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More memorable rides
Devon Coast to Coast, 2012
Largely following National Cycle Route 27, the Devon Coast to Coast is a pleasant ride of just over 100 miles, between Plymouth and Ilfracombe. We decided to ride south to north, thinking that the prevailing SW winds might help us but, of course, the weather never quite follows the rules. We wanted the ride to be as leisurely as possible, so we split it into three sections with a full day in between each, giving us some freedom to relax if we wanted to.

There were 9 participants in our week-long adventure, one of whom was Billy the dog who, although extremely keen to join in, hadn’t quite managed the art of riding a bike. We didn’t want to carry our luggage either, so we decided to take a car along with us to carry Billy and the gear.

We all met up at Annie and John’s house in Woodbury near Exeter the day before we started the ride. Here we enjoyed an excellent meal and stayed the night before heading off to Plymouth the following morning.
Day 1

The route from Plymouth runs past the Hoe and alongside the harbour before emerging on the Plym Valley Trail. This section was a very gentle uphill slope, hardly noticable, and we were treated to a view of the Plym Peregrines from Plym Bridge.

We joined up with Paul for lunch at the Royal Oak in Meavy, then continued our journey to the excellent Lydford Country House Hotel. This second section contained some quite significant hills, providing a taste of more to come.
Me, Mark, Jayney, Libby, Paul, Annie and Billy about to set off from Plymouth.
It was my turn to drive the car in the morning, so I arranged to meet the others at Abbeyford Woods just past Okehampton. This part of the route takes in the Granite Way and Meldon Viaduct.

From Abbeyford Woods, the cyclists proceeded to Hatherleigh, where we had lunch at the Bridge Inn.  After this I rejoined the cyclists and rode to our second stop, Yarde Orchard at East Yarde via the first part of the Tarka Trail starting at Meeth.

We spend two nights at Yarde Orchard, six of us plus Billy sleeping in the 18 -foot yurt and eating there both evenings. I can really recommend the food prepared by David Job and his colleagues - and the beer was excellent too!
The most perfect spot to repair a puncture. Well three punctures actually - someone must have been cutting the hawthorn hedges!
Tarka Trail between East Yarde and Meeth (prior to the titanium tragedy)
The Tarka Trail between East Yarde and Meeth is flat, quiet and beautiful, so we all decided to cycle back slowly to Meeth on Day 4, with Billy running in front.

After lunch at the Bull and Dragon, we returned along the same trail in a very leisurely fashion. Amazingly, Mark’s super-duper titanium frame decided to snap on this ride, requiring him to walk back to Yarde Orchard carrying his one-time pride and joy.  
Day 2
Day 3
Arriving at Ilfracombe. Loved the Cliff Edge sign.
Day 4
Once again, a thoroughly enjoyable break.

Many thanks to my companions and particularly to Annie and John for their kind hospitality, and to Ben for lending us his car so that we could carry 6 bikes and a lot of luggage.
Day 5

Annie and John joined us for the final day’s cycling from Yarde Orchard to Ilfracombe. I drove the short section from Instowe to Braunton, where we had lunch.

The final leg from Braunton involved a steady climb followed by a long decent into Ilfracombe
Days 6 & 7
The full unexpurgated data for my ride can be found here.