Tavistock to Horndon
Matt Carroll, author of Escape Routes, picks his favourite rides...
edding down in a train station ticket office might not strike you as the height of luxury, but at Old Tavistock Railway Station things have changed. For starters there are no trains (not since the Sixties) and secondly the station buildings, including the porter’s cabin and former refreshment hall, have been converted into luxurious self-catering cottages.
The cycling around here is rather fabulous, too. After slipping out of town along a quiet side lane, it isn’t long before you arrive at the first idyllic country pub of the day – The Trout and Tipple – where a glass of something long and cool will refresh you for the trip onto Dartmoor.
Riding around here is like entering a life-sized Postman Pat world – all intricate lanes and babbling brooks – and after cruising through the village of Mary Tavy you’ll come to curiously-titled pub, the Elephant’s Nest.
A tasty plate of Brixham scallops with diced chorizo will refuel you for the home run, which sees neatly parceled pastures turn to untamed scrubland as you thread your way through spectacular moorland that would have Thomas Hardy going weak at the knees…
14 miles approx
Stop and see
Tavistock Pannier Market (01822 611003; is five minutes’ walk from the railway station cottages, and has been running since 1105. You can buy everything from plants to jewellery and books to bags – plus there’s a great coffee shop (Dukes).
Eat and drink
The Elephant’s Nest (01822 810273; has worn slate floors, epic views from the garden and a menu to die for.
Old Tavistock Railway Station Cottages (01822 610136. Choose from the Ticketing Hall, the Refreshment Hall and the Porter’s Office – all of them are equipped with five-star facilities.
Rent a bicycle
Tavistock Cycles (01822 617 630).
This route and over 50 others feature in a book entitled Matt Carroll’s Escape Routes , a hand-picked selection of stunning cycle rides around England. Published by Punk, priced £16.95.
Delicious local and seasonal produce.Farmers Markets