Wild ponies graze on vast moorlands, mist shrouds unusual rock formations, rivers gush through thick woodland and under medieval bridges, waves carry surfers back to the white sandy beaches – cycling the Devon Coast to Coast route is an adventure you will never forget.
The Devon Coast to Coast is a 103 mile (165 km) route through North Devon from Ilfracombe on the edge of the Irish Sea to Plymouth on the English Channel. The route is suitable for most ages and levels of riders. It leads along railway lines converted into bike paths meaning 71 miles (114 km) of the Devon Coast to Coast are completely traffic free.
Some of the trails and paths are unpathed so you may prefer to use a hybrid or mountain bike, although any bike is managable. As there are no big hills to tackle, thicker tyres won’t slow you down too much.
Broken down into seven sections, each stage of the Devon Coast to Coast shows you a different aspect of North Devon’s diverse landscapes; from pristine coastline to misty moors and luscious valleys to biodiverse wetlands. If you're looking for a bigger challenge, you can combine the sections together to cover more distance in one day.
Your adventure leads through centuries of history: from Norman invasions to Royalist strongholds, centres of the industrial revolution to impressive aqueducts and art nouveau hotels, with plenty of cafe and pub stops along the way.
This C2C begins in Ilfracombe, a popular seaside town nestled amongst jagged cliff faces. Known for its pretty harbour and sandy beaches, this quaint town is a lovely place to explore before setting off on your bike.
To get to Ilfracombe, take the train to Barnstaple and cycle or take a taxi from there as Ilfracombe has no train station. Barnstaple has direct trains from Exeter, Bristol and London. Alternatively, National Express runs direct buses from London to Ilfracombe daily. They accept bikes as long as they are correctly packaged in a bike box.
For more information on Ilfracombe, visit: visitilfracombe.co.uk
With sandy beaches, a pristine shoreline and surfer hangouts, the first stage of the Devon C2C runs along some of the UK’s finest coastline. With the sea never far away, you cycle 14 miles (24 km) through the North of Devon, enjoying ice cream stops and fresh salty air as you ride.
Starting in Ilfracombe, a quaint town surrounded by …
The second leg of the Devon Coast to Coast takes you over medieval bridges, along meandering rivers, and past rare birds nesting in nature reserves. This is an easy ride 16 miles (27 km) from Knowle to Bideford. With only 295 feet (90 m) of climbing, you can relax as you enjoy the stunning scenery.
Following the River Caen, you …
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Gushing rivers carve through untouched countryside and tranquil bike paths wind through ancient woodland to sleepy Devonshire villages, brushed with history. During stage 3, you cycle from Bideford deeper into the heart of Devon.
Follow the River Torridge as it meanders south to head out of Bideford. You cross the river via historic bridges on more than one occasion as …
Ancient medieval castles, built to contain rebellious revolt, stand atop hills; sheep graze on the slopes of regal parklands, and streams meander through windswept moorlands – today you continue through Devon towards Dartmoor National Park.
With 18.6 miles (30 km) and 1,410 feet (430 m) of climbing, the hills on this stage are the most challenging. You're rewarded with beautiful …
Wild ponies gallop through vast moorlands as they have for centuries, past towering tors and wildflower meadow that sway as the wind sweeps across the misty moors – stage 5 leads through Dartmoor National Park, the most mysterious landscapes in the UK.
Today, you cover 10 miles (16 km), allowing you to fully enjoy the vast expanse of Dartmoor National …
Stage 6 of the Devon C2C takes you 17.4 miles (28 km) through Dartmoor from Lydford to Yelverton. Leaving Lydford on quiet country lanes, the first 2.7 miles (4.5km) gently rise and fall through the impressive landscape.
Next, you face a short, sharp climb up Gibbert Hill. Although steep at times, the stunning views from the top help you forget …
Your final day cycling the Devon Coast to Coast leads you away from the misty moors of Dartmoor towards the salty air of the coast once more.
Before leaving Yelverton, it’s a good idea to stock up on supplies from the local village shop as you won't pass any villages or towns before arriving in Plymouth.
Heading out of Yelverton, …
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