- Created: 6th March 2018
- Updated: 31st July 2018
- Distance Instructions
- Distance 49 km
- Time 12 h 10 min
- Speed 4 km/h
- Min altitude 1 m
- Peak 139 m
- Climb 0 m
- Descent 0 m
From - to: Braunton to Meeth via Barnstaple
Distance: Just over 30 miles
Terrain: Disused railway path. Tarmac and finely packed stone surface
Access: Barnstaple railway station
National Cycle Network: National Routes 3 and 27
The Tarka Trail is one of the country's longest continuous traffic-free walking and cycling paths, and forms part of the Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route.
This route gives you superb views across the mouth of the Taw Estuary and features several wonderful sculptures and shelters created for the route; the perfect place to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
Travelling the route you will experience many wildlife habitats including estuary mud flats and salt marshes, oak woodland, hazel coppice, hedges, ponds, streams, ditches and meadows.
Beginning in the pretty village of Braunton, the route is incredibly easy to follow. It's also flat and traffic-free, making it very suitable for families.
Your journey will continue along the banks of the River Taw, passing through Chivenor and crossing the tributary river Yeo on the new swing bridge at Barnstaple. A detour into Barnstaple town centre is a worthwhile visit, taking in the Pannier Market and the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.
The route then takes you up the Torridge Estuary, passing Instow and Bideford. These are great places to stop off for refreshments with lots of cafes and restaurants.
Do not miss the Puffing Billy, a relaxed pub at the former Torrington railway station. It is right on the Tarka Trail and the restored waiting room serves as the restaurant. There is also a goods brake van, coal truck and buffet carriage on a restored stretch of track.
You can either leave the Traka Trail on the line of the old tramway route and finish in the beautiful town of Great Torrington or continue on the route across the river on the railway to where the path currently ends at Meeth.
There are several cafes and pubs along the route for refreshments.
The Tarka Trail is one of Sustrans Art Trails. Along it you will beautifully designed benches and shelters by Katy Hallett, Ben May, John Butler, Geoff Stainthorp and Paul Anderson.