Cyclists and cycling fans will be heading for Dartmoor this autumn for a trio of top cycling events including the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain on 15 September.
Team Sky who were triumphant at the Tour de France will be joined by six other British cycling teams battling it out in amongst the world’s cycling elite on Dartmoor’s challenging terrain.
The Devon stage of the Tour of Britain will cover 106 miles (170.7km) of the county, starting in Barnstaple and heading through the Dartmoor National Park on its way to finishing in Dartmouth. Last year more than 125,000 spectators turned out to watch the race in Devon.
The Dartmoor section of Britain’s biggest free-to-watch sporting event includes three Skoda “King of the Mountain’s” climbs at Merrivale and Coffin Stone. For those avid cycling fans eager to test their mettle on the King of the Mountains route, there will be a Hill Climb at Merrivale at 9am prior to the Tour coming through. Following the race, there will be lots of activities for all the family at Princetown: a climbing wall, a cycle surgery, Crazy Bikes, stands, kit providers and local food will also be available, as well as a Barbecue taking place at the Dartmoor Inn, Merrivale.
Suggested viewing points for the race are at Pork Hill, Princetown High Moorland Visitor Centre car park, Dartmeet, Ashburton and Buckfastleigh.
For those who want to do more than simply cheer on Britain’s cycling heroes then the Moor 2 Sea Sportive on Saturday September 8 on Dartmoor is a must do event. The race starts and finishes at Exeter racecourse and offers two new and exciting routes through the Dartmoor National Park and the stunning South Devon coastline. The 'Challenge' route covers 67 miles (108 km) and the 'Extreme' route covers 112 miles (180 km) .
Both routes conclude with a 'King of the Mountains' style hill climb at Mamhead followed by a two- mile closed circuit finish around the perimeter road of Exeter Racecourse. There are medals for all who are able to complete their chosen route within the specified times and a special "King of the Mountains" medal pin for all who are able to beat the KoM stage time. www.moor2sea.com
Mountain bikers rather than road racers will be heading for the Kinesis UK Hell of the West Sportive at the Parke Estate at Bovey Tracey on Sunday September 30.They will enjoy the thrills and spills of some great off road riding, with some brutal climbs and fast flowing descents on this 80km route. www.hellofthewest.co.uk
Dartmoor’s unique landscape is ideal for cyclists with more than 450 miles (730km) of public rights of way, there is an abundance of walking and cycling routes to suit all tastes and abilities. Dartmoor has everything you could wish for – safe, traffic-free trails, quiet forest tracks, challenging bridleways and historic rural lanes to enjoy at your own pace.
For more information on where to stay on Dartmoor and cycling routes to suit all abilities then visit www.dartmoor.co.uk
Suggested cycling routes:
The Granite Way was built on the former Southern Region railway line, is an 11-mile traffic free cycle/walkway between Okehampton and Lydford. It is part of the National Cycle Network and much of the Way is within Dartmoor National Park. The trail is ideal for families and those new to regular cycling. A journey along the Granite Way offers good views of the granite landscape of Dartmoor, as well as a number of specific sites of geological interest. www.dartmoor.co.uk/what-to-do/the-granite-way-p456943
Drakes Trail is a network of walking and cycling trails which runs along the edge of Dartmoor. The network has something for all age groups and fitness levels, starting with the new off-road cycling section between Tavistock and Plymouth (fully open by the autumn).
A new landmark on the Trail is Gem Bridge, a 24-metre high cycle and pedestrian bridge near Tavistock. The £2.1m bridge, spanning 200 metres across Walkham Valley, is one of the final links on Drake’s Trail connecting Dartmoor National Park with Plymouth. www.drakestrail.co.uk
Places to stay on Dartmoor which are cycling friendly:
Tor Royal, Princetown:
A Grade 2 listed farmhouse in the heart of Dartmoor. A period house full of character. The owners will provide packed lunches and info on local trails on Dartmoor
This family run country house is set in 6 acres of Dartmoor National Park. Postbridge is an ideal location for: walking, cycling, horse riding. It is close to the famous 13th Century Clapper Bridge. The local pub is within 4 minutes walk for evening meals. Packed lunches for cyclists supplied.
The Old Dairy, Yelverton:
The Old Dairy is a luxury Bed & Breakfast conveniently situated in the centre of the thriving village of Yelverton on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. Breakfast is sourced from award winning local produce and for your evening meal there are local inns within just a few minutes walk away. Yelerton enjoys great views of the Tors with access to fabulous moorland walks, cycling routes, golfing and horse riding.
The Two Bridges Hotel, Princetown
Situated within its own 60 acres with sweeping lawns down to the River Dart, The Two Bridges Hotel is a perfect Dartmoor retreat. After a hard days cycling, relax in a four poster bed or spa bath or stretch out in one of the comfortable lounges, with huge log fires. Cyclists looking for short autumn breaks can benefit from a 20% discount on B+B bookings which are reduced to £55 per person per night
Lydgate House Hotel, Postbridge:
Set in its own 36 acres of heaven in the very heart of Dartmoor National Park, Lydgate House, built in the 1800s, is a small and unique country house hotel with spectacular views across Dartmoor moorland and river valley.
Prince Hall Hotel, Princetown
Prince Hall, this quintessential Devon country house hotel is a Dartmoor discovery. Situated within yards of the hotel is the River Dart and its prestigious trout fishing. Clay pigeon shooting, rough or sport shooting cycling can all be arranged.
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