Fields near Hayes Barton
 
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Exmouth, East Budleigh, Otterton, Budleigh Salterton

-- click on thumbnails for larger image --

Halfway up Marley Road

This cycle ride is my favourite 'one hour' ride from home. The pictures were taken on a frosty November morning.

The roadside is littered with leaves

The ride starts with a climb up Marley Road towards Lympstone Common. The slope averages only 5% with a slightly steeper section at the start - nevertheless with cold legs that is steep enough.

At this time of year the roadsides are covered with fallen leaves - a reminder to be careful on the descents ahead.

Sunlight streaming through the overhead branches

Near the top trees overhang the road and in the Autumn with the sunlight streaming through the turning leaves form an attractive sight.

Pine Ridge Junction

At the top the busy B3179 is reached and a left turn followed by a short level section takes you to the Pine Ridge Junction.

Final climb onto the Common

Here a right turn and a short climb take you to the highest point on the route (150m).

Looking backwards to the highest point

At first trees continue to line the road but gradually they thin out.

Along this section the road undulates while descending slowly across the Common - giving you a chance to recover from the initial climb.

Footpaths and bridleways criss-cross the Common

The Common itself is criss-crossed with footpaths and bridleways.

Gradually views open up

On the right the trees recede to give views across the Common.

Views of the quarries

To the left views of a large quarry open up - the characteristic red colour of the local rocks is very obvious.

The off-road tracks are popular with mountain bikers

Over the Common there are numerous mountain bike trails - some of which are horrendously muddy.

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The Common is also used by the Marines as a training exercise site. Often you will come across trainees carrying heavy packs - matching or jogging across the road. On one of the climbs I was once overtaken by a guy with a heavy pack!

Signpost Road dropping towards Yettington

The Commons are laid down on Triassic pebblebeds. The pebbles were often used in the past for constructing walls and paths.

The whole of the Common is a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest'. A number of relatively uncommon species make their home there - including the High Brown Fritillary, and the Silver Studded Blue butterflies, the Hobby, the Dartford Warbler and the Nightjar.

Lone pine Ferns and pines

The road continues to sweep down hill - the descent gradually becoming steeper.

Eventually a fork is reached - with the left turn taking you down to Yettington - and the right one down to East Budliegh via Hayes Barton.

Glimpse of Hayes Barton

Both routes will eventually take you to East Budleigh.

Five bared gate

This route follows the right fork down Hayes Lane.

Views of the old house ahead at Hayes Barton can be glimpsed during the descent.

Hayes Barton Hayes Barton Sign

Hayes Barton was the birth-place and home of Sir Walter Raleigh - the Sixteenth Century seafarer.

The house itself has an E-shaped floor plan as was characteristic of large houses in Elizabethan times.

Sir Walter Raleigh Fields

The descent to Hayes Barton takes you off the Common and the landscape become more pastoral. Around here the ploughed fields are covered in attractive red and green stripes.

Gradually the settlement of East Budleigh comes into view ahead.

All Saints Church Thatched cob wall

The village's Fifteenth Century All Saints' church stands out high above the village.

The final descent takes you past an old house with a thatched cob wall. Cob is a traditional building material in Devon, and is made of soil, clay, sand, and straw. Thatch or tiles are used to prevent rainwater penetrating and damaging the cob.

Sir Walter Raleigh pub Pub Sign

Hayes Lane ends at a T-junction in the village with the Sir Walter Raleigh pub opposite.

Avoiding the temptation to stop at the pub - you turn right and descend along East Budleigh's main street.

Pub sign Hayes Lane sign

In common with many East Devon villages East Budleigh has a stream - Budleigh Brook - running in a channel along side the main street. Many of the front doors are approached over small bridges crossing the stream.

Michaelmas Daisies

At this time of year the banks of the stream are lined with colourful splashes of Michaelmas daisies.

Sir Walter cast in terracotta

At the end of the main street, alongside the Rolle Arms, you cross the Budleigh Salterton to Newton Poppleford Road.

View across valley to Otterton

After leaving East Budleigh village the route takes you over the flat and flood prone Otter Valley. Ahead, over the flood plain, can be seen the pointed tower of Otterton Church.

The flat Otter Valley offers a number of attractive cycle routes - attractive both because of the scenery and the (relative) lack of hills.

Thatched House Sign for Otterton

Just before reaching Otterton you pass a Devon long house. The original cob and thatch dwelling was sadly burnt to the ground a few years ago but the owners have faithfully reconstructed it on the same floor plan as the original and reinstated the thatched roof.

The Old Otterton Station Sign Small gauge railway

You then pass over a humped bridge over the line of the old railway. The station house is now a private house - but the owner is obviously keen on trains as he has a small gauge railway on the line of the old tracks.

The Otterton Mill

A final bridge takes you over the River Otter into Otterton.

The first building on the right is Otterton Mill which is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It has now been converted into a café, bakery and arts and craft centres.

Another Devon Long House

The mill is still working (well one day a week) - the under-shot wheel turned by water in a mill race fed from the River Otter. The mill race starts from a weir upstream which is by-passed by a fish ladder.

An elaborate doorway

The next building on the right is another long house which faces the village green. This long house is divided into eight separate dwellings.

The stream in Otterton village

Otterton, like East Budleigh, has a stream running alongside the main street. Most of the year this is dry but in the winter it occasionally floods the main street.

A climb up Maunders Hill then takes you up past the church to the 'closed' Park Lane.

View over Otterton Church

This old lane runs high above the Otter as it runs towards the sea. Part of the lane has fallen into the river - so it is closed to vehicles - thus making it ideal for cyclists and walkers.

Road Closed sign

The high tree lined lane gives excellent views over Otterton and across the valley back to East Budleigh and Woodbury Common beyond.

The path narrows

The lane narrows to a single track where the road has fallen away into the river. In the summer nettles are a deterrent in this section to those wearing shorts.

The River Otter below the cliff.

Further on you pass between two brick gate pillars. These, coupled with an avenue of oaks, were to have formed the entrance to a grand house at Otterton Park - however funds ran out and the house was never built.

Three pine trees View back up to Woodbury Common

To the left three pine trees crown the crest of the hill - these are can be seen across the whole of the lower Otter Valley.

For me these signal the approach of home (barring a few hills).

Halfway along the track you can catch glimpses of the old aqueduct which carries the Budleigh Brook over the Otter's flood plain.

The aqueduct The River Otter from White Bridge

Dykes were erected and a drainage system introduced so that the flood prone valley could be used for agriculture. Some of the larger structures were constructed by French prisoners of war around 1812.

Signposts for walkers

At the end of the track you turn right and pass over White Bridge. Here the Otter is tidal and meanders the final mile or so to the sea.

Budleigh's pebble beach

This area is very popular with ramblers - who can walk alongside the river up to Otterton and beyond. The South West Coastal Path crosses White Bridge on its 600 mile passage around the Peninsula.

View of Budleigh sea front

A final descent along Granary Lane takes you to the sea front at Budleigh Salterton. The town is protected by a shingle bank which extends eastward to force the Otter into a narrow channel.

The Longboat Cafe and the spaces where the beach huts sat

The bank, however, wasn't sufficient to protect the beach huts which were swept away in the southerly gales during the spring tides in late October.

It's tempting to stop at the café on the front - which is open at weekends year round.

Millais' Boyhood of Raleigh

On the wall further along John Millais painted his picture 'The boyhood of Raleigh' in which the young Raleigh seems to be less than enthralled by the stories of an old sea salt.

Millais' plaque on the Octagon

Millais' stay is commemorated by a blue plaque on the front of the Octagonal building opposite.

Brick arch which carried the railway

Returning to Exmouth you have a choice of two routes - either along the converted railway track - or through Knowle and up over Dalditch Common. I prefer the later as, although it involves a steeper climb, the final section home is downhill.

The climb up Dalditch Lane

Dalditch Lane leaves Knowle and passes under the high arch which carried the Exmouth - Budleigh railway.

View over the Common towards Squabmoor Reservoir

Beyond Dalditch Farm the Lane turns left and rises steeply for nearly a kilometre. Fortunately the steepest section (15%) is at the start - so if you get over that - it gets easier.

Budleigh riding stables are further up the lane and you often come across horses on this part of the route. On this day some horses were descending the lane - and having difficulty maintaining their grip on the slope.

Near the top you are rewarded by a view over the Common with Squabmoor Reservoir in the middle distance.

The ride finishes with a fast descent down St Johns Road.

 

Kirby James

 
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