Street to Chulmleigh

One thing the youth hostel does have is some nice maps of North Somerset in the lounge area and these showed up something I was hoping to find, a direct route between Street and Wearne avoiding the A361 using, what the map clearly indicated, were small roads.

In fact the small roads are extremely rough and often deeply pitted mud tracks, the result was a five mile shortcut that required a bone shuddering hour to complete. If you are coming this way use the B3151 and 3153 to get from Street to Wearne!

Due to the hostel's lack of facilities (and our lack of foresight) we had to forego breakfast, so we stopped at the Tesco in Wearne to get something to eat, thankfully they had a hot deli, bread rolls and brown sauce.

What most North to South routes do at this point most head off in the South Devon direction to Tiverton, Crediton and Okehampton, but not this one.

I had planned a route that tried to use minor toads though Mid and North Devon. It was to be a little more hilly but much quieter and the first stage was to get to Chulmleigh by following the the B3137 and 3042, which called for a couple of steep climbs out of Tiverton with the rest of the day being reasonably flat (for Devon)

From Wearne we took the A378 to Henlade and ducked under Taunton using small roads, the plan being to use smaller roads all the way to Tiverton, in hindsight this was a mistake. The A38 it is not an overly busy road between Taunton and Tiverton (probably due to the proximity to the M5), so what we should have done was use the main road until it turned into a dual carriageway where we could have used minor roads that follow the canal into Tiverton.

We did instead was: forget our earlier vows and leave the A38 at Wellington to follow a cycle path that, once again, suffered from a deplorable lack of focus. Eventually, upon reaching the point at which we were unable to agree whereabouts we happened to be, we came up with a plan that Christian and I would push on ahead of Camilla and Neil to advise them if a U turn was required. We found a sign for Ashbrittle which we knew to be west of us and headed for it, unfortunately we were not aware just how hilly it is north of Tiverton!

Sunshine and Hills in Devon

After advising Camilla and Neil not to follow Christian and I decided to push on from where we were and join up with the B3137 at Witheridge.

Our reward was a seemingly endless sequence of hills which, post event investigation revealed to be mostly 150 to 200mtr climbs at 12% or above. It was totally demoralising and, in the end, too much for my legs! For the first time on the trip I had to push my bike up a hill.

We reached 'The Old Bakehouse' in Chulmleigh a good hour behind Camilla and Neil. The dinner, although excellent, was a very quiet and civil affair that evening, for fear of a row breaking out as to whose fault the debacle had been.

The lesson I had learned was stick by your map! Throughout the entire trip, every time we thought our local knowledge gave us a better insight to the best route (as opposed to the map I had spent months planning) we paid a heavy price for our folly!

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Day:11 of 13
Date:09 July 2003
Distance:119 KM
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