We continued over the next couple of valleys with a few more lanes, before stopping for mid morning brew with a nice view from the top of Goyle Acre Lane. Then it was onto the first ford of the day. We approached with caution in mind after spying a few flooded fields, but this turn out to be unnecessary as the water was only to be wellie boot deep this time, so we all splashed across nicely.
Previously this ford has been much deeper and is worth treating with caution due to the downstream footbridge which would cause problems if there is a high flow rate and the weight of water was strong enough to push a vehicle. Well worth crossing though as followed by pretty little lane with a further water splash before the farm at the end.
After lunch we followed a series of tight lanes requiring some careful driving to avoid any damage against tight trees and bushes. A few minor scratches are always to be expected in Devon with the tight hedgerows, so this route is not really for newer vehicles. However very few of the scratches are anything other than surface ones and would easily polish out (if you are that bothered!!!). We were finally brought to a stop at Rock lane. This climbs a steep bank at the eastern end. I got up easily enought with the help of my new Copper STT Muds. This is probably there first real test and they impressed, especailly as the Disco had a full load of recovery gear on board for this trip. There was little chance of either Ray's Mitsubishi or Nick's Disco 2 making it up on there own after me, and with the narrowness of the lane no chance of pulling up the second vehicle even if I managed to pull up the first. Luckily we were fairly close to the start of the lane and so I decided it would be best to back out before we got in worse trouble. Nothing wrong with quiting while you still can!!! After a quick re-route it was on towards Ottery St Marys for an afternoon stop. This one in Sainsburys to make the most of the facilities.
Final part of the day saw us heading north towards the Payhembery Ford. This is one of the best fords around. (Look it up on www.wetroads.co.uk). The entrance of the lane is difficult enough with a nasty washout that tries to tip you into the hedge, but the ford is awsome. Effectively 2 fords that meet at the track junction. To the left is the deeper upstream ford, while to the right is a shallower drive down a bubbling riverbed, suitable for most vehicles that can get this far and really good fun.
That was just about it for the day, as the early winter nights approached. Ray headed back to overnight in Honiton while Nick and I headed towards the M5 taking in a last couple of farm tracks on route. No time or daylight for the Ashill ford, but not a lane suitable for those without snorkels anyway - always next time!