Riviera boasts some of the best coastal views in the country, so a
bike ride between the Torbay towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham
sounds very appealing.
In the past though, there has always been one big problem - the traffic.
With no cycle lane, you really were taking your life in your hands
riding along this busy coastal road.
Well, in response to criticism over the lack of bike-friendly routes,
Torbay Council has now provided a cycle "lane" on sections
of the road between Torquay and Paignton. So you can get some exercise
and take in the views.
start and finish where you like really, but a good starting point
is Ilsham Marine Drive in Torquay, where you can park overlooking
Thatcher Rock. This spot has far-reaching views up and down the South
Beach, with Ilsham Marine Drive winding down the hill beyond
From there, the ride takes you down the steep, winding road to Meadfoot
Beach. All along here, you can look across Tor Bay to Brixham and
Berry Head. And, to your right, on the hill, is the Osborne in Hesketh
Crescent - one of Devon's most beautiful buildings.
The ride up the hill here (Meadfoot Sea Road) is steep, before you
go left at Parkhill Road and down a steep hill to Torquay harbourside.
From here, it's pretty straight forward, as you ride along the Strand
and on to Torquay seafront.
All of this stretch is on-road (A3022), and with no cycle lane markings,
so take care until you get beyond Torre Abbey Sands, where the cycle
comes and goes though, it must be said! And, while the cycle lane
(a white line separating cyclists from motorists) is a step in the
right direction, the council could do with extending the sections
so that those on bikes do not come into conflict with buses and lorries.
the big impediments to the casual cyclist in Torbay is the hilly nature
of the resort. The beauty of the coastal road for these cyclists,
is that the hills are few and far between.
scene...the beach huts at Preston, Paignton
main one is at Hollacombe Bends, between Torquay and Paignton. After
that, you reach the shops at Preston, where you follow the sign to
That takes you under a railway bridge to Preston Sands...where the
beach huts actually blot out the view of the sea during the summer!
Follow the road along, and you reach Paignton Beach, Paignton Green,
and Paignton Pier. The seafront road - The Esplanade - winds naturally
around to the right, and then left, up a little hill and over the
railway line to Dartmouth Road (the A379).
This is a main road, but just a short distance along is a left turning
to Goodrington Beach, where there is a beach-side pub where you can
stop for a bite to eat. Or, you can wait until you get back to the
Osborne, where there is a bar and a restaurant.
on how energetic and brave you are (bearing in mind the road from
here to Brixham is busy with traffic) you can either carry on to the
south end of Torbay, or wind your way back to Torquay.
Beach, with a steam
train passing by
Meadfoot to Goodrington is about a 45-minute ride (give or take 10
minutes). And the sea views are well worth the effort. The new cycle
lane definitely makes life easier, and safer, but it needs to be extended.
You never know: one day, the entire road between Torquay and Brixham
will be made bike-friendly for families to enjoy all of that stunning