40 Cyclists took part in the first Heart of Dartmoor Cycle Challenge organised by Devon Wildlife Trust on 12 May. At 50 miles, the route attracted riders with a wide range of abilities with many coming from all over the country.
Many were skilled racing cyclists attracted to a new route while for others it would stretch their abilities. The common theme was that all wanted to experience the wildness of Dartmoor.
I lead a group of 10 cyclists on a route that included an off-road section. Another group followed the fully on-road route while others had to use their map reading skills as they set out on their own.
Starting and finishing in Ivybridge, we started by following Dartmoor's rugged southern boundary via Shipley Bridge. We rode through woods, alongside rushing rivers and past remote farms. At Buckfast, we turned north to climb up on to the high moors with Princetown being the highest point. We had managed to spread out here and most needed to recharge energy levels with a mixture of cream teas, pasties and chocolate bars. We twice crossed the upper reaches of the River Dart.
The scenery via the off-road route from Princetown was breathtaking with unspoilt open moorland and Dartmoor's famous torrs all around us.
The Trust laid on refreshments at Holne and cycle repair facilities were provided on route by Big Peaks of Ashburton
It is hoped that the event will be repeated in 2013.