Cycling holidays in Devon have soared in popularity! With a number of breathtaking trails on our doorstep – it’s easy to see why.
With stunning scenery overlooking as you follow the River Exe from its mouth to the historic Quayside in Exeter with several notable landmarks on the way.
Although the trail is largely flat, the prospect of a 10 mile ride from Starcross to Exeter Quayside can seem a little daunting for many novice cyclists or for those who haven’t taken to the saddle for a few years!
With this in mind, we decided to test ride this popular route using Electric Cycles or e-bikes, an increasingly popular mode of transport for those recently returning to cycling or looking to get an extra boost in pedal power. Thanks to Fully Charged Cycles, an electric cycle hire company in Dawlish Warren, exploring on two wheels can now be done without breaking a sweat!
They’re able to drop-off and pick-up anywhere in the Teignbridge area, meaning we able to save our energy for more adventurous feats. We were immediately struck by the quality of the hire bikes, e-cycles have come along way in a short space of time – gone are the days of heavyweight and clunky contraptions, our stallions for the day were sleek and lightweight designs that drew plenty of admiring glances throughout our journey!
One of our favourite features of this trail is that it’s mostly traffic free, and aside from a short stretch that takes you past the grounds of Powderham Castle, your winding journey up the Estuary is on dedicated cycle paths.
Turf Lock Hotel is a popular choice for cyclists and kayakers alike, and serves up glorious panoramas of the Estuary in addition to tasty grub and refreshments. The Exe Estuary is a haven for wildlife, and depending on the time of year, avid ornathologists flock to get a glimpse of migratory birds in flight. The Turf is also one of several ferry crossing points over the Exe. All of the ferries are seasonal, including the Starcross to Exmouth service, and make sure you have a pocket full of change to pay. A short jaunt up the trail and you’ll arrive at the Old Lock Keeper’s Cottage. This quirky property is set between both the Canal and the River Exe and is open as a café during the summer months. A stones throw from picturesque Topsham, there’s yet another ferry crossing here, giving you ample opportunity to explore the historic quay.
Should you stay on the Exe Estuary trail you’ll follow the river as it weaves its way into the regional capital, Exeter. There’s another chance to refuel at Double Locks, but if you can hold on for another 15 minutes you’ll be rewarded with the plentiful bounty the Exeter Quayside has to offer. Ready to welcome you are a mix of classic cafes, trendy bars and boutique sellers.
It’ll take you between 45 minutes and an hour to complete the journey into Exeter, and although the route is mostly flat, we loved the boost that the electric cycles gave us. The e-cycles have 5 boost settings ranging from Eco + (if you’re feeling confident) to Extra Power (perfect for any hilly climbs), and the great thing is that you can turn off the power and they act exactly like a normal bike! The range of these bikes does vary dependany on the level of assistance used, from 46 miles on full power to a massive 128 miles on the Eco Plus mode. To put it into context, after a return journey from Cofton to Exeter we still have 70% of battery life still remaining, so it’d be quite an achievement if you drained the battery.
So if you want to make some space in your car, leave your bike at home and hire an e-bike!