The West Country is a diverse area, containing many wonderful areas, and is perfect to be explored by bike. Here are a few of our favourite cycling routes from across the whole of the West Country, so no matter whether you are staying in a Holiday park in Devon on a break, or live in Dorset, there should be a route here for you.
Set in Dorset, this is a 45 miles route that takes you to some of Purbecks’ brilliant cliffs, coastal roads, places for some wild swimming and the chance to explore the lost village of Tyneham.
Purbeck is a lovely peninsula, surrounded by the sea and the River Frome, and made famous by its stone.
This route begins in Wareham, and then heads east through the woodland that lies above the largest onshore oil field in Europe (which is something we bet you never knew!). Turning west just outside the famous beachside area Swanage, the ride passes the Corfe Castle as you make your way towards the “lost village” of Tyneham.
Tyneham was taken over by the war office in 1943, but is now a museum.
You are then moving inland on quiet west country lanes, by Chaldon Herring to the River Frome at Moreton. If you are interested in wild swimming, there are plenty of paddling and swim spots by the ford. When you want to finish the loop, there are lanes on the south bank of the Frome that lead back to Wareham.
The Widecombe Way
In Devon, this 32 mile cycling route explores the wonders of Dartmoor by following the Widcombe way.
This route begins in Bovey Tracey, the “Gateway to the Moors” and somewhat of a cycling hub.
This ride is not for the faint hearted, starting with essentially a five mile hill climb up to Haytor Rocks, Dartmoor’s most famous landmark. After this strenuous climb, you can then make the descent to the Cathedral of the Moor. From Widecombe, you follow a tarmac lane up Challacombe Down. Here you can see the vastness of Dartmoor’s landscape.
Once you have experienced this unique atmosphere, you will then pass through an area characterised by patchwork fields and dense woodland on the moorlands. You will also weave through some picturesque villages, North Bovey and Lustleigh.
The Promised Land
Exploring some of Cornwall’s highlights, this route will take you from tiny harbours to cliff-top mines.
The 35 mile circular route begins in Penzance. You will pass the recently restored lido, and be able to see the trawlers in the harbour where they wait to sell their catch.
Around the headland you will reach Mousehole, the famous fishing village. The route continues on, passing by a prehistoric village to St Just. From here you will link up to an old mining track on the headland.
This track traces past the old copper and tin mines, with their chimneys and engine houses trailing the cliffs above the Atlantic. After rounding the headland, you will follow the coastal road from Pendeen and go east towards Zennor at quite a speed. It is a pure joy to ride, especially when the prevailing westerly tailwind is blowing. With dramatic views of the landscape, including dark craggy cliffs on your left and undulating hills on your right, it’s arguably the highlight of the route.
Last but not least, the final leg of the route passes through the quiet lanes to St Michael’s Mount and the promenade back to Penzance.