The Best Cycling Routes around Exeter, Devon
Devon has two National Parks and Exeter isn’t in either of them, but there’s still plenty of good riding to be found in the area. Exmoor and Dartmoor are reachable by bike, but why not explore the huge web of lanes around the valleys of the Exe and the Otter or the Blackdown Hills instead? It’s all easy on the eye and not too hard on the legs – apart from the bits that are.
Cycling Route Between Exeter and Sidmouth
Exe, Axe and Sid 73 miles
Head for the hills All those rivers and streams crossing your route mean some lumpy riding between Exeter and Sidmouth. From there the only way is up, but you get to come down again into the Axe Valley. From Axminster it’s up into the Blackdown Hills and only when you reach Churningford past the halfway point does the riding really level, but it’s easier from here on.
Get the route tinyurl.com/cplus-exeaxe
Cycling Route between Exeter, Puddington and Chulmleigh
Chulmleigh Warmer 67 miles
Into the heart of Devon Starting at the Riverside Valley Park minimises city riding but gives you a flavour of old Maritime Exeter. Then it’s into rustic lanes and villages with names like Puddington and Cheriton Fitzpaine, where the force of the Devon cream teas is likely to be strong. Cross the Little Dart and head west for Chulmleigh, then turn for home.
Get the route tinyurl.com/cplus-warmer
Circular Cycling Route from Exeter via Dawlish
Dawlish Dawdle 19 miles
An easy out-and-back seaside spin NCN Route 2 hugs the coast with the railway for company, so do it as an easy out-and-back, or make a loop out into the tiny lanes for a hint of hilliness. Add on a little extra to visit Dawlish itself, which our route just fails to reach. All the sections on busier road have separate cyclepaths.
Get the route tinyurl.com/cplus-dawdle
Have breakfast – Route 2 Café
Named after the NCN Route 2, you’ll pass this café on your way out of Exeter. It opens nice and early and breakfast is served all day.
Where 1 Monmouth Hill, Topsham, Exeter
Get spare tubes – Route 2 Bike Shop
Does the name sound familiar? Yes, it’s right next door to the Route 2 Café (see left). Bike hire and servicing available, even on a Sunday (until 2pm). Where 4 Amity Place, Topsham
Stop for cakes – Little Barn Café
A detour onto the A35 going into Axminster brings you to this farm shop for cakes, coffee and top-class bacon baps.
Where Miller’s Farm Shop, Gammons Hill, Axminster Farm, Kinross
Fancy a pint? – The Old Firehouse
Much loved for its colossal pizzas and plentiful cider and real ale. Often very busy, especially in term-time when the students are
in town, so book a table.
Where 50 New North Road, Exeter
The family? – Powderham Castle
This castle has been in the same family for 600 years and there’s plenty of fascinating history to discover, as well as a petting zoo, deer park and lots more to fill the day.
Where Kenton, Exeter
Illustration: Tonwen Jones
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