South Dartmoor CTC


Sunday 13 March 2011
Morning ride: Avon DamSunny and clear
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Jack Parnell, Brodie Scott
The group by the river Avon near Shipley Bridge
The group by the river Avon near Shipley Bridge
The Avon Reservoir
The group by the river Avon near Shipley Bridge
Climbing a tree near the ford at Cross Furzes
Off-road fun on the Abbots Way
Perfect spring weather and a fast group pointed us quickly in the direction of the Avon Dam, one of our favourite destinations. The ascent of Dean hill was delayed by frequent stops for conversation, so it was past 12.30 when we finally reached Shipley Bridge.

We stopped by the Avon for a chocolate break during which Zac decided to undertake a few ill-advised adjustments to his bike. Unfortunately one of these adjustments resulted in a broken valve, and as he had no spare tube he had to return to the car park to wait for transport home.

There was much to see on the moor today, with wildlife everywhere and a magnificent reflection off the surface of the reservoir: Connor, our newest rider, didn't miss any of it. The track behind the reservoir led us up the hill to the magnificent view across South Devon, and then we set about enjoying the fabulous downhill back to Cross Furzes. Ash took a tumble along the way but the ground was soft so there was no harm done. When everyone had climbed the old tree near the ford we took the long downhill back to Buckfastleigh for a well-earned games social. A car was despatched to collect Zac, who re-joined the group shortly after 2pm.

Friday 18 March 2011
Social: Games Evening
9 present: Neil Ault, Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Brodie Scott, Louis Unknown (Junior, France)
Once again our youngsters wanted more than ever to play games on the PC network, but there was enough enthusiasm for a trip out to get a visit to Tesco in the final hour.

Sunday 20 March 2011
Morning ride: Landscove TracksSunny and clear
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Brodie Scott, Louis Unknown
Brodie, Jack, Connor, Louis, Ash and Callum on the track
Halfway down the track from Higher Penn to Lower Combe
Having ridden up Green Lane and partway along the track towards Riverford Connor discovered what he described as the best attraction of the ride so far - a very long rope swing dangling from an overhanging tree branch. There were more to come however: the riverside track from Staverton station was followed by the catwalk path up to the park, where Frisbee and rocket fun were punctuated with chocolate snacks.

From Staverton village we took the lane to Landscove, pausing along the way to oil a few squeaking chains. Callum needed encouragement to push himself up the climb towards Penn, and since he was very thirsty Michael found that waving a water bottle at him from the top of the hill helped him find energy he didn't know he had! The downhill woodland track to Lower Combe made the climb all worthwhile, concluding a very enjoyable spring morning ride.

Friday 25 March 2011
Social: Games Evening
7 present: Neil Ault, Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
For our final social the idea of a cinema trip didn't quite get off the ground as some weren't able to stay later than the usual 10pm finish, so we concluded our social season with a repeat of last week's social - a mix of computer games and a supermarket trip.

Sunday 27 March 2011
Morning ride: SpitchwickSunny & warm
8 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Brodie Scott, Adam Wyeth (15, Buckfastleigh)
Climbing a tree at Spitchwick Common
Callum, Connor & Brodie enjoying the river Dart at Spitchwick
Spitchwick Common
The clocks went forward last night, but even those who had forgotten managed to get to the ride on time with a bit of rushing around. We were very pleased that Adam had finally kept his promise and joined one of our rides.

Callum O'Brien was complaining of feeling ill on the steep climb through Hembury Woods but he felt better on the way down the other side to New Bridge. Callum F couldn't resist the temptation to spend some of his money on an ice cream, but the rest of us waited until we found a quiet area on Spitchwick common and then tucked in to the chocolate box.

Everyone had fun here by the river, some exploring the rocks and island whilst others played Frisbee or just lay in the sunshine for a chat. Callum O'Brien found out it was a mistake to splash Jack with a rock: he was chased without mercy!

The second big climb of the morning was the hill to Buckland, but everyone coped well with it. Today it was Connor who first discovered the words "My Dear" on the clock face, although nobody seemed able to read the word "Mother" just below it. A short climb brought us to the top of Ausewell hill from where we enjoyed an excellent downhill back to Ashburton and home.

Friday 1 April 2011
Evening ride: Belford Mill
7 present: Arthur Bayes (15, Buckfastleigh), Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell, Adam Wyeth
Adam's friend Arthur made a welcome first appearance at the club tonight for our first evening ride of the season. Everyone had lights so we started with fast ride to Ashburton and out to Belford Mill, returning via the woodland track and a devious route around Druid. The final ride home along the old Ashburton road was in total darkness, reminding us of just how much fun evening rides can be. Hopefully our two younger members will be able to get lights sorted in time for next week's ride.

Sunday 3 April 2011
Morning ride: StavertonSunny spells
7 present: Arthur Bayes, Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Adam Wyeth
Adam, Arthur, Callum, Connor, Ash and Jack near Riverford
The predicted showers prompted us to take a cautious route along Colston Road to Staverton, but our fears proved unfounded as glorious spring sunshine followed us wherever we went. Callum O'Brien amazed himself and everyone else by cycling up every hill today, which just goes to show that it takes on a few weeks of club rides to get used to cycling.

We used the riverside path again to skirt around to the park where we stopped once again for tennis ball and Frisbee fun. We then took a different route home via Fursdon from where the farm track offered some challenging downhill fun.

Friday 8 April 2011
Evening ride: Chalk FordSunny & warm
6 present: Arthur Bayes, Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Ash suggested Chalk Ford this evening, and since the weather was so perfect we all agreed. We rode up Wallaford road at a fast pace, with Arthur on his new bright yellow bike. The sunset was superb as we approached Lud Gate at 8pm, and everyone enjoyed the downhill path over the open moor to Chalk Ford.

Continuing along the track past the deer park we reached Scoriton by 8.33 – three minutes after dusk but still not totally dark. We then rode straight back to Buckfastleigh for 9.05 using our taped-on lights. As usual there was a games social after the ride until 10pm.

Sunday 10 April 2011
Morning ride: Venford ReservoirSunny
6 present: Arthur Bayes, Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell, Brodie Scott
Brodie, Ash, Arthur, Jack and Connor at Venford
Jack, Brodie, Callum, Ash and Connor at the start of the Venford Reservoir track
Riding the track around Venford Reservoir
Arthur had planned to bring his friend Chris today, but in the end his Dad drove off with his bike so he couldn’t come. Olly Acland was also hoping to come, but on this occasion his father had other plans for him. Ash fitted the new saddle and bottle cage to Connor’s bike (the Club’s Trek 3900), Michael reassembled the new pump after it got dismantled on Friday and then we were ready to leave.

We rode up Holne Road and out to Scoriton and Michelcombe, then we were most embarrassed to be overtaken by a woman on a horse on the way up the hill to Holne. Jack had been asking for a longer ride today but when he got to Holne he seemed quite content with a normal length ride, so we set off up the hill to Venford with skylarks hovering and chirping everywhere.

Brodie and Arthur wanted us to ride a track they knew around the outside of the reservoir, but Michael persuaded everyone that the inner path was more scenic and more enjoyable and by the time we reached the other end everyone seemed to agree. There were several walkers on the path today, but unusually they were all very friendly. We stopped halfway around for a short chocolate break from where we were able to soak up the full beauty of the full reservoir set against perfect blue skies.

Ash suggested some tennis ball fun but nobody seemed interested today, so we headed straight back down the hill and over to Hembury. Here we finally rode the downhill Slalom track through the woods: everyone loved it, especially Jack, Arthur, Brodie and Connor who had never ridden it before.

To finish the ride we took the track through the woods to the Hapstead road. Brodie rode right into the water at the bridge, much to Arthur’s horror. There was an electric fence nearby and Connor decided to hold on to it to see if it was electrified: he immediately got a shock, jumped back and ended up on the ground!

We got back at 1.20 and finished with a couple of hours of Modern Warfare 3 on the PCs.

Friday 15 April 2011
Evening ride: Parkfield TrackCloudy but dry
9 present: Arthur Bayes, Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Jack Parnell, Brodie Scott, Adam Wyeth
We had a good turnout for this evening’s ride so we all felt in high spirits as we rode out to Ashburton and up the hill to Chuley Cross. The track from just beyond Parkfield turned out to be muddier than expected, but then on the downhill section the real problems began when Arthur’s tyre came off his front wheel and would not go back on. Michael did the best he could to fix the problem but it just kept coming off again.

Arthur made the decision all by himself that it would not be repairable and had already telephoned his father by the time we reached Landscove. We had no choice but to wait with him until nearly 9pm, but then it was getting so cold and late that Michael led the rest of the group home whilst keeping in mobile contact with Arthur. We met his father just down the road near Riverford and saw him again with Arthur at Austin’s Bridge. We all got home by 9.25 and the youngsters played PC games in the clubroom until 10.

Sunday 17 April 2011
Morning ride: TotnesSunny
8 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Brodie Scott
More tree-climbing by the Dart at Totnes
We rode with good speed along Colston Road on a fabulous sunny morning took the cycle path to Dartington and continued along the path to Totnes weir, where we were sad to see that trees had been cut down. The youngsters all climbed a tree further along the track near Totnes, just for the camera!

We rode up the main street but found that the lower café by the supermarket was closed with all the chairs and tables stacked up. Was it closed permanently? We briefly met one of our older members from Paignton, Dave Robinson, who chatted with us before we continued to the top of the town. Here we found the Totnes Food Market which takes place on the third Sunday of each month. Zac and Ryan went immediately to buy some spicy wraps and Callum O’B bought a sausage roll. Sadly nobody was interested in the café today.

We headed down past the castle and up Barracks Hill to Dartington. Callum O’B was feeling quite tired now so we decided not to return via Rattery, instead taking the main road to Charlie’s Cross and then the track to Hole Farm. We returned along the lane past Caddaford, getting home for 1.35.

Friday 22 April 2011
Day ride (Car-assisted): Exe TrailSunny and warm with one shower
8 present: Connor Beasley, Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson (15, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Ash and Jerry on Exmouth beach
Exmouth town square
Outskirts of Budleigh Salterton
Exmouth beach
The cycle route to Otterton
Outskirts of Budleigh Salterton
Climbing to Woodbury Common
Cycle route to Otterton
Tao Burgess in action
Connor rides the moat
Jerry Johnson
Woodbury Fort
Connor Beasley
Nine were booked for the first of our Easter Specials, but Brodie rang early to say he was too tired which left eight. We loaded the bikes into two cars and set off around 9.45, Zac going with Tao and the rest with Michael: somehow we managed to get four bikes in the back of Tao’s car so we didn’t need to use his rack.

We parked at Woodbury Castle car park and, after admiring the fabulous views towards Exeter, tried the first bit of off-road, a bridleway that started in the car park. Unfortunately there were so many tracks crossing each other that we came out in the wrong place, but undeterred we continued down the road to Woodbury in search of the second track to Exton. This was marked clearly on the OS map as a cycle route and it was certainly a great track at the start. Unfortunately it turned ridiculously boggy near Rydon Farm. It was so bad that it should never have been marked as suitable for cyclists on the map. We pressed on bravely but Callum O’B got his shoe stuck in the mud at one point and then a little further along came off in a lake of muddy water. Callum F’s loud laughter was not appreciated and it took Michael some time to persuade Callum O’B to retrieve his wet muddy shoes and put them back on!

From Exton station we joined the Exe Trail cycle path towards Exmouth, relieved to find a proper cycling path at last although slightly annoyed that some unforeseen light rain was dampening us down. Michael’s SatNav got wet before he realised, which was to cause problems later in the ride. This was a new cycle path for us and it turned out to be very interesting. Callum O’B was interested to find another Globe Inn at Lympstone, the same name as his father’s establishment in Buckfastleigh.

The rain had stopped by the time we arrived in Exmouth so we parked up in the busy town square to buy lunch. Some had brought packed lunches but everyone took advantage of Michael’s ten-minute shopping allowance to go and buy something. After twenty minutes there was still no sign of Callum F or Connor, and they both had packed lunches, so Ash went off to hunt for them. He found them in KFC, buying food and having a chat with one of Callum’s relatives! Michael had words with them when they eventually returned.

Tao knew Exmouth quite well so he led us to the beach in what was now glorious sunshine. We ate our lunch on the sand, soon joined by Callum F and Connor who had been playing on the trampoline. There was time for Rocket throwing and for Callum F and Connor to go in for a dip, making this a very enjoyable part of the day.

When we set off at 1.40 Michael discovered that water had seeped under the touch screen of his SatNav so that it no longer worked. Fortunately we had printed maps, and anyway Tao had planned a route, so we followed him up the hill and down to the park where we picked up the cycle path to Budleigh. This turned out to be delightful: it had once been a railway line and now it made for perfect cycling through leafy scenery. We passed a tame woodpigeon and a child on a small bike playing gun games. Connor made some unfriendly comment to him and got some unfriendly comments from Michael in return!

It was 2.30 when we arrived at Budleigh so we decided to skip the beach and went straight to the Otterton path. A swan was nesting near the bridge and someone suggested to Connor that he might be able to steal an egg: he clearly didn’t realise the danger and almost had a go before Michael stopped him.

The old lane to Otterton, long since abandoned by the council, made another perfect cycling route, lined with trees and following the river. We then took the lanes to Newton Poppleford and were disappointed to find the shop was shut. To bring us back to the car we followed the bridleway up to Woodbury Castle: Callum O’B was tired now but a chocolate break before the climb helped him find the energy he needed. The scenery on the Common was excellent so we were all pleased to reach the top.

We concluded a very interesting and varied ride by riding around the remnants of the fort in the woods –the youngsters found lots of cool places to jump their bikes. We packed the bikes back into the cars and got back to Buckfastleigh by around 6.25. Everyone played games at the Crofters clubroom until 7.30.

Callum F disappointed Michael by announcing that he was taking Connor somewhere else for the next two days and wouldn’t be joining any more of our special Easter rides, and Callum O’B announced he wouldn’t be coming either as it was “too knackering”! The idea had always been that these rides would be just like a tour except that we’d be going home each night, so the prospect of some people not taking part in all of them seemed to be missing the whole point. At least Connor said he would have preferred to do the cycle rides.

Saturday 23 April 2011
Day ride (Car-assisted): Camel Trail (35 mi)Sunny
4 present: Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
The Camel Trail café
Refreshments at the tea garden near the Bodmin end of the Camel Trail
One of the many bike hire shops at Wadebridge
The Camel Trail café
Ash, Zac and Tao on the old railway bridge near Padstow
The Camel Trail continues from Wadebridge
Padstow and the Camel Estuary
The River Camel
Lunch at Padstow
Lunch at Padstow
We were sadly down to four for our second Easter Special ride: disappointing, but those who stayed away were going to miss an easier ride than yesterday. We set off around 9.30 for the 49-mile car journey to Lanhydrock House near Bodmin, where we arrived around 10.45. The weather was perfect today, although back at Buckfastleigh they were getting rain.

We followed some interesting new cycle paths into Bodmin and then joined the Camel Trail, stopping at the usual café for a welcome break. Ash and Michael had coffee cake and drinks but Tao had a full cream tea. Prices were not exactly cheap but we ate our refreshments in the garden surrounded by tree blossom so we didn’t really have cause to complain.

We set off again around 12.06 and rode at a good speed along the flat trail which was once a railway line. Zac got a puncture as we entered Wadebridge but this time he had a spare tube so Tao performed a lightening replacement.

The town was busy and so was the next stage of the path to Padstow: bike hire shops at both ends meant there were loads of people cycling in both directions. There was a refreshment trike halfway along and we got some nice photos from the bridge.

We arrived in Padstow at around 1.25 and spent an hour and a half there. Ash and Michael bought pasties but disappointingly the Pesto shop didn’t have rhubarb pasties as it was “out of season” and had sold out of blackcurrant pasties! We sat on a seat overlooking the busy harbour while Tao bought scampi and chips for £7. The seagulls seemed remarkably adept at catching food in mid-air: we imagined that throwing remotely-detonated explosive food pieces would be a good way to get them.

By the time Tao had bought a printed hoodie for his daughter it was 3pm when we finally left Padstow for the return journey. It had been a very enjoyable stop however and we were reluctant to leave even then. It took us exactly an hour to return to the café we had stopped at this morning, so we stopped there again although didn’t buy as much this time. We left there at 4.36 and got back to the car by 5.25 which got us home for around 6.35. This had been a great ride and we wondered what the absentees had been doing with their day that could have come close to the fun we had.

Sunday 24 April 2011
Day ride (Car-assisted): Grand Western CanalSunny
5 present: Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Brodie Scott
Brodie and Zac on the canal path
Ash, Zac, Tao and Brodie at the start of the Grand Western Canal cycle path near Tiverton
The duck pond at Halberton
Tao continues along the canal path
A shire horse pulls a tourist barge along the canal
The duck pond at Halberton
A private helicopter lands in Tiverton
We were pleased to welcome Brodie to our third and final Easter Special ride. After Tao loaded the bikes into Michael’s V70 we drove the 45 miles or so to a location in a Tiverton industrial estate that Tao knew from his lorry-driving experiences. When Zac had visited the cashpoint machine outside the closed Tesco store we joined the cycle path along the course of the old Tiverton branch railway from the roundabout. Ironically it was the railway that signalled the end of the canals in the 1850s, but by the 1960s the railways were being taken up as well.

We soon joined the Grand Western Canal, although a bumpy section near a tree caused Michael’s SatNav to jump out of its holder and fall apart. When he reassembled it the top of the stylus had gone missing, so it’s probably time to move to a phone-based SatNav.

The scenery along the canal path was absolutely delightful, with ducks, ducklings and a few barges added into the mix. At Halberton the path led us away from the canal through the village, bypassing a large canal loop that once had a serious leak and was dammed at both ends. As the path cycle path went past the church we were annoyed to see a No Cycling sign!

After re-joining the canal we followed it along the right hand bank to Sampford Peverell. Michael noticed a Spar shop in the village but didn’t think to go there because he assumed everyone had a packed lunch. That turned out to be a flawed assumption.

There were plenty more ducks and moorhens on the canal path past Westleigh. It was when we reached the old lime kilns at Whipcott at 12.30 that Tao and Zac announced that they had no packed lunches. We had no choice but to follow up on a sign that was pointing to a pub and shop at Holcombe Regis. The 1km turned out to be more like a mile and the shop was closed, but Zac and Tao managed to get carveries from the rather inferior pub. Brodie and Ash wanted to eat their lunches by the canal so we returned to the lime kilns and settled down on the conveniently-located seat. Some information boards nearby explained the history of the kilns, and overall it made a very pleasant lunch spot.

It was 1.30 when Tao and Zac re-joined us in the hot afternoon sun. After some discussion we decided to continue to the end of the restored section of the canal at Greenham and then looped back near Thorne St Margaret to the canal. Tao was apparently hoping to return to Tiverton via Bampton, or at least via the roads that followed the canal, but Brodie was quite tired and Tao was out-voted so we returned along the canal.

Whenever we got to a bridge over the canal there was a sign that advised us not to cycle under the bridge as the path got closer to the water. We took the messages into consideration, sometimes walking but mostly riding slowly enough to make sure there were no problems. At one point a woman decided it was her duty to tell us off even though we were not affecting her in any way. “Can’t you READ?!” she snapped. Michael was about to explain our policy but then decided he would be wasting his breath so gave her a rather short reply.

After seeing more ducklings and some mallard drakes raping a duck we stopped at the Spar this time for refreshments. Ash had a puncture at the next village while we were enjoying the duck pond – it was a broken valve, and the ducks ate out of Michael’s hand while the tube was replaced.

As we neared Tiverton we came across the tourist barge being pulled by a magnificent shire horse, a very tranquil scene and a fascinating insight into times gone by. We reached the car by around 4.10 and got home by around 5.35. A games social until 7.30 concluded a great ride that was to be the last of our Easter Specials.

Friday 29 April 2011
Evening ride: Hembury WoodsDry
5 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Some members didn’t have lights tonight so we organised a ride that would hopefully get back before dark. We rode up Holne Road to the lower Hembury track, climbed the usual tree halfway up and then looped back around to Hembury Woods to ride the Slalom track after performing some jumps around the fort.

As today was the Royal Wedding day the youngsters were treated to a "garden party" on the trampoline after the ride, with free chocolate and drinks.

Sunday 1 May 2011
Morning ride: HolneDry
7 present: Olly Acland, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Brodie Scott
Callum F, Olly, Ash, Jack, Brodie and Callum O'B on Hembury Fort
The group on Hembury Fort
The forecast today was for showers and cloud with occasional sunny spells. Connor B would have come but overslept. We ran a cautious ride, not straying too far from home in view of the forecast, but in the event it stayed dry until we got home at 12.35. Our ride took us past Hawson Court to Scoriton and then up the steep hill to Holne. Callum O’B sped up the hill first, amazing us with his new level of fitness and motivation.

The new shop was not open yet so we rode back to Hembury and had a chocolate break on the rather windy fort before riding down the Slalom track. Olly seemed rather fed up with waiting while Ash, Jack and Brodie climbed a tree at the bottom. Everyone stayed for the games social after the ride, finishing at 3pm.

Friday 6 May 2011
Evening ride: Converted to SocialThunderstorms
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Adam Wyeth
Rain started at 7 this evening and there were several thunderstorms during the evening, so it was not a hard decision to convert the ride to a social. Everyone played Lord of the Rings and Modern Warfare 2 until the 10pm finishing time, but had a rather unpleasant journey home with heavy rain and lightning all around.

Sunday 8 May 2011
Morning ride: South BrentSunny but breezy
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Connor, Callum F, Ash, Callum O'B and Jack by the River Avon near South Brent
Lydia Bridge, near South Brent
Overnight rain had given way to sunny but breezy conditions by the time the six of us left at 10.37. There was a bit of a headwind as we rode up Dean hill, although it wasn’t as bad as the last time. Callum O’B was back to good form today, having spent a week “recovering” from the first Easter Special ride!

We skirted around Harbourneford, then took the narrow lane on the right towards the bottom of the hill to South Brent: most thought this was a new road but Ash recognised the public seat when we got there and realised we sometimes ride this lane in the other direction.

After photos at Laira Bridge we took the riverside path and stopped by the river for a snack break. A few crossed the river on the stones: Callum O’B got a bit wet in the process, but Ash fell right in when a stone turned out to be more slippery than he expected.

Next stop was the South Brent co-op: Callum O’B bought some chocolate milk and Connor stowed it away in a small “war bag” that he had recently picked up in a jumble sale. We took the main road to Marley Head viaduct and climbed the hill to Rattery – once again Callum O’B was making good speed. As we descended the final hill past Pennywell we passed the very busy vintage car rally on the race course site and made it home by 1.10. Many stayed for the after-ride social until 3pm.

Friday 13 May 2011
Evening ride: LandscoveDry
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Adam Wyeth
This evening’s ride took us up Green Lane and then over to Baddaford, up the hill and down to Landscove. Connor and Ash were playing a silly game where they hit the other when they saw a number plate with a double letter or number. Unfortunately Connor had been annoying Ash and hit him a bit too hard, so Michael had to step in to calm things down.

We spent a little time in the school playing field, then we proceeded to the village green and took the rather rough and overgrown track back to the Barkingdon road. From there we returned home via Green Lane for 9.10

Sunday 15 May 2011
Morning ride: Skerraton DownSunny, 14°C
5 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Connor, Callum O'B, Callum F and Ash on Skerraton Down
Ash and Callum O'Brien following the bridleway from Moor Cross to Skerraton Down
With GCSE exams looming for some we went ahead with Michael’s plan of a shorter ride to Skerraton Down on a lovely sunny morning. We rode up the hill past Nurston and then took the bridleway up to the moor. There were bluebells everywhere today and the views from the top were outstanding – Connor in particular enjoyed this ride immensely.

The moorland downhill to Cross Furzes was great fun but the youngsters couldn’t resist stopping part-way down to climb an interesting old tree. We got back to Crofters by 12.32 and the after-ride social continued until 2pm.

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