National Cycle Network - Route 3 West Country Way NCN 3

About this route

The route can be ridden in either direction, it takes you through the varied landscapes of the West Country, from Cornwall to the River Avon. Start with the tranquillity of Padstow harbour and the Camel Trail onto the atmospheric Bodmin Moor. Descend into Devon’s rolling countryside via the Tarka Trail and on into Somerset across beautiful Exmoor. Continue along canal towpaths to Taunton and the Somerset levels to Glastonbury before the climb onto the Mendip Hills. The route ends in Bristol or Bath.

Total distance: 240 miles / 384 km
Devon section: 105 miles / 168 km

Getting Around

The Devon section runs from the Cornwall border near Holsworthy to the Somerset border east of Tiverton.

All facilities found in towns along the route including Holsworthy, Great Torrington, Bideford, Barnstaple, Bampton and Tiverton.
Some on road; some 70 miles are on off-road traffic free sections. Further details on the shorter traffic free sections, see Tarka Trail and Grand Western Canal

Interesting information

The Devon section runs from the Cornwall border near Holsworthy to the Somerset border east of Tiverton.  The route encompasses a great variety of scenery from the commanding heights of Exmoor to the flatness of the Taw-Torridge estuary. The route passes through lush river valleys, along quiet canal towpaths, through idyllic rural villages, all of which typify Devon’s beautiful countryside.

It also offers sections that will suit all cyclists.  Families, even those with young children, can enjoy a half-day trip along the traffic-free sections of the Tarka Trail.  Dedicated touring cyclists will enjoy the challenge of the majestic landscape of Exmoor and the superb views of Dartmoor south of Hatherleigh, as part of a long-distance touring holiday.

Between Great Torrington, Bideford and Barnstaple the route is shared with the Devon Coast to Coast (NCN Route 27).

Photo of cyclists on the Tarka Trail alongside the estuary at Instow
Tarka Instow Credit: Guy Richardson

You can explore more in this area

Photo of the Grand Western Canal with walkers on the tow path

Grand Western Canal Short Walk

The Grand Western Canal Country Park and Local Nature Reserve meanders through beautiful mid-Devon countryside and quiet villages between Tiverton and…