The Tarka Trail
The Tarka Trail Ultimate free recreation for all seasons.
The Tarka Trail a stunning flat track completely traffic free and full of wildlife. Starting from Braunton with an early breakfast cycle the 30 miles to Meeth passing the River Taw. 6 miles to Barnstaple may be enough but would recommend further towards Instow and stop for lunch at Femington Quay cafe serving lovely wholesome food like fresh crab. Or grab a coffee then continue up the Torridge Estuary passing Instow and Bideford arriving at the Puffing Billy. The former Torrington railway station serving food and ales in it’s waiting room restaurant. From here there is a slight incline so dig deep on those thighs across the river and the trail currently ends at Meeth completing 30 miles of track.
For quality well serviced cycles to hire locally use Otter Cycles, The Old Pottery, Station Road Braunton only 20 yards from the start of the Tarka Trail. Bikes for all the family including tag-alongs, buggies and tandems. If you prefer to bring your own cycles, we have plenty of storage here.
It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, the Tarka Trail is always full of beauty. A 6 AM cycle is one to hit the soul, rabbits darting along the path and sun rising, imagining years gone by when the gamekeepers would catch the rabbits and put them on the Tarka Train for the London restaurants along with tulips grown here on the Great Fields. I always feel inspired to write about it in some form and just a short distance from here.
As I start the trail, the past lies still,
Like the piles of sodden Autumn leaves,
The smell of soil, remembers things,
As the winter sun melts the ground.
The sunlight curves around the trees,
Creating a tiger print on the carpet of leaves,
Feeling the heat, searching for shelter,
Flickering and beating, hot then cold.
To the East is an unfinished sketch,
A colourless wash over the hills and trees,
To the West,is a crystal clear blue sky,
With the perfect picture beneath.
Wrens are busy on exposed trunks,
Not travelling far for new adventures,
A single goose fly’s around in circles,
Nowhere to land on these icy waters,
Blackbirds bathing in the shallow ditch streams,
Robins dotting around adds to the daydreams,
The white ice grass, the silver bark and red berries,
The feathered purple haze of the bull rush,
And the creeping brambles still in the dark,
Like the brittle leftovers of the Cow Parsley,
Remnants of ancient lace waiting for new thread.
There is so much more Tarka Trail to explore,
But I like it here in Natures Moment………………
By Jules Wright Winter 2016