Is cycling allowed on the South West Coast Path?

Generally speaking you’re not allowed to cycle on the most of the South West Coast Path. As nearly all of it uses ‘public footpaths’, therefore is only available to people on foot, and so there is no legal right to ride a bike.

Most of the route is also not suitable for cycling due to it being narrow with numerous steep ups and downs. The 30,000 steps you’d encounter mean that if you tried you’d end up pushing or carrying your bike for much of the way.

The longest sections of the South West Coast Path that you can ride on as they are bridleway or a cycle route are:

  • Braunton to Bideford (North Devon).
  • Mousehole to Marazion (West Cornwall)
  • Dawlish Warren to Starcross (South Devon)
  • The eastern half of the South Dorset Ridgeway from Hardy’s Monument towards Osmington.

However there are plenty of other great off-road cycle routes in the Westcountry – here are some links to where you can find out more about them.

Further afield are two National Trails that can be cycled end-to-end. Running from Winchester, the first capital of England, to the white chalk cliffs at Eastbourne, the 100-mile South Downs Way features attractive wildlife, visible prehistory, fine pubs and pretty villages. Further north, the Pennine Bridleway offers 205 miles of exciting exploration on ancient packhorse routes, drovers' roads and newly-created bridleways.

In addition throughout the UK the National Cycle Network is a series of traffic-free paths and quiet, on-road cycling and walking routes across the region.

All these routes (including every bridleway and footpath) are shown on Ordnance Survey maps – the 1:25,000 Explorer series are the best ones to get.