Eat, drink, run, repeat. A new kind of Food Festival …

February 17th, 2015 | By Lucy Jelf

Dart Trail Start 2014[1]

Food tasting and trail running might strike you as an odd combination of activity at first glance but an imaginative event in South Devon is encouraging food lovers to lace up their trainers and find new ways to discover a taste for the local area.

Billed as a food-festival-on-the-run’, the Delicious Dart Trail is an annual event which takes runners on a gastronomic tour through South Devon from Dartington to Dartmouth. Now in its third year, this unique event, sponsored by Coast & Country Cottages, is a popular fixture on the foody calendar for participants and spectators alike.
The next event will take place on Saturday 7 March 2015 in aid of CHICKS charity, a Devon-based organisation that provides respite breaks in the countryside for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. While full details remain under wraps until entries open on 1 December, we persuaded event creator, Kate Treleaven, to give us a sneak preview of the trail and its tasting opportunities.

The Delicious Dart Trail begins in the magnificent Medieval courtyard at Dartington Hall. From there it’s downhill to Totnes and the first port of call, the Waterside Bistro. Here, Matt Buzzo and the team welcome runners to their riverside terrace with a selection of goodies inspired by their French connections; all made with local ingredients.
Taking a left onto The Plains and along New Walk, runners join the footpath to The Sharpham Estate for a taste of their award winning wines and cheeses. Looking out over rows of vines to the river below, the location could not be more scenic. It’s a popular spot for spectators who can buy cheese and wine by the glass or bottle, while cheering on the runners.
It’s a steep climb up the hill out of Sharpham before descending into Ashprington and down to The Waterman’s Arms at Bow Bridge. At 6.5 miles, The Maltster’s Arms at Tuckenhay is where some of the less seasoned runners may start to flag. But it was a favourite stop on the trail for many in 2014 with bitesize venison burgers, mini pavlovas and Quercus ale on the menu.

The runners then head cross-country to Cornworthy and on towards Dittisham, stopping briefly at Fingals Country House Hotel before arriving at the Red Lion Inn. Dittisham is famous for its plums so a tot of Bramley and Gage plum liqueur will send the runners on their way down to the Ferry Boat Inn where paella and a pint on the beach awaits them.
After taking the ferry across to Greenway for an ice cream at Agatha Christie’s former holiday home, the pack splits with some runners opting to take the steam train to Kingswear while others continue on foot. A miniature Devonshire cream tea at Noss will reward those who prefer not to let the train take the strain but a buffet awaits all runners at Kingswear Station, however they choose to arrive. From here, only a short ferry ride stands between the runners and the final two stops in Dartmouth. The smell of vinegary fish and chips will lead them to RockFish takeaway and then on to Cafe Alf Resco for a nice hot cuppa before they cross the finish line.

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