Taking the Tour of Britain Challenge

Truly Experience Exmoor by Riding the Tour of Britain Exmoor Cycle Route…

There are many ways to see Exmoor.

Some would argue that the best way to discover the huge variety of landscapes is to spend a week hiking. There are miles of dedicated footpaths to explore, so many in fact that it would be nigh on impossible to choose a route where you could see everything that Exmoor has to offer in the space of 7 days. As much as we all like a challenge, you’d have to be Mo Farah to be able to tackle that many miles in the space of a week.

Luckily for us, the smooth roads of Exmoor offer us a much more efficient alternative…

Cycling has become one of the most popular exercise activities for Britons and for good reason. Not only does it provide the body with consistent, low-impact cardiovascular exercise but it’s a carbon-neutral method of transport that also allows you to experience the stunning views of the countryside up close, rather than through a car window!

When it comes to picking your route you have a few options at your disposal. You could attempt to navigate through the myriad of cycle tracks on the moor, with the use of a map and compass you can spend hours of fun speeding through these rugged trails.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to follow a plan, you can take the Tour of Britain Exmoor Cycle route. This circular route has been adapted from the South West Stage in the 2007 tour and is widely considered to be one the most challenging sections of that race, whilst also providing intrepid riders with a spectacular tour of some Exmoor’s grandest sights. Well surfaced roads offer a smoother ride (especially compared to the dirt trails) and there are also plenty of opportunities for pit stops along the way.

For would be explorers of Exmoor this route offers a fantastic way of experiencing the area all in the space of a day. Then again, there’s so much to see and do in Exmoor that you could be forgiven for taking your time. After all life is about the journey – so why rush?

You can make use of the best transport links in Exmoor by starting your journey in the seaside resort of Minehead. Pick up some supplies at one of Exmoor’s biggest towns before setting off towards Porlock. If you cycle during the weekend you’ll get plenty of chances to appreciate the conservation work being undertaken by volunteers from the local area. During the week you might spot groups of knotweed specialists treating the brush land – over 1000 sites across Exmoor are currently being treated – they’re embroiled in an ongoing battle against the invasive plant.

Carry on from Porlock to Lynmouth, considered my many to be one of the prettiest seaside villages in Devon, stop for a pasty and ride the Cliff Railway if you have the time. Once you’re done there get back on your bike and head to Simonsbath. After a gruelling climb to this next checkpoint (the village is a staggering 1,20 feet above sea level) you’ll need a break. The Exmoor Forest Inn was renovated in 2005 and serves lovely ales – steer clear of the 7.5% Old Rosie if you want to stay upright though!

From there it’s on to Exford, Wheddon Cross, Elworthy, Monksilver and Woodford. These smaller villages are a joy to cycle through, however don’t expect to find much in the way of hospitality as only a handful of people live in these isolated communities. Once you’ve climbed your way around the fringes of the park you’ll find yourself descending once more to Minehead where, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to celebrate your journey with a glorious Fish’n’Chip dinner.

For more info on the Tour of Britain cycle route head to this site and you can find reliable cycle hire places right here.

Produce of Exmoor: Take Us Home With You!

Why not take a bottle or jar of Exmoor back home with you?

We’re proud of the fantastic food and drink that the people of Exmoor produce – they use local ingredients and blend them in a way that you simply can’t find anywhere else in the world.

Even though you might be able to sample this cracking stuff during your stay, you’re sure to miss the grub when it’s gone. Before you head on your merry way, why not pick up a little something for the drive home or get a gift for a friend?

You’ll be able to find these products for sale at any good Farmers Market in Exmoor, alternatively you can always order ahead and pick up your produce on the way home.

Dunkery Vineyard

Run by Derek and Val Pritchard, the Dunkery Vineyard is nestled in a particularly fertile region of the Exmoor just a stone’s throw away from the village of Wootton Courtenay. Their vineyards produce a wide range of grapes that are used to make their distinctly aromatic wines. Their Madeleine Angevine is a particularly high seller and we’d be remiss not to mention their excellent Exmoor Brut: a sparkling bottle that has been hailed as England’s answer to Champagne.

Exmoor Ales

Perhaps one of the most successful brands to have come from the region, since Exmoor Ales set up shop in Wiveliscombe (back in 1980) their beers have been drank all around the world. Whilst you might be lucky enough to spot the iconic Exmoor Gold in pubs around the country, their seasonal ales can often be harder to pick up outside of the South West. You can order beers by the case from their website, or pick up a case from the brewery itself to get the best deals (and save on delivery).

The Exmoor Blue Cheese Company

Originally a sheeps’ milk cheese, Exmoor Blue is now a geographically protected product that is made exclusively with Jersey cows’ milk from the local area.

Since setting up shop over 20 years ago Ian and Ruby Arnett have prided themselves on creating the finest blue cheeses that Exmoor has to offer, continually innovating with new products. Their best-selling Exmoor Blue has been followed by a variety of other cheeses made using goat, sheep and Buffalo milk including their Somerset Blue and Partridge’s Blue.

Brendon Hill Crafts

The sheer variety of products that the Jessups have created is enough to stump any foodie, the good thing is that you can buy as much as you’d like because their award-winning preserved goods will keep for years.

Choose from a dizzying selection of jellies, jams, chutneys, fruit cheeses, marmalades and fruit sauces – all of which have been made from recipes that have been carefully refined over the last 30 years.

Hidden Valley Pigs

The story of how Simon Dawson upped sticks and set up his own smallholding in Exmoor is an interesting one, so interesting in fact that he’s based three books on his journey to self-sufficiency! The pigs bred on Hidden Valley Farm are given the best lives they they could hope for. The free-range, rare breed Berkshire pigs are fed natural food and drink water that has been collected from the farm’s own spring. You can buy the meat directly from them or even book in for a day’s course in butchery!