The Tarka Trail stretches from Torrington through Barnstaple and out to Braunton. It used to be a railway line but has now been converted to a cyclepath. It is about 21 miles long.
I've been wanting to take the children along it for a long time now, and having given up on my youngest ever learning to ride a bike, decided that today we would hire a bike with an extra bit on the back for her to sit on and pretend to pedal. Unfortunately lots of other people must have had the same idea because when we phoned the Cycle Hire place next to the railway station in Barnstaple they didn't have any left. After a small sulk we solved the problem by resurrecting the cycle seat we used when she was a baby. She is just on the maximum weight limit for it. This meant my husband had to ride my old, rusty 3 speed bike, but at least we all got to go out together.
Finding the cycle trail was a bit of an adventure, but we made it eventually. We decide to go from Barnstaple railway station to Fremington Quay. This is not the prettiest stretch of the trail but its the closest to us and the shortest bit to get to somewhere worth going. Its about three miles and it was quite surprising how quickly we did it. The Quay is quite a popular place and the old railway station has been converted into a cafe. We had a drink, cake and ice cream then headed back again. There are some lovely views of the estuary. And when we got into Barnstaple we found our way onto the new bridge and came home that way, must easier than going through the town, although I did have to get off and push up the hill to the top of the bridge!