In January 2020, the government pledged £500 million for the Restoring Your Railway Programme which is designed to reopen lines and stations.
The Department for Transport (DfT) invited MPs, local councils and community groups across England and Wales to propose how they could use funding to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations. Later this month, the Dartmoor Line will reopen almost half a century after it was axed.
Okehampton station will allow allow passengers to travel, via Exeter, to the top of Dartmoor without driving. The line will allow visitors a low-carbon way to explore this beautiful part of the country and may ease jams on the A30.
Dartmoor is the only area in England that explicitly permits wild camping. Pairing up a bicycle, a tent and a railway ticket to the soon-to-be-opened Okehampton station offers an environmentally benign way to enjoy nature.
The preoccupation in Britain with cycling as a sport makes it easy to overlook other aspects of life on two wheels. For example, cycle touring is a pursuit as old as the bicycle itself.
Now reinvented as ‘bikepacking’ the business of setting off to ride and camp, taking with you only as much as you can carry, is as pure a cycling experience as you can have.
The excellent bikepacking.com describes ‘a synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day back-country hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. It’s about forging places less travelled, both near and afar, via single-track trails, gravel, and abandoned dirt roads, carrying only essential gear’.
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance, breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.