Thanks very much for the maps and the gpx track (which came in particularly handy for finding my way from the Tesco car park to the cycleway into Barnstaple).
The tip about the flatter option from Tiverton to Bampton was also very helpful.
A couple of comments:
- you can now cycle all the way along the Grand Western canal into Tiverton. I'm assuming that the NCN route detours off at a couple of points because the towpath wasn't previously passable, but it definitely is now. I don't know what I missed by not following the official route, but the canal towpath was a great ride;
- the hill out of Dulverton is indeed very steep, but not quite as very steep as the route shown on your gpx track. The signed route takes the next left just before the bridge (and excellent pub) at Dulverton. The signs on the top seem to give you the option of going either way.
The ride over Exmoor was just glorious, but I was amazed not to see another cyclist all day.
For anyone who's camping it's worth knowing that there's a campsite (Greenacres Caravan Park) at Bratton Fleming not very far off the route. It doesn't seem to have a website, but it gets good (but old) reviews from wym-1403453350785 (that should say ukcampsites.co.uk). ACSI have included it in there small campsites guide and the inspector's comments are positive so it is still in business. I didn't stay there - I chose to make the most of the long summer evening - but I would have saved myself the price of an expensive hotel room if I had done.