Sampford Peverall and Exmoor & Powderham and Haldon
Sampford Peverall and Exmoor
Ride Report: Sunday 9th January 2011 - Ted Gameson
Eight of us, Geoff & Pen, Martin, John R, Roger & Marilyn, Mat & me (Ted) gathered hopefully on the sunny frosty morning of 9th January at Sampford Peverell. There was just one problem. Before a very hard frost had befallen the world, Him upstairs had chucked a nice lot of wet stuff down to make sure we had plenty of interest. That morning, for travel along the public highway, ice skates were far more appropriate than bicycle wheels. In all my many years awheel, I’ve seldom encountered any roads which could not be ridden in some fashion – but such was the state of the road from Parkway Station to Sampford, that morning.
So, we 'put our heads together' and took Roger's suggestion that we take to the canal towpath and see if we could find morning refreshment in Tiverton. There we could scratch various parts of anatomy, and hunt for something that we could safely undertake. So, we climbed arduous and endless hills along the canal towpath (the things we do for coffee and buns), and completed our 5 mile expedition resting our weary muscles and souls in a little known local shop located in the far depths of the town of Tiverton. The shop was called Morrison: have you heard of it ? There we formulated a cunning battle-plan, staging our targets, first Bampton, then as spirits lifted and roads thawed, Dulverton (which was the original).
Now, I had thought that Dulverton would offer our group at least two good cafes, and two public houses in Dulverton, but did our group want to toast their communal toes in any of them ? Nope !! We unanimously settled for feeding our cold sandwiches to the waiting ducks beside the river in glorious (warm) sunshine, except that no self-respecting duck would even want to touch Geoff’s lunch concoction, so they were not even offered a sniff (even if we were, involuntarily !!). We also learnt that ducks are not keen on apple cores....
To return we ‘rewound’ the morning itinerary to sit in Morrison’s again (before you ask, no, no other cafe was open – Tiverton, the entrepreneurial desert). No towpath in the afternoon, but we chose a quick blast along the main road – no ice to be seen in Sampford Peverell now.
Powderham and Haldon
Ride Report: Sunday 9th January 2011 - Sue Booth
As a virgin leader, picking the coldest, iciest Sunday morning for a first ride was probably not the best idea. But there we were, at the Quay, with some insisting on meeting at the old Wool loading shed by the Custom House, whilst others assembled at the more usual Piazza Terracina. Eventually we all gathered at the latter, to find that one rider had already fallen before the start (all bets forfeit there then). We headed gingerly towards the Swing Bridge but Rob & Ian failed to stay upright on the corner by the Playing Fields Pavilion - so another two down! We met tandem riders Torvill & Dean (Janet & Ian) at the bridge, who had also lost traction to both wheels as they headed to the rendevous. This was not looking good!
A dozen of us cycled on carefully to Exminster, where Alan suddenly remembered that his aged mother was about to go walkabout from her house to his - wisely he rapidly headed for home to deal with the situation. We met two Brompton riders here as well, but they decided not to join our happy(?) throng & carry on at their pace. So we took a gentle ride via Chiverstone Farm & Kenton to Powderham & a welcome coffee & bun. Suitably refreshed, but still cautious of the road conditions, we headed back through Kenton & west towards Ash Farm, where Janet Torvill suggested we deviate on a road previously unridden by her. We did so, & Rob immediately had a rear puncture. Leaving two to fix this, the rest headed up Mamhead Hill & waited to regroup before taking the Forestry track to the Obelisk. Efforts well rewarded here, as magnificent views were had across the Exe, along the coast & to sea. The courting couple who were disturbed by our noisy arrival took a group photo for us, no doubt hoping to hurry us on our way! After a brief pause to discuss the fine ashlar Bathstone of Mamhead House, & the purpose of the dilapidated Obelisk (a navigational aid clad in Portland stone), we headed for Haldon. Not a smooth journey again, as Patrick punctured just after crossing Telegraph Hill, but eventually all were reunited at a very busy Forest Park cafe.
Although temperatures had risen slightly through the morning, there was not a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for prolonging the ride much beyond the lunch stop, so we headed back down from Haldon via Clapham & the Shillingfords, into Alphington & Clapperbrook Lane, then the Alphinbrook Path & Marsh Barton to the Canal & River, with various riders dispersing at varied points as suited on the way. It was quite a relief to arrive home with no futher spills or punctures.