Cycle West Cycle West – Velodyssey

About this route

Whether you’re looking for a challenge or a leisurely cycle ride, Velodyssey has something for everyone. Get on your bike and experience the wild beauty of a cycle route covering more than 1,200 kilometres from Brittany down the Atlantic coast to the border with Spain. The sea is never very far away, as you discover the best each region has to offer along France’s longest waymarked cycle trail.

There is one English section of Velodyssey, out of 15, which takes you into the heart of Devon – famous for its green, rolling hills, well-preserved villages and welcoming pubs. This route mainly follows the former steam train tracks – making it accessible to all – and will lead you to discover the wild and magnificent beauty of Dartmoor.

Getting Around

In Devon, route runs between Ilfracombe and Plymouth

All facilities found in towns along route including Ilfracome, Braunton, Barnstaple, Bideford, Great Torrington, Hatherleigh, Okehampton, Tavistock and Plymouth
Largely traffic free and flat

Interesting information

Ilfracombe to Barnstaple 16miles  / 26km
As you head out of the Victorian seaside town of Ilfracombe into open country, you may be tempted to take a short diversion into one of the surfing resorts of Woolacombe or Croyde. To the south you will pass through Braunton, the largest village in England where you pick up the traffic-free Tarka Trail to follow the Taw estuary to Barnstaple.

Barnstaple to Torrington 14miles  / 23km
Heading south you pass the pretty seaside village of Instow and the historic town of Bideford, which can be reached via the wonderful mediaeval bridge. The route then enters the steeply wooded valley of the river Torridge, setting for the book Tarka the Otter.

Torrington to Okehampton 27 miles / 43km
The Tarka Trail climbs out of the Torridge valley using the old railway. Then it joins quiet lanes to go through lovely villages with thatched cottages. The route also takes in the unspoiled market town of Hatherleigh, with its famous wooden spire, before following surprisingly flat lanes to Okehampton.

Okehampton to Tavistock 22 miles / 35km
From Okehampton to Lydford you join the Granite Way taking a route along the old railway line which is framed by the dramatic tors of Dartmoor. Note the commanding position of Brentor church atop a former volcano, as a series of tracks and lanes descend into the historic granite town of Tavistock.

Tavistock to Plymouth 19 miles / 31km
Coming out of Tavistock, Drake’s Trail leads through the 350m Grenofen Tunnel to the spectacular 200m long, 24m high Gem Bridge. A wonderful off-road trail leads almost to the centre of Plymouth, passing through a second tunnel and over five viaducts to skirt Dartmoor. As you emerge from Plymbridge Woods, a mainly on-road section takes you through Plymouth to the Brittany ferry and your onward journey to France and Spain.

With interactive maps and recommendations of the most suitable places for cyclists to stay, you can plan your very own Velodyssey in advance or just take off on the spur of the moment.  On the Velodyssey website, you’ll find special offers, the pick of the best attractions to visit and reviews by those who’ve done the route. A voyage of discovery awaits you.

Photo of cyclists on a trail through woodlands
Plymouth Credit: Tim Pestridge

You can explore more in this area

Photo of two cyclists on the Tarka Trail near Braunton

Devon Coast to Coast NCN27

The route combines the beaches and estuaries of North Devon with the lush green valleys of the Torridge, the Tavy,