Connect Bude

Campaigning to re-connect Bude and Holsworthy

Our Goals

Connect Bude exists to lobby, advocate and research to reconnect Bude, Holworthy and North Cornwall to the rest of the country via rail, bus, and active travel. We believe North Cornwall and North-West Devon should have fair and equal access to education, jobs, heath and culture.

Our Core Aims

To campaign to reconnect Bude and Holsworthy to the National Rail Network, initially via Okehampton.

To promote the new hourly rail service between Okehampton and Exeter and beyond.

To ensure the trackbed of the former railway is protected against further development.

To garner the widespread community support of individuals, elected representatives & businesses in order to achieve the first three objectives.

The Past

For 68 years, from 1898 to 1966, Bude and Holsworthy were linked by rail to Okehampton, Exeter, London and beyond. Direct trains sped from the water’s edge to Waterloo in under five hours.

Remote communities were prevented from becoming isolated. Rail brought prosperity through economic activity and gave people a sense of wellbeing through connectivity.

Once the branch lines were closed by the Government in 1966, following therecommendations included in the earlier Beeching Report, North Cornwall became arail desert. Bude earned the dubious accolade of being the furthest town in England from a mainline railway station.

The Present

The campaigning of Okerail led to the line from Okehampton to Exeter being reopened in 2021. The new hourly service is already a major success with passenger numbers 250% of the anticipated use.

Devon County Council has financially supported an integrated direct bus link from Tavistock to the new station at Okehampton. Connect Bude is lobbying to achieve a similar integrated direct bus link from Bude & Holsworthy to Okehampton, rather than the existing 2.5hr bus journey to Exeter.

The lack of regional connectivity inhibits access to work, education, health, leasure, and culture; especially for those without private transport. This is evidenced by the
fact that Bude suffers a net loss of young people (15 to 24), with those staying more likely to be on benefits than the average.

The Future

Compared to England as a whole, Bude has a much higher reliance on cars with 11% more car ownership, rising to 24% more for +65yr olds, because of limited transport
options. When fast and reliable public transport arrives in Bude then residents can make the green choice and help the Climate Emergency.

Businesses & residents across the region are demanding fast, efficient, integrated, accessible and green public transport options for North Cornwall and West Devon – serving +40k residents and +285k visitors a year.

Connect Bude has garnered the active support of local people, businesses, politiciansand M.P.s. It believes that if enough people support its aims then with your help the next train will be to Bude. Build it and they will come!