Cycling Tour of Britain to visit the Blackdown Hills AONB

 In AONB updates, Nature & wellbeing
Cycling Tour of Britain 2017. Photo: SweetSpot

Cycling Tour of Britain 2017. Photo: SweetSpot

OVO Energy Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest and most prestigious bike race, will be travelling through the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on Monday 3 September 2018.

The Tour of Britain is an incredible spectacle, one that mixes fast-paced action with a friendly atmosphere, not to mention over 100 of the world’s best cyclists, including Olympic and world champions and Tour de France winners.

The Tour’s journey through the Blackdown Hills AONB will be included in Stage 2 of the eight-day event as the participants race from Cranbrook to Barnstaple in Devon.

Where and when to see the race

The riders travel extremely fast, at around 42 miles per hour. So, if you’d like to wave them on, do make sure you arrive at the route in good time.

After travelling through Honiton, the cyclists should arrive in the south of the Blackdown Hills AONB at around 11.40am on Monday 3 September, travelling north through Dunkeswell (11.45am), Hemyock (11.55am), then departing the AONB via Culmstock (midday) heading towards North Devon. These timings are approximate – see the race timetable for more detail.

View the Stage 2 route map

Road closures for the Tour of Britain

Road closures and parking restrictions will be in place on the route to ensure the safety or riders and spectators alike. Rolling road closures will typically come into action 15 to 20 minutes ahead of the lead rider(s). Typically, the lead motorcycle instigating the closure is 15 minutes ahead of the lead rider. The closure then remains in place until all riders and race cars have passed through. The simplest advice is to look at the race timetable and avoid that road for about one hour either side of the predicted time of the race passing through.

Make a day of it!

While you’re out enjoying the Tour of Britain, why not make the most of being in the beautiful Blackdown Hills?

Whether you’re interested in history, love wildlife or simply want to relax and admire the view, there is plenty to explore close to the Tour of Britain’s route:

In the south of the AONB you’ll find the impressive prehistoric hillforts at Dumpdon and Hembury, from which there are breathtaking views.

At Dunkeswell, there’s the Second World War airfield. The Dunkeswell Airfield Heritage Centre isn’t open on a Monday (it opens Thursday to Sunday March to October), but you’ll be able to sit in the café and watch the aircraft and parachutists who still use the airfield to this day. Close by is Wolford Chapel – a little piece of Canada, right here in the Blackdown Hills!

If you’re watching the Tour of Britain at Hemyock, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Wellington Monument just a mile or two up the road. It’s the tallest three-sided obelisk in the world! Alternatively, you could spend the afternoon walking from Hemyock to Culmstock Beacon, where you may still catch the heather in bloom.

As the Tour heads out of the Blackdown Hills to Uffculme, it’ll pass not far from Coldharbour Mill which is one of the oldest woollen mills in the UK.

View from Dumpdon Hill. Photo: Liam Marsh

View from Dumpdon Hill. Photo: Liam Marsh

Got the cycling bug?

If all this talk of cycling has inspired you and you want to get on your bike, we have a selection of circular cycle routes in the Blackdown Hills AONB available to download and print.

Fancy something a little more gentle? There are plenty of walking routes on our website too.

Share your stories

We love to see and share experiences and adventures around the Blackdown Hills AONB.

Please share your pictures of the Tour of Britain and your adventures in the Blackdown Hills using the #blackdownhills hashtag.

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