Tarka Trail

One of the most popular cycling routes in Devon, the Tarka Trail follows a disused railway line stretching from Braunton to Meeth through beautiful countryside. A camera is a must.

Ideally suited for families and young children, the Tarka Trail offers a mostly smooth and flat ride for you to enjoy. Boost confidence with this easy ride and enjoy the beautiful Devon countryside.

The Tarka Trail is a 32-mile (52 km) section of the 99-mile (159km) Devon Coast-to-Coast Cycle Route.

Location

Devon’s Tarka Trail extends from Braunton in the north to Meeth in the south. See below for postcodes for navigation.

Let’s Pedal

Suitable for cyclists of all abilities, this 32 miles (52km) section of the Tarka Trail is mostly level, and surfaced with hard core gravel or tarmac.

From Braunston to Torrington is flat while Torrington to Meeth has a steady uphill gradient which can be tiring depending upon fitness.

Remember to look for the historic railway signal control box at Instow.

It may be advisable to take turn your bike lights on for the tunnel south of Bideford heading towards Wear Gifford as the trail can get busy with cyclists and walkers at weekends especially during the summer.

Route Distance

FromToDistance (Miles)Distance (Km)
BrauntonBarnstaple610
BarnstapleBideford914
BidefordGreat Torrington610
Great TorringtonMeeth1118

Refreshments

You will find a number of refreshment stops available along the route at:

Braunton, Barnstaple, Fremington, Instow, Bideford, Great Torrington, East Yarde, Meeth.

Look out for:

  • converted train carriage near Bideford which serves refreshments;
  • Puffing Billy café near Torrington.

Why not stop for your picnic lunch or buy an ice cream on Instow beach during the summer.

Facilities

Toilets are located at:

Braunton, Barnstaple Station, Fremington, Bideford, Torrington Old Station

Cycle Hire available at:

Braunton, Barnstaple Station, Fremington, Bideford, Torrington Old Station

Tourist information available at:

Along the trail are 21 yellow audio posts providing information on local heritage, wildlife and history.

How to get here

By Car

Tarka Trail is located in north Devon. There are almost no car parks adjacent, however below are the nearest car parks to the trail.

The easiest way to get there is to enter a car park postcode into your satellite navigation – see table below.

Car Parking

Pay and Display parking available at these locations:

Car ParkLocationPostcode
Caen StreetBrauntonEX33 1AA
Barnstaple Railway StationBarnstapleEX31 2AU
Clarence Wharf Long Stay Car ParkBidefordEX39 4AE
Beards RoadFremingtonEX31 2PG
South StreetGreat TorringtonEX38 8AE
Meeth Quarry Wildlife ReserveMeethEX20 3ER

By Cycle

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 3 is Tarka Trail. Join NCN 3 from Braunton  or Meeth (NCN 27).

By Train

The Tarka Line Service runs from Exeter central to Barnstaple.

Summary

  • Distance (miles): 32
  • Distance (km): 52
  • Start: Braunton
  • Finish: Meeth
  • Type: Disused railway path
  • Surface: Tarmac, gravel
  • Sat Nav: EX31 2AU
Barnstaple
4°
broken clouds
humidity: 93%
wind: 6m/s N
H 4 • L 4
7°
Fri
9°
Sat
8°
Sun
7°
Mon
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Features

  • Car Park
  • Cycle Hire
  • Free Entry
  • Picnic Site
  • Refreshments
  • Toilets
  • Tourist Information

Cycle Hire

Tarka Trail Cycle Hire

The Railway Station,
Barnstaple,
Devon EX31 2AU

Torrington Cycle Hire

Unit 1,
Station yard
Torrington
Devon
EX38 8JD

Otter Cycle Hire

The Old Pottery
Station Road
Braunton
EX33 2AQ

Opening Times

Open all year round except for any temporary closures due to works.

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Disclaimer

The information provided on this page is believed to be correct and is given in good faith. Please be aware that it may have changed since our research. Use of the information on this page is at your risk, we cannot accept any liability for any problems or incidents arising. The maps are based on the postcodes of the centres. The postcode provided for Sat Nav is the nearest postcode to the start of the trail or car park and is therefore not 100% accurate to the entrance of the location. Postcodes are provided as a guide only. We recommend that you confirm the location and other details before travelling.

Cycling With The Kids is not responsible for the content of third party websites, and travel times, prices, routes and providers are correct at the time of writing, but may alter at short notice.

Spot something incorrect in the information provided? Let us know!