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Teign to Tamar - Day 1 
DTRF Member Geoff Kelly

So this weekend saw the Devon TRF Teign to Tamar event (T2T). Two days of riding showing fellow trail rides from all over the country around our glorious countryside, and in the glorious weather for a change.. given all the rain weve had since, well, what feels like FOREVER!!!! The day commences at Parkers Farm campsite located near Ashburton where the visitors stay for the weekend. Departure was a prompt 9am with an 8am meet for coffee and brekkie baps provided by the club for the run leaders and TECs (Tail End Charlies). This meant a pretty early start for me up at 06:45, leave home at 07:15, collect Russ and Damian in Ivybridge at 07:30 then commute via the backroads to Ashburton for 8am South Brent, Harbourneford, Dean, Buckfastleigh then Ashburton. I always remember this commute being a bit of a slog, especially on day two and especially if the weather was less than best but with the sun shining this weekend the commute was actually rather pleasant. Our group for this years event were from Hertfordshire and consisted of; Mark Husky FE501 (Black and Day-Glo Yellow), Brothers Dave - KTM 300 2t and Kev - Husky 250 2t, another Dave KTM 300 2t (who, if you shut your eyes, sounded EXACTLY like Henry Cole off The Bike Show on TV), and finally Terry (a spritely 71 years young!) also riding a KTM 300 2t. The route for Day 1 was our Whiddon Down run which takes us as far north as North Tawton hopefully for some chips at the chippy if we make it there on time then back via Dewsteignton, Dunsford, Cristow and Bovey Tracey. To link us to our route we headed SE and hit 202-046 Wickeridge. Despite having informed the group of the second man drop-off riding sequence that they all said they knew there was some re-establishing of the rules at the end of the first lane as the second man had forgotten to stop. Onwards through Knowle and continuing to head south we hit the A384 Buckfastleigh to Dartington road turning into 202-087which was a sloppy affair as always. I actually saw AN-other trail rider on Facebook posted that hed been trough her on his KTM 690 today and got stuck in the mud which took him nearly and hours to extract his bike, DOH!! Through the farm a gate which was kindly held open for us by a smiling young lady then onto Caddaford lane where we saw our first little mishap. Terry got his 300 slightly crossed-up on the bedrock base of the lane probably just as it was hitting the power-band and it spat him off breaking his cluth lever. Fortunately one of his friends had a replacement lever and it was replaced in no time and we were on our way again (Im not sure what the RRP of such an item is but in times like that the price is most definitely a LOT more expy!! ha ha) At this point another of the T2T groups passed us. Heading down Suicide Ally (202-063 a steep descent) into Buckfastleigh we then headed to a great lane, 202-305 near Hembury Castle woods. This is a cracker of lane with a mix of surfaces from hard-pack, to slippery mud then a little water splash and some large-ish rocks at the end. At this point the sun was well and truly up and it was a lovely warm day. A loop around the lanes at Holne (202-041 & 202-402) then northbound to Lower Town and a short stop at 191-096 for a choccy bar and to strip off some layers. Mark (Husky 501) needed to adjust his chain slightly but asked for some help as too many sherbets the evening before meant he was feeling a tad green and leaning over to attend to his rear wheel likely would have resulted in something rather unpleasant so I assisted his need. Onwards to East Shallowford and 191-085 and 191-086 where we encountered some Dartmoor ponies in the road, three of which decided to flee up the lane we were riding. Carefully progressing up the lane but ever conscious we were pushing them towards the closed gate onto the open moor Im sure Russ who was leading was wondering what would happen. At the closed gate the ponies has a moment of panic before bolting back past us all back down the lane. This is a great lane that has a some tricky boulders to negotiate in the small wooded area at the northern exit into the farm. The lady farm owner had just pulled up in her car as we closed the gate behind us and she gave a smile and wave. At the top of her driveway and heading back out onto the road we met a horse rider stood with her horse. She let us all pass and as I closed the gate I had a pleasant exchange with her then we both went on our way. The long lane up over Widdicombe in the Moor was next and an opportunity to do a spot of filming but the slippery rocks proved no challenge today as it was nice a dry. Descending the other side we passed a couple of mountain bikers. 191-083 at Bonehill rock was next. We entered from the northern end and met a husband and wife walking near the gate. They didnt seem too pleased to see us and I tried to break the ice with a friendly comment. The husband made a somewhat friendly exchange but there was a distinct undertone that he was not impressed with our being there so we quickly passed through the gate and headed on our way. At bone hill rocks the car park was full as were all of the car parks along this stretch and heading to Haytor Rocks and when we got to Haytor Rock the people were out in their droves, the tor in the short distance looking like it was covered in ants given the amount of people clambering all over it! Here we veered off our route and headed via Tipply Hill Lane (191-090) into Bovey Tracy for a petrol stop and a quick snack. Heading NW out of Bovey to re-join our route Houndtor Woods was next (191-075) As usual on this lane there were a number of walkers and what looked to be an abandoned Land Rover Disco in a less than great state of repair. Guess theyd been green laning that and it had broken down. Exiting this lane at the western end into Manaton there were some people walking in the road. They stayed close into the hedge as we were passing. I slowed to tell then that there were several other riders behind me which the very posh gentleman was awfully thankful for having been told and he cheerfully wished me a good day. If only all walkers were like that .. which they are not as well come to later. At Clapper Bridge Russ turned off the road to ride the water splash but there was a tree down preventing the usual fun, Boooo. Next up was North Bovey Ford (191-069) so I took the lead into the lane to get into filming position on the opposite riverbank. As I approached the river crossing there were two horses ahead but they just went out of sight as I arrived, perfect. No misdemeanours at the river crossing, thankfully. 191-068 at Langdon overlooking Bovey Castle was next, a great lane this is lined with gorse hedges and stone walls towards the southern end. Contiuning north we headed towards Gidleigh then the lovely lane at Throwleigh (191-053) which is a muddy lane but still inspires confidence to press on keep your feet up. Continuing north we did Beaconpark Lane (191-049) off the main road which starts as muddy ruts but then heads downhill under the enclosed tree canopy. Terry had another very slow tumble here as the bike got a bit cross-rutted in the mud. Had he have had longer legs he would have saved it. Running parallel now with the A30 we headed into South Tawton and 191-045 which is part of the Tarka Trail. The lane at Bude (191-044) is now easily passable compared to years in the pat where a narky man and wife who lived in the house would always try and stop you passing and their dog fortunately on a long chain would try to eat you! The next lane at Rat Combe/ Langabeer (191-039) I remember from riding years ago with a legend TRF member Pete Bull. Back then this lane was a real challenge with a gully almost the entire length of the lane, which is long!, but it was graded many years ago and now presents little challenge unfortunately. At this point we were tantalisingly close to our chippy lunch at North Tawton. A quick check of the clock and a look at the route we made a decision to skip the Tarka Trail lane (191-020) in favour of ensuring we made it to the chippy before it closed at 14:00. After lunch which was fab! we headed east then south to the mooshy muddy water crossing in 191-032 at Coxmoor. This didnt disappoint with lots of mud being roosted skyward as you exited the river and made the short climb back up onto the field. Next is a fave of mine, 191-035 at Cullaford as the river Yeo tracks alongside the lane and it often breeches into the lane but today it was pretty dry, but still a good lane. Continuing to head south now we made a quick stop at Whiddon Down services for fuel and I had a sneaky Magnum .. this ones for you Nick Kelland . Onwards from here to Fingle Bridge which is always a cracking climb up from the pub and the river and this is where we met another narky walker who was stood in the middle of the lane waving his arms in frustration. I think the three guys ahead of me has riled him up to the point it was literally stood in the middle of the lane. I had nowhere to go but to stop dead in front of him, my front wheel nearly wedging between his legs. He had a face like thunder which I tried to defuse by somewhat jokingly asking him whether he thought it was a good idea standing in the middle of a road? He didnt see the funny side but proceeded to remove himself from my path allowing me and those behind me to continue whilst he continued to produce steam from his ears. Heading east we then dropped into Dunsford and the steep climb off the main road through Bridford Woods (191-059). Heading south now and into Cristow and the infamous Bennah Hill. We stopped at the bottom of the road into the land as Russ was querying why the route had a little out-and-return section. I replied, we must have ridden up there, gone wrong, and then come back. Yeah, I guess so he said, then rode off in the wrong direction. DUH. I waited and 2 seconds later he reappeared chuckling to himself as to what hed just done. We got to the bottom of this short and very steep lane that was, as it always is, awkwardly blocked by a car as the local resident doesnt want anyone riding the lane. Fortunately we were able to squeeze through and duck our way under the fallen tree, past the ancient well and up the steep and loose soiled lane. Passing Ottiford reservoir on our right we descended 191-072 to Poolmill Cross then onto 191-076 at Wreyland that has recently had a fallen tree cleared meaning our passage didnt involve more tree ducking, thankfully as some of the visitors werent overly keen on this on the lane at Bennah. Passing back through Bovey Tracy we headed to 191-097 at Staplehill behind Trago Mills. A short stop here for a last snack before the short sprint back to the campsite via Holbeam Lane (202-007) and another video opportunity at the river crossing. 202-027 and finally the steep and tricky climb of 202-026 brought us back to the campsite. A fantastic day resulting in 170 odd miles for me door to door. Time to do it all again tomorrow. Report coming soon

Teign to Tamar - Day 2
DTRF Member Geoff Kelly

So day 2 began with the same commute to Ashburton as the day before but the sun was coming again and it was looking like another glorious day so what was not to like. ​ Having parked up at the campsite we grabbed our complimentary brekkie bap and a full cup of coffee and chatted about the previous days riding with other club members/ run leaders. ​ Day 2 route was our Ruggerdon run taking us in a North East direction from Ashburton through Islington and Simms Hill then as far North as Lustleigh then heading east to Ruggadon at Trusham then Ideford and Ashcombe then almost to the coat at Dawlish before heading south again passing through Teignmouth, Rocombe and Stokinteignhead then Kingskerswell, Staverton, Totnes, Harberton, Avonwick before heading back to the campsite via Dean, Rattery and Buckfastleigh. ​ The first interesting lane of the day was 202-004 at Gale, a natural gulley shape is this lane, not created though water, with some large loose rocks and large tree roots to negotiate. Its always a challenge to remain on the pegs and not to dab on this lane. Dropping down the other wide of the hill on 202-005 we hit the main Newton Abbot Road, the A383 for a very short period before veering off towards Bickington. At the junction at Chipley Russ took a wrong turn, probably having been put off by the road closed sign where we wanted to go. He quickly realised and turned about and we snuck through the temporary fence surrounding the pile of excavated road. 191-097 took us to Staplehill that dropped us behind Trago Mills. Passing over the A38 we hung a left towards Halford and 191-103 which is a lane with a lot of broken tarmac and large holes which need to be avoided. There was also a MA-HOOSIVE root ball from a tree that had fallen down which thankfully had been cut to allow our passage. The remainder of the head of the tree lay in the field to the right of the lane. Someones chainsaw work for another day. From here we circled around the infamous Simms Hill which proved no challenge today as it was very dry. Still, good to add the pressure of a camera man filming, ha ha. Down 191-087 then across the road into Tipley (191-089), again, no dramas here either. 191-091 took us into Bovey Tracey but no need to fill up here now as wed not long left the start with brimmed tanks. Out the back of Bovey and at the top of 191-081 which is a easy climb up the hill saw a family restraining their little terrier who seemed eager to greet us .. or was that attack us, Hmmm, not sure. Next was the great Little Johns Walk (191-077). We got to the top and our visitors all said, can we do that one again please, ha ha. It never fails to impress does that lane. Onwards to the lovely little switch-back climb on 191-072 that wed ridden down the day before always nice to get both aspects of a lane, up and down then onwards to Bennah hill again but this time NOT taking the short off-slip at the eastern end down past the well and the fallen tree, that wed negotiated upwards the day before.  At Christow we headed south past Canonteign Falls stopping briefly to show our visitors the waterfall. They said, are we riding up that? ha ha Well no, but something maybe just as tricky being the next lane, Ruggadon (191-074), or Bugger-don as Mark, one of our visitors termed it come the end. I whizzed on ahead to take up position for filming the initial drop into the river. Damian, being on his Husky 701 today (fork seals blow on his 530 yesterday) opted for the ride around on this lane knowing its a bit of a challenge at the best of times let alone with 50 extra KGs to muscle around, and the day was still young!   Dropping into the river was negotiated well by most of the group but Terry with his short stature got slightly mis-directed in his planned route across the river bed probably by a large rock which caused him to dab but the floor wasnt quite where he expected it to be and hence he fell off, the bike fortunately landing airbox intake side up as it continued to tick-over and then rev wildly as he grabbed the handlebars/ throttle grip to pick the bike up. Ive got to admit that I felt rather bad stood there filming and not helping so in the end I downed the camera and went to help although he was pretty sorted at that point anyways. ​ Some of the visitors remembered this lane from last year but there were a barrage of questions regards, whats it like? Descriptions dished out not that they likely helped or added any element of confidence! ha ha I set off again to take up position to film the guys coming up the lane. It was a tough challenge, as always, but enjoyed by everyone, even Terry who did a cracking job on this lane after his little spill earlier. After meeting Daman at the end of the lane we continued in a south easterly direction to Ideford common and 192-289 immediately off the main road roundabout, the entrance to which was very clearly signed for us with massive yellow arrows which we later found to be for a cycling event as we met our first cyclists on lane 192-250 coming towards us. Passing the gypsy camp and negotiating the rocky 192-215 Haldon Lane to Ideford Arch we then took Hamblecombe Lane (192-202) then 192-201 where we met a husband on his e-MTB leading/ following his wife on her horse. I gave him the usual line of, youre cheating (I have an e-bike and hear that all the time) but he was quick to respond saying he needed it to keep up with the horse, fair comment I thought. After the jovial and pleasant exchange we all exited to the lane to let them enter the lane good timing too! Next was the short, tight and narrow 192-231 then 192-205 off Three Tree Lane down into the farm. From here we rode into Ideford on Fore Street and looking to my right I caught a glimpse of an amazing looking house. Ive since looked at Google Street view and WOW, it does look impressive!! Its in Higher Colleybrook road but if you go on street view into that road its still undeveloped and is the farm buildings that obviously preceded the house build but it you zoom into it from Fore Street, WOW, real Grand Designs stuff!! Anyways, onwards to 192-198 but just before we entered this lane I took a whack on my left check bone from some MA-HOOSIVE bug! It immediately felt like Id been stung so I used my fingers to squeeze my cheek in an attempt to extract any of the sting. We then entered the Towerhill Lane (192-198) which is a rocky and somewhat gullied climb. The bug incident moments before somewhat put me off my riding and I took an odd line and took a massive kick from a rock which stepped my back-end out wildly. I did well to recover it and carry on as was testified by one of our visitors who was closely following me at the time. Anyways, onwards and upwards, literally in this lane! Towards the top of this lane where it flattened out there was another one of those dubious looking sandy-coloured wet and soft looking patches in the middle of the lane a sink hole maybe that Ive fell fowl of on another recent ride in North Devon. I would have avoided it anyways but Im of the thinking a fellow rider for the earlier in the day or even yesterday had marked it with two thick sticks that were poking out of the gloop. Thank you whoever that was.  East through Ashcombe to 192-250 at Langdon Barton and this was where we encountered our gravel bike and mountain bike riders so we rode cautiously along this lane to stop at a vantage point overlooking the river Exe. If we had a £1 for every cyclist that went past us and said, can I swap bikes please or can I borrow your engine wed be rich! ha ha. Exiting this lane, and fortunately the cyclists planned route, we hit Long Lane (192-196) and came up behind a horse and rider so we patiently waited for a safe passing place that the horse rider pulled into. Another fantastic house is situated near the end of this lane also Ive take a screen grab off street view and added it to the pictures, go take a look. As we dropped down into Dawlish a Road Closed sign prevented us from following our route so Russ decided to detour to 192-199 which is a great little lane but not often ridden by us. Ridden east to west you drop into the lane off the road and its a steep rocky and slippery decent down to the river then what looks like an innocuous river crossing is actually quite deep due to the swell/ swirling/ pooling of the river flow. Once the river crossing is negotiated it doesnt get much easier with a very boggy exit the other side. Needless to say there was a large amount of debris scattered up the road as we left, Oooops but I have no doubt itll rain again soon and wash it all away. Next was 192-208 which is massively washed out with a very deep gulley in the centre, a real peg-scraper! (I think the DTRF overlay description needs updating on this one for sure cos its a fair challenge now). Mark on the day-glow Husky 501 decided to find himself in the bottom of said gulley at one point and with a over exuberant handful of throttle to get himself out he apparently managed to flip the bike. An amusing spectacle by all accounts but nothing broken aside a bent No. plate so onwards to the petrol station in Teignmouth for a fill up both bikes and bellies! Here we bumped into Chris group with John Leah TECing. Theirs was only a fuel stop but they managed to leave one of their riders behind, DOH!!! ​ After lunch we crossed the bridge towards Stokingteignhead/ Rocombe and the myriad of lanes in this area, and we included two of the most infamous Piggery at Higher Gabwell (202-405?) then Rocombe Barn going up! (202-052). The challenge of this lane was preented to the group but only myself and two of the visitors decided to give it a crack given the hype and descriptions that had been offered. TBF it wasnt too difficult today as it was very dry. Upon meeting back up with the group at the top of the lane we headed to Coffinswell (202-060) which was super muddy and puddled at the bottom (north end) then across the main Kingskerswell road heading for Woodpark Lane (202-082) at North Whilborough. This a lovely rocky climb avoiding large rocks and tree roots which line the lane. A real workout for the shoulders. Windmill lane was next (202-074) then Compton Mill Lane (202-073) then another fantastic house with perfectly manicured lawns and a very expensive looking winding resin driveway at the cross roads at Bulleigh Barton (another street view screen view added for your viewing). The affectionately named Compton mud plug was next (202-081) but there was little of a mud plug, thankfully. Just past this I was following Terry (72 years young remember!) and he had a little badger in the hedge. After composing himself after getting back upright I pulled alongside him. He confessed to being pretty tired at this point. I told him not to feel pressured by trying to keep up the pace, take it in his own time, no rush. I warned him of the rocky exit to this lane and he seemed to take my advice and dialled the pace down a notch which was good to see. No rush here!! Take it easy and enjoy the scenery! Onwards down Tanyard Lane (202-080) then Woodhead Lane (202-092) at Higher Weekaborough which brought us out to the criss-cross of lanes at Red Post (202-102, 202-101, up Tally Ho 202-099, 202-100 then down 202-324 into Uphempston then 202-326 out onto the main Newton Abbot road A381. We hung a left off the main A-road at Coombe Park into 202-111 which is a nice gradual climb before eventually dropping down on he John Musgrave Heritage Trail (202-118) into Totnes where our visitors had specifically requested coffee and cake so not wanting to disappoint Russ stopped on the roundabout by the monument and we went to Food for Thought which served some amazing flap jacks and cakes, so much so that one of our visitros bought an array of flapjacks for the journey home and for his work (hes a driving instructor and apparently he eats a lot of flapjack).  Fed and watered AGAIN! we headed out of Totnes on 202-123 always being mindful of walkers on this lane and indeed there were a few! Climbing up out of Totnes on 202-133 past the gypsy camp at the southern end we then hit 202-142 at Dorsley Barton with the large puddle at the southern end and it did indeed catch at least one person out, poor Terry again who was obviously very tired by now. This is a sloppy and muddy puddle and his gloves were now sopping.  ​ With 202-141 to Belsford farm currently TROd we did a ride around then on to the weird and wonderful 202-146. The bedrock descent caught poor old Terry out again but he managed to stay upright this time. Slowing the pace was key here again, take your time, dont feel pressured to crack on I told him again so he slowed It back down again. The bottom of this lane is a weird old place with a ruined building of some description and stone walls and lots of creepy looking trees. If anyone knows what this place once was Id be interested to know. ​ Riding up and out of the lane is a nice little challenge, not so much today but in the wet, as there a slab of off-camber rock which can easily catch you out. From here we headed for Avonwick on the road then 202-129 up over the field then into the ridiculously boggy section just the other side of the gate. I dont know whats happened here large farm equipment maybe? but it was and absolute bog-fest with everyone getting covered in mud!! Ewwwww. I roostered myself and could feel it seeping through the back and on the arms of my MX jersey. YUK!! Exiting through Rattery onto the Dartington road A385 we hit Culver lane or Small Lane as the sign says (202-130). This is a great lane and caught our flap-jack loving visitor out. He saw the first wet slab of rock and decided to try and go up the side of it rather than up the middle as the middle looked rather steep and slippery, what with the flowing water, but I guess thats the benefit of local knowledge knowing which line to take. It was one of those slow motion offs which was quite comical and even the downed rider had to laugh at himself. Good man! Having remounted and told to just go up the middle .. for the entire length of the lane he did so, as we all did, and we all made it to the top. Hoorah. Next was the heavily rutted 202-095 which was a great test of balance. We then somewhat cruelly? decided to take them up Dean Field 202-086 which presented a bit of a challenge for most of the riders but we all made it in the end with smiles and laughter all round.. Down 202-085 then into Deancombe then 202-084 then 202-076 taking us into Buckfastleigh. Suicide Alley going up was next 202-063 which presented less trouble than it did yesterday going down it. Good effort fellas! Pridhamsleigh (202-055) was next then 202-056 leading us to the great lane at Parkfield (202-058) which has a nice mix of terrains along its length ruts, rocky downhill then sloppy mud. Very much on the home stretch now with a short road commute back to the campsite where we started. ​ Another fantastic days riding for sure, one to be remembered (in part why I write the run reports, so they can be recounted in years to come when Im too old and past it but if Im riding anything like old Terry when Im his age then Ill be MORE than happy!). Having checked back in with the event organiser and everyone accounted for we said our goodbyes to our visitors who expressed their gratitude for the two days theyd had with us. A quick cup of coffee and a debrief with a fellow club member then Russ, Damian and I ventured on our commute hme. A ful 130 odd miles for me door to door and a well deserved and much needed roast dinner when I got home cooked by the wife, Mmmmm. Over and out until next time.

Teign to Tamar 2024 - YouTube Video
DTRF Member Ashley Nicholls
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