Travellers’ tales: Drinking it in

Claire Hyne celebrates getting back to Moretonhampstead after cycling to 16 Devon gin distilleries
Gin producer and Cycling UK member Claire Hyne has launched a guide to local Devon distilleries by bike

Back in autumn 2021, I got in touch with all my fellow gin companies in Devon to suggest a little project: the Devon Gin Guide. It would be a leaflet to showcase the gins produced in the county. Sixteen distilleries came on board.

To launch the leaflet, I delivered them to each distillery by bike. Devon has a brilliant selection of cycleways, and I was able to link most of them together to create a route that combined bike trails, NCNs, country lanes, a train journey and even a ferry ride!

I set off in April and my route took me seven days to complete. I had the joy of visiting two National Parks, the Atlantic coast, the English Riviera, many beautiful villages with thatched pubs, and the Mayflower Steps. And I had the most gorgeous ride back across Dartmoor to my home in Moretonhampstead.

I was self sufficient and stopped at campsites along the way. Waking up to unexpected frost on the north coast required an extra coffee before setting off. Devon has a rich landscape of moors, coasts, woodland and farmland, which makes for stunning scenery to pedal through.

I was mostly focused on the gin distilleries I was visiting, but it mustn’t be forgotten that Devon is famous for cream teas and pasties. Both were much needed on a hilly cycle journey.

I’ve always enjoyed making long trips by bike. There are reasons why there are two people on bikes on the back label of our Papillon Gin bottles!