South Devon …

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… hills, cream teas, and more hills.

We took off from the big smog Monday the 19th heading towards Buckfastleigh in Devon via Newton Abbot. We went in search of a few miles of road, cream teas and a generally relaxing time.
We arrived at the train station around 1pm and had 9’ish miles to go to our B&B, just outside Buckfastleigh. We planned the route on this fancy Gmapper thing and some maps that Hummers had lent us, thinking that it would just take around an hour to do this ride. But as this part of the world is very beautiful and hilly we had plenty of stops where we had to look at the view (read : rest). Even the local police got lost in the labyrinth of lanes :)
We arrived at Kilbury Manor Bed and Breakfast and checked into the Loft Room. This B&B is very very highly recommended – do ask for the loft room as you will have a nice spacious bedroom for you and the rest of the barn for your bikes to do any fettling if needed.
We then spend an hour trying to find the pub, which should be within walking distance from the B&B. After asking a workman from Yorkshire (who said he hadn’t a clue, but to let him know if we found it) and at the local post office we found it, yes within walking distance if you only turned right at the right place :) Only to find that the cook had taken the afternoon off, so we had a drink while awaiting his return.
On the big day we got up to a brilliant cooked breakfast prepared by our host, the bacon was from the local butcher and was delicious. And set off on our planned 65’ish miles ride, down towards Slapton and Salcombe. The weather was a bit grey at the start but warm, but after lunch the sun came out to play and the country side really came alive.

Since this beautiful part of the world had plenty of scenic scenery (read : hills) we had to stop plenty of times to rest, look and enjoy the view, check the map as signs to somewhere is not a thing they do down there.
After lunch in Slapton we decided to cut the route short by around 15miles, as we were getting tired and time was running out. 47miles and 7 hours later we arrived home with pizza and toffee cake for a relaxing night in.
The next day we had planned a 50 odd mile ride but decided that we needed a rest day and nice short recovery ride, and it should include cream tea no matter where we went. We headed into Ashburton in search, only to miss the 2 places that served tea and ended up en-route towards Holne, where we found a sign saying saying 1 mile to clotted cream heaven ! Though one reminder to oneself before setting of on a route do count how many chevrons there are between you and the cream tea. As one part of the road up to Holne (yes UP to) had 3 chevrons on a 600-700 yard stretch. We were both struggling to keep our front wheels on the ground. Oh boy did that cream tea hit the spot :)
We then set off home and after a wrong turn we ended up in a steep valley bottom with 2 chevron hills on each side and a bull in the middle of the road looking very BIG !We survived and had a great down hill roll through Hembury Woods (National Trust) back into Buckfast where we had dinner at the Abbey Inn pub before heading back to the B&B. 16 hard but beautiful miles.
The next morning we went by the Steam Engine museum in Buckfastleigh though just missed the 1045 to Totnes, but we heard it and saw the white steam from it. We then headed over to Buckfast Abbey for a little wander around, I think we were the youngest people there by at least 25+ years and Peli commented to me that we would be there in a few years time :)

We set off towards Newton Abbot with plenty of time to spare before out train back to the smog. And the plan was if there was a cream tea in the way we would stop. Though the only thing that stopped us was a fairy visit to Bender. Not a problem as a touring cyclist is always prepared or is that just the scouts that are ? As the packet of instant sticky patches for some reason had gone walkies, I dug out the spare kit only to find the glue had dried up solid. Well then there was only one option left and that was to stuff the tyre with grass. Worked a treat all the way to the station where I refueled it with paper :)
All in all 100miles of joy, laughter and sunshine, I’m glad that I took up Hummers’ advice to bring a bike with cheats(gears).

If you are not sure if you should go down to Devon on a cycling holiday feast your eyes on this …

Click here to see more photos.

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