Friday, 15 Nov 2019

Exmoor

How to grow Dick
Exmoor
- A man with a seven-inch (18 cm) penis may proudly compare his organ to the average man’s five to six inches (12-15 cm) but be intimidated when learning another wields an eight-inch (20 cm) rod.

“Best 100 mile bike routes”

Chris Sidwells

Exmoor

Exmoor. This is an amazing ride, and it’s an amazing achievement to complete it. The scenery is stunning, from enchanting rivers to spectacular sea views and wild open moorland. There’s even one section across what amounts to a cliff face that feels like rock climbing on a bike. The rides starts and finishes in Tiverton, explores the River Exe to its source, strikes out along the coast and tracks along the backbone of Exmoor. It’s one of the best rides in this book. You get a nice relaxed start by riding up the Exe valley from Tiverton to Dulverton, but then the climbing begins. You are 12 miles in and it won’t stop until ten miles to go. The first climb scales Winsford Hill, where the first character change happens, too. So far you’ve been riding through sylvan glades by tree-covered rivers; now you emerge onto open moorland. And just to add to the contrast if there’s any kind of wind blowing the ride just got harder.

Exmoor - photo 1

Exmoor

Exmoor. Exford, sitting in a fold of the moor, is surprisingly cosy and brings some respite. But the slog continues as soon as you leave the village to cross Dunkery Hill, which at 480 metres is the highest point of this ride. Dunkery Beacon, just off to your right, is also the highest point on Exmoor at 520 metres. It’s downhill next, but you are descending to the foot of one of Britain’s most famous climbs: Porlock Hill. I’ve chosen the main-road ascent for the true Porlock experience. The grist of the climb is the first 1.75 miles; it grinds upwards for quite a while after that, but this first bit has an average gradient of over 11 per cent and two wicked corners that rise at well over 25. A longer but shallower alternative way up can be accessed from Porlock village.

Exmoor - photo 2

Exmoor

Exmoor. The summit of the climb is really Culbone Hill, over five miles from Porlock. From there you sweep down to Lynmouth to start what I think is the most spectacular part of the ride. Turn off the main road, climb out of Lynmouth and you go through the Valley of Rocks. It’s a wonderful name for a wonderful place, but it gets even better from here. After a sharp descent the narrow road climbs above the waves that crash into Woody Bay across what is almost a cliff face. At one point there’s a fork and a choice of road; stick to the left-hand one if you don’t fancy being scared. Both roads end with steep climbs, after which the route continues to hug the cliffs, one of which is the highest sea cliff in England, all the way to Combe Martin.

Exmoor - photo 3

Exmoor

Exmoor. That’s where you start climbing again to begin a traverse of Exmoor. The moor is a steep-sided plateau with an undulating top, where bare bones of rock pierce through its thin soil skin. Exmoor is wild, exposed and solemnly beautiful. It supports hill farming and Exmoor ponies, a tough breed, and there are stories of a beast, probably an escaped puma, which even if untrue adds to Exmoor’s grim glamour. You pass the source of the Exe near Simonsbath, then follow one of its tributary valleys, the Barle, south towards Tiverton. This section trends downhill, but it crosses several streams, and they involve some steep ups and downs. Eventually you reach the flat valley bottom of the Exe, where I added a little loop west then east before entering Tiverton. This was to compensate for my distance-estimating inadequacies, and it’s optional. You already deserve a medal for riding this one, but the loop does top the miles up to the magic 100. Turn left onto the A399, then go straight on the B3229 to turn left onto the A39 to the Blackmoor Gate crossroads. There, turn right onto the A399, then left onto the B3358 to Simonsbath. 

Exmoor - photo 4

Exmoor

 Exmoor. Go north on the A396 to Exebridge, and turn left onto the B3223. Turn right onto the B3224 and take the first left in Exford. Turn right at Hillhead Cross, then take the right fork to descend to the A39. Turn left to Porlock and follow the A39 up Porlock Hill and continue to Lynmouth. Descend to the harbour, cross the bridge and turn immediately right onto the B3234 and first right again to follow the tiny coast road through the Valley of Rocks, taking the left fork, then keep right into Combe Martin. Turn left onto the A399, then go straight on the B3229 to turn left onto the A39 to the Blackmoor Gate crossroads. There, turn right onto the A399, then left onto the B3358 to Simonsbath. Turn right onto the B3223, then right after Chibbet Post to Withypool. Turn right then left, and continue south then south-east through Hawkridge, East Anstey and Oldways End to turn left onto the B3227. Turn right in Oakfordbridge and go south-east through Stoodleigh, then continue south alongside the River Exe. After crossing the A361 turn right, then first left after Calverleigh, and then keep left back to Tiverton.

Exmoor - photo 5

Exmoor

Exmoor. Start and Finish: Tiverton

Exmoor. Getting There: Tiverton is six miles west of Junction 27 of the M5. Tiverton Parkway station, which again is six miles away next to the M5, is on the national rail network.

Exmoor. Bike Shop: Maynards on Gold Street

Exmoor. Cafe: The Coffee Bean on Bridge Street

Exmoor. Local Delicacy: Clotted cream

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