We are moving the date for this trip forward a week so we can watch the tour of Britain on the iconic Haytor climb on Friday 9th September.

Please let me know ASAP if you would like to come on this trip, so I can arrange the accommodation info@wattonwheelers.co.uk Those that have already advised they would like to go have no need to reply unless they now cannot make the new date.

So the new itinerary will be something like this:

Thursday 8th September – Travel down to Exminster
Make your own way to Devon.

Friday 9th September – Stage 6 Tour of Britain
Either cycle or drive to a vantage point on Haytor to watch the final of stage 6 of the Tour of Britain. For those that would like to cycle to Haytor from Exminster the route will be approx 17 miles in each direction and could include the 6km final climb to the summit of Haytor, just like the pro’s only a lot slower. In fact Google Maps says the 17 miles will take 2.5 hours.

Saturday 10th September – Exe Estuary Ride
Suitable for both on and off road bikes.

Sunday 11th September – Haldon Forest MTB ride
Off road bikes only. If you have only brought a road bike with you, you can hire a MTB bike from Forest cycle hire which will need to be pre booked. Half day £12 Full day £16. http://www.forestcyclehire.co.uk/#haldon-forest-mtb-trails
We can then travel home Sunday afternoon / evening or you could stay on at the accommodation another night if you want to rest up before the journey home.

Stage 6, Friday 9 September, Sidmouth to Haytor, Dartmoor
After a year’s absence from the Tour of Britain, Devon is back with another challenging stage on Friday 9th September, including the race’s summit finish for this year, coming at the top of the six-kilometre climb of Haytor, above Bovey Tracey in the Dartmoor National Park.

Starting in Sidmouth on East Devon’s Jurassic Coast, the stage will cover 150-kilometres of gruelling Devon countryside, finishing with a SKODA King of the Mountains climb at Haytor, a repeat of 2013’s summit finish won by Simon Yates. It will take in a number of communities en route, including Ottery St Mary, Honiton, Tiverton, Crediton, Chudleigh, Moretonhampstead and Bovey Tracey.

Following on from the success of the 2013 stage from Sidmouth to Dartmoor, which attracted a record 250,000 spectators, the new route will be sure to pose a host of new challenge for 2016. With over 3,000-metres of climbing and fast descents on narrow roads, this race promises to be a great spectator stage and one not to miss.

You can download the below overview map of Stage Six here. Interactive stage maps from Ordnance Survey will be published in the coming weeks and months, along with the full ETA and locations of the intermediate YodelDirect Sprints and SKODA King of the Mountains climbs.

Sidmouth to Haytor cycle ride

MAY 2016

We are booked on this for the early May bank Holiday weekend. If you would like to join us please let me know and I will enquire with Cycle Active to see if they have any more places available.

The Cycling – Introduction
The Coast to Coast cycle ride is one of the most scenic, varied and popular bike rides in Britain. The sense of achievement from cycling right across the country in 3 days, passing through National Parks, remote valleys and lovely villages, is hard to beat.

•    3-day journey makes a perfect long weekend
•    Bag transfers so you can cycle light
•    Lovely accommodation and good food
•    Well planned – so you focus on cycling

Our C2C Credentials
CycleActive has been running C2C holidays since 2000 and with our office based almost exactly on the middle of the route we think we know it better than anyone else. Our strong connections with local guesthouses means you get the best places to stay, best service and great food throughout your holiday. Our experience as a tour operator means everything runs smoothly, from start to finish, so you can relax and enjoy the journey.

Choosing the Right Holiday
At CycleActive we carefully grade our trips according to both the level of fitness you need and, for mountain biking, the level of skill you need. We also offer personal advice to anyone who needs it, by email or on the phone, to ensure that you find a holiday suitable for your abilities and desires.

Fitness grade 2-3.
This means you need to be moderately fit as the C2C does involve three full days of cycling over hilly terrain. You can take your time as this tour is not guided, so you don’t have to stay at the pace of others, but you do need reasonable stamina. For those who want extra challenges we have additional off-road options planned too.

Skill grade A-B.
The main C2C route follows backroads and well graded tracks so you do not need experience at off-road riding to be able to enjoy it. However, if you want to ride off-road then there are some excellent options – some marked on the official map and some known to us, which we’ll map out for you when you arrive.

Day 1 – Arrival in Penrith
Your trip begins on Thursday evening when you arrive at our chosen guesthouse in Penrith. Once you’ve checked in and received our rider pack you’re free to try any of the numerous bars, cafes and restaurants in this bustling market town. With the guesthouse just a 2 minute walk from the centre, and 5 minutes from the station, you’re perfectly located to enjoy your stay here. If you came by car, we’ll show you where to park up for the whole weekend – you won’t need it again until you head home.

Day 2 – The Lake District
After a huge breakfast of freshly cooked Cumbrian produce, you and your bike will be transported out to the start point of the C2C in Whitehaven, on the Irish Sea Coast. With detailed maps of the route, the benefit of good signing and advice from our expert local guide, you should be fully equipped for the first leg of the journey. This first day of the C2C takes you through the northern section of the Lake District National Park. This is Britain’s largest park, and you’ll be travelling past some of its most impressive peaks – Skiddaw, Blecathra and the northern reaches of the Helvelyn range. You’ll also encounter a great number of traditional Lakeland villages, as well as the focal town for this area – Keswick – which has a great selection of cafes for lunch time. Today’s ride ends back at the guesthouse in Penrith, giving you the chance to sample more great Cumbrian pub food, or a restaurant meal at any of the English, French, Italian, Spanish, Indian or Chinese places in town. We’ll be happy to recommend some of the best options for you.
Cycling: 50 miles, Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3 – The Pennines
Another big breakfast sees you on the road, this time direct from the guesthouse. By spending two nights here you’ve save the hassle of moving on and packing up on day one, but this morning that’s not possible, as you area heading for the Pennines. As you pedal your way into the Eden Valley, we’ll transport you bags ahead to the next guesthouse, right in the heart of the Pennines. Today you’ll encounter your biggest challenges, and as you coast down towards the river Eden from Penrith you’ll see the first Pennine ridge rising up before you. The scenery takes a dramatic change now, as the sheer peaks of the Lakes become rolling valleys and open moors. We keep the distance a little lower today to account for the hills, but there’s no doubt that everyone gets a sense of achievement the first time they ride to the summit of Hartside Pass.
Cycling:  45 miles, Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4 – Descent to Newcastle
The final leg of the journey brings you through the last of the Pennines, and soon the North Sea comes into view. You wind down through the quiet villages towards the outskirts of Newcastle, where a network of carefully planned tracks and trails ensure that you stay away from any major roads as you follow the Tyne into the city. This is a superb ride in itself – passing along the bustling waterfront where the famous Millenium Bridge, Baltic Gallery and The Sage are all located. The route ends at the C2C Tynemouth marker post, looking out across the harbour and into the North Sea. Here you’ll also find our driver, waiting to bring you and your bikes back to Penrith (meanwhile, we’ll have collected your bags from your Pennines stop and brought them back ready for your arrival). Congratulations are now in order, as you celebrate the success of your journey across Britain and return to Penrith for a late afternoon tea with fresh cakes and champagne before your journey home. Note that we also try to keep a room free at the guesthouse to allow you to shower and change before you leave (although on rare occasions this may not be possible).
Cycling:  42 miles, Meals included: Breakfast

MAY 2016

To compliment the May early Bank holiday Classic C2C ride I have been asked about the Devon C2C. I am more than willing to organise this for you through Cycle Active. This route is 102 miles in total and can be ridden over 2 or 3 days. I would suggest the three day would be very pleasant. The base start and return point is Exeter so you could if you wished spend another few days riding with Bill Marsh.
The Devon Coast to Coast is a north to south ride from the craggy cliffs that overlook IIfracombe to the imposing citadel at Plymouth’s bustling seafront. Along the way you follow many old railway lines, riding over viaducts and through tunnels, as well as contouring round the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. Whilst the route has no climbs on the scale of the classic C2C across the north of England, there are numerous shorter climbs on the rolling backroads of mid-Devon.
•    Total distance: 102 miles
•    Days of cycling: 2 or 3
•    Terrain: Quiet backroads and traffic free cycle paths
•    Support vehicle: There is no support vehicle for this tour, although a vehicle will be used to move bags from place to place.
•    Tour staff: Will meet you at the beginning of the tour to give a briefing and answer any question you may have.

We offer this ride as either a two-day package, which presents a good weekend challenge, or a three-day package which gives a more leisurely bike ride for those of moderate fitness.

Summary Itinerary
Cycling over two days
Day 1 (Friday). Arrive at guesthouse in Exeter in the late afternoon or evening. Overnight here and prepare for cycling.
Day 2. Transfer to ride start on north coast at Ilfracombe. Cycle to Hatherleigh in the heart of rural Devon. Overnight here.
Day 3. Cycle through South Devon to the finish in Plymouth. Transfer back to Exeter to freshen up and head home.

Summary Itinerary
Cycling over three days
Day 1 (Friday). Arrive at guesthouse in Exeter in the late afternoon or evening. Overnight here and prepare for cycling.
Day 2. Transfer to ride start on north coast at Ilfracombe. Cycle to Petrockstowe in the heart of rural Devon.
Day 3. Cycle to Tavistock, on the western edge of Dartmoor. Overnight here.
Day 4. Cycle through South Devon to the finish in Plymouth. Transfer back to Exeter to freshen up and head home.

Your trip begins on Friday evening when you arrive at our chosen guesthouse just outside Exeter. Once you’ve checked in and freshened up you’re free to head to the local pub or make the short trip into the heart of Exeter to enjoy some great food in one of the restaurants that surround the picturesque cathedral square.

After breakfast you and your bike will be transported to the North Devon coastal town of Ilfracombe to begin your ride (note that If you travelled to the trip by car we will show you where to leave it until you return on Sunday or Monday). The journey to the coast takes about an hour and a half, giving time for breakfast to go down before the pedalling begins. This is a last chance to make any last minute bike adjustments, and our CycleActive member of staff will be there with spares and tool kit to assist, if needed.

Leaving Ilfracombe along the magnificent craggy coastline of North Devon you tackle the first steep climb of the journey, and the only really steep section in the first third of the route. At the high point there are panoramic views of the coastline, and from here you can also choose a slightly extended option that takes you right along the stunning three mile beach at Woolacombe.

The countryside rolls gently until, at the town of Braunton, you join the traffic free Tarka Trail. This almost level section follows the serene tidal scenery of the Taw and Torridge estuaries as you pedal through the busy market town of Barnstable and on to Bideford, where the route heads inland.

This section of the journey is a winding traffic free trail that takes you deeper and deeper into the beautiful Torridge Valley. Riding alongside the river, crossing it often, and passing through open fields, old English woodlands and passing small homesteads, you are really starting to enter rural Devon. For those cycling the route over three days your first night is usually spent here, at one of the country pubs or guesthouses between Great Torrington and Petrockstowe. If you are riding the route over two days you’ll get further into the heart of Devon before overnighting in Hatherleigh.

The next part of the journey takes you into the hills as you ride the backroads on the way to Dartmoor. You reach the edge of the National Park just beyond Okehampton and head for the high point of the journey just beyond the magnificent viaduct at Meldon (built in 1874). The scenery now is quite breathtaking as the green fields roll away to your right, while the giant Tors of Dartmoor rise up immediately to your left. The route follows the park boundary for much of the way now as we pass several small villages. Those riding over three days will take their next overnight on this section of the journey.

After joining the river Tavy before the town of Tavistock the route gradually heads for more level ground, and you start to see lush common land being grazed by Dartmoor ponies. Continuing south you eventually join the river Plym and follow the riverside trail into Plymouth, and our finish at the imposing Citadel on the seafront.

At the finish you can enjoy a glass of champagne at the sea front bar while we load up the bikes for the transfer back to Exeter. Here we have a room reserved at the guesthouse so you can take a shower and freshen up before your journey home.
Full details here https://cycleactive.com/index.php/cycling-tour/uk/devon-c2c

17TH – 19TH JNE 2016

A number of us will be riding this fantastic event again next year. http://eroicabritannia.co.uk/

Not all that are attending will be riding but will have a great time in the festival and various restaurants close by. Cost to ride the event was around £70 last year which included a three day pass and car parking for the Festival. Also available was a weekend pass for the bargain price of £10 for those not riding.

19TH JUNE 2016

On Sunday 19th June 2016 – You, our adventurers will gather, bikes polished and magnificent for a 3 route tour of the Peak District. We’re known as The World’s Most Handsome Bike Ride so be sure to ensure your ride day outfit is as handsome as your bike! Bells will ring and the thrill of 3,700 riders on pre-1987 bikes will resonate around hill and through vale for Eroica Britannia.

Come and experience a true Great British Adventure. An exploration of some of the most beautiful countryside punctuated by World class heritage sites and areas of astonishing beauty. Plus – enjoy our ‘Feast Stops’ laden with local food and drink to nourish, sustain, surprise and delight you. All food and drink on whichever route you choose is included in your Ride ticket price.

We have a top tip! Ahead of all these wonders! Get your training in! The Peak District may sound friendly but we’re got a real challenge lined up for you!


The first ever Eroica Britannia was one of the most talked about events in the cycling and festival calendars for 2015. Over 50,000 wonderful folk travelled from all four corners of the World to make iconic British history in the historic market town of Bakewell, Peak District National Park. What fun we had! 3 sublime sunny festival days of all things handsome. Music, glorious vintage, shopping, food, drink, camping and cycling.

For 2016 we have an even better treat lined up! We have 3 days of family festival fun celebrating ‘Best of British’. We will have over 300 brilliant brands at the festival including fascinating vintage sales, lifestyle finds, bike brands including the World’s biggest Bike Jumble. We’ll have amazing street food trucks and spectacular drinking experiences. As well as Best in Show, family fun and high jinks on The Sporting Lawns including a vintage Sports Day. Our Festival is made up of seven areas to inspire a truly excellent weekend!

I have booked 4 double rooms 3 miles from Bakewell. Please note if you would like to join us and would like B&B you will have to book very soon to get anywhere near to Bakewell.

3RD to 5TH JULY 2016

Yorkshire dales ride

We will arrive in the lovely Reeth in Swaledale on Sunday 3rd July and stay B & B accommodation. Monday will be spent cycling from Reeth on some roads used by the Tour de France – across the hills to Wenslydale via the Aysgarth Falls, up the dales to Hawes and its famous cheese factory and cafes.

We then cross the hills via the Cote de Buttertubs stopping to admire the Buttertubs before heading to Swaledale  and then along the gorgeous River Swale back to Reeth.

This is a circuit of about 35 miles, with two steady climbs taken at a leisurely sightseeing pace.

The second day could be a cycle around the Three Peaks with views of the famous Ribblehead Viaduct, or perhaps a cycle round Malham.

The journey to and from Reeth will be by car and B & B in Reeth is around £45.

Please contact Tony Catchpole to join (01992 501020, or 07752 894923)


JULY 2017

End of July 2017 will be the next running of the LEL which as some of you know is a 1400km bike ride to be completed within 116 hours from London to Edinburgh and back to London. Much like the Stevenage Audax rides we all take part in just a bit longer well a lot longer really. So if you think you could ride 280km a day for five days give it a go and become a hero in your own mind. Price of this event is yet to be confirmed but is likely to be higher than when I rode in 2013 which was £200 this included all food at the check points and a blanket on a lilo if you needed a sleep Oh and all the pain you could handle.