South Dartmoor CTC

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Tuesday 14 May 1985Social: Inaugural Meeting
20 present: Simon Birtles (Adult, Devon), Steph Crutchley-Iles (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Grace Dovell (Adult, South Brent), Ian Emmerson (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Jennifer Grieveson (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Mark Hunt (Junior, Buckfastleigh), John Iles (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Dreena May (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Paul Palmer (13, Buckfastleigh), Colin Raggett (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Luke Rake (12, Buckfastleigh), Andrew Simmons (14, Buckfastleigh), Suzie Simmons (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Marc Thorp (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Paul Thorp (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Tina Unknown (Junior, Devon), Guy Watkin (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Tim Whiteoak (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Peter Willard (Junior, Buckfastleigh)
Twenty people attended this inaugural meeting of the Dart Valley cycling group at Buckfastleigh, and apologies were received from three others. Approximately 75% of those present were of school age. The meeting discussed a wide range of topics and agreed to organise a variety of regular activities for a trial period during the summer.

Firstly, day rides will be organised every week on a Sunday, alternating between half-day and full-day rides until further notice. Rides will start at 14:14 and 10:00 respectively, commencing with a half-day ride on 19 May.

Secondly, evening activities will also be organised on a weekly basis, starting at 19:00 and alternating between Tuesdays and Fridays. Every fourth week will be a social evening. The inaugural meeting will be regarded as the first of these activities, with other events following on in sequence.

All rides will start at the entrance to the Dart Valley Railway at Buckfastleigh, but pick-up points will be advertised for most rides. Social activities will be held at Redmount, Old Totnes Road, Buckfastleigh until a more suitable venue can be found. Runs lists are available from Michael Jones at the above address (tel 43428).

It is hoped that there will be maximum interaction with Torbay Section at all times. Joint rides will be arranged as often as possible, giving due regard to the riding abilities of the two groups.

Sunday 19 May 1985Afternoon ride: East OgwellSunny
15 present: Simon Birtles, Steph Crutchley-Iles, Scott Dalgleish (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Ian Emmerson, Jennifer Grieveson, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Dreena May, Paul Palmer, Marc Thorp, Paul Thorp, Guy Watkin, Paul Willard (13, Buckfastleigh), Peter Willard
The first ride got off to a hilly start along the steep track to Five Lanes (not the one at Marldon) and Baddaford. Activities came to a temporary halt however when a fence was encountered at Higher Penn farm, stretching right across the lane! No-one bothered to think why it might have been put there, and it put up little resistance as it was dismantled. It wasn’t more than three minutes before the club was making a hasty retreat, hotly pursued by a sizable herd of Frisians!

The ride continued via Forder Green to Denbury, where Simon Birtles was waiting as arranged. An inspection of the scout memorial and the closed post office concluded the rest break and return was made via Broadhempston, Beeston and Green Lane.

Many of the younger members were feeling a little tired, but everyone agreed that the first ride had been very enjoyable.

Friday 24 May 1985Evening ride: HolneSunny
13 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, Scott Dalgleish, Ian Emmerson, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Dreena May, Paul Palmer, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Marc Thorp, Paul Thorp, Guy Watkin
Buckfastleigh seems to be at the bottom of several steep climbs. The hill to Holne is one such climb, and when the last members had finally reached the top there was a general feeling that a long rest was the order of the day.

The descent through Hembury Woods was the scene of an unfortunate accident involving Guy Watkin. He was not badly hurt however and we hope he will soon be back with the club again.

Sunday 26 May 1985Day ride: Gara BridgeWet start, sunny afternoon
6 present: Simon Birtles, Grace Dovell, Richard Dovell (Adult, South Brent), John Iles, Michael Jones, John Stuart (Adult, Buckfastleigh)
The Gara Bridge ride got off to a bad start weather-wise, but numbers were augmented at the Totnes pick-up by Torbay Section members and the two groups decided to extend the ride to Slapton Sands.

The rain quickly turned showery and after refreshments in the café at Torcross the skies cleared to leave a beautiful afternoon. Earlier plans for the ride were hastily revised to include a visit to the café at Blackpool Sands, which delayed the conclusion of the ride until 7pm.

Tuesday 28 May 1985Evening ride: AishSunny
9 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, Grace Dovell, John Iles, Chris Jeffery (Junior, Devon), Michael Jones, Raymond Parkin (17, Devon), Roger Simmons, Marc Thorp, Paul Thorp
Another sunny day made the second evening ride all the more enjoyable. Young Chris coped very well for his first ride, but everyone suffered as darkness fell and temperatures plummeted. Shipley Bridge was the last stop before the cold descent to Dean and Buckfastleigh – gloves will be at the top of the packing list for future rides!

Sunday 2 June 1985Afternoon ride: BroadhempstonSunny
13 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, Jennifer Grieveson, Rob Hendry (Adult, Devon), John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Raymond Parkin, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, John Stuart, Marc Thorp, Paul Thorp, Karen Wiltshire (Adult, Devon)
The sweating brows resulting from the steep climb / push past Caddaford farm were soon cooled by a refreshing breeze on the long descent to Staverton where, unfortunately, Raymond was forced to call it a day due to a disintegrating freewheel. The rest of us however made it to Broadhempston which was positively thronged with cyclists as we had arranged to meet up with Torbay and Dawlish Sections – a total of twenty-eight!

Muggins at Dartington was eventually selected for the tea stop, making a pleasant end to a superb afternoon.

Friday 7 June 1985Evening ride: Skerraton DownSunny / cold
10 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Marc Thorp, Paul Thorp, Paul Willard
This ride was inspired by a previous equestrian expedition, the main advantage of the bicycle being that it doesn’t take off at a gallop as soon as it sees an expanse of open moor! After the inevitable long ascent we took the bridle path from Moor Cross (near Gidley Bridge) to the open moor – very rocky in places, nicely complemented by the gorse!

Although the first few hundred yards of the moor were fairly arduous the ground soon levelled out and the panoramic views – from Start Point to Teignmouth golf course to the imposing tors above Widecombe – made it all worthwhile. Another bridle path across Lambs Down brought us to the Abbots Way and the ford across the Dean Burn, where no-one fell in.

We continued up the track to Cross Furzes and then down Wallaford Road to home and hot tea to warm the hearts and hands.

Sunday 9 June 1985Day ride: MoretonhampsteadWet start, windy
8 present: Simon Birtles, Steph Crutchley-Iles, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Raymond Parkin, Marc Thorp, Paul Willard
We set off to a damp start, well clad in waterproofs, but before we got to Ashburton some of those were being shed. As we were pushed for time to get to Bovey Tracey to our meeting with the Torbay and Exeter groups we scooted down the A38.

Cycling out of Bovey Tracey we had to dodge numerous sweaty marathon runners (what an exhausting way to spend a day!). Steph was halted for a short time by a broken spoke and buckled wheel but this was expertly mended in a jiffy by our genius mechanic (grovel!) Mr Jones.

After a long push up the hill from Slade Cross the going became slightly easier by the reservoirs. We stopped for a cold and breezy lunch near Blackingstone Rock before descending to Moretonhampstead for tea and thawing out.

The return journey was through Lustleigh, and on the outskirts of Bovey we cycled alongside a well-preserved section of the granite tramway from Haytor. At Blackpool flyover a quick detour was made to inspect the Bluebell Railway, recently moved from Buckfastleigh, before returning home via Bickington and the dreaded A38 again.

Tuesday 11 June 1985Social: Games
15 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, Scott Dalgleish, Grace Dovell, Jennifer Grieveson, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Raymond Parkin, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Marc Thorp, Paul Thorp, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
There was no special activity organised for the first social evening. Several people brought food and records, however, and everyone soon made themselves at home.

Once the important business of playing computer games and eating food had been completed there was just enough time to plan activities for July and August.

Sunday 16 June 1985Afternoon ride: Avon DamSunny
17 present: Steven Bowles (15, Paignton), Grace Dovell, Richard Dovell, Mark Gruit (Junior, Devon), Matthew Hinkley (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Paul Mahchinger (Junior, Devon), Mark Moxham (15, Paignton), Raymond Parkin, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Simon Warner (13, Marldon), Tim Whiteoak, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
A sunny, warm day greeted us as we left Buckfastleigh and headed up (and down) through Harbourneford and past Brent Hill towards Shipley Bridge. At Shipley, ice-creams were called for while we waited for the Dawlish Dawdlers – and they certainly were dawdling! After about fifteen minutes of waiting we gave up and headed on to Woolholes. We found the letterbox, but to our dismay neither the box nor the group had a pad, so we were unable to stamp our books.

From here Luke, Tim and Andrew nipped in to Zeal Gully for another box while the rest of the group met the Dawdlers (at last) and went around the dam to the Abbots Way. An exhilarating descent across the moor via Water Oak Corner brought the club home by 6pm, closely followed by the letterboxers.

Friday 21 June 1985Evening ride: CancelledMonsoon
4 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, John Iles, Michael Jones, Luke Rake
If we had expected fine weather for our Friday evening ride on the longest day we were quickly disillusioned. The ride was quickly diverted to Redmount where the evening was usefully spent on various administrative tasks such as writing this report and planning the August treasure hunt – all by the comfort of a warm fire of course.

Sunday 23 June 1985Day ride: WidecombeRain
11 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, Mark Gruit, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
Rain stopped play once again for our Sunday ride, and no-one was more disappointed than Luke who had spent some considerable time planning a letterbox ride for us. The thought of being deprived of two rides in as many days, however, triggered the group to cycle an interesting if brief ride around Hembury Woods, incorporating the track from North Wood to Shuttaford.

Wet and bedraggled but not completely outdone the remainder of the day was spent enjoying slides and videos at Redmount.

Tuesday 25 June 1985Evening ride: Beaston FarmSunny
14 present: Grace Dovell, Jeremy Ford (8, Buckfastleigh), Ian Ganney (9, Buckfastleigh), Dayle Guy (10, Buckfastleigh), Mark Hunt, Paul Hunt (Adult, Buckfastleigh), John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Marc Thorp, Paul Thorp, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
Colston Road made a pleasant but hilly introduction to club activities for our new youngsters, who proved admirably that being young doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t keep up with the rest!

The ride through Staverton to Broadhempston passed without incident, but that cannot be said for the remainder of the evening. Four days of rain had left the track from Beaston to Halswell with a higher than usual muddy puddle count and the boys, being boys, somehow managed to attract a sizeable proportion of the stuff to their nice clean clothes. Far from being concerned about who was going to clean up the mess when they arrived home, they appeared to thoroughly enjoy the whole escapade and wanted to know if there was any more mud they could cycle through!

A few steep hills and a hay fight brought everyone back to reality – well, back to Five Lanes actually, from where the track route was taken to the main road and home. Parents may be relieved to hear that mud and late nights will definitely be OFF the menu for the next few weeks – until the holidays at least!

Sunday 30 June 1985Afternoon ride: AshpringtonDry / warm
10 present: Steven Bowles, Daniel Coles (13, Paignton), Jeremy Ford, Mark Gruit, Dayle Guy, Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Tim Whiteoak, Peter Willard
The eight from Buckfastleigh somehow managed to negotiate the Colston hills in record time, thereby keeping the three o’clock appointment with Steven and Daniel at Totnes Plains. The Dawlish Dawdlers, who had spent the day cycling along the Dart, arrived at Bow Bridge a minute before us for the second connection of the day, making numbers up to seventeen. At last there was a chance to relax.

The bridle path from Ashprington to Totnes proved interesting to say the least. Stinging nettles, stiles, steep tracks and fallen branches all conspired to impede out progress. The route was not without its rewards, however, which included some scenic views of the Home and Fleet Mill reaches of the river Dart.

All went smoothly until the track turned rough and Tim got a puncture. Repairs were hampered were hampered by Tim’s lack of spare tube and pump – the tune was a 26” Schrader. Fortunately other members of the group were able to supply the parts necessary to construct a suitable pump, and completion of the ride was then delayed only by a water fight – involving Alan and Steven of course.

Friday 5 July 1985Evening ride: SpitchwickSunny
9 present: Jeremy Ford, Dayle Guy, Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Marc Thorp, Paul Thorp, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
With all the publicity surrounding the Hood Fair 'Travellers' we thought it would be interesting to see for ourselves what was going on at Spitchwick. After riding all the way to New Bridge via Hembury, however, we were disappointed to find an unfriendly response to 'outsiders'. Police cars lined the return route near Ashburton ready for the weekend's invasion.

Sunday 7 July 1985Day ride: CockingtonSunny
8 present: Simon Birtles, Steven Bowles, Daniel Coles, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, John Stuart, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
Those attending enjoyed a ride along Paignton sea front and lunch at Cockington Court before joining Torbay's afternoon ride to Bradley Woods, which was well supported. Others, I suspect, also enjoyed the pleasures of the beach, but they didn't cycle there!

Tuesday 9 July 1985Social: Games Evening
8 present: Jeremy Ford, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
The Dawlish Dawdlers swelled numbers to thirteen for the group's third social. In addition to playing computer games and watching a video about frame-building the forthcoming camping weekend was planned in some detail.

Saturday 13 July 1985Weekend ride: East Allington Camping Day 1Rain
13 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, Jeremy Ford, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Brett Jamieson (12, Torquay), Michael Jones, Philip Mills (12, Torquay), Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Marc Thorp, Peter Willard
Although it was dry as we set off along Colston road, the bright sunshine of the morning had given way to ominous grey clouds and it seemed unlikely that we would reach our destination without a soaking. Shortly after leaving Totnes, following a rather prolonged re-victualling stop, our fears were realised: the heavens opened and, furthermore, remained open for the rest of the afternoon.

Progress between Harbertonford and Moreleigh was impeded by a flock of sheep being shepherded towards the latter – very picturesque on a fine summer’s day, but on a day such as this more likely to turn one’s mind to thoughts of mint sauce.

Higher Poole farm, where we were to spend the night under canvas, is only ten minutes or so ride from Moreleigh, and it was with relief that we rode into the farmyard. After some consultation it was decided that, in view of the weather conditions, we would pitch our tents in the garden rather than a field, this being possible as the farm is owned by relatives of Michael.

Once the tents were up the rain stopped. This was most welcome as it meant that the various suppers prepared by the group were not made soggy by surplus water. The evening was spent investigating aerodynamic and aerobatic qualities of Frisbees and tennis balls, and we all ‘turned in’ at about 10pm.

Sunday 14 July 1985Weekend ride: East Allington Camping Day 2Hot and sunny
13 present: Steph Crutchley-Iles, Jeremy Ford, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Brett Jamieson (12, Torquay), Michael Jones, Philip Mills (12, Torquay), Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Marc Thorp, Peter Willard
Despite the combined efforts of Luke's nocturnal mutterings and a cockerel who commenced crowing at about 4am, the campers had a good night’s sleep, and following a leisurely breakfast (particularly in Steph’s case) we ‘broke camp’ at about 10.30.

Elevenses were taken at Torcross and then, after some initial confusion regarding its whereabouts, we took the coast path to Bee Sands, from where we made our way through Stokenham and a series of switchback South Hams lanes until we had a very welcome lunch stop on a grassy bank outside the Buckland-tour-Saints hotel.

After lunch we passed the old Buckland All Saints church, then plunged through Goveton and climbed through Loddiswell before heading on towards North Huish. We were all beginning to flag a little when we came across an open garage at California Cross where we replenished ourselves before cycling the last couple of miles. We arrived at North Huish church a few minutes early for our 3.30 rendezvous with the afternoon ride from Buckfastleigh.

Shortly afterwards, four riders arrived: Marc, Peter and Jeremy, led by John Stuart. There was time for a brief rest in the sun, but then it was onwards and upwards for the journey home. On the steep hill between North Huish and Diptford Michael acquired a puncture but, much to the disappointment of the rest of us, not in his brand new ‘puncture-resistant’ Nutrak.

The remainder of the journey through Diptford and Rattery passed without incident despite some of the members temporarily mislaying themselves in the vicinity of the latter village.

Friday 19 July 1985Evening ride: LandscoveClear
7 present: Jeremy Ford, Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Peter Willard
Pridhamsleigh and Chuley Cross made a particularly hilly route to the Ashburton tv relay station. Wild strawberries lined the hedgerows however, making the whole affair much more enjoyable. Landscove and Broadhempston took the group to Staverton Bridge where everyone lingered too long by the tranquil waters of the Dart. We really are fortunate to live in such a beautiful area.

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