As I sit here having been looking out of the window at a lovely late spring day with sunshine and blossom blowing on the breeze only to walk outside at the end of the shift to find it was hoofing it down with rain that has spoilt the planned evening group ride. We’re not fair weather riders by any means but no one wants a soaking after work so I’m looking gloomily out of the window and need some inspiration and something to look forward to. Just in time Katherine Moore has just published her new trail in East Devon. I recently completed a North to South Devon C2C so I know how good the riding can be on the back roads and bridleways of the county ( see the details of my ride here )
Read on for what Katherine has to say about the East Devon Trail, it’s certainly on my list of places to visit.
East Devon Trail: bikepacking in search of wildlife
The East Devon Trail is a ~185 kilometre (115 mile) bikepacking route through East Devon, a rural and
coastal landscape between the county’s capital of Exeter and neighbouring Dorset and Somerset. The
mixed terrain route has been devised by East Devon local Katherine Moore; a zoologist by training and
cycling writer by trade.
The Trail aims to showcase this magnificent, and all too often overlooked region of Devon, which will
astound you with the sheer variety of habitats, from freshwater marshes to lowland heath, green
agricultural field networks to steep cliffs to pebbled beaches and sleepy woodland.
There’s more than one way to travel by bike: we want to show you something a little different. Forget
about FKTs, put your racing mindset aside and try adopting a different pace for the East Devon Trail.
It’s no accident that the EDT visits many nature reserves, gorgeous towns and villages along its 185
kilometre length. We want to show you the incredible wildlife we’re happy to support in East Devon; our
rare lowland heath; migratory bird service stations; nation-leading species reintroduction programmes and of course the marvellous views and gravel tracks that accompany them.
From quaint thatched villages to delicious cream teas (#creamfirst), (as a Midlander with no Devon/Cornish affiliation I don’t agree with this but it’s Katherine’s route so I’ll let this go) fish and chips on the beach and farm shops boasting local produce by the basket-load, there’s plenty more to the East Devon experience to savour, if you’re willing to give it the time.
A wilder East Devon
RSPB Bowling Green and Goosemoor awaits just a short ride out of Exeter for migratory wildfowl, waders
and marsh harriers, the Pebblebed Heaths from Woodbury Common to Mutters Moor provide crucial
lowland heath habitat for nightjars, Dartford warblers, lizards and many species of butterflies, as do the
reserves at Trinity Hill and Fire Beacon Hill. Seaton Wetlands host numerous hides for peering out in
search of oystercatchers, black-tailed godwits and ringed plovers, while the luckiest of riders may even
see Beavers on the River Otter!
Binoculars are a must on the packing list, and handy guides at the reserves and hides often give you lots
of information of what to look for and when, not to mention the friendly locals! This is certainly not a ride to be hurried.
Accessibility is key, so you can reach the East Devon Trail easily by train, which both starts and finishes
at the main train station in Exeter. You can also link up to other established bikepacking routes, as we’ve
deliberately strayed – just a little – into Dorset to the border town of Lyme Regis, where you meet the
Wessex Ridgeway and Old Chalk Way routes.
While enjoying the East Devon Trail is free, riders are strongly urged to consider donating to the local
FORCE Cancer Charity to help fund their vital work. FORCE (Friends of the Oncology and Radiotherapy
Centre, Exeter) became a charity in 1987, with a Cancer Support and Information Centre at the Royal
Devon and Exeter Hospital that has supported many families in the decades since.
The East Devon Trail has been created in partnership with local stakeholders, including Devon Wildlife
Trust, Wild East Devon, the Pebblebed Heath Conservation Trust, the RSPB and East Devon AONB.
The East Devon Trail has been generously supported by Komoot and Outdoor Provisions.
Read more: www.eastdevontrail.com
Images by ForTheHellOfIt.cc