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Buckfast Abbey, a destination that can cater for coaches in Buckfastleigh, however long they are. ALAN PAYLING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As operators look forward to the summer season, our man on the English Riviera and mine of local knowledge Alan Payling considers the long and short of a couple of unlikely and wholly unsuitable destinations for day trips that sometimes appear on tour itineraries in the South West

It’s a question I often ask tour drivers when they’ve just landed in Torbay. Having handed them the information pack I distribute when they arrive at their hotel, I ask in a friendly and helpful manner: ‘So, where you off to this week then, driver? Going anywhere nice?’. Generally they are happy to tell me. Most of the time they’re going somewhere that is suitable for a coach. Even if it is suitable, but they haven’t been there before, I offer helpful advice on the best route to take, for example. But there are occasions when their answers do surprise me. Not that long ago Moretonhampstead

reared its unsuitable head a couple of times. But there was one destination for an excursion that really did surprise me: Buckfastleigh.

When I am told by a tour driver in a very new and very expensive tri-axle that he or she is heading to a place like Buckfastleigh, alarm bells start ringing. So being a diplomatic sort of chap, I try to ascertain why they are heading to such a place. There have been occasions in the past when a driver has a private group on board that has a specific reason for heading to a location that I would normally consider unsuitable for the average, and large, coach.

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