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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cycling in Devon, Exeter & The South West of England

Exeter is a fairly bicycle-friendly city. There are plenty of cycle lanes and places to hire bicycles and even tandems.

For the tourist, Devon is a great place to take a bicycle, with fewer cars and cycle paths stretched out along rivers and canals. For the long-term resident, infrequent bus and train services make a car almost indispensable.

Cycling in Exeter

Exeter is hilly though, so you'll need to have plenty of stamina to get up and down the town's many slopes. Do try the cycle path from Exeter Quay, along the Exe Valley Way, to the Double Locks pub (Tel: 01392 256 947) and then on to the Turf Locks Hotel (Tel: 01392 833 128). It's also possible to get out to the Double Locks by canoe.

For tourers, the West Country Way runs 250 miles from Bristol or Bath to Padstow. The Devon Coast to Coast route links Plymouth to Ilfracombe. The Granite Way connects Lydford and Okehampton on an 11-mile, mostly car-free route along the former railway line. Bristol and Bath are linked by the 15-mile Bristol and Bath Railway Path. The lovely 30-mile Tarka Trail is a largely traffic-free cycle through north Devon from Braunton to Meeth.

Bicycles, as a general rule, can be taken on the South West region's trains for a small fee, though always check ahead that this is possible on the train you wish to ride.

Exeter Cycle Guide & Map. Tel: 01392 265178 for a free copy

Cycling in Devon

Books on Devon & Cornwall

Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK

Hotels and Guesthouses in Torquay

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