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Cycling in the Tamar Valley

 
Cycling is a great way to explore the quiet rural roads and offroad tracks of the Tamar valley. There are plenty of interesting stops (and excellent pubs and cafes) along the way.  

The valley is steep in places, and neither Devon nor Cornwall is known for flat, easy cycling, but as long as your bike and you are both up to tackling the odd steep incline, it's a great place to come for a holiday with your bike. 

Find Accommodation in the Tamar Valley that Welcomes Cyclists here!

Tamar Valley Tourism member Charmian has been out and about on her electric bike - a great way to beat the hills!  Find out more here.

The  Tamar Trails over the river from Gunnislake are well worth exploring. This 25 Km network of off road multi-use pathways is a great way to explore the quiet woodlands of the middle Tamar and admire the dramatic cliffs and heather hills at your own pace, without having to worry about traffic. If you'd rather hire a bicycle, cycle hire is available.
 This route takes you past the remains of the richest copper mine in Queen Victoria’s empire, part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage Site.

The Tamar Trails offer routes suitable for fairly novice riders but offer some moments of excitement that more experienced riders will appreciate too. The trails wind through dark woodland, and through the heart of old mining country, strewn with old stone chimneys, mosscovered walls and purple heather - and occasionally dark openings into the heart of the hillside, from which the sound of falling water comes. Watch out for the arsenic spoilheaps! These are impressive bare sand dunes, very striking in appearance and they do make for some amazing views - but please do read the trail information and keep safely clear of them.

The Tamar Trails are multi-use, so please look out for horse riders and walkers as you go, and ride considerately.

Further North, the Tamar loops close to the start of the Granite Way Cycle Trail, a level trail which runs from Lydford to Okehampton taking in some wonderful Dartmoor scenery on the way.

On the Bere Peninsula, you could arrive by train (with your bike) from Plymouth on the Gunnislake branch line, and then take in wonderful views of the river, stop for a pub lunch or even stay over in a converted railway carriage…

From Tavistock you can follow the Drake’s Trail, part of an old railway line up on to the edge of Dartmoor and eventually back down to Plymouth.

There is also a dedicated cycle path between Callington and Gunnislake alongside the A390  -to add a challenge and admire the views, divert from the cycle path up the road towards Louis' Tearooms (on the right if you are travelling West from Gunnislake), and follow the road up to the crest of Kit Hill.  Then freewheel back down the hill and stop for a cuppa and a slice of cake at the Tearooms - you'll have earned it for the climb!

Several cycle shops in the Valley provide support and spares etc, and local groups exist in Tavistock, Launceston and Callington. 

For those who enjoy a more exciting bike ride, the Tamar Valley is a centre for mountain biking and downhill mountain biking, including some tracks rated 'black' or even 'double black' in difficulty at Gawton Gravity Hub. These are the preserve of the real adrenaline enthusiast, "a gauntlet thrown down to those who think they can ride any track at speed". Local downhill enthusiasts have also built a series of tracks at Tavi Woodlands near Chipshop, where you will find something for every level of downhill rider.

 

'Super-Tavi', a 'Black - Severe' rated downhill track at Gawton Gravity Hub

Image by Bob Bogdan Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tavi-Woodlands, near Chipshop

Image by Bob Bogdan Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To explore further, why not visit 1st Southwest Cycle Adventures, where you can see all our Tamar Valley cycle trails