Cycling Holidays in Devon
CYCLING FROM THE ROYAL GLEN OR DRIVE AND CYCLE : WE CAN HELP PLAN YOUR ROUTE
THE EXE ESTUARY
Discover the stunning exe estuary cycle trail. There are many different starting points. See our Exmouth circular walk which takes place on part of the cycle trail. From Exeter 's Quayside to Turf Lock and Topsham onto Exmouth and Dawlish. BICYCLE HIRE available from Darts farm www.dartsfarm.co.uk. Maps available at reception. www.devon.gov.uk/estuarytrail
THE RIVER SID AND BYES
From the hotel cycle along the esplanade, take the path past our Fresh Fish Market along the Ham play park up through Riverside turn right to walk over the bridge at the ford. Cycling is not advisable through the ford. The dedicated cycle path starts at the Toll House and follows the river up to Sidford. At Sidford there are 2 pubs. To your left The Rising Sun, a locals pub with food, and to the right over an ancient bridge is the Blue Ball Inn, a very well known thatched pub that was completely re built after a devastaing fire a few years ago.
www.forestry.gov.uk/haldonforestpark Pay and display car park, toilets and cafe. All man made paths through the forest. A great place for walking and cycling what ever the weather. Take the Exeter road from Sidmouth and at the M5 roundabout take the exit for Plymouth. Continue along this motorway all the time taking the road for Plymouth. The turning for the forest is immediately on your left at the top of a very steep hil, so keep to the slow lane as you near the brow of the hill. Signposted in brown, Haldon Forest.
AT THE HOTEL Bicycles may be kept in the pool conservatory entrance. Power plug for electric bikes and mobility scooters.
Plymbridge Woods We set out from Sidmouth with our bikes stacked in our VW. The A38 is a fast road down to Plymouth taking approx an hour. For us it was going to be a day that did not always go to plan. We came off the A38 too soon, so ended up at Saltram House and then had to get directions. We were following a National Trust cycle trail called Plymbridge Woods, we should have gone to the end of the A38 and follow the roundabout all the way round to the last exit on the right for Plympton and then the signs were easy for Plymbridge Woods. So dont take the first exit that you see Plympton it is too soon. As we made our way to our destination we could see a spectacular view of the Plym estuary beyond a brand new golf course. The car park was busy but there were spaces. We set off with a short uneven path up to the disused railway. (Plym Valley Cycle Hire: 01752 257701)
On the left the disused Plym Halt station can be seen where the day-trippers in th 1950s would catch a train from the city for a day out in Plym Valley. It was known as the 'Woolworths Special' because it cost just sixpence. The first of 4 viaducts has a viewing platform & if visiting in the spring and early summer one may be lucky enough to see peregrine birds through mounted telescopes tending their chicks at their quarry cliff-ledge nest.
All of the viaducts are impressively high, looking down on the beautiful countryside. Then we came to Leighbeer Tunnel, cut out of solid rock by railway engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is suprisingly long, and thankfully lit dimly, a light on one of the bikes was handy to ensure we were seen.
After this part the well tarmacced surface ended. We continued along to the right (not to the left onto the road as our instructions) and then pushed the bikes up a very steep slate path to a common where we stoped for a picnic.
We continued to the right and then the cycle path seemed to go left and right. Interestingly up to our left I could spy a pub, which looked busy on a Sunday afternoon, so could be good. We met many cyclists who were on a sponsored cycle. We turned back to the right where we met up with the cycle track we had come along. Although hardly a descent the slight incline down was noticeably much faster on the way home.
When we were nearly back at the car park we noticed where they are re-instating the railway line. There were dates for 2011 that a train was running, this I have yet to investigate. Then we looked at the map in the car park and noticed the sponsored cyclists continue down from where we started, it looked as though they were going to end up in the grounds of Saltram House, which is where we had asked directions at the beginining of the day. We could well have started from there. Saltram House looked a delightful Nationa Trust property, and the grounds were very large and go all the way down to the River Plym. This could be added to your day out, or if there are non cyclists in the group they could visit the house whilst the cyclists explore.
Unfortunately on our return there was a massive traffic jam at Ashburton, due to an accident, and knowing our way round relatively well we decided to take the very long route, but tremendously beautiful scenic route across Dartmoor via Dartmeet, Two Bridges, Postbridge, Moretonhampstead and Dunsford to Exeter.
The Tiverton Canal Path
There are several starting places for this cycle ride. At Tiverton Basin there is a car park and this is where you can pick up the horsedrawn barge. We parked just further along at Tidcombe lane as we use the lanes from Cullumpton to Tiverton frequently. Before we started a quick adjustment had to be made to one bicycle as my daughter's friend had grown and we put her saddle up a good few centimetres! Fortunately Martin is a serious cyclist and always has appropriate tools with him.
Cycling along the tow path we came across the first of 3 families of swans each with more than 3 signets a piece. Each time I was fascinated that they swim in a long line behind the parent, I wandered if it was in any particular order? Along the way the path has a board up telling of interesting things not only of wild life and fauna, but where a RAF plane came down in the 2nd WW - Lime Kilns - & more.
At Sampford Peverell we stopped for a comfort break, before continuing along the way. We came off the canal turning left for Holcombe Rogus and the pub, The Prince of Wales, where we were made very welcome and enjoyed our lunch. In fact the chocolate brownie was so delicious we could not move after, and wished we had shared 1 between 2. We decided to return from the village to Sampford by road (4 miles) this made a nice alternative, and added variety, it was very quiet along the lanes but as we got to Sampford take the first opportunity to get back onto the tow path as the road into Sampford is extremely busy. As we approached the end of our journey I was so pleased to meet the horse drawn barge. Of course if Martin had been out with his usual cycling companion they would have made it a round trip from Sidmouth and back, a might too ambitious for the rest of us!