The Granite Way

The Granite Way is an 11 mile long traffic-free path that stretches between Okehampton and Lydford. The surface is mainly rather good, save for a football-pitch length section roughly in the middle, where it becomes a narrow, unsurfaced track that can be a bit overgrown and muddy at times. The reason for this is that it crosses private land, and so becomes a permissive path, where the landowner didn't want it to be properly surfaced. 

Shortly after leaving Okehampton, the Granite Way crosses the A30, using a subway that is also used by farmers to herd cattle through. It is rare to encounter cattle being herded through, but using the underpass immediately after can be somewhat unpleasant!

Those are the only two negative points of the Granite Way, and the positives hugely outweigh any niggly details. Mainly flat, a rarity for this part of Devon, the Granite Way first runs alongside the tracks of the Dartmoor Railway, which runs between Okehampton station and Meldon quarry. In summer, you can often see steam trains going by. 

There is a rather good greasy-spoon type cafe at Okehampton station, run by the Dartmoor Railway, and there is a dining car restaurant at Meldon quarry, overlooking Meldon viaduct (which was built by Brunel). The dining car restaurant is open only at limited times, but the viewing platform is accessible even if it's closed, and is well worth a visit.

The views from the viaduct are great, too, so do linger for a while, if you can.

A while later, you will pass Bundu Camping and Caravan Park, which has access almost directly onto the Granite Way. Not signposted, but right outside the main entrance of Bundu, you will find the Prewley Moor Inn, where cold drinks are served, and toilets are available.

Very soon after, you will see the sign for Devon Cycle Hire, again with access pretty much directly onto the Granite Way. Even if you're not looking at hiring bikes, in case you have a mechanical issue with your bike, the friendly folk here would be happy to help.

A while further, you will see the church tower of the Church of St Thomas a Becket to your right. The church also has direct access to the Granite Way, and very often will be selling delicious cream teas to weary cyclists. Well worth a stop, if they're open and you have the time.

The short, unsurfaced track now lies ahead, but soon enough you'll be back onto a decent tarred surface, followed shortly afterwards by the Bears Lake viaduct. In years gone by, you would've had to exit the tarred path just after the viaduct, to follow a nasty track all the way to the busy A386, and then a diversion of several miles through Bridestow.

That's all changed, and all you need to do is carry on straight, along the new section of the Granite Way that passes under the A386. Where it meets Station Road, you need to cross. To your right, you will see several buildings. Now privately owned, that used to be the Bridestowe station in days gone by.

You will now be quite close to Lydford, which gained it's name from the river Lyd. When the track starts going uphill, by Lydford House B & B, you're almost in the village of Lydford. When you get to the road at the top, you've effectively reached the end of the Granite way. Turn right onto the road, and follow it past the primary school, the chapel and the village hall, to find the Castle Inn (named so after Lydford Castle) on your right.