As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of C.B. & C.C.C., Mike and Ann Lavers organised a run from Exeter to Cheddar Gorge, a similar run having taken place all those years ago to visit the Motor Museum there which, sadly, no longer exists. The inaugural run took place in October 1964 and would have used some of the same roads that would be traversed today, although, in that era, things like the M5 were something for the future! In those early days, the Club was quite small and the entry was around 12 cars – with 3 of those from the Bentley stable. Car 1 - one of the Bentleys - was driven by the late Dave Wickers and it was hoped that this car would be able to make the run in 2014 but, sadly, circumstances finally did not allow it. 

Fast forward to 2014. Mike and Ann had chosen The Greendale Farm Shop and Café on the main A3052 Exeter to Sidmouth Road for the start venue of the run. This proved to be ideal, with large car parks, an excellent café and lots of tempting food goodies in the large shop. Signing on and coffee took place from 09.30 hours and the first car would be away just an hour later. There was a goodly selection of members’ classic cars entered - a total of 36 and 68 crew members, which was a large increase on the 1964 entry. 

The road book was of the descriptive type with running mileages. From the Farm Shop, we exited right onto the A3052 in the direction of Sidmouth and then took the B3184 towards Exeter Airport. At Marwood Cross, one could see the old hanger - a relic of the RAF days here during the Second World War. The route went round the airport using the B3174 - formally the A30 - and into the new generation of development at Cranbrook - we wonder what the 1964 entrants would have made of all these changes in this region! 

After passing under the A30, the route continued to Fairmile using a very pretty road with nice views. Next came the village of Fenny Bridges and a crossing of the River Otter to join the main A30 that would lead us onto the A303. Continuing on past Monkton, we then made a left turn onto the B3170, this quiet B road having some wonderful views across the Blackdown Hills. At the summit, before the descent to Corfe, we enjoyed the far-off glimpses of Taunton and North Somerset. 

Motoring on past Taunton Racecourse brought the route to the outskirts of Taunton itself. From here, we used the A38 and then the A361 in the direction of Glastonbury to enter Durston, followed by a crossing of the Bridgewater Canal, then the villages of East and West Lyng. Continuing on through Burrowbridge, we passed the National Trust monument of Burrow Mump that looked very majestic sitting on top of the hill in the morning light. The roads now became quite flat as we entered the Somerset Levels area and toured through Othery, Greylake, Greinton and Pedwell. 

Next on the agenda was the charming village of Shapwick, offering very nice open views and superb houses. The road book now warned us of bumpy roads for some miles, which we assume was caused by the subsidence that must have taken place due to the nature of the peaty soil. There was much evidence in this area here of companies extracting the lovely black stuff that is so popular with gardeners. Leaving the peat behind, we headed for the Wedmore and Cheddar road – the B3151 - for a crossing into the Borough of Sedgemoor. Wedmore was another Somerset gem with some fantastic properties. From Wedmore, the route used the B3139, the A371 and the B3135 to take the entrants to the Bath Arms’ car park. 

Our pre-ordered lunches were soon served by the very efficient waiting staff in the comfortable surroundings of the Bath Arms’ restaurant - complete with open wood fires to warm the entrants who had travelled in open top cars! After a very pleasant lunch, President Mary Crook gave thanks to all the entrants for attending the 50th re-run and to Mike and Ann for all their hard work in organising the event and then a toast to absent friends.

Following lunch, we drove our cars to one of the top car parks in the Gorge for a photo shoot - the steep rock face making an ideal backdrop for these wonderful cars. For those members who were now heading back to the West Country, the organisers had also put together a return route to the Honiton Bypass. We enjoyed the run and the meal very much but, sadly, we could not complete the return trip as we were heading to Ludlow for another tour the following day. Many thanks to Mike and Ann for an excellent day.

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Our sincere thanks to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help editing and proof-reading our report.

Hilary and Mike Stratton plus Dippy