Cornwall and Devon family cycle routes

Are you looking for a fun and active way to spend time with your family while on holiday in Devon and Cornwall?

This article provides information on some of Devon and Cornwall’s best cycle rides for kids. Whether you're looking for a leisurely day out exploring the stunning coast or a more challenging ride through the countryside.

Some of these cycling routes are completely traffic-free and some take in some quiet roads.

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Tarka Trail Devon

Key facts:

Tarka Trail Cornwall coast family cycle ride

The Tarka Trail is an 180-mile walking route, with a 30-mile traffic-free cycle path linking Braunton with Meeth.

The cycle route is a disused railway path and is the UK's longest continuous traffic-free shared use path.

If you enjoy spotting wildlife, then you are sure to enjoy this trail as it crosses many wildlife habitats including estuaries, salt marshes, woodland and meadows!

Most access points along the way are restricted by gates or posts, they are usually just over a metre wide with enough room for a trike or a bike trailer.

Along the way you can take a detour and visit Barnstaple town centre, or you can venture on and then pop into Torridge Estuary, Instow or Bideford which are all lovely areas to stop for refreshments.

More information about the route on the Tarka Trail website.

Camel Trail Cornwall

Key facts:

  • Suitable for: everyone but you may encounter some traffic along the route
  • Length: 18 miles (one way - can be completed in sections)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: relatively flat, little legs may feel slight incline
  • Traffic: mainly traffic-free
  • Starting point: Padstow, Wadebridge, Bodmin or Wendfordbridge
  • Bike Hire: Padstow, Wadebridge, Bodmin and Wendfordbridge
  • Public transport: You can get the train to Bodmin Parkway train station and then from here you can catch the steam train on the Bodmin and Wenford railway.
  • Parking: Padstow, SW921 747 (Multiple car parks in the town), Old Town Cove (SW932 742, Follow signs for Old Town Cove from St Issey), Wadebridge, SW988 727 (Multiple car parks in the town)
Camel Trail family bike rides Cornwall bike trailer

This trail is relatively flat, mostly traffic free and can be cycled in sections which makes it suitable for little ones if they are unable to cycle long distances at a time.

The sections below would all make for a nice 10/12-mile round trip for a family day out:

  • Padstow to Wadebridge: 5.5 miles (completely flat)
  • Wadebridge to Bodmin (Boscarne): 5.75 miles (small incline when you approach Bodmin)
  • Bodmin to Wenfordbridge: 6.25 miles (gradual incline - 30 metre ascent)

In Wadebridge, the route goes on the road, so be mindful of that with little ones.

As you cycle this route you can take in the beautiful Cornish countryside, and you can even take some time to spot wildlife such as otters, bats, kingfishers, or dormice! There are plenty of places to stop to take a break if needed along the way.

More information about the route on the Camel Trail website.

Granite Way Dartmoor

Key facts:

  • Suitable for: all ages and abilities
  • Length: 11 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Elevation: mostly flat
  • Traffic: traffic-free apart from Lydford
  • Starting point: Okehampton or Lydford depending which direction you choose
  • Bike hire: Granite Way Cycles (bike trailers and tagalongs available) and Devon Cycle Hire.
  • Public transport: Okehampton train station
  • Parking: Okehampton Station has a car park, and you can also park at Lydford car park
Granite Way Okehampton family friendly bike rides Devon

The Granite Way cycle route runs for roughly 11 miles on a disused railway path. The route starts in Okehampton and takes you towards Meldon and Lydford.

There are plenty of stunning views on Dartmoor along the way, you will reach the remarkable Meldon Viaduct and the breath-taking Blue Bell woods.

Along this route there are pubs and restaurants where you can stop for food and drinks and to give your legs a rest!

In Lydford, you can cycle into the village along the road and visit Lydford Castle and Lydford Gorge. If you don't want to cycle on the road, you can always park your bikes and walk the 0.5 miles to the village (and pub!).

Find out more about the route from the Visit Dartmoor website.

Exe Estuary Trail - Devon

Key facts:

  • Suitable for: all ages
  • Length: 22.5 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: mostly flat
  • Traffic: mostly traffic-free
  • Starting point: Exmouth or Dawlish
  • Public transport: train to Dawlish or Exmouth
  • Bike hire: several cycle hire options
  • Parking: available in Exmouth, Dawlish, Exeter, and Topsham

This trail is mostly traffic-free and fairly flat, so it is great for young children or not so confident cyclists though be sure to know what distance each rider is capable of doing as the complete route is around 22.5 miles.

As you make your way along the route, you'll be able to admire the charming villages and towns, all while being surrounded by the countryside, and the expansive water.

Plenty of refreshment options are available along the route, as you'll be passing some lovely waterside villages.

More information about the route on the Sustrans website.

Pentewan Valley Trail Cornwall

Key facts:

  • Suitable for: all ages and abilities
  • Length: 3.4 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: mostly flat
  • Traffic: mostly traffic-free
  • Starting point: various places you can join but typically start at St Austell station or Pentewan Valley Cycle Hire, PL26 6BX
  • Bike hire: Pentewan Valley Cycle Hire (bike seats, bike trailers and children's bikes available)
  • Public transport: St Austell train station
  • Parking: you can park in Pentewan and follow the route towards St Austell or there are small car parks available along the road towards Pentewan and at King’s Wood

As you cycle along this trail, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the beautiful Pentewan Sands Beach.

There are also several points of interest along the way, including the historic harbour of Pentewan and the charming village of St Austell, where you can stop to visit and grab a bite to eat!

More information about the route on the Clay Trails website.

Eden Project to Wheal Martyn - Cornwall

Key facts:

  • Suitable for: confident riders
  • Length: 5 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Elevation: some short inclines
  • Traffic: mostly traffic free but will need to cross a main road
  • Starting point: Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG
  • Public transport: there is a direct bus from St Austell train station to the Eden Project
  • Bike hire: Pentewan Valley Cycle Hire
  • Parking: at the Eden Project and Wheal Martyn
Eden Project cycle ride family bike trail

If you're staying near the Eden Project, and you're looking for a day out from there, this is a lovely family bike ride. This ride starts behind the Plum Car Park at the Eden Project.

As you continue through the gardens, you will venture into the countryside, surrounded by rolling hills and picturesque villages which you can always stop off in to refuel if needed!

This route will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Cornwall, with stunning views of the countryside and coastline.

The cycle from the Eden Project to Wheal Martyn is a moderate-level ride with some inclines and rough terrain, and it involves crossing a main road, so it may not be suitable for young children or inexperienced cyclists.

More information about the route on the Clay Trails website.

Goss Moor - Cornwall

Key facts:

  • Suitable for: suitable for most but some on road riding
  • Length: 7 miles (circular route)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: mostly flat
  • Traffic: mostly off-road and traffic-free
  • Starting point: you can join at different points along the route
  • Public transport: St Columb Road or Roche train station
  • Bike hire: Explore By Bike in Bodmin
  • Parking: several car parks along the multi-use trail - Screech Owl Sanctuary and near the level crossing north of Tregoss

If you are looking for a leisurely bike ride, then this route is perfect. It is relatively flat, which means that all abilities can ride it, and is well signposted throughout.

This circular trail winds around the expanse of National Nature Reserve Goss Moor. You can expect to see a variety of wildlife, including birds, rabbits, and even the occasional deer!

There are also plenty of spots to stop for a picnic along the way to regain some energy.

More information about the route on the Cornwall Council website.

Cornish Coast to Coast (C2C)

Key facts:

  • Suitable for: all ages
  • Length: 11 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Elevation: mostly flat
  • Traffic: mostly traffic-free
  • Starting point: Portreath
  • Public transport: Redruth train station connects to the C2C via NCN3
  • Bike hire: available at Portreath, Saint Piran, and Elm Farm Cycles.
  • Parking: Portreath
Cornish Coast to Coast family friendly cycle route

The Cornish Coast to Coast (also called C2C) trail runs along a historical tin mining trial and has bike hire and cafes for any refreshments you may need.

Along this route, you will encounter a variety of terrain, such as peaceful country lanes, cycle paths adjacent to main roads, forest tracks, moorland paths and ancient bridleways.

Some sections of this route are rugged, so we recommend using a hybrid, MTB, or a general kid's bike rather than a road bike. During this ride, you can expect to see everything from rocky cliffs, sandy beaches to rolling hills and lush forests, making it a truly memorable ride!

If you are worried about the distance, you'll be happy to know that you can join at many points and ride as much or as little of it as you want!

Read Karen's article about riding the C2C with her children when they were 8 and 10 years old.

The First and Last Trail (Land's End to Hayle, via Penzance) - Cornwall

Key facts:

  • Suitable for: confident riders as there is a mixture of off and on road sections and there are inclines. However, the trail between Penzance and Marazion is off road and suitable for families.
  • Length: 25 miles
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Elevation: quite hilly and is shared with vehicles and pedestrians
  • Traffic: parts require on road riding and shared with traffic
  • Starting point: Land's End
  • Public transport: Penzance or Hayle train station
  • Bike hire: several cycle hire places available at Penzance
  • Parking: available in Sennen, Newlyn, Penzance, Longrock, Marazion and Hayle

The First and Last Trail cycle route is a stunning journey that takes you on a tour of the beautiful coastlines of Cornwall.

Beginning at Land's End, although you can join at various points, you then head towards Hayle. This route offers a mixture of terrain, and sections of on-road cycling are required, meaning some sections can be quite challenging for little ones.

It is also important to be prepared for changes in weather conditions and ensure you pack snacks and plenty of water. Along the route, you can stop off to do a bit of sightseeing as you pass by charming fishing villages, sandy beaches, and rugged cliffs.

There's a 2-mile section between Penzance and Marazion that is off-road and suitable for the youngest of riders.

Be sure to take in the stunning scenery as they’re views, you’ll want to remember!

More information about the route on the Cornwall Council website.

Bike parks and pump tracks in Devon and Cornwall

If you're looking for a day out mountain biking or doing jumps, here's our selection of bike parks and pump tracks in Devon and Cornwall:

In Devon and Cornwall there are various routes to choose from that will suit your family's abilities.

Furthermore, there are several cycle rental companies close to each route, making it easier to plan a cycling trip.

So why not start planning your next journey, pack a picnic, grab your bikes, and set out on one of these unforgettable rides?

You're sure to make memories with your children as you explore some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK.

With the unpredictable weather in the UK, you should check out our article on the best packable kids waterproof cycling jackets before you head out!

This article was written by Paige Harrop, who did a work placement with Cycle Sprog in 2023 as part of her Journalism degree at the University of Chester.


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