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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.
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One of the top 40 things to do on a bike!
Cycling Plus Magazine
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We are proud to be part of the UK’s cycle hire heritage and are privileged to be based in such a key location at Barnstaple Rail Station which has direct access to the off-road cycle tracks and ample parking and public transport,
North Devon local and family friend Paul Phillips took over the business since 2014 and his family continue with the Tarka Trail philosophy to ensure visitors to the area enjoy one of the most relaxing & tranquil cycling experiences in the UK. Cycling Plus magazine recommended the trail as one of the top 40 things to do on a bike last year!