The Tour de Manche is a collaboration of 17 French and British partners and is part of the Cycle West project. Launched just last summer, the Tour de Manche has quickly risen to the top of the to-do list of cyclists from around the world.
• The Tour de Manche is a completely signposted circular route that links Southwest England to Northern France via the English Channel and is accessible to cyclists of all abilities.
• The 1200 km itinerary crosses the French regions of Brittany and Normandy and the departments of La Manche, Le Calvados, L’Ille et Vilaine, Les Cotes d’ Armor, Le Finistere.
• The British side takes in the two beautiful counties of Dorset and Devon.
• The full Tour de Manche itinerary includes 15 sections with 260 km rated family, 480 km rated intermediate and 225 rated expert. Approximately 400 km of the Tour de Manche itinerary are on car-free greenways.
• A full breakdown of sections and ratings including detailed information on each section as well as trip planning tools and GPS links can be found on the Tour de Marche website.
• If you are after a shorter itinerary, the Tour de Manche’s sister itinerary, The Petit Tour de Manche, is only 450 km long and still takes in some of the most spectacular sights.
• Mont St Michel – Millions of years of erosion have created this massive granite outcrop upon which stands the ancient citadel and abbey of Mont St Michel.
• Corbiere lighthouse – For more than 100 years Corbiere lighthouse has warned approaching ships to steer clear of Jersey’s treacherous western coast. Its light can be seen up to 28 kms away.
• Corfe Castle – Commissioned by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Corfe Castle is one of England’s most magnificent stone castles
• Saint-Malo – St Malo’s massive granite walls contain an inner city (La Ville Intra-Muros) that, despite being 90% destroyed during the war, has been faithfully restored.
• Mortain waterfalls – At the hillside town of Mortain, the River Cance slices through rocky gorges down to the wooded basin of the Sélune river, creating the two spectacular sets of waterfalls with scenic walks and picnic spots alongside.
The Axminster to Dorchester section is split into two – Axminster to Bridport (Intermediate – 25.1km) and Bridport to Dorchester (Expert – 30.7km). The Guardian recently featured an excellent article on the Axminster to Bridport section, full of useful information and insights.