Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
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honesty
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Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Postby honesty » 16 Sep 2020, 12:24pm

Hope people find this useful. If it's wanted I can do the same for Taunton to Bristol as well?

OK, so there are loads of ways of getting from Exeter to Taunton whilst you’re doing your LEJoG, but as a Taunton resident I thought I’d detail what in my mind would be the best 4 routes depending on your criteria. (There are others if you want more climbing, over the Blackdowns for example, that are frankly wonderful but you will pay for them!) I am not going to say “just go up the A38”, yes it’s probably the fastest, but it’s not the best in my view and has a few very short fast dual carriageway sections that are really raced by the locals making it rather an inhospitable road in my mind.
On to the routes:

Option 1 – The quiet main road way
option1.png

From Exeter (and this works really well if you’ve taken Robs Passage) take the A396 up to Tiverton, then onto Bampton, then the B3227 through Wiveliscombe and on to Taunton. It’s easy to follow on fast wide roads that are generally not very busy. The A396 can get a bit bad at times and small rolling hills can mean angry drivers behind you though…
Food stops at Bickleigh Mill, The Bridge house and Bampton, and The Coffee Engine at Milverton Sawmill
There is an NCN route that sort of matches the Tiverton-Bampton-Taunton section, but it goes up onto the hills and, whilst being very pretty, is an absolute sod but does take you through Knighthayes and its National Trust Café.

Option 2 – Tiverton Canal
option2.png

As Option 1, follow the A396 from Exeter, but at Tiverton divert onto the Tiverton Canal path and follow this all the way to the end and onwards along NCN3 to Taunton. Canal tow path is generally a good surface for touring bikes but some of the bridges can be very narrow on the tow path and you are technically meant to get off and walk through them (though no one does!)
Food stops at Bickleigh mill, the Canal Tea Rooms in Tiverton
A slight variation if you really like climbing, with the added benefit of an absolutely stunning view, is rather than doing the A396 there’s a lane out the back of Silverton (the Old Butterleigh Road) that goes over the biggest hill possible through Butterleigh and drops into the back of Tiverton (on the Exeter Hill road).

Option 3 – Uffculme route
option3.png

Rather than going to the west of the M5 this one goes to the east of it. From Exeter follow the old A38 (yes I know I said I wasn’t going to say this!) now labelled as the B3181 through Cullumpton and Willand. At the top of Willand take the road to Uffculme. Then from Uffculme take the lanes through Nicholashayne, Sampford Moor and into Wellington. From Wellington go out to Nynehead and follow the lanes out to Norton Fitzwarren and into Taunton (mostly NCN3 apart from the very end).

Option 4 – East of the motorway, with added café
option4.png

As option 3 follow the old A38 out of Exeter through Broadclyst and up towards Cullumpton, just after the Merry Harriers in Westcott, divert onto the lanes and follow these through to Kentisbeare, skim Ashill, and on to Culmstock. From Culmstock cycle up the hill and pick up option 3 route at Nicholashayne.
The café is at Culmstock in the local store and is fantastic.
As an aside if you’ve done Robs Passage and want to do options 3 or 4, depending where you come out on the A396 you can cut across to the B3181 at 2 easy points (there’s other ways but don’t go through Bradninch, there’s some sharp and nasty climbs):
1. From Stoke Cannon, go to Ratsloe, up to Killerton house then onto B3181
2. From Silverton drop down to Killerton then onto the B3181
Both of these have the added plus of going past Killerton house, with its National Trust café…

Just to note the last 2 route maps start at a different point in Exeter so the mileage is probably not comparable to the first 2.

Nessie23
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Re: Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Postby Nessie23 » 16 Sep 2020, 4:08pm

I like this idea of local riders providing routes thru their local area. As a ‘newbie’ in the very early stages of planning a Lejog i have struggled to find a ‘go to’ place for routes. If it was possible from a forum architecture perspective i would like to be able to dip into a section and choose my preferred routes for each county as opposed to finding an entire End to End route.

Norman H
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Re: Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Postby Norman H » 16 Sep 2020, 7:55pm

Thanks, that's very useful. I've looked at similar options that avoid the A38 but it's always nice to have the benefit of local knowledge. I'd also be interested in your recommendations for onward journey to Bristol.

Jamesh
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Re: Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Postby Jamesh » 23 Sep 2020, 7:35pm

Isn't this the section that Robs passage covers?

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=130283

Smooths out the mountainous hills towards Taunton.

I didn't use it as a fellow audaxer was going the direct route so I hitched a lift and company.

Mick F will be along with the definitive guide.

Cheers James

Norman H
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Re: Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Postby Norman H » 24 Sep 2020, 12:35pm

Strictly speaking “Rob's passage” is is an alternative route between Crediton and Bickleigh that avoids the A3072 and the Cadbury Hills. It joins Honesty's routes 1 & 2 at Bickleigh.

whoof
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Re: Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Postby whoof » 24 Sep 2020, 1:53pm

Norman H wrote:Thanks, that's very useful. I've looked at similar options that avoid the A38 but it's always nice to have the benefit of local knowledge. I'd also be interested in your recommendations for onward journey to Bristol.


I ride West Cornwall to Bristol (or other way around) a few times a year. This is a route I use between Taunton and Bristol as it:
Avoids the A38
Avoids the canal and Strawberry line, easy to amend if you want to ride either of these.
Goes past not through Bristol
Avoids Avonmouth/A403 & A4

if you want to go via Gloucester just keep following NCN 41
Over the Severn Bridge, turn left after Pilning Station just before Plough Inn then follow the NCN 4. When crossing the bridge go around the roundabout and cross on the path on the Gloucester side. There is a path on the Bristol side but when you come off the bridge you have to go through an under-pass beneath the bridge to join the other path which means you have to climb twice and this underpass is often covered in broken glass, not great carrying a laden bike through it.

Note:At Lawerence Weston (just over m5 Avon crossing) the NCN 41 takes a different route but then rejoins mine. This is currently blocked by a building site. You can go down Long Cross Road instead but the cyclepath after Lawerence Weston Rd is a popular site for fly tipping and burning out stolen cars.

https://cycle.travel/map/journey/184103

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honesty
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Re: Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Postby honesty » 24 Sep 2020, 5:58pm

Norman H wrote:Strictly speaking “Rob's passage” is is an alternative route between Crediton and Bickleigh that avoids the A3072 and the Cadbury Hills. It joins Honesty's routes 1 & 2 at Bickleigh.



Yep, and you can divert at Thorverton and pick up options 3 or 4 by going through Silverton.

Norman H
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Re: Routing help from locals - Exeter to Taunton

Postby Norman H » 25 Sep 2020, 7:58am

whoof wrote:
Norman H wrote:Thanks, that's very useful. I've looked at similar options that avoid the A38 but it's always nice to have the benefit of local knowledge. I'd also be interested in your recommendations for onward journey to Bristol.


I ride West Cornwall to Bristol (or other way around) a few times a year. This is a route I use between Taunton and Bristol as it:
Avoids the A38
Avoids the canal and Strawberry line, easy to amend if you want to ride either of these.
Goes past not through Bristol
Avoids Avonmouth/A403 & A4

if you want to go via Gloucester just keep following NCN 41
Over the Severn Bridge, turn left after Pilning Station just before Plough Inn then follow the NCN 4. When crossing the bridge go around the roundabout and cross on the path on the Gloucester side. There is a path on the Bristol side but when you come off the bridge you have to go through an under-pass beneath the bridge to join the other path which means you have to climb twice and this underpass is often covered in broken glass, not great carrying a laden bike through it.

Note:At Lawerence Weston (just over m5 Avon crossing) the NCN 41 takes a different route but then rejoins mine. This is currently blocked by a building site. You can go down Long Cross Road instead but the cyclepath after Lawerence Weston Rd is a popular site for fly tipping and burning out stolen cars.

https://cycle.travel/map/journey/184103


Thanks for that whoof, I've downloaded the gpx file.

I've ridden from Okehampton to Bristol twice in recent years and both times we went east of the M5 to avoid the A38. On the last occasion we more or less followed your route as far as the gap in the Mendips at Loxton. Thereafter we opted to enter Bristol via the Long Ashton estate and the Clifton suspension bridge.