At first, the great road reforms of the 18th century passed Moreton by. Exeter was the gateway to the south west with 70 coaches a day to and from London and elsewhere. The routes to Plymouth, Falmouth and Penzance passed north or south of the Moor. However with the advent of Turnpike Trusts and better roads, Moreton became a gateway to the Moor and a resting place on the way to Plymouth and the west. Major inns like the White Hart and White Horse were updated and refurbished, their yards re-modelled to accommodate carriages and extra stabling (see the advertisements of this period for the White Hart).

Half a century later the new railway gave impetus to increasing coach and later charabanc travel. Visitors from the Victorian seaside resorts of Paignton, Dawlish and Torquay arriving at Bovey and Moreton stations found coaches waiting to take them on their explorations of Dartmoor, and horse-buses to take them from Moreton station to Chagford, but horse ‘omnibusses’ arrived long before the railway reached us, as Cecil Torr (section 2, p. 70) comments:

‘In 1841 there was an innovation; and [my grandfather] writes to my father on 22 June: ‘Moreton, they say, is all alive: there are three vehicles which they call Omnibusses. Wills goes from Exeter (through Moreton) to Plymouth, Waldron and Croot to Exeter and Newton. All grades appear to go by this means, even the farmers go instead of horseback’

Mail Coaches

Mail coaches delivered the post in sealed bags to the postmaster’s house or a local inn, giving warning of their approach by sounding the post horn. Moreton’s mail came first from Crockernwell on the Exeter to Falmouth mail coach route (see the account of the appointment of John Treleaven as postmaster in 1792). At that time Newton Abbot, listed as a post town on the London to Plymouth route, exchanged mail daily with Chudleigh, the nearest “bye post” town. From here it came by horse to Moreton. By 1843, according to Cecil Torr, the mail was again brought by a horseman from Chudleigh (on the main Exeter to Plymouth road) to Moreton.