I knew it was going to be a tough hill climb when I started feeling a little queasy, in fact I had to come to a complete stop and even had to take a moment to compose myself. And I hadn’t even arrived at the hill yet!
I had limited time that evening and didn’t know for sure how long the loop would take; I also fancied pushing myself hard right from the start and maybe I’d overdone it a little in the first 20km. Or perhaps it was a mistake to use that freebie electrolyte tab with Caffeine in my water bottle. Whatever the reason I knew I would have to take it a little bit easier for the next few minutes and then I could begin my attack on Salcombe Hill.
Salcombe Hill sits just to the east of the seaside town of Sidmouth and approaching from Exmouth there’s a similar hill, Peak Hill, that sits just to the west too. So for me this route provided a long fast descent down into Sidmouth and then a short roll along the seafront before I headed up out of Sidmouth on Salcombe Hill Road. The hill starts quite gently but soon ramps up and with the whole of the upper section hidden in trees it’s quite difficult to gauge your pace. Fortunately I’d had sufficient time to start feeling a bit better again and although I still took the hill relatively easily I found that I was still able to give it a few beans, especially once it’d become steeper up in among the trees.
The rest of my ride that evening had been fitted around starting from Exmouth Premier Inn and riding up Salcombe Hill, without having to turn around at the top and ride back along the same route. The out leg, took me along the coast as closely as possible which was really nice on a fine early summer evening, passing along the seafronts of Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth; although I can easily see how it could be a completely different experience on a wet and windy, winter’s day!
I also passed through a little picturesque village called Otterton which unsurprisingly sits just beside the River Otter. Following my route you come down to a pair of bridges beside the Otterton Mill and then up through the main street past all the pretty thatched cottages. They still mill flour at Otterton Mill, although a lot less now than they would have done at their peak and milling isn’t the only attraction; with a cafe, restaurant, shop, bakery and hosting live music events, it’s a bit more than a mill these days!
As for the ride back from climbing Salcombe Hill, it took me along roads a little further inland. During route planning I’d just joined the dots on this one, using whatever roads were available and suitably direct, as such these roads are busier main roads than the little country lanes ridden in the first half of the ride. That said, they weren’t particularly busy when I was out riding them and the wider and better surfaced roads did allow for greater enjoyment of the downhills that do come along quite regularly in a county like Devon.
Then after Colaton Raleigh my route took me back on the minor lanes and then through Hayes Wood, finally returning back into Exmouth. Where I lent my bike up against the railings for quick photo shoot.
So that’s another of the 100 UK climbs completed, #12 – Salcombe Hill and another really nice part of the country ridden in. One of the great byproducts of attempting to ride all of these UK climbs is that it’s getting me out and about, around the country as a whole and I’m getting to ride some fantastic roads and through some really nice little towns and villages too. If you’re in this area and need a 2 hour route then I’d suggest you can’t go far wrong with trying out this route!
The Route on Strava – https://www.strava.com/routes/5143363
My Ride on Strava – https://www.strava.com/activities/600729680