South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 10 May 2009
1015-1235
Morning ride: HolneMainly sunny
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
We rode up Silver Street to Burchetts Wood, then took the track through the woods. When we joined the road again at Mill Leat we took the steep hill up to Ridgey Cross, rode down past Shuttaford and then returned home along the lower Hembury Woods track - downhill all the way.

During the afternoon we arranged a special social to see the new Star Trek movie at Plymouth.

Friday 15 May 2009
1900-2030
Evening ride: RatteryDry
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Tom Pearson
We took the back lane to Dean, climbed Dean Hill and then crossed Dry Bridge to Rattery. Tom was a bit tired so we returned home via Pennywell.

Sunday 17 May 2009
1015-1300
Morning ride: Converted to SocialRaining
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
The rain started by 10am, so we decided to change the ride to a badminton social. We played at Ashmoor between 11.00 and 12.00 and finished with some computer games at Crofters.

Friday 22 May 2009
1900-2103
Evening ride: HemburySunny
6 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Tom Pearson, Matt Porter (12, Buckfastleigh)
Climbing the tree at Humphrey's Cross
Zac, Ryan, Tom, Ash and Matt in the tree on the Lower Hembury Track
Tom Pearson
Ash and Zac help new member Matt up into the tree
Everyone in position on the tree
Ash Freeman
Our route this evening took us up the lower Hembury track and then up the hill to Humphrey's Cross on the main Hembury road. The youngsters played in the tree for a while. We then rode into Hembury and had some fun on the fort before taking the Slalom track down through the woods and home.

New member Matt was a bit slow today on his BMX but he loved the ride and plans to join us again.

Sunday 24 May 2009
1015-1515
Day ride (Car-assisted): Fingle BridgeBright and sunny
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
Matt, Ash and Zac
Mid-morning on the River Teign
Zac, Ash and Matt enjoying lunch near Fingle Bridge
Lunch near Fingle Bridge
It was a bright sunny day and we were all hopeful of a great ride. Matt Porter joined us for his first Sunday ride and his second ever ride with us. Zac came along making four so we were able to do the car-assisted ride to Fingle that we had been hoping to do for weeks.

We took the car to Steps Bridge, unloaded the bikes and then set off through the delightful Cod Wood at 11.20. Bluebells spread out from the track as far as the eye could see. Matthew needed his crank tightening and his seat post clamping, but we still got to Fingle Bridge for around 12.20.

We ate our packed lunch in a picturesque setting by the river, then rode for fifteen minutes along the Fisherman’s path before returning to Fingle for drinks at the café. Neither the flapjacks nor the drinks were particularly tasty, tasting rather like the cheapest supermarket own brands.

We spent some time skimming stones, then some tried wading across the river but it turned out to be very cold and stony. We rode back along the riverside tracks to the car, leaving at 2.45 and reaching home by 3.15. Matt did really well on his first day ride and everyone had a fabulous day out.

Friday 29 May 2009
1900-2045
Evening ride: StavertonSunny and warm
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Tom Pearson
Our ride this evening took us along Colston Road, down to Charlie’s Cross and along the track short-cut to Hole Farm. We returned via Abham.

Sunday 31 May 2009
1015-1430
Morning ride (Car-assisted): Haldon Forest ParkSunny
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
When Ryan arrived we decided to go to Haldon Forest Park by car and arrived there later than planned at 11.40 after being delayed by a traffic jam caused by an accident.

As we had limited time we went straight for the Red Track - the most demanding of the available routes - and found this to be excellent fun. We particularly enjoyed the shady sections as it was a very hot day. On previous visits we had seen a particularly dangerous Black section that involved a blind jump onto a wooden track below: today we were pleased to see that it had been closed off and dismantled.

There was a new café in the car park which seemed to have replaced the mobile pancake van that we had enjoyed on previous visits. As there were no pancakes in the café we enjoyed drinks and ice creams, then we headed home as we were all quite tired.

Friday 5 June 2009
1900-2030
Evening ride: Five LanesDry
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Tom Pearson
Today’s ride started fine but turned out to be a bit of a disaster. Ash’s tyre was flat at the start and would not respond to pumping. We took the steep track to Five Lanes from Dart Bridge and Michael attempted a repair part-way up. Unfortunately there was no hole, so the problem was in the valve. When pumping it again at the top of the track the valve burst open rendering the tube useless, and on this particular occasion nobody had a spare tube!

Michael called Gavin for car assistance and we met him on the way down Green Lane. We all went home and enjoyed a computer games social where Call of Duty 4 was the game of choice.

Sunday 7 June 2009
1015-1400
Morning ride (Car-assisted): Plym Valley CyclewayDry
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Tom Pearson
Tom, Zac and Ash on the first viaduct of the Plym Valley Cycleway
We took the car to the B&Q car park at Plympton and rode all the way up the Plym Valley cycleway, stopping at the first viaduct to observe the Peregrine Falcons on the nearby cliffs from the provided binoculars – the birds were clearly visible today. When we returned the youngsters insisted we went to Pizza Hut to get take-away pizza before we returned home for 2pm.

Zac stayed for a games social after the ride, playing Call of Duty 4 with Michael and Ash.

Friday 12 June 2009
1900-2205
Evening ride: Converted to SocialDry with sunny periods
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
The drizzly afternoon had turned into a dry evening, but unfortunately Ryan had been unable to get transport down and back from Holne with both him AND his bike. Reluctantly we changed the ride to a cinema social and drove to Vue cinema in Plymouth to watch the 7.30 showing of Terminator 4, which proved to be very enjoyable.

Sunday 14 June 2009
1015-1230
Morning ride: Belford MillSunny and warm
3 present: Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
The Terrace Walk, Ashburton
Ryan and Zac on Belford Mill track
We saw loads of motorbikes on the back road to Ashburton this morning – maybe they were part of the rally that was taking place today.

We rode past Belford Mill and took the woodland track back to Ashburton, resting on the fallen tree for photographs. We concluded an enjoyable ride by taking the scenic Terrace Walk and then returning along the old road by 12.30.

Friday 19 June 2009
1900-2135
Evening ride: Converted to SocialDry
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Ash had injured his finger on the trampoline, so we decided to run a games and videos social at Crofters this evening.

Sunday 21 June 2009
1015-1230
Morning ride: Chalk FordDry
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Ash and Ryan
Ash and Ryan near Chalk Ford
Ash was at home for a while this morning for Father’s Day, but he met Ryan and Michael at Cross Furzes at 11.10 and then joined us for a fast ride over the moor from Lud Gate to Chalk Ford. On the way down we saw around ten deer in the deer park.

After photos near the footbridge at Chalk Ford we took the stony track to Scoriton and then the lanes home via Hawson Court.

Friday 26 June 2009
1900-2200
Evening ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Michael had to cancel this evening's ride as a result of other commitments, but only Matt had been available to join the ride in any event, and since he said he would be coming Sunday it wasn't really a problem.

Sunday 28 June 2009
1015-1455
Morning ride: River Dart Country ParkExtended showers
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
The forecast of cloudy but dry almost persuaded us to do a car-assisted ride to Exeter today, but when Zac pointed out that Matt only had ₤1.50 we switched to a local ride. This turned out to have been a good decision: by the time we reached Michelcombe an unpleasant spell of rain was settling in. Michael's assurances that it would be sure to stop soon didn't carry much weight with the youngsters, but we nevertheless continued to Holne and used the cafe there until 12.45 which made everyone feel better.

It was dry now, but Michael still had to put a good case to encourage them to take the track to the park rather than the shorter route home via Hembury. They enjoyed the track of course, so it was the right choice, but then we made a big mistake.

In years gone by we had often taken the shortcut from RDCP back to Buckfastleigh through Hembury Woods, and whilst it had been getting more like an obstacle course each year we decided to try it again today. Whatever it might have been like in the past was nothing to the problems we encountered today. First there were the great piles of earth, presumably put there by the park to make the path impassable. We got past those, then had to tackle the brambles and undergrowth in several places. After the fallen logs that crossed the path we then found that the usual path was now impassable to the cave, even by the secondary path behind, as a result of neck-high growth of brambles and other vegetation!

To get to an alternative route we had to cross the small river, and as there was no longer any easy crossing this meant wading across - just inconvenient, as it wasn't deep at all. Even the alternative path had huge tree trunks that had to be negotiated and two small streams to cross on rather wobbly stepping stones. To get back to the old path we had to climb a steep bank, and once there we were still unable to get to the little cave that Michael wanted to show everyone. The remainder of the path into Hembury was only blocked by the same old tree trunks that had been there for years, but by the time we emerged onto rideable tracks we were scratched and tired and it was way too late.

We'll give this track a miss from now on, since the owners have clearly gone to huge lengths to prevent our enjoyment of this otherwise delightful stretch of woodland.

Friday 3 July 2009
1900-2132
Evening ride: Hembury
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Ryan and Ash enjoying the river Dart at Hembury
A short ride that explored the many tracks in Hembury Woods turned into a late return when Ash remembered, half-way home, that he had left his watch by the river. At least they had enjoyed the stone skimming and paddling in the cool waters of the Dart.

Sunday 5 July 2009
1235-1310
Morning ride: Dean PriorHeavy showers
2 present: Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
We played games until the showers seemed to have stopped, then set off for a ride up Dean Hill. We only got halfway up before the rain started again however, and since Ryan wanted to go back we just headed back down the hill and home.

Friday 10 July 2009
1900-2145
Evening ride: Landscove
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Ryan & Ash preparing for the downhill to Landscove
Our ride started with Green Lane and the descent across the fields to Landscove - always great fun, although the gates that have to be opened and closed on the way down can be annoying.

At Landscove we went to spend a little time in the play park and were quickly joined by two local lads, Dylan and Ashley, who showed us their swing backflip skills. Ryan knew one of them from five years ago but it took him several minutes before he properly recognised him.

We got back to Buckfastleigh a little later than usual.

Sunday 12 July 2009
1015-1400
Morning ride: DartingtonMainly dry, some showers
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Ryan & Ash at the Cider Press Centre, Dartington
Ash was complaining of sore knees as we rode out along Colston road, but once we took to the cycle path at Riverford Bridge he was fine, very much enjoying the fun descent down the new stretch of path.

We had refreshments at Cranks restaurant at the Cider Press Centre in Dartington, then browsed around the Tridias Toy Shop for half an hour before moving on to the "healthy" sweet shop. It’s a great place to spend some time and we all really enjoyed our visit.

For our return journey we took the descent to Staverton Bridge and headed through the lanes past Abham.

Friday 17 July 2009
1900-2200
Evening ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Nobody except Michael was available for today's evening ride, so the ride was cancelled.

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