The Granite Way is an 11 mile cycle and walkway running between Okehampton and Lydford along the north western edge of Dartmoor. It is mostly traffic free, largely following the course of the former Southern Region railway line. A journey along the Granite Way offers good views of the granite landscape of Dartmoor, as well as a number of specific sites of geological interest.
For example, close to the Okehampton end of the route is what was the Meldon Quarry. This large site, largely hidden in the landscape, produced hard rock such as hornfels. It closed down in 2012. The rock quarried here was used in a variety of ways but in particular it has provided the aggregates for road building and rail ballast since 1895.
Further south can be seen the impressive silhouette of Sourton Tors (they can be reached by a footpath north of Sourton). Unlike most of Dartmoor’s tors they are not made of granite. Instead they also consist of hornfels that, as at Meldon, were created by heating when hot granite intruded into the original rocks of this area. The actual point of contact between these rocks with the granite is a kilometre or so farther south-east. As you look out onto Dartmoor you see an area which was once a plateau and can observe how over millions of years rivers have cut through the rock creating distinctive valleys.
At the southern end of the trail is the famous Lydford Gorge.
Facilities: Okehampton and Lydford contain a good range of facilities, and there is a visitor centre and café at Meldon Viaduct.
For more information on the Granite Way please view the leaflet at http://www.devon.gov.uk/the_granite_way.pdf, also available at Tourist Information Centres. A comprehensive booklet on the geology of the Meldon area has been produced and can be downloaded from the website of the Dartmoor National Park Authority.