Dartmoor from Tavistock — South-West Gravel Gold
Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)
Road Cycling Highlight (Segment)
Katherine Moore planned a gravel ride.
April 15, 2020
No Collection of off-road routes in the South-West would be complete without a foray onto Dartmoor. A truly wild expanse of moorland, unique granite tor-topped peaks and vast, hostile landscapes make this an incredible place to ride any kind of bike.
Although a lot of Dartmoor seems rather wild and unkempt, there are actually many crucial ecosystems here, so it’s more important than ever to keep to marked ways and not stray. This Tour is a loop from the gorgeous market town of Tavistock located on the west of Dartmoor, up onto the moorland to Princetown, famed for its high security prison and providing the inspiration for the Sherlock Holmes novel ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.
From Princetown to Yelverton, you ride along the bridleway of the former railway line that linked these two settlements to Plymouth, dating back to 1823. Now little more than a wide, grassy and stony track across the moorland, there are just a few clues to its former purpose, like an old stone overbridge.
After contouring past Kings Tor and descending ever so gently past Leeden Tor, Ingra Tor and Sharpitor, you’ll reach Burrator Reservoir. Here, circle the water counter-clockwise to take in the more technical bridleway trail alongside the lower slopes of Sheeps Tor, before looping to the north of the water that supplies the city of Plymouth.
From Yelverton, you’ll pick up another traffic-free cycleway almost all the way back into Tavistock; Drake’s Trail. This follows parallel to the main road, the paved cycle track meandering through woodland past Horrabridge and along the metal bridge over the River Walkham.
Complete the loop in Tavistock from the south, following the river and the Tavistock Canal through meadows back into the heart of the town. The undercover market is a great place to seek out a cafe for any post-ride refreshment or souvenirs of your trip.