Discover the 700km Tour de Manche, an Anglo-French cycling route linking the South West of England with Normandy, Brittany and Jersey, taking you on an epic journey through some amazing scenery.
It’s the longest of three family-friendly routes that are part of the £6.8m ‘CYCLE WEST’ project – a collaborative European venture uniting 17 French and British partners. The project aims to promote sustainable tourism and capitalise on the huge rise in popularity of two-wheeled holidays.
The route mostly takes on quiet country lanes and can be ridden in ‘bite-sized’ pieces or for more serious cyclists as a complete tour. You’ll enjoy the chance to discover natural locations of exceptional beauty - such as the ‘Pink Granite’ Coast, Mont Saint Michel Bay and the Jurassic Coast.
Here’s more on the top spots that make up the route:
The ride begins in Poole’s busy harbour, which dates back to the 12th century and is close to some of the best beaches in England (including Sandbanks) and Brownsea Island.
Much of the route tracks the 95 miles (150km) of the truly stunning Jurassic Coast - England’s first natural World Heritage Site – which traces 185 million years spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Dartmoor National Park
Enjoy almost 1,000 sq km (400 sq miles) of unspoilt moorland, where you’ll witness the South West’s deepest river gorge, Lydford Gorge; the magical wooded valley of Plym Bridge, and a tiny mythical church at Brentor, perched atop a rocky outcrop.
Roscoff, at the heart of the ‘Pink Granite Coast’, is the perfect starting point for this leg of the journey. A town of culture and history, it’s home to the beautiful 16th century belfry of Notre-Dame de Kroaz-Baz. As you ride along the Bay of Morlaix, you’ll see the imposing Taureau Castle and island of Callot.
This stunning medieval town is set in a hillside overlooking the River Rance. The walled citadel houses a host of picturesque squares and historic buildings, including the Tower of St Anne and Dinan Castle, offering spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape.
The city of St Malo rises majestically out of the sea. Founded by the Welsh monk St Maclou, and built on a rocky island at the mouth of the Rance estuary, the history of this ‘City of Corsairs’ is testimony to the region’s colourful seafaring past.
Peddle through Normandy’s lush landscapes, to Mortain and St Lô, before venturing through the Vire Valley with its rolling hills and spectacular gorges. In Mortain itself, the cascading waters of the Cance and Cancon rivers create magnificent waterfalls.
Cotentin Regional National Park and Bessin Marshes are truly enchanting for cycling, as you pass through many beautiful towns and villages.
Cycling through Portbail with its beautiful golden beach, you’ll arrive at this final French destination, which offers a wealth of culture and an intriguing history.
Visit www.tourdemanche.com and plan an Anglo-French adventure now!
For more information visit www.cycle-west.com