Circuit around Dartmoor

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by slartidbartfast, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    A nice afternoon ride I did with my daughter yesterday - Only 80 miles but could easily take an entire day if you stopped to wander around some of the picturesque villages, look in some of the old churches or visit any of the other interesting features along the way.
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    #1
  2. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,030
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    This route includes a lot of very small country lanes with high hedge-banks, steep hills, tight corners and narrow bridges. If you're not comfortable with this or an occasional bit of mud or gravel, or the need to make quick stops and squeeze through gaps when you meet oncoming traffic or animals in the road, then this route is probably not for you. If you love rural scenery, sights and smells, exploring, never knowing what's around the next corner, you'd probably enjoy this.
    #2
  3. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,030
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    It was a beautiful day, delivering some of the most intense blue skies I have seen and showing off Dartmoor at its best
    [​IMG]

    We started out in the small village of Rattery and rode from there to Buckfastleigh, up some of the back-roads to Holne, and then on to Widdicombe-in-The-Moor by way of Poundsgate and Ponsworthy. Rattery, Holne and Widdicombe all have old pubs with reputations for fabulous food, making for great places to stop.

    My 14yo daughter's was instructed to "take lots of photographs" but despite being quite a shutterbug, she was enjoying the ride too much. However, we got pics of a couple of interesting churches we passed. Here's Widdicombe:
    [​IMG]

    and taking single-track back-roads again, we passed through Chagford, one of the "larger" towns on our route:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,030
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    From Chagford we worked our way around to Sticklepath, getting onto a few roads wide enough to have lines down the middle in places (although we could have stayed with the smaller roads and gone through Murchington, Wonson and Throwleigh.)
    [​IMG]

    Shortly after Sticklepath, we got onto the A30. This an outstanding bit of divided highway, or dual-carriageway in British terminology that allows tourists headed for Cornwall to get there relatively quickly without clogging all the roads in the entire Southwest peninsula (as used to happen twenty years ago). This road saved me a couple of years ago, allowing me to get to Land's End with two minutes to spare before sunset, having watched the sun rise in John O'Groats. Anyway, for a "big" road, it's not bad, curving and rolling through some beautiful landscape, skirting Dartmoor National Park. We only did a few miles - enough to appreciate the road without getting bored at droning along, unable to chat because of wind noise.

    We cut in to Lydford, passing the picturesque church and castle
    [​IMG]

    We stopped in at Lydford's best known attraction, the narrow gorge and impressive waterfall. However the cost of entry (£10 for both of us) was not justified by the limited time we had to visit so we moved on. If we had made a whole day out of our ride, a couple of hours spent here would have been a really nice break and we could have had a good walk (next time perhaps?)

    Shortly after Lydford, we passed the unusually situated Brentor Church, (the village being named after the tor in fact. Again, this would have made a nice stop for the short but steep walk up to the church but we were time-limited by a planned evening fishing trip so had to content ourselves with riding past.
    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,030
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    The Duchess was running on reserve at this point, so we detoured into Tavistock for fuel. Last year, the Duchess fried her old ignition coil here (the only time she's not got home under her own power) and a couple of days ago, her alternator rotor finally gave-in as we headed through Tavistock, so I was expecting to run out of fuel or something but we made it without incident.

    Leaving Tavistock, I was tempted to detour across the Moor via Princetown, but decided to save that for another day. Instead, we continued around, via Horrabridge, Yelverton and Wotter.
    [​IMG]

    Even after three hours in the saddle, Emily was still having a great time.
    [​IMG]

    We passed the great china clay workings of Lee Moor and made our way down through Cornwood back off the Moor. This part of the road has some fabulous curves and no fences but you do have to take great care as sheep and ponies can be in the road. The whole of Dartmoor National Park was recently limited to 40mph for this reason. (I don't know how strictly this is enforced but there are some places where it used to be great fun to carve corners at 60+ :evil )
    [​IMG]

    The last part on the A-38 was a little boring in comparison, but still took us through some beautiful countryside with smells of new-mown hay and warm sun on our backs. Winding through some of the smaller villages such as Ugborough would have been a good option if we'd had more time.

    All-in-all a great ride. We did it in quite relaxed manner in about 3-1/2 hours but could easily have taken 8 or more by stopping along the way. In fact that's probably what I'll do another time. There are also enough small roads to vary the route quite considerably.
    #5