Granite Way, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Granite Way, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

The Granite Way is an 11 miles or 18 kilometres multi-use recreation route running between Okehampton and Lydford on the north west fringe of Dartmoor National Park. The Granite Way was fully opened at the beginning of 2014*. The entire route is now off-road so it's ideal for family bike trips in the area.

We've cycled the trail with young children on numerous occasions. It's also relatively easy to walk it as the surface is flat and true. There are some exceptionally beautiful views. Highlights include the stretch of track over Meldon Viaduct and Lake Viaduct.

In addition to the multi-use trail itself, Okehampton and Lydford are packed with things to do and see such as English Heritage's Okehampton Castle (English Heritage) and the National Trust's Lydford Gorge (National Trust). A day out on the Granite Way is an essential family experience on Dartmoor.


Bike hire

Bring your own bikes or hire them along the route. Granite Way Cycles Hire is situated at the start/end of the Granite Way at Okehampton Station behind the youth hostel. Devon Cycle Hire is located towards the centre of the Granite Way and is very easily accessible from the A386 off the A30.


The below is a possible route description and starts by Granite Way Cycles Hire. Clearly, you can start at Devon Cycle Hire or any other major access point along the Granite Way.


Starting at Okehampton Station Visitor Centre

Start at Okehampton Station Visitor Centre. Follow signs on to the Granite Way. Head south west and soon you'll see English Heritage's Okehampton Castle (English Heritage) below. The trail runs along the right hand side of the railway. You pass through a tunnel under the A30 and continue to Meldon Quarry where you'll find the viewpoint Emmett's Folly. You the pass train carriages and Meldon Viaduct appears in front of you.


Meldon Viaduct

Meldon Viaduct is a highlight of the ride. The West Okement Valley is way below and lined with Meldon Woods. Yes Tor rises high to your left. Meldon Reservoir is clearly visible. The views of sensational.


Sourton and Lake Viaduct

Beyond the viaduct, you'll pass an access point to a road that leads to the dam of Meldon Reservoir. It's worth taking a look, especially to see the viaduct you just crossed. Continue on the Granite Way and you'll come to Devon Cycle Hire. Further down the trail, the moors open out to reveal Sourton Tors with Corn Ridge behind. You then pass Sourton Church before coming to the impressive Lake Viaduct. Note that there is access to Sourton from the Granite Way by Sourton Church and access to the moors on a path that runs down to the bottom of Lake Viaduct.


The 'missing link'

From Lake Viaduct, the Granite Way continues south to the 'missing link'. This is a stretch of the trail completed in 2014. Before, you had to detour to Bridestowe. Here, the moors rise to the east. Note that the old King Way is on the flank of the moor. It's a nice walk to which you can return another day. The 'missing link' section takes you to a country road where there's limited parking available. Cross the road and you're on the final stretch that takes you to Lydford. There are great views over the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.



In Lydford, visit the pub, castle, church, Norman fort and the National Trust's Lydford Gorge. Also look out for the Viking runestone and Saxon shield/Viking axe.


Now turn around and cycle back. It's a total of 22 miles or 36 kilometres there and back. The surface is very good and mostly flat so it's not particularly difficult for a family with kids to ride. It's a great day out. Highly recommended.


If you don't want to walk or cycle the full trail then we'd suggest the stretch of path around Meldon Viaduct. As mentioned, the viaduct runs across the spectacular West Okement Valley and offers fine views up to Yes Tor.


Other family cycling routes

If you're looking for family cycling ideas then also try Drake's Trail and Haldon Forest which is just east of the Park. To the west of Dartmoor, in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are family bike trails at the Tamar Trails Centre near Gunnislake.


*The Granite Way has been open for years. However, a section of the route referred to as the 'missing link' was completed at the beginning of 2014. Until its completion, one had to take a diversion on roads. The route is now fully off-road so it's perfect for families. Note that Dartmoor National Park Authority is doing a great deal of work to open up other cycle ways under the project name 'Granite and Gears'.