Fishermans Cott at Bickleigh Bridge

Bridge Over Troubled Waters?

First Ciara then storm Dennis had hit us hard over the previous two weekends and the weather was still unsettled.  As we wondered what the 23rd Feb would bring, our organisers Adrian & Sue had already been doing battle with the elements.  Their planning of this month’s run had been challenging, with routes having to be revised because of flooding and landslides.  They’d even been faced with a road closure during a large building fire in Exeter a few weeks earlier.

The drizzle which welcomed us on the day meant that many of us used our modern cars, but we still had 4 or 5 old vehicles turn out.  Our route took us through Berry Pomeroy to Totnes, then out to Newton Abbot and the Teigngrace road towards Kingsteignton.  The previous deep floods had subsided leaving just some large pools at the roadside.  Taking the new road past the claypits towards Chudleigh we then headed up the Teign Valley which always looks fabulous. 

I did wonder when the directions said Dunster instead of Dunsford.  A little slip by Sue Linscott gave me the chance to tease her in the thank you speech later.  She and Adrian had in fact organised a club run quite a few years ago to the real Dunster near the north Somerset coast of the Bristol Channel.

Luck was with us when we reached the B3212.  A large tree had fallen in the night and damaged the bridge.  The road closure was just feet away from our route so we were able to climb the long hill up to Longdown.  Clearing weather allowed some good views before we dropped down towards Exeter, passing the major landslip at the Exonia chalet park which had made the regional news.  A couple of buildings still teetered on the edge way above us.

Through Exwick, we headed for our coffee stop at the Bernaville Garden Centre, Cowley.  Sue and I had never been there before, and what a surprise it was.  It’s huge in all directions, very well stocked, and the prices seemed very reasonable. At least, that’s what Sue said as she returned to our Land Rover clutching her purchases.

Back on the road as the drizzle returned briefly, we headed to Crediton, then took the turn off to Tiverton.  On the left was the now closed Marlin Cars centre where we bought our Morris 8 Tourer back in 2002 (a different story).  Adrian had warned us about some very dodgy road surfaces on this section so we drove with extra care as our passengers were able to enjoy some superb views over towards deepest mid Devon including the famously named Woolfardisworthy (Woolsery).

Everyone arrived safely at the Fishermans Cot at Bickleigh Bridge for an excellent carvery lunch and the usual friendly chit chat.  There must have been over 100 cars there so the place was packed, but the Linscotts had organised a private room for us and we were able to sit comfortably together. 

I did mention the urban myth that the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Bridge over Troubled Water” was inspired by Bickleigh.  It is true that Paul Simon stayed there before the song was written, and a notice in the pub tells us that the river did flood at that time.  Art Garfunkel later denied that this was the inspiration, but maybe the River Exe did indeed leave an impression.  It did for us today, looking magnificent and behaving once again.

It’s not true that it rains for every Linscott run - just most of them. Many thanks to Adrian & Sue for another excellent day out which we all really enjoyed.

And the weather could have been much worse!

Ian Hannaford


At our annual lunch at the Redcliffe Hotel earlier this month we announced the winner of the Ian Hannaford Trophy. Sadly, Phil Haste wasn't present to accept the cup. At last night's club meeting chairman Julian Smith was pleased to make the presentation to Phil.

The trophy in memory of our founding chairman goes each year to the person who members voted has contributed the most to club life. Phil is our webmaster and graphic designer (as well as repairing members' clocks!!) Well done Phil, you deserve the appreciation.


Awards lunch at the
Redcliffe Hotel

On Sunday 19th January around 70 of us were at our annual awards lunch at the Redcliffe Hotel, Paignton.  Wall to wall sunshine greeted those who joined in the morning car run first.  Bill & Val Rhodes had arranged a very scenic route through Ogwell up on to Dartmoor and back down to Paignton via Ashburton and Totnes. 

The sun continued to shine and we had the usual excellent silver service meal in the Redcliffe’s Paris Singer room with its panoramic views over Torbay.

The Points Trophy is awarded for the highest number of events attended in an old vehicle.  Runners up were Bill & Val, with Colin & Cathy Wills taking first position.

The premier cup is the Ian Hannaford Trophy, given in memory of our founding chairman.  It’s been awarded since 1995 to the member who has contributed most to TOWC life over the year.  Chosen by secret ballot at our November AGM, this year’s very worthy winner was our Webmaster and graphic designer, Phil Haste.  Sadly not present on the day, his cup was presented (tongue in cheek) to Phil’s photograph by Chairman Julian together with last year’s winner Harry Kuehling, our Social Secretary. 

New Year’s Day


A drizzly day with hill fog meant that our old cars stayed safely sleeping at home, but around 40 of us welcomed in 2020 at the Old Smokey, Marldon.  An excellent meal was enjoyed at the pub where TOWC was founded in 1992.  Thanks to our organiser, social sec Harry for organising the day and taking the photos.


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Paignton Festival

Blagdon Inn

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Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs
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