What's On Local Attractions The Tarka Trail, North Devon
The Tarka Trail is one of the country’s longest continuous traffic-free walking and cycling paths, and forms part of the Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route. The trail Stretches for over 52km / 32 miles from Braunton to Barnstaple, then to Instow, Bideford, Great Torrington and on to Meeth. Entirely traffic-free, as a result this section of the “Devon Coast to Coast” is known as the Tarka Cycle Trail.
Although popular with cyclists, is is also a fabulous place for walkers.
The trail follows the journey of Tarka the Otter in the classic tale written by Henry Williamson.
The Tarka trail route can be broken up into easily managed sections:
Braunton to Barnstaple 10km / 6 miles
Barnstaple to Bideford 14km / 9 miles
Bideford to Great Torrington 10km / 6 miles
Great Torrington to Meeth 18km / 11 miles
Michele and Erik walked the Tarka trail, Part 1. …………Have a look at how we got on.
Paul, Mel, George and Ben G. from Hampshire stayed at Moorparks Barn for a short break.
Taken from the guest book.
Day 1. Torrington to Barnstaple. Approx 14 miles, free parking at the Puffin Billy (easy access at this time of year). The whole trail is on good tarmac surface with very few gradients, and is easy riding. It is the most popular part of the trail, with lots of history and fantastic views out over the estuaries, and with many species of wading birds.
There are many places to eat in Instow, but if you can hold out until Fremington Quay you will be rewarded with a nice pub and some really great views over to Chivenor marshes. Onwards to Barnstaple, we started out too late to be able to spend time exploring here, and after coffee and cakes, made the return trip, taking a leisurely 6 1/2 hours.
Day 2. Torrington to Meeth. Approx 11 miles. This part of the trail is altogether a very different ride to day 1, with a more rural feel, and with different riding surfaces, including a reasonable amount of mud and leaves meaning mountain bikes with mud guards are more suitable. There is a long, slow gradient as the track climbs out of Torrington to East Yarde, before the reverse incline down from Petrockstow to Meeth. This part of the trail is not nearly as popular as the Torrington to Barnstaple section – we only saw about a dozen other groups on each leg which gave the boys plenty of time and space to practice their tricks and skills!
We would recommend purchasing the Tarka Trail guide as a comprehensive and easy to follow guide to the trail, and its associated history and ecology.