One Train from Exeter can take you to some great cycle paths. From Okehampton you can cycle the East Dartmoor moorland fringe to Newton Abbot, or up the Okement and Torridge valleys to Barnstaple. From Axminster you can cycle through the East Devon AONB and the Jurassic Coast to Exmouth. From Plymouth you can cycle through wooded slopes and the western edge of Dartmoor to Okehampton. For a greater challenge, you can cycle from Barnstaple across southern Exmoor to Tiverton Parkway.

Take your bike on the train and get closer to a traffic-free adventure. A Devon Day Ranger ticket will give you a days unlimited travel within Devon for £14.50 (it's even cheaper with a railcard!). Residents of Devon and Cornwall can buy a Devon & Cornwall Railcard for £12 and save 1/3 on off-peak journeys within the two counties. 



National Cycle Network by Train


 Okehampton - Newton Abbot

30 miles, 2035ft ascent, 2740ft descent.

You can head down to Okehampton from the railway station., but it is easier to take the Tramlines Bridleway and join the NCN28 on Fatherford Lane. Head up the hill and enjoy the views at Belstone. There are lovely mossy, gnarled trees on either side of the descent to Sticklepath. Then it's roads to Throwleigh and Chagford before joining the Wray Valley Trail at Moretonhampstead. The Wray Valley Trail runs through Lustleigh to Bovey Tracey. The Stover Trail crosses over the A38 at Heathfield and travels alongside the Stover Canal to Newton Abbot.

This route explores Dartmoor National Park and the following Devon Character Areas: East Dartmoor moorland fringe, Ashburton and Dartmoor FoothillsBovey Basin


 Axminster - Exmouth

30 miles, 2430ft ascent, 2515ft descent.

Route: Axminster Railway Station - Colyton - Seaton - Beer - Branscombe - Sidmouth - Otterton - Budleigh Salterton - Exmouth Railway Station

This route explores the Jurassic Coast, East Devon AONB and the following Devon Character Areas: Axe Valley, Sidmouth and Lyme Bay Coastal Plateau


   Okehampton - Barnstaple

42 miles, 2140ft ascent, 2805ft descent.

Start at the newly re-opened Okehampton Railway Station for this section of the Devon Coast to Coast NCN27. The routes passes through Okehampton town and Jacobstowe before reaching Hatherleigh. Follow the Ruby Way from Hatherleigh to Highampton then cross the River Torridge and have a break in Sheepwash village. The NCN3 from Bude joins the NCN27 at Sheepwash. Follow the roads north and east and join the traffic-free Tarka Trail at the remains of Petrockstowe Station. 

The Tarka Trail heads uphill to Yarde Orchard Cafe at the site of Yarde Halt. Then it is downhill and over the River Torridge on a long, curved bridge to the Puffing Billy. There are some lovely bridges, weirs and tunnels from Torrington to Bideford - part of the old railway was build over the Rolle Canal. At Instow, the route turns east towards Fremington and finishes at Barnstaple Railway Station where there are hourly trains back to Exeter. 

This route explores the North Devon Biosphere and the following Devon Character Areas: Broadbury Ridges, High Torridge Culm Plateau, West Torridge Upland Farmland, Torridge Valley, Taw-Torridge Estuary 


    Plymouth - Okehampton

40 miles, 2565ft ascent, 1875ft descent.

Route: Plymouth Railway Station - (Barbican) - Saltram Wood - Plymbridge Woods - Drakes Trail - (Bickleigh) - Yelverton - (Horrabridge) - Tavistock - Peter Tavy - Mary Tavy - Lydford - Granite Way - Sourton Down - Okehampton Railway Station

This route explores Dartmoor National Park and the following Devon Character Areas: Plymouth Northern Wooded SlopesSouthern Dartmoor and Fringes, River Tavy Middle ValleyTavistock Dartmoor Fringes, Upper Tamar Tributary Valleys, High Dartmoor North


  Barnstaple - Tiverton Parkway

55 miles, 4205ft ascent, 3995ft descent.

Barnstaple Railway Station - Gunn - Bratton Fleming - Exmoor - Kinsford Gate (3 miles to Simonsbath) - Sandyway Cross - Ridgeway Cross (1.5 miles to Molland) - Dulverton - Brushford - Morebath - Bampton - Greenham - Burlescombe - Sampford Peverell - Tiverton Parkway Railway Station

This route explores Exmoor National Park and the following Devon Character Areas: Taw-Torridge Estuary, North Devon Downs, Exmoor Fringe, Bampton and Beer Downs


Other Cycle Routes by Train


Cycle Eggesford to Meshaw

20 miles, 1530ft ascent, 1530ft descent.

This circular route from Eggesford Railway Station is a great way to visit the Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve at Meshaw Moor. I cycled this route from Chulmleigh during BikeWeekUK. I rode back via Chawleigh (and the newly re-opened Earl of Portsmouth pub), Eggesford Station (stopping to buy veg at the Plant Shed) and Heywood Wood.

I didn't allow enough time to search for the rare Heath Fritillary butterflies that love these areas. I did see Meadow Browns, Painted Ladies and a Mother Shipton moth amongst the profusion of wild flowers at this Culm Grassland site.

This route explores the Taw Valley and the Witheridge and Rackenford Moor Devon Character Areas.


National Cycle Network in Devon


 National Cycle Route NCN2

 West Country Way NCN3

 Devon Coast to Coast NCN27

 National Cycle Route NCN28


Largely Traffic-free Routes


   Tarka Trail

The Tarka Trail is a series of footpaths and cyclepaths (rail trails) around north Devon, England that follow the route taken by the fictional Tarka the Otter in the book of that name. It covers a total of 180 miles (290 km) in a figure-of-eight route, centred on Barnstaple.

The 31-mile (50 km) section between Braunton and Meeth is car-free, level and mostly tarmacked, and is shared by pedestrians and cyclists, with horse riding also permitted on part of it. There is a guidebook available for this section. 




  Drake's Trail

Drake’s Trail in West Devon is a 21-mile, multi-use route linking Tavistock with Plymouth. This important part of Devon’s recreational network runs along the western edge of Dartmoor with superb countryside, attractive scenery, and much historical and heritage interest along the way.

In addition to the main Drakes Trail route, there is a network of two other cycling routes (and four walking routes) linking nearby places that featured in Drake’s life, from his birthplace, to the house he owned at the time of his death, and following sections of the 18-mile Drake’s Leat to Plymouth Hoe, where he famously played bowls. 


 Exe Estuary Trail

This newly constructed cycle trail offers an almost entirely traffic-free, wonderfully level route which forms part of the South Coast NCN No.2.

The trail takes you right around the Exe Estuary from Dawlish to Exmouth, passing through the pretty villages of Starcross, Topsham and Lympstone to name a few.  The estuary is of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl, supporting 1000’s of birds.  RSPB reserves near Topsham and Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve offer some of the best opportunities to view wildlife along the estuary.

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 Grand Western Canal

This is a lovely, peaceful cycle route, often along the towpath, beside a tranquil stretch of the Grand Western Canal. It meanders through beautiful mid-Devon countryside between Tiverton and the Somerset border.

Situated in a Country Park and Local Nature Reserve, the canal extends for just over 11 miles and provides a wonderful location for a cycle ride.

By starting at Tiverton Parkway, there is a circular route following the canal towpath to Tiverton and then the NCN3 on and off the towpath back to Tiverton Parkway.  The route can be amended to start in Tiverton or Willand, or extended to its northern end at Lowdswell Lock, near Holcombe Rogus.

The Grand Western Canal forms part of the West Country Way Cycle Route (NCN3) which runs from Bristol to Padstow in Cornwall. 

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  Granite Way

The Granite Way is an 11 mile multi-use trail running between Okehampton and Lydford along the north western edge of Dartmoor. It is mostly traffic free, largely following the course of the former Southern Region railway line. A journey along the Granite Way offers fantastic views of the granite landscape of Dartmoor, as well as a number of specific sites of geological interest. 


Pegasus Trail

This newly created walking, mountain-biking and horse-riding trail takes advantage mostly of quiet lanes and public bridleways will eventually link the Granite Way with the Ruby Way.
The waymarked trail takes you from Dartmoor National Park at Meldon through West Devon and into Ruby Country, along a dismantled railway track and into Cookworthy Forest. It also affords excellent links to some exceptional bridleway networks and waymarked ‘Ruby Rides’.

NOTE: the Trail is not yet complete as negotiations continue to complete the route in the vicinity of Ashbury Station. Check the map to see where the Trail currently starts and end (currently Meldon to Broadbury Castle Farm and Beamsworthy to Cookworthy Forest are open). 


 Stover Trail

Explore Devon The Stover Trail is a traffic-free route which connects Newton Abbot to Bovey Tracey.  This flat, off-road family friendly route passes close to the beautiful Stover Country Park and will eventually extend towards Lustleigh and Moretonhampstead in Dartmoor National Park.  A new bridge across the busy A38 dual carriageway ensures a safe crossing. 


 Wray Valley Trail

This trail is a great way to explore the Wray Valley, following in the footsteps of the Victorians who built the Newton Abbot to Moretonhampstead railway in 1866.

The 11km, mainly traffic free, route links Bovey Tracey to Moretonhampstead. It follows the line of the old railway, which was closed to passengers in 1959, taking you through the National Trust Parke Estate and past the picturesque villlage of Lustleigh.

The trail has been several years in the making and has involved major works including 2 new bridges across the A382. Devon County Council has worked with local landowners and Dartmoor National Park to ensure the trail will benefit everyone. 


Other Routes


Dartmoor Way

The Dartmoor Way cycle route is a 95 mile-long circular route which winds its way around the natural beauty of Dartmoor National Park, linking hamlets, villages and towns along its length.

This recreational route takes cyclists through the varying landscape surrounding the High Moor, visiting attractive and interesting locations which offer a wide choice of places to eat, drink and stay for the night. The well-signed Dartmoor Way Cycle Route follows quiet Devon lanes and minor roads, and uses traffic-free cycle tracks wherever possible.

In addition to the main circular route, there is a 27 mile-long High Moorland link. This allows you to follow a 'figure of eight' route, or alternatively enjoy either of the shorter north or south circular routes.

The Dartmoor Way offers many possibilities for a break away - from a day trip or weekend, to a full 5 - 7 day holiday. From winding, secret, Devon lanes, to airy moorland roads with panoramic views, this route has interest packed into every mile.

Cyclists will discover full days of pedalling, and wonderful places to stay a while, and explore. 


Future Shared-Use Paths


Clyst Valley Trail

The Clyst Valley Trail is listed as a high priority route for delivery in the Devon County Council’s multiuse trail strategy. It also delivers on Strategy 10 (Green Infrastructure in East Devon’s West End) in the East Devon Local Plan, and the Climate Action plans of both Councils. The route will significantly contribute to an increase in walking and cycling levels which will reduce our carbon footprint and help enable households to rely less on cars for short distance journeys.

The route will be a recreational trail for walkers, cyclists, mobility scooters and, where feasible, horse riders. As well as allowing people in and around Exeter to enjoy and value the wonderful countryside of the new Clyst Valley Regional Park and East Devon, it will also provide an attractive, safe, and direct commuter route between towns and villages along the River Clyst and Exeter, Cranbrook and surrounding employment areas in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone and Winslade Park.

The Clyst Valley Trail will be delivered in three sections. Devon County Council and East Devon District Council have been working together to establish the optimal route for the trail. 


Teign Estuary Trail

The Teign Estuary Trail is a long-term aspiration of Devon County Council, forming part of the council’s Cycling and Multi-use Trail Strategy with work being undertaken to progress the design of various sections over recent years.

The first section of the Teign Estuary Trail between Town Quay, Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton was opened in March 2013. This section, while part of the future Teign Estuary route, is a valuable connection for local utility trips to work and other facilities in its own right.

More recently, the route eastwards linking Newton Abbot Racecourse to Passage House Inn opened in April 2018. This currently leaves a gap on the coastal walking and cycling route between Passage House Inn and Dawlish.

From Dawlish, the path already connects to the Exe Estuary Trail and provides a high-quality route via Exeter to Exmouth. 


Boniface Trail

The Boniface Trail is a planned shared-use path between Crediton and Exeter. It is designed to be a safe route for walkers, runners, cyclists and wheelchair users. It will also link communities en-route such as Dunscombe, Smallbrook, Newton St Cyres, Langford, Half Moon and Cowley.

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Otter Trail

Pupils at The King’s School, Ottery St Mary have proposed a new shared use cycleway which follows the old railway track starting at Feniton through to Ottery St Mary. This will eventually link up with a continuation through Tipton St John and onto Sidmouth.

If there is enough local support now there is a better chance of this happening than ever before. Ottery St Mary have a good record of council, school and community cooperation in making things happen. This has been demonstrated by the successful completion of the Coleridge (Sustrans Connect 2) Bridge, which was recently highlighted as a nationwide example of community led development. 




The Beacon Pathway

The Beacon Path is a project to create a cycle/active-travel route between South Tawton, South Zeal, Sticklepath, Belstone and Okehampton.

A group of villagers have got together to try and get a dedicated shared/cycle path from Sticklepath to Okehampton, about five kilometres away. We also want to link the path to the primary school in South Zeal.

We have a vision of safe, active travel for everyone across our area. Many more people would walk or cycle if it was safer to do so. Enabling children and young people to get to school and college other than by car or bus would enhance health and wellbeing. Reducing traffic congestion associated with schools would be beneficial also.

A shared path would provide a route onto Dartmoor for walkers and cyclists from Okehampton and train users too, so has potential for tourist businesses. 


One Bus From Exeter

How far can you travel on One Bus From Exeter? In about an hour you can get to Honiton, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Moretenhampstead, Chagford, Okehampton, North Tawton, Chulmleigh, Witheridge, Tiverton, or Willand. You won't need to find a parking space - and you won't have to return to your car. You can walk along the East Devon Way, or the South West Coast Path, or the Exe Valley Way and return by another bus. Find the quiet places. Avoid the traffic congestion of last year. Step more lightly on the Earth.

Back in the early 2000s, I walked the Tarka Trail and the North Devon part of the South West Coast Path in sections. I would get a bus to a town or village on the Tarka Trail, walk 5 to 10 miles and then return on another bus. One Bus from Exeter is a return to that idea. 

One Bus From Exeter was to going to start with step 4 out of national lockdown, however infection rates are still high. Use this site to plan your walks, look at the Covid19 data on the Devon Dashboard, listen to the science and exercise your personal responsibility. 

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