River Otter and Common — Exeter gravel routes
Includes a movable bridge
Check opening times.
1 in total
Bike Touring Highlight
Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)
Bike Touring Highlight (Segment)
Katherine Moore planned a gravel ride.
February 20, 2021
Taking in parts of Woodbury Common, the River Otter, Aylesbeare and Venn Ottery Common, this tour offers great on and off road riding year round, though there may be some big puddles in winter!
From Central Exeter, leave the city via NCN Route 2 to Topsham, where you can pause to take in the marshland birds at RSPB Goosemoor before taking the bridleway track from Exton towards Woodbury. Take lanes to Pine Ridge, entering the common at the point where you might be lucky enough to see the grazing Highland cattle next to Bystock Nature Reserve.
Cross the common on wide gravel tracks, then onto a narrow lane to Dalditch Farm, where you turn onto the muddy tracks of Bear Lane and Shortwood Lane, climbing up to Hayes Wood. There are more muddy farm tracks up next with Hayeswood Lane and Tidwell Lane to lead you through Kersbrook to the River Otter.
The River Otter cycle track is actually an old road that runs next to the river, but high up on a steep cliff, looking down through woodland to the water below. Cows graze on the curvaceous hillside on your right and the undulating riverside road is a real gem.
At Otterton, you can turn back towards Exeter, past Bicton Park and back up onto Woodbury Common past the castle, then heading north on gravel roads to pass over Harpford and Aylesbeare Common on a lane to Venn Ottery Common. Known as the Pebblebed Heaths, these ancient habitats are crucial for our wonderful East Devon wildlife.
From Aylesbeare, the way back into Exeter mainly follows small lanes and cycleways past the airport before the busier urban roads.
February 23, 2021