A RESCUE team from Somerset battled heavy rain and strong winds to help a cyclist who had suffered a broken ankle on Exmoor.

The HM Coastguard Search and Rescue team from Watchet was called on to assist their flank team from Lynmouth with the rescue of an injured off-road mountain cyclist near to Countisbury Hill, overlooking Lynmouth, on Saturday afternoon.

"Having been requested to assist locate the fallen cyclist by the South Western Ambulance Service Trust the Lynmouth team requested support from a Coastguard Helicopter to help evacuate the injured male who had suffered a broken ankle at a remote point in the woods overlooking the Watersmeet Valley," said Simon Bale, HM Coastguard Rescue Officer at Watchet.

"With heavy rain, low cloud and strong winds the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from Newquay was tasked, with the Watchet coastguard team as the back up should the helicopter be unable to land or winch the casualty to safety."

Arriving at the rendezvous point at Countisbury, the 10-strong Watchet team were deployed up and across South Hill Common to set up the helicopter landing site and help guide the helicopter in to land by radio instruction upon its arrival.

Several of the team also went down and met the Lynmouth Team and assisted with the stretcher carry out up to the helicopter.

"Having been loaded onto the helicopter the injured male was flown to the North Devon General Hospital for treatment," Mr Bale added.

He also reminded anyone venturing out onto the coastline or rural paths to take extra care on the wet and stormy weather, to consider their routes and ensure someone knows where they are going and what time they are due back.

In a coastal emergency, dial 999 and request the Coastguard.