Nigel and Mercedes organised the November Taunton group ride which ventured into mid Devon. 10 tandems started at the excellent Mount Pleasant Inn at Nomansland (8 miles west of Tiverton). It was pretty cold and when the rain started it became even colder so we were keen to make a start and warm up.
The first leg of the journey took in the traditional Devon villages of Puddington, Black Dog and Morchard Bishop. The considerable height above sea level was maintained, with snow-capped Exmoor and Dartmoor clearly visible on either side. The route then dropped down to the Taw valley at Morchard Road onto the A377 which follows the river Taw all the way to Barnstaple. This road is now thankfully much quieter since the building of the North Devon Link Road. This open road gave us the opportunity to eat up about 7 or 8 miles at a reasonable pace. The trees in the heavily wooded valley still had remnants of autumn colours.
At Eggesford we turned right and encountered the only real long hill to Chawleigh. This isn't particularly steep and the route planner (me) was not aware of any negativity from the other riders about this hill. After Chawleigh the height is maintained along another unclassified but reasonably wide open road past Thelbridge Cross to Nomansland. The Mount Pleasant really did look after us and we had our own cosy dining room with a blazing log fire. Our very varied food requests were swiftly served.
It isn't always easy to have a circular route in Devon which doesn't involve perpetually gaining and then losing height. This route did this only once which hopefully means my fellow tandemers from the Taunton group will still speak to me