South Dartmoor CTC
Weekly cycling adventures for youngsters in South Devon
  • Rides, weekends, tours and social activities for young cyclists aged 10-16
  • Part of the national Cyclists' Touring Club, one of Britain's largest cycling organisations
  • Many activities suitable for new members
  • All activities start from Buckfastleigh
  • This site contains reports with photos and videos of every ride and tour since 1985
  • Reports on Torbay Section rides and tours 1978-1985 can be found here
Next event (see the Forthcoming Events section for more)
Friday 19 January 2018
Social: Badminton
The social this evening will be computer games at Crofters followed by badminton at Ashmoor from 8.30. The social is open to anyone who has ridden with us over the past three weeks and all ex-members of the club. Additionally, special invititations are extended for badminton only to Will, Harry, Mark and Ziggy. You need to bring £3.50 to cover the badminton.

Recent events (see the Recent Events section for more)
Sunday 14 January 2018
Day ride: Week Ford Blowing House (16 mi)Chilly but dry
6 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The footpath from Saddle Bridge, following the O Brook (12:12)
Parking the bikes at Saddle Bridge ready for the quarter-mile walk to Week Ford (12:11)
Approaching Week Ford Blowing House from the river, with the wheel pit and furnace areas at the back (12:42)
Jude and Dillan enjoying the magnificent scenery by the O Brook (12:25)
One of the four Mortar Stones that we found, used for grinding the small rocks of tin ore (12:50)
The Mould Stone at Week Ford Blowing House, used for forming ingots of tin (12:46)
View to the rear of the Blowing House showing the Mould Stone, furnace and wheel pit (12:54)
View of the Blowing House from the upper end (12:52)
Dillan tries to find a novel way back to the river through the boggy marshes (12:59)
Close-up of another Mortar Stone (12:56)
Jude and Dillan negotiate the stepping stones at Week Ford (13:04)
The stepping stones over the East Dart River at Week Ford (13:02)
John, George and Will (off-camera) joined the group at Holne café and rode home with us, shown here at Ridgey Cross (15:15)
Dartmoor once supported many small industries, chief among them being tin mining. Today’s ride took us up through Holne and past Venford Reservoir on a chilly but dry morning to find the remains of one of the Blowing Houses from the 15th or 16th centuries.

We parked out bikes at Saddle Bridge, just beyond Combestone Tor, and walked down the path along the O Brook. Both Dillan and Jude managed to get wet feet in the boggy areas either side of the first stile, and there were plenty more boggy areas along the way, but the ancient woodlands lining the picturesque brook made the quarter-mile walk very interesting.

To get to Week Ford we had to cross the O Brook, and whilst the high water levels left no easy crossing we managed to get across safely after a few abortive attempts and then started searching for the Blowing House. It was not far from the river, but we had to cross a broken fence and negotiate some boggy marshes to reach it.

This Blowing House is a listed building as it represents the rare combination of stamping mill and blowing house in two adjacent buildings. Water was brought in from the nearby O Brook by leat to power waterwheels used to operate iron stamps for crushing tin ore in the stamping house and a pair of bellows to blow air into the furnace in the Blowing House so they could reach temperatures high enough to melt the tin (232 degrees C). We found four mortar stones in the Blowing House, used to finely crush the ore ready for the furnace, and a mould stone, used to form ingots of white tin typically 40-90kg which were then sold at the nearest Stannary town, probably Ashburton. Very little had changed here since our last visit in June 1981.

Dillan chose a poor route back through the marshes and ended up with drenched feet – not ideal when the weather is so cold. We carried out the obligatory traversal of the stepping stones before heading back to the bikes, by which time our plans for continuing to Dartmeet or Widecombe in search of an open café did not seem quite so appealing. Both lads had cold, wet feet so we headed back to Holne café and ordered hot drinks and food.

We hadn’t been there more than ten minutes when John, George and Will arrived: John had been out on his first test ride since his November kidney donation, accompanied by his two lads, and Holne café had seemed like a sensible first destination. We ended up spending an hour there before heading back to Buckfastleigh together via Ridgey Cross.

Friday 12 January 2018
Social: Badminton
8 present: Harry Back, Will Bastow, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, Mark Thomas
We reserved three courts for the first 13 weeks of 2018 with the option of taking the fourth on the day. Well today we needed the fourth court as usual but someone else had managed to book it! We managed with three courts by playing a few games of doubles, but from next week onwards we havd all four courts booked every week.

This new site, which is being updated weekly, currently contains 3969 daily reports on all 3505 events organised by the club since its foundation in 1985. Reports for new events are added as they take place, and older reports are gradually being updated with pictures, text and video where available. Click on the Previous Events menu to see ride reports for any year or a custom report for any rider.