Bovey Beauty – a clear winner on a foggy day

This year’s Bovey Beauty, the 10 mile fell race up, down and around the beautiful valley of the River Bovey was run on Sunday 24th September and, according to race organiser Dave Rickwood, was the “best one yet”. With the largest field ever to enter the race, records were broken and runners from all around Devon, Dorset and Cornwall rose to the challenge of this Grade ‘B’ course. The route passes through some of the most rugged and remote areas of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve, providing the runners with all sorts of tough terrain to tackle.

The Woodland Trust’s Dave Rickwood briefing the runners at the start

From the start point in Pullabrook Woods, the runners climbed a total of 560m (1800 feet), tackling some rocky paths through the woods and the wide-open spaces of Lustleigh Cleave and Trendlebere Down. Ground conditions on the day were a bit wet after recent rain and foggy patches at the highest part of the run provided an extra challenge, but the 51-strong field all completed the race in good time.

at the start
Runners ready to start

The first to finish was Tim Lenton from the Axe Valley Runners who won the race for the 4th time. In second overall, winning the women’s race, was Elizabeth Dyson (new record time 1:26:24) from Haldon Trail Runners, followed by Nick Sanders in third. As well as the satisfaction of completing a challenging race, the participants all received a souvenir t-shirt, featuring some of the interesting wildlife of the valley.

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As the annual race takes place in the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve, there is always an opportunity for the runners’ friends and families to take part in a bit of practical conservation work to improve some of the wildlife habitats. Jim White, the conservation task supervisor was on hand, with some of the children, to guide the runners on the final leg of the race.

children guiding
Jim and the children guiding the runners

The joint nature reserve managers, the Woodland Trust and Natural England would like to thank the North Dartmoor Rescue Team for being on hand during the race … just in case and, though the conditions weren’t perfect, they declared the real winner was the Bovey Beauty itself.

by Matt Parkins

photos: Matt Parkins, Eleanor Lewis and Dave Rickwood

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