The Delicious Dart Trail

Dart Trail Runners from last year's event

Dart Trail Runners from last year's event - Credit: Archant

A very different kind of food festival is taking place in South Devon this month. Billed as a ‘food festival on the run’, The Delicious Dart Trail will send runners on a gastronomic tour of the spectacular Dart estuary from Dartington to Dartmouth. Founder Kate Treleaven reports

Dart Trail Superheroes running in the first ever charity foodie run

Dart Trail Superheroes running in the first ever charity foodie run - Credit: Archant

Now in its second year, this unique event is sponsored by Coast & Country Cottages and supported by the South Devon AONB - with all proceeds donated to CHICKS, the Devon-based charity which provides respite breaks for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Kids taking part in the first ever Delicious Dart Trail

Kids taking part in the first ever Delicious Dart Trail - Credit: Archant

This year, the Delicious Dart Trail takes place on Saturday, 1 March, and while tickets to take part as a runner sold out at the start of the year, there’s still plenty of opportunities for spectators to join in the fun along the trail. Just use this handy guide to the event to check the route - and what’s on offer along the way from some of the county’s best foodie stops - against the map opposite.

The Delicious Dart Trail run begins at 1) Dartington Hall. Runners are encouraged to wear fancy dress and this year, the sight of 350 monsters and aliens gathering in the Medieval courtyard before the start will definitely be worth a look. Grab yourself a cup of coffee from The White Hart and watch the runners depart between 9-11am.

Leaving Dartington, the runners head downhill and follow the Dart to the 2) Waterside Bistro at the riverside heart of Totnes. Here, Matt Buzzo and the team will welcome the runners to their terrace overlooking the River Dart with a selection of goodies inspired by their French connections; all made with local ingredients. Hungry spectators can take advantage of this special breakfast offer on the day: Buy one breakfast and get a second one for a minimum £2 donation to the CHICKS charity for disadvantaged children.

Taking a left onto The Plains and along New Walk, runners join the footpath to 3) 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. The shop will be open to the public for sales of cheese and wine by the glass or bottle. Spectators may also like to purchase a Trek & Taste ticket for £8.95 which includes a tour of the vineyard and a tutored tasting of three wines and two cheeses.

It’s a steep climb up the hill out of Sharpham before descending into Ashprington and on to 4) The Waterman’s Arms at Bow Bridge. Here, runners will enjoy some bite-sized grilled local meats before rejoining the road to Tuckenhay. At 6.5 miles in, 5) The Maltster’s Arms is the point where some of our less seasoned runners may start to flag. Grab a beer from the bar and give them a cheer from the creek-side carpark as you watch the team from Riverford Field Kitchen attempt to revive them with fresh fruit pavlova washed down with Devonia Natural Spring Water or perhaps a Quercus Devon Ale.

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The runners will then head cross-country up to Cornworthy and on towards Dittisham, stopping briefly at 6) Fingals Country House Hotel for traditional half-time oranges, apples and bananas from Riverford Home Delivery and a glass of Luscombe Drinks’ pure Devon apple juice. By the time our runners reach Dittisham, spectators may be starting to think about lunch. Both 7) The Red Lion Inn where runners receive a tot of Bramley and Gage plum liqueur and 8) The Ferry Boat Inn are great options serving locally sourced produce, freshly prepared. Perhaps the sight of runners tucking into a pint of Otter Bitter and Moby Nick’s paella while they wait for the ferry will put you in the mood for fish? Or will the thought of Tideford’s creamy rice puddings send spectators straight for the dessert menu?

After taking the ferry across to 9) Greenway, runners will enjoy an ice-cream in the grounds of Agatha Christie’s former holiday home. It is said that blackcurrant was the crime writer’s favourite, but the Dartmouth Ice Cream Company will also be serving a new flavour, invented by the winner of a special Delicious Dart Trail competition.

Here the pack splits, with some runners opting to take the steam train from Greenway Halt to Kingswear while others continue on foot. A miniature Devonshire cream tea at 10) Noss will reward those who prefer not to let the train take the strain. A buffet of Devon crab from the Blue Sea Food Company;l homemade energy bites by Manna From Devon and elderflower cordial from the Real Drink Company will await runners at 11) 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 12) RockFish takeaway and then on to the finish at 13) Cafe Alf Resco, the official spectator spot in Dartmouth which will be open all day.

Full details of special on the day spectator offers are available at deliciousdarttrail.co.uk COMPETITION:

Participants and spectators will have an ideal opportunity to photograph the landscape from some stunning locations along the Dart. By downloading the South Devon AONB’s free Rate my View app, you can automatically upload your photos and give each view a score from 1 to 5 stars. Photos uploaded from The Delicious Dart Trail will be eligible to win a framed photo of the Dart estuary. ratemyview.co.ukThe foodie ‘pit stops’ for runners:

1) The White Hart, Dartington Hall

dartingtonhall.com/whitehart 2) Waterside Bistro, Totnes

watersidebistro.com3) Sharpham Wine and Cheese

sharpham.com4) The Waterman’s Arms, Bow Bridge

thewatermansarms.net5) The Maltster’s Arms, Tuckenhay

tuckenhay.com- Riverford Field Kitchen

riverford.co.uk/restaurant- Quercus Devon Ale

quercusdevonales.com- Devonia Natural Spring Water

devoniawater.co.uk6) Fingals Country House Hotel

fingals.co.uk- Riverford Home Delivery

riverford.co.uk- Luscombe Drinks

luscombe.co.uk7) The Red Lion Inn

redliondittisham.co.uk- Bramley and Gage

bramleyandgage.co.uk8)The Ferry Boat Inn

ferryboatinndittisham.co.uk- Moby Nick’s

mobynicks.com- Tideford Organics

tidefordorganics.com- Otter Brewery

otterbrewery.com9) Greenway House

nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway- Dartmouth Ice Cream Company

dartmouthicecream.com10) Kingswear Station

dartmouthrailriver.co.uk- Manna From Devon

mannafromdevon.com- Blue Sea Food Company

devoncrab.com- Real Drink Company

realdrink.org11) RockFish

rockfishdevon.co.uk/takeaway12) Cafe Alf Resco

cafealfresco.co.uk