Les Bright and 31 others!

I was delighted to lead a group of 32 people (another faster group of 19 walkers may well post their experience here too) on ‘The Big Walk’, the Two Moors Way Association’s first group walk, on the Erme–Plym Trail linking the South Devon coast to the Two Moors Way.
Our aim was to introduce people to the Association – and the route – through the medium of an organised walk. We provided transport by minibus from Ivybridge to Wembury and then walked back to Ivybridge together.

We were really lucky that despite earlier predictions of inclement weather – thunderstorms and strong breezes – the sun shone for almost the whole day with just a minor rumble of thunder and a short shower as we were having a drinks stop. When I had carried out a recce a few days earlier with Shelagh (leading the fast group) and Alan (who would be acting as back marker with me), we had walked in unbroken sunshine on what was the hottest day of 2018.

We (who had been labelled the ‘sensible group’) set off around 10 minutes after the faster group at a good pace, climbing out of Wembury and soon leaving the sea behind to penetrate the rolling hills and delightful wooded valleys which characterise this area. Our first short break was taken after 3 miles at Cofflete Creek – so pretty that it was difficult to tear ourselves away. After this we headed off to our planned lunch stop, on seats behind the Market Street Cafe in Yealmpton. By now the sun was shining more fiercely, but the whole group was committed to carrying on and set off down the hill to start walking beside the river, across meadows and then on further east.
Our event coincided with a Point to Point horse racing meeting on the Flete estate which our route crossed, indeed the public bridleway crossed the race track – twice! We had liaised with the race organisers and established a protocol that involved them stationing a steward at each of those points and our contacting them when we were within 10 minutes of the course. So, in addition to the beautiful landscape that this route crosses we had the bonus of watching horses racing around past us as we waited behind the rails. We cannot offer this added activity to all walkers, but it was quite an experience!

The rest of our walk passed without incident – other than the rumbling thunder and the short shower which freshened us up, and a few miles later we could pick out our destination in the distance.

We arrived back at The Watermark Centre where some walkers picked up the third stamp on their new TMW passports that had been launched that day. Others set off to the Centre’s bar for a welcome drink. We learned that our fast friends had arrive back an hour earlier, recording an average speed of 2.8mph against our 2.5.
At this point the most frequently repeated phrase was ‘When are you going to organise the next stage?’
Watch this space.

Start point: Wembury beach
Finish point: The Watermark Centre, Ivybridge
Distance travelled: 15 miles
Started: 21/04/2018
Walking time: 6 hours (+ 40 minutes ‘stoppage time’)