Author: Rob Slade

ABR’s weekend ride: Minehead to Barnstaple on the awesome A39

This awesome 38-mile stretch of road runs from Minehead to Barnstaple along the A39 and delivers a great riding experience while being technical enough to keep your head in the game.

After a relatively understated start, the road really starts to shake things up after you pass through the village of Porlock and you begin your ascent into Exmoor. You’ll gain almost 400m in two miles as you take on a 1 in 4 gradient hill, all the while hoping you don’t get stuck behind traffic.

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Upon reaching the top you’ll find yourself in stunning surroundings with the tarmac peeling away into the distance. Flanked by exquisite countryside you’ll happily oblige to follow.

As you ride through Exmoor National Park you’ll ask yourself why you don’t visit more often. Mile after mile this fantastic road offers something to engage with, whether it’s new challenges or picture-perfect landscapes. This is one ride the pillion will certainly be happy with.

Descending upon Lynmouth you’ll have time to enjoy the views of the beach before hitting another 1 in 4 gradient, this time going downhill. In no time at all you’ll find yourself climbing again as you leave Lynmouth, sticking to the A39 and the monster climb that it requires.

From here you’ll have fewer steep hills to worry about but countless chicanes, hairpins and tight sections will be the order of the day. Concentration is very much important here.

Those that like to get the hammer down will be pleased to hear there are also fast straights waiting to be lapped up as you head into Barnstaple. And after that? Well then it’s time to find a rustic pub on the coast and have a well-earned pint.

How to do it

If you’re travelling from anywhere other than Devon and Cornwall then chances are you will be travelling down the M5. If this is the case then the best plan of action is to get off the motorway at junction 23 and take Bristol Road until you hit the A39 near Bridgewater. From here all you need to do is head west and you will end up in Minehead where this epic section of road kicks off.

If you are coming from South East England then you will probably be best routing along the A303 and then peeling off onto the A358. This will then take you all the way to the A39 and within touching distance of the start line.

Anyone looking to make the most of it will be in for a treat as there are some really amazing coastal towns and villages perfect for an overnight stop. Lynmouth, Ilfracombe and nearby Saunton come well recommended. Or there’s always Butlins…

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