South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 5 January 2018
1900-2215
Social: Badminton
8 present: Harry Back, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, Gavin Pearson, George Rogers, Mark Thomas
After some indoor games at Crofters Gavin joined us for badminton at Ashmoor for our usual evening of challenging fun and action.

Sunday 7 January 2018
1015-1540
Day ride: Endsleigh Garden Centre (22 mi)Sunny but cold
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers
George near Glazebrook (12:26)
Jude and Dillan exploring a side track near Glazebrook, South Brent (12:26)
George and Dillan at Endsleigh Garden Centre (13:58)
Lunch at Endsleigh Garden Centre (13:20)
Riding past the Erme near Ivybridge Leisure Centre (14:08)
The weather today was really quite cold at just three degrees but everyone was keen to go to Endsleigh for lunch so we set off briskly up Dean Hill, chatting briefly with Gavin near the top who was sawing up trees. By the time we reached South Brent George was regretting not finding his TOG24 gloves before the ride and suggested a visit to the warm Co-op. His fingers were extremely cold so a return home via Dartington seemed on the cards until Dillan told him to man up and loaned him his gloves.

So we pressed on to Bittaford and Ivybridge, arriving at Endsleigh just after 1pm. Now of course Dillan was beginning to understand why George had been in so much pain earlier, so we all bundled into the café for hot drinks and food.

After a quick look around the pet store we set off for home just after 2pm, aiming to get back as quickly as possible since Dillan had taken his gloves back now. Our return route took us around the Erme cycle route in Ivybridge and then home via Bittaford and South Brent. Gavin was still sawing wood as we descended Dean hill and headed for the much needed warmth of the Crofters clubroom for 3.45.

Friday 12 January 2018
1900-2200
Social: Badminton
8 present: Harry Back, Will Bastow, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, Mark Thomas
We reserved three courts for the first 13 weeks of 2018 with the option of taking the fourth on the day. Well today we needed the fourth court as usual but someone else had managed to book it! We managed with three courts by playing a few games of doubles, but from next week onwards we havd all four courts booked every week.

Sunday 14 January 2018
1015-1550
Day ride: Week Ford Blowing House (16 mi)Chilly but dry
6 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The footpath from Saddle Bridge, following the O Brook (12:12)
Parking the bikes at Saddle Bridge ready for the quarter-mile walk to Week Ford (12:11)
Approaching Week Ford Blowing House from the river, with the wheel pit and furnace areas at the back (12:42)
Jude and Dillan enjoying the magnificent scenery by the O Brook (12:25)
One of the four Mortar Stones that we found, used for grinding the small rocks of tin ore (12:50)
The Mould Stone at Week Ford Blowing House, used for forming ingots of tin (12:46)
View to the rear of the Blowing House showing the Mould Stone, furnace and wheel pit (12:54)
View of the Blowing House from the upper end (12:52)
Dillan tries to find a novel way back to the river through the boggy marshes (12:59)
Close-up of another Mortar Stone (12:56)
Jude and Dillan negotiate the stepping stones at Week Ford (13:04)
The stepping stones over the East Dart River at Week Ford (13:02)
John, George and Will (off-camera) joined the group at Holne café and rode home with us, shown here at Ridgey Cross (15:15)
Dartmoor once supported many small industries, chief among them being tin mining. Today’s ride took us up through Holne and past Venford Reservoir on a chilly but dry morning to find the remains of one of the Blowing Houses from the 15th or 16th centuries.

We parked out bikes at Saddle Bridge, just beyond Combestone Tor, and walked down the path along the O Brook. Both Dillan and Jude managed to get wet feet in the boggy areas either side of the first stile, and there were plenty more boggy areas along the way, but the ancient woodlands lining the picturesque brook made the quarter-mile walk very interesting.

To get to Week Ford we had to cross the O Brook, and whilst the high water levels left no easy crossing we managed to get across safely after a few abortive attempts and then started searching for the Blowing House. It was not far from the river, but we had to cross a broken fence and negotiate some boggy marshes to reach it.

This Blowing House is a listed building as it represents the rare combination of stamping mill and blowing house in two adjacent buildings. Water was brought in from the nearby O Brook by leat to power waterwheels used to operate iron stamps for crushing tin ore in the stamping house and a pair of bellows to blow air into the furnace in the Blowing House so they could reach temperatures high enough to melt the tin (232 degrees C). We found four mortar stones in the Blowing House, used to finely crush the ore ready for the furnace, and a mould stone, used to form ingots of white tin typically 40-90kg which were then sold at the nearest Stannary town, probably Ashburton. Very little had changed here since our last visit in June 1981.

Dillan chose a poor route back through the marshes and ended up with drenched feet – not ideal when the weather is so cold. We carried out the obligatory traversal of the stepping stones before heading back to the bikes, by which time our plans for continuing to Dartmeet or Widecombe in search of an open café did not seem quite so appealing. Both lads had cold, wet feet so we headed back to Holne café and ordered hot drinks and food.

We hadn’t been there more than ten minutes when John, George and Will arrived: John had been out on his first test ride since his November kidney donation, accompanied by his two lads, and Holne café had seemed like a sensible first destination. We ended up spending an hour there before heading back to Buckfastleigh together via Ridgey Cross.

Friday 19 January 2018
1900-2215
Social: Badminton
8 present: Harry Back, Will Bastow, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, Mark Thomas
All four courts were booked for us this evening, allowing us to have some excellent matches.

Sunday 21 January 2018
1015-1600
Day ride: Converted to SocialMainly wet
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers
The forecast of continuous heavy rain from 6am to 6pm led us to plan a badminton social today. In the event the rain wasn't as heavy as forecast, but we still had a good badminton session at Ivybridge.

Friday 26 January 2018
1900-2230
Social: Badminton
5 present: Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers
Some of our Bovey contingent were unavailable this evening but the rest of us had some enjoyable games on two courts at the Ashmoor Recreation Centre, Ashburton.

Sunday 28 January 2018
1015-1800
Day ride (Car-assisted): Eden Project (9 mi)Drizzle and showers
3 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris
The Treffry Viaduct (13:00)
Dillan and Jude by the Treffry Viaduct near Luxulyan (12:59)
Jude and Dillan at the Eden Project (14:38)
Jude and Dillan in the very warm Rainforest Biome, Eden Project (14:17)
Dillan outside the Eden Project, on our way back to the car (15:52)
The Rainforest Lookout, high up in the Rainforest Biome at the Eden Project (15:16)
We hadn’t finalised our plans for today when Sue dropped Jude down and told us of a special deal at the Eden Project that would allow us free entry for today only. We hastily fitted the bike rack to the car and drove to a location near Lanlivery. Once the bikes had been unloaded we set off for the fairly short ride through the drizzle to the Eden Project. Our route took us through the Luxulyan Valley which offered plenty of interesting sights, including the Treffry Viaduct, an enormous construction built in the 1800s but of course no longer used for anything other than walking. Huge boulders and mossy trees reminded us in some ways of Lustleigh Cleave.

On arrival at the Eden Project we obtained our free entry and enjoyed an excellent lunch in the restaurant before touring the two biomes. We met up with Sue for a chat and later bumped into Charles and Heidi Acland who were active members of the club many years ago. There is a new high platform in the Rainforest Biome called the Rainforest Lookout. We queued to go up there, and whilst Michael did not feel especially comfortable as it swayed from side to side it was an interesting viewpoint. As usual we were disappointed that there were no real cocoa beans or coffee beans on display apart from a few mouldy ones in a viewing box that looked as though they had been neglected for years.

It was getting late so Jude returned home with his mother whilst the rest of us rode back through the Luxulyan valley to the car for a rather late return.

Friday 2 February 2018
1900-2215
Social: Badminton
6 present: Harry Back, Will Bastow, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Mark Thomas
We will always remember this evening's badminton session because a bat had found its way into the sports hall and couldn't get out. Maybe the poor lighting in the hall fooled the bat into think it was a cave! The creature was flying around in all directions for the first half hour, which was slightly concerning for most of us but apparently terrifying for Dillan who kept screaming and diving out of its way. It's therefore not surprising that he won few games this evening until the bat found its way out through one of the many doors that we had opened for it.

Sunday 4 February 2018
1015-1330
Morning ride: Cancelled
0 present:
With everyone either away or ill today the ride was cancelled and the youngsters used the time to revise for their mock exams.

Friday 9 February 2018
1900-2215
Social: Badminton
7 present: Harry Back, Will Bastow, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, Mark Thomas
After a games social at Crofters we headed over to Ashburton as usual for badminton. Dillan dropped out after his first game this evening with a sore arm, but the rest of us played some excellent and challenging games.

Sunday 11 February 2018
1015-1400
Morning ride: Ashburton (9 mi)Cold with sunny spells and wintry showers
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, John Rogers
Leaving the Brick House café, Ashburton (13:01)
We were pleased to welcome John back today for his first ride since his kidney donation. It was so cold and breezy this morning that we delayed our start until 11am, browsing through photos of club rides from several years ago. We then rode along the old road to Ashburton with the aim of riding around the nearby lanes and finishing up with a visit to the relatively new Brick House café, but when we arrived the youngsters voted for café first, which of course meant there would be no lane ride at all. The warmth and good food were welcome, but on the downside it did take them half an hour to make up the order.

We left at around 1pm, bought some lunch from the co-op and returned home via Buckfast. As it turned out, this was quite long enough for John’s first ride, so it worked out fine in the end.

Today's ride included a total climb of 166m.

Friday 16 February 2018
1900-2215
Social: Badminton
8 present: Will Bastow, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, Gavin Pearson, George Rogers, Mark Thomas
Another great evening of badminton was made even more interesting than usual by having Gavin with us, although he didn't win as many games as usual this evening.

Sunday 18 February 2018
1015-1330
Morning ride: Dartington
3 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris
The lane from Week to Westcombe, on the way home from Dartington via Rattery (13:30)
As there was some light rain around at 10:15 we delayed our start while watching the latest action from the Winter Olympics at the Crofters clubroom, then set off at around 11am to ride along Colston Road to Dartington. Things were dry now and not too cold, but we were still pleased to settle into the Baynards Kitchen café at Dartington for coffees and scones.

On our return journey we explored the lanes behind Dartington to Week, then took the lane to Westcombe Farm which looked very attractive this morning. A steep climb brought us up to Rattery Sawmills from where we rode on past Pennywell Farm and back to Buckfastleigh.

Friday 23 February 2018
1900-2215
Social: Badminton
8 present: Harry Back, Will Bastow, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, Mark Thomas
We had a full complement of eight for our badminton session this evening which was enjoyed by all.

Sunday 25 February 2018
1015-1330
Day ride: Café 3 Sixty, Bovey Tracey (25 mi)Cold and cloudy, sunny later
3 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris
Café 3 Sixty (12:53)
Jude and Dillan enjoying excellent coffees by the fire in Café 3 Sixty, Bovey Tracey (12:33)
Dillan pushes himself to the limit on one of the outdoor exercise machines in Bovey park (13:16)
Dillan investigates the exercise machines in the park at Bovey Tracey (13:15)
Conditions really were cold and grey this morning, with temperatures around 3 degrees, and John and George were down with flu, but we had set our target for the new Café at Bovey Tracey so that is where we headed.

We just about survived the cold through Ashburton and Bickington, and by the time we reached Bovey the sunshine was breaking through the cloud.

Café 3 Sixty is a new café that caters primarily for cyclists. It is so large and spacious that you can take your bikes inside and tether them to the purpose-built indoor racks. There is also a cycle repair shop in the building. We were very grateful for the toasty warm stove while we waited for our coffees and cakes to be brought to us. It’s amazing how popular the café has become during the two months it has been open.

Next stop was Bovey Park, where Dillan investigated the outdoor exercise machines that were dotted around the lawns near the river. We then rode through Brimley and on up to Ilsington where Sue and Jude entertained us at their home for half an hour.

It was still cold as we left but the sun was making everything look perfect, so our ride back to Buckfastleigh via Bickington was very enjoyable.

Today’s ride included a total climb of 473m.

Friday 2 March 2018
1900-2215
Social: Cancelled
0 present:
Heavy snow yesterday afternoon and overnight had left everyone pretty much snowed in. Leisure centres were all closed but nobody could get their cars out even if it had been open. We had no choice but to cancel the social this week, stay at home and make the most of this unusual spell of wintry weather.

Sunday 4 March 2018
1015-1600
Morning ride: Converted to SocialShowers and sunny spells
3 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris
The heavy snow that covered the South West on Thursday was melting fast and the main roads were all clear this morning, but there was still snow on the lanes and there was some rain around so we decided to arrange a badminton social today. We played at Ivybridge Leisure Centre and concluded a great morning with a Costa at Marsh Mills, Plymouth. There was a computer games social when we got back until 4pm.

Friday 9 March 2018
1900-2215
Social: Badminton
4 present: Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers
A mix-up at Ashmoor meant that no courts had been reserved for us tonight, but as there were only four of us we managed to play some games of doubles in the gymnasium despite the restricted height.

Courts have been rebooked again for the next two weeks so we will be back to normal next Friday.

Sunday 11 March 2018
1015-1500
Morning ride: AshburtonLight rain and showers
6 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Ashburton skate park (14:45)
Jude, George and Dillan try out the skate park at Ashburton (14:45)
A poor weather forecast and the possibility of Ziggy joining us from Ashburton prompted us to arrange a short ride this morning to Ashburton, in light rain. We had brought our badminton rackets and enjoyed a fair session at Ashmoor leisure centre despite the loss of more than 75% of the lights, which have still not been replaced after over a year.

When we left the rain had settled in quite steadily so we popped into the Brick House café for an hour of refreshments before heading back to Buckfastleigh in bright sunshine.

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