didn’t have to walk through there. I don’t think they would have let me through anyway.
Anyway, keep going straight along the road and through a metal gate at the end.
The second cow field
Now at this point, there are two ways to get back to the station. You can continue straight, to walk through Bere Alston village, or turn left at the trail signpost a bit further along this road.
That left is what my plan was. It would mean walking on mostly trails to reach the station, as opposed to road.
Following this trail, it took me into a field with lots of cows all over. I tentatively started to make my way along the edge of the field, working out my escape if they came for me. Then I stopped. I felt a little uneasy in there. Something didn’t feel right about these cows. As I stood there, looking at them, I noticed something. Big big udders. Oh dear. I had a scan around the field and then I saw them. The calfs.
I got myself out of that field so quick. You see, this is when the cows are most dangerous, when they have their calfs around. This is when they attack.
How to complete the walk to Bere Alston
Now, the calfs are not an all year thing. So you might have better luck. To continue this way, looking at the map, you would continue straight across this field, and when you reach a road/path, continue straight, then a bit further along, there should be a trail on the right. Walk to the end of that trail to reach the next road, where you will turn right to reach Bere Alston Station.
Alternate route to walk through Bere Alston
So, as you have probably figured, I ended up taking the alternate route which took me through the village of Bere Alston.
So going back to that junction on the road, I now stuck to the road and walked straight up it. It first leads under an archway, and then sticking to the road, all the way into Bere Alston.
When you reach the first junction at the houses, turn right. Then when you reach a corner where it says Station Road with some colourful buildings on the right, you turn left.
Keep going straight, then at a corner, you should see a trail signpost on the left. Follow that.
The final stretch of the Bere Alston, Calstock Viaduct circular walk
I was at this point a bit annoyed that the cows tainted my walk, but what came next made up for it. As you walk onto the trail, just ahead there will be a gate on the right with a trail leading downhill. From here you get a fantastic view down into the valley and to the Calstock Viaduct. I wasn’t expecting this view. It might even be one of the best views of the walk.
Now follow that trail down the hill, and it will lead you into more woodland. The last woodland of the walk.
When you enter the woodland, there will be a trail split. I took the right one. The left one could work, but I’m not entirely sure. To be safe, maybe take the right one.
This will lead you to a bigger trail with a wooden stump signpost. Follow it to the left.
This will take you to a road junction. One you were at, at the start of the walk. Take the left fork and follow this road to walk back to Bere Alston Station.
Although I walked along this road at the start of the walk, I saw something now which I didn’t see then….
It made me smile.
More walk ideas near Bere Alston and the Calstock Viaduct
Calstock riverside walk – This is a super lovely, short and easy walk along the River Tamar, and along to the Okel Tor Mine. I did this one as a time killer, whilst waiting for the train back to Plymouth (not today, it was a different day). I was super surprised by it and it deserves a place on this website.
Gunnislake to the Devon Consuls – This walk is part Devon, part Cornwall and takes you through lush woodland, along the river, and uphill to some disused mines with great views across the Tamar Valley.
You can read a more detailed side by side comparison on walks to try in the Tamar Valley. If you fancy heading over to Dartmoor, then have a look at these best walks in Dartmoor National Park.
For more walks and activities in the Tamar Valley, you can check out the Tamar Trails website.
Those picnic benches by the Tamar at the bottom of our house were put out there by us! Please everybody feel free to sit and enjoy! We are sorry that the view isn’t better but the land below us belongs to our neighbours who have decided (for their own reasons) to plant trees so as to block the view which will spoil/discourage enjoyment of the Tamar valley for walkers. We personally love the fact that you walk and enjoy this beautiful countryside. Please sit and enjoy!!
oooh, ok. Thanks for letting us know 🙂