Exeter–Barnstaple Line Devon Towns: Populations and Stations

The 39 mile line between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple traverses an area with three distinct demographic characteristics. At its northern end is a population of well over 100,000, mostly inhabiting a number of moderate-sized urban settlements near and including Barnstaple. At the other is Exeter, a city of about 120,000 people. Between them, other than at Crediton (parish population about 6,800), is a handful of small towns and villages, most of which are remote from the railway. Elsewhere, the population density of this large area is for the most part lower than 0.5 per hectare. (See population density map.)

Table 1 (below) summarises these populations. It is based on Devon County Council Strategic Intelligence Unit’s figures for ‘Devon Towns’. Each designated Devon Town is an aggregation of parishes that may cover a large area and many stations or none. For example, Crediton ‘Devon Town’ includes 26 parishes and seven railway stations. Others, such as Ilfracombe, have no stations within their boundaries, yet relate to one or more railheads outside them. Exeter is omitted, since it is served by many rail services, not the Barnstaple line alone.

The Devon Towns are ordered in the table from northern Devon towards Exeter in order to relate them to the railway. The first six are all within northern Devon and have a combined population of 142,492. For four of these, with a combined population of 116,603, Barnstaple is the sole station. In contrast, mid-Devon’s Crediton Town, with a population of 20,467, has seven stations, five of which are currently served by all trains.

Table 1 : Exeter–Barnstaple Line Devon Towns: Populations and Stations
(See also Exeter–Barnstaple Line: Station Usage Figures 2010–2011 to 2014–2015)
Devon Town Population 2009 Stations
Northern Devon
Ilfracombe 19,136 none (nearest Barnstaple)
Bideford and Northam 38,118 none (nearest Barnstaple)
Braunton 11,491 none (nearest Barnstaple)
Barnstaple 47,858 Barnstaple
Great Torrington 12,313 none (nearest Umberleigh)
South Molton 13,576 Umberleigh
Portsmouth Arms
Kings Nympton
Total population,
northern Devon Towns
Mid Devon
Crediton 20,467 Eggesford
Morchard Road

Newton St Cyres
Total population,
Crediton Devon Town
Total population served by Barnstaple line 162,959
A Devon Towns as defined and designated by Devon County Council
B 2009 populations, using Devon County Council data
C Stations currently served by all trains shown in bold

Compiled by North Devon Public Transport Users, July 2012

See also Exeter–Barnstaple Line: Station Usage Figures 2010–2011 to 2014–2015.

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