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Plus 27-mile route across the moor for hill fiends

Fancy a challenge this weekend? The Dartmoor Way is a 95-mile route around the eponymous national park, launched this week by cycling writer and TV presenter Robert Penn.

And if 95 miles of Dartmoor terrain doesn’t sound like enough of a challenge, there’s a 27-mile addition that cuts across the moor, opening up the possibility of a 150+ mile figure-eight epic.

The route links numerous Dartmoor hamlets, villages and towns. It has been signed with brightly coloured way markers and passes through or near Bovey Tracey, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Ivybridge, Yelverton, Tavistock, Okehampton, Chagford and Moretonhampstead to name a few. It is mainly on quiet roads or hard ground.

In addition to the main circular route, the a 27-mile long High Moorland Link trail, cuts across Dartmoor via Princetown.

Robert Penn officially launched The Dartmoor Way at  Dartmoor National Park's headquarters in Bovey Tracey earlier this week.

Robert, who recently cycled the Trans-Amazonian Highway with Freddie Flintoff to make a documentary series for Sky TV, has presented on the BBC and authored a Sunday Times bestselling book It's All About the Bike: the Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels.

He said: "I have been a passionate cyclist for many years and have often thought how wonderful it would be to cycle through Dartmoor. Thanks to Sustrans and its partners, this is now possible. I can't wait to get on my bike and explore this beautiful national park."

Sustrans' Devon Manager Paul Hawkins, added: "This route intentionally takes people into lesser known areas of Dartmoor, bringing economic benefits to settlements around the moor."

Dartmoor Way chairman George Coles, said: "We hope  businesses along the route will gain an uplift in trade throughout the year as a result of the predicted extra daytrippers and holidaymakers it will attract.  Public interest in the route has already surpassed expectations and all those that have tried it out have commented on the stunning scenery and sense of achievement felt."

For more information, visit www.dartmoorway.co.uk

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.