Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • South Devon – are bridle paths banned?
  • anono
    Full Member

    We’re heading down to devon and I’m wondering if its worth taking the MTB.
    From a quick look on the OS maps of the area (between Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Dartmouth) I can only see about one bridle path (and a scary number of contour lines).
    So is it worth taking the MTB, or do I just accept no riding for a week (I don’t do road riding)?

    Full Member

    I was in a similar situation in East Devon. Took my bike and rode the white roads on the map. Some of them were rougher than my local tracks.
    Also strava will show you routes that the locals use

    Full Member

    There is an NCN down there.

    I haven’t ridden that way for years, but from what I recall there’s a lot of single lane roads with high hedgerows…

    Full Member

    South Devon local here (was bought up just outside of Kingsbridge).

    Honestly, unless you’re up for travelling out of the area to ride, I wouldn’t bother bringing an MTB personally. There’s some fantastic road riding to be had though; Kingsbridge to Dartmouth via the Slapton Line (or vice versa) is bloody lovely on a good day, so I’d go for a road/gravel/CX bike if you have one personally.

    Free Member

    We go to that area regularly and it really isn’t bike friendly. Not a big issue as there is plenty more to do. Get yourself into the sea somehow. Some great bits of coastline, have a go at surfing, sailing, kayaking SUPing, etc. Or just walk the coast path and pop into a few pubs.

    Full Member

    Cheers, as I’d have to buy roof bars and a bike carrier, sounds like its not worth it.  I’ll pack a wet suit instead

    Full Member

    I used to live near Denbury, just a little further east, and there were plenty of unsurfaced green lanes that were ok for a spin. The last time I was there, maybe 12 years ago, I took the MTB and had a few decent rides, albeit not MTBing in the current sense, more gravel riding.

    Is the area over towards Kingsbridge that different?

    Full Member

    I wouldn’t buy roof bars specially for the trip

    But the cycling is amazing. Just not classic mtb.

    Full Member

    Lived in Brixham, just over the river from Dartmouth, until recently and spent a lot of the winter lockdowns exploring the all the bridleways of the South Hams on an eBike with an extra piggy-back battery and doing up to 70km trips. There are some short fun descents eg there is a great slab descent in to Tuckenhay but nothing much else to write home about and to join them up there are really long hilly road sections through very narrow lanes. It’s really quite beautiful in places but there are a lot of filthy tractor-route bridleways which are dreadful to ride even on an ebike if at all wet and some areas are pretty featureless swathes of fields. In fact one of these quagmire bridleways probably finished off my motor 15km from home in a deep valley which wasn’t a pleasant experience to get home from in January in the wet.
    Unless you are a super fit climber who tolerates long road stretches to get to modest descents or on an eBike I wouldn’t bother. You’ll have plenty to do otherwise and beaches such as Bantham and Bigbury are amazing. If you get the chance go across the river from Dartmouth to Kingswear and walk to Brownstone Battery and the coastguard station, it’s a very beautiful walk.

    Full Member

    So, I live in deepest darkest devon, my reccomendations are as follows

    1) do not for the love of all that is holy cylce on the road, narrow lanes high hedges, the locals hunt cyclists for sport. They will put your broken body and bike on display as a lesson for others.

    2) do not for the love of all that is holy cycle on the road, the tourists cannot drive on devon country lanes and will crash into you, hedges, sheep, locals intoxicated and blind on home made cider.

    3) some lovely gravel type rides and lots and lots of off route paths, Tarka trail, drake trail, Wrey trail (Most of these are old railway lines and long distance) you can cycle from star cross (car park by the railway station) along to exeter, into exeter or turn back on yourself and down to exmouth. All off road and 40 miles long…Do not take the path from exmouth to budleigh salterton, they will burn you as a witch, or try and breed with you for some new DNA into their rather shallow gene pool.

    4)Dartmoor is beautiful, but also will kill you,my experience is you need a mountain bike. The sheep are wild, and are accoustimed to tourists and so no longer fear people…indeed I hold some of them have developed a taste for human flesh. This said, their is a lovely loop from princetown to burrator and back up, civilised option is down the railway line and back up. self loathing is down the railway line and back up “the widow maker”, Party mode is down the widowmaker and up the railway line. Such a good ride on an MTB. The ice cream van at burrator resivoir is there all the time, has been known to sell amphet…occasionally police turn up

    5) you can ride from princetown to plymouth along old railway lines, stop in yelverton for cake and the bike shop. Do not stop in plymouth, the locals may stab you, even worse some of the enviromentalists may give you a lecture on the evils of carbon fibre. again,, all off road (Bar a 2 mile section and a nice descent where sheep will charge at you..think of it like mario Kart on hard mode)

    Full Member

    It sounds like you are over prawle way. Nice spot but takes forever to get anywhere from so don’t bother. Coast path is lovely but not that bike friendly. Walk. Some lovely beaches and coves along that stretch. Sea is still pretty cold mind…

    there is good riding in Devon but not there.

    Full Member

    Rhaamonkey needs to get a job for the local tourist board. Best rough guide ever! 😂

    Full Member

    Parents are in Dartmouth. There is some stuff on Dartmoor but you need to work for it. If I had a preference, and I do, I take trail shoes and go running if I’m staying on dry land. There’s oodles of great trail running routes to choose from.

    Full Member

    >>Do not stop in plymouth, the locals may stab you, even worse some of the enviromentalists may give you a lecture on the evils of carbon fibre. again

    Love this. Just brilliant. And true!

    I spend quite a bit of time (although not enough) in Dittisham/Dartmouth area. I choose to mess about in boats vs bikes – it’s just more suitable for the area.

    Free Member

    I concur with rhaamonkey’s points 1&2 so whenever I’m down there just go for a jog along the coast path if I feel the need for exercise… or just skip exercise go to the beach.

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