Cycling in Dartmoor
The Dartmoor Way, Princetown or Plym Valley disused railways offer fantastic safe and traffic free family cycling.
YHA Dartmoor is situated right in the heart of the High moor in a little hamlet called Bellever. We are surrounded by stunning countryside and wild rivers. Over the years Dartmoor has become more and more popular for cycling and now hosts at least 4 major cycling events per year. Obviously we are surrounded by hills and a lot of the cycling can be somewhat challenging, as you are unlikely to find a ride that does not incorporate a hill or two! Having said that the Youth hostel is in the fortunate position of being sited at the base of a well maintained working Pine forest which, thanks to the Forestry Commission needing constant access, is home to numerous easy to ride trails that are perfect for a bit of off road family cycling.
Bellever Forest has a whole network of paths suitable for cycling and offers routes from 2.5 miles plus, depending on where you go. Either you can take the family out for a simple ride or you can combine it with other routes. Whilst cycling you will probably encounter the Dartmoor heritage ponies who roam free within the forest and if you are really lucky you may even spot a deer or two. Whilst you will encounter the odd hill it is a manageable ride for all.
Circular route around Postbridge
This cycle route can start and finish at the hostel. It includes both on and off-road sections with a couple of steep road stretches. It takes you through fields, along open moorland roads and provides a longer option through Bellever Forest. This route is suitable for leisure cyclists and families. Children of 10 years and upwards should be able to cycle the shorter route on their own bike. You can start at either Postbridge car park or from the hostel. The shorter route is 6 miles and the longer 9 miles, the latter of which would take approx. 3 hours.
Houses of God and hills of the devil
This is a 30 mile route that will test you all. So named because the route links several churches by way of the devil’s hills. Not for the faint hearted but a challenging way to see some of the beautiful Dartmoor country side.
Stepping stones of West Dart
This is a moderate ride which combines open moorland, forest and a delightful river section and a possibility of mud. Riding across the moorland is quite hard but interesting, however it should be treated with caution for the going is hard and the territory is wild, even in dry, clear weather it is advisable to tackle it in company. Expect a few climbs but generally nothing too strenuous. The trail is 10.5 miles long and should take approx. 2 hours.
High Moorland Views
13.4 miles of winding roads of Dartmoor, including a pub along the way where you can sit and take in the fantastic scenery all around you. Again you can start and finish this ride from the Youth Hostel.
Headland Warren and Challacombe down
This is another ride that can either begin a few miles from the hostel, should you wish to drive to the start point, and in that case be a 7 mile ride, or you can at lease double that length by starting and ending at the hostel and include a stop off at the warren House Inn for a well deserved refreshment and time to catch your breath. Either way it is a fairly moderate ride though you have the option of incorporating a fairly hard climb up to Grimspound, which is well worth the effort, however not essential. On your way you will enjoy fine views and a lot of variety packed into a fairly short circuit, taking in the breath-taking ruggedness of the open moors.
Other things to do nearby
Find out about Dartmoor and its history, culture and wildlife, and explore the gallery here which has regularly changing exhibitions.
Get really close to adorable miniature Shetland ponies and miniature Mediterranean donkeys.
The Dewerstone, Haytor or Sheeps Tor offer some of the best climbing and bouldering opportunities Dartmoor has to offer. Visit the UK Climbing Dartmoor web page See UKC details of Dewerstone,&nb
9 miles Behind the imposing façade, poignant family keepsakes sit alongside 17th-century tapestries.
South Devon Railway is a seven mile line running down the stunning River Dart valley. It runs between Buckfastleigh, the main station, and Totnes in the south west of the country. S
9.8 miles Take an exhilarating walk and explore the beautiful, oak-wooded river gorge with its fascinating history and legends. Visit the website
The last remaining water-powered forge in England gives a unique insight into 19th century village life.
Choose from 18 fantastic group activities from gorge-scrambling, archery, pony-trekking, mountain boarding, mountain biking and a full range of watersports. Other activities including cycle hire
Step back into time with a visit to this dramatic castle, mentioned in the Doomsday Book, now a haunted ruin. Look out for open air performances during Summer.
See all the latest films in real comfort! Based in the old market hall, with a licensed screen, leather settees and individual chairs. Visit the cinema website
This reconstructed port was once the busiest port west of Exeter and the largest copper port in Queen Victoria’s empire. Visit the website
The Diving Centre offers diving, with dive boats visiting the wrecks and reefs of Lyme Bay and Torbay.
Journey through the oceans of the world from the local shoreline to the deep Atlantic. Visit the NMA website