Originally known, in Saxon times as Freemanton, Fremington Village stands on the estuary of the Taw, near Bideford and Barnstaple. Hidden away from the main roads, Fremington Quay is certainly worth taking the time to visit, especially if you are looking for gorgeous views, wildlife… and perhaps even a slice of delicious cake at the Fremington Quay Café! Fremington’s Quay was once a bustling port which exported and imported goods from around the world, at one stage it was the busiest port between Bristol and Lands End. It is better known today for it’s lovely heritage centre and as a stunning section on the Tarka Trail and South West Cost Path. The Taw Vale Railway and Dock company was formed and in 1838, Fremington became used as a horse drawn rail link to Barnstaple, by 1891 twenty nine men were employed at the railway. The ships would bring in coal which would be loaded onto the waiting railway trucks were they would then be exported.
A report in the local press in 1930 reported that: “50,000 tons of coal and over 9,000 tons of gravel were handled at Fremington Quay in 1929” The Quay at this time was reported to be dealing with nearly 90,000 tons of sea borne traffic. In 1982 the last clay train left the station, without a railway there was no need for the ships and slowly the area fell into disrepair. The Quay was redeveloped in 2000, with its main use being recreation and conservation. The railway line now forms part of the Tarka Trail, with the old iron railway bridge being used to cross the Fremington Pill. The Heritage Centre, is the perfect place to learn more, located in the replica railway station and signal box, it offers visitors an interactive journey of it’s local history and shows how the area has changed over the years. Visitors are also able to listen to stories told by the people who once lived and worked at Fremington.