South Dartmoor CTC


Friday 29 July 2011
Evening ride: Chalk FordSunny & warm
7 present: Lawrence Buttress (12, Buckfastleigh), Julian Duquemin, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
We were joined this evening by Lawrence Buttress, a long-standing member of the computer club who thought that today would be a good day to try his hand at cycling. He borrowed the Club bike on a lovely sunny evening and stunned Michael by cycling all the way up the hill to Cross Furzes with amazing stamina. It should be said that Callum O’B also did well this evening!

After the track to Lud Gate and the moorland descent to the remote Chalk Ford we spent an enjoyable time playing Frisbee amongst the gnats before setting off up the track to Scoriton at 8.46. The piglets were now quite large so we were concerned for their long-term wellbeing!

We got home at 9.20 and played on the trampoline and Modern Warfare 2 until the 10pm club closing time.

Sunday 31 July 2011
Morning ride: StavertonSunny spells
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Our provisional plan for a car-assisted ride had to be abandoned when seven turned up at the start – far too many for Michael’s car. Anyway Lawrence was out for his first Sunday ride so we set out along Colston Road, pausing at Colston Farm to chat with Michael’s relatives who were camping in his Aunt’s field.

Michael was at the back as we neared the kennels at Hood Farm, and this was the moment that he hit a nail, got a blowout and damaged his mudguard. Lawrence was too far ahead to hear so Michael got on with repairs while Lawrence went on to the road, found nobody there and returned to see what was wrong. We eventually caught up with the others at the top of the Dartington track - they offered mock applause for taking so long! They were reminded in no uncertain terms that they should have waited at the main road and returned to check that there was no injury.

We rode down the hill to Staverton, and after a brief discussion we spent some time playing in Staverton park rather than pressing on to Landscove. This turned out to be the right decision for Lawrence who was feeling quite tired by the time we got to Riverford. We got home by 12.50 or so and enjoyed some well-deserved games at Crofters.

Friday 5 August 2011
Evening ride: Hembury WoodsDry
4 present: Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Having ridden through Buckfast to the lower Hembury track we discovered that the annual Quigong camp was in full swing in the field beside the Holy Brook. There was another marquee erected in the next field, apparently for a wedding.

Turning right at Humphrey’s Cross we rode to Hembury fort, played with the Frisbee for a while, rode down the Slalom track and returned home for 9.05. Please note that everyone will need to bring lights for next week’s evening ride.

Sunday 7 August 2011
Morning ride: Kings WoodShowers
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
The poor forecast and low turnout led to Ash and Callum O’B abandoning plans for a car-assisted ride to Haldon Forest. After some deliberation we rode up Wallaford Road to the entrance to Kings Wood at a good speed and then enjoyed the many downhill tracks through the woods, bringing us home for around 12.00. We had expected a heavy shower before we got home, but in the end it remained dry.

That, apparently, was enough for our adventurous youngsters today, so we spent the remaining hours on the trampoline and bouncy ball at Crofters.

Friday 12 August 2011
Evening ride: Converted to SocialShowers
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Michael had just persuaded everyone that the forecast showers would probably not come to anything when a shower came along, so we organised a badminton session at Ashmoor instead of a ride. Everyone enjoyed the time. And Callum O’B and Callum F were really not so bad at the sport. When we returned to Crofters there was trampolining and computer games until the close.

Sunday 14 August 2011
Morning ride: Landscove TearoomsCloudy start, then some sunny spells
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
When Callum had decided that his stomach pain had gone away he performed very well on our ride up Green Lane, around to Penn farm and down the field track to Landscove. At the tearooms we had cake and a hot drink each on the outside seats and then played with the Frisbee in the garden for a while, leaving eventually at 12.55.

We returned straight home via Green Lane after a short but enjoyable ride.

Friday 19 August 2011
Evening ride: SpitchwickSunny
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
With a good turnout and great weather we actually reached Spitchwick tonight via the Hembury route, mainly as a result of Callum O’B riding really well. We played Frisbee there for a while, then returned home by the same route for 9.25, by which time it was dark of course. The youngsters played on the trampoline until the 10pm closing time.

Sunday 21 August 2011
Day ride: Widecombe-in-the-MoorSunny and warm
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Ash leads the group on the track from Bonehill to Natsworthy
The group at Bonehill, near Widecombe
The Natsworthy track
This officially turned out to be our best ride of the summer. We rode to Ashburton on a glorious sunny morning and tackled Ausewell Hill with enthusiasm. Callum O’B got faster as he went up and it was a great feeling when he actually reached Cold East Cross with the rest of us. Just for a change this notoriously chilly cross roads was warm and very pleasant.

Jack had been really looking forward to visiting Bonehill again, a destination that had always been his favourite ride with the club. It was so good there today that we ended up spending 25 minutes there: everyone really enjoyed it and Callum O’B wanted us to visit again on another ride soon!

We took the track to Natsworthy and then followed the road down to Widecombe where we had a very enjoyable café stop in The Green restaurant: the milk shakes were nice, but not as good as the ones Michael makes at Crofters, even though they used the same Crusha syrup. We met ex-member Luke Fursdon in the car park, now running 15 acres of his parents’ farm and a b&b.

On the steep downhill into Ponsworthy Michael’s front brake cable snapped and had to be replaced. He was pleased to see that Ash and Jack were coming back up the hill to see where he was this time, an improvement on a recent ride to Staverton. We continued down the lane through Leusdon, made an adjustment to Callum O’Bs brakes and then rode along the grassy riverside at Spitchwick.

When Michael checked his pannier for his blue Aerobie Superdisc Ultra (Frisbee) it wasn’t there. He assumed he had left it at home, but in reality he had failed to pack it away after we used it at Spitchwick on Friday evening. If only he had realised he could have initiated a major search for it. Still, Spitchwick was very busy, so it was likely it had already been taken by someone.

Ash and Jack rode the Slalom on the way home, bringing us back to Buckfastleigh by 4.30. There was time for games until 5.15.

Friday 26 August 2011
Evening ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Michael was away so this evening's ride was cancelled.

Sunday 28 August 2011
Morning ride: Rare Breeds Café, TotnesSunny and hot
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Callum F, Jack, Callum O'B, Jerry and Ash at the Rare Breeds Centre café, Totnes
Ash, Callum F, Jack and Jerry at Totnes weir
The Rare Breeds café, Totnes
The forecast today had been for showers, but the day dawned bright and sunny and stayed that way for the whole ride. Jack wanted to take us to the Rare Breeds Centre café at Totnes where he works, so after setting off late at 10.45 we rode to Totnes weir via Colston Road, Dartington and the cycle path. Unfortunately Michael had left his camera at home in the kitchen, so we had to make do with smartphone photographs today.

After an altercation between Jerry and Callum O’B that involved the use of water bottles we made our way to the Rare Breeds café through Totnes steam station. This was indeed a delightful spot, apparently frequented by many CTC cycle groups. Michael was very satisfied with his latte and coffee cake, and others were equally happy with their Shmoo milkshakes and tea, so we ended up spending a very enjoyable time here - we’ll undoubtedly be returning again in the near future.

The crew were all up for returning by a different route, so we continued along the path to Totnes and then returned home via Littlehempston and Staverton, getting back for around 2.10.

Friday 2 September 2011
Evening ride: Skerraton DownSunny and warm
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
There was plenty of enthusiasm this evening for our proposed Dartmoor ride: even Callum O’B promised to pedal hard so we could get up to Skerraton as quickly as possible. He actually cycled really well up past Nurston so we were soon starting along the bridleway that leads to Skerraton.

When we reached the open moor Michael realised that his expensive light battery had dropped off somewhere along the track. It was already past sunset and heading fast for the end of twilight. It was too dark to go back and look for it without a torch, and there wasn’t enough time anyway as we needed to navigate up to the top of the hill before it got really dark. There was no choice but to continue with the ride and hope that everyone else’s front lights would be sufficient.

At the top we managed to find the wall that we needed to follow and got some great views across South Devon to the distant twinkling lights of Newton Abbot and Teignmouth. Further along we stopped to play with Jerry’s light-emitting flying toy, fired into the air with an elastic band. The first time it was launched it landed in the branches of an old tree, but at least we could see where it was and Callum F managed to retrieve it by climbing the tree, getting some decent scratches in the process. Further launches took place well away from the tree, providing plenty of run-around fun for everyone. Callum O’B lost his iPod, but a mass search found it, then Callum F lost a lens from his sunglasses and amazingly another mass search found that too.

Even the descent to Cross Furzes was not uneventful. Michael advised everyone to go slowly, but Callum O’B was at the front with Ash going a little faster than slowly. He hit a pinecone (so he says), lost control and crashed into Ash, causing them both to fall off. The grass was soft so there was no real harm done, but they were more careful after that as we continued to Cross Furzes and down Wallaford Road, reaching home by 9.20. Trampoline fun was offered at Crofters until 10pm.

Michael and Ash returned by car at 10.45 with some good torches and managed to find the lost battery about two thirds of the way up the track.

Sunday 4 September 2011
Morning ride: Avon DamSunny and fairly warm
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Callum Freeman
The group at the Avon Reservoir
Ash Freeman
Jack Parnell
Ash successfully negotiates the ford at Cross Furzes
Preparing for the downhill at the top of the Abbots Way
Callum rides the ford too
Overnight rain gave way to sunshine by the start of the ride, as forecast, but as there was more rain forecast for late afternoon we decided to abandon our plans for Exeter Ship Canal in favour of the Avon Dam. We got away rather late at 10.38 but made such fast progress up Dean Hill that we had time to go down to South Brent and take the road to Shipley from there – which actually turned out to be really enjoyable and easy.

The ice-cream van was not at Shipley today for some reason so we pressed on up the riverside path and reached the reservoir by 12.15. We spent an enjoyable quarter of an hour on a chocolate break and photo shoot, then met a man who had actually been involved in building the dam in the 1950s. He said the tramway lines that can be seen on the way up to the dam were actually used for china clay long before the dam was constructed and were not used for the dam building at all. He told us that the blocks for the dam were lowered from a cable that was strung right across the dam.

We took our usual route home – along the path behind the dam and then down the fabulous Abbots Way bridleway across the moor to Cross Furzes, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. When we got back to Crofters at 1.20 Callum felt it had been a perfect birthday ride (his birthday is tomorrow).

There was a social at Crofters after the ride that included trampoline, Supreme Commander and Bomberman. Callum O’B turned up for a few minutes trying to get in on the social – he had stayed up until 5am this morning playing computer games and then overslept, so he really had nobody else to blame but himself for missing the ride.

Friday 9 September 2011
Evening ride: Converted to SocialLight rain
8 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Everyone was prepared for a cycle ride despite the light rain, but it soon became clear that a computer games social would be a more suitable activity given the weather conditions.

Sunday 11 September 2011
Morning ride: Landscove TearoomsDry with long sunny spells
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Jack Parnell
The Hill House Nursery gardens
Zac, Jack, Ash and Callum at the Hill House Nursery, Landscove
Callum shows off his new bike
A forecast of “cloudy with some showers” turned out to be unduly pessimistic on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. As Ash had homework to do this afternoon we arranged a morning ride that took us up Green Lane and down the track past the travellers’ camp. Callum was out on his new bike today – a Trek 4500 – and he was very proud of it.

We doubled back at Abham on the Riverford road as planned which brought us conveniently to the tearooms at Landscove. We enjoyed hot chocolate and cakes, chatted with Pauline Venables about her charity skydive, played Frisbee in the garden and set off for home at around 12.30 along the direct route via Green Lane. Not a single shower had dampened our day, and we got plenty of sunny spells.

Those who weren’t doing homework spent the afternoon playing Bomberman and Modern Warfare 2.

Friday 16 September 2011
Evening ride: HolneCloudy with occasional showers
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
We started out with Callum O’Brien’s plan to go to Ashburton, but the weather wasn’t great this evening and a nasty shower at Dart Bridge, coupled with the fact that Callum F and two others hadn’t brought coats, persuaded us to switch to a shorter route through Buckfast.

We rode up to Michelcombe and after some debate about whether to go to Cross Furzes or Holne we ended up with Ash’s choice of Holne. Playing on the rope swing in the park was even more fun in the dark.

Callum F left his helmet there and had to go back for it, but Lawrence had also left his backpack there and didn’t realise until we reached Barn Park in Buckfastleigh! He’s so forgetful! Ash couldn’t resist stopping on the way home to snap a great photo of the moon peeping out behind the clouds, although unfortunately it didn’t come out too well.

Sunday 18 September 2011
Morning ride: Belford MillShowery with sunny spells
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Reece Parsons (17, Devon)
Callum F, Lawrence, Reece, Ash and Callum F on the Terrace Walk, Ashburton
With Callum O’Brien’s friend Reece kitted out with Callum F’s spare bike we rode to Ashburton, up to Belford Mill and down the woodland track: everyone including Reece really enjoyed it and wanted to do it again, but we didn’t really have the time today. We then took the Terrace Walk back into Ashburton – a few took a tumble near the end but Callum O’B had warned them.

We returned past Ashburton Park, and as it was empty today we spent some time there. Lawrence managed to drop his money on the roundabout thing but after an extensive search he managed to find most of it.

We got home for 1.15 and spent the afternoon with a mixture of trampolining and Lord of the Rings: at first Reece thought he wouldn’t like it, but ended up loving it.

Friday 23 September 2011
Evening ride: Hembury WoodsDry
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Michael’s light battery was flat and Lawrence’s rear light (which Michael had loaned him last week) had jumped off all by itself at some point, but when Ash had pumped his tyre we eventually set off for a short ride along the Hembury Woods lower track. We were going quite slowly with the poor lights but everyone seemed to be having fun in the dark. Then Michael borrowed Ash’s Stanley torch and used it as a handheld bike light, so our speed improved significantly.

On our way back through Jordan Street we stopped to the side so cars could get through the gap, but a rather unfriendly young driver decided it wasn't big enough so waited for Ash to move. He moved a little but suggested (non-verbally) that there was plenty of room for him. Unfortunately this seemed to annoy the driver, who got out and started an argument with Ash. Michael defused it successfully but the lads were talking about it for some time afterwards.

Most finished with some trampoline fun but Lawrence and Michael had a great game of Lord of the Rings, defeating one of the two brutal enemies and then running out of time.

Sunday 25 September 2011
Morning ride: AvonwickCloudy start, sunny later
8 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Callum O'Brien
The group at Rattery
Jack Parnell and Callum Freeman at Rattery
Callum Freeman
The group at Rattery
Callum O'B, Ash, Jerry, Zac, Jack, Callum F and Lawrence at Rattery
South Brent Play Park
The overnight rain had stopped by 10.15 so we prepared for a good ride. Zac unfortunately arrived with a valve puncture, so Michael fixed one of his spare 700c tubes only for Zac and Ash to break the end off the presta valve when they were pumping it!

For a change we rode up Pennywell Hill, which please Callum O’B as he didn’t think he’d ever been up that way. On the way up, however, he got stung by a nettle and spent ages hunting for a dock leaf while Ash waited at the top.

After a photo shoot at Rattery we rode on down to the viaduct and along the lane to Blue Post, delayed only by Ash coming off on the sharp corner and grazing his knee. The main road brought us quickly to Avonwick where only three took the Cobbly Walk shortcut – the others didn’t want to get muddy apparently, although there was precious little mud between the cobbles.

We climbed the hill to South Brent, spent some time playing in the park and chatting, then called in to the Coop where three bought refreshments. We returned home along the Harbourneford road by 1.15 in bright sunshine. This had been a very enjoyable ride that took our members to new areas, so we’ll try to be similarly adventurous on future rides, pushing for more distant destinations.

We concluded the ride with a Lord of the Rings game at Crofters.

Friday 30 September 2011
Evening ride: StavertonWarm
8 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Hot and cold snacks at Staverton Play Park
As this evening’s ride was the last of the season Michael had tried to make it special by allowing everyone to bring hot and cold food to eat at Staverton Park. Unfortunately it didn’t go quite according to plan.

Zac brought a Complan in a bottle, Michael took a flask of boiling water and some pot noodles, others brought crisps and chocolate and everyone was quite excited by the idea, which had been advertised on our website.

We got off to a bad start when several had lights missing or not working. Riding along Colston Road Lawrence fell off on a corner, probably because his lights were not working properly, so he was sore and bruised and rode even slower for the rest of the ride. At Staverton Park Jerry broke several of the most important club rules and received a temporary ban from the club as a result. Whilst the noodles came out great, the grass was damp with dew and there were insects flying all around us, so we ended up sitting on the wooden steps into the park.

After playing Frisbee in the park for a short time we headed home along the fast route past Hole Farm. Stopping on the hill above Riverford Callum O'B was riding around without a front light and somehow managed to crash into Jack’s stationery bike which did have lights, causing some damage to the mudguards. The least said about the ensuing argument the better. Suffice it to say that when we had eventually made our way home through Buckfastleigh Michael was very glad that he wouldn’t have to run another evening ride for six months!

Sunday 2 October 2011
Day ride (Car-assisted): Haldon Forest ParkVery hot and sunny
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Riding the Red Track
On the Red Track at Haldon Forest Park
The weather was very hot and sunny again. Everyone had money so we decided to do Haldon forest with a car-assist. It was 11.10 by the time Michael had finished talking to Zac and Callum F about Friday! We wasted a bit of time when Michael went up to the A380 and the had to double back to the A38, but eventually we parked up, unpacked the bikes, bought some pasties and set off around 12.10.

The routes have been completely revamped since our last visit. All the tracks start in the same place and in the same direction now, and the red track (which is the one we decided to do today) is now much easier and consequently much more fun. Clearly they have taken advice from health and safety experts.

Much of the route was new, in fact pretty much all of it was, but it still went past the bottom loop near the old black jumps. That route, which used to be red, is now black “extreme”, so Ash and Callum did it and found it had been made easier than it used to be! Overall we liked the new route a lot, but we were delayed partway round when Zac and Callum F got pinch punctures at the same point. We used Ash’s spare tube for Callum’s bike. Zac tried fixing his with sticky patches, but sadly they lasted all of four minutes and Michael had to replace them with the spare tube in his pannier -which turned out not to be punctured after all.

We got back to the car park at around 2.05, went to the café and Ash saw three old school friends there so we got 10% discount. He had a caramel slice, Michael had a milkshake and Callum O'B had a huge bowl of chips and resented even a single chip being taken!

Finally we explored the two trial areas with jumps and ramps before packing the bikes at 2.35 and getting home for around 3.10. Callum O'B went home to get some money, then they all left around 4pm.

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