Cyclists riding down slope towards a bay

Cycle the Jurassic Coast from Lyme Regis to Exeter

This cycle route along the Jurassic Coast from Lyme Regis to Exeter largely follows NCR2 and while it is mainly on tarmac there is some bridleway. The route described forms part of the Lowestoft to Lands End coast-to-coast route. Nicknamed #LowLE which links England’s most Easterly and Westerly mainland points . LowLE is an adventure bike ride off-road through some of England’s finest places. After the long stretches of bridleway on the Wessex Ridgeway, you might think this will be easy on tarmac. However there are some steep hills so you will still need your low gears! You and you bike needs to be able to handle a muddy British bridleway. We did it on gravel, hybrid and mountain bikes. This section is rideable in a day, but there is plenty to see and visit so you could take longer!

Lyme Regis to Exeter 44miles, 5700ft ascent

Wave sculpture
Impressive wave sculpture on the Seaton sea wall.

There is only one word for the road west out of Lyme Regis – Brutal!  If you stop in Lyme overnight there is no warm-up its is just straight up a steep 450ft (140m) climb on the A3052.  There is a little respite from the traffic and the gradient by taking the minor Ware Lane on the left. This returns to the main road avoiding the highest point.  Continue west on the A3052 turning off south towards Charton. Turn west again along a track then bridleway. This goes through a set rather impressive buildings at Dowlands,  some offering overnight accommodation.  The bridleway becomes a minor road again just inland of the cliffs. Take the bridleway through the Axe Cliff Golf Course which offers stunning views to the sea, see the main image at the top of the page.  The descent from the golf course is steep, its shared with both golfers and coast-walkers so a good brake & control test. It becomes a track and emerges from trees onto the busy B3172. Turn left and head over the river Axe to arrive in picturesque Seaton which has a spectacular wave sculpture. 

Beach with steep hills in foreground, lesser hills in the distance
Looking West from Sidmouth, the hills becoming less steep

At Seaton the route picks up NCR2 which in turn goes past the youth hostel at Beer.  The route then continues along NCR2 all the way to Exeter along the south coast.  There are 3 steep climbs leaving Beer, Branscombe and then Sidmouth.  The climb out of Budleigh Salterton is more gentle and then NCR2 joins an old railway cutting. The main leg-challenge of cycling the Jurassic coast is past and its then a very gentle run into Exmouth and along the estuary into Exeter. 

When we booked accommodation in Exeter we didn’t realise that the city is so hilly so we had a 150m/450ft climb at the end of our day through the university into the suburb of Pennsylvania, best avoided!

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