Drakes Trail

Route Details

  • To - From: Laira Bridge, Plymouth to Tavistock
  • Distance: 21 miles
  • Terrain: Moderate; a steady climb for much of the first half with a gentle descent in the final five miles to Tavistock. Tarmac path and stony trail with some short on-road sections at Clearbrook, Horrabridge and Tavistock.
  • Access: There is a train station in Plymouth
  • National Cycle Network: National Route 27 and 2

Route Description

The trail takes its name from its connection with the famous Elizabethan sea-farer, Sir Francis Drake. He was born in Tavistock and there is a statue of him at Plymouth Hoe.

This brilliant route starts in Plymouth and gently undulates beside the River Plym in the opening miles, taking you through Plymbridge Woods and out over the Cann Viaduct. More views and viaducts follow, with the Devonshire villages of Bickleigh and Shaugh Prior visible on the hillsides and your first glimpses of Dartmoor’s open moorland.

At Yelverton you start a gentle descent that leads all the way to Magpie Viaduct and the fantastic Gem Bridge (funded in part by Sustrans). From here you reach the edge of Tavistock via the town’s pretty riverside meadows. People who prefer to cycle shorter distances may choose to turn this ride into a two day trip by spending a night in Tavistock, and returning to Plymouth the following day.

Things to see and do

  • National Trust’s Saltram
  • Gem Bridge
  • Tavistock Pannier Market

Extending the route

Drake’s Trail forms part of the Devon Coast to Coast route from Plymouth to Ilfracombe.


Download this free map from Devon County Council

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Map shows the National Cycle Network and local routes in this area.

Drake's Trail is a 21 mile cycling and walking route linking Tavistock with Plymouth, skirting the western edge of Dartmoor.

21 miles