A new circular route around the Dartmoor National Park was yesterday opened to the public, with cycling journalist and presenter Robert Penn snipping the ribbon.
The 95-mile long track has been newly signed with brightly coloured waymarkers and is expected to attract cyclists of all abilities from the region, as well as tourists and holidaymakers from across the country.
Passing through or near Bovey Tracey, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Ivybridge, Yelverton, Tavistock, Okehampton, Chagford and Moretonhampstead to name a few, the route takes in a variety of stunning views and beautiful Devon scenery – with plenty of places to stay, eat and drink along the way. The vast majority of the loop is made up of quiet roads or hard ground.
In addition to the main circular route there is a 27-mile long High Moorland Link trail, which cuts across Dartmoor via Princetown, creating two shorter circular routes or adding an extra challenge for those who wish to cycle the entire trail in a figure of eight.
Penn, who recently cycled the Trans-Amazonian Highway with Freddie Flintoff to make a documentary series for Sky TV, has presented on the BBC and authored a Sunday Times bestselling book; ‘It’s All About the Bike: the Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels’.
He said: “I have been a passionate cyclist for many years and have often thought how wonderful it would be to cycle through Dartmoor. Thanks to Sustrans and its partners, this is now possible. I can’t wait to get on my bike and explore this beautiful national park.”
Sustrans’ Devon manager Paul Hawkins, added: “Cycling is a great way to enjoy the beauty and peace of Dartmoor whilst benefitting health, the environment and the economy of this rural area. This route intentionally takes people into lesser known areas of Dartmoor, bringing economic benefits to settlements around the moor.”
EU funding for The Dartmoor Way has been provided by the Local Action Group through Defra and Leader.