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Cycling

MountainbikingThere are many opportunities for exploring Dartmoor by bike in a sustainable way.  With a range of routes to suit everyone, Dartmoor has an extensive network of quiet lanes, and designated cycle routes.  If mountain biking is more your thing, then there are over 350km of bridleways and byways within the National Park to explore.

However, under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985, cycling on the open moorland or common land is not permitted unless on a designated bridleway or permitted route.

Please see the Dartmoor Commons factsheet for further information.

 Cyclists are welcome to use the following routes:

  • Public bridleways
  • Byways open to all traffic
  • Unclassified County Roads
  • Designated Cycle Routes (e.g. Granite Way, Princetown Railway, Wray Valley Trail)

Cycling with Moor Care

  • Ride only where you are legally permitted to do so.
  • Be prepared, with right equipment and clothing including a helmet. Know your equipment and ability and that of others in your group
  • Be considerate of other users. Cyclists should use bells or greetings to let others know they are coming - and take care not to scare horses.
  • Avoid riding fast on wet ground - tyres and hooves can soon turn fragile moorland into mud. please avoid heavy braking and skidding when you off road.
  • If you are cycling on road be seen and be prepared for the unexpected on narrow winding lanes. Watch out for stock on roads across open moorland.

Granite & Gears Cycling Project

The "Granite and Gears" project, led by the County Council and Dartmoor National Park, was awarded £4.4 million funding from The Department for Transport's (DfT) Linking Communities fund in August 2013.

The Authority is working in partnership with Devon County Council, District Councils and other stakeholders to deliver cycling schemes and improvements that will enable people to access and travel around Dartmoor National Park by bicycle in a sustainable way with less reliance on the use of vehicles.  The schemes will also directly help to support the rural local economy and tourism through increased visitor spend, and promote connections to local communities and surrounding public transport networks.

The project is also supported with an additional £3 million from Devon County Council Local Transport Plan funding, section 106 money and contributions from Devon County Council, Dartmoor National Park, Teignbridge District Council and West Devon Borough Council. It will develop a network of multi-use trails to open up access to the moor, as well as creating "cycling hub" sites at Princetown and Moretonhampstead to provide dedicated facilities for visitors.

Implementation will take place over the next two financial years to deliver a number of individual schemes which together will improve access to and on Dartmoor for cyclists and pedestrians, encouraging people to visit for longer and support the local economy.

There are four key elements to the project:

  • Cycling on Dartmoor – including improvements to the Princetown Railway route and development of cycling hubs
  • Access to East Dartmoor – includes completion of the Wray Valley Trail, and a continuation of the route to Newton Abbot, including a new crossing of the A38, links from Chudleigh
  • Access to West Dartmoor – includes closing gaps in the Granite Way and Drakes Trail, Clearbrook Ramp, links to Tavistock and Okehampton
  • Accessibility and Signage Improvements – several schemes to improve the information available, key messages for cyclists and the development of a "Cycle Taxi" scheme
Discussions and negotiations with relevant landowners and stakeholders, have begun for some of the schemes, along with identifying any formal permissions which will be required for implementation.

The original bid document is available to download from Devon County Council's website at:
http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/transportroads/devon_local_transport_plan/cycling-national-parks-application.htm

The Dartmoor Cycling Map

To help you plan great routes on and around Dartmoor, the Dartmoor and Surrounding Area for Cyclists map is invaluable. This tough, detailed waterproof map shows tried and tested cycle routes whether you are cycling off-roading or touring.

All paths and tracks where cyclists have a legal or permitted right to ride are shown. Off-road routes have also been graded and colour coded by cyclists so that you can easily identify the paths that will suit your ability and mood. The map includes enlargements of the Tamar Valley AONB and Haldon forest Park and shows public transport hubs.

The map is available to buy from our Visitor centres.


Off road cycling with Andrei Burton
Great Britain mountain biking team

The Tour of Britain

September 2013 saw some of the world's elite cyclists including Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins tackle a gruelling summit finish at Haytor, when Dartmoor National Park Authority hosted the finish of the Devon Stage of Britain's premier road cycle race.  This was the first time in the Tour's history that a mountain climb finish had been staged and the Authority worked closely with Devon County Council and The Tour of Britain organisers to plan a successful event. 

More information on the Devon Stage of the Tour of Britain 2013 and the finish at Haytor

Cycle Routes

There are a number of pre planned cycle routes to suit all abilities for you to explore on Dartmoor:

Burrator cycle leafletGranite & Gears leaflets produced by Dartmoor National Park Authority promote opportunities for off road cycling. The Princetown & Burrator leaflet was researched and written by two Mosaic Youth Champions to promote opportunities for cycling to younger audiences.

The route is based on a 20km circuit, starting at Princetown, cycling around Burrator reservoir and returning to Princetown via South Hessary Tor.  As well as providing route information, the leaflet contains top tips for enjoying mountain biking on Dartmoor, advice on responsible riding and safety information. A copy is available to download.

A second Granite & Gears leaftet has  been published for the Princetown Railway and describes a short 10km route and a more challenging 30km route.  A copy is available to download

The Dartmoor Way  

The Dartmoor Way cycle route is a 95 mile long circular route which winds its way round the natural beauty of Dartmoor National Park, linking hamlets, villages and towns along its length.

This recreational route takes cyclists through the varying landscape surrounding the high moor, visiting attractive and interesting locations which offer a wide choice of places to eat, drink and stay for the night. The well-signed Dartmoor Way Cycle Route follows quiet Devon lanes and minor roads, and uses traffic free cycle tracks wherever possible.Dartmoor Way

In addition to the main circular route, there is an additional 27 mile long High Moorland link. 

This allows you to follow a "figure of eight" route, or alternatively enjoy either of the shorter north or south circular routes.

Please visit The Dartmoor Way for more information about this route.

Drakes Trail
Drake's Trail in West Devon is a cycling and walking route linking Tavistock with Plymouth running through wooded river valleys and across open moorland and up close to fascinating wildlife and history. Drake's Trail also includes iconic features such as Gem Bridge, replacing an older viaduct, and Grenofen Tunnel. The Trail also includes the long-established Plym Valley Trail, and creates a network of safe and easy cycling and walking opportunities for all the family to enjoy. 21 miles /34km

The Granite Way
Ideal family cycling between Okehampton and Lydford along former railway with spectacular views of Dartmoor and west Devon countryside, superb viaducts along the way. Steam train option in summer between Okehampton and Meldon. Includes short on-road section via Bridestowe, continuing to Lydford along former railway line.  11miles/18km

Useful links to other cycling websites - 

Devon County Council website (external link, opens new window) or select the cycling links below. Please note all links are to external content and open in a new window.

Devon Coast to Coast -
This is part of the Sustrans millennium route No 27 and runs between Ilfracombe on the north Devon coast to Plymouth on the south Devon coast. It traverses the western edge of Dartmoor between Plymouth and Okehampton. The route is way marked.

1 South West (external link, opens new window)- provides the information to help you plan and enjoy cycle exploration with family and friends.

1 South West is creating an off-road cycling region for people to enjoy adventurous off-road cycling and progress their riding with confidence and provides the information to help you plan and enjoy great adventures time and again. Find out more at www.1sw.org.uk (external link, opens new window) You can use their interactive map to find places to cycle within the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks and other protected landscapes in the South West.

Cycle West (external link, opens new window)- Cycle West is a cross-channel network of three routes through south west England, Brittany and Normandy, totalling 621 miles / 1000 kilometres of safe, often traffic-free, signed routes. The Velodyssey Devon – Bretagne and the Tour de Manche routes cross parts of Dartmoor.

Page last updated: 07 May 2014