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You are here: Things to Do > Activities > Cycling

The Exe Estuary Trail

Cycling in the Heart of Devon

Leisurely rides through the beautiful countryside of Mid Devon, peaceful waterway routes along the River Exe and Grand Western Canal, or exciting off road trails at Haldon Forest and scenic coastal paths of East Devon, the Heart of Devon has an excellent choice of cycle routes for all ages and abilities. 

Discover Devon by bike

Cycling is an easy way to get around the Heart of Devon's towns, click on the links below to view town cycle maps and ideas for scenic cycle routes in the surrounding countryside:

National Cycle Network

There are nearly 150 miles of National Cycle Network in Devon, with routes designed for novice cyclists, offering a safe and enjoyable way to discover the area by bicycle. The West Country Way NCN 3 and the South Coastal Route NCN2 pass through the Heart of Devon, with sections including the popular Exe Estuary Trail, a scenic, mainly flat and off-road route suitable for all abilities.

Also passing through the area is the Devon Coast to Coast NCN Route 27. Sections of this route include the Tarka Trail, a mainly off road route along the old railways between Ilfracombe and Hatherleigh/Meeth; and the Granite Way, a scenic, traffic free cycle/walkway between Okehampton and Lydford on Dartmoor.

The Buzzard Cycle Route (Regional Route 52) is a circular route in East Devon taking in Sidmouth, Seaton, Axminster, Honiton, Woodbury and Exmouth. Some of the route follows the National Cycle Network Route 2 along the south coast of Devon.

The Tour de Manche is one of the three routes developed within the framework of the Cycle West project. From Roscoff to Carentan, the Tour de Manche follows the EuroVelo 4, a network linking European countries. The section from Okehampton to Axminster has something for everyone: verdant hills and pastures, a beautiful coastline designated a Unesco World Heritage site, and city attractions. You’ll also ride through some of Devon’s most picturesque villages.

 Regional Cycle Network 

 Where to hire a bicycle?

Cycling is a great way to explore the city and countryside and if you don't have your own bicycle there are plenty of cycle hire companies in the area to offer advice on where to cycle and bicycles for all ages and abilities, as well as equipment for families such as trailers and tag-a-longs!:

 Alternatively, why not join a guided cycle tour in Devon? CycleActive and the Chain Gang Cycle Tours offer fully guided cycling holidays in Devon, taking in beautiful coastal towns and villages, quiet country lanes and the wild expanse of Dartmoor National Park.

Watch a video of the Exe Estuary Trail below!)

Further information

With scenic rail routes to the north and south of Exeter, along the Tarka Line to Barnstaple, Avocet Line to Exmouth and Riviera Line to Paignton, it is easy to have a completely car free day out with your bike. Bikes are welcome on branch line trains on a first-come first-served basis, and sometimes it is possible to book a space for your bike. See First Great Western's guide to cycling by train for more information.

Cycle rides from stations


The Exe Estuary Trail -  a 20 mile cycle accessible from Starcross Station including return on the ferry from Exmouth to Starcross station. This cycle ride can also start from Dawlish Warren, Exeter or Exmouth.

A shorter 5 mile Exe Valley cycle ride  is accessible from Exeter railway stations and is described on the Sustrans website. The route follows the western bank of the River Exe from Exwick, linking to the City Centre by way of the new purpose-built Miller's Crossing Bridge. It then continues southwards through Exeter's historic and attractive Quay, and then through the Riverside Valley Park between the Exeter Canal and the river to the village of Exminster.

Devon County Council have produced a Newton Abbot cycling guide which is available as a pdf on their website. Newton Abbot is easily accessible by train from Exeter. The countryside around Newton Abbot offers a variety of cycle rides.

 Tiverton is easily accessible by train, you can stop at Tiverton Parkway station. the nearest cycle route is the Grand Western Canal Cycle Route. This is a lovely peaceful cycle route, often along the towpath, beside this tranquil stretch of water way through the heart of Devon between Tiverton and the Somerset border.

Please visit for your free Cycling Trails in Devon guide or for a hard copy please email To help plan your visit, visit the Heart of Devon Store to browse a range of books and maps.

For information on cycling in the Heart of Devon, use the options on the right to search our database or check all our cycling routes at the bottom page.

Planning an off-road bike ride in the South West's National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty just got easier with the launch of the Adventure Cycling Map, part of the 1SW initiative. Check out the map for a comprehensive guide to routes in the region's most beautiful landscapes. 

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  1. Plymouth Hoe

    Add Drake's Trail to your Itinerary

    Drake's Trail


    Cycle Route


    Tavistock to Plymouth

    Drake’s Trail is a network of walking and cycling trails. The network has something for all ages and fitness levels, starting with the new off-road cycling section between Tavistock and Plymouth.

  2. River Exe Valley

    Add Explore the river valleys of the Exe and Lowman to your Itinerary

    Explore the river valleys of the Exe and Lowman


    Cycle Route



    Explore the river valleys of the Exe and Lowman and their surrounding countryside and villages. The routes will therefore present a good challenge for the more enthusiastic cyclist!

  3. cafe route 2 topsham

    Add Route 2 Cafe Bar to your Itinerary

    Route 2 Cafe Bar





    Cycle hire situated in the estuary town of Topsham, along the National Cycle Network Route 2 - the Exe Estuary Trail. The cafe is open every day from 8am-8pm serving breakfast, teas and coffees, a variety of freshly-cooked food, homemade ice-cream, d

  4. Haldon Forest Park, family ride

    Add Haldon Forest Cycle Trails to your Itinerary

    Haldon Forest Cycle Trails


    Cycle Route



    Discover & explore Haldon Forest park. Whether you want a quiet gentle stroll or an exhilarating mountain biking experience, there’s something for you at Haldon Forest Park. 3,500 acres of woodland just fifteen minutes from Exeter.

  5. Exmouth

    Add Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton Circuit - Cycle Route to your Itinerary

    Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton Circuit - Cycle Route


    Cycling and Mountain Biking


    Exmouth / Budleigh Salterton

    This is a lovely relaxing cycle route taking in the coast and the rural hinterland between the East Devon seaside towns of Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton.

  6. Meldon viaduct

    Add The Granite Way - Cycle Route to your Itinerary

    The Granite Way - Cycle Route


    Cycle Route



    This is a new, truly spectacular and mostly traffic free cycle route through rural Devon with fantastic views of Dartmoor and the surrounding countryside.

  7. Boswell Farm - Pilates for Life

    Add Boswell Farm - Pilates for Life  to your Itinerary

    Boswell Farm - Pilates for Life


    Adventure Sport Centre



    Boswell Farm offers self catering holidays, Pilates classes, Holidays and Retreats.

  8. Exeter Canal

    Exeter Canal Cycle Route


    Cycling and Mountain Biking



    A flat, almost entirely traffic free cycle route from Exeter Quay, which passes RSPB reserves and 2 well known local pubs.

  9. Saddles and Paddles

    Add Saddles and Paddles to your Itinerary

    Saddles and Paddles


    Cycling and Mountain Biking



    Bike and canoe hire from Exeter's historic quayside. Explore the old canal trail. Seven miles of flat, traffic free cycling in beautiful countryside. The canoes are great fun and easy to use for exploring this beautiful waterway.

  10. CycleActive Ltd

    Add CycleActive Ltd to your Itinerary

    CycleActive Ltd


    Sport/Leisure Centre



    The Devon Coast to Coast bike ride (102 miles)

    What’s included: 2 or 3 nights’ guesthouse accommodation, all breakfasts, luggage transfers, rider/bike transfers at start/finish, post-ride shower room

    Starting at the craggy cliff

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