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Sunday 27 April 1980
1000-1800
Day ride: Ringmore
3 present: Martin Filham, Robert Spence, John Stuart
Today’s ride began with nine riders meeting at Totnes in beautiful weather. We pedalled through the lanes to Harbertonford, where Martin fixed a puncture, and carried on through Woodleigh, eventually reaching the quaint village of Ringmore.

We found a bumpy track to take us to the windswept Aymer Cove for an enjoyable lunch. Robert decided to have a swim and afterwards played some merry tunes on his mouth organ. We then cycled along another track and carried on along the roads to Modbury, after which the Buckfastleigh people turned off for Marley Head and the Torbay group for Totnes.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 4 May 1980
1415-1800
Afternoon ride: BroadhempstonSunny and warm
5 present: Russell Billings, Colin Brierly, Martin Filham, Sue Shepley, John Stuart
The weather for our May Afternoon Ride was magnificent, and Colin, Martin and Sue met a new Buckfastleigh lad, Russell Billings, and I at Marldon. We decided to meander through the lanes around Broadhempston, and during our pleasant travels found a fairly good track.

We had time to admire the ruined farm buildings, young calves, beehives and some young birds nesting in a hedge before the Torbay cyclists headed for Denbury and the Buckfastleigh people turned off for Ashburton.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 11 May 1980
1000-1800
Day ride: Fingle Bridge
3 present: Colin Brierly, Mark Morton, John Stuart
We congregated at Bovey Tracey on a fine day. The ten of us (five from Torbay, five from Ashburton area) rode along the main road to Moretonhampstead. From there we meandered through the lanes, eventually reaching a track signposted Fingle Bridge. Colin had previously warned us of the rough properties of this track and we soon found out for ourselves as we steered down the steep, twisting route laden with rocks, sticks and ruts.

Our lunch spot was just above the bridge and we settled down, carefully avoiding the local wood ants. After lunch we viewed the bridge and then set off along a smoother, longer track which brought us back to the lanes. Soon however we were bumping along a footpath bringing us out at Steps Bridge. Finally we cycled down the Teign Valley, arriving at Chudleigh Knighton where Torbay cyclists left the Buckfastleigh contingent (including John and Mark) for home.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 18 May 1980
1000-1800
Day ride: Devon DA BCTC Heat, Higher Ashton
8 present: Peter Adams, Colin Brierly, Colin Downie, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, John Pope, Robert Spence, John Stuart
The BCTC heat at Higher Ashton went very well indeed with a morning of questions and general exercises and a more difficult afternoon of map reading. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and congratulations to all those who did well. Thanks very much to all the marshals, organisers, tea-makers and everyone who managed to produce such a perfect day.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 25 May 1980
1000-1200
Day ride: Harford
4 present: Colin Downie, Noel Downie, Antony House, John Stuart
Our Day Run to Harford never really got off the ground. The Downie family plus Antony, Iris Buckler and myself met at Avonwick at eleven o’clock and waited for about half an hour. We already knew that Colin was not going to be riding and, from the look of things, it seemed that nobody else from Torbay would be out. Colin and Antony telephoned Phil’s house and were informed that Phil was on the road. Despite this it appeared that there would be no scheduled ride and we decided, in view of the prospects, to go our different ways.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 1 June 1980
1415-1800
Afternoon ride: Denbury
6 present: Frank Boyes, Colin Downie, Noel Downie, Don Hassall, Antony House, John Stuart
We were very pleased to have Frank back with us again for our Denbury Afternoon Run. Seven of us met at Marldon and we wandered along to Afton, where we took the country lanes through Littlehempston and Landscove to bring us out at Denbury. We met the Downie family, along with Antony House, his father, Don and Grace, at the Reynolds’ household and enjoyed a lovely tea. Thanks very much to Mr and Mrs Reynolds, plus Grace and Mrs Downie and all those who helped provide the tea. Finally, the Torbay cyclists left for Marldon and the seven Buckfastleigh and Ashburton riders headed home along the lanes signposted to Bickington.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Saturday 7 June 1980
0900-2300
Weekend ride: Beer Youth Hostel Day 1
4 present: Colin Downie, Noel Downie, Don Hassall, Michael Jones
View to Sidmouth from Peak Hill
We think this is a view towards Woodbury Common from near Otterton
Beehive Cottage, Street, near Branscombe
Colin at Street, near Branscombe
Three of us set off from Buckfastleigh at 9am on a dark, dull morning. Through Ashburton to Chudleigh, making very good time until we commenced the climb to Ashcombe half-way up Haldon. Then the rain that had been threatening suddenly came down. Luckily we were amongst the trees so sheltered for quite some time. Out came the sun so on again. A quick descent to Starcross in the rain to meet Don, and a mad rush for the ferry which was just leaving. Across to Exmouth – no-one felt ill – I’m the world’s worst sailor! We all had an exciting lunch in a bus shelter with Don keeping our spirits up by giving details of the next hilly section to come.

On again to Littleham and out came the sun and off came the waterproofs. Down the hill to Budleigh and Colin’s chain came off. On the road once more to the sea front and ice-creams all round. Ice-creams consumed, pints of water drunk, then up along the river path and lanes to thatched Otterton – a nice village this, not spoiled one bit. Down over Peak Hill into Sidmouth – what a super run!

Cream teas this time, then a terrible climb up to Salcombe Regis and down to beautiful Branscombe. A halt for photographs, then a wicked climb up to Beer. Don very craftily volunteered us all for washing up the dinner plates etc. So to bed – Michael reckons he doesn’t snore … perhaps it was the traffic outside!

(Noel Downie)

Sunday 8 June 1980
0800-1800
Weekend ride: Beer Youth Hostel Day 2
4 present: Colin Downie, Noel Downie, Don Hassall, Michael Jones
Cycling though quiet lanes from Otterton to Budleigh
Colin and Noel at Beer youth hostel
Next morning a very steady ride back to Otterton to meet the Torbay Section. This didn’t happen (Sorry Colin) so back to Dawlish via Woodbury and the canal towpath for an excellent tea at Don and Grace’s place at Dawlish. To sum up, a very enjoyable weekend.

(Noel Downie)

Sunday 8 June 1980
1000-1800
Day ride: Woodbury Common
1 present: Colin Brierly
Only three of us out on the day run to Woodbury, with a plan to meet the Beer Hostel contingent near Budleigh – and we would have done so if the Starcross Ferry hadn’t been a quarter of an hour earlier on Sunday than it was on Saturday.

We rode fairly hard up through Gappah to the top of Haldon, then hurtled down through Black Forest to Starcross and missed the ferry by a few minutes. We decided that we could still reach the meeting point with a bit more energetic riding, though we’d be rather late. Woodbury to Four Firs drags at any time and more so when it’s lunch time, but we made Otterton and followed down the lane towards Budleigh without finding the weekenders.

Overdue lunch consumed we used a different route back to Woodbury and on to Topsham and Dawlish for tea.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 15 June 1980
1000-1800
Day ride: East Prawle
1 present: Colin Brierly
Only three out today, possibly because the sky was the colour of a tramp’s billycan and there was a certain amount of precipitation. We used familiar lanes from Totnes to Moreleigh and lesser-known lanes through Sherford and Frogmore to reach Prawle Point by lunchtime. To our surprise, as we ran down from East Prawle towards the sea, the low cloud rolled up the hill leaving warm sunshine.

An enjoyable lunch, then a bit of “up and down” to Torcross and Slapton Sands with the sun very warm, though it disappeared before we reached Totnes and capes were on again for the last few miles home.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 22 June 1980
1000-1500
Day ride: Kingsand
1 present: Colin Brierly
We couldn’t fool the Weather Gods by putting in a run to Kingsand instead of Cawsand – it still poured with rain, and after a particularly vicious downpour we sheltered under the A38 at Lee Mill for lunch. Picnic tea was not very tempting so we accepted defeat and headed for home through Ermington and the lanes to Avonwick.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 29 June 1980
1000-1800
Day ride: Wistman's Wood
3 present: Colin Brierly, Noel Downie, Mark Morton
A few of the “Bridport” group were on a sponsored End to End trip so I Was not surprised that we were only four heading for Wistman’s Wood today. The road from Buckfast to Holme and Hexworthy is hard so we were quite ready for food when we stopped just short of Two Bridges. We parked and locked the bikes a little way along the track and strolled on to the collection of stunted moss- and lichen-covered oaks that is the wood. Many of the trees seem to have more root above ground than below, and the “ground” is a great depth of tumbled rocks as Mark discovered when he dropped his padlock key. It was recovered by Lee who disappeared head first up to his ankles to get it out of its hiding place.

We met Noel Downie at Postbridge and headed to Buckfastleigh for a most magnificent tea at the Stuart household, with Don Hassal and others of the Downie family to augment numbers – although not enough to do full justice to Mrs Stuart’s cookery.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 6 July 1980
1415-1800
Afternoon ride: West OgwellDry
1 present: Colin Brierly
The lads still on the “End to End”, we were half a dozen on the July afternoon run which, in spite of a wet morning, gave us a dry ride through the lanes between West Ogwell and Staverotn.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 13 July 1980
1000-1300
Day ride: Shobrooke ParkHeavy rain
5 present: Colin Brierly, Colin Downie, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, John Stuart
Six of us met under the shelter of some trees at Chudleigh Bridge on a distinctly miserable Sunday morning. Michael, Colin Downie (back from his end to end ride) and I cycled out from Buckfastleigh and we met Colin Brierly, Mark and Darren. Our destination was due to be Shobrooke Park but, after chatting for a few moments in the pouring rain, we decided to abandon the ride. We trundled back through the quiet lanes, after which the Torbay and Buckfastleigh cyclists parted for home.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 20 July 1980
1000-1730
Day ride: GrimspoundShowers
6 present: Peter Adams, Colin Brierly, Antony House, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, John Stuart
Despite the fact that weather conditions today were not unlike those of the previous Sunday, numbers were increased by one on our Grimspound ride. Michael, Peter, Antony and I cycled along to Bickington where, after a short wait, we greeted Colin Brierly and Mark. We climbed up out of Bickington and cycled along to meet our latest addition, Kevin Presland, at his home at Ilsington.

Just below Haytor we were caught by a heavy shower which, as soon as we had “caped up”, stopped. After I had dealt with chain trouble we swooped down Widecombe Hill and left Peter outside the village, leaving us to turn and wheel up a steep hill. We lunched soon afterwards under the shelter of a large tree and then began the hard push into the barren moorland. We fought a headwind and a tiring road until we finally stopped by the roadside to talk with Mr Peter Webb, a CTC member from Chagford.

We walked up to Grimspound, which was very interesting, and then set off for the Manaton area. Kevin left us near Manaton and eventually we arrived at Becky Falls for light refreshments. Having descended swiftly down to Brimley Cross our route took us along to the road bridge near Bickington, where Torbay cyclists turned off for Marldon and the Buckfastleigh Contingent for Ashburton.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 27 July 1980
1000-1730
Day ride: BanthamSunny and warm
9 present: Colin Brierly, Colin Downie, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, John Pope, Kevin Presland, John Stuart
The group at Bantham Sands: John Stuart, Darren, John Pope, Kevin Presland, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Mark Moreton and Colin Brierly
Our ride to Bantham began at Totnes on a sunny, fairly warm morning. Despite back wheel troubles, Michael rode in from Buckfastleigh along with Antony, John Pope, Kevin and myself. We met Iris from the St Budeaux Cycling Club and finally greeted Colin, Carl, Mark and Darren from Marldon.

We followed our usual route to Harbertonford and then did some main road work along to Thurlestone, where Iris left us as she intended to go bathing. We dropped down and climbed up again before reaching our destination, where we packed our machines in the ferns and sand-dunes to go and have an enjoyable lunch. Some of us went for a short ramble along the rocky coastline, after which we journeyed back along the lanes towards Woodleigh. We stopped for a short packed tea and finally the Buckfastleigh district and Torbay cyclists separated near Marley Head.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 3 August 1980
1415-1800
Afternoon ride: Ashprington
4 present: Colin Brierly, Michael Jones, Brian Marks, John Stuart
Cows on the track near Sharpham
The track towards Sharpham
Double figures turned out for our August Afternoon Ride, and we had with us a new lad, Brian Marks. Having made our way along to Totnes we joined a track at Sharpham Drive which took us through fields alongside the river Dart, in beautiful countryside.

After some of us had hopped over a fence to avoid some cattle, we cycled on through Ashprington and down the Totnes by-pass, eventually stopping just above Dartington where the Torbay and Buckfastleigh folk separated.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 10 August 1980
1000-1830
Day ride: Petre's CrossSunny but cool
8 present: Colin Brierly, Colin Downie, Don Hassall, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, John Pope, Kevin Presland
Kevin, Mark, John, Carl and Colin on the spoil heap beside the mineral railway track at Leftlake Mires
John Pope on the mineral railway track from Bittaford
The group at Petre's Cross, surrounded by open moorland
Carl at Leftlake Mires
Descending the rough moorland from Petre's Cross to Huntingdon Warren
View from Petre's Cross towards Huntingdon Warren
The Avon Dam, viewed from the Abbots Way
Colin on the Abbots Way behind the Avon Dam
Tea being served by Christine Jones at Redmount, with Michael, Carl, John Pope and Don
The exhilarating descent of the Abbots Way towards Cross Furzes, at Water Oak Corner
Tea at Redmount with Colin Downie, Mark Moreton, Kevin Presland, unknown and Don Hassell
More sandwiches? Tea at Redmount with Colin Downie, Mark Moreton and unknown
Petre’s Cross is several miles into the moor, up the old mineral railway track from Bittaford, and on being warned of this fact Frank had no hesitation in saying he’d meet us at tea! There were however quite a fair number of hardy (or foolhardy) members at Avonwick including one newcomer, Mike Winter, from Plymouth.

Lunchtime saw us quite well into the moor, although still a couple of miles short of our destination, and the sun was shining to counteract a rather cool breeze. The “inner man” duly satisfied, on along the track almost to Redlake before taking to the open moor, past The Cross and down to Huntingdon Warren – not much rideable on this stretch, in fact not even very easy walking!

Most of the Abbots Way from Huntingdon to Cross Furzes was rideable, although its route is rather indistinct, and once back on the surfaced road, a brisk downhill run brought us to Buckfastleigh and a magnificent tea prepared by Mrs Jones (and Mr Jones).

(Colin Brierly)

Michael got a puncture at South Brent and Carl got another after the moorland track at Buckfastleigh.

(Kevin Presland)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 17 August 1980
1000-1925
Day ride: Killerton
5 present: Colin Brierly, Antony House, Mark Morton, John Pope, Kevin Presland
Numbers were down for the run to Killerton today – maybe a picnic tea didn’t appeal after the “milk and honey” of the previous week, but really I think it had more to do with Michael reaching the ripe old age of 21. The wind was a bit unfriendly up “The Valley”, but we were through Exwick and on the Stoke Canon road before “grub” started calling loudly, and Stoke Woods provided a pleasant spot to answer the call.

A fairly brief wander around part of Killerton grounds, and then a route following the Clyst for a few miles before heading for Dawlish Water and a picnic tea stop. Food was soon worked down with a zig-zag climb onto Haldon and then a nice run down to Luton and on to Kingsteignton where the Buckfast and Marldon contingents separated.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Saturday 23 August 1980
0700-2300
Tour: South Wales Day 1: Home to Capel-y-Ffin YH (15 mi)Sunny and warm
5 present: Colin Downie, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Philip Wrigley
Disembarking at Abergavenny station
Philip, Antony, Carl and Colin on the train to Abergavenny
Leaving Llanthony for the final four miles to the hostel
Carl leading the pack on the approach to Llanthony in the Black Mountains
Our raised-level sleeping area in the annexe of Capel-y-Ffin youth hostel
Some of the younger Torbay members thought it would be a good idea to organise our own tour this year, keeping distances down to around 35 miles per day. Five of us got together at Christmas last year to plan the holiday and the following account relates the result.

At the crack of dawn on Saturday 23rd August something stirred in the heart of the Dart Valley. Unknown to the sleeping locals an incredible event was occurring – three Dartmoor CTC members were on the road before the arrival of their daily “pinta”! They were in fact Colin Downie, Antony House and myself, making our way to Newton Abbot Station to meet our two Torbay companions, Carl Jeffereys and Philip Wrigley.

After showing numerous railcards we were given our tickets and, after tackling stairs, arrived at the platform in good time to catch the 0857 train to Bristol. The train journey was made doubly enjoyable by the good weather – unbelievable after the rains of the previous week – and everyone was in high spirits. Our two changes at Bristol and Newport were effected without difficulty and soon we were speeding through the beautiful scenery of South Wales to our destination – Abergavenny station.

After picking up a few provisions in the town we made our way through Mardy to the lanes and found a quiet lunch spot near Llwyn-gwyn. It wasn’t long before the kettle was boiling and an enjoyable hour was spent lapping up the scenery and the coffee.

There was a great similarity between the lanes of this area and the country lanes of South Devon, but the scenery became quite different as we approached the Black Mountains. Our road wound its way up the Afon Honddu valley and soon the massive hills appeared to enclose us on all sides. Passing through Llanthony we noticed an ancient priory in an isolated spot on the mountainside, built there in the 11th Century because of the peace and tranquillity of the valley. The priory has since become derelict and a pony-trekking centre now attracts many people to the area during the summer, but little else has changed to affect the sanctity that William de Lacy experienced all those years ago.

Capel-y-Ffin is a tiny hamlet deep in the mountains, consisting of a pub and a telephone box, and about one mile further along the lane we found the hostel. It was one of the most attractive hostels we had ever visited, situated a little way up the side of a desolate hill, and the views were well worth the long climb from Abergavenny. There was no sign of human habitation anywhere else in the valley, but there were many white dots scattered around to show us that at least sheep could survive high up on the mountains.

After a superb meal we climbed up behind the hostel to take in some of the grandeur of the scenery. On the spur of the moment I decided to continue to the top and scrambled up the almost vertical hillside for more than fifteen minutes before reaching my target. It was almost dark, but even so I could see the heather stretching along the ridge into the distance. Looking back the way I had come it was just possible to make out the hostel and the twisty road at the bottom. On the other side of the ridge was a new valley, just as beautiful as ours but without the mark of man. The paradise was fading fast with the light and suddenly I felt along up there with no-one but the sheep. Within three minutes I had descended six hundred feet to re-join the others and, after a few pints of milk, we were ready for bed.

(Michael Jones)

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