Wild and sparsely populated, Dartmoor is the rugged, granite-topped heart of Devon. This national park is home to fascinating histories, with ancient long barrows, stone circles and medieval villages strewn about with abandon. Add in atmospheric moorland, lush valleys and the semi-feral endemic Dartmoor ponies, and you might be able to see why I love this landscape so much.
Just shy of 100 miles, the Dartmoor Way is an extraordinary cycle route that takes in the moor’s wonderful perimeter with an optional High Moor route across the middle. The route follows Devon’s pretty lanes, minor roads and large sections of traffic-free cycle paths as well as travelling through some exceptionally pretty villages.
As the Dartmoor Way is a loop, you can begin from wherever is most convenient. Thanks to the High Moor section, you can also do semi-circle routes or a figure of eight. With mainline train stations in Ivybridge, Plymouth and Newton Abbot, it’s not difficult to reach the route by train. Ivybridge is the only station on the trail itself, which is why I’ve chosen it as this Collection’s starting point.
Each Tour starts and ends in a town or village where you can find food and accommodation with relative ease. Dartmoor is also one of the few places in the UK where it’s legal to wild camp however, this doesn’t apply to the entire national park and the official Wild Camping Map should always be consulted first. For the Dartmoor Way, wild camping could be an option in the north-west section and the Ivybridge section.
The route is mainly paved with some rougher surfaces so I’d recommend using a touring, hybrid or gravel bike for this adventure. You can hire bikes at numerous points near the trail, including Plymouth, Ashburton and Okehampton so with some careful planning, hiring can be a good option.
With viaducts and ancient bridges, river valleys and plenty of freely roaming animals to admire, the Dartmoor Way is a fantastic bike ride for those with good fitness. I’ve split the route up over three days but with so many campsites, hotels and B&Bs, you could easily split it into a whole week if you like. With every Tour enjoying its own beauty, you can also choose to stick to the flatter sections and simply do the reverse the following day.
Check out the Dartmoor Wild Camping Map here: dartmoor.gov.uk/about-us/about-us-maps/new-camping-map
This section of the Dartmoor Way sends you along quiet rural lanes, through stunning market towns and over undulating countryside on the edge of the national park.
Start the day in Ivybridge, which has a mainline train station and several town centre supermarkets. From here, you’ll skirt the moor on…
by Kit P
This Tour starts off in rather typical Dartmoor fashion; with lots of steep ups and downs. Leave Moretonhampstead with bags packed with snacks and you’ll soon get the blood plumping thanks to the rather immediate hill to Hospit Cross. Riding here is wonderful though if you ignore the thigh burn as the…
by Kit P
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Skirting the very edge of Dartmoor’s most rugged side, this Tour is very river-themed. With the Lyd, Tavy, Meavy, Walkham and Plym chuckling under bridges as you pedal over, it’s easy to think you’re being stalked by one persevering waterway.
Leaving Lydford involves zipping down a steep hill and likely…
by Kit P
Part of the Dartmoor Way, the High Moorland Link essentially turns this massive circular trail into an ultra-flexible adventure. The classic perimeter route sees some of Dartmoor’s most beautiful little villages and valleys whilst this central link gets to the remote, isolated moor proper. Think Hound…
by Kit P
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