Tao rode out from Paignton this morning to join the ride – he said he spends all week driving and didn’t want to have to drive again on his day off! We rode briskly through Harbourneford to South Brent where we stopped to buy some Danish Pastries for the ride, then took the Cutwell shortcut to Wrangaton and the main road through California Cross.
Tao wanted somewhere away from the road to make a “Thing” of the Danish Pastry stop, so we pulled off the road at the footpath near Reveton which we have used many times in the past to access the Avon Railway. The path is sandwiched narrowly between a pair of hedges that cross the fields down to the river, and on previous occasions it has been somewhat overgrown. Today however it looked very passable and made a pleasant location for our refreshments, including Tao’s flask coffee.
We were already close to Loddiswell so it wasn’t long before we had found our way through the village to the Avon Mill garden centre. By now the sun was out, taking some of the chill off the autumnal air, so we were able to sit outside on the balcony to enjoy soups and chocolate layer cake – a very pleasant stop indeed.
Just around the corner from the Mill is the old Loddiswell Station, situated on what used to be the branch line from South Brent to Kingsbridge. It’s now a footpath that runs along the river Avon as far as Topsham Bridge, and today it provided us with a fabulous autumn colours as it wound its way through Woodleigh Wood. We stopped near a high rope swing so that Jude and Dillan could attempt to have some fun, but it proved to be just a little too high to be useful.
From Topsham Bridge we took the lane route past Hendham House to Moreleigh. From here we decided to accompany Tao back to Totnes and were pleasantly surprised at just how easy the road was to Harbertonford: we used to ride this road the other way in the early days of South Dartmoor, after picking up members at Totnes, but taking it in this direction was pretty much all downhill. As we rarely visit Harbertonford we stopped by the ford for some refreshments before continuing on up the hill to Luscombe Cross and Totnes.
The cycle path took us along the Dart to Dartington, where we were disappointed to see that the Venus Café has closed down. A message on the door informed us that the Shops at Dartington will be opening a new café there later this month, so we will have to return soon to see whether it is as good as Venus.
Tao left us at Huxham’s Cross for the final part of his journey home to Paignton via Red Post and Marldon, making a total ride of 46 miles for him. The rest of us took the main road back to Buckfastleigh, providing us with a speedy finish to what had been a perfect day of cycling.
A coffee and Danish Pastry break at the start of the footpath to the Avon Railway, although today we were reaching the railway path via Loddiswell
Waiting for refreshments at the Avon Mill café, Loddiswell
The huge slab of Chocolate Layer Cake was enough for three of us
Jude and Dillan at the bridge over the Avon near the garden centre
The path along the old railway line from Loddiswell's old station
Jud tries hard to reach the rope swing
Dillan makes an attempt at grabbing the rope swing
Fabulous woodland scenery in Woodleigh Wood by the river Avon
Continuing along the old railway path towards Topsham Bridge
The path opens out near Titcombe Wood
The second bridge over the Avon in Titcombe Wood
Another coffee stop by the river at Harbertonford
Tao, Jude, Dillan and Michael at Harbertonford