Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Days out on Drake's Trail

As the kids grow stronger we've been venturing further afield and making more of a day out of our journeys on Drake's Trail (National Cycle Network Route 27). The journey towards Plymouth south of Clearbrook has been immensely improved by the high quality new surface laid from the village hall, gradually descending towards Plymouth. It replaces a steep, narrow boulder-strewn path that was a quite challenging on the descent and a carry on the way up.

Start of new surface from Clearbrook opposite Village Hall

Going south from Clearbrook - superb smooth surface for a cycle trail

Going south from Clearbrook - gentle curves and an easy gradient

We've stopped for a cake break at a few places too. The Skylark Inn in Clearbrook will do a slice of cake and a cup of tea and has a large beer garden at the rear that's very popular with people following Drake's Trail.

The Knightstone Tea Rooms (once R.A.F. Harrowbeer) in Yelverton does a good cream tea and has historical military hardware on display. It's currently closed for a kitchen refit until 30th May 2015.

Closer to Tavistock, the Halfway House at Grenofen opens all day as Drake's Cafe. The cream tea and macaroons we ate were spot-on. The beer garden's a bit exposed on a windy day.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Tavistock to Yelverton to see the replica Spitfire at Harrowbeer

We saw an article in the Tavistock Times Gazette announcing the arrival of a replica Spitfire at Harrowbeer. The old Harrowbeer airfield is quite close to the lovely playground at Yelverton and it's now the school holidays so it seemed like a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Emily and Oliver had a friend visiting, so our old Adventure At2 bicycle trailer had to accommodate 3. The safest option for crossing Tavistock seemed to be to put Oliver in the 'boot' with a pillow for his head. Once on the trail, Emily rode standing in the back of the trailer like a modern day Boudica.

The Spitfire's well worth a visit and is at the Knightstone tea rooms until the end of August. The tea rooms' cream tea is lovely and is (I imagine) available year round. I'm pretty sure the "straight over there" directions we followed could be improved on, except perhaps for simplicity and distance travelled.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Cycling Drake's Trail to Morrisons car park

A little video I made to show the route between the end of Drake's Trail on Anderton Lane and a local landmark. I put off riding on Drake's Trail for weeks after it opened because I had no clue where it was. Well now you know.

You can reach the A390 Callington Road on traffic free paths / quiet roads by following this route from Morrisons up to Boughthayes Estate.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Plym Crescent playground

The playground at Plym Crescent is lovely. It's tucked away behind some garages accessed by a car-width alley on the corner of Plym Crescent.

View Tavistock playgrounds in a larger map

It's a sunny, sheltered spot with plenty of room to run around in and several picnic tables. The play equipment is solidly constructed with wood, rope and chain and appears to have been recently repaired to a good standard. There are also two football goals. There was plenty of litter on the ground, including lots of firework remains. The bins hadn't been emptied for so long that the black sacks had decayed. We found an old compost bag under the fence, so filled it with rubbish.

The route we took was from Meadowlands, across the footbridge over the Tavy towards Pixon Lane, but following the path along the river towards the A386/Whitchurch Road roundabout. Cross Whitchurch Road at the Pelican crossing, then a few tens of metres to turn left into Deer Park Lane. Deer Park Lane is quite steep - we (me pulling nearly 50kg of kids in trailer behind bike) were overtaken by a man on a mobility vehicle who observed "that looks like hard work!" before zooming away uphill. Follow Deer Park Lane to the point where it becomes Grove Park, where a footpath leaves the road on the left. This is a gem of a quiet path which takes you all the way to Meavy Way, looking at Plym Crescent on the far side.

View Tavistock playgrounds in a larger map

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Tavistock Traffic Orders

Static image from Google's Map view of Tavistock.
Some small posters have appeared on telegraph poles near us recently. They suggest more information can be found at http://www.devon.gov.uk/traffic-orders "from 14th March". I don't know why they couldn't put the info online first and then put the posters up so that the URLs (an ideal application for QR codes, Devon) produced something useful before today.

So today's the day and the information is available (follow the 'search' link, select Tavistock CP from the District list).

Here is a copy of the 'Various streets, Tavistock' notice attached to telegraph poles and here is the Tavistock traffic order itself. In a shameful display of self-interest, here's the "No Waiting At Any Time" part pertaining to Callington Road:

Callington Road, Tavistock

the south-east side from its junction with Drake Villas in a south-westerly direction to the boundary of Innswell/Catholic Church (Our Lady of the Assumption)

As far as I can see that means the No Waiting At Any Time restriction applies to the region marked red. Drake Villas are the houses overlooking the short piece of the A390 between the Spar roundabout and the A386 roundabout on the corner of Meadowlands. Innswell is the church's uphill neighbour.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Yelverton Village Playground

I cycled Drake's Trail to Yelverton recently. The trail emerges in Yelverton just before the A386 roundabout next to a large, well-equipped, busy playground

View Tavistock playgrounds in a larger map

I've added this playground to the playgrounds in Tavistock list since it's accessible via Drake's Trail

We had a day out with the trailer in the mist and the kids spent a very enjoyable hour at the playground. They both thought it was very big, with the assault course being a firm favourite.

Yelverton Village Playground in mist

Drake's Trail Tavistock to Yelverton

We've had a few days out on Drake's Trail recently. The Trail itself is off-road on fine chippings which present no great problem to my road bike. As with any cycling trail around Tavistock, the start is scrappy requiring some nail-biting attention to young children riding on or near public roads.

From the West side of Tavistock, we follow the route to Morrisons via Monksmead. From Morrison's car park there are cycle route signs on the pavement beside the A386. A Toucan crossing a short distance after Morrison's petrol station outside LIDL leads to the other side of the A386 and a narrow cycle path towards Bishopsmead.

Around Bishopsmead the route follows short sections of road, some newly built but quite narrow cycling / pedestrian track and some narrow pavements signposted as cycle routes. Let the small blue signs guide you at each junction. The new roads around Tiddy Brook lead after some meandering to Buzzard Road and a T-junction onto Anderton Lane. You can see the two farm gates guarding the entrance to Drake's Trail on the opposite side of the road.

View Larger Map

The Google map images (as of late December 2012) have only patchy coverage of the recent Tiddy Brook development, so online you can catch a glimpse of the new trail from a distance away from the junction, but move one step closer to the junction and the trail will disappear. Turn around and you'll see only a building site behind you!

From the Tiddy Brook Drake's Trail entrance you can let the kids go free-range until Horrabridge: the route is all cycle and pedestrian trail. There's a short cul-de-sac at Horrabridge to walk/ride along to a T-junction with a busier road. On the other side of the road is safe, dedicated trail again all the way to Yelverton.

The path out of Horrabridge towards Yelverton is quite, quite steep. I pulled my two kids in a trailer up it and barely made it. A cheerful fellow walking at the top came over to congratulate me, remarking that a hill that steep was silly on a cycling route and that the path should have taken a different route.

Something that is annoying is what appears to be a single-car parking space with two boulders behind it at the foot of the slope. There was a car parked in it on our way back which was impassable with a bicycle trailer. I hope whoever is responsible for the trail will move the two boulders up to the roadside.

As you arrive in Yelverton, you pass through a car park with a few little shops (including one which sells confectionery). On the far side of the car park is the Yelverton Village Playground. The cycle path continues around the left side of the playground, to emerge at the large roundabout on the A386.

It took me over an hour to reach Yelverton with a trailer holding two kids. The return journey Yelverton -> Tavistock was a little over twenty minutes. Ensure your brakes work before setting off downhill!