This 16km (each way) traffic-free cycle route runs along a disused railway line from Okehampton to Lydford. We have previously done a shorter section from Okehampton to Meldon quarry, and you can read about that here.
Obviously, you choose to start and finish where you like but we find Okehampton an easy place to park and set off. There is a large, free car park at the station (with an overflow area as it can look busy when you pull in) and this is a good place to unload bikes and get everyone ready to set off. To start the trail you follow the signs across station road and up a short sharp ramp to reach the trail (it may be worth those with littler legs walking this).
From here, the route is well signposted and easy to follow. There are occasional gates to pass through to accommodate farm access, but theses are clearly signed and closed to keep children safe.
After reaching Meldon quarry, where you can read the info boards and find out a bit more about the history of the area, you will reach Meldon Viaduct.
Here you can either head straight on, across the amazing bridge with utterly stunning views all around, or you can explore the network of footpaths a little. If you wish to do so, you can lock your bikes to the provided stands and follow the steep steps beside the viaduct to join footpaths to Meldon Woods (stunning bluebells, Meldon Quarry (beautiful green pool – no swimming allowed) and Meldon Reservoir. The West Okement River and Red-A-Ven Brook can also be visited for a paddle this way too.
Cycling on across the viaduct, you will reach an access point for Meldon Resevoir – you follow the signs to join the lane to the main car park from which you can access the dam and there are toilets and an info board here.
Cycling on again, you will pass benches and picnic areas off the main path – these are good spots to aim for to have snack and drink stops when needed.
At Sourton, you are roughly half way. You can stop by the church and children can play in the Sourton Labyrinth to stretch their legs if they’ve been in a trailer or bike seat for a while.
Continuing on towards Lydford, you cross the second viaduct of the route – the Lake Viaduct. The views of the moor here are beautiful and far reaching.
There are some narrower sections as you go west, with some short sections of rougher ground and frequent gates. As you get closer to Lydford, you do have a to cross a lane but it is quiet and you have ample warning to keep children safe.
At the end of the trail, you rejoin the road into Lydford Village. Follow the road to the right and cycle past the school to reach the centre of the village. Here you will see the pub, Saxon Banks and the castle, which is free to visit and open all year.
This is a great place to stop for a picnic and a play before either following Cycle Route 27 onto Lydford Gorge and Tavistock (where it becomes Drake’s Trail), or turning back to return to Okehampton.