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Exe Estuary is a highlight

Wildlife way

Daphne Pleace on why the Riviera line has a lot to offer

I recently travelled the wonderful Riviera line, which runs from Exeter to Torbay – surely the most wildlife-rich train journey in the country. Here, the track runs parallel to the sea – in some places only a sea wall separates train and beach – and there are glorious views of coastline and estuary. I particularly enjoy going along the Exe Estuary, with its two contrasting landscapes. On one side of the track is the Daphne enjoyed the beauty of train trip

river itself, and all the birds that make it their home: gulls, swans, cormorants, curlews, oystercatchers and egrets can be seen all year round. But in winter, the Exe is really special because hundreds of avocets shelter here: there can be as many as 20,000 overwintering birds of different kinds. They feed on the mud-flats, and when the tide’s coming in, the flocks can be close to the train. On the other side is the RSPB reserve of Powderham Marshes, where the Powderham

Estate has its own herd of fallow deer. Once, I saw them close to the track. I expected them to run off but they just stared and slowly walked away. On this trip I saw a group of rooks harassing a buzzard gliding across the skyline. The first few times I took this journey, I felt that my head was going to fall off because I turned it round so much so I didn't miss anything. Now I watch the scenery and wildlife from the window I’m closest to, which still leaves me plenty to see. daphnegoeswildindevon blogspot.co.uk

WHEN YOU’RE ON BOARD LUGGAGE can be stored on the overhead shelves, in the racks at the end of carriages, or under the seats.

PROBLEM WITH ONBOARD WIFI? If travelling on one of our daytime services operated by our 'Class 180' fleet, please email GWR.support@icomera.com or call 020 8028 0378. If taking one of our overnight Sleeper services or our long distance HST services, email GWR-OTS@nomadrail.com or call 0330 088 1275. Please ask a member of the onboard team if you're unsure which train type you are travelling on. 44 | escape

POWER POINTS are available to use for free on all our High Speed Trains. Look between the seats in front of you in Standard, or on the walls in First Class.

FIRST CLASS can be found in Coaches K and L on High Speed Trains, and on some selected local services. THE QUIET CARRIAGE offers peaceful travel, free from phones and music players. Head to Coach A in Standard on our High Speed Trains.

By bus PLUSBUS is a ticket that can be added to most types of train ticket. PLUSBUS gives you unlimited bus travel around town at the start, finish, or at both ends of your train journey. Together with your train ticket, it’s a great way to get directly to your chosen destination. By bike We support green travel and bicycles are a fantastic way to make your way from A to B, not to mention the health benefits of pedal power. Don’t forget to reserve a place for your bike on board, where possible, or take advantage of bike hire schemes or parking facilities. By plane Leave the car at home when flying from Bristol, Cardiff or Exeter International Airports, each a short bus ride away from the city’s station. Travel with us direct from Reading to Gatwick Airport by train or to Heathrow via the RailAir coach service from Reading. By car Most of our stations have pay-as-you-go car parks. Pay over the phone using our cashless payment system. To use, register your contact details, car registration, where you have parked and your card details, by calling the number advertised at car parks. www.gwr.com

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Escape Issue 21  

The magazine for First Great Western travellers

Escape Issue 21  

The magazine for First Great Western travellers