2024 South West Peninsula Spring Rally – Ride Report

The South West Peninsula Spring Rally is a one day scatter rally taking place in the South West of England. Participants are challenged to visit between 10 and 19 locations during the day riding anything between 150 to 400+ miles. 2024 was it’s 15th year.

A few weeks before the rally, you’re sent a map of control locations and can plan a route of your choice between them. You are given further details about what is needed to prove your visit at each location and a control card to record your journey when you start on the day.

A few controls are manned, and you need to visit these between certain hours to have a stamp made on your control card. Others are unmanned and you’ll need to answer a question about the location to show that you’ve visited on the day. There is also an extra award for riders who visit Land’s End and have their control card stamped there – and everyone needs to be back to the finish by midnight.

We initially planned a gold route also including Land’s End, but as the date approached and weather warnings were issued over most of that route, we replanned another gold route but keeping to the checkpoints to the East of the area.

With the bad weather, I was lucky to be on one of the few sailings from the Isle of Man over the weekend that wasn’t cancelled.

The Start – Long Sutton Village Hall

Arriving at the start, there was a short queue to sign in and pick up control cards and clue sheets. Breakfast was also available for hungry riders. We had a quick look at the first few clues we’d be looking for and set off shortly after 8:00.


Felt like heading the “wrong” way on the A303 away from the original plan of Devon and Cornwall. Roadworks on the A303 meant that progress was a little slower than it could have been.

Question: How many park benches are there on the village green where the war memorial is?

Answer: 3

Milton Abbas

Question: At the junction at the western end of the village, how far is it to the main entrance of Milton Abbey school?

Answer: ¾ mile.


One more unmanned control before Poundbury, which wouldn’t open until 10:00. Nice and easy to find as the clue was at the railway station. A few other bikes were already there at this location.

Question: In Wool railway station car park there is a stone bench. Which parish clerk is it in memory of?

Answer: Brian Tarrant


Our first manned control at the Engine Room Cafe right in the middle of Poundbury so nice and easy to find. We went inside to find the rally team and had our first stamp on our control cards.

Langton Herring

The sun was out and there were some fun roads to ride on the way to this one – and lots of other bikes out. The clue was on a bus shelter which had an interesting hand drawn map of the village.

Question: What name is on the bus shelter?

Answer: Ruth Sparks.


Stopped for our first fuel stop on the way. Unusually for this kind of event, the clue was at quite a busy location with lots of people coming and going and even a band performing. We didn’t stay long so we wouldn’t be in the way.

Question: In the centre of Beaminster there is a memorial. How many small spires are there?

Answer: 5


On the way, we saw a group of horses having some trouble up ahead, with one jumping all over the road – another motorcyclist had already stopped but the horse was not happy.

We kept our distance and stopped at the side of the road until they’d got the horse under control and passed us. Spoke to the other rider involved at Axminster and it sounded like we were doing quite a similar route. Another train station so an easy location to find and a convenient location for a rest stop.

Question: What is the name of the freehouse at Axminster station?

Answer: The Ale Way

Salcombe Regis

Had to stop for the Seaton tram to cross the road just outside Colyford (and wave to the passengers!) There was already a group of bikes around the clue when we arrived and very narrow roads with not much space to park – so we didn’t hang around!

Question: The Salcombe Regis thorn can be found 200 yards north of the centre of the village. What is the date written on the commemorative stone?

Answer: AD 1939


Great scenic roads in to Dartmoor National Park, some sunshine, some flooded roads – a bit of everything. We caught up to another group of riders just before we got to the village and followed them to the clue location. The clue was at a postbox which a presumably very confused postman emptied while we were there.

Question: What is the number of the post box.

Answer: TQ13 2080

Whiddon Down

The sun was still out and riding through Dartmoor is always good fun. This was our second manned control, we needed to follow a series of signs around the pub to find the team and have our cards stamped. Ran in to an old friend riding a completely different route who had also stopped there by chance at the same time.


Question: What is the name of the cottage opposite Beaford Garage?

Answer: The Thatched Cottage


On some of the roads we rode on the left, on others we rode on what was left of them (glad not to have left this route until after dark). The phone box where the clue was had been converted in to a library, which seemed popular as several people used it in the short time we were there noting down the answer.

Question: What words are written on the top of the “telephone kiosk”?

Bray Leino


The Depot Eatery – the third and final manned control required for a gold award, and the furthest west we would be going in order to hopefully avoid the worst of the weather. The wind suddenly picked up as we went around the roundabout next to the location, which confirmed our decision to head back East after this. Stopped for a coffee as we were happy that we were on schedule.


Was pleased to see the clue was at the pub because I’d come across it while planning the route so knew where it was. Still managed to nearly ride right past it on the day.

Question: What animal features on the sign for the Black Venus inn?

Answer: Sheep


The clue asked about the “leaded lights” of a house. Didn’t have any idea what that meant. Resorted to Googling it and found out it meant the windows.

Question: What pattern are the leaded lights of Edgcott Farm House?

Answer: Diamond


Much quieter on the roads now and had a clear run pretty much all the way. Stopped for a break and some food/drink as did some other riders.

Question: According to the plaque, when was Oakford Bridge opened by Cllr Spear?

Answer: 22nd August 1994.

Buckland St Mary

We were now trying to outrun the rain coming up from Cornwall, the sky was very dark in our mirrors and the rain caught us just as we stopped here, totally soaking my clue sheet when I got it out.

Question: On the small gate leading to the church graveyard, who is it in memory of?

Answer: Henry & June Mutter

Leigh (Dorset)

Our final control for our gold award, lost the light completely on the way and the rain was getting heavier and heavier. A narrow potholed road covered in mud and gravel made for a very slow journey. The organisers suggest bringing a torch along and it was useful here.

Question: By the memorial is a finger post, what numbers are written on the bottom of the circle at the top of the post?

Answer: 621 086

The Finish – Long Sutton Village Hall

Back to the start/finish control at around 21:30 to hand in our cards, collect our certificates and enjoy a hot meal laid on by the organisers. The rain had passed by and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen in the sky by the time we left.

Happy to say that with 15 unmanned locations plus 3 manned locations visited, we were able to claim gold awards and some SWPSR souvenirs. It was a great day out riding some interesting roads in all kinds of conditions, thank you to Somerset Advanced Motorcyclists for putting it on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *