Devon, England

North Devon and Barnstaple Running Options

Barnstaple Long Bridge. Creative Commons: Philip Halling

North Devon is a coastal area of southwest England, known for its dramatic cliffs, wild seas and sandy beaches. This post has recommendations on some of the best places to run North Devon, with a focus on the Barnstaple area  — the largest town in North Devon, located at the River Taw’s lowest crossing point before the Bristol Channel.

Multi-Use Paths: There are two good options

  • Barnstaple north to Braunton. The first 3-4 miles of the part paved, part gravel path from Barnstaple are the most scenic, running on the north side of the River Taw through some nice countryside. ROUTE MAP
  • Barnstaple south to Meeth. Part of the longer distance Tarka Cycle Trail, following the the old Bideford railway line. We’ve mapped 26 miles from Barnstaple.  The path follows the Torridge River (but not right alongside it) for 9 miles to Bideford, and 11.3 miles to Lancross. The path is paved and relatively flat for the first 18 miles to the B3227 in Langtree, then becomes hillier, gravel, and more rugged to Meeth, with a couple of brief on-road sections. ROUTE MAP  PATH INFO

Bideford.  A pleasant 2.5-mile includes a waterfront path on the west side of the River Torridge, from the Old Bideford Bridge north to the Torridge Bridge, and a loop around Victoria Park. Connect to the Tarka Cycle Trail on the east side using the Old Bideford Bridge, and run on the path north toward Barnstaple or south toward Meeth. ROUTE MAP

Saunton Sands Beach. CC: GDelhey

Beach Running: 3-mile long beach Saunton Sands Beach (car park at north end) and 2-mile long Greysands Beach (access from Westward Ho) are great for running. Wide, with firm sand. Combine Saunton Sands with Croyde Rd. and Greysands with the Westward Ho to Cornborough Cliff section of the S W Coast Path.

Road Run: Croyde Road. A gorgeous road for running, with spectacular views. Note: No shoulder. Combine with Saunton Sands Beach! Good access: Down End Car Park.

South West Coast PathHartland Peninsula. There are some spectacular sections of the South West Coast Path on the Hartland Peninsula. It’s a popular hiking/walking destination, featuring beautiful clifftop paths. Many of the sections are challenging — trail runners will love!

  • Easier Section:  The 1.5 mile route between Westward Ho and Cornborough Cliff.  Combine with the 2-mile Greysands Beach — great for running! INFO
  • Depends on route chosen
  • The two bike paths are flat (except the 8 miles between Langtree and Meeth)

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  • Depends on route chosen
  • The two bike paths are flat (except the 8 miles between Langtree and Meeth)