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Cross-channel route to boost cycle tourism

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 25, 2013

Joining the ferry to Roscoff at Plymouth after cycling across Dartmoor's Granite Way

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A multi-million-pound new cycle route connecting the Westcountry to France has officially opened.

The Tour de Manche will take in several hundred miles of countryside in Devon and Dorset as well as areas of Brittany and Normandy in France.

The £6.8m route passes along quiet lanes, greenways and paths through Dorchester, Exeter and Plymouth as well as taking in some of the South West's most attractive landscapes including Dartmoor National Park – covering a total of 745 miles.

It is the last and longest of three new family-friendly routes based around ferry services. Victoria Stonex, of Cycle West – the EU-funded initiative behind the project – said: "It's about promoting cycle tourism in both countries and getting people to visit attractions and experience a different culture."

An Anglo-French Cycling Festival was held in Tavistock on Saturday to mark the official launch of the cross-Channel cycle route.

William Cann, mayor of West Devon Borough Council who opened the festival, said: "The Tour de Manche route will put West Devon on the European map."

The new cycle route is expected to bring a wave of tourists to Devon to enjoy the countryside and coastline.

Mr Cann said: "As a key part of the circular route, the West Devon section showcases some spectacular moorland- edge scenery following Drake's Trail and the Granite Way. Crossing the recently opened Gem Bridge and passing through Brunel's Grenofen Tunnel, the route will be a memorable experience for visitors, both locally, and for our neighbours from the continent."

Lisa Wadling, manager of Tavistock Business Improvement District, said: "We were amazed by how many people turned out last year to welcome the Tour of Britain, which really cemented Tavistock's place as a major hub for cycling in the South West."

Other highlights include the Bay of Morlaix and the Pink Granite Coast in Brittany, the Unesco World Heritage sites of Mont St-Michel near Normandy and the Jurassic Coast in East Devon and Dorset.

Cyclists can take the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff, travelling through Brittany and Normandy to Cherbourg and on to to Poole in Dorset.

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