Marshes, grassland and cliffs of North Devon — Birdwatching by bike in Devon
Bike Touring Highlight
Katherine Moore planned a bike ride.
October 12, 2020
From the town of Barnstaple out west to the border of Cornwall, this Tour takes in some of the best of the North Devon coastline and country, including part of the traffic-free Tarka Trail, and visits to the RSPB Isley Marsh nature reserve and Devon Wildlife Trust’s Marsland and Meresfelle nature reserves.At over 64 miles (100 km) it’s a fairly challenging route, with plenty of climbing over the hills of North Devon. But, the spectacular views and quiet lanes make it all worthwhile.From the train station in Barnstaple, the route heads west to start, following the cycle path alongside the River Taw, passing by the Isley Marsh nature reserve on your right. Scout the mudflats for curlew, greenshank, dunlin and even impressive spoonbills in the winter!After an easy flat warm up to Bideford, you’ll cross the River Torridge to head south-west, parallel to the coastline along a series of lanes through Parkham and Woolfardisworthy. Soon you’ll pass Meresfelle nature reserve on your left, which is well worth an explore with beautiful grassland meadows.At the furthest point, you’ll find Marsland nature reserve, a mix of woodland, coastal cliffs and meadows right on the border between Devon and Cornwall. Keep your eyes open for dippers here, especially near the streams.After enchanting Marsand, you’ll head back east through sleepy Devon countryside and farmland, through Bradworthy to pick up the Tarka Trail again (National Cycle Route 27), following the River Torridge back to Bideford and then retracing your steps on this traffic-free cycleway back to Barnstaple.
October 16, 2020