Cyclists from various parts of the Axe Valley gathered in Axminster for an early season Sunday ride into the hills, writes Rob Watson.

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Some had already cycled from Seaton, Kilmington or Honiton, whilst others had coasted down the hill from Membury, or driven from as far away as Ottery St Mary.

Once everyone was assembled, the group of 12 riders set off just after 10am for a bright sunny climb up to the Barley Mow café on the A30 outside Chard.

The weather was very pleasant for February, notwithstanding a couple of short sharp showers, necessitating the donning of rainproof garments which had to be removed almost as soon as they had been put on.

However, such good time was made on the climb that the ride leader Ben ‘Buster’ Dolan decided to lead the group on a ‘scenic diversion’ down through the pretty hamlet of Narfords, where the snowdrops were admired for a few brief seconds before the cyclists picked their way precariously across the stream, only to realise that they faced a big climb back out of the valley.

Fortunately the café was not far from the summit and the friendly staff soon served hot drinks and large slices of home-made cake to the hungry cyclists.

After an obligatory photograph, the group returned via Wambrook and over Bewley Down, with views along the Axe valley as far as the sea, before enjoying the thrill of the long winding descent back to Axminster.

Details of future Sunday rides (and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday rides) can be found at www.Axevalleypedallers.org.uk, or find us on Facebook.

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