Barnstaple station cafe 'best in UK'

THE Tarka Rail Association (TRA), pledged to support the North Devon rail link between Barnstaple and Exeter, has covered itself in glory.Barnstaple s Stationmaster s Cafe has just been awarded First Prize for Best Retail Outlet by the Association of

THE Tarka Rail Association (TRA), pledged to support the North Devon rail link between Barnstaple and Exeter, has covered itself in glory.

Barnstaple's Stationmaster's Cafe has just been awarded First Prize for "Best Retail Outlet" by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), beating out a strong field of contenders from across the United Kingdom.

At the awards ceremony in Carlisle, ACoRP honoured cafe owner Mike Day, 32, who spent three years battling railway red-tape to convert the 19th century station house into a cafe, shop and museum.

The panel of ACoRP judges made the long journey from the Midlands to the cafe at Barnstaple station. Travellling incognito as "mystery shoppers," they were especially impressed by the quality of the food on offer, the warmth of the welcome they received and the ready willingness with which Mike Day offered advice to visitors.


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Mr Day said: "There was a very strong group of finalists from stations all over the country.. "Its feels wonderful to have our Stationmaster's Cafe named best in the UK, and this national acknowledgement is a wonderful reward for all our hard work."

As if that were not enough, TRA's new booklet, Tarka Line Walks, was named "Best Marketing Publication" of the year. The judges praised the booklet's "wow factor" and the fact that it is available without charge. More than 5,000 copies of the free booklet have already been distributed.

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Tarka Line Walks author Peter Craske, who was also shortlisted as "Volunteer of the Year," said he was "absolutely thrilled" that his booklet had won First Prize in the hotly contested contest.

"It's been a total labour of love," said Mr Craske, who has known the line since the 1940s.

"Researching and writing up these walks from local stations along the line has been a way of giving back to the county that means so much to me," he said.

Craske is now busy on a second volume of Tarka Line Walks and plans to expand his series to include other lines in the county. While stocks last, you can obtain your free copy of Tarka Line Walks at the Barnstaple Stationmaster's Cafe, the Fox & Hounds at Eggesford, the Mare & Foal at Yeoford and the Crediton Station Tearooms. Or, alternatively, telephone (01752) 233094 or e-mail railpart@plymouth.ac.uk.

The Tarka Rail Association (TRA), pledged to support the North Devon rail link between Barnstaple and Exeter, has covered itself in glory.

Barnstaple's Stationmaster's Cafe has just been awarded First Prize for "Best Retail Outlet" by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), beating out a strong field of contenders from across the United Kingdom. At the awards ceremony in Carlisle, ACoRP honoured cafe owner Mike Day, 32, who spent three years battling railway red-tape to convert the 19th Century station house into a cafe, shop and museum.

The panel of ACoRP judges made the long journey from the Midlands to the cafe at Barnstaple station. Travellling incognito as "mystery shoppers," they were especially impressed by the quality of the food on offer, the warmth of the welcome they received and the ready willingness with which proprietor Day offered advice to visitors.

Day himself is delighted. "There was a very strong group of finalists from stations all over the country," he explains. "It's feels wonderful to have our Stationmaster's Cafe named best in the UK, and this national acknowledgement is a wonderful reward for all our hard work."

As if that were not enough, TRA's new booklet, Tarka Line Walks, was named "Best Marketing Publication" of the year. The judges praised the booklet's "wow factor" and the fact that it is available without charge. More than 5,000 copies of the free booklet have already been distributed.

Tarka Line Walks author, Peter Craske, who was also shortlisted as "Volunteer of the Year," said he was "absolutely thrilled" that his booklet had won First Prize in the hotly contested contest. "It's been a total labour of love," explains Craske, who's known the line since the 1940s. Researching and writing up these walks from local stations along the line has been a way of giving back to the county that means so much to me."

Craske is now busy on a second volume of Tarka Line Walks and plans to expand his series to include other lines in the county. While stocks last, you can obtain your free copy of Tarka Line Walks at the Barnstaple Stationmaster's Cafe, the Fox & Hounds at Eggesford, the Mare & Foal at Yeoford and the Crediton Station Tearooms. Or, alternatively, telephone 01752-233094 or e-mail railpart@plymouth.ac.uk.

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