Friday, 29 August 2008

Exmoor activities lined up for Tour Britain spectators

A HOST of events and activities in Exford and Dunster has been announced for the day when the Tour of Britain cyclists race through the area next month.
The events will help to celebrate a spectacular day of excitement and entertainment as the world’s best cyclists, including British Olympic Gold medal winners Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas, descend on Exmoor on September 9.
In Exford, the entertainment will start in the morning when local people and businesses take part in a fancy dress cycle ride.
Lots of activities will take place on the village green, including a falconry display, live music, Exmoor ponies, a barbecue, skittles, bale throwing, an egg and spoon race, a photography competition, and a display of international flags to represent the 16 teams taking part in the race.
Exford School will also be involved and there will be two craft marquees with many more activites and things to see.
Exford is an ideal place to watch the cyclists mid-race, as they arrive from the direction of Withypool at around 12.45 pm and then head towards Wheddon Cross.
The narrow medieval streets of Dunster, with its castle and the picturesque Yarn Market, provide an idyllic backdrop for the race as it thunders through at around 1.25 pm.
Visitors should arrive early, however, to enjoy activities being held from 11 am to 3 pm, including Rollapuluza cycle roller racing which has been organised by local businesses together with Active Exmoor and Somerset County Council.
It is a fun and easy version of cycle racing which will give participants an opportunity to find out if they are ‘faster than Chris Hoy’, the British triple Olympic Gold Medal winner, with prizes on offer to the fastest riders.
Cliff Nicholson, of Spears Cross, in Dunster, and William Wake, of Dunster Castle, have helped organise the roller racing.
Mr Wake said: “With so many visitors coming into the village to watch the tour pass by, we felt we had to provide some entertainment and cycle roller racing is ideal.
“Cyclists will readily want to race, but more importantly visitors, just here to watch the race, will be egged on by friends to have a go.
“Cycling is an up and coming sport in the UK and this is an ideal opportunity to encourage people to try it.”
Somerset County Council has also organised a free park and ride coach scheme from Vulcan Road, in Minehead, to make it easier for people to visit and enjoy the day.
The park and ride will operate from 10 am until 4 pm.
The county’s economic development portfolio holder, Councillor Alvin Horsfall, said: “I am very excited about the day, which is not far away now.
“I hope that people get there early and enjoy all the fantastic things there are to do.
“It promises to be one of the best days of the year for Somerset.”
Somerset County Council is hosting the South West stage of the Tour of Britain, which will start in Chard and finish in Burnham-on-Sea.
The race, which is the toughest stage of the tour, is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the county.
Participants include Mark Cavendish, the only Briton to win four stages of the Tour de France in a single year.
More details about the events or more information about the race, including road closures, can be found by visiting
  • Our photograph shows some of last year’s Tour of Britain riders passing along the Exmoor coast. Photo by Guy Harrop

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