Cycling Devon's Coast to Coast, Ilfracombe to Plymouth

Luggage Transfers cover the full 99 miles of Devon’s Coast to Coast cycle route.  Established in 2009, we move over 36,000 bags each year for visitors walking and cycling throughout the South West.

Below, you’ll find more information about the route, a popular itinerary for Devon’s Coast to Coast, as well as a link to our cyclist friendly accommodation for the entire route.

Start: Ilfracombe
Finish: Plymouth
Total Distance: 99 miles / 160 km
Luggage transfers available: 1st March to 31st October

Whilst many of our clients are walkers, we also offer luggage and pannier transfers for cyclists across the South West area. One of the more popular routes covered is the Devon Coast to Coast. Using a combination of other trails, you can ride from Ilfracombe in North Devon, up onto Dartmoor and then on to the historic naval city of Plymouth or vice versa. A chance to explore the best Devon has to offer, both coastal and inland.

The route below is broken into the sections or areas depending on the trail being cycled.  How far you wish to cycle each day is a personal choice; you certainly would not want to miss the opportunity to stop and explore the history and locations between the coasts.

Popular Cycling Itinerary on the Devon Coast to Coast

Day 1 - Ilfracombe to Barnstaple (15 miles / 9.5 km)

Start the adventure in the pretty harbour town of Ilfracombe, a mixture of roads, lanes and finally old railway pathways take you through the village of Woolacombe and the UNESCO Biosphere Nature Reserve at Braunton Burrows. Barnstaple is the home of the Tarka Trail; here you cycle through the landscape made famous by Henry Williamson and his equally, if not more, famous otter.

Day 2 - Barnstaple to Petrockstow (24 miles / 15 km)

A wonderfully level route built along the old railway track following the Taw estuary with its numerous flora and fauna. Stop for refreshments in Bideford or ride the old viaducts onward to Great Torrington before reaching the next stage of the ride.

Day 3 - Petrockstow to Okehampton (19 miles / 11.8 km)

Here is the chance to immerse yourself in the Devon less visited. After some busy road riding you find yourself travelling through picture postcard villages such as Sheepwash, Hatherleigh and numerous ‘stowes’. Okehampton provides the most strenuous climb of the route but is worthy as a stopping point for the night. Its ruined and imposing castle looms over the valley; if feeling like a climb before setting off on your way, take the time to enjoy the views.

Day 4 - Okehampton to Tavistock (20 miles / 12.4 km)

There are many cycle routes which intersect Dartmoor National Park but continue out of Okehampton following the railway track to Meldon Viaduct. If you have an aversion to heights cycle straight over, but for those who wish to stop and admire the scenery, walk down to the viewing platform for the most breath-taking and clear views across the Moors and beyond. The railway path continues on to Lydford skirting the routes further into Dartmoor following the route to North Brentor. Cross the Wallabrook Viaduct and make your way into Tavistock, the busy and bustling market town offering many places to stop for the night.

Day 5 - Tavistock to Plymouth (21 miles / 13 km)

Our final destination today is Plymouth, naval city and home to the great Sir Frances Drake.  Setting out from Tavistock you cycle from urban life back to railway tracks, viaducts and tunnels taking you onward up a steep climb in to Yelverton. Beyond the town some of the tracks around here are rocky and not wholly suitable for cycling. We suggest you look to your official cycle route maps to avoid this if possible and get back to the disused railway tracks. From here, as you cycle the area known as the Plym Valley, watch out for a possible sighting of a peregrine falcon (they nest nearby in the cliffs); obviously seabirds will become a constant companions as you get nearer the coast.

The official end of this journey is at the ferry terminal here in Plymouth, but you may wish to stop once you reach the harbour area. The harbour area has been recently regenerated; it is full of great places to stop and get a bite to eat and a little something to celebrate your journey, you may decide to call it a day there.