The Tarka Trail, Barnstaple, Devon

The Tarka Trail is a figure of eight walking and cycling route that covers a whopping 180 miles, starting and ending in Barnstaple in North Devon. It was inspired by the wanderings of Tarka the Otter from the novel of the same name by Henry Williamson, a book that is still widely read today.

The Tarka Trail has a North loop and a South loop; both take in scenery that is equally diverse and stunning – unspoilt countryside of rolling hills, wide open fields and wooded valleys, there are peaceful villages, dramatic clifftops and beautiful beaches, so make sure you take the time to stop and stare, and to take photos, because, honestly, it’s incredible, especially the views of Exmoor and Dartmoor. The South loop incorporates the longest continuous traffic free cycle trail in the whole of the UK and the whole includes 55 miles of the South West Coast Path.

So, if you’re in the mood for exploring, lace up your boots or go to Tarka Trail Cycle Hire by the railway station in Barnstaple, sort yourselves out with bikes, and off you go. It’s up to you how far you go, and which loop you do but there are several options and maps, so find one that suits you and just enjoy being out in the fresh air in such wonderful surroundings. There are trails suitable for families with young children and at the other end of the scale, for hardcore cyclists. Either way you’ll find plenty of places to stop for eats along the way, or pack a picnic in your rucksacks and find a nice spot.

All information correct at the time of writing

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