South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 5 May 1991Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Avon DamSunny and warm
15 present: Neil Ault, Joseph Bellows, Stuart Benns, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Luke Hatherly, Zoe Hatherly, Mark Hedges, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware (Junior, Totnes), Sebastian Lessware, Martin Luke, Susannah Maurer (Adult, Devon), Paul Oakley, Craig Wilson
Downhill fun on the Abbots Way
Preparing for the Abbots Way descent
A short ride through Dean to Shipley Bridge brought us to the reservoir, which wasn't overflowing today - an ominous sign for those who haven't forgotten last year's drought. We returned to Buckfastleigh along our usual route over the moor via Cross Furzes, and enjoyed refreshments on the Crofters lawn.

Sunday 5 May 1991Afternoon ride (Paignton): GalmptonSunny
6 present: Luke King (13, Devon), Unknown Rider 1, Unknown Rider 2, Unknown Rider 3, Gary Taylor, Tom Widger (12, Totnes)
We headed out via the back roads to Stoke Gabriel and then along the river to Galmpton, where Gary left us to go and revise. It was agreed to try Galmpton Creek, so we followed the river and the footpath signs. Our dyslexic leader was good at reading the variations on these: "No Entry" and "Private". But not to worry, a patient landowner was on hand with a "Where the hell are you going? This is my garden".

We found the path along the beach and up through a field. Here some members managed to paint themselves with watery cow pats. On we went past the tied-up farm dog (trying to strangle himself in a desperate attempt to get at us), down to the quay at Greenway, back up the hill and then right, towards Maypool. Here we met Mr & Mrs Hatherly enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon ride away from their son.

We took the bridleway straight through somebody's private land. Having been directed to the correct path we paused for a drink from light green water bottles (see a previous sentence). Now we had to decide on a choice of pathways all clearly signposted. The decision was put to the vote and we went at some speed down the field to the next gateway. Here a naughty farmer had placed barbed wire on the other side so we had to climb over it. On we went down the path, which was now clear to see.

At the bottom was a herd of inquisitive cows. They seemed very pressing in their friendliness and were remarkably frisky. Our group started to back up the field with the hedge protecting them on one side and dragging their bikes in front of them. One member even managed to cross some barbed wire and started to walk along the top of the hedge. We could now see our path on the other side. The cows kept following us. Upon closer examination we realised, at some length, that these 'cows' were not quite what we had at first thought. This seemed to produce panic in one member who presumably thought he was a prize cow: he was gone, straight into the next safe field. Here we took a photo of our group and the 'cows'. At the top of this very steep field our prize Jersey then concluded his acrobatics display by demonstrating a back somersault complete with bike. He landed with the thud of the bike on top of him in a patch of stinging nettles!

At the top of the field we found an arrow hidden in the hedge, pointing in another direction! Having found the correct path we headed for home by a direct route as it was getting late.

Wednesday 8 May 1991
1900-2130
Evening ride (Paignton): CoffinswellShowery
5 present: Alan Dawson, Dave Humphreys, Ken Twydell, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker
The threatening weather had discouraged all but the most hardy (or insane!) who set off under Ken's indecisive leadership to Edginswell. The idea was to meet a new member, Dominic Steeples, near his home as he would not have had time to get to Marldon for 7pm. In the event Dave had a puncture due to the tread of his Hutchinson tyre disintegrating. By the time we had patched the tyre, fitted a new tube and maimed all of our thumbs struggling with the Hutchinson's ridiculously tight beading, we didn't get to Edginswell until 8pm and Dominic wasn't there. Still, we did try!

Our route then took us past the Barton new town development and on to Coffinswell (again!). Rather than go directly home via Kingskerswell we went through Abbotskerswell to the Ipplepen end of the Compton road. This route meant that we were never more than about forty minutes from home so that Ken could time the return for 9.30 exactly - some of his previous rides had been rather late, or early.

Friday 10 May 1991Weekend ride: Dartington / Salcombe YH Day 1Sunny
13 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Jamie Davey, Alan Dawson, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Chris Platt, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Eliot Thomas-Wright, David Waldron
Report unavailable

Saturday 11 May 1991Weekend ride: Dartington / Salcombe YH Day 2Sunny
13 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Jamie Davey, Alan Dawson, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Chris Platt, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Eliot Thomas-Wright, David Waldron
Salcombe's warden showing off his python
Ready to leave Dartington YH on Saturday morning
David Waldron
Alan the snake handler!
Martin Rushworth
Michael went down with a virus on Saturday, but he had recovered sufficiently by Sunday morning to manage the cycle journey home. Highlight of the weekend was when the warden at Salcombe hostel produced a three-metre python from his kitchen - alive and fully functional! The younger members were highly amused at the sight of Michael knocking over a jug of water as he backed away from it! A succession of smaller snakes and lizards were then brought out, some of which were safe enough to be handled by the younger members - we have a photograph of a small snake wrapped around Alan's neck!

Sunday 12 May 1991Weekend ride: Dartington / Salcombe YH Day 3 (31 mi)Sunny
13 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Jamie Davey, Alan Dawson, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Chris Platt, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Eliot Thomas-Wright, David Waldron
Return from Salcombe was across the ferry to East Portlemouth, and then via Slapton Sands and Totnes. We lost Peter Rushworth at Bow Bridge: he took a wrong turning and promptly got a puncture, so he wasn't missed until we had climbed the long hill. He found his way home eventually, however.

Friday 17 May 1991
1900-2130
Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): BucklandSunny
6 present: Neil Ault, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Martin Rushworth
Ashburton, Buckland in the moor, Spitchwick and Hembury made an interesting route. We spent a little too long at Spitchwick, waiting for some members to finish wading in the cool waters, which made us later home than we planned.

Sunday 19 May 1991Day ride (Hardriders): Burgh IslandCool start, hot later
2 present: Martin Hills, Richard Hopper
Martin and Richard didn't fancy the allotted destination of Burgh Island before the Rough Stuff event, so they found some roads that were new to them to take them first to tea at Totnes and then on to Woolston Green.

Sunday 19 May 1991Day ride: Rough Stuff EventSunny
22 present: Neil Ault, Christian Bryant, Clive Buckland, Alan Dawson, Alex Flanagan, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Ben Hobday, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Dave Humphreys, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Martin Luke, Martin Rushworth, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Gwyn Unknown, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker
Meeting with other members of the Devon DA at one end of the Beaston track was a recipe for a fabulous day. Buckfastleigh starters were still late, because they had to go via Totnes to meet up with other Section members. Arthur Browne, the organiser from Exeter, had put together a superb course to test us, and his wife had prepared excellent refreshments which included freshly baked current buns. We are, as always, indebted to them both.

Wednesday 22 May 1991
1900-2130
Evening ride (Paignton): BroadhempstonSunny
11 present: Ian Ceely (Adult, Devon), Alan Dawson, Christopher Grimmond (Adult, Devon), Dave Humphreys, Luke Roberts, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Lorraine Walker, Robert Walker
Lorraine didn't feel well. She hadn't felt well the day before or the day before that. Cause of the illness? Kenotandophobia (ie she was trying to get out of going for a ride on the back of Ken's tandem that had been originally planned for the Monday). Ken wasn't to be put off so easily so he went round early on the sunny Wednesday evening and persuaded her to 'just come round the block' - it was a revelation! Hills that had previously hurt became flat - she was hooked. Even so, Ken and Charlie still had to persuade her to come out on the actual ride, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

The rest of the ride? Pretty ordinary really - through the lanes to Broadhempston, round to the Woodland road and back via the cross at Style Park Gardens. Everyone had a great time, especially our two new members.

Friday 24 May 1991
1900-2130
Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): LambsdownSunny
12 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Andrew Caunter, Dayle Guy, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Joseph Watkins
After climbing Dean hill we took the right turn short-cut from Eden Farm to Gidley Bridge. The sheltered field near the stream at the top of the valley, secluded amongst the surrounding woodlands and stocked with peacefully-grazing cattle and sheep, made an idyllic picture. Having climbed the track to Lambsdown we returned across the moor to Cross Furzes and thence to Buckfastleigh.

Sunday 26 May 1991Day ride: Stepping StonesSunny
15 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Dayle Guy, Martin Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Michael Jones, Matthew Legg, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Martin Rushworth, James Twydell, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday
An easy late start for the Buckfastleigh riders but a hard slog for Ken (with Karina) and Ben, the only Paignton/Totnes starters (there would have been more from Totnes if Luke Hatherly hadn't given them false information). There was more hard work in store as we climbed through Hembury Woods onto the moor. Somebody was flying a kite across the road near Venford reservoir, seemingly unaware of the danger.

The moors were particularly busy with canned lemmings following each other tail to tail, which made the lung-busting climbs unpleasant at times as we inhaled their exhausts. The destination was about half a mile from the road: even here was busy with walkers and other families, but it was a lovely setting down by the river.

As usual Martin Luke and his sidekick Neil were soon in the water. Unusually though things didn't get out of hand and there were no tears.

The afternoon tea stop was at Dartmeet where the proprietor hustled us to suitable tables very efficiently, if a trifle condescendingly. He didn't seem interested in our consumer feedback that a No Smoking area would be a benefit. "When the government says that I have to ban smoking then I will," was his comment. Presumably he only cleans the plates because "the government says so". We got the impression that pleasing customers was not a priority, although it must be admitted that the place was well run.

The day passed by with no major mishaps - not even a puncture - but the Bank Holiday traffic ruined it for many of us. Perhaps the 'Honeypot' routes are best left for the winter?

Friday 31 May 1991Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): StavertonSunny
9 present: Neil Ault, Clive Buckland, Julian Duquemin, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Martin Rushworth
Having ridden past Caddaford farm and Abham, along the Fursdon track and past Staverton station, we decided to call in at the public meeting in Staverton courthouse. The discussion concerned the proposed cycle path between Totnes and Buckfastleigh, and we thought it our duty to register our general approval. We seemed to be outnumbered, however, by residents who felt the path would affect their peace and privacy!

We left the meeting before it was concluded and returned home by the quickest route.

Sunday 2 June 1991Day ride (Hardriders): Sheepstor (51 mi)Dry / sunny, then overcast
3 present: Clive Buckland, Martin Hills, Richard Hopper
Fox Tor Café was the first stop. In addition to the items on the menu we could also have bought the café, which is up for sale. We had lunch at Sheepstor, but did this mean the village or the tor itself? We compromised and sat halfway up the slopes of the tor. Martin was determined to be mentioned in these despatches, and achieved this for two reasons. While Clive and Richard got down to the serious business of eating lunch he dragged his bike to the top of the tor to engage in some serious posing. Then later, when we descended the Plym Valley cycle path, he remembered to remove his sunglasses before entering the tunnel. However, he redeemed himself by suggesting the leisure centre in Ivybridge for an afternoon cup of tea.

Sunday 2 June 1991Afternoon ride: BroadhempstonSunny
37 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Barry Dawson, Julian Duquemin, Michael Giles, Dayle Guy, Mark Hedges, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Roxanne Hobday, Matthew Jago, Matthew Jeffery, Michael Jones, Luke King, Matthew Legg, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Martin Luke, Liz Minskip (Adult, Devon), Robert Minskip (Junior, Devon), Paul Oakley, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Peter Rushworth, Matthew Staccombe (Junior, Devon), Debbie Twydell, James Twydell, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Lorraine Walker, Robert Walker, Francis Whitestone (Junior, Devon), Tom Widger
Nearly ready to leave
The group assembling near Denbury
Our invitation rides usually attract a good attendance, and today was certainly no exception. After a short play in the park at Broadhempston and a meander through the local lanes we somehow managed to find our way to the Pick and Park café for afternoon refreshments.

Wednesday 5 June 1991
1900-2130
Evening ride (Paignton): Destination UnknownSunny
8 present: Christian Bryant, Sarah Bryant, Alan Dawson, Dave Humphreys, Ken Twydell, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker
Report unavailable.

Friday 7 June 1991
1900-2130
Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): WoodlandDry
12 present: Neil Ault, Clive Buckland, Tao Burgess, Andrew Guy, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Matthew Jeffery, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Peter Rushworth
Every now and then we have a 'trackie' sort of evening ride from Buckfastleigh. Tonight we started with the Priestaford House track (off the B3357), which was as muddy as ever. Next we took the Old Totnes Road track across the old railway line, crossed the A38 (a dangerous occupation!) and climbed Whistley Hill. Next track on the agenda was Beaston, but we had a bit of riding to do first - through Woodland and Knowle. There was plenty of mud at Beaston, but there was still time to squeeze in just one more track - the one from Landscove - before heading homewards for a well-deserved hose-down.

Saturday 8 June 1991Weekend ride: Beer Youth Hostel Day 1Wet
7 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Eliot Thomas-Wright
This would have been an excellent weekend had it not been for the bad weather. Some who had booked decided not to attend (including a certain large family from the Paignton area). Of the remainder, Martin, Martin and Tao cycled through the rain and Michael, Neil, Eliot and Alan went by car, calling in at the café at Branscombe for some Dandelion and Burdock cordials and an excellent range of home-baked cakes.

We made the most of our stay by walking to the beach and along the coastal path, and playing Neil's new board game in the common room.

Sunday 9 June 1991Weekend ride: Beer Youth Hostel Day 2Sunny
7 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Eliot Thomas-Wright
On a sunny Sunday morning the cyclists set off for Woodbury Common whilst the rest of us waited around for Beer caves to open. It was well worth the wait. For a small fee we were given a guided tour around the caves, created by humans as they removed huge slabs of stone for use in such buildings as Exeter Cathedral.

After another stop at the Branscombe café we moved on to Woodbury castle for lunch, hoping to meet the cyclists. Unfortunately they had already gone through, so we made an early return homewards.

Wednesday 12 June 1991
1900-2130
Evening ride (Paignton): Milber WoodsVariable
4 present: Ian Ceely, Christopher Grimmond, Matthew Jago, Ken Twydell
Without the moderating influence of any youngsters the pace was fast - tempered only by a stop every two miles to loosen stiff links in the chain of Chris' new Raleigh Pioneer (the chain was a Suntour and similar problems have been encountered by Carol Taylor, Gary's mum, with a similar chain).

Under Ken's forceful direction we sped through Kingskerswell and on to Coffinswell where we took a lane that became a bridleway (called Milber Lane) that was diverted around the sand quarries. At the end we entered Milber Woods and took a downhill track almost to Penn Inn roundabout.

We cut back through an estate to the Newton road where we stopped at the Texaco garage for sweets etc before setting off home via Stoneycombe.

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