Route 27 combines the beaches and estuaries of North Devon with the lush green valleys of the Torridge, the Tavy, the Walkham and other West Country rivers. The route also skirts around the western flank of Dartmoor, offering superb views of Cornwall and the surrounding area.
On top of that, there are many local links and spurs to explore. Largely tracing the course of former railway lines, the route takes you through tunnels and across the breathtaking viaducts and bridges bequeathed to us by Victorian railway engineers.
Leaving Ilfracombe, the route travels south and takes you on a traffic-free path before joining quiet roads that provide superb views of Braunton. At Braunton, the route starts a 30-mile traffic-free section on almost entirely level former railway lines beside the beautiful Taw and Torridge estuaries via Barnstaple, Bideford and Great Torrington to the villages of Petrockstowe and Meeth. This section of the route is known as the Tarka Trail and is perfect for families and less experienced cyclists.
Next, you’ll head further south to Okehampton on quiet roads. The route from there to Lydford is known as the Granite Way. Between Tavistock and Plymouth Route 27 is known as the Drake's Trail. This has recently been developed into a fully traffic-free stretch of National Cycle Route with the addition of the dizzying Gem Bridge. Young cyclists (and the young at heart) will find this crossing this bridge thrilling.
On arrival in Plymouth, the route travels along the seafront, past the National Marine Aquarium and Tinside Lido - a fantastic seawater pool in an Art Deco style.
Route 27 is an amazing trail through Devon’s wonderfully green and verdant countryside. You can tackle all 80 miles in one go or enjoy smaller sections of the route. There are several stretches which are traffic-free and flat, making them ideal for families or less experienced cyclists.
Onwards to Europe
Route 27 also makes up part of the Velodyssey, an Anglo-French cycle route which continues down the West Coast of France to the Spanish border. This route uses the Plymouth to Roscoff ferry connection.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.