Exmoor Cycling

Exmoor Cycling, Mountain Biking, bike hire and routes in North Devon and West Somerset

Exmoor and North Devon offer plenty of cycling opportunities for everyone including families and disabled people to go cycling.

Cycling within the Exmoor National Park

On Exmoor itself there are many miles of way-marked bridle paths and forest tracks suitable for mountain biking;
The Exmoor National Park produce 3 "Bike It" leaflets, each featuring a number of different grade routes at a specific location: Dunster,  Wimbleball,  Holnicote Estate North Hill.
These are available from the Information Centre in Dulverton - (01398)323841 telephone credit card payment accepted.

Exmoor Unplugged - Electric Bicycle Hire across Exmoor and the Quantocks. Hills and headwinds become easy with an electric bicycle available to hire across the region. Serene and tranquil. See more, hear more and enjoy more as you explore beautiful scenery at your own pace in a sustainable way.

Exmoor Cycle Hire Let Exmoor Cycle Hire start your pedal-powered journeys around Exmoor's beautiful landscape and tourist attractions. Quality bikes, tagalongs, trailers and route maps for everyone from families to off-road enthusiasts at great rates from half a day to a week. Expert friendly advice, plus sales and servicing.

South West Cycle Tours offer two and three day guided and self guided cycling holidays around the beautiful quiet lanes of Exmoor. Incorporating moorland, woodland, rugged coastlines and abundant wildlife our Exmoor cycling holidays make ideal weekend breaks. Accommodation, luggage transfers, full briefings and detailed maps and instructions included.

Pompey's Cycles in Minehead hire out all kinds of bikes and route guides for cycling on Exmoor.  Mart Road, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5BJ  Tel: 01643 704077

Exmoor Adventures provide MTB hire (delivery to anywhere on Exmoor), Guiding and Skills Courses for individuals and groups of all ages and abilities. They cover Exmoor and the Quantocks.

The Tarka Trail

To the west of Exmoor is the Tarka Trail.  This is a 30 mile stretch of  'reclaimed' railway line which connects Braunton, Barnstaple, Instow, Bideford, Great Torrington and Meeth via the Taw and Torridge valleys.  The surface is excellent for bikes and cycles of all kinds and is flat, so suitable for all abilities.  This provides opportunities for a great family day out.  The route runs alongside the Taw estuary where all kinds of sea birds can be seen.  Spoonbills are reputed to have been seen and you may catch sight of the occasional Egret.
The beach at Instow is another popular stopping off point.
The trail is named after Henry Williamson's 'Tarka the Otter' which was based on many locations along the Trail - the scenery and wildlife are spectacular. 

Biketrail cycle hire and shop at Fremington Quay (between Barnstaple and Instow on the route) specialises in hiring out all kinds of bike for every ability and many disabilities.  There is also a nice cafe and picnic area at Fremington.  The Quay is accessible  off the B3233 and there is a car park. 
Biketrail's shop in Fremington is adjacent to the RSPB Reserve at Isley Marsh where you can see flocks of estuary birds - Wild Duck, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Little Plover, Heron, Godwit and Ringed Plovers. 

Tarka Trail Cycle Hire is another bike hire shop based at the old Railway Station in Barnstaple. tel: (01271)324202

The Rolle Quay Inn in Rolle Street, Barnstaple also hires out cycles tel:(01271)345182

The Exmoor Cycle Route

The 2007 Tour of Britain cycle race came across Exmoor and proved a great challenge and very popular with competitors and spectators. A permanent route has now been established, approximately 62 miles long, 56 of which cover the route of the 2007 race.  The official Start point is the TIC in Minehead, but you can join the route wherever you like.  Do not underestimate the ride - the Exmoor terrain is demanding and the route will take an experienced cyclist a day to complete.
Details and map of the route are here:

Internet Cycling Links


The National Cycle Network in Devon

Cyclists Touring Club

Cycle Somerset

Somerset Road Club

Exmoor Cycling Books

The Exmoor Beast

The Beast is a Biking  Challenge for the insane biker!  All day ride across and around Exmoor. On and Off road. Mountain bike essential.
Vital stats:

2012 date: Sun 28 October 07.00hrs
2 routes: 100km or 100miles.
max 1,500 riders.
NOT a competition. 
Aim is 'simply' to tame the beast! (and raise money for charity)

Maps for Biking on Exmoor

The Ordnance Survey's Outdoor Leisure Sheet 9 (1:25,000) is a good Cyclists map covering the whole of Exmoor and beyond.
See & buy it here

The ENPA have a new 1:40,000 map specifically for mountain bikers, which uses the CTC off road trail grading system.
See & buy it here

There are 2 OS Landranger 1:50,000 maps for Exmoor: details are here

The Tarka Trail near Bideford. picture courtesy of Biketrail

This post beside the road marks the start of a family cycle route along the hill top between North Hill and Bossington Hill above Minehead. The views south across Exmoor and north over the Bristol Channel to Wales are superb.