Retina UK Tandem Cycle Challenge – Devon Coast to Coast

9-11 October 2020


Friday 9 October 2020

Arrive at YHA Oakhampton, meet your fellow participants and Retina UK staff and prepare for the days ahead.

Saturday 10 October 2020 – approx. 55 miles

After breakfast you and your bike will be transported to the North Devon coastal town of Ilfracombe to begin your ride.  The journey to the coast takes about an hour and a half, giving time for breakfast to go down before the pedalling begins. This is a last chance to make any last minute bike adjustments, and our CycleActive member of staff will be there with spares and tool kit to assist, if needed.

Leaving Ilfracombe along the magnificent craggy coastline of North Devon you tackle the first steep climb of the journey, and the only really steep section in the first third of the route. At the high point there are panoramic views of the coastline, and from here you can also choose a slightly extended option that takes you right along the stunning three mile beach at Woolacombe.

The countryside rolls gently until, at the town of Braunton, you join the traffic free Tarka Trail. This almost level section follows the serene tidal scenery of the Taw and Torridge estuaries as you pedal through the busy market town of Barnstable and on to Bideford, where the route heads inland.

This section of the journey is a winding traffic free trail that takes you deeper and deeper into the beautiful Torridge Valley. Riding alongside the river, crossing it often, and passing through open fields, old English woodlands and passing small homesteads, you are really starting to enter rural Devon.

Riding the route over two days you’ll get further into the heart of Devon before overnighting in Okehampton. This evening we will most likely go into Oakhampton town (approx. 10 min walk) for dinner.

Sunday 11 October 2020 – approx. 47 miles

The next part of the journey takes you into the hills as you ride the backroads on the way to Dartmoor. You reach the edge of the National Park just beyond Okehampton and head for the high point of the journey just beyond the magnificent viaduct at Meldon (built in 1874).

The scenery now is quite breathtaking as the green fields roll away to your right, while the giant Tors of Dartmoor rise up immediately to your left. The route follows the park boundary for much of the way now as we pass several small villages.

After joining the river Tavy before the town of Tavistock the route gradually heads for more level ground, and you start to see lush common land being grazed by Dartmoor ponies. Continuing south you eventually join the river Plym and follow the riverside trail into Plymouth, and our finish at the imposing Citadel on the seafront.

At the finish you can enjoy a glass of champagne at the sea front bar while we load up the bikes for the transfer back to Okehampton.