About Us

Independent Bike Hire Since 1989

John & Margaret Kempson started Tarka Trail Cycle Hire in 1989, shortly after the disused Barnstaple to Bideford line was converted for recreational use and given the eponymous Tarka Trail status, inspired by Henry Williamson’s famous novel.

They were the first cycle hire business on the trail and were greatly welcolmed by the local council and other tourism practitioners in the area, who heralded the onset of tourism activities to help boost the local economy in a sustainable manner.

Back in the early 1990, TTCH were one of only a few bespoke cycle hire companies in the UK which inspired the current plethora of bicycle trail centres, based on disused railways and mining tracks throughout the country.

Today Tarka Trail Cycle Hire is a family owned and run business which continues to offer first class cycle hire.


Tim has worked at the hire since 2018 when studying for a PGCE. Teaching wasn’t for him and he took over the running of the hire in 2021. Tim has years of experience riding and fixing bikes and as a Barnstaple local has great knowledge of the area. When not hiring bikes he enjoys spending time with his young family, Brazilian jui jitsu and Tesco meal deals.



Rob joined us in 2021 after a full career in the Armed Forces. Rob can turn his hand to most things and has become an excellent bike mechanic, completing his cycle systems bike mechanics course in 2023. You may have seen Rob in our hire centre, or out in the van doing one of our coast to coast cycle tours. Rob has a passion for D.I.Y and an unhealthy obsession with power tools.

Tarka Trail Cycle Hire Logo

Contact us now to book on 01271 324202

We are always happy to answer any of your questions about our services, the Tarka Trail & cycling in the North Devon area in general. If you would like to enquire about booking, or ask us anything else, please give us a call on the number below between 9am and 5pm to start your adventure now.

One of the top 40 things to do on a bike!

Cycling Plus Magazine