Walk or cycle from Barnstaple to Fremington Quay on the Tarka Trail, and enjoy an ice cream at the cafe. You get fabulous views out over the mouth of the Taw River, see beautiful butterflies and flowers in summer, enjoy easy walking and a lovely cafe at the end.
You can hire bikes at Barnstaple Station or at Fremington, and this level tarmac path is ideal for anyone who wants to take it easy. The down side is that nobody seems to do one way cycle hire so you’ll have to retrace your route. The alternative is to walk and get the bus back home from Fremington or even Instow.
We recommend getting there by bus (train or car also possible). Tickets are really reasonable and you get a unique view of the North Devon countryside from the top of a double decker. Catch the 5B from Winkleigh and get off at Sticklepath Hill just before you come down to the roundabout at the edge of Barnstaple (ask the driver). Get an all day ticket if you plan to come back from Fremington. Cross over the road, head down the hill and down a side street to footpaths under the main road. Follow the signs for the Tarka Trail and enjoy the scenery. You’re following the path of the old railway line that served Fremington Quay.
Fremington Quay was once the busiest port between Bristol and Lands End. Now it’s a cafe and has fascinating displays and photographs from times gone by, incluidng pennyfarthing and other early bicycles (suspended from the ceiling).
The cafe is open most days in the summer, most weekends in the winter, and closed most Mondays. Ring them on 01271 378783 to be sure.
You have to walk up to the main road to get the bus back – ask us and we’ll show you on the map and describe the bus stop.
But why stop there? Why not go on and walk around Home Marsh Farm, or follow the South West Coast Path for a stretch before rejoining the Tarka Trail in Instow (also on the 5B bus route)?
Barnstaple is about 25 miles from the eco lodges and cottage at Wheatland Farm, and Fremington about 22. The last bus back is usually about 16:20 – but please check online.