Cycling breaks in Dartmoor National Park
Reeling from Bradley Wiggins' victory in the Tour de France and the British haul of cycling medals at the Olympics, cycling is a national sensation - there's never been a better time to jump on your bike. And what better way to explore Dartmoor National Park than cycling, and resting by night at a cosy country retreat? The Two Bridges Hotel in the heart of Dartmoor and The Bedford Hotel in the vibrant market town of Tavistock are ideal as a base for a cycling break.
Whether it's a dedicated cycling holiday or just enjoying a day's cycling adventure whilst away, staying at either hotel you can explore the beauty of Dartmoor and the Devon coastline on two wheels.
Passionate pedlars and casual cyclists will be enamoured with Dartmoor - safe, designated cycle tracks, traffic-free trails, quiet forest tracks, challenging bridleways and historic rural lanes to enjoy at your own pace.
Events: Tour of Britain - Devon stage crosses Dartmoor National Park, 15 September
For bike-mad Brits the Tour of Britain race will be crossing Dartmoor National Park on Saturday 15 September 2012, as part of the Devon Coast to Coast stage (Barnstaple to Dartmouth). Riders will come through Tavistock, Princetown, Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. Princetown will provide the focal point of activities, but you can watch the race from a number of key vantage points along the route.
Planning your cycle route
You can plan great tried and tested routes on and around Dartmoor with the help of the 'Dartmoor and Surrounding Area for Cyclists' map, which shows all paths and tracks. It also features graded and colour coded off-road routes - making it easy to identify paths to suit your ability and mood! The map is available from Information Centres throughout the Dartmoor area.
The Dartmoor National Park Authority has produced a new leaflet 'Granite & Gears - Princetown and Burrator' for off road cycling, promoting a route based on a 20km circuit, starting at Princetown, cycling around Burrator reservoir and returning to Princetown via South Hessary Tor. As well as route information it contains top tips for enjoying mountain biking on Dartmoor. Download a copy at: dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/visiting/vi-enjoyingdartmoor/cycling
For all ability routes try the Plym Valley cycle route. It provides easy traffic free family cycling from Plymouth to Clearbrook near Yelverton, on the south west edge of Dartmoor. The route follows a former railway line over many spectacular viaducts. 7 miles / 11 km.
Granite Way is ideal for family cycling between Okehampton and Lydford along a former railway (includes short on-road section) with spectacular views of Dartmoor and the west Devon countryside, with superb viaducts along the way. 11 miles / 18 km.
Look out for routes starting from Dartmoor National Park Information Centres, as there are a number of short routes both on and off road which will help you explore Dartmoor.
For long distance routes, there's the Devon Coast to Coast - part of the Sustrans millennium route No 27, it runs between Ilfracombe on the north Devon coast to Plymouth on the south Devon coast and traverses the western edge of Dartmoor.
Bike rental - in Dartmoor National Park and surrounding areas bike rental is available from:
Your cycling base:
The Two Bridges hotel: at Princetown in the heart of Dartmoor National Park, 32 bedrooms, many boasting priceless views over Dartmoor and many with four poster beds and deep spa baths, ideal for soaking weary legs after a day's cycling. There are cosy lounges with huge log fires, dining at the award winning AA Rosette Tor Restaurant, beautiful sweeping lawns leading down to the river Dart and 60 acres of hotel grounds to enjoy. Room prices from £70 - £122.50 per person based on two people sharing. twobridges.co.uk
The Bedford Hotel: Described as the jewel in the crown of Tavistock, the hotel is built on the remains of a Benedictine Abbey - the monks of Tavistock's Benedictine Abbey are said to have created the famous 'Devon cream tea'. Hotel guests can enjoy cream tea in the monks' walled garden, a taste of the West Country at dinner in the award winning Woburn's restaurant. There are 32 individually designed bedrooms, with four poster rooms and family rooms to choose from. Room prices from £70 - £122.50 per person based on two people sharing. bedford-hotel.co.uk