History and geography
With a population of about 2000, the village lies in the Bere peninsula, between the rivers Tamar and Tavy. Its origins lie in the once thriving local mining industry, including silver and lead, and the market gardening sector. At one time, the mainline trains to London would stop at the village to pick up locally grown produce destined for the capital.
Bere Alston is about 12 km north of the centre of Plymouth as the crow flies, but the road trip requires either a long detour via Tavistock or else negotiating narrow lanes and a narrow bridge.
Trains still run to Bere Alston railway station on the picturesque Tamar Valley Line between Plymouth and Gunnislake, and trains reverse at this station. There has been discussion of making the station a junction once again by reopening the former 'main line' to Tavistock, the largest town in Devon currently without a railway station. Occasionally reopening the whole line through to Okehampton and Exeter is suggested, since the current Plymouth to Exeter route is dependent on an extremely vulnerable route below the sea cliffs at Dawlish Warren.
Bere Alston elected two members to the unreformed House of Commons. Only a few burgage holders were entitled to vote; but as most, if not all, of these holdings were held by a single individual for most of the time that Bere Alston was a parliamentary borough, elections were seldom contested (see rotten borough). Its MPs included Sir George Beaumont, 7th Baronet, Peter King, 1st Baron King and Josceline Percy. The borough was stripped of its franchise in the Reform Act 1832.
Once home to numerous pubs, the village now only has one public house, The Edgcumbe Hotel, on Fore Street, which at one time was also a jail and later a schoolhouse. There is also a modern cafe located next door to Bere Alston United Church.
The village is surrounded by woodland and fields.
The village is notable for having one of the oldest primary schools in Devon, Maynard's School. Erected by Sir John Maynard in 1665, the original building still forms part of the primary school today (the date is carved on a porch above the original red doorway).
The Bere Alston United Church on Fore Street was built in 1811. The Anglican church of the Holy Trinity was built in 1848.
Bere Alston United Football Club is a member of the Devon Football Association. The 1st team play their matches in the East Cornwall Premier Division. and are managed by Kevin Taylor.
There are four pool teams playing in the Winter Tamar Valley Pool League. from Bere Alston.
From the Edgcumbe Hotel: The Edgcumbe 'Aces' – Division 2 & The Edgcumbe 'B' – Premier Division (Division 1 Champions 2009–2010)
- "Bere Alston (Devon)". City Population. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- "Sea level rises mean rail rethink". 12 April 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2019 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
- Pevsner, N. (1952) South Devon. Penguin Books; p. 46
- Bere Alston United official website Archived September 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Tamar Valley Pool League Tamar Valley Pool League
- Beer In The Evening – The Edgcumbe Hotel Beer In The Evening
- "Berealston Bowling Club". berealstonbowlingclub.co.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
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