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.