Accommodation: 4 star hotel in Barnstaple, 4 star boutique hotel in Tavistock and 3 star hotel in Plymouth. Accommodation for the two remaining nights is our B&B choice -a village inn. and an inn on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. Dinner for 2 nights in Barnstaple is included.
-Cycling mileage: 4 days of cycling. and 1 day of optional cycling 15 -26 miles (24 - 42 km) per day
-Grade out of 5 based on distance and elevation: 5
-Terrain: A few slopes on most days
-Traffic free: 70%
This spectacular Devon cycling holiday takes you from the beaches and estuaries in north Devon to the stunning south coast of Devon at Plymouth. Ride beside the sea, through lush green valleys, touch the edge of Dartmoor National Park and enjoy gorgeous scenery and grand views on this Devon bike tour. Pedal along former railway lines, through tunnels and across breathtaking viaducts and bridges. Enroute you will discover magical villages and cream teas you can't resist Essentially rural but peppered with characterful towns, we have designed this Devon cycling tour with a leisurely tempo, balancing mileages and slopes to ensure as gentle a cycle each day as possible. Much of this Devon cycling holiday route is traffic free as it slices through the county from the north to the south. It includes the bike paths of the Tarka Trail, the Granite Way and the Plym Valley.
-Take the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff and continue cycling the Velodyssey route in France
-Stay an additional night in Plymouth and spend a day cycling in Cornwall or walking the Cornish coastal path
Day One - Arrive Barnstaple
Arrive in Barnstaple on Saturday and make your way to your hotel which is located adjacent to the heart of this attractive town. Situated at the head of the Taw estuary, the town has a long and interesting history with plenty to explore. At a time to suit you make your way to our base close by in Barnstaple, which is open from 9.15 to 17.00 every day, to pick up your cycling equipment. Your host will meet you there, organize your bicycle and run through your itinerary.
Day Two - Barnstaple to Saunton Sands and Back. Optional 20 miles (32km) or less
There's a wonderful opportunity to absorb the holiday mood today on this idyllic ride around the Taw estuary. Traffic free, flat and with the wind in your hair, you can ride by the sand dunes and spot the wildlife. Freewheel on to the beautiful sandy bay at Saunton, test the sea's temperature and laze away the hours. A cream tea could justifiably be slipped in before you return along the waters edge for a second night at your hotel.
Day Three - Barnstaple to a North Devon Hamlet
26 miles (42km)
Most of today's ride follows the Tarka Trail and the course of an old railway line as it hugs the estuary to Bideford and then follows the River Torridge through scenic woodlands, over bridges and through cuttings and tunnels. Virtually traffic free, with just a couple of slopes towards the end of the day, the route includes marshlands, old quays, a beach great for a dip and welcoming cafes in old railway stations. It's worth a detour across the 14th Century bridge to explore Bideford whilst the characterful market town of Great Torrington also boasts the Dartington glass factory. It's a day packed with variety that ends with a warm welcome at your overnight inn nestled in a picturesque hamlet.
Day Four - A North Devon Hamlet to a Dartmoor Village. 19 miles (30km)
Pedalling south towards Dartmoor, you are rewarded with amazing views and unexpected finds. We won't spill the beans but simply tempt you by mentioning market day, a pottery and farmhouse refreshments. Another old railway route leads you into Dartmoor National Park with 11 miles of traffic free cycling along The Granite Way. On this spectacular ride which includes the long Meldon Viaduct, the moor with its craggy tors and the surrounding countryside are yours to savour. Your overnight stop enjoys a sheltered village position at the foot of the moor.
Day Five - A Dartmoor Village to Tavistock. 15 miles (24km)
This is rural Devon at its best as you skirt around the edge of Dartmoor, through pretty villages with thatched dwellings and verdant valleys with gurgling streams. Explore a hidden gorge or a ruined castle and stop awhile in cosy pubs. Tavistock, where you will stay the night, is a historic and unspoilt town where you may enjoy ambling among the specialist shops and the market stalls. Your hotel dates back to the 17th Century but has a modern twist.
Day Six - Tavistock to Plymouth. 20 miles (32km)
Leave Tavistock behind with a short uphill across the downs and you are back on Dartmoor. Panoramic vistas, picturesque bridges and attractive moorland villages are the picture for the next few miles as you pedal across this outstanding scene. You're on top of the world and its all downhill from now! The route leads to a pretty wooded valley and beyond to yet another old railway track where you can freewheel through tunnels and viaducts down into Plymouth. This traffic free roll takes you right to the coast and around the famous Hoe in Plymouth where so many ships have passed in and out of this maritime city. Marvel at the view, pat yourself on the back and enjoy the warm welcome of your nearby hotel.
Day Seven - Depart Plymouth. Bid farewell to your stead and depart at your leisure. The tour includes a transfer back to Barnstaple. If you are returning to London, Plymouth is 3.5 hours by train to London
Price are based per two people sharing a room.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe England Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey