Barnstaple to Petrockstow

Barnstaple to Petrockstow cycling 23 miles along The Tarka Trail cycle track. Which is also part of the National Cycle Routes No’s 3 & 27?

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Approx 23 miles. Along a traffic free route, which ideal for
cyclists of all abilities. This route takes out from Barnstable on One of the UK’s longest traffic free cycle and walking paths, The Tarka Trail. Initially following the Tarka Trail around part of Devon’s coastline via the Torridge Estuary down to Bideford and then it takes you onto Great Torrington and through the lovely Devonshire country side. Along the way there are a variety of wildlife habitats including such areas as the estuary mud flats, woodland, meadows and salt marshes etc.

Starting from Castle Quay, Barnstable. (An interesting fact is that Barnstable did at one time have its own mint) Looking out to see with your backs landward you cycle to your left along the waterfront in the direction of the bridge which approx 30 yard away.

Cycle past the bridge keeping to the waterfront and continue along the river bank. After about half a mile you come to a second bridge across the river. Turn right and cycle across this small bridge to the other side of the estuary and at the end of the bridge turn immediate right along the cycle which goes back along the river bank towards the first bridge.

When you reach the bridge bear left and you meet with a roundabout. At the roundabout go straight across the roundabout and onto Sticklepath Terrace.
You cycle along Sticklepath Terrace for about 200 yards and then you bear right onto the cycle path at the end of the houses. Follow the cycle path which bends to the right and passes under the B3233.

Continue to cycle along the path which takes you out along the coast line and after about a mile the path bends around the coast to the left and shortly afterwards you come to The Quay Café at Fremington should you be ready for a quick coffee and a sandwich while you look out across the Taw Estuary.
From the café cycle across the small bridge across the estuary inlet, keeping to the coast
line and continue along the path. After cycling for a further three quarters of a mile you pass the village of Yelland to your left and at this point if you look out to sea you will see the famous Yelland Stone Row.
The Yelland Stone Row is a double row of stones whose provenance is thought to date to the Bronze Age and possibly earlier.

Continue to cycle along the path and you will pass through Instow with Appledore across
the estuary and you continue on along the river bank.
Approximately 2 miles after Instow you come to the outskirts of Bideford. Continue along the river bank past the first bridge which is the A39. The River Torridge is spanned at Bideford by the 13th century Long Bridge, which has 24 arches all of different sizes.

When you reach the second bridge carry straight on along the path which continues to follow the river bank and as the path follows the bend in the river to left you follow the path around the bend then turn right along the cycle path across the bridge over the
estuary.

Now follow the path as it passes under and then across the A386 and then runs alongside
the A386. The cycle path twists and turns along the way for approx. 2 miles and then it takes you across three small bridges over the river towards Great Torrington.
As you reach the outskirts of Great Torrington the path meets with Station Hill. At this point you keep to the path which bears right and takes you across another small bridge.

The cycle path now passes through a wooded area. If you where able to see across from the wooded on the hilly area on your right you would see Frithelstock Priory which was founded in about 1220.
The wooded area surrounding the cycle path stretches for approx. 3 miles. And about 1 mile after the wooded section you pass the disused Dunsbear Railway Station on the Tarka trail. Dunsbear Halt was a relatively well-used halt on the initially privately run North Devon and Cornwall Junction Light Railway. Opened in 1925 and closed to passenger traffic 41 years later in 1965. Although the line remained open for freight between Barnstable railway station and Torrington until 1982.
A mile further along the trail and you come to the old Petrockstow Station which is another disused railway station which was open from 1925 up to 1965.
Continue along the path for about 500 yards where it meets with a lane which crosses its path, Bury Cross.
At this junction turn right off the Tarka Way cycle path and follow the lane named Bury Cross to the end which is about 600 yards. At the end of Bury Cross turn left onto Rectory Rise and cycle along it for 500 yards where you will come to a cross road junction of country lanes near the centre of the village of Petrockstow. We end this ride here in the middle of Petrockstow. A small village which was mentioned in The Doomsday Book of 1066. It is also recognized as being the end of the Tarka Trail which you have been following on your ride.

You should have trouble in finding establishments for refreshments along the route.
Cycle hire is available from:- Tarka Trail Cycle Hire, The Railway Station, Barnstaple. – Bike Trai & Sports, Stone Barn, Fremington Quay. And Bideford Cycle Hire, Torrington St., East The Water, Bideford.

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