North Devon and Torridge gearing up for Olympic Flame
Routes and times announced as the torch passes through the two districts from Hatherleigh to Lynmouth.
With less than two weeks to go before the arrival of the Olympic Torch to North Devon and Torridge on Monday, May 21, final preparations are being made to ensure the region is ready to welcome the Olympic Flame.
The flame will be borne by a variety of local torchbearers from Hatherleigh through to Lynmouth, taking in Merton, Torrington, Bideford, Barnstaple, Braunton, Knowle, Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and Lynton enroutre.
Both district councils have been working closely with the police and Devon County Council Highways to ensure the Torch passes safely and smoothly through the region.
As well as council officers, volunteer stewards from parishes along the route have recruited to manage the crowds expected to gather.
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The torch convoy will be made up of 15 vehicles, making their way slowly through each community. There will be rolling road closures along the route approximately 30 minutes in advance of the torch.
It is due to arrive in Hatherleigh at 8.54am, Bideford at 10am, Barnstaple at 11.07, Braunton at 11.42, Ilfracombe 12.08pm and finally Lynmouth at 3.14pm.
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In Barnstaple, the road from Long Bridge to Taw Vale will be closed from 10am until midday in preparation for the 3,000 school children expected to view the event along The Strand.
With The Strand designated for children, other spectators are encouraged to head to Sticklepath Hill, North Walk or Rolle Street for a glimpse of the torch and to cheer on the torchbearers.
In Ilfracombe, after seeing the modern torch, spectators might like to visit Ilfracombe Museum, which has put up a display featuring a 1948 Olympic Torch loaned by resident Robin Balment.
His father Les, representing Ilfracombe Amateur Athletic Club, carried this torch for two miles on the route near Honiton in 1948.
“We want as many people as possible to line the streets and cheer on the torchbearers as they carry the Olympic Flame through North Devon,” said executive member for culture, Councillor Derrick Spear.
“Residents need to plan where they intend to watch and avoid those places allocated to schools. It’s also important to understand that when the convoy of vehicles is making its way between towns, you won’t be able to see the torch - only when it is being carried within each community.”
For information about the Olympic Torch Relay, including a map showing arrival times and which streets it will be carried along, visit www.northdevon.gov.uk/london2012.