The Granite Way from Okehampton review.

Oh dear. All the stuff we'd read about the Granite Way cycle path in Devon suggested goodness. The Observer rated it as being one of the best things to do in the UK. Kind of bigs it up doesn't it? Now we'd not heard of it before coming to Devon, but locally they promote it as being a big tourist draw. It sounded interesting.

All week I've been off solo mountain biking, leaving my mad keen seven year old son behind with the promise that we'd take him cycling when the weather got better. I was having all the fun over at Castle Drogo apparently, which was just not fair. The weather didn't improve, so we had to take him in the rain. The rain didn't take anything away from the ride as, quite frankly, it didn't offer much in the first place.

In a word, in its' current incomplete state, the Granite Way is a bit shite. It's a good idea, and any cycle path is worth the effort, but all the literature relating to the cycle way cries "Wolf" a bit too much. I guess if the brochures and reviews just told it as it is - that it is a half finished slightly boring link path with no facilities or real views along it whatsoever, and a near constant drone of traffic from the two main roads it runs parallel to - they'd not get much tourist trade. Certainly I think whoever reviewed it for the newspapers did not actually ride it at all, or they live a very sheltered life indeed. It's not a patch on the Mawddach trail, or even the bloomin' Downs Link. My wife doesn't really cycle, so is an ideal candidate for a tame cycle path yet even she thought it fake and not worth the effort.

Avoid. Honestly, do. There's so much more to the area that this particular trail just avoids. Dartmoor is a fantastic place, and in part has some truly excellent cycling; both on and off-road. As an introduction to actually riding a bike, then the Granite Way works, but only just. As an introduction to Dartmoor, it sucks. Quite frankly if you want to give your children or spouse a proper introduction to mountain biking, in a safe environment that is still challenging, then just cycle along the double wide track along the River Teign at Fingle Bridge. It'll teach them all they need to know about bike handling off-road in a car free environment. I'm surprised that the Fingle Bridge Inn hasn't cottoned on to this.

Oh yes, there are two cycle hire places en route for us tourists. The YHA one near the station is the cheapest, but don't expect much from either really other than basic Supermarket bikes.