Big bike out: To North Tawton Sylvia Plath’s Yew Tree

Here’s a lovely and moderately strenuous ride that takes you to the one time home town of Silvia Plath, complete with a cafe, a couple of pubs and a fish and chip shop. This ride is 26km, according to George’s bike computer (16 miles). There’s only about 200m on a main road and the rest is back lanes. You don’t need a fancy bike – borrow one of ours if you don’t have your own. And if the hills are too much you can get off and walk at a leisurely pace. This ride took us 2 hours 30 mins in October 2016, and that included half an hour for a cafe refuel. Read on below the images for more information and an outline map.

You’ll pass the Lymington Arms (a possible final watering hole on your return leg), head on to Partridge Walls and down to the main road. Turn left, and then first right. You’re now on a round route to North Tawton (just follow the signs), coming into the town on the road where Sylvia Plath’s old house stands, just behind the churchyard. In the church yard itself, behind the church, you can find the yew tree of Plath’s famous poem.

North Tawton has a spar, where we often buy an ice cream. Or there’s a cafe in the square (open most days until 4pm, but closing earlier on Wednesdays). But if you need more than ice cream or cake, try the fish and chips at Graylings just up the road or venture into one of the village pubs.

When it’s time to head back, leave the bottom of the square along North Street, which will take you to Bondleigh. Cross the bridge over the Taw and head towards the church, but turn right along the minor road that will eventually take you back to the main road. This time turn right, then first left, and you’re back on the road towards Partridge Walls. When you reach the Lymington Arms pub you’re only 2 miles and 1 climb away from the eco lodges at Wheatland Farm.