In Exeter: to Dawlish, another way - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

June 1, 2024

In Exeter: to Dawlish, another way

So you’ve already gotten a look at and a few words about most of today’s route - yesterday, when we biked it, and today when Rachael walked it.  That should be enough background and context for you, so I won’t add much beyond the photos.  My plan was to bike down to Dawlish Warren and then out toward the end of the spit at the mouth of the river.  It’s a nature reserve, so it should be a good spot for the birding.  It didn’t quite work out that way, but it was a fine day anyway.  

On the way back I was overtaken by an older guy commenting that he doesn’t see many Bike Fridays.  He has one himself, the same bike he’s had for 27 years.  He doesn’t ride it often now though, having moved on to a bike better suited to his advancing years - the poor guy must be nearly as old as I am.  He does get out on this one regularly though and said most days he bikes this out and back to the end of the river for the exercise.  It’s easy to see the appeal - it’s a very pretty ride and likely feels a little different every time you come out.

There are cows here. Susan would approve.
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I see passenger trains running up and down the river all day long. Very impressive.
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I love this wreck on the canal, especially for the fading and peeling blue paint and blue swag rope complementing it.
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On the canal, looking for sights Rachael might not have stopped for. Here’s one.
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On the grounds of the nearby Powderham Castle is the Belvedere Tower, restored after it was gutted by a fire a century ago: “ An iconic landmark standing above the Exe is the 18th Century Powderham Belvedere, originally a ball room and banqueting house as it’s name suggests provides jaw-dropping views over the estate and estuary.”
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Crossing paths.
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Saint Clements Church, on the edge of the Powderham estate.
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A stationary stone gathers moss. Or lichen, in this case.
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Zooming in on Belvedere Tower.
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Another fine structure I’ll bet Rachael walked on by.
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Fallow deer, Powderham.
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The spit at Dawlish Warren isn’t quite the scene I imagined. There’s a nature reserve alright, but between here and there is an amusement park and crazy-popular beach.
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I push my way through the crowds to the end of the amusement park, but beyond that the way turns to a narrow path, deep in soft sand. No place for a bike, so I turn back.
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Biking back from the spit I got a view of those red cliffs and formations Rachael walked past, so I continued on to Dawlish for my own look. I don’t get much of one though, because you need to be on that walking path on the other side of the tracks to see them.
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I do get a look back at impressive Langston Rock though.
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On the way back now, the light is better for a look at these two wrecks rotting and rusting away in the estuary.
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I’d like a better look than this, but there’s a fence guarding the busy train line in the way.
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They’re enjoying Rachael’s view, from on top of the dike.
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You can cross the river near its mouth on the Starcross-Exmouth ferry we took yesterday, but there’s this shorter run at Topsham. It’s a lower key service without a regular schedule - you raise a flag to announce you’d like a lift.
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The canal.
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The gulls really like this spot - by my estimate there are about 300 of them here now, including a few black-backed ones.
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No new birds today, but I came away with a few shots I was pleased with. Shelducks, grey heron, greenfinch, goldfinch.
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Today's ride: 27 miles (43 km)
Total: 1,839 miles (2,960 km)

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Eva WaltersSo glad you and Rachael are having such a good time in England. Your posts are a wonderful antidote to reading the news! Just a small note: your destinations in these posts has been Dawlish (with an L) not Dawish.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Eva WaltersThanks for the name correction. I knew that t one point and thought it looked wrong when I wrote it out but didn’t bother reconfirming it.

You’re right, we are having a good time. It’s really working better taking shorter days with more layovers. Those intermittent 12-14% climbs are easier to steel yourself for on a 20 mile day than 40. And you’re right about the news too of course. I can hardly stomach it myself. I should be more disciplined and quit following something I’m powerless to change.
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3 weeks ago