- Created: 26th March 2018
- Updated: 31st July 2018
- Distance Instructions
- Distance 33 km
- Time 8 h 25 min
- Speed 4 km/h
- Min altitude 2 m
- Peak 195 m
- Climb 717 m
- Descent 530 m
A challenging, off road cycling route for the adventurous, taking in some of the finest coastal views in North Devon
Ilfracombe to Braunton combines tarmacked Tarka Trail, narrow lanes, muddy bridleways, steep climbs and busy major roads. There are places to get refreshments in Ilfracombe, Woolacombe, Georgeham and Braunton, but a large part of the route will be out in rural countryside where you may even struggle to get a mobile signal.
This route starts and ends at The Quay car park in Ilfracombe. Set off towards Ilfracombe town centre and pick up signs for Route 27 of the National Cycle Network. The route takes you around the back of the town past hotels and Victorian houses. On Osbourne road, turn right behind Holy Trinity church and come out onto Belmont Road. At Stanbury Copse, take a right turn to arrive on Station Road, where the old station was located and the beginning of the tarmacked section of the Tarka Trail. The beginning of the trail climbs uphill, but then levels out.
Remain on the Tarka Trail until you reach a junction with Morthoe Station road. At this point you will take a right turn onto Morthoe Station road following signs for NCN Route 27B (or Woolacombe). This road will descend steeply into Woolacombe.
At the foot of the hill you will arrive in Woolacombe where you will follow the Esplanade along the beach until you start climbing again on the other side of the village. On your right will be a car park situated on Marine Drive. Cycle into and through the car park which will eventually narrow to a bridleway. On this bridleway you will have fantastic views of Woolacombe to your rear and Putsborough up ahead.
At the end of the bridleway you will join a lane which passes Putsborough car park. The land will bend to the left. Continue on this lane until you arrive at Georgeham.
At Georgeham, you will come out onto the main road. Turn left and then right at The Rock Inn, still following signs for NCN Route 27B. Continue until you arrive at a T junction, then take a right turn heading towards Braunton. This is a narrow, but busy road, so take care here. The views over the coastline can be stunning from up here. Eventually, the road will drop steeply and take a sharp left at a cross roads. The road will continue to drop steeply all the way into Braunton.
Just before you arrive at the main road (A361) you will see a black gate on the right hand side leading into another section of the Tarka Trail which was once the railway that ran into Braunton. Follow this trail and arrive in Braunton village centre with a shop on your right called Cawthornes.
After a well earned break, get on the main road and head back towards the main road (signed Barnstaple / Ilfracombe). At the traffic lights, turn left for Ilfracombe and follow the main A361. Just after the fire station on the left, there is a cycle lane marked on the pavement if you prefer not to be on the road.
Follow the road and not long after the bend you will come across a small lane on the left called Castle Lane signed Route 27 (off-road). This takes you over a bridge and then onto a bridleway. This bridleway is uphill and can get clogged up with mud in the winter months. At the end of the bridleway, you will come out onto a land running through a small hamlet called Nethercott. Turn left and take the lane uphill. At the top of the hill you will arrive at a junction with Northfield road where you will turn right. (This is the same road you came down earlier).
Ignore the signs for Route 27B on your left and continue straight, following the signs for Route 27. Follow this road uphill for quite some time until you reach a junction where Route 27 bears left just before the road reaches a junction. This will take you back onto the Tarka Trail where you will pass a holiday park on the right hand side. After a short while you will arrive back at the junction with Morthoe Station road. This is where you turned off towards Woolacombe earlier in the ride. This time you will go straight through the junction and retrace the route back along the Tarka Trail, pass the reservoirs and back into Ilfracombe.