West Country Way (Bristol to Bude)

The West Country Way takes you through the gorgeous countryside of the south west, from Cornwall to the River Avon. As you cycle this route you’ll pass wooded countryside, rolling hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a picturesque estuary which is home to a variety of birds.

From Cornwall to the River Avon the route takes you through the varied landscapes of the West Country. Start at the tranquillity of Padstow harbour and then cycle the Camel Trail onto the atmospheric Bodmin Moor.

The Camel Trail passes through the wooded countryside of the upper Camel Valley and alongside the picturesque Camel Estuary. This area is a paradise for birdwatchers.

The largely traffic-free trail follows the route of an old railway line once used by the London and South West Railway. It’s ideal for family cycling as it’s fairly level all the way and the views of moorland, woodland and estuary are spectacular. The route runs through both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It’s a great place to spot otters, bats, dormice, kingfishers, little egrets, marsh orchids and marsh marigolds.

Bodmin Moor is an atmospheric place of astounding natural beauty. It’s a World Heritage Site, the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Cornwall and most of the moor has been declared a Site of Special Scientific Importance. Due to the lack of light pollution it also has Dark Skies status.

If you enjoy hiking then we’d recommend spending a few days in this area exploring the local trails. Bodmin Moor contains the two highest peaks in Cornwall, Rough Tor and Brown Willy, which offer fabulous views of their surroundings.

Next, you’ll descend into Devon's rolling countryside via the Tarka Trail and on into Somerset across beautiful Exmoor. In Exmoor, keep an eye out for a series of benches made from local materials to reflect the characteristics of the local area. Craftspeople Robert Kilvington, Keith Rand and Eve Body, assisted by Des Sharp, were commissioned to make a series of benchmarks. The designs are inspired by the unique landscape.

The sites of the benches were carefully chosen to create resting places which fit with their surroundings, oriented towards a particular view, and sometimes to provide shelter from the prevailing wind and weather.

Continue along canal towpaths to Taunton and the Somerset levels to Glastonbury before the climb onto the Mendip Hills. The route ends at Bristol or Bath (via the Avon Cycleway from Chew Stoke to Saltford and the Bristol & Bath Railway Path from Saltford into Bath city centre).

Bristol and Bath are both great cities to visit. Bristol is a modern, arty city with a fascinating maritime past, much of which you can learn about at the M Shed, which explores local social and industrial heritage. Bath is the only UK city which is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Bath, you can visit the famous Roman Baths which give the city its name or simply admire its handsome streets and interesting shops.

The route can be ridden and is signed in both directions.

Please note

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.

To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by the water, please ensure that you follow the Towpath Code.

Please help us protect this route

The West Country Way is part of the National Cycle Network, cared for by Sustrans. Your donation today will help keep the Network safe and open for everyone to enjoy.

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