National Cycle Network
In Devon there are two National Cycle Network (NCN) routes that are fully mapped (maps from www.sustransshop.co.uk) and signed (the 'Devon Coast to Coast' and the 'West Country Way') and a third, the Sourthern Coastal route, NCN2 which is under development. All three have been built or are being improved and developed by Devon County Council in partnership with many national and local organisations.
- Devon Coast to Coast (NCN route 27)approx. 100 miles between Ilfracombe and Plymouth. This is a classic, a truly spectacular route through the heart of Devon taking in estuaries and moor, market towns and mighty views, with over 40% along traffic free former railway lines. The route runs via Braunton, Barnstaple, Bideford, Great Torrington, Hatherleigh, Okehampton and around the edge of Dartmoor National Park to Tavistock and Plymouth.
- West Country Way, (NCN route 3) approx. 90 miles between the Somerset border near Tiverton and the Cornwall border near Holsworthy. The route runs across Exmoor and then a section via Barnstaple, Bideford and Great Torrington which it shares with the 'Devon Coast to Coast' before heading west to Holsworthy, and then to Bude in Cornwall. A superb mix along quiet canal towpaths, the roof of Exmoor and idyllic rural villages across the breadth of Devon.
Both these routes continue to be developed by Devon County Council to improve the extent of the traffic free sections and the attractiveness of the on-road sections. Some short sections are interim and therefore may not be to full National Cycle Network standard, these are being continuously improved and upgraded. There are places where care is needed, and these are highlighted on the official maps. Please share the pleasures of these routes generously with other users such as pedestrians and horse riders; and remember that your dealings with local people can help future negotiations and ensure a warm welcome for cycling visitors who come after you.
- Southern Devon Route (NCN route 2) between Plymouth and the Dorset border via Totnes, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Exeter, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Seaton and Axminster. Some sections notably at Totnes, Exeter and Exmouth are already built and in use.
About the National Cycle Network
The National Cycle Network in Devon is being developed by Devon County Council working with Sustrans and other local authorities and organisations. Nationally, Sustrans, a sustainable transport charity, has received Millennium Funding from the Lottery to develop the NCN in partnership with local authorities such as Devon County Council. The NCN was the first project to receive Millennium backing and is the only fully national Millennium Project covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Nationally the aim is to have at least half the network on traffic free routes and paths, this certainly the aim in Devon so that the routes are:
- Safe - for children and less experienced cyclists
- Useful - for local journeys
- Memorable - for visitors
Here in Devon, as elsewhere, we aim to encourage people to try cycling for some of their journeys.
Clearly cycling can help
- Reduce congestion and traffic pollution
- Retain people's fitness and good health
- Keep down travel costs
- Generate community and social wellbeing
- Reduce harm to the environment
Here in the South West of England the local economy of Devon relies heavily on visitors for its income. We need though to offset and reduce the impact that the growth in private motor traffic has on the fabric of the very countryside and coastlines that people come here to enjoy.
Devon County Council's commitment to and involvement in the National Cycle Network project shows our determination to tackle this issue in a positive way.
By choosing to cycle for part or all of your travels you are supporting and contributing to this important change in transport priorities. This helps to ensure that you and future generations can enjoy Devon's superb countryside, coastline, towns and villages to the full. Thank you.
For both locals and visitors, from families to long-distance enthusiasts, campers to lovers of luxury, the National Network is for everyone to enjoy.