South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 17 May 2002
1900-2045
Evening ride: SpitchwickCloudy but dry
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Phillip Oakley
All of us wanted a faster ride this evening. After reaching Spitchwick in a record-breaking 28 minutes we continued on up the steep hill through the woods to Buckland in the Moor. The rumours we had heard about the Roundhouse Cafe being closed were not quite true: it was up for sale, but it still appeared to be trading.

Sunday 19 May 2002
1000-1600
Day ride: Exeter Ship Canal (49 mi)Cloudy
2 present: Tao Burgess, Eliot Thomas-Wright
With only two present on the ride (owing to A-level exam revision) and the forecast of rain for the afternoon, Tao and Eliot took the car to Starcross and enjoyed the best of the Exeter Ship canal track.

Wednesday 22 May 2002
1800-2030
Evening ride (Junior): BroadhempstonRain and showers
9 present: Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones, James Manning, Keir Manning, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Tommy Roberts, Daniel Smith II
A heavy downpour at the start almost persuaded us to turn back, but after climbing Green Lane the rain didn't seem so bad and everyone was keen to press on. Soon we were at Broadhempston Play Park enjoying the slides and Frisbees, but as usual nobody wanted to leave and it was 7.25 when we finally got away.

We proceeded to the quiet village of Landscove using some quiet back lanes, and then Tommy entertained everyone by falling off his BMX bike - not once, but twice! Fortunately he wasn't hurt, but when Daniel's brakes forced him to push down the final descent we were destined for a rather late return.

Friday 24 May 2002
1900-2115
Evening ride: StavertonCloudy
5 present: Tao Burgess, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson
Phillip wanted lots of tracks, but the general view was that most would be too wet and muddy after the recent downpour. The compromise took us past Caddaford to Staverton, along the riverside track to the village, then through Landscove and home via two tracks to Baddaford Farm. It was these last two that proved every bit as bad as predicted, but most of the group seemed to enjoy them.

Sunday 26 May 2002Day ride: Little DartmouthShowers
1 present: Michael Jones
Today's ride was cancelled

Wednesday 29 May 2002
1800-2030
Evening ride (Junior): River Dart Country Park (5 mi)Dry
7 present: Michael Jones, James Manning, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Calum Searle, Gordon Searle, Rachel Steward
Calum was feeling a little under the weather today after his 10th birthday celebrations, but he put on a brave face as we tackled the steep ascent through Hembury Woods. Rachel wondered when the hills would ever end, but soon we turned right and joined the long track descent through the woods that leads to the Park. On the way down, Calum managed to come off, and that in turn made Ben lose control so that he too came off! There was no serious damage however, and everyone enjoyed the final section down to the road with its narrow leafy boundaries and sharp turns.

The park itself was quite busy with tourists, so we quickly rode through to the lower Hembury track where narrow paths, concealed mine entrances, fallen tree trunks and superb river views entertained us all the way back to Buckfastleigh.

Friday 31 May 2002
1900-2115
Evening ride: Skerraton DownWarm and sunny
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, Eliot Thomas-Wright
This was a truly perfect summer's evening, so we set off up the hill past Nurston farm to the rough track that leads up to the open moor of Skerraton Down. Part-way along the track, Gavin decided to look over the hedge and was amazed to discover a secret golf course way up there on the moor. Well, it couldn't have been that secret because there were at least 20 golfers roaming around. After close inspection we decided it was a private course owned and set up by the nearby farmer.

The moor was warm and still tonight - a real treat after a busy day. There was time to play with the Frisbees, chat, and examine an extraordinary sea of bluebells in a steep-sided valley leading to a woodland. An exhilarating descent across the moor brought us eventually to Cross Furzes and the long hill down to Wallaford Road.

Sunday 2 June 2002
1415-1715
Afternoon ride: Landscove TearoomsCloudy
4 present: Julian Duquemin, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
There was a general consensus that a tearoom should be on this afternoon's itinerary. With this in mind we arranged a circuitous route along Colston Road to Staverton, where we found many more people than usual walking the riverside path alongside the steam railway. Mother Hubbard's tearooms at Landscove were equally busy, but we had already planned to eat outside in the Olde English garden so we weren't at all put out. The owner's dogs provided the main entertainment - next to Julian's numerous text messages!

Thursday 6 June 2002Evening ride (Junior): CancelledRain
1 present: Michael Jones
Michael arrived at the start to find nobody there - hardly surprising in view of the weather and the half term holidays. The ride was therefore cancelled.

Friday 7 June 2002Evening ride: CancelledHeavy rain
2 present: Michael Jones, Dominic Klinkenberg
Michael and Dominic met at the start, but in view of the very unpleasant weather conditions we just had a chat and went home.

Sunday 9 June 2002Day ride: Hunter's PathHeavy rain
3 present: Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
Luke, Michael and Gavin met at Crofters but decided to abandon the ride again in view of the unpleasant weather. Perhaps next week we'll actually get to have a ride!

Thursday 13 June 2002Evening ride (Junior): CancelledCloudy
1 present: Michael Jones
No takers again for the junior ride, although many of the youngsters were away for the week with the school. We'll see what happens next week.

Friday 14 June 2002
1900-2150
Evening ride: Cold East CrossCloudy
4 present: Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Dominic Klinkenberg, Gavin Pearson
We all felt like an adventurous ride this evening, so after following the back lanes to Ashburton and having a look through the gates of Rendells auction rooms at Stonepark we set off for the big climb to Halshanger Cross and the even bigger climb on to Cold East Cross. The moor was still and quiet apart from the numerous sheep and skylarks that dotted the landscape. Next we took the track descent to Buckland and then continued down through the woods to Spitchwick Common. Luke managed to throw the Frisbee into the river but he seemed to enjoy the task of retrieving it despite the coldness of the water and rockiness of the river bed.

We were fortunate enough to spot two deer crossing the lane as we climbed through the woods to Gallant Le Bower - the second time this season. As it was still light we decided to take the track through Hembury Woods, bringing us home at the slightly later than usual time of 9.50.

Sunday 16 June 2002
1000-1510
Day ride: Tuckenhay (25 mi)Damp start, dry later
3 present: Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
The constant drizzle at the start of the ride persuaded us to head southwards and to keep within sprinting distance of home! The vegetarian restaurant at Dartington provided very enjoyable (if expensive) refreshments, and when we emerged the drizzle had all but disappeared. We rode up Totnes Downhill, took the steep descent to Bow Bridge and decided to climb Corkscrew Hill in search of a lunch spot. Sure enough, not too far from the top we found a footpath that led through an opening in the hedge, and from our position at the top of the field we enjoyed panoramic views of the whole Tuckenhay valley.

We didn't want to be too late home today, so we proceeded to Forces Cross and Moreleigh, returning via Rattery.

Thursday 20 June 2002Evening ride (Junior): CancelledFine
1 present: Michael Jones
No excuses for the zero turnout tonight, so it was decided that this will be the last junior ride of the season.

Friday 21 June 2002Evening ride: CancelledRain
3 present: Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley
After a wonderful, sunny week the rain came down in torrents especially to ruin our evening ride. Everyone present preferred a social, so computer games were the order of the evening.

Sunday 23 June 2002
1000-1735
Day ride: Hope Cove (45 mi)Hot and sunny
3 present: Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley

Summer was here at last, and we were all looking forward to this energetic ride to Hope Cove with eager anticipation. Our outward route took us through South Brent and Loddiswell, by which time Oliver was beginning to feel the effects of his complete absence of cycling whilst at university. The quaint old shops near the cove provided a good range of food for lunch, which we enjoyed on the sandy beach of Outer Hope. The area was relatively quiet, so we were able to really enjoy the sea, sand and seagulls. Before leaving we did a quick tour of Inner Hope, complete with its crab pots and lookout shelter.

We had already decided that the Avon Mill cafe near Loddiswell would be providing afternoon refreshments, so without further ado we retraced our outward route as far as the river Avon and enjoyed tea, elderflower cordial and muffins in the quiet shade of the small cafe. It was nearly 4pm when we left to climb the steep hill to Woodleigh. From there we returned home via Moreleigh, Diptford and Rattery after a thoroughly exhilarating ride.

Friday 28 June 2002
1900-2100
Evening ride: Buckland-in-the-MoorWarm and sunny
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Phillip Oakley
A perfect midsummer's evening lured us ‘moorwards’ - through Ashburton and up Auswell hill to Buckland in the moor. The views were magnificent, and as we waited by Buckland church the tower bell chimed the hour through the stillness. Spitchwick Common was well populated by a group of school children playing ball games, but their laughter merely added to the magical atmosphere that was to be found everywhere this evening. After a contented chat overlooking the river we headed homewards via Hembury woods.

Sunday 30 June 2002Day ride: Ten Tors EventDry start
1 present: Michael Jones
For the first time ever we had no takers for our Ten Tors event.

Friday 5 July 2002
1900-2125
Evening ride: Chalk FordWarm and sunny
5 present: Tao Burgess, Stan Ford, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
Another perfect evening, so once again we headed moorwards, this time past Buckfast Abbey and up the long climb to Cross Furzes. The track to Lud Gate quickly brought us out onto the open moor where a glorious sunset greeted us. There was time to savour the magnificent views that spanned all the way to Teignmouth and beyond before enjoying the freedom of the moorland descent to Chalk Ford. At times like this we know why we like to live in South Devon.

Having crossed the little wooden bridge over the river in this isolated but beautiful location we proceeded up the windy path to the gate and so to the long but stony descent to the village of Scoriton. As the evening was still young there was time to divert via Michelcombe for a return through the famous Slalom track in Hembury Woods - Stan was very impressed with the new rugged tyres on his touring bike which made the experience far more enjoyable.

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