This 11km trail was 20 years in the making and was only completed in December 2019. It is a fantastic route, linking Moretonhampstead and Bovey Tracey, via Lustleigh, along an old railway track (sadly long since dismantled).
The trail inclines gradually from Bovey Tracey, and vice versa from Moreton. It is off road and traffic free for all but a short section on rural lanes near Lustleigh. This section is around 1 mile long and very hilly whichever direction you’re going in! We started at the Bovey Tracey end as we wanted to have the downhill experience on the way home!
We parked in the main pay and display car park in Bovey Tracey (£2.50 for up to 5 hours) and cross over the road into Mill Marsh Park. The path along the River Bovey starts here, and you can follow it to the main road crossings. There is an underpass that you need to dismount to enter, or a road crossing that you can opt for if the underpass is flooded.
You emerge from the underpass in the wonderful Parke, managed by the National Trust. Here you want to head right, onto the main path that runs through these beautiful woods.
There are several super paddling spots accessible from this main track and it’s worth allowing some time to explore the very tempting little beaches, either at the beginning or end of your ride.
The tracks takes you to the edge of Parke before you emerge through a gate on to a small country lane, take the hill on your right and enjoy your first views of Dartmoor as you follow the trail along the edge of Lustleigh. Although this section is on road, we didn’t meet any cars at all. This secruon is very hilly and could be dispiriting for little legs. Be reassured it doesn’t go on for long!
You will eventually reach a T-junction of sorts. This was the only place we were unsure on direction as the road signs say Moretonhampstead to the right bit some fellow cyclists told us to drop down to the left. Turning left brings you almost immediately to the old Lustleigh station area and the off road trail starts again with an info board and clear signage.
The rest of the trail is completely off road, with the newest section taking you across the road twice on smart bridges.
As you approach Moretonhampstead you will pass Steward Community Woodland, and then need to cross a lane (where there is no signage, straight ahead is the way to go!).
You reach Moretonhampstead onto Pound Street. To go into the town properly you unfortunately need to head up hill! You will be rewarded by a full array of shops though, and you could venture to The Sentry for a picnic or the pool when life gets back to normal.
The way back to Bovey is downhill all the way (if we ignore the Lustleigh climbs!) and you can reward yourself with a dip in the River Bovey at Parke before you head home!
Bovey Tracey also has a selection of shops and a fantastic outdoor pool. If you want to continue or extend your bike ride to include the fantastic Stover Trail, head to cycling spot Cafe 3 Sixty and then head off from there.