You never have the wind with you, it’s either against you or you’re having a GOOD DAY! (Daniel Behrman)

You never have the wind with you, it’s either against you or you’re having a GOOD DAY! (Daniel Behrman)

Melrose Cottage is ideally located for a cycling adventure. Devon is a mecca for cyclists of all persuasions. Not only do we have (we say) the most beautiful landscapes in the country but Devon also has miles and miles of cycle routes and trails for all kinds of cycling. Whether you’re a seasoned road racer wanting a more challenging long distance route or to tick off a section of the Tour de Manche or a hobby cyclist who has not been at the peddles for a few years, there is something for you close to Melrose Cottage! In this article I wanted to bring together the key routes and resources that you might need for your cycling trip to Devon.

If you are inspired and want to start planning your cycling adventure, the link here to the interactive cycle route planner always comes in useful!

Wray Valley Trail

This is an 11km (approximately 7 mile) fully off-road, mixed use trail open to walkers, cyclists and horseriders connecting Moretonhampstead, a short drive (or cycle) from Melrose Cottage, to Bovey Tracey. You will start in the ancient market town of Moretonhampsted with some delightful cafés, and travel through the picturesque Lustleigh with its thatched cottages and medieval church, before finishing off in Bovey Tracey. Why not try out the audio guide (linked in the leaflet) to various sights along the trail.

Click here for the leaflet and here for the map of the Wray Valley Trail.

The Granite Way

This is an 11 mile cycling route running between Okehampton (just at the end of our road!) and Lydford, taking in stunning views of north western edge of Dartmoor National Park. The route follows the former Southern Region railway line, and crosses over the stunning Meldon Viaduct. The route  was named the “Granite Way” because it offers fantastic views of the granite landscape of Dartmoor. The Granite Way is literally on our doorstep and is ideal for you whether you’re a seasoned cyclist looking for a short spin or a hobby cyclist looking for a challenge. We have found that it has been ideal for teaching our youngsters to ride a bike as it is smooth, flat and traffic free!

Why not combine it with a visit to Lydford Castle and Saxon Town for a bit of local history. You could perhaps pack a picnic to enjoy at the Castle if the weather is fine. Otherwise, you could make the Dartmoor Inn your destination for lunch, before riding back to Melrose Cottage.

For more information, click here for more information or download the leaflet here.

The Meldon Viaduct, built in 1871 is a spectacular feat of Victorian engineering to admire on the Granite Way.

Drake’s Trail

If you wanted to extend your journey, you can ride to Lydford on the Granite Way and continue onto Drake’s Trail, a spectacular 22 mile route running from Tavistock to Plymouth. The trail is named after Sir Francis Drake, the famous sea-farer, who was born in Tavistock where the trail starts. The route hugs the wild western edges of Dartmoor, and significant parts are along the banks of the River Plym, with beautiful deep woodlands on the other side. The route crosses Gem Bridge in Yelverton, a masterpiece of civil engineering, from which you can enjoy incredible views across the scenic Walkham Valley. You will also have impressive views of Dartmoor from Magpie Viaduct and Cann Viaduct.

Click here for more information or download the leaflet here, or click here to see the route on OS maps.

Enjoying a healthy day out by cycling on the Tarka Trail

The Dartmoor Way

If you’re a real long-distance junkie, perhaps The Dartmoor Way is for you. It is a 95-mile circular route around Dartmoor with a mixture of road cycling and traffic-free signposted National Cycle Routes. 70% of the route is on road and tarmac and the majority of the off road sections are gravelled cycle track surface.

It is worth being aware that, in addition to the main circular route, there is a 27 mile-long High Moorland link. This allows you to follow a ‘figure of eight’ route, or alternatively enjoy a shorter route taking in either the northern or southern circular route. Dartmoor National Park offers spectacular wild moorland views throughout the route.

Check out the Dartmoor Way website here.

Devon Coast to Coast

The goodies don’t end there for you long-distance cyclists. Melrose Cottage and Okehampton is ideally centrally located for the Devon Coast to Coast, which runs for 99 miles from Ilfracombe on the North Devon Coast down to Plymouth. The route is 92% asphalt and 59% traffic-free, largely tracing the course of former railway lines and if you are a fan of Victorian engineering, there is lots to see on this route! When you reach Plymouth, the iconic red and white striped lighthouse on  Plymouth Hoe is a must-see, where you will be treated to a breath-taking panorama across Plymouth Sound.

You might want to stay with us at Melrose Cottage and explore the Northern half of the Coast to Coast separately from the Southern half. Click here for a link to the OS map of the route.

Tour de Manche

Split between England and France, the Tour de Mache covers 1200km of varied landscapes. Two of the 16 sections are in Devon.

The first section is Plymouth to Okehampton, where Melrose Cottage is based, covering  42 miles / 67km primarily on the Drake’s trail and Granite Way (see above for more information).

The second section is Okehampton to Axminster, covering 63 miles / 101km. This route takes in spectacular coastline views including a UNESCO World Heritage site, and contrasting views of typical English pastures and rolling green hills.