Cycling & Cycle Routes in Devon

Cycling in Devon means skimming through wonderful scenery on amazing cycle routes, through unspoilt villages and wild moorlands - there are nearly 150 miles of the National Cycle Network in Devon. Coast or country, moorland or canal, straight line or circle, there is a wonderful abundance of family-friendly cycle routes in Devon to suit all moods covering everything from 3 to 30 miles. Try the stunning route through North Devon on the Tarka Trail, one of the many routes around Plymouth, or the Exe Estuary Trail, a 20 mile cycle ride around the glorious River Exe. Designed to give visitors memories to treasure, you'll find these routes exciting yet safe for families and novice cyclists.

Cycle routes in Devon

To explore Devon by bike is to really experience its full beauty. There are lots and lots of Devon cycle routes, paths and trails to choose from, so hop on and you’ll find stunning coastal scenes, rolling green hills and glorious woodlands – plus friendly pubs and cafes in which to refuel.

The Exe Estuary Trail 

Where: this 26 mile, mainly flat cycle route and walkway runs around the entire Exe Estuary, and has fantastic views along the River Exe. It’s mainly off-road, and links Exmouth to Dawlish Warren, via Topsham and Exeter, and forms part of National Cycle Network 2

You’ll see: stunning wildlife, and pass through some beautiful riverside towns and villages. The Exe Estuary is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA, and Ramsar Site, so it’s great for bird watching.

The Tarka Trail

Where: the trail runs in a 180 mile figure-of-eight through landscapes little changed from those described by Henry Williamson in his classic 1927 novel Tarka The Otter. It passes through beautiful coastal and inland towns and villages including Lynmouth, Barnstaple, Bideford, Torrington, Okehampton and Ilfracombe, and parts of it coincide with the South West Coast Path, the Two Moors Way and the Dartmoor Way. Bike hire is available at various locations along the trail.

You’ll see: North Devon’s internationally important coastal Biosphere Reserve, and also pass through ancient woodland, craggy clifftops, bubbling streams, farmland and moorland.

Scadson Woods Bike Park

Where: this purpose-built mountain bike trail near Paignton is great for all abilities. With three downhill trails of approx 500m long, the trails are built to a professional standard, and there’s also an area for beginners and skills training area with riding obstacles and dual slalom track.  

You’ll see: 13 acres of lovely woodland surroundings, with badger setts and important wildflower areas

Also near here: Torbay’s velopark, the only outdoor closed road circuit in Devon and Cornwall which welcomes both amateur and professional cyclists.

East Prawle Cycling Route

Where: the route covers a 12 mile circular journey around this beautiful part of South Devon, along quiet country lanes,roads and bridleways. 

You’ll see: superb and varied scenery and lots of evidence of the area’s local maritime history, plus glimpses of local wildlife if you’re lucky.

Drake’s Trail

Where: this network of walking and cycling routes runs along the western edge of Dartmoor for 21 miles between Tavistock and Plymouth, and takes in lots of places of historical interest. The Trail also includes the long-established Plym Valley Trail, and creates a network of safe and easy cycling and walking opportunities for all the family to enjoy, with lots of coffee shops and pubs alon the way

You’ll see: the trails take you through wooded river valleys, across open moorland, and up close to fascinating wildlife and history. Follow the whole route and you’ll see iconic features such as Gem Bridge, Grenofen Tunnel, Burrator Reservoir, Sir Francis Drake’s birthplace at Crowndale Farm near Tavistock, and his former residence at Buckland Abbey near Yelverton.

Plymouth’s Waterfront

Where: cycle from Sutton Harbour and the Barbican along the easy route to Plymouth Hoe then onto Millbay and Stonehouse before arriving at the historic Royal William Yard

You’ll see: Plymouth’s waterfront offers some fantastic sights, including the iconic Smeaton’s Tower as well as excellent views across Plymouth Sound and the Tinside lido, as well as Mountbatten, Drake’s Island and the Mount Edgcumbe Estate in Cornwall. 

Find more active things to do in Devon

And if you don't have your own bikes, no problem - you can hire them locally. There are a number of organisations that offer equipment hire whether that’s helmets, bikes or accessories. Some of them even have a number of accessible bikes in stock, so make sure to ask when you arrive if there is something in particular you need.