My cycle ride along the the Mariners Way Footpath
To further my investigation of the Mariner’s Way I decided to travel by bike across from Bideford to Dartmouth to study the landscape of Dartmoor and take photos at different locations along the way. Myself and a friend Jack Hynes, started in the brisk early morning sunshine from Bideford and followed the now famous cycle path of the Tarka Trail to Meeth.
Here we then went South until Hatherleigh where we then headed East over the Common which had a superb view overlooking the North side of Dartmoor.
This road took use both down to Exbourne and Sampford Courtenay where we diverted South to head into South Zeal for Lunch. In the morning we had been moving quickly thought each village and so decided to enjoy the warm afternoon by leisurely meandering along the lanes of Dartmoor taking in the scenery and smell of the flowering Gorse brush. That afternoon we came across our first sign of the Mariners Way footpath. We would have followed the path but it was too uneven for bikes.
The evening came and we found by chance the most encapsulating campsite that had had a level ground right beside a slow running river. The area we pitched our tents was very close to the way marker of Leepra/Leapra Cross and so we left our belongings to investigate.
It was great to see the Cross in its place in Dartmoor. After returning back to the campsite -tired from our 40mile trip- it did not take long until we were tucked up in our tents fast asleep. I did have time to take a few shots of where we stayed that evening.
The sun did shine for breakfast, but by the time we had ridden past Heathercombe a thick low lying cloud, typical of Dartmoor, came over and when we where at Widecombe-in-the-Moor it was hard to see much of the Tors.
Cycling beside Widecombe-in-the-Moor Church tower
The cycling was much more up and down that day and the lanes followed rivers and steams such as the River Dart. My best experience of the trip was when we entered a sheltered, quiet wood on a lane that spiralled down the hill and all I could hear was the circular motion of the wheels on the ground as we sped past the trees.
We were starting to leave the hills of Dartmoor and moving into the towns of Buckfastleigh, Totnes, and eventually Dartmouth. Here the roads got bigger and we found out the hard way the hills got a lot steeper as well!
We had finally reached out destination of Dartmouth and had time to explore Dartmouth Castle and Petrox Church before catching the afternoon boat ride to the train station.
It was a great afternoon on the boat to Totnes and with the sun out and bikes away we had time to relax and look at the wildlife and species around that lived around the river Dart.
It a fantastic two days and has brought about some new ideas that I can bring to the project. I hope you enjoyed the story and liked the photos.