Barnstaple to Instow or Torrington
This trail takes in the sights and sounds of the southern part of the Tarka Trail, running along the Taw river and estuary down the route of the old railway line into Barnstaple. It’s six miles of flat, safe cycling from Barnstaple to Instow (a 12 mile round trip) or just over 14 miles to the Puffing Billy near Torrington if you want a real work out (a 28 mile round trip)
Start the trail in Barnstaple near the train station where you can hire bikes and trailers for the whole family. Parking is available at the railway station or in the long stay car park next to the Parkwood Leisure Centre.
Travel south west on the Tarka Trail towards Fremington. Here you’ll find the charming Fremington Quay Café in the converted railway station building, which houses a small museum on the history of the quay. If you’re cycling with kids, there’s an enclosed play area opposite the café.
After refuelling, continue to cycle along the river to Instow. Look out for the thatched cricket club house on the way, which dates back to the late 1700’s
The Tarka Trail will take you to the far side of the village. Double back along Marine Parade to take in the view of Appledore across the water. If you spot a Hocking’s Ice cream van, then you must try one - Hockings is famous locally for their traditional North Devon clotted cream ice cream.
Instow is a great place to stop for lunch or you can stock up on delicious local produce at John’s of Instow, (a delicatessen, café and grocers).
If you are feeling energetic you can continue along the Tarka Trail to Bideford or even as far as Exton and the Puffing Billy where you’ll find another converted railway café and a fantastic afternoon tea.
Retrace your route back to Barnstaple where you can enjoy tapas at Lilico’s Tapas Lounge and Bar on the square or sample the cocktail menu at Bar 62. Go on…you deserve it!