The 10 best heritage railways along the South West 660

Since South West 660 is all about ‘slow travel’, here are our suggestions for some brilliant heritage railways to enjoy
South Devon Railway

Who doesn’t like a trip on a heritage railway? Well, on the South West 660 you are spoiled for choice in terms of opportunities to ‘travel back in time’. Ruud Jansen Venneboer shares his Top 10.


Route 1 – Sandbanks to Weymouth

swanage railway

Swanage RailwayJust a few miles into South West 660 you’ll find the brilliant Swanage Railway. Travelling in a heritage steam train through beautiful Purbeck Island, the train gets you to famous Corfe Castle, and back. The line is connected to the mainline network at Wareham station, allowing ‘car free’ SW660 explorers easy access to the beginning of our route.


Route 3 – Lyme Regis to Exeter

Seaton tramway

Seaton Tramway – South West 660 partner Seaton Tramway is a heritage railway with a difference. The trams are narrow gauge and follow the old British Railway route between Seaton and Colyton, which used to be part of the branch line between Seaton and ‘Seaton Junction’ at the London – Exeter mainline. Most trams are double decker with the open top deck offering beautiful views across the Seaton Wetlands.


Route 4 – Exeter to Dartmouth

South Devon Railway – running between Buckfastleigh and Totnes, this railway follows the river Dart, allowing for some great photographic opportunities. This is also why the South Devon Railway is such a firm favourite with TV and film production companies.


dartmouth railway

Dartmouth Steam Railway – connecting Paignton on the mainline railway with Dartmouth, this heritage line follows a stunning route, which includes a halt at Greenway, the former home of Agatha Christie.


Route 7 – St Austell to Penzance

Helston railway

Helston Railway – the most southerly railway in the UK! Also possibly the shortest! Starting at Prospidnick, the aim is to over time reopen the full 5 miles of the old Helston branch line.


Route 10 – Padstow to Clovelly

Bodmin railway

Bodmin Railway – starting from Bodmin Parkway on the mainline, this heritage line follows the old Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway to Bodmin Central and Boscarne Junction. The line is 13 miles long and is one of the region’s longest running heritage lines.


Launceston steam railway

Launceston Steam Railway – a 2 ½ mile narrow gauge railway in the Kensey Valley in Cornwall. The line uses the old North Cornwall Railway track bed.


Route 11 – Clovelly to Lynton

lynton railway

Lynmouth and Barnstaple Railway – although just one mile long at present (but with plans for extending), this narrow gauge line which follows part of the old Barnstaple to Lynmouth line closed for general use as long ago as 1935. One unique aspect of this heritage line is that it owns a pub, the Old Station Inn.


Route 12 – Lynton to Watchet

cliff railway

Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway – this is not a railway as you know it, but a water powered funicular railway, taking passengers from sea level at Lynmouth, up to Lynton some 500ft above sea level. Possibly the most environmentally sound way of travelling.


somerset railway

West Somerset Railway – last but by no means least, the West Somerset Railway connects Minehead with the final stop on South West 660: Watchet. The line in fact runs a little further, to Bishops Lydeard. In fact, it is connected to the mainline at Taunton, but heritage trains do not alight there. Designed by Brunel, there has been a railway here for almost 175 years.

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St Ives - Padstow


Padstow - Clovelly

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