Cycle coast to coast in Devon

What better way to spend a weekend than with an exhilarating ride through some of the country’s finest scenery, including picturesque villages, dark tunnels and dizzying viaducts?

This long-distance bike ride is a great way to enjoy all that this loveliest of counties has to offer. Much of the 99-mile route (National Cycle Network route 27) – from Ilfracombe on the north coast to Plymouth on the south – is along disused railway lines so is largely traffic-free and mostly flat, making it an ideal weekend spin.

It’s customary to dip your wheel in the water at Ilfracombe’s harbour before heading out of town to join the Tarka Trail at Braunton. This well-pedalled path follows the Rivers Taw and Torridge to Barnstaple, Bideford and beyond. It then passes through a string of pretty villages on the way to Okehampton.

You’ll eventually arrive at the town’s beautifully restored railway station where you can still catch a Sunday service (operated by the GWR) to Exeter during the summer. At just over half-way, it’s a perfect place to stop for the night: the old goods shed has been converted into a youth hostel with family rooms and camping plus a bike workshop for any running repairs

The second day’s route starts with the Granite Way and offers up dramatic views as it skirts around the western edge of Dartmoor. A tricky and hilly (well, this is Devon after all) section then takes you on to the ancient stannary town of Tavistock. From here, the Drake’s Trail provides an almost entirely off-road path to Plymouth.

This final stretch of the ride is the most pleasant of all, winding its way along verdant valleys, through dark tunnels and over viaducts – including the dizzying Gem Bridge – before finishing with a welcome freewheel into the county’s largest city. Pedal past Plymouth Hoe and dunk your tyre in the Tamar to celebrate the end of this stunning coast to coast cycle.

For more details and a map of the route, go to

Trains to Devon

8 September 2017
Sports and adventure I

Exclusive news and offers

Sign up today and receive exclusive promotions, inspirational content and much more.

Sign up

GWR Experiences

Discover and book local experiences from surfing to sea kayaking & 100s more.

Find out more

You may also like

The best cycle routes in the UK
Ahead of the 2021 Tour of Britain, we bring you the best bike trails the country has to offer in our top cycle route planner, including where to hire and how to book when travelling with your own set of wheels.
Read post
Scenic National Parks to Visit
Whether you’re looking for high-octane adventure or spa-day tranquillity during your summer holiday getaway, remember that the UK’s national parks have it all.
Read post
Four fantastic boat trips from Falmouth
Whatever your interests, Falmouth provides the perfect base for exploring the Cornwall's coast by boat.
Read post