Sunday, 30 December 2012

Drake's Trail Tavistock to Yelverton

We've had a few days out on Drake's Trail recently. The Trail itself is off-road on fine chippings which present no great problem to my road bike. As with any cycling trail around Tavistock, the start is scrappy requiring some nail-biting attention to young children riding on or near public roads.

From the West side of Tavistock, we follow the route to Morrisons via Monksmead. From Morrison's car park there are cycle route signs on the pavement beside the A386. A Toucan crossing a short distance after Morrison's petrol station outside LIDL leads to the other side of the A386 and a narrow cycle path towards Bishopsmead.

Around Bishopsmead the route follows short sections of road, some newly built but quite narrow cycling / pedestrian track and some narrow pavements signposted as cycle routes. Let the small blue signs guide you at each junction. The new roads around Tiddy Brook lead after some meandering to Buzzard Road and a T-junction onto Anderton Lane. You can see the two farm gates guarding the entrance to Drake's Trail on the opposite side of the road.

View Larger Map

The Google map images (as of late December 2012) have only patchy coverage of the recent Tiddy Brook development, so online you can catch a glimpse of the new trail from a distance away from the junction, but move one step closer to the junction and the trail will disappear. Turn around and you'll see only a building site behind you!

From the Tiddy Brook Drake's Trail entrance you can let the kids go free-range until Horrabridge: the route is all cycle and pedestrian trail. There's a short cul-de-sac at Horrabridge to walk/ride along to a T-junction with a busier road. On the other side of the road is safe, dedicated trail again all the way to Yelverton.

The path out of Horrabridge towards Yelverton is quite, quite steep. I pulled my two kids in a trailer up it and barely made it. A cheerful fellow walking at the top came over to congratulate me, remarking that a hill that steep was silly on a cycling route and that the path should have taken a different route.

Something that is annoying is what appears to be a single-car parking space with two boulders behind it at the foot of the slope. There was a car parked in it on our way back which was impassable with a bicycle trailer. I hope whoever is responsible for the trail will move the two boulders up to the roadside.

As you arrive in Yelverton, you pass through a car park with a few little shops (including one which sells confectionery). On the far side of the car park is the Yelverton Village Playground. The cycle path continues around the left side of the playground, to emerge at the large roundabout on the A386.

It took me over an hour to reach Yelverton with a trailer holding two kids. The return journey Yelverton -> Tavistock was a little over twenty minutes. Ensure your brakes work before setting off downhill!

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