UK Route: The Three Moors (and meals) Way

Dartmoor’s remote and twisting roads were a highlight of the ride

Ollie Rooke takes a ride over three stunning moors in the southwest of England and makes three delicious stops to fill his stomach along the way

There are roughly 10,000 fish and chip shops in the UK serving almost 400 million meals a year to hungry punters looking for their taste of an iconic British delicacy. And somewhere in the middle of that nationwide feast, a set of judges are challenged annually to find the very best, the cream of the cod, if you will.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the National Fish and Chip Awards. Now, I admit that when I first heard of the awards, I was a little sceptical. There are only so many days in the year and so many chips you can eat before you run out of time or hit human limits of cholesterol. How could any judging panel take on such a mammoth task and discover a worthy winner? But then, one Tuesday evening after an epic ride through the southwest of England, I saw the light.


Three Moors and three meals

As I stood outside Krispies in Exmouth, proud winner of UK Chip Shop of the Year 2019, and took my first mouthful from a little wooden fork, those misgivings melted away. The delicious dish in front of me was worthy of an accolade alright, and a fitting end to a fantastic day in the saddle.

My journey to that hallowed chippy began several days earlier as ABR editor James and I pored over a collection of maps in search of a new biking route in the UK for this issue of the magazine.

Krispies was voted the best chippy in Britain, and boy, the chips were sensational

Inspired by the Treorchy Beef Run, which saw the team ride to South Wales in search of the most succulent beef imaginable (read about it in the Jan/Feb issue of ABR), we’d decided to once again combine delicious food with some truly unforgettable riding. And so, the Three Moors (and three meals) Way was born.

The concept is simple. The ride takes us through three moors in the southwest of England, Exmoor, Bodmin Moor, and Dartmoor. And while the roads and landscapes in this stunning part of the world are guaranteed to impress, there’s also plenty on offer to enjoy out of the saddle too. Especially as we stop off for a hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner along the way. Three moors, three meals, and two wheels. A recipe for a great biker’s day out.

The day begins

The Three Moors (and meals) Way begins in the town of Bridgwater which is conveniently located next to the M5 motorway, which provides easy access to the South West from elsewhere in the UK. There are plenty of hotels in town and handily for us the King Sedgemoor Inn, which is located near the bulk of overnight stays, opens early and offers an all-you-can-eat cooked breakfast for less than a tenner. If you can think of a better way to start an epic biking route, I’d love to hear it.


Plug these waypoints into your SatNav device to follow as near as dammit the route.

You can also find the route at, where you can download the route as a GPX file.

1. King Sedgemoor Inn, TA6 4RR
2. Nether Stowey
3. Dunster
4. Wheddon Cross
5. Simonsbath
6. Lynmouth Hill
7. Blackwell’s Pasties, EX39 2EF
8. Coppathorne
9. Jamaica Inn, PL15 7TS
10. Golitha Falls
11. Tavistock
12. Moretonhampstead
13. Krispies, EX8 1PX

Total miles: 209 miles

The first 10 minutes or so of riding isn’t anything to write home about, but bear with me, because at the small town of Nether Stowey, we launch into a series of fast-flowing bends in the direction of the Devon coast. The landscape soon opens up and reveals the glinting waves of the Bristol Channel off to the right.

As the road straightens, the looming presence of the majestic Dunster Castle comes into view on the left. The medieval structure has stood for 1,000 years through wars and sieges and is now a popular tourist attraction. Pressed for time, I don’t stop to explore but instead head in the direction of Exmoor National Park looking forward to riding up onto the first moor of the day.

It instantly impresses. The narrow road, initially lined by trees on either side, wiggles its way through the rolling landscape of Exmoor on a rollercoaster of a ride. There are so many twisting roads in these parts that it’s tricky to pick a single route, and if you’ve got more time to spend exploring the area, I’d recommend the A39 (also known as the Atlantic Highway) along the coast and the A396 in the direction of Jury.

But today, lunch and two other moors are calling, so we cut through the heart of the National Park and head northwards to enjoy a magnificent road, the B3223. It unfurls like a ribbon over a vast expanse of moorland with sweeping views all around and a series of fast-flowing bends had my breakfast sloshing around in my stomach. We then rejoin the A39 once again at Lynmouth Hill where the sensational riding continues as we cruise between farmland in the direction of Barnstaple.

Tracking down Big Bertha

With lunch fast approaching, I blast over to the historic port town of Bideford which sits on the estuary of the River Torridge. It’s a picturesque spot, but the reason I’m stopping is to get my chops around an award-winning meaty treat.


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That’s right, in 2019, Blackwell’s pasties were crowned the best in the UK, much to the upset of bakers in neighbouring Cornwall.

By the time I pull up nearby, I’m salivating at the prospect of gnawing on a Big Bertha, a huge pasty large enough to feed a family of four, or so I read online before I left home. However, I’m gutted to discover the shop is closed. It only opens on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I chose to visit on a Tuesday.

In search of some food to quell my rumbling stomach, I stumble across the Bideford Pannier Market. It’s here I tuck into a tasty baguette from Emma’s Sandwiches and Snack Bar before rejoining the A39 Atlantic Highway on its journey southwards.

The next section of the route along the Atlantic Highway sees us cruising along sweeping bends arcing through the rolling countryside as we cross from Devon into Cornwall. Despite the road’s name, we don’t get many views of the rugged coastline, but I don’t mind as I open up my Triumph Tiger and blast along the fast-flowing roads.

Dartmoor’s wild ponies didn’t flinch at the sight of a Tiger

Wild ponies

It’s not long before the thrills begin again as we turn inland and climb up onto our second moor of the day, Dartmoor. The road takes us past the remains of RAF Davidstow Moor and its disused watchtower. The WWII era airbase was converted into a racetrack when the war ended, and even hosted three Formula One races in the ‘50s, before falling out of use over time.

It’s a great spot to pull over and park up on the old runways to enjoy stunning views and a glimpse at the flocks of wild ponies that graze across the moor, before hopping back in the saddle in the direction of the Jamaica Inn.

The Jamaica Inn is rich in smuggling history and is said to be the most haunted pub in Britain

The traditional inn has long been associated with smuggling, and actually contains a museum dedicated to this illicit history, while it’s also said to be Cornwall’s most haunted pub. If you’re feeling brave, it’s the perfect place to stop for a quick mid-afternoon coffee, although the prospect of more riding is enough to keep me in the saddle (I’m not scared of ghosts, honest.)

The next road is a delight. The winding single-track lane that cuts directly through the heart of Bodmin Moor is a joy to ride, with twisting trees either side. We pass Golitha Falls, a series of cascading and step waterfalls along the River Fowey. The falls aren’t far from the carpark and it’s well worth stretching your legs and seeing them for yourself while you’re there.

From the edge of Bodmin Moor, we cross from Cornwall back into Devon and reach our third and final moor of the day, Dartmoor. We’ve left the best riding until last as we rise and fall over the moor on a series of winding roads, punctuated with hairpins, flowing curves, and glorious straights that allow us to soak up the panoramic views.

You’ll pass the atmospheric Golitha Falls on the edge of Bodmin Moor
You’ll pass the atmospheric Golitha Falls on the edge of Bodmin Moor

With the late afternoon sun shining down on me, I zip through the moors with the broadest of grins on my face. I’d love to explore for longer, but there’s a fish and chip supper with my name on it waiting on the other side of Exeter. So, I leave the twisties in my rear-view mirror as I ride towards dinner, and the end of our route.

Finally, after a brief stint on faster dual carriageways, I arrive in Exmouth where I make a beeline for the award-winning chippy Krispies. And boy, the judges got it right. I order myself a slap-up meal and tuck into what may well be the best chips I’ve ever tasted. It’s a hearty and fitting end to a sensational day. And you can be sure, I’ll return soon to try that Big Bertha pasty.