Devon coast to coast
The Devon Coast to Coast cycle trail also known as the Route 27 Trail stretches from Plymouth on the South of Devon, all the way to the stunning seaside resort of Ilfracombe on the North coast.
The trail is a mixture of Beaches, Rivers, Moorland, Towns and bridges. We have prepared a 3 day trip guide as a template for you if you are contemplating the journey.
We recommend the trip be done over 3 days averaging about 25 miles a day.
Starting at the Plymouth seafront you head eastwards out of the city over Laira Bridge and up into the Plym Valley.
The Plym Valley Railway is quite an easy ride through old forests and under stone bridges.
After an easy climb you will be on the moors heading towards Clearbrook. Horses, ponies, sheep, goats and cows all roam freely on this part of the Devon Coast to Coast.
Ride to Buckland Abbey and here you will be able to visit the museum, with a wealth of artefacts and information from Elizabethan sea voyages and adventures.
You will also be able to see Drakes Drum. This is an historic quarter deck drum, that once belonged to Sir Francis Drake.
Sir Henry Newbolt wrote a famous poem about this drum....., “Take my drum to Devon boys and hang it on the shore, and strike it when you powder's running low and if the Dons sight Devon then I'll quit the port of heaven and we'll drum them up the channel as we drummed them long ago...”
Take some time off from the Devon Coast to Coast route to stop off in Tavistock with its pannier market opens Tuesday to Saturday between 9am and 4:30pm (Mon-Sat on school holidays).
There is a farmers market outside the town hall every other week where local farmers sell their as produce to the public. Tavistock has a wealth of cafés and restaurants to choose from, as well a walk along a canal and a walk over the famous railway viaduct which was closed to traffic in the 1960's.
Finally heading in to Peter Tavy to stay at Rose Cottage where a warm welcome awaits you.
The small village of Mary Tavy was once home to the world's largest copper and arsenic mines and there are many old mines in the land around the village. On the main road out of the village you can see an old mine works building which once housed the beam engine.
As you make your way along the Devon Coast to Coast through Brentor you will see a tiny church perched on top of a rocky outcrop, this is St Michael of the Rock. One legend states that a wealthy merchant was caught in a violent storm and his boat was badly damaged. In his desperation he prayed to his god promising that if he was safely brought to shore he would build a church in memory of his salvation.
The pretty village of Lydford is also home to Lydford castle, built in the 13th century, it later became a prison well known for its harsh punishment and cruel regime. The laws relating to mining were enforced by the court at the castle and the punishment for adulterating tin, was three spoonfuls of molten tin poured down the throat!
Lydford minted its own silver pennies and though the actual site of the building is lost in time, you can get an idea where it was as there is a Silver Street in the village.
The Saxon town of Okehampton is home to a Castle built in 1068 soon after the Norman conquest. It is said to be haunted!
Pass through the market town of Hatherleigh, known as the smallest town in the UK.
If you're staying in Great Torrington for the night, check out the Plough. This is the jewel in Torrington's crown, It has hosted many top acts over the years which is surprising considering its tiny size and Torrington's small population.
As you cycle into Bideford along the Devon Coast to Coast path next to the River Torridge, home to Tarka the Otter in the Famous Henry Williamson story. You will be able to see the town ahead which used to be known as the Little White Town. Bideford has a interesting maritime history, home to Sir Walter Raleigh a cousin of Drake and a colleague and brother in arms. Bideford also has an attractive quay lined with pubs and restaurants.
Carry on the Tarka trail through the beautiful coastal village of Instow and along the river Taw until you reach Barnstable.
Barnstaple is the oldest Borough in England and the remains of the old dock can be seen Rolle Quay, sadly now disused and silted up. Barnstable also has pannier market well worth a visit.
Carry on the Devon Coast to Coast route through Braunton and Georgeham to your destination Ilfracombe. Ilfracombe is a Victorian seaside resort with many hotels and places to stay. It is built on a hillside so there are steep and narrow walkways throughout the town with some of the most stunning views and scenery in the south west.
Make you way to the pier and have a look at the statue Verity by the world famous artist Damien Hirst. There is a pretty harbour here and you should take some time to tarry and drink in the wonderful views.
I hope you enjoyed your Devon Coast to Coast route.