This tour is only for the ultimate lovers of the great outdoors. You not only cycle Devon Coast to Coast, but also walk 4 days in Exmoor National Park on the stunning South West Coast Path. Strenuous walking and serious cycling will absorb most of your holiday time. You can also take on some surfing lessons on the Atlantic beach of Woolacombe. To get in the right frame of mind for all this great exploration the tour starts off with a journey by steam on the West Somerset Railway!
Whatever your means of transport; this arrangement starts with a night of B&B-accommodation in Taunton . The next day starts with a 22 miles steam railway adventure. This journey lasts about an hour and offers great views of the Quantock and Brendon Hills . Have lunch on arrival in bustling Minehead before starting your walk on the South West Coast Path . Soon you will be out there on your own, climbing and descending , enjoying peace and quiet and taking in the breathtaking views across the Bristol Channel. The walk to the village of Porlock should take you about 4 hours . This is where you stay on Sunday night.
On Monday morning we recommend to stock up on outdoors food and drinks , as you will be on your own for the rest of the day from the moment you walk into Exmoor National Park . The South West Coast Path takes you over England's highest cliffs , rising to 430 meters above sea level. Foreland Point is the most prominent landmark on today’s walk which will take you 7 to 8 hours to complete. Take the cliff railway from Lynmouth up to Lynton to spend the night there.
The next day another 7 to 8 hour walk is awaiting you. This section is the most remote part of the Exmoor section of the South West Coast Path, although there will be a fair amount of walkers at the beautiful Valley of Rocks just beyond Lynton. Beyond here the remote and strenuous Great Hangman Canyon awaits you, so ensure to buy enough food and drinks to be able to make it to Combe Martin , your Tuesday destination.
Wednesday brings you the last day of walking and if you don’t fancy the walk you can choose to use local buses for part or the whole of this leg. It is a 3 hour walk to the Victorian seaside resort of Ilfracombe and halfway you pass Watermouth Castle . Ilfracombe itself has a scenic harbour and is famous for its special Tunnel Beaches . The last part of the walk (Ilfracombe-Woolacombe) should take about 4 hours , taking you by Morte Point . The Woolacombe Sands are literally just around the corner of this dramatic cliff, marking the end of your four day walk.
One overnight stay in Woolacombe is included in the arrangement, but you have the option to extend this to two nights. This gives you plenty of time to take in the stunning beach and to relax or to have an Atlantic surfing session with the local surf school. Your rental bike will be supplied to you at the B&B on the morning of your departure. During your first day of cycling you’ll cover most of the impressive Tarka Trail , taking you via Barnstaple and Bideford and along the Taw and Torridge rivers. You’ll spend the night in the middle of the Devon countryside in an ecological low-impact bunkhouse accommodation.
The next day your journey continues via some hilly country lanes to Okehampton and Dartmoor National Park . From here the dismantled railway route Granite Way guides you across some impressive railway viaducts, offering superb views without any serious climbing to take in. You’ll pass Lydford Castle and Brent Tor before arriving in Tavistock. This touristy place filled with plenty of shopping opportunities is your next overnight stop.
The route continues via the Drake's Trail and Plym Valley Trail, both dismantled railway paths through wooded valleys with great railway viaducts. The cycle adventure ends in Plymouth Hoe. You should have most of the afternoon left to explore this old part of Plymouth with its scenic Barbican Harbour and impressive fort. Rental bikes will be collected from the B&B in the evening. The next morning you’ll be transferred to Plymouth's station from where you can board the train for Taunton, where you should arrive around noon.
You have to be very fit to embark on this journey and you have to enjoy walking as much as cycling. This route is not suitable for people with any serious medical issues!
The South West Coast Path can be an isolated place with sometimes strenuous conditions. Most of the days you have to walk 7 to 8 hours and you'll pass high cliffs and very deep drops, not so good if you have a fear of heights. Although you'll encounter other people on this popular walk you have to take your own safety seriously. You have your own responsibility to bring adequate provisions and clothes for any weather conditions, even on a sunny day. Also be aware that your mobile phone probably won't pick up a signal whilst walking below the cliff's face.
Regarding the Devon Coast to Coast you have to be prepared to cycle 5 hours a day for two days in a row. Most of the route is on traffic-free paths along the courses of dismantled railways without steep gradients. However, the links between these paths are made by quiet country lanes on which you will encounter both very steep climbs and steep descents. The Tour is open to teenagers providing they have the physical and mental strength to deal with the mileage and conditions as described. Of course they must be very keen to walk and to cycle and they should be supervised by an adult at all times. We also expect them to be able to cycle according to Bikeability Level 2
of the National Standard. If you are unsure, please contact us.
Our bike hire partner has aluminum frame comfort bikes available with semi-slick tyres, ideal for off-road and on-road usage. All bikes have at least 18 gears, mud guards and luggage racks. The use of a helmet is also included in the rental price. If you wish to bring your own bikes, please let us know, so we can offer you a discount.
Overview walking and cycling times (estimated at easy pace):
Saturday: Arrival in Taunton
Sunday: Steam Train transfer Taunton-Minehead, Minehead-Porlock: 4 hours (walking)
Monday: Porlock - Lynton: 7-8 hours (walking)
Tuesday: Lynton - Combe Martin: 7-8 hours (walking)
Wednesday: Combe Martin - Woolacombe: 7 hours (walking)
Thursday: Woolacombe - Petersmarland: 5 hours (cycling)
Friday: Petersmarland - Tavistock: 5 hours (cycling)
Saturday: Tavistock - Plymouth: 3 hours (cycling)
Sunday: Train transfer Plymouth - Taunton
This arrangement starts on any Saturday and finishes a week later on the next Sunday. It you wish to extend this arrangement with an extra overnight stay at Woolacombe Beach you'll finish the arrangement on Monday instead of Sunday. You'll need to book this arrangement at least four weeks in advance.
£679 per person for booking by two people
£549 per person for booking by three people
£519 per person for booking by four people
£499 per person for booking by five people
- 7 nights Bed & Breakfast accommodation
- 1 night of basic bunkhouse accommodation including breakfast (*)
- Tickets for steam train service Bishops Lydeard-Minehead and normal train service Plymouth-Taunton (no seat reservation, off peak trains only)
- Transfers in Taunton and Plymouth between B&B accommodations and stations
- Bicycle and pannier bags rental for 3 days with delivery and pick up service at your B&B accommodations in Woolacombe and Plymouth
- Pick up, storage and return delivery of your walking luggage during your 3 day bicycle ride
- Route Books and maps
- High visibility vests
- Emergency assistance when required
Prices are based on people sharing rooms in Bed & Breakfasts (minimum 2 people). On a booking for 3 people or more we expect 2 people to share a double bed. On a booking for 4 people or more you'll get 2 rooms.
(*) At one accommodation you'll sleep in bunk beds. You'll have to share rooms and facilities with other guests. Only on bookings of 4 people or more we’ll be able to book a separate room for you.
Not included are:
- Entrance fees for museums and attractions like the Lynmouth-Lynton Cliff Railway
- Lunch / Dinner / Additional Drinks and Snacks
- The return journey between your home and Taunton
- Daily luggage transport between accommodations
- All extra costs related to emergency assistance
- Travel and Cancellation Insurances
The logistics of daily luggage transport on this remote route are complex. We encourage you to carry your own luggage as much as possible and supply you with pannier bags in Woolacombe for your three day bike ride as part of the arrangement. So, in Woolacombe you can repack your bags and hand over the luggage you don't need for the bike ride to us. We store this luggage and return it to you in Plymouth.
We are also happy to collect your luggage at the start of the tour in Taunton, so you only bring a bag with essentials for your four day walk. We'll then store the luggage you don't need during your walk and return it to you in Woolacombe. Price for this additional smart service is £50 per party.
If you require daily luggage transport between accommodations we are happy to provide this, but it is probably only an affordable way to go for groups. Costs are £500 per party and for this charge we carry as many bags as you want!
The charge for an additional overnight stay in Woolacombe is £45 per person. You must inform us about this request at the time of your booking. A surf session with a professional surf school costs £30 per person, to be paid directly to the surf school.
We are happy to tailor this tour further to your wishes. For example, we can adjust the train ticket requirements if the train journey from Plymouth to Taunton doesn't suit you. Also, if you wish to bring your own bikes we can adjust the tour for this requirement. Please contact us to discuss the options.
By train: We recommend you travel to Taunton by train. First Great Western runs a direct link with London Paddington. Cross Country Trains also serves Taunton with a good connection to Birmingham and beyond. The B&B in Taunton is within walking distance from the station. Total travel time from London to Taunton station: approximately 2.5 hours.
By plane - Exeter: Exeter Airport is a major hub of carrier FlyBe. Take a bus to Exeter St. Davids station or a taxi to Digby and Sowton station to continue by train from there to Taunton station. The B&B in Taunton is within walking distance from the station. Total travel time from Exeter Airport to Taunton station: approximately 2 hours.
By plane - Bristol: Bristol Airport is a growing airport with many destinations. Take the bus to Bristol Temple Meads station to continue by train from there to Taunton station. The B&B in Taunton is within walking distance from the station. Total travel time from Bristol Airport to Taunton station: approximately 2.5 hours.
By car: Taunton is located on the M5-corridor, leave at junction 27. Unfortunately the Taunton Park & Ride Car Park at this junction doesn't allow overnight parking. Most car parks in the city centre are expensive for long stay parking and many roads in the vicinity of the city centre and the B&B accommodation have parking for residents only. For free parking you'll end up parking in housing estates beyond the "residents only" zone with at least a 20 minute walk to B&B accommodation or station. When parking near a main road, you can catch a bus into the city centre. Total travel time from London: approximately 3.5 hours.