- Start/finish: starts Saturdays and is circular from Barnstaple. By train, Barnstaple is 4 hours from London Paddington
- Bed and Breakfast: small boutique hotels in Barnstaple and Plymouth, an inn on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, a private house in Tavistock and a village inn
- Cycling mileage: 4 days of cycling and 1 day of optional cycling 15 - 26 miles (24 - 42 km) per day
- Skill level: novice
- Terrain: a few slopes on most days
- Traffic free: 70%.
Day One - Arrive Barnstaple
Arrive in Barnstaple on Saturday and make your way to your hand picked accommodation 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, organise 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.
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
Also see tour packages in:
Europe England Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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