South Dartmoor CTC


Friday 28 April 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): SpitchwickDry
17 present: Graham Burge, Andrew Dalgleish (14, Buckfastleigh), Brett Easterbrook, Chris Giles, Dayle Guy, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges (Adult, South Brent), Peter Hern, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Catherine Hopper, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Chris Platt, Shane Powell, Alan Skinner
Admiring the view from the top road near Hembury Woods. Toby, Alan, Shane, Martin, Andrew & Catherine, with Dayle behind.
Christopher Platt was stuck in the mud on the Hembury Woods track within twenty minutes of his long awaited return to cycling. He didn't seem to mind, however, and was soon rushing on to join his friend Toby who had found a vast supply of mud inside a farm gate at the top of the Shuttaford lane.

Most of the group carried out the detour to Spitchwick, including new lad Andrew whose pedal crank fell off. Repairs posed few problems, and the groups were soon reunited for the return from Peartree.

Sunday 30 April 1989Day ride: Buckland Tout SaintsWet
12 present: Luke Hatherly, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Warren Masters, Jenny Quick, Philip Roberts, Martin Rushworth, Gary Taylor, Martyn Williams
Another damp Sunday, but this time we attracted a sizeable turnout at the Totnes pick-up. We were all pleased to see Jenny back on her bike again after her back injury, a little weaker than usual but certainly not short of enthusiasm.

A short stop at Harbertonford enabled Michael to buy some delicious- looking apple pies to complement his packed lunch, and Steven to buy a cake and knife (although he wouldn't say how many pieces he was going to cut it into).

We were soon into new territory at East Allington village. Twenty minutes later we were climbing the steep hill through the woods at Buckland Tout Saints. There seemed to be birds all around us as we climbed through the drizzle. The only real shelter to be found for lunch was in the church porch - we left everything tidy of course, and left a note of thanks in the visitors book after inspecting the interior.

When Martyn had fixed his puncture we took a short but very hilly short-cut to Loddiswell. Warren caused a few headaches when his chainset started rubbing on his frame, but the team of mechanics managed to remove the inner ring just to keep him happy. The B-road to South Brent was relatively easy going, and we were soon enjoying the warm hospitality of the Copper Kettle cafe at South Brent. It wasn't much fun putting wet trousers back on again when the time came to leave.

Wednesday 3 May 1989Evening ride (Paignton): BeastonSunny / dry
4 present: Richard Hopper, Philip Roberts, Gary Taylor, Ken Twydell
This was a fine end to the day, with a hazy sunset and even a cricket game in progress. The four of us had a brisk ride out along the lanes, with Ken finally getting his feet wet on the Beaston Farm track.

Friday 5 May 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Avon DamSunny
18 present: Nathan Arecco, Richard Burge, Andrew Dalgleish, Chris Giles, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Chris Platt, Shane Powell, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner
Some of our younger members learned the hard way not to follow just anybody down a hill. Andrew, Simon and Luke had decided to take the steep dip through Harbourneford, and a number followed them by mistake instead of taking the easier alternative offered by Richard.

The group reached Shipley Bridge within the hour, so there was plenty of time for the classic moorland return along the Abbots Way. Several fell off but were unharmed on the dry grass.

Sunday 7 May 1989Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Avon DamSunny
22 present: Michael Banks, Richard Burge, Mary Creedy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Mrs Hamlyn-White (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Mark Hedges, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Rohan Kilty, Ian Luke, Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Martyn Williams, Colin Woodman (Adult, Plymouth), Jennifer Woodman (Adult, Plymouth)
Mark Hedges
Enjoying the sun half-way up the track to Avon Dam. From the back: Mary, Paul, Colin, Jennifer, Steven, Richard Burge, Toby Hopper and Michael Banks
The gate at Water Oak Corner on the Abbots Way
Setting off from the top of the Abbots Way track
Colin & Jennifer Woodman running aground on their tandem at the ford near Cross Furzes
This unfortunate duplication came about through some bad planning on Friday, but most of the riders were different. Ian Luke ruined the first part of the ride by taking everyone up the wrong hill. He didn't stop until he got to the top! Members really must learn to ask about the route before charging ahead.

The remainder of the ride was much like Friday's excursion, except that Shipley was swarming with people and the ice cream van was there. Ian entertained everyone halfway up to the dam by trying to swim in the Avon - he ran aground, as the water was only a few centimetres deep.

Sunday 7 May 1989Afternoon ride (Paignton): BrixhamSunny
11 present: Jonathan Chapple (12, Paignton), David Cutts, Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Matthew Jago (15, Paignton), Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Stephen Larkin (12, Paignton), David Meadows (12, Paignton), Philip Rhead, Gary Taylor
This hardish ride took members through Berry Pomeroy, Waddeton and Galmpton towards Kingswear's Lower Ferry, where superb views of the Dart presented themselves. The group managed to find a few steep tracks near Mansands before returning via Brixham and Churston. The ñsix punctures collected during this ride must be getting on for a record, but inconvenience was minimised thanks to an excellent pit mechanic.

Wednesday 10 May 1989Evening ride (Paignton): Fleet MillDry
6 present: Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Matthew Jago, Stephen Larkin, Philip Roberts, David Robinson
This was the Marldon Track Event, with members exploring every lane and track they could find on a circular route through Totnes. It was certainly good practice for the Rough Stuff event.

After some pothole-ridden lanes to Blagdon there was the delightful Glazegate Lane track from Barton Pines to Longcombe. Then there was the track through Fleet Mill to Totnes, and finally a steep and gritty finale to Berry Pomeroy. The ending of the ride was marred somewhat when Philip, who was at the front and should have known better, failed to wait at a turn-off. The adult leaders were thus separated from the youngsters, and the two groups had to make their own ways home.

Friday 12 May 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): LandscoveSunny
14 present: Andrew Dalgleish, Chris Giles, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Dominic Hoile (13, Devon), Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Marcus Kudliskis (10, Buckfastleigh), Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth
There was nothing especially different about this evening's route - Colston Road, Staverton Bridge and the riverside path were all delightful as usual. The difference came when Paul's new derailleur fell apart on Staverton Green. It was a Charger, the same make that had let Luke Hatherly down on three occasions. Fortunately Paul's mother was able to collect him.

The return was through Landscove, with Simon taking some down the track from Five Lanes.

Saturday 13 May 1989Weekend ride: Steps Bridge Youth Hostel Day 1Dry
14 present: Richard Burge, Paul Hamlyn-White, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Martyn Williams
Two punctures in the Buckfastleigh group delayed the Chudleigh Bridge meeting by half an hour. As there was still plenty of time before supper we wandered slowly up the Teign Valley road, pausing for fresh fruit and carrots at the nursery near Crocombe Bridge.

Paul's new new-derailleur held up well, allowing us to reach the hostel by 6.05 and in plenty of time to settle into our two dormitories. The one in the main hostel building was cosy but lacked proper ventilation - the annexe was definitely not short of that particular commodity! The meal was delicious and filling, and it proved necessary to work off the surplus energy with a lengthy walk along the riverside nature trail.

Sunday 14 May 1989Weekend ride: Steps Bridge Youth Hostel Day 2Dry
14 present: Richard Burge, Paul Hamlyn-White, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Martyn Williams
A profusion of bluebells along the woodland track from Steps Bridge
The group outside Steps Bridge YH. From the left: Ken, Paul, Martin R, Shane, Peter, Martyn W, Philip, Richard, Paul, Mark, Steven, Richard and Roger
Sunday dawned bright, but became dull by the time we left at ten, delayed by Martyn needing to replace his brake yoke cable. Through the woods on the north side of Steps Bridge and then along the forestry track to Fingle Bridge. Michael's tyre exploded as he pumped it up. He rang for motorised assistance while we went on, agreeing to meet beyond Chagford.

We struggled up Hunters Path, to be rewarded by the superb descent below castle Drogo and a double puncture for Shane. The repair was inadequate, and Michael reappeared while it was being fixed again. The pressing demand for a lunch stop meant a rather hurried break in a grotty spot just outside Chagford. Then onto the B3212, south past Challacombe Down, and a welcome tea at the Wayside at Widecombe. We then went our separate ways at Cold East Cross.

Wednesday 17 May 1989Evening ride (Paignton): Combe FishacreSunny
8 present: Steven Hills, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Stephen Larkin, Shane Powell, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson

Another perfect evening brought another energetic ride from Marldon, this time outward through Combe Fishacre and back towards the Newhouse Barton lane along two new tracks. All along this part of the ride we found ourselves crossing what looked like the workings for a new main road, carved straight across the rural scenery. Detained for a while at Lillisford farm by a herd of cows we discovered from the farmer's wife that the workings had in fact been made by the gas board. When the new main had been laid all the land would be reinstated.

There were lots of "traak-ters" to be seen along the second part of the ride, which took us through Ipplepen, Torbryan and the track route to Denbury along which we were escorted by the local horse. Return was via Two-mile Oak and Stoneycombe.

Friday 19 May 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): HaytorSunny / warm
16 present: Hazel Brown (Adult, South Knighton), Andrew Dalgleish, Chris Giles, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Marcus Kudliskis, Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth

Not to be outdone by Marldon starters, Buckfastleigh embarked on one of its longest evening rides today, riding all the way past Haytor. Views to the coast were distinctly hazy after the day's heat. Tantalising fragrances lured us onwards and temperature inversions added plenty of interest. Perhaps the most interesting sight was a hot air balloon behind Ashburton which rose into the air from a nearby farm as we watched with envy.

There was plenty of wildlife as well: in addition to the many foals frisking across the moor we were fortunate enough to see a badger at medium range near Cold East Cross as it scurried along beside a stone wall and into the woods. This was a lifetime first for many of the group!

Sunday 21 May 1989Day ride: Rough Stuff EventHot / sunny
18 present: Nick Buchanan, Richard Burge, David Cutts, Andrew Dalgleish, Michael Giles, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Tim Lane (12, Totnes), Ian Luke, Andrew Simmons, Ken Twydell, Martyn Williams
It was clear that the day was going to be hot and sunny. When everyone had arrived at the Bovey Tracey pick-up, we learnt what was in store for us: a trip to Lustleigh for elevenses, and back to the Rough Stuff start by the road from Bovey to Liverton.

Most went along the railway line to Lustleigh but Nick and Richard (one afraid of jolting his bike, the other of jolting his stomach) chose the road and were well into their tea by the time the others arrived. A debate followed on whether hot tea or ice drinks were better for cooling down, while others ate toast and jam or just jam. A certain person decided the Primrose drinks were not large enough and went 'over the road'. An easy ride took us to the starting point and everyone took to the shade of the forest for lunch where we met the other participants, dodging low flying frisbees between mouthfuls.

Some with the competitive spirit pinned numbers to themselves, while others just went the course for the fun. Each was given a route description, the marshallers were despatched and everyone set off. The course was mainly over lanes and rough tracks and covered about five miles. At the end tea and cakes were heaven sent while the marks for style and expertise were counted. A deserving Philip Humphreys was proclaimed King of the Rough Stuff. One or two had missed a section or two of the course, one, by name of Luke Hatherly, failed to make the first marshal and made up his own route. He must have wondered when the A38 dual carriageway was going to turn into a green lane. He must have wondered where the fords and woodland tracks were as the suburbs of Exeter passed by. Anyway, while everyone was getting lost themselves looking for him, Luke was having to make a deal with British Rail to get him back to Totnes without money. This was a strange end to the day, but after finding all was well we went home having had a fun day out with something to remember from it.

Wednesday 24 May 1989Evening ride (Paignton): Combe-in-TeignheadSunny
8 present: Steven Hills, Philip Humphreys, Matthew Jago, Stephen Larkin, Matthew Paine, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson
This long ride took participants through Cockington, Barton and Combe-in-Teignhead, with a return route via Kingskerswell. Stephen's puncture problem guaranteed a late return, but everyone was able to telephone home.

Friday 26 May 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): DartingtonSunny
13 present: Hazel Brown, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Michael Jones, Rohan Kilty, Marcus Kudliskis, Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth

We finally discovered the location of the new organic Penneywell Fñarm this evening when we stumbled upon it at the top of the hill towards Rattery. There were numerous specimens of pigs, sheep, goats and chickens strutting around - an ideal spot for the many schoolchildren who visit the farm every month.

Continuing towards Week we ran into trouble when young Mark Hedges came off on some loose gravel. Rohan was unable to avoid the obstructions and came off as well. Both boys had only superficial grazes, but they didn't look or feel too happy for a while. Steven took the rest of the group home via Dartington and Colston Road while Michael escorted the lads personally to Totnes hospital for a checkup. They were soon home and feeling a little brighter.

Sunday 28 May 1989Day ride: Plym Valley CyclewaySunny
22 present: Erica Brown (15, South Knighton), Hazel Brown, Richard Burge, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Shane Powell, Philip Roberts, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Gary Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday (Adult, Paignton), Martyn Williams
Andrew Simmons, Richard Burge & Ian Luke
Shane, Paul, Ken & Julie at the lunch spot half way along the cycleway
Richard 'Budgie' Burge admiring family members behind the Foxtor café
Hazel & Erica Brown
This is always one of our hardest rides of the year, and always one of our most enjoyable. We were somewhat surprised, therefore, to find two new members at the pick-up. We needn't have worried, however, as they coped admirably with the tough terrain.

The Buckfastleigh contingent were entertained on the way to Avonwick by Simon Hopper. He had decided to try a fixed wheel on his Gemini cycle, the main disadvantage of which is the need to continue pedalling quite quickly at all times, even when descending a hill. He seemed happy with the new gear despite our jokes.

The length of the ride dictated that we use the A38 as far as Plympton, a fast option in view of the tailwind that accompanied us. We were soon inspecting the steam engines at the start of the cycleway, and twenty minutes later were enjoying a well-earned lunch in a delightful glade about a mile up the track. Ken reckoned it was the best lunch spot yet, and no-one disagreed. The whole area was surrounded by tranquillity and wooded slopes, with the river wending its way far below us.

Pursuing the track after lunch we passed numerous cyclists, out for the afternoon from Plymouth. The viaducts offered further spectacular scenery, and then there was the tunnel, pitch black in the middle and about ¼ mile long. If you happened to have a dynamo you were in a spot of trouble: the light wasn't bright enough unless you cycled quickly, but you couldn't cycle quickly across the rough surface because you couldn't see. It is not necessary to describe the fun that our younger members had from the tunnel.

Andrew found himself in deep trouble when his fooling around, which is often in bad taste anyway, went badly wrong. He pushed Michael towards a muddy ditch, but one of the pieces of wood in the middle turned out to be unsupported. A hasty apology saved him from indefinite suspension from Section activities!

A number of enthusiastic members paid no attention to instructions to wait at the road junction, choosing instead to press on along the track. It took them just ten minutes to reach the barbed wire fence and turn back again.

Climbing the hill from Goodameavy Gary discovered a broken rear axle - the second time on his current bike. It was unrideable, so he had to push it on to Yelverton and ring for help. The rest of the group sailed down to Meavy and up to Burrator, where the air was heavily scented by the profusion of blooms which lined the roads. The area was very crowded, however, so we were glad to set off up the hill towards Princetown and the open moor.

The Foxtor cafe provided welcome refreshments, although the service did not seem up to the usual standard. The youngsters were made to feel as though they were causing trouble when the gentleman brought the wrong order, and when someone suggested paying separately he nearly blew his top! They did pretty well out of us despite their frustration - Michael had two Knicker Bocker Glorys, many others had chips!

We finally departed at about 5.30pm, returning home via Two Bridges, Hexworthy and Combestone Tor. The Paignton brigade got home rather late at 8.45pm, but at least they had enjoyed the ride.

Wednesday 31 May 1989Evening ride (Paignton): KnowleSunny / cool
9 present: Dayle Guy, Steven Hills, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Stephen Larkin, Unknown Rider 1, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson
Philip Roberts, (Matthew Paine?), Stephen Larkin & Matthew Jago
Matthew Jago's brake cable could have broken almost anywhere, but on this occasion it broke just outside Dave Robinson's house in Marldon. Various tools were quickly produced and the group was soon back on the road again.

The evening continued with a pleasant lane route through Knowle and Broadhempston, returning via Red Post. There was time for a photo call at the top of the lane to Marldon, where Matthew posed in his "home-made" T-shirt - we declined the £5 pose on this occasion.

Friday 2 June 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): River Dart ParkDry
10 present: Hazel Brown, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner
Highlight of this evening's ride was the investigation of a new Dartmoor track. Having ridden to Galant Le Bower by way of Lower Combe, Higher Combe and Michelcombe we took the track that descends through North Park Wood. It is quite level and smooth at first, but one soon has to tackle stiles, stones, ruts and fallen tree trunks. The verdict as we emerged at Holne Bridge was a definite thumbs up, especially from the mountain bikers.

To round off an enjoyable evening we made use of our newly-acquired permission to ride homeward through the River Dart Country Park, pausing briefly for the inevitable descents on the Anaconda Run.

Sunday 4 June 1989Afternoon ride: Rolster BridgeShowers
25 present: David Cutts, Dayle Guy, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Catherine Hopper, Richard Hopper, Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Nicholas Hydon, Arren Hymas, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Stephen Larkin, Matthew Paine, Glen Powling, Philip Roberts, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Mark Sloman, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday
The long wait at Totnes, caused entirely by Roger who needed a new brake cable fitted to his mountain bike, was ultimately in vain as he had dropped the lever ferrule somewhere on his way in from Dartington.

Rolster Bridge was now unattainable, but new lanes in the Tigley direction made the ride unusual. Highlight of the afternoon came when Michael directed the group along the right-hand fork at Cobberton: on cycling around the corner he found everyone grouped in the farmyard of Higher Cobberton Farm. The chickens found it all quite amusing.

Wednesday 7 June 1989Evening ride (Paignton): DaccombeDry
4 present: Matthew Jago, Matthew Paine, Philip Roberts, Ken Twydell
A pleasant evening spent crisscrossing the swathe of the new gas pipeline, as we headed to Kingskerswell and then up to Daccombe (Richard wanted to tackle the double arrow hill). Along the ridge to Milber, turning down the bridleway just before the woods, and back through Compton.

If you have enjoyed reading these reports please send us a comment using the form on our Contact page