7.9 miles, hilly, on rural green lanes with very little traffic, but shared with cars
By train, however, it is a very enjoyable journey, along the extremely scenic Tamar Valley Line. If you’ve never been on the Tamar Valley Line, you are missing out! No bicycle reservations are needed (or possible) for trains on the Tamar Valley Line.
When you get off the train in Bere Ferrers, and walk out of the station, you need to turn left. The lane will curve to the right, and very soon after you will need to turn a very sharp left, when you get to the lane leaving the village. Simply follow that lane as it crosses the bridge over the tracks, and winds its way (via some hills) to the shores of the Tamar.
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For almost a mile, you will ride mostly along the water’s edge. When the lane turns right, away from the river, you will be faced with quite a steep climb, though fortunately, the steep section is less than a quarter of mile long. Some people get off and push their bikes along here, but you may feel differently.
Simply follow the lane until you get to some houses, where the lane turns 90 degrees to the right.
You will see another lane veering off to your left – take that lane that veers left and follow it to the T-junction (signed Hooe – Cotts) where you must turn right (Cotts).
Though done with the steep section, you will still have almost two miles of steady uphill ahead, and it annoyingly becomes a bit steeper near the end, so take it easy, and stop regularly. To admire the view, of course!
When you get to another T-junction, turn left (again, signed Cotts) then simply keep following the lane until you see a large sign at a junction, saying Bere Alston. Take right right-hand fork at this junction (signed Tavistock) and continue straight ahead. You will see a stop sign at the next junction with Pentillie Road, where you must continue straight. The road you’ll be riding on is called The Down – follow it until it curves 45 degrees to the left, at the junction with Woolacombe Road, where you must turn right, to follow Woolacombe Road.
Follow Woolacombe Road to Woolacombe Cross, where the signpost will show Tavistock to the left, Bere Ferrers to the right, and Collytown straight. Follow the signs towards Collytown. Initially, it will be a mild downhill, before flattening out. When the lane makes an almost 90 degree turn to the right you need to be careful, as it suddenly becomes a very steep downhill. While your legs will appreciate it, unless you have decent working brakes, your nerves won’t like it. It’s not entirely uncommon to encounter people walking their bikes down this hill.
As you take it slow down this hill, drink in the spectacular views over the Tavy (in glimpses) and the Tamar. Before long, at the foot of the hill, the lane makes a sharp right-hand bend. The road will undulate for a while, before making a 90 degree left turn, and suddenly, at the bottom of the little downhill, you’ll find yourself riding on the shore of the Tavy.
Very shortly after, you’ll be back in Bere Ferrers, and as the road gentle turns uphill again, you
may want to stop at the Olde Plough Inn, which will be on your left. At the uphill-end of the pub, there’s a little walkway, through which you can wheel your bike into the garden at the rear of the pub. Given the high likelihood that your train won’t be there for a while, you may want to spend some time at the pub.
When leaving the pub afterwards, turn left, and head uphill. After a gentle curve to the right, you will see Station Road leading off to the left. Follow Station Road past the 90 degree bend to the right , then a short while later, veer left at the sign pointing to the station.
Now all you need to do is wheel your bike back onto the train, and enjoy a well-earned rest on the train, while admiring the scenery back to Plymouth.
The route map is below – it’s an interactive map, and you can zoom on it. You can also export the route in GPX format, to use with whatever digital navigational device you may be using.