We undertake an activity holiday in Devon once a year and we further explored Dartmoor in October. We stay on the wonderful 275 acre Bovey Castle estate, central to which is a 5 star luxury hotel with all the attendant restaurants, spa, golf course and facilities. We stay in one of 15 snug cottages which is ideal to use as a base for walking, golf and, of course, cycling.
Cycling on Dartmoor has its ups and downs – quite literally. E bikes are more than useful as the hills can be punishing and the tiny single track roads undulate dramatically.
As we like to take our Springer Spaniel dog we prefer off road trails and paths if possible and I thought I would share the ones we discovered and re discovered once again this year.
First off we revisited (for the third time) the magnificent Princetown to Burrator reservoir route. https://www.cyclingmadeeasy.co.uk/recommended-rides/recommended-ride-princetown-devon/
Sadly I picked up a hawthorn puncture prior to the second phase of the ride round the reservoir which messed up timings but we still managed a 2pm good Sunday Lunch at the Royal Oak at Meavey.
“…a really pretty route, perfect for stopping and watching the river…”
There are great off road rides round Fernworthy Reservoir and the adjacent forest trails. http://holidayindartmoor.co.uk/chagford/fernworthy-reservoir-35777.html There is a pay and display car park if you like to donate to the National Trust but failing this there are plenty of pull in parking spaces further into the reservoir road.
The forest trails are good and it should be possible to loop; but beware, in some places the trail runs out, and the surface becomes a lot steeper and more challenging. Coffee or lunch is good at the Two Bridges Hotel along the main road. https://www.twobridges.co.uk/
For those wanting a relaxed flattish ride start at the Fingle Bridge Inn near Drewsteignton and cross over the pretty stone bridge and then hug the river Teign travelling 5 miles or so to the Clifford Bridge where you can either turn round or carry on to Dunsfold. This is a really pretty route perfect for stopping and watching the river timelessly flow by http://www.finglebridgeinn.co.uk.
“Copious apologies to the farmer’s wife who seemed very understanding”
When our friends had gone home we ventured over to Kennick and Tottiford reservoir for a relaxed off road cycle ride. https://www.swlakestrust.org.uk/lakes/devon/kennick-tottiford-trenchford/. We followed the directions for a blue cycle route in the forest above the Tottisford reservoir and cycled into the woods!! Lost our way and finished up heaving bikes over barbed wire stone walls, braving herds of cows, farm dogs, cows with calves and sticky farm gates. Copious apologies to the farmer’s wife who seemed very understanding.
Unscathed we arrived at nearby Christow where we found the kitchen closed for the week at “the Aubergine” but served good coffee. https://theartichokeinn.co.uk/ This is a quirky pub/restaurant in the centre of the village.
Undaunted we went up to the Bridford Inn for a really good Gammon Egg and chips washed down by a pint of Jail. http://www.bridfordinn.co.uk/ Spotted that they did 6 Cider/Scrumpy varieties but as I was driving decided that cider sampling would be dangerous. Lots of Ice Cream choices though. Special views from the terrace in the summer.
E bike info
I am riding a Scott Genius 720 Plus. This is a responsive smooth e bike with all the trimmings. J rides a Haibike Fullife. Both of these e bikes have full suspension which means that they are not only “all terrain” but also they, and the rider, are comfortable on and off the road coping with uneven rougher roads and rockier paths such as bridleways and grassier surfaces.
Our friends rode a Scott 710 hardtail and a Corratec step through. This Corratec is one of the few small frame (39cm) e bikes with a Bosch system. Of course this is ideal for a shorter person with an easy step through for access and confidence. The Corratec was liked so much it was bought on the spot and went to a different home as an “owned” bike not a “borrowed” one.
In summary Devon and Dartmoor is a wonderful place to visit and take in the views, the tranquillity, the pubs and of course the cycling opportunities. Go for it and live a lot!!