English Riviera Magazine April/May 2020 Online Issue

Page 1

Walks • Local Food • Heritage • Nature • People • Events • Arts

EnglishRiviera April/May 2020



Maggie & Co's

Maggie Dawson & Sarah Williams South Devon College's

Laurence Frewin

Out & About... Walk

from Totnes to Staverton


from Newton to Bovey

St Mary's Churchyard Project

Keep Busy

watching wildlife

History & Heritage

VE 75

Was Brixham The Town that Saved Europe?

Viscount Plumer Wolves in the Bay

Tree Planting

at Grove Woods

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About us...


To the April-May issue. Created and Published By Devon Magazine Company Limited Julian Rees julian@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Telephone 01803 842893 Mobile: 07455 206470 Anita Newcombe anita@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Telephone: 01803 850886 Advertising Sales sales@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Advertising Copy copy@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Editorial editorial@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Website englishrivieramagazine.co.uk ISSN (Print) 2052-8515 ISSN (Online) 2052-8523

Next issue 29 May Write to us at: ENGLISH RIVIERA MAGAZINE 69 DAVIES AVENUE PAIGNTON TQ4 7AW © 2018 All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or used in any form without prior permission of the publishers. All material is sent at the owner’s risk and whilst every care is taken, Devon Magazine Company Ltd will not accept liability for loss or damage. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our content but the publishers cannot be held responsible for any omissions, errors or alterations or for the consequences of any reliance on these details; neither can they vouch for the accuracy of claims made by any advertiser. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers.

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Along with many around the world, our community in Torbay has been presented with a life-changing challenge by the devastating coronavirus. In true British style, there are lots of stories of friends and neighbours rallying round to help those who cannot help themselves. Shopping, dog-walking and making friendly phone calls spring to mind, and local businesses have been using all their ingenuity to help their customers and protect their staff. It’s not easy, of course to be cooped up and to entertain your children, but judging from Facebook, parents have come up with some very imaginative ideas from cooking cupcakes to painting rocks. In this issue we bring you some non-virus-related good news snippets, some heritage articles, birdwatching and gardening notes and people profiles. We have a suggested a walk and cycle ride for those who can get out and of course you can stroll in the Bay’s beautiful woods, beaches and nature reserves (keeping a safe distance). Please do try your best to make use of local suppliers where possible throughout this time so that they can survive and hopefully bounce back when we are all set free again.

Happy reading and stay safe!

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In this issue | April & May 2020 6 Openers

Local news snippets

12 Meeting Laurence Frewin

Principal & CEO of South Devon College

16 Bringing Bond Street to the Bay

Maggie Dawson & Sarah Williams on fashion

20 Viscount Plumer Hero of WW1

22 Wolves of Torbay

When wild animals roamed the Bay

24 Devon Folklore

A secret race living amongst us...

26 Birdwatching

Keep busy watching the wildlife

33 Did Brixham save Europe?

Meeting Maggie & Sarah 16

26 Out & About - Birdwatching

Torbay’s VE75 heritage and celebrations

35 Churchyard Heritage Project Cataloguing our ancestors

38 Give It A Go!

Indoor climbing at Parkfield

41 Make A Will Week

Support Rowcroft and protect your future

42 Walk

Totnes to Staverton riverside walk

45 Cycle Ride

A leisurely ride to Bovey Tracey

48 Tree Planting

Reviving habitats in the Grove Woods

38 Give It A Go! Climbing

51 What’s On

Websites to visit!

53 Arts

Local arts and gallery news

54 Theatre

Future performances to look forward to

56 Gardens

Mr Fox’s Garden

59 Social Diary

Local people at local events

64 Coronavirus Help

Helpline number for those at risk

65 Business

Local businesses offering help with food and groceriy deliveries.


April/May 2020 | 5

Openers... Openers... Openers... O Celebrating Success The latest cohort of newly qualified social workers with Torbay Council’s Children’s Services team are celebrating passing. Krystal Erasmus, Liz Cooper, Angela Findlay, Natasha Hughes and Lois Dark were all presented with their certificates by Councillor Cordelia Law, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services for Torbay, and Nancy Meehan, Interim Director of Children’s Services for Torbay Council. They have all recently completed their

Speaking Penguin A penguin chick at Living Coasts has been learning its own language by listening to recordings of adult birds. Keepers at Torquay’s coastal zoo played a digital recording of the zoo’s colony of African penguins during feeding times while the chick was being handreared away from the other birds. Senior Keeper Jason Keller explained, “We want this chick to grow

Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) for children’s social care with the Council. The ASYE aims to ensure that all newly qualified social workers receive dedicated, consistent and effective support in their first year of practice, enabling them to approach their career in social work with confidence. Angela said: “I felt proud to have successfully achieved getting through the ASYE programme and it was lovely to be able to celebrate this with my colleagues.” 

they reach breeding age, but youngsters can be mischievous and disruptive in the meantime.” The sounds help get the chick used to the complex din of a penguin colony, and forge an association between penguin noise and food. Jason said, “We’re basically teaching it to speak penguin!” Living Coasts is home to 12 macaroni penguins and 65 African penguins. 

Ladies Lounge

- Supporting vulnerable women in Torbay -

up as a penguin and not think of itself as a human. Inevitably, hand-reared birds become imprinted – they respond to the keepers as if they are their parents. Penguins tend to lose this imprinting when 6 | April/May 2020

Torbay Ladies Lounge, a place for vulnerable women to meet, share and find support has been awarded £10,000 by the Devon Community Foundation. The Lounge provides an opportunity for ladies to take part in craft activities, meet and chat with others and eat a hot meal. They can feel safe among its women volunteers, who are

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.. Openers... Openers... Openers... also there to talk and offer support. The drop-in centre is open on Mondays from 11.30am-2pm (with free lunch) and on Wednesdays from 1.30-4pm (with coffee, tea and cake). Launched five years ago by co-ordinator and volunteer Ros, Torbay Ladies Lounge has been a lifeline to hundreds of women, often from complex backgrounds. Ros, who is now in her early 70s says that to support the group’s growth, a part-time administrator will now be employed. The £10,000 grant, together with other funds they have raised, will pay for the new role for 18 months. The Ladies Lounge is located in the Salvation Army Building, 27 Market Street in Torquay. ladies-lounge.co.uk 

Volunteers celebrating 4 years of Ladies Lounge in January 2019

Tech Tasters South Devon College is hosting a range of fun, hands-on one-day ‘Tech Tasters’. These taster days will introduce participants to exciting technical concepts and fun practical skills, sparking interest and confidence to pursue further learning. The Tech Tasters are being delivered as part of the Digital Momentum programme; a Heart of the South West Digital Skills Partnership pilot programme funded by the DCMS Digital Skills Innovation Fund. The sessions run from Monday 30 March until Friday 3 April and cover: robotics, games design, data


science, machine learning, coding, 3D design and printing. You will be introduced to some key concepts such as the use of robotics in industry future developments, coding and programming languages such as Python, C++ and Javascript. Assistant Principal of South Devon College, Steve Caunter, said, “These taster sessions are the perfect way to find out about training opportunities available on your doorstep in this fast growing sector.   southdevon.ac.uk/event/digital-momentumworkshops

Disabled Sailing Torquay Dave and Shirley Musgrove, the founders of the Disabled Sailing Association, Torquay have been presented with an award by the RYA Sailability, a branch of the RYA Association dedicated to encouraging participation in the sport by disabled people. Dave and Shirley Musgrove, both disabled, founded the local Disabled Sailing Association in 2005 to enable disabled people to sail our beautiful coastal waters. Through their constant dedication, the DSA is now one of the leading disabled sailing associations of its type in the UK and has been recognised by the Royal Yachting Association. The DSA has two specially adapted yachts moored in Torquay Harbour. Freedom (38ft) and Free Spirit (34ft) are out on the water from spring to autumn taking people of all disabilities, including those in wheelchairs, for day sails. Everyone who helps run the organisation is an unpaid volunteer. The charity has recently received a donation for £3,500 from Hawksmoor Investment Management in Exeter. The charity’s patron Sir Chay Blyth is expected to make a visit to the Bay in June. 

April/May 2020 | 7

Openers... Openers... Openers... Cleaning Fish Ingenious aquarists at Living Coasts have trained strange fish to help clean their tank of a naturally occurring pest. Filefish, or leatherjackets, have been introduced into the large stingray tank to help control an invasive anemone. Aquarist Tom Fielding said, “Aiptasia is a common temperate and tropical sea anemone. It comes in through our filtration system when seawater is drawn from the Bay. It’s regarded as a pest in saltwater aquariums because it can multiply rapidly and compete for food and space and occasionally even sting fish. There’s something of the cartoon about filefish. They have deep but slender bodies; from the side they look quite large, but from the front you can see that they are actually very narrow. They have remarkably rough skin – the common name comes from the idea that dried filefish skin was once used to finish wooden boats. In addition, these fish are aquatic chameleons – they can change colour to blend in with their surroundings.   livingcoasts.org.uk

booking levels and customer satisfaction. Now with the increased marketing budget and resources of a national company, Coast & Country Cottages is a leading provider of holiday homes in South Devon. If you are thinking about letting your holiday home, visit coastandcountry.co.uk or call 01803 227994. 

New! Devon Cove Launched

Holiday Home Owners Wanted Following a record breaking 2019 season, when bookings were an impressive 50% up year on year, South Devon holiday letting agency Coast & Country Cottages is looking to work with even more property owners, to meet unprecedented demand in the self-catering holiday market. As the interest in coastal and countryside locations such as Torbay, Brixham and Kingswear continues to grow, they are actively seeking new holiday-home owners to fulfil the needs of their growing customer database. The Sykes Holiday Cottages group acquired Coast & Country Cottages in 2018. This was an exciting change for the local team, which has provided owners with excellent results in terms of exposure, 8 | April/May 2020

Much-loved local business Bays Brewery has just launched Devon Cove Pale Ale (4.1%). It’s a sister product of their popular Devon Rock; however it will be more of an American style pale ale, using American hops. Devon Cove has been crafted to perfection using a unique combination of English malts and ‘zingy’ American hops creating a smooth and refreshingly balanced pale ale. It will be available from 30 March and is the ultimate modern pale ale brewed locally in Paignton. The family business is very involved in supporting the local community, has raised considerable sums for local charities and has a splendid range of multi-award-winning brews including Topsail, Gold and Devon Dumpling. You can buy online or in their brewery shop at Aspen Way in Paignton. Is this the perfect tipple to get you through the dark days ahead and into the summer?   baysbrewery.co.uk

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Laurence Frewin

Life at the College South Devon College was originally founded in 1931. After a period in the doldrums, it has become one of the most successful Further Education Colleges in England. Anita Newcombe dropped by for a chat with its ambitious new Principal & CEO.


’ve arrived at the smart campus at Vantage Point in Paignton that was opened in 2006. South Devon College has been providing Further Education for the best part of 90 years and has offered Higher Education courses for nearly 40 years. I park up in a reserved space and head to reception to pick up my security pass, before being escorted to Laurence Frewin’s office. Luckily I have nothing to fear from being sent to the Principal today (wasn’t always the case!). Laurence Frewin took over the helm from Stephen Criddle, who retired around six months ago, but he has been working at the college since 2010. In that time, he’s seen the building of the University Centre, the SW Energy Centre and the Hi-Tech & Digital Centre take place. Chatting in his office at Vantage Point he tells me, “We are really proud of what we have achieved over the years – twenty years ago this was a failing college in financial difficulties and it’s really thriving now.” And it’s clear that it really is thriving. On my brief walk through the building today, I am aware of a great buzz, a sense of purpose, with lots going on. It’s no easy thing to work here. 10,000 students a year arrive, attracted by the vast array of courses on offer as well as the support promised by a passionate and talented team dedicated to helping students to achieve their potential. Laurence says, “That’s the bit I love.” Now I want to know what background Laurence had to prepare him for the rigours of this post and how he has been so successful in attracting investment and creating effective partnership working programmes. He tells me, “When I started I was Vice Principal Corporate Services and was responsible for everything that was not teaching, including: funding, finance, estate management and people.” Laurence’s father had been in the Met Police but the family moved near to Uffculme in Mid-Devon when he was 16 years old. He joined NatWest at the age of 18 on an accelerated management development programme (a bit like an apprenticeship). He gained valuable commercial

12 | April/May 2020

skills and successfully rose through the ranks. However, something was missing. He tells me, “I loved the job but I definitely wanted something more meaningful.” While still at NatWest he met Victoria at Rotaract (a junior version of Rotary) in Cullompton. They later got married in Kentisbeare and initially lived in Exeter, where Victoria worked as a secretary. Over the years they’ve had three children: Isaac who is now 23, Scarlet who is now 21 and Lily who is now 17. Laurence first got involved with schools via NatWest, becoming a school governor and also working with the Prince’s Trust as a mentor supporting Head Teachers. It was at this point that he realised that his financial and commercial knowledge as well as his people skills put him in an excellent position to help schools. He explains, “It was a great moment when I realised that my skills were transferable – I really didn’t want to die a bank manager – I wanted to make a difference.” He started his move into the education sector as Schools Business Manager for Bristol City Council, working as a team of three supporting nine primary schools and gaining valuable experience. Next, he took up a post as Business Manager for a secondary school in Bristol, which had serious financial difficulties and a new Head Teacher. Laurence reshaped its support services and applied some rigour around its building project management, finally leaving the school, after three years, with some nice surpluses. It felt good to do such rewarding work.

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It was a great moment when I realised that my skills were transferable – I really didn’t want to die a bank manager – I wanted to make a difference.” April/May 2020 | 13

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Riviera People Over the last ten years, Laurence has put his skills and experience to good use at South Devon College and loves to involve the community in his plans. He tells me, “I’m a great believer in working in partnership. Here at the college we have to find ways to generate a surplus so that we have cash to invest for the benefit of students today and in to the future.” With all the successful developments that have been taking place, and many more still in the pipeline, it is clear that this strategy has been paying dividends. But it’s all about the people. Laurence tells me that the college’s success has been the result of great teamwork with an amazing board of governors, a very strong leadership team and a fantastic team of committed and passionate teaching and support staff who always put the students first. He makes it clear that it’s not just the most senior members of the team but colleagues at all levels that have come up with great ideas and been instrumental at moving them forward. The college also regularly talks to employers about what they need. Laurence thinks it’s important to have a clear idea of what world-class facilities look like and what those “disrupting the market” look like (in other words, those creating powerful new ideas that really change the way things are done). Laurence explains, “We can’t be complacent – when you do things well there’s a risk that you stop getting better.” The college is exceptionally important to the local community with £32 million a year going back into the economy. Of this, 65% is on staffing and jobs that maintain the buildings, facilities and resources. With so many people involved, it’s a vibrant centre of activity for the area and inspires the lives of a huge number of local people. Laurence says, “In the last ten years I’ve seen the culture of the college going from strength to strength.” Whilst South Devon College offers a huge range of academic and practical courses and degrees, it also has a strong focus on behaviours – professional and personal


competences including emotional intelligence. Laurence says, “We are looking at a holistic approach to learning. Students need the right level of maths and English as well as an understanding of their role as citizens of the world and how they’ll be expected to behave in a professional environment.” Nowadays students have very high expectations of their learning provider and so the quality of teaching and skills must be correspondingly high. South Devon College’s approach means that its students are extremely well prepared for the world of work and can thrive in a happy and positive environment. I’ve seen the positive vibe myself; it’s there every time I visit – it just bubbles out of the place. Outside college, Laurence enjoys amateur theatre, volunteering for bar duty at TOADs Theatre Company and also doing some acting. He has enjoyed playing a range of comedy roles but also recently played James Highwood in Rough Justice, which was much more serious and challenging. He and his family also love eating out – favourite places include: Brixham’s The Curious Kitchen, Berry’s Head’s The Guardhouse Café and Dartington’s The Green Table. Laurence has fairly recently taken up running. It helps with his energy levels and clears his thoughts. At the age of 52, he’s now running 4 or 5 days a week during evenings and weekends and tells me that he feels healthier and fitter than ever. He completed the Exeter Half Marathon in less than two hours last October and felt “chuffed to bits” by this impressive achievement. He’s also recently completed the Cockington Caper and the Brixham Santa Run. I ask Laurence if he’s doing the popular Torbay Half Marathon on 21 June. It doesn’t take much persuading before he decides, “Yes – I’ll definitely commit to that – sounds like one I should be doing.” You may miss him in the large crowd at the Torbay Half but rest assured that he will be there, no doubt flying the flag for South Devon College!   southdevon.ac.uk

April/May 2020 | 15

Bringing Bond Street to the Bay, we meet

MAGGIE & SARAH Maggie Dawson and her daughter Sarah Williams run Maggie & Co, a much-loved haven for luxury fashion brands that brings the elegance of Paris and London to Torquay.


aggie Dawson’s life sounds wonderful; she spends lots of her time on fashion buying trips to London, Paris and Milan to bring back luxury designer collections to Maggie & Co in Torquay. This morning we are chatting from the comfort of two enormous and rather glamorous armchairs towards the back of the store. Maggie & Co is much bigger than it looks from the outside – a long, elegant space – perfect for the catwalk shows that are regularly held here. I admire a stunning evening dress by Italian designer Sara Roka. Maggie tells me, “It’s a new brand for us – an experiment as the pieces are really quite different.” We are now making a tour of the thirty-four collections that Maggie & Co currently stocks. We waft past pieces by Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Cain, Amina Rubinacci, Chiara Boni, Belstaff, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Moschino, Escada and many more. Maggie explains, “You have to stock global brands which sit along side each other before you are accepted as a stockist. The first question we are always asked is ‘What are your other labels?’ For example, we only got Diane von Furstenberg because we had Armani

16 | April/May 2020

at the time. We only got Burberry because we were stockists for Armani, Cerruti, Hugo Boss, and DKNY.” I am wondering how they manage to attract enough customers to sustain sales of these exclusive, high value brands. Maggie tells me, “There are a lot of wealthy people in Torbay and of course we have the marina with fabulous yachts that people use as their second (floating) home and others who own holiday homes in this lovely Bay.” Maggie & Co also has customers who come from far and wide purely to visit the store. One customer arrives by helicopter and is chauffeur driven to the shop, leaving with a large number of the distinctive Maggie & Co shopping bags. It’s Maggie’s 46th year in the business and she just loves Torquay. She tells me that she was born in Scotland in a village called Penicuik near Edinburgh but later moved to England. She left school at sixteen when she saw an advert seeking a position for a junior at a high class fashion shop Hammells and applied. Two candidates were given a trial period of one week and the shop’s staff were asked to choose, which girl would get the job. They chose Maggie

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Riviera People and this was the start of a successful life in designer fashion. She tells me, “The manageress was quite fierce but took me under her wing. She took me on buying trips to London and taught me everything I needed to know about the business including merchandising and display.” Both Maggie and Sarah are very fair with blue eyes and striking looks. This, no doubt, was the reason Maggie was selected at the tender age of 16, to be Hammell’s house model. She carried out the role for four years, appearing regularly in the shop’s weekly newspaper advertisement as well. She tells me, “Hammell’s was a very posh shop and in those days customers often wanted to see the clothes modelled before deciding whether to try them on.” Before long Maggie met her first husband Max, who came from Torquay and they went on to have two children Samantha and Sarah. Maggie tells me, “When Sarah was four years old - that’s when it all started.” A friend took a unit at Pink & Blue, a newly opened fashion store run as concessions in Fleet Street. (His girlfriend had promised to run it but didn’t show up after the first week so Maggie was asked to step in, taking over the tiny business after a few months. She sold ladies clothes from good brands like Katharine Hamnett, Antony Price (who dressed Roxy Music) and Gentlefolk Jeans. After a year, she was offered another shop, becoming established as Maggie at Peanuts (Peanuts sold menswear). It went well but then, as Maggie remembers


sadly, “They knocked down a beautiful row of Victorian shops and created Fleet Walk – Maggie at Peanuts was a victim of that awful change.” At the time, the Pavilion had been refurbished, so in 1987 she opened Maggie & Co there. After only 6 months she took the lease on the current premises on The Strand and ran both units until 1992. After this Maggie decided to keep The Strand premises and has been there ever since. She tells me, “My vision was to present Torquay in a similar way to Bond Street; we bought top brands from the start. We made it feel like Bond Street by offering really good service and making people feel special. As well as offering worldwide brands, we are careful to make sure no one chooses anything that doesn’t suit them perfectly. We’ve still got customers coming in from our earliest days.” As if to prove this, a customer called Marilyn Tomlinson pops over and tells me that she has been visiting from South Wales 6 times a year for the last 34 years and loves the place. These days, daughter Sarah Williams is the face of Maggie & Co and Head Buyer with Maggie operating more ‘behind the scenes.’ Sarah started at the shop when she was 20, after gaining experience in London and Hong Kong, and has now been working here for 30 years. Sarah tells me, “our success is all about trust; we price honestly and give good advice - customers can walk out

April/May 2020 | 17



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Maggie & Co also has customers who come from far and wide purely to visit the store. One customer arrives by helicopter and is chauffeur driven to the shop...

with confidence – that’s why Marilyn came back at 9am on the first day of her Torquay visit.” Often, Maggie & Co’s customers come in alone looking for ideas. Sarah says, “We are very diplomatic - it’s essential that customers look their best as they are a walking advertisement. We don’t sell clothes, we sell a whole lifestyle and this means we have 65% repeat business, which is very high.” Many Maggie & Co customers travel all over the world but prefer the Torquay store’s shopping experience. Sarah provides a free and highly popular Personal Shopper service and often furnishes a client’s entire wardrobe. As well as a large local customer base, clients who live in Paris and London regularly shop here. However there is no need to feel that the place is too exclusive to visit. Sarah tells me, “Everyone is treated the same. The secret of our success is that everyone is valued and feels important.” Some 20 years ago a lady who is now affectionately referred to as “The Lady of the Lake” as she lives in Windermere, came in wearing somewhat scruffy shorts, a t-shirt and trainers. After spending an hour trying things on she bought a simple t-shirt. She was welcomed and looked after like every other customer. Next day she came back to say that her earlier visit was a test and went on to spent £17,000. Maggie tells me that her biggest achievement is that englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

they have raised over £100,000 for local charities since they opened, via fashion shows held at the Imperial, Palace or Grand hotels. They attracted audiences of three hundred people at the evening shows and could raise over £7000 per night. They also hold regular in-store fashion events. Customers love them and say they feel like a private party with champagne and goodie-bags, sometimes a raffle to win an outfit. There’s a VIP list (which you can join) offering tickets a week before they are released to the general public. After all these years, Maggie still loves Torquay and is thrilled that she came. She is married to Michael and loves gardening and visiting garden centres when not buying beautiful clothes. They have two Yorkies called Archie and Bodie and enjoy dining out at No.7 Fish Bistro and The Elephant. She tells me, “I feel very privileged to be living in such a beautiful place. I loved it when I first came and the excitement of living here has never left me.” Sarah’s partner is Nick and her daughter is Chloe. They also adore living in Torbay. She tells me that when people first discover Maggie & Co they often exclaim “Gosh what a gem!” Maggie & Co is another good reason to shop local right here in the Bay – who needs Paris, London and Milan?   maggieandco.co.uk April/May 2020 | 19

Viscount Plumer in Torquay

Herbert Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer became a senior British Army Officer in the First World War, having spent his formative years in Torquay. He won an overwhelming victory at the Battle of Messines creating what was termed ‘the loudest explosion in human history’. Ian Handford of Torbay Civic Society tells us more.


erbert Charles Onslow Plumer was the son of Hall and Louisa Plumer. Born in London on 13 March 1857, his father squandered the best part of his grandmother’s substantial inheritance including the family home in Canons Park with its 747 acres in London. His fall from grace came through drink and horses; eventually the family left London for Torquay. They initially resided at Summerhill on Haldon Road. In 1875 they purchased the neighbouring house Malpass Lodge, today Wylam House, a beautiful Grade II listed villa overlooking the Bay. Herbert spent his formative years in Torquay although little is written about the period. He had an elder brother Frederick and two sisters Beatrice and Constance. He was despatched to Eton in 1870, it being clear the boy was destined for the military. Herbert would return to spend his vacations in Torquay at Malpass Lodge. Later renamed KyaLami (a Zulu phrase meaning ‘My Home’) by its South African owner Frederick Strubren, it would be sold to a Newcastle shipping magnate - Sir James Knott - who gave it the name Wylam House in 1917. Hall Plumer (Herbert’s father) was a committee member of Torquay Gentleman’s Victoria Club on Victoria Parade and also a member of the Torquay Cricket Club. During September 1876 a cricket match between Plymouth Garrison team and Torquay Hall Plumer XI had included Herbert who was playing just before

20 | April/May 2020

he started what would be a lifelong career in the Army. It was a time of change in the British Army as Prussia had just invaded Denmark, Austria-Hungary and finally France. Meanwhile Britain had realised the inadequacies of its own defences having suffered during the Crimea War. With officers banned from purchasing commissions, entrance to senior rank came only through competitive examination at the Royal Military College Sandhurst, which usually involved a six-year commitment. Neverthless, Herbert rose rapidly through the ranks after serving in India and the Sudan. Promoted to Major with the York and Lancaster Regiment he served in Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) and became known for writing a book about his experiences as Commander of the Relief Force during the 1896 Matabele Rebellion. Having been promoted again to Major-General, he next served in the South Africa Boer War 1899-1902 before he was appointed Quarter Master General of the Forces in 1904. He was finally honoured with a knighthood in 1906. In the run up to the First World War, General Sir Herbert Plumer was destined to be one of a few senior officers in this long war to see his reputation enhanced. Given command of the Second Army in 1915 his greatest victory came after the capture of Messines Ridge at Ypres, a strategic position the Germans had held for two years. The Royal Engineers managed to tunnel right underneath the enemy position to place 500 tons of

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Riviera Heritage explosive.The explosives were detonated in June 1917 and the enemy suffered devastating casualties. In addressing the men before the offensive Plumer had famously remarked,

‘Men, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography’ The blast was apparently so huge it was even heard back in England - where the Prime Minister David Lloyd George was known to have remarked on it when in Downing Street. Following this success, General Plumer moved to Messines after salvaging the campaign at Passchendale and then helping restore order on the Italian Front. He even conducted the defence against the last desperate ‘push’ of the German Spring Offensive of 1918, a time when he was recorded as being - the soldiers’ soldier. By the time of the Armistice in November, General Plumer was overall Commander of the Army of Occupation on the Rhine. On May 5th 1919 our Torquay war hero was finally honoured by his hometown when the local council awarded him the Freedom of the Borough. A special ceremony was held at Torquay Town Hall when the Mayor of Torquay, Alderman Hugh Cumming, welcomed their distinguished soldier as ‘not a stranger’. Having stepped up to address the audience he reported that though most of his life had been spent away, he well remembered his old days of play at Malpass Lodge and the hospitality dispensed there for many years by Mr and Mrs Hall Plumer. In reply to the Mayor’s introduction General Plumer then said ‘It is true that my association with Torquay dates from some very long time back. My father and mother had a house here for some years, and my brother [Capt. Frederick Plumer R.N.] and sister [Miss Beatrice Plumer], who are here this afternoon, and I spent some very happy years here too. It was in Torquay that I received my first

commission. It was from Torquay that I went to India for the first time to join my regiment, and it was to Torquay that I returned after my first experience of active service in Sudan. It is very gratifying to me, after 42 years’ service to return to Torquay today with my wife [Annie Constance Goss whom he married in July 1884] who was herself a frequent visitor to Torquay with her mother, to receive such a welcome and to feel that my old association has not been forgotten and to have this great honour conferred on me’. This extraordinary soldier was raised to the peerage in 1919 taking the title Baron Plumer of Messines and Bilton (a place where his ancestry started in Yorkshire). Now promoted to Field Marshal, during the peacetime he would serve as Governor of Malta and the High Commissioner of Palestine. In 1927, he became the soldier who unveiled the magnificent ‘Menin Gate War Memorial at Ypres’ - a fitting sculpture to the many British and Commonwealth soldiers who had been killed and who had no formal grave. A year after his retirement in 1928, Lord Plumer was finally made a Viscount in recognition of his ‘long and distinguished public services’. Field Marshal Viscount Plumer (Lord Plumer) died at his London home in Kensington at age 75 on 16 July 1932. His body was given full military honours when interred at Westminster Abbey. Amongst the pall-bearers were: Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby - Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Osmond Brock - Marshal of the RAF, Lord Trenchard and General Lord Baden-Powell and there was a full programme of service and a message of sympathy from King George V: ‘My people throughout the Empire will, with me, mourn the loss of one whom history will ever remember gratefully not only as a distinguished commander in war, but as a great administrator’.   torbaycivicsociety.co.uk Viscount Plumer’s childhood home in Torquay, now known as Wylam House


April/May 2020 | 21

Torbay’s Wolves Kevin Dixon takes a look at the history of wolves in Torbay and how a pack of wolf cubs has been brought to Devon as part of a project to look at reintroducing them into the wild.

22 | April/May 2020

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Riviera Heritage


he founder of Torre Abbey William Brewer was also on 25 March. English wolves were more often trapped Sheriff of Devon and, under Richard I (1189–1199), than hunted, with Anglo-Saxon charters in Devonshire was one of the justiciars appointed to administer the mentioning ‘wolf pits’ for trapping the animals. kingdom while the King was on the Third Crusade. He Wolf pelts were certainly an object of value. In AD 950, was an important man, probably born at Tor. He was King Athelstan imposed an annual tribute of 300 wolf skins so important that King John (1166-1216) gave William on Welsh king HywelDda, while William of Malmesbury Brewer, “the licence to enclose his woods at Toar (Tor), states that Athelstan’s nephew Edgar the Peaceful demanded Candlelight, Rudden, and Ailesbeare in Devon, with free a tribute of wolf skins on King Constantine of Wales. liberty to hunt the hare, fox, cat and wolf throughout The Norman kings (1066-1154) employed servants as Devonshire”. wolf hunters and many held lands granted on condition that What is interesting here is the specific mention of the wolf. they fulfilled this duty. Criminals, rather than being put to Wolves were certainly in the Bay in ancient times – an almost death, could be ordered to provide a certain number of wolf entire skull was discovered in Kent’s Cavern, exactly equal tongues annually. in size to that of an Arctic wolf. (But were they still around But it was King Edward I (1272-1307) who ordered in the thirteenth century in South Devon? It was generally the total extermination of all wolves in his kingdom. believed that King Edgar This final extinction is had exterminated the wolf thought to have come throughout Devon in 961-5. about during the reign of Traditionally, humans have Henry VII (1485–1509) viewed wolves negatively, by which time wolves had seeing them to be dangerous, become limited to the as nuisances, and to be Lancashire forests, the destroyed. Yet the wolf has Derbyshire Peak District, an underserved reputation – and the Yorkshire Wolds. they’re not brave hunters and And once they were attack only the young and the eradicated, wolves were sick in a herd. Nevertheless, almost completely wolves eat deer and so there forgotten by the Bay’s Wolves were certainly in the Bay in was competition between ancient times – an almost entire skull country folk. Very little is wolves and human hunters. told of them in historical was discovered in Kent’s Cavern, And this negative lore and parish records, exactly equal in size to that of an reputation goes back a long and just a few stray Arctic wolf way – the Bible contains bones and teeth remain. 13 references to wolves, usually as metaphors for greed and Accordingly, while other parts of Britain and across destructiveness. In the New Testament, Jesus used wolves as Europe there remain wolf traditions – and even stories of illustrations to the dangers His followers would have faced werewolves – here we have few references in our folk tales. should they follow him. The wolf could once be found in on What we do have are reintroduced tales taken from every continent in the Northern Hemisphere – and was one Norse and Germanic mythology, which often featured of the first species to be reduced once a significant population malevolent wolves. For example, the German Brothers of humans settled. Roman and Saxon chronicles indicate that Grimm adapted the tenth-century Italian fairy tale Little wolves were extraordinarily numerous in Britain. Eventually Red Riding Hood. technology made the killing of wolves easier and control Now the role of wolves and other predators in maintaining became extermination – the species disappearing from the ecosystem has changed. In 2017 a pack of wolf cubs Britain through a combination of deforestation and active was imported to Devon as part of an ongoing attempt to hunting through bounty systems. reintroduce the animals into the wild. These European This extermination took centuries. The ninth century wolves travelled from Sweden to a new home at Wildwood Anglo-Saxon Chronicle describes January as ‘Wolf Escot Park. However, if wolves are reintroduced to the wild monath’, as this was the first full month of wolf hunting in Britain, it’s likely to be in northern Scotland so don’t by the nobility – officially, this hunting season would end expect to see any locally outside of Paignton Zoo just yet. 


April/May 2020 | 23

The Pixies’ Cave at Chudleigh


of Torbay

It was once believed that another race of beings lived alongside humans in Torbay. Kevin Dixon tells the story.


he Pixies of Torbay were a little people who have long gone, either extinct or have been forced far away to Dartmoor, shrunk in size, learned to evade our gaze, or hidden below ground. We still remember them, however, in our dreams, but we have rendered them harmless. If they are still out there, they fled far from the reach of steam trains and gas lamps, but their presence can still be glimpsed in stories passed orally from generation to generation dating back hundreds or even thousands of years. First of all, we must understand the setting. Medieval and early modern Torbay was a collection of rural communities, consisting of small populations with folk beliefs coexisting with an understanding of Christianity. And the night was often seen as an unfriendly place haunted by non-human entities, some malevolent and some willing to help. Out there in the dark and in the hills was this enduring myth of the pixie. Though narratives of our little people are now concentrated in the moors of Devon and Cornwall, before the mid-nineteenth century both Pixies and Fairies were taken very seriously with books on peasant beliefs featuring many incidents and sightings. Places were named after them, such as Chudleigh’s Pixie’s Cave. According to John Britton’s ‘The Beauties of England and Wales’ (1803), the caves are said, “In the traditions of the peasantry to be inhabited by Pixies, or Pisgies, a race of supernatural beings, invisibly small”. There were numerous local tales of mysterious, magical

24 | April/May 2020

‘little people’ living in the woods who would kidnap babies, cast spells, prevent cows from giving milk, chickens from laying eggs, and infertility in couples. Even in our Bay, some stories lingered, such as that of a dog lost in Kent’s Cavern finally emerging having lost all his fur to the grasping hands of those subterranean dwellers. Indeed, we needed protection from these, often malevolent, creatures. As it was believed that these primitive people feared the metal weapons of their more sophisticated human enemies, we hung iron implements such as horseshoes over our front doors. But were Pixies just a figment of our imagination, or could they be a half-remembered glimpse of a lost people? Intriguingly, there was a migration into Britain around 4,400 years ago. The DNA data suggests that these new arrivals from Europe led to an almost complete replacement of Britain’s earlier inhabitants - the Neolithic communities who were responsible for megalithic monuments such as the Churston Chamber Tomb. The DNA also shows that these incoming Beaker folk were physically different to the population they replaced, who had olive-brown skin, dark hair and brown eyes. In comparison, the Beaker folk brought lighter skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. One theory is that our supernatural folk evolved from memories of this lost prehistoric race. For instance, in folklore, Palaeolithic flint arrowheads were attributed as ‘elfshot’. But why were Devon and Cornwall the areas where

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Riviera Heritage territory. The Devonian pixies, which already lived there, belief in Pixies survived the longest? One suggestion is that the far South West remained ‘Celtic’ for much longer refused them entry. Soon war began between the two beings, and it violently and terribly raged across the landscape.” than other parts of England – and we still retain a Celtic So, do our stories of a lost folk recognise our guilt at presence in our DNA. But fall we did as a consequence their extermination, in the case of the builders of the of the migration of Germanic peoples after the end of megaliths, or the absorption of the Celtic Dumnonii? the Roman Empire when the Anglo Saxons replaced the During the nineteenth century Torbay saw itself as original Celtic Dumnonii tribe of the Bay. modern and dismissed such stories of a lost or hidden It may then be significant that Pixies and Fairies were race as rural superstitions to be treated with contempt. never considered to be the same species by our ancestors. Also, over the centuries, Pixies became confused with other Pixies have a Celtic root while Elves and Fairies are later supernatural and are Anglo It may then be significant that Pixies and Fairies traditions, and Saxon. The so the Pixie invading Anglo were never considered to be the same species by our was relegated Saxons had ancestors. Pixies have a Celtic root while Elves and to the status brought their Fairies are later and are Anglo Saxon. of a garden own tradition. ornament, and the mischief-making relic of Torbay’s rich They believed in Elves and feared them as they could steal supernatural past is long gone... or perhaps not. children and maliciously afflict humans and animals with In 1922 the Torquay spiritualist Violet Tweedale gives physical ailments. Elves later took on the name of Fairies, us one of our few modern sightings of a Torbay Pixie. a term which came to Britain from France in the later She wrote, “One summer afternoon I was walking alone Middle Ages. along the avenue of Lupton House. A few yards in front Following the idea that Fairies have a place in Anglo of me a leaf was swinging and bending energetically, Saxon culture, and Pixies are Celtic, it’s worth noting that while the rest of the plant was motionless. What was my Paignton is derived from an Anglo-Saxon personal name, delight to see a tiny green man. He was about five inches while Brixham comes from Brioc’s farm, a Brythonic long, and was swinging back-downwards. His tiny green Celtic personal name. So, if Paignton is originally Anglofeet, which appeared to be green-booted, were crossed Saxon and Brixham originally Celtic, does this mean that over the leaf, and his hands, raised behind his head, also Paignton believed in Fairies and Brixham in Pixies? held the blade. I had a vision of a merry little face and So Pixies and Fairies are not the same. Notably there is something red in the form of a cap on the head. For a full a tradition of enmity or even war between the two races. minute he remained in view, swinging on the leaf. Then One story tells, “Of when the fairies of Somerset wanted to he vanished.”  cross the border and enter Devon to settle and extend their


April/May 2020 | 25

Cryptic Spring Vanguards In a birdwatcher’s year book, the spring and autumn seasons are undoubtedly favourites. The prospect of seeing and hearing birds arriving on our shores from countries afar, perhaps just stopping to rest and feed before carrying on or having completed their incredible journeys is awe-inspiring. Mike Langman tells us more about what to see here in the Bay.

26 | April/May 2020

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he spring for most birdwatchers heralds new beginnings as summer migrants in their finest plumages arrive to set up territories, find a mate and rear young as quickly as possible. Rarely do these birds linger on their migration. In the case of the (Northern) Wheatear, one of our earliest migrants, the males come back from their African wintering grounds a few days sometimes weeks before the females. These birds move on from coastal landfall sites like Berry Head or Hope’s Nose within a few hours – sometimes minutes! Should you be lucky enough to be out on the coast on the right day dozens of Wheatears can


suddenly drop out of the sky in a term known as a ‘fall’. Some will stop to breed on Dartmoor but most move further north in Britain. During mid to late April larger, longer winged and brighter males arrive; these are the high Arctic birds migrating as far as Greenland to breed. A couple of dapper male Wheatear that made landfall at Berry Head - a stocky bird closely related to the Robin. The most striking feature is its white rump as it flies away from you.

April/May 2020 | 27

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Birdwatching Also closely related to the Robin is the Black Redstart, although some overwinter here in Britain there is a distinct spring migration, usually in March. The cliffs and quarries at Hope’s Nose and Berry Head are favoured but any rocky coastline will suffice. Younger males and females are like a grey/brown robin with the red moved to the tail; this quivers like a ‘twanged’ ruler on the edge of a table. Older males are genuinely black on the face and breast with a large white patch in the wing. Its cousin, the Common Redstart is strictly a summer visitor; a few stop on our Torbay coastline every spring before heading moving on. The male is brighter coloured with orange chest, black face and slate grey back with the same quivery red tail as the Black Redstart.

Young male Black Redstart like a Grey Robin with a red tail; they love sunny cliff faces.

Chiffchaffs are small ‘leaf ’ warblers weighing less than a 50 pence piece, like the Black Redstart some stay with us all winter particularly here in the mild South West. However most migrate south to the Mediterranean and further into Africa for the winter. They are late to leave our shores in the autumn and early to return in the spring. This is a risky business for a bird that feeds entirely on small insects. A few years ago the early migrants were greeted with an exceptionally cold March, the poor birds ending up feeding on lawns in gardens instead of trees, sadly many succumbed through lack of food and the cold. In good weather, the benefits of arriving earlier than a rival on a neighbouring territory are huge. The early bird can feed continuously in the ever-increasing spring daylight hours building up strength and being fit and strong when the exhausted neighbour has just arrived from its epic migration. Warblers are never easy for people to identify but luckily the chiffchaff gives its self away with its characteristic song – ‘Chiff-chaff – chiff-chaff’. Chiffchaff a true LBJ (little Brown Job) and one of our earliest spring migrants.


April/May 2020 | 29



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Birdwatching Very similar and often mistaken for a Chiffchaff is the Willow Warbler. This is another small insect eating warbler, which is highly migratory. Willow Warblers are slightly bigger and brighter than Chiffchaffs and arrive several weeks later, usually during April. The longer winged Willow Warbler winters in central Africa, very rarely over-wintering in Britain. The song given by newly arrived birds is the easiest way to identify them, a delightful soft, fluty warble that descends in pitch and speeds up a little toward the end of the song. Lowland breeding populations in Devon have declined dramatically in recent decades, so if you miss their song during the spring migration take a trip up to the scrubby edges of Dartmoor in late April and early May.

Willow Warbler – difficult to identify from a Chiffchaff so rely on the song.

The most secretive of all of our warblers is perhaps the Grasshopper Warbler. It is a birdwatcher’s nightmare, the most skulking of all warblers moving around the undergrowth like a mouse and rarely coming out into the open. Your best chance of finding one is locating it through its song - a fast truly grasshopper-like trill that can go on for a minute or more seemingly without a breath! The problem being that its song is so high pitched at around 7 KHz it can only be heard by good highpitch hearing, ruling out many older people. Grasshopper Warbler Berry Head April 2016 – a lucky encounter with one that decided to show off !

So what about the Swallow and the Cuckoo? Like a few of the other birds mentioned before, Swallows do occasionally stay over winter; there were records in Devon this year during January and February. Trying to work out if a Swallow has genuinely arrived back from Africa is therefore not always easy to determine but the old saying ‘one swallow does not make a summer’ is a good rule of thumb! If you are lucky enough to hear a Cuckoo it will be a newly arrived bird, usually in mid to late April. Thirty years ago it was regularly seen and heard on migration in Torbay, and before that would have bred in the area. Today its population is in serious decline, so the sound of a Cuckoo in Torbay is a rare treat indeed (unless you mistake the somewhat similar Collared Dove call!).  Does one Swallow make a summer? englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

April/May 2020 | 31

At Abbeyfield people are at the heart Supported Housing for Independent People of everything we do

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ABBEYFIELD SOUTH WEST SOCIETY staff, consisting of a Manager, cooks and a cleane oth Abbeyfield houses are situated in lovely areas, oasting their own beautiful grounds. Park House in who all work together to ensure residents are happ staff, consisting of a Manager, cooks and a cleaner Both Abbeyfield are situated in lovelypark areas, and content. aignton is situated directlyhouses opposite a beautiful boasting their own beautiful grounds. Park House in who all work together to ensure residents are happy nd is a five minute walk from the beach. Sanders and content. are various activities, events and entertainmen Paignton is situated directly opposite a beautiful park There ourt in St Marychurch, Torquay, hastheabeach. wonderful and is a five minute walk from Sanders that take place throughout the year which th There are various activities, events and entertainment Court in St Marychurch, Torquay, has a is wonderful that take place throughout the wish. year which the rge private courtyard and the local precinct just a residents can join in if they large private courtyard and the local precinct is just a residents can join in if they wish. ve minute walk away, with all the amenities you would five minute walk away, with all the amenities you would Traditional home cooked meals are provided in th Traditional home cooked meals are provided in the xpect. Both sites offer public transport services expect. Bothgood sites offer good public transport services dining room every day and breakfast dining room every day and breakfast provisions areprovisions ar by,and so it iseasy nice and easyand to goexplore. and explore. ose by, so it isclose nice to go provided for for residents to haveto in their rooms. provided residents have in their rooms. At our Abbeyfield houses residents find friendship The weekly charge covers all utilities and food, so t our Abbeyfield houses residents find friendship Allsupport bills arelosing included, except telephone line &all calls and without their independence The charge utilities there weekly are no bills to worry covers about, other than a BTand food, s nd support and without dignity. losing their independence telephone line which is necessary for the residents, there are no bills to worry about, other than a B nd dignity. The rooms are unfurnished with en-suite facilities and telephone 24hr emergency pendant to work, so all concerns line which is necessary for the resident a kitchenette area. The houses have a communal

he rooms arelaundry, unfurnished withlounge en-suite and dining room, and facilities beautiful garden. kitchenette Each area. Thehas houses a communal house a smallhave and friendly committed undry, dining room, lounge and beautiful garden.

about running a house are taken away.

24hr emergency pendant to work, so all concern Each room has its own 24hr emergency call system about running for residents peaceaofhouse mind. are taken away.

Each room has its own 24hr emergency call system for residents peacetelephone of mind. ach house has a To small and friendly committed arrange a visit or for more information

the Manager at: Park House, Paignton 01803 557732 or a forvisit Sanders Court, Torquay 01803 316164. arrange or for more information telephone Or visit our website: a e ďŹ el co

To the Manager at: Park House, Paignton 01803 557732 or for Sanders Court, Torquay 01803 316164. Or visit our website: a e ďŹ el co Registered Society No: 23413R under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014


Riviera Heritage

Was Brixham the Town that Saved Europe?

The price of liberating Europe from Nazi tyranny was high and Brixham was at the forefront. John Brennan of Brixham Future tells us more.


he Breakwater Beach slipway was constructed to embark forces from the 4th American Division for the Invasion of Europe on D-Day, 6th June 1944. On the road above are the Churchill Memorial Gardens, upon which stood houses demolished to create a turning space for Sherman tanks to descend below. Driven from the European mainland in 1940 and after four years of protracted war, the Allies now joined by American forces were in a position to launch `Operation Overlord` against Hitler`s Nazi `Fortress Europe`. The intention was to land substantial Allied forces upon the French coastline in Normandy on five separate beaches codenamed Sword, Gold, Juno, Omaha and Utah. The first three beaches were mainly British and Canadian forces and the last 2 beaches were mainly American forces. All the five bridgeheads would be linked up before driving inland to liberate Europe. 160,000 Allied troops took part in D-Day led by 83,000 British and Canadian troops, 73,000 United States troops and 195,000 Merchant and Allied Navy`s sailors in 5,000 ships. The first Allied troops parachuted into France after midnight on the 6th June. The French resistance attacked all Nazi communications with the aim of disrupting, delaying and destroying their response in

the vital first vital 24 hours as the invasion force came ashore across a 50 mile front. The easterly movement of the tide in the Channel determined that the priority of the Allied landings would be Utah Beach at 630am. At low water, Utah Beach sloped gently up for four hundred yards to sand dunes with a concrete wall, obstacles and mines. Along the dunes were also 28 powerful artillery batteries, interspersed with concrete pillboxes and enemy emplacements. That day an 18-knot breeze whipped the current into a difficult fourfoot sea for landing craft. It was vital that the Utah Beach was secure and heavy losses were anticipated. Following a massive air and sea bombardment, an accidental error in the landing site brought the assault troops in at a weak spot in the Nazi defences. In the first assault wave 28 Sherman tanks came ashore bringing their firepower to bear on a startled unprepared enemy. The bombardments, low morale of the defenders, usage of flame-throwers and machine-gunfire against enemy strong points, resulted in quick captures. The American losses were 137 men killed and 60 men missing in action, presumed dead. These losses were less than those incurred on the rehearsal for the assault on `Exercise Tiger` and far lower than incurred on others in the chain beaches. 

VE Day 75th Anniversary -The Bay ’s Commemorations Please check all dates and events on the websites below as they may well have been changed or cancelled since we went to press. Is this our exit point from lockdown or do we ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ self-isolating? In Brixham, over 40 commemorative events are planned between 8 and 10 May and they will reflect life in Brixham in the 1940s. Back to the 40s Once More is a Brixham Future Project. brixhamfuture.co.uk In Paignton’s Palace Avenue Gardens, a VE Day 75 englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

Party in the Park is planned on Friday 8 May from 11am to 6pm, as the Bay did in 1945. Facebook.com/The Royal British Legion - Paignton Branch In Torquay a 75th Anniversary Service is planned at Beacon Quay from 10.30am-12.15pm with The Riviera Concert Brass and a march past with ex-service and serving military personnel due to take part. Rotary in Torbay celebrates on Saturday 9 May at the RICC with an evening of entertainment. April/May 2020 | 33

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St Mary’s Churchyard Project

Riviera Heritage

A project to record the memorial inscriptions engraved on the headstones of those buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Brixham has been completed. Nina Hannaford tells us more.


dedicated group of volunteers has spent two years deciphering ancient and weathered headstones in beautiful St Mary’s Churchyard, carefully reading the inscriptions, recording the details and plotting the locations. The initial remit for the lottery-funded project was to focus on the Victorian memorials. However, the churchyard covers nearly three acres over various plots and contains headstones from early 1700 to the present day. The volunteers quickly discovered that each plot contained burials and dates ranging over 300 years, and rarely in neat rows. Therefore, a decision was made to complete the huge task of recording all the memorial inscriptions in the churchyard. During the Second World War some of St Mary’s Churchyard records were destroyed in the ‘Exeter Blitz’. englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

The Churchwardens were frequently being asked the whereabouts of family plots recorded in the church burial records, but they were not in a position to provide information on the locations. To start the recording process, the church and churchyard were divided into twelve different areas, each given a number. Each row of headstones was given an alphabetical reference. However, as few rows are straight, some estimation was required. Each burial plot was then given a number, whether there was a memorial stone there or not. Used together, these co-ordinates have given each burial plot a unique reference. Recorded on a database, every name is now searchable, offering family researchers a unique plot reference to be able to find any headstone of interest. April/May 2020 | 35


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LOCAL GROCERY DELIVERY IS AVAILABLE* Support Your Local Farmers! * Minimum order value £25

FIND US just before the Cayman Golf Dartmouth Road, nr Brixham TQ5 0LL FIND OUT MORE 01803 845837 churstontraditionalfarmshop.org.uk 36 | April/May 2020

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Riviera Heritage The reading and recording of the memorial inscriptions A note was then made to highlight the fact that the information had come from registers rather than the presented the group with many problems. Some headstones and tombs of slate, granite and limestone were actual headstone. Once all the headstones had been read, recorded, neglected and overgrown with ivy and lichens. A number checked, returned to and checked again, the information had been broken and only fragments remained. was added to a spreadsheet to create a full database of all Ivy and brambles were cut back; volunteers took the memorial inscriptions in St Mary’s Churchyard. mobile phone photos to see stones hidden in hedges and There are over thirteen thousand names recorded. at precarious angles; archaeology trowels eased turf away These include: rich, poor, from kerbs. Scattered young, old, war dead, broken fragments were sailors who died in far collected and like a away places and at home, jigsaw, pieced together a Norwegian sailor to read. who died in the Bay, As time went on, Charlotte Dix, a former volunteers found that slave from Jamaica who being able to read the married a wealthy Navy headstone details was Captain and William very much dependant Hodges, the official on available light at artist on Captain Cook’s different times of day. second voyage. The stones, once cleared Anyone wanting to of overgrowth, would be pay respects at their rinsed with rainwater. family’s grave will now Then, it was discovered be able to find the exact that by using a tin foil location and family baking tray, reflected historians can find their light was played upon ancestors. Where it is the stone mason’s script, recorded, researchers revealing previously should be able to search illegible wording. Recorded on a database, every name for those lost at sea, A further problem that killed in action, died of challenged the hardis now searchable, offering family working volunteers was researchers a unique plot reference to be cholera etc. Every effort has been that the digits 3, 5 and 8 able to find any headstone of interest. made to make sure the along with 1 and 4 could details are as accurate as possible but any errors may be be difficult to distinguish. Having recorded the memorial ours or due to the original stonemason! inscriptions ‘in the field,’ the details were checked with Details of all the memorial inscriptions and their burial registers made available online from various locations are printed in a bound book and kept for sources, and with the General Registry Office lists where posterity in the church. A map of the site showing the burial records could not be found. plots can be viewed on the Lych Gate. Copies are also This approach led to another problem. Sometimes the available for reference at Brixham Library and Museum, name spellings and dates contained in the records were Torquay Library local studies and Devon Heritage different to those recorded on the stones. A decision was made to record the memorial inscription details and make Centre in Exeter. A scale model of St Mary’s Church has been built and a side note of any differences. is on display inside the church along with a painting of a All relevant information from the memorial inscriptions was recorded where they exist. Surname, first name, middle Victorian aerial view of Brixham’s wonderful Cowtown. Online access to the searchable database will name, date of death, age, relationship to others on the also be available through Devon Family History stone along with any other details about their life or death. Online genealogical sources such as census returns were Society, and websites such as Genuki.org.uk and brixhamstmaryschurchgraveyard.org.uk  used to confirm illegible or nearly illegible inscriptions.


April/May 2020 | 37

Tackle the Wall Reach Outdoors runs an indoor climbing wall at Parkfield in Paignton and there’s a weekly open climbing evening on Thursdays from 6.30pm. Anita Newcombe went along to give it a go!


fter parking behind the Parkfield centre off Colin Road in Paignton, I meet Senior Instructor Abi Hone, who is busy checking in climbers of all standards. The Parkfield wall has 18 fixed ropes and over 60 climbing routes offering grades of climb for beginners right through to expert climbers. Abi introduces me to Apprentice Instructor Chloe Whitehurst and then gets me to complete some paperwork that will allow me to have a go this evening. Helmets are available, but the climbing wall is considered very low-risk, as there’s little that can fall on you here. So helmetless but strapped into a harness, I am ready. The climbing harness consists of a strong, adjustable waist belt with leg loops and a belay loop. I tighten all the straps to get a good fit and I am ready to climb. The safety rope will be tied to my belay loop before I start heading up the first route. I’ve been watching a few other people scoot up the various routes with apparent ease, and now it’s time for me to have a go. Abi shows me how to tie a figure-of-eight knot plus the stopper knot that is used to secure the rope to my belay loop. I am buddied with someone I’ve just met called Steve and he’s going to be belaying me. That means he is responsible for controlling the safety rope to stop me falling; it seems like the ultimate expression of trust (but Abi is keeping a close eye on things). 38 | April/May 2020

Anita and senior instructor Abi Hone

There are various routes that you can take on each section of the wall and these are denoted by climbing hand holds in different colours. Some routes are easier than others but once I get on the wall I stop noticing the colours and just climb, putting my hands and feet wherever I can get a good grip. Not all the holds are easy. There are big, fat holds in which you can put your whole hand, holds with tiny little edges that you can grip only with your fingertips and many other ones of various shapes and sizes. I put my feet wherever they feel most secure. Gradually I am inching upwards – this is epic! Once at the top it starts to feel quite high – quick glance down – eek - and I’m staring straight at the wall again, which bizarrely feels safer. Ok it’s time to head back down. Abi tells me to lean out from the wall, (I’m held securely by the safety rope) and place my feet flat against the wall. My climbing buddy Steve is now gradually giving me some slack in the rope so that I can walk backwards down the wall. Soon I am down with my feet firmly back on the ground. Now it’s time for me to have a go at belaying. There are various kinds of belay device and the one we’ve just used for my climb, Abi tells me, is called a bug. Reach Outdoors use different types of device for teaching purposes so that climbers are familiar with the main ones. But this time we are going to be using a different belay

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Give it a Go! Climbing device with assisted braking. It is threaded with the rope and attached to a carabiner that, in turn, attaches to the belay loop on my own harness. Abi explains that the ‘live’ end of the rope is attached to the climber and that I will use the ‘dead’ end to tighten or slacken the rope. Steve and I check each other’s fixings and off he goes. Abi shows me how to stand squarely with slightly relaxed knees, pull in the rope as he climbs and hold the rope in a locked position when he’s not moving. Once Steve is at the top, I need to reverse the procedure, gradually releasing the rope to give enough slack for him to descend but not so much that he can fall any distance. Before having another go I chat to a couple of other climbers. Dave Pressley says, “Are you the person who wrote the Everest Base Camp trek article?” I confirm that I am and we start chatting about various expeditions we have both done. Dave is climbing tonight with Jo Taylor; they are both keen climbers who also enjoy via ferrata routes (a climbing route equipped with steel cables, ladders, and other fixed anchors). Now we are ready to start again and I have a couple more goes at climbing and belaying with Steve, each time on a different (and seemingly harder) route. I’m starting to get accustomed to the experience and all the different routes are great fun to try. Once you’ve been signed off as a competent belayer you can climb the wall independently with friends and family (currently £5 per person, per session). Under-18s have to be supervised by an adult competent in belaying and have signed consent from a parent or guardian. Regular hourlong Taster Sessions, like the one I’ve just experienced, are held on Thursday evenings and cost £12 per person with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 people per group – advance booking is essential. There’s a minimum age of 7 years old (and under-18s still need signed consent prior to the session). Once you’ve got the bug, there are Induction Sessions, 4-week Intro to Climbing Courses (Indoor to Outdoors) plus a Youth Climbing Club for 14-17 year olds. Private bookings can also be arranged for kids or adults’ birthday parties or groups of friends or colleagues wanting to climb together. Climbing here is certainly a fun and exhilarating activity, safe but exciting and also sociable. Why not give it a go?   reach-outdoors.com


Learning to use the belay bug

April/May 2020 | 39

Leave more than memories, give the gift of care for the future During Make a Will Week, local solicitors waive their entire fee for making or updating your Will, in return for a donation to Rowcroft.

Every donation will provide care and support to patients and families in South Devon living with life-limiting illnesses, enabling them to make the most of every moment they share.

For more information: rowcrofthospice.org.uk/willweek Call 01803 217405 With thanks to all our local supporting law firms

Registered Charity No: 282723


Rowcroft’s Make a Will Week Rowcroft’s Make a Will Week, from 18-22 May, gives you the opportunity to make or update your Will with a local, South Devon solicitor who will donate the entire fee they’d normally receive directly to Rowcroft Hospice.


aking a Will is important for you and your family. It brings peace of mind and knowledge that whatever the future might bring, your loved ones are financially protected. To make or update your Will, simply book an appointment with a participating local solicitor and mention ‘Rowcroft’s Make a Will Week’. In return for this service, the suggested donation to Rowcroft for a single simple Will is £175, or £225 for a pair of simple mirror Wills. Or you may wish to donate more than the suggested fee, or you may also choose to leave a gift to Rowcroft in your Will. It’s up to you, but please rest assured that whatever you donate, 100% will go directly to the hospice. By taking part in Make a Will Week, you’ll be helping patients with life-limiting illnesses to share precious time with their family and friends. You’ll be helping to make every day the best day possible for patients and their families, with the support of Rowcroft’s dedicated health and social care teams. Ian was admitted as a patient to Rowcroft Hospice on his 73rd birthday. He said, “The welcome was absolutely outstanding; the food, the care, the attention to detail made me feel totally relaxed. I’ve watched the staff working and believe me, it’s not work − it’s love. When you feel that love, it’s like being covered by a giant soothing duvet. “I intend to recognise Rowcroft in my Will and I would respectfully request anybody who is considering it, stop considering - do it, so that somebody else can enjoy the rather special, loving blanket, that is Rowcroft Hospice.” Every pound Rowcroft receives from Make a Will Week goes directly towards supporting patients in South Devon living with life-limiting illnesses.


By taking part in Make a Will Week, you’ll be helping patients with life-limiting illnesses to share precious time with their family and friends.

Vicky Queen, Rowcroft’s Deputy Director of Patient Care, explains, “More than 70% of Rowcroft’s funding comes from the local community, and a huge proportion of that comes from gifts in Wills. However much you can donate to Rowcroft during Make a Will Week, no matter how big or small, is gratefully received and hugely appreciated by all of us.” “Rowcroft gives you a smile,” says Ian. Rowcroft supports 80% of our patients in their own homes. It also provides care for patients and their family members at its 12-bed Inpatient Unit and Outpatient Centre in Torquay.   For more information about making or updating your Will during Make a Will Week, and for a full list of local participating solicitors, visit www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/willweek April/May 2020 | 41

SPRINGTIME TRANQUILITY Need to know Distance: 7 miles Exertion: A good long countryside walk Time: Allow 3 hours Terrain: Riverbank and woodland. Not suitable for pushchairs or very young children. Take care near the river as currents are strong in places. Dogs: Under close control near livestock Refreshments: Bring a snack and a flask Start Postcode: TQ9 5JR Grid Reference: SX 80212 60932

1For convenience this route starts from the car park at Totnes train station on the southbound side, it is a pay and display car park so one could park a little further away to avoid the fee. At the far end of the car park follow the brown information signs toward the steam railway and Rare Breeds Farm, when you reach the river turn left and head upstream. The riverside path takes you up past the Totnes Weir, the most upstream point of the tidal Dart, and on to a short section of road that is the drive to Dartington Hall. Look out for for the wildlife viewing platform on the right of the road but also look left,


pring has well and truly sprung and as the winter rain fades to a memory what better than taking to the great outdoors to drink in the fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on one’s face and marvel at the blanket of flowers that have appeared as if by magic. This Totnes to Staverton walk is a little further afield than usual but it’s been a spring favourite of mine for many years and is well worth the drive to get a fix of the riverbank at its prettiest. The route is not circular but there are variations in the pathways that all lead in the same direction bearing in mind proximity to the river.

42 | April/May 2020

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Walk Ordnance Survey©

Crown copyright. Media 082/19






up the water meadow, where deer can often be seen grazing in the distance.Follow the road for about 300 yards then take a right turn through a kissing gate down into the pasture next to the river. Dogs on leads here as r can i s ck in ds 2 The route stays within yards of the river for the next couple of miles through wide, rich grassy meadows and along meandering wooded paths. There are many a i s s si and icnic a ngs fl rs n ri r ank ri r is cr s a c ar and s fl ing here and the steam railway passes closely by on the opposite bank. 3 Between waypoints three and four the route becomes a little more adventurous with some englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

shor t steeper climbs up maintained paths as the river narrows and quickens. The riverbank has many sandy coves, inlets and islands that are great fun for children but it can be muddy when wet so wellies are advisable! As the route passes through the various an a i ns r is n in r s ing fl ra and fauna to see and keep the children interested within these well managed woods that form par t of the Dar tington Estate. 4 The forest trail exits onto the Staverton road so take care with dogs and children. Follow the road over the bridge to the South Devon Railway which runs back to Totnes from here - check website for availability southdevonrailway.co.uk  April/May 2020 | 43

Looking for a venue with breathtaking views, period charm and a dedicated events team?

ThePaigntonClub www.thepaigntonclub.co.uk 1 The Esplanade Paignton TQ4 6ED

Available for weddings and private functions Read our reviews on

Membership applications are always welcome - see website for details

Call 01803 559682 for further information or email info@thepaigntonclub.co.uk The Paignton Club, established in 1885. Perfectly placed to capture panoramic views across the bay and is open six days every week for wining, dining and relaxing.



As well as being available in good establishments throughout Torbay and Devon you can also buy online or by phone.

Call us now to place your order 01803 555004 or buy online at www.baysbrewery.co.uk 44 | April/May 2020

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Cycle Ride

Need to know

Nature Reserves & Canals S

pring is in the air, so this issue we’re going a little further afield to visit some local nature reserves by bicycle. The whole route is on well maintained paths and some short stretches of country roads so is also suitable for mobility scooters and walkers with pushchairs. For ease of parking we’re starting at Newton Abbot Town Quay at the bottom of the Brunel Industrial Estate. The route follows shared cycle paths and a section of the National Cycle Network Route 28. There’s plenty of wildlife to watch as we pass through Teignbridge Council’s Jetty Marsh nature reserve and access routes to Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) nature reserves at Teigngrace Meadow and Bovey Heathfield. If you’re going by bike then take a lock as pathways within the DWT reserves are not all suitable for cycling. Part of the route follows the disused Stover Canal which is in the process of being restored. There are interpretation boards at points along the way describing the trade that once passed along the route. Do take care on the short sections of country road along the way; although they are very quiet they are open to traffic.

Distance - 14 mile round trip Exertion - Easy Time - Allow 2 hours Terrain - Mainly gravel pathways and country lanes Dogs - Shared route for walkers and cyclists so with care Refreshments - Love Food @ the Town Quay, Brookside Café at Bovey Tracey and MT Tums at Teignbridge Lock Accessibility - robust pushchairs. An all terrain mobility scooter can be hired Parking - Newton Abbot Town Quay, Forde Road, Newton Abbot Start Postcode - TQ12 4EW

1Start your cycle at Newton Abbot Town Quay; pass the food kiosk under the railway bridge and follow the cycle path until it reaches The Avenue. Turn right and stay on the pavement routed cycle path to the end of the road and take the crossing towards B&Q. The cycle path continues on the left hand pavement. Follow the cycle path to the Jetty Marsh roundabout and carefully cross the road where marked to take what is in effect the third exit from the roundabout. 2 20 metres from the roundabout go through the gate marked Jetty Marsh Nature Reserve - listen and look out for greater spotted woodpeckers. This is the start of the shared route. Follow the route for a mile or so. You’ll pass by a wildlife spotting hide along the way. Carry on until you reach the MT Tums café and road junction at the end of this section of the route. 3 At the Junction with Exeter Road turn right and go over the hump-backed bridge and after 20 metres turn left onto the cycle route - take extra care here with c i dr n and d gs as ra c can s cana sid a rac i s n i i nis s nd r a railway bridge. There are several areas of restored canal

Barges were repaired in this graving lock (dry dock).


April/May 2020 | 45

EST D 1904

EST D 1904







Located on Babbacombe Downs, From light bites to a main meal,our the relaxed caféHotel bar and elegant restaurant Redcliffe offers everything you provides a sophisticated space to catch need for a perfect luncheon treat. upEnjoy with friends overviews coffee,from or simply the superb our sea indulge in our great selection of food view terrace overlooking the beach and drink. Hand-crafted with fresh lunch and choose from our extensive local ingredients includes time bar menu.our Onmenu Sundays a 3 course breakfasts, and traditionallunches, sundayrefined lunch isdinners available a delicious Sunday Roast. With private in our Paris Singer Restaurant, which function suites and a dedicated team, again enjoys panoramic sea views. weThe canRedcliffe create unique events for small for is also an ideal venue and alike. For bookings alllarge typesparties of functions. and enquiries, please contact our The Redcliffe reservations team.Hotel

4 Marine Drive 63 Babbacombe Downs Road Paignton TQ3 2NL Torquay TQ1 3LP 01803 526397 01803 316300 www.redcliffehotel.co.uk www.hamiltonsclub.com

Hamiltons Redcliffe Hotel

Located on Babbacombe Downs, our From light bites to a main meal, the stylish and elegant restaurant provides Redcliffe Hotel offers everything you a sophisticated space to catch up need for a perfect luncheon treat. with friends over coffee, or simply Enjoy the superb views from our sea indulge in our great selection of food view terrace overlooking the beach and drink. Hand-crafted with fresh and choose from our extensive lunch local ingredients our menu includes time bar menu. On Sundays a 3 course breakfasts, lunches, refined dinners and traditional sunday lunch is available a delicious Sunday roast. With private in our Paris Singer Restaurant, which function suites and a dedicated team, again enjoys panoramic sea views. we can create unique events for small The Redcliffe is also an ideal venue for and large parties alike. For bookings all types of functions. and enquiries, please contact our The Redcliffe Hotel reservations team.

463 Marine Drive Downs Road Babbacombe Paignton Torquay TQ3 TQ1 2NL 3LP 01803 01803526397 316300 www.redcliffehotel.co.uk www.hamiltonsclub.com

breakfasts & hearty lunches, seasonal specials, snacks & treats.


Hamiltons Redcliffe Hotel

Occombe Farm Café Family-friendly café set on an organic working farm. Famous for farmhouse breakfasts, hearty lunches, seasonal specials and Sunday roasts. Enjoy free parking, an outdoor adventure play area and why not explore the farm and walk the 2km nature trail after lunch? All profits from the café go to local charity Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust. Open daily from 9am – 4:30pm.

Occombe Farm Preston Down Road PaigntonTQ3 1RN 01803 520022 info@countryside-trust.org.uk


Consistently named one of the best independent food retailers in Devon, we’re more than just a fantastic farm shop... There’s also a fully stocked garden centre and restaurant serving great locally produced meals - we’re famous for our farmhouse breakfasts!

OpenLook 7 days a week with ample free parking out for our

Hand car wash on site - have your car washed while you shop! summer opening from 1 April: special monthly supper night menus.

Every Day 9am - 9:30pm (last orders)

call to book: 01803 856738

the family this Easter! NEW SEASON SPRING LAMB Treat Dates and menus in-cafe or on-line.From our very own Churston Farm Advance booking essential. Book online, call or email us.

www.countryside-trust/occombe/cafe farmcafe@occombe.org.uk

46 | April/May 2020 62 | February/March 2020

01803 696 255

find us at the breakwater FIND US just before CaymanTQ5 Golf Berry Head the Rd, Brixham 9AF Dartmouth Road, nr Brixham TQ5 0LL www.breakwaterbistro.co.uk FIND OUT MORE 845837 check01803 our social media for great offers! churstontraditionalfarmshop.org.uk We’re not aiming to be the ‘Worlds Best’ restaurant… ‘Just Yours’!

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Cycle Ride N

9 8 7

6 5 4

3 2 Ordnance Survey ©


Crown copyright. Media 082/14

workings on this section which are well worth a visit. 4 Turn right onto the road then immediately right onto Summer Lane, signposted for National Cycle Network is an as fl d s n as the cottages following the road as it turns right then left. 5 After another half a mile when the road bears right, turn left onto the shared path. This passes through the DWT Teigngrace Meadow Nature reserve and there are footpaths available on the left hand side of the path should you wish to explore further - look out for k arks and ar d i rfli s n in r r a i n board is sited further along the main path. Further along this section cross the footbridge over the A38. 6 Once over the bridge take the road straight on following the cycle route signposting. Again, take care on this quiet road section. 7 As the road comes to an end, pass through the gateway onto the shared path. Entrances to the DWT B a d na r r s r can acc ss d n



Nature Reserve

the left hand side of the main path. It’s a great place to look out Heath Potter wasps and common lizards. 8 After another half a mile the path comes to an end at Pottery Road roundabout on the outskirts of Bovey Tracey. You may choose to start your return journey here or take the road on the right for a short cycle down to the small town. 9 Our favourite refreshment stop sits at the junction at the bottom of the hill. The Brookside Café is particularly cyclist ri nd and as a n s c i n cak s fuel your return journey. Other cafés are available! 

April/May 2020 | 47

Grove Woods tree planting day

In 2017 hundreds of mature deciduous trees were felled in Churston’s Grove Woods on the advice of the Forestry Commission due to disease. Since that time Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust has replanted some 4,800 new trees. Work continues to increase the biodiversity of the area via local groups. Julian Rees goes along to a volunteer treeplanting session hosted by the Friends of Grove Woods to find out more.


he Friends of Grove Woods, working with TCCT volunteers and members of the Torbay Climate Change Action Group met up in Churston on a wet Sunday morning to plant a further 1,000 trees. The saplings were donated by the Woodland Trust and Volunteers for Conservation and included a variety of native deciduous tree and hedging varieties including Hornbeam, Dogwood, Hawthorn, Oak and Beech. David Durant of the friends group explained that the planting supplements 4,800 trees already replanted

in 2018 but was also part of a wider remit to increase the biodiversity of the area. Since the original felling, measurement of flora and fauna in the valley has revealed a rise in the number and diversity of many plant, insect and bird species in the valley. This planting session along with other projects carried out by the group such as clearing scrub and maintaining the central ‘ride’ and interconnecting pathways at the sides of the wood all aim to create a shared natural space with good access and the most diverse range of species possible. The same view in 2020

After the fellling in 2017

48 | April/May 2020

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Riviera Environment Sally and Elliott bo ught their boys Cody an d Ollie along to get involved in the fun !

Boyles David Durant, and Helen & Richard p Grou ds Woo e Grov from the Friends of

Julian gets stuck in!

Darren Woodland Trust rep done... it’s w ho and Jo show


Despite the rain, over twenty people turned out to get involved and planted over 250 trees! Further sessions are planned over the next few weeks...

Volunteer Rachel

Want to get involved? If you want to get involved find out more information at:

@friendsofgrovewoods ie and Lind eers Lisa, Ang




@torbayclimateaction hello@torbayclimateaction.co.uk torbayclimateaction.uk April/May 2020 | 49


Fleet Walk, 74 Fleet St, Torquay TQ2 5EB www.art-hub.co.uk (01803) 463385 collective@artizangallery.co.uk


7 Lucius Street, Torquay, TQ2 5UW www.artizangallery.co.uk (01803) 428626 info@artizangallery.co.uk







All tours during the Easter holidays include a quest and the Easter underground illuminations.







Torquay, Devon, TQ1 2JF • 01803 215136

50 | April/May 2020

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Around the Bay...

Riviera What’s On

April & May

Due to the current government advice we have temporarily suspended our normal bumper What’s On roundup. Many attractions are still open where social distancing can be achieved and some organisations are making special arrangements. This may, of course, change at any time. Keep safe and try to support local businesses where you possibly can. Here is a list of some of our local attractions that were open at the time of going to press, please check the websites before visiting (many will only take card payments):

Kents Cavern

Torquay Museum



Paignton Zoo

Babbacombe Model Village



Living Coasts

Babbacombe Cliff Railway



Cockington Court

Torquay’s Dinosaur World



Occombe Farm

Reach Outdoors


reach outdoors com except Thursda evening climbing

National Trust Greenway nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway (Gardens only – free admission)

Torquay Golf Club torquaygolfclub.co.uk

National Trust Coleton Fishacre nationaltrust org u coleton fishacre (Gardens only – free admission)

Berry Head National Nature Reserve countryside-trust.org.uk

Bygones bygones.co.uk


Further Information The following website is publishing updates – please click on the box marked Coronavirus Information on the top right of the Home Page. englishriviera.co.uk

April/May 2020 | 51


11 Manor Corner, Manor Road, Paignton, TQ3 2JB

© National Trust 2020. Registered Charity no. 205846. Photography © National Trust Images / Tony Cobley

Be inspired at the Greenway Literary Festival 8–14 June 2020 From best-selling authors to fairy tale tellers, there’s sure to be something for book lovers large and small. For tickets visit: nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway For everyone, for ever

52 | April/May 2020

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Circle Only use blue and/or white. For more details check out our Brand Guidelines.

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We bring you a roundup of arts events and workshops happening locally. Please check website or call before travelling. Latest from Torquay’s Artizan Gallery

Moments – Work of Louise Bougourd 25 April-9 May Artizan Gallery welcomes Devon-based artist Louise Bougourd to the gallery for a solo exhibition of recent works. Inspired by the coast and moorland, her work represents her response to her surroundings in an expressive bold style. She has exhibited widely both in and around the South West but also at the Mall Gallery in London with the Society for Women Artists.

Artizan Collective Gallery Exhibitions & Events

The Design Room: An Exhibition of Printmaking, Graphic Design & Urban Art 14 March-13 April 11am-5pm daily Artizan Collective is excited to present the English Riviera’s first open submission print, design and urban arts exhibition welcoming local, national and international artists to show work in Devon’s famed seaside resort. The exhibition will welcome printmakers of all mediums, traditional and digital graphic design, and urban art forms in a showcase, which will combine works presented in their raw and polished forms.

An artist preview will be hosted on 24th April 6-8 pm. The above is held at Artizan Collective Gallery at Unit 5 Fleet Walk, 74 Fleet Street Torquay TQ2 5EB For more information contact: juliebrandon@artizangallery.co.uk 07522 509642 artizan gallery.co.uk Also check out art-hub.co.uk

All That Jazz – An Open Exhibition of Poetry and Art 16 – 30 May ‘All That Jazz’ is a selective, curated show produced by Artizan Gallery and Torbay artist Becky Nuttall. Inviting reflections on the Roaring Twenties, the exhibition will reflect on the local area’s rich jazz heritage as well as a broader celebration of the era 100 years on.

An artist preview will be hosted on 15th May 6-8pm. The above are held at Artizan Gallery & Café, 7 Lucius Street, Torquay, TQ2 5UW artizan gallery.co.uk englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

April/May 2020 | 53

Treading the boards... the editor’s pick of local theatre

Editor’s Note

Please note - at the time of going to press our wonderful theatres have temporarily closed and forward dates are likely to change. Please check websites and support them when you can.

Babbacombe Theatre

babbacombe-theatre.com Editor’s pick SUPERSTARS Show runs to 21 October (Tues & Wed) Enjoy this fast-moving family variety show with lots of favourite songs from show soundtracks like Les Miserables, 9-5, Jersey Boys and The Blues Brothers plus popular songs from the superstars like Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Tony Christie, the Spice Girls and Dolly Parton. There’s also lots of side-splitting comedy and wonderfully choreographed dance routines.

Palace Theatre, Paignton

palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk Editor’s pick AGATHA CHRISTIE’S SPIDER’S WEB 9 June - July 30 Coming this Summer... One of Agatha Christie’s most successful mysteries. The wife of a Foreign Office diplomat discovers a body in the drawing-room of her house in Kent. Anxious to dispose of the body before her husband gets home with an important politician, she asks her three house guests to help. There’s plenty of hilarity when the detective arrives and they try to hide the evidence.

Little Theatre, Torquay

toadslittletheatre.co.uk Editor’s pick ALLO ALLO 3, 8 AUGUST THEN TUES, WEDS & THURS TILL 17 SEPTEMBER Enjoy TOADS performance of the beloved ‘Allo ‘Allo story of wartime resistance. Rene Artois owns a small cafe in France during World War II. While his cafe is used as a safe house for British airmen, he also runs covert operations, flirts with women and keeps his wife happy.

What’s New


at the

Little Theatre... An exciting new format for the 2020/2021 season ‘Those of you who ‘ave been paying attention’ may have noticed from our Club Membership Booking Form on the previous page that this season we will be presenting 9 Toads plays, plus the Tadpoles Youth production instead of our usual 10.

54 | April/May 2020

Our first play of the season, the wonderful ‘Allo! ‘Allo! directed by John Miles, will run from Monday 3rd to Saturday 8th August, with a matinee on Saturday, and then every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday up to and including the 17th September. This will give you plenty of opportunity to enjoy the hilarious happenings in Café René...

‘Allo!to‘Allo! To promote your business our readers email sales@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk For the rest of the seaon, Toads productions will be in the usual format and will run for a week from

By Jeremy Lloyd & David Croft Directed by John Miles AUGUST Mon 3rd / Sat 8th then every Tues, Wed, Thurs

A COMEDY All is not well at ‘Café René’. It’s 1942 in France and the ‘conquering heroes’ have disrupted the peaceful village of Nouvien to such an extent that René Artois, our genial host, doesn’t know which way to turn. Ever since the invasion, he has been forced to be nice to the occupying forces and at the same time try to keep up his standing as a patriot. René juggles to keep the peace, and fails.


Flavel Arts Centre, Dartmouth theflavel.org.uk Editor’s pick JACQUI DANKWORTH & CHARLIE WOOD 1 August

Multi award-winning vocalist, Jacqui Dankworth, is joined by acclaimed American pianist-vocalist Charlie Wood for a unique concert of duets celebrating a century of song.

Princess Theatre, Torquay

atgtickets.com/venues/princess-theatretorquay/ The Princess Theatre is currently not promoting new shows but please keep checking their website for later in the year.


April/May 2020 | 55

Mr Fox’s Garden In this issue Mr Fox reminds us never to underestimate the importance of a good garden and Mrs Fox tells us of her love of tree peonies .


he phrase “Spring has Sprung” is fast becoming a cliché that’s probably found on every gardening page up and down the country around now. I’m not going to fall into that trap; I’m going to change things up a little and say, “Spring has Sprang” now is our time. But phew…what a winter. The rain! Oops, I’m not going to mention the rain. I just want to use this page to say a big thank you to the gardeners of Torbay, I’ve noticed what you’ve been doing; everybody’s noticed; consciously or not. It’s many years since I served my apprenticeship with Oldham Council, but even back then funds were being cut from the gardening department and redirected to ‘more important’ areas. Graham, my teacher at the time, had been with the council longer than anyone could remember. Every year he carried on as the garden budget became less and less. One day, slowly shaking his head with a sad face as we helped unload our park’s quota of daffodil bulbs he said, “We won’t have enough”. A debate about the importance of a garden ensued and it ended with Graham saying, “Never underestimate the power of a good garden”. I was only young at the time and didn’t think much of it but the phrase somehow stuck with me. Nowadays I like to say it myself once or twice every couple of years, hopefully it’ll stick with someone else and inspire them too.

Gardening, it may not be at the height of excitement like the latest Netflix series; it might not be as cool as flexing your abs in the mirror down at the gym and it’s certainly not an adrenaline-filled, high-octane experience. But while most non-gardeners pass by thinking a good garden has no effect on them we all know it’s quite the contrary. I’d like to tip my hat and take a moment to say thank you to all the gardeners (professional and hobbyists), who battled on through the winter, a period of un-appreciation, diabolical weather and uncertainty. If you feel yourself losing the faith just remember that medicine, law, business and engineering are all noble pursuits and all necessary to sustain life. But gardens, beauty, romance and love are what we stay alive for. After the last strand of superfast broadband has been connected, after the last electronic gadget has been sold, we’ll still be going, making our neighbourhoods nice, underpinning society, and harnessing the almost magical powers of nature’s finest shrubs and flowers. On May the 1st and 2nd it’s The Powderham Castle Garden Show, put it in the diary, it’s not one to be missed. Hopefully see you all there but please check before travelling. Thanks again,


We are James and Catherine (Mr Fox’s Garden). We provide a garden maintenance and landscaping service around the Bay but the main part of our business is making plant supports, garden art and sculptures - and it’s all made right here on the English Riviera. After our display garden won the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Tavistock Garden Show, we can now happily say we are ‘award winning gardeners’. We’re also proud to say that this year we have pieces on permanent display at RHS Rosemoor and Buckfast Abbey.

mrfoxsgarden.com 56 | April/May 2020

Mr Fox

To promote your business to our readers email sales@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk


Tree Peonies Tree peonies are my firm favourite in the garden; I absolutely love them. The blooms can be as big as 30cm. The flowers are delicate, beautiful and have the most amazing scent. I think that their fleeting beauty makes them that much more special. The plants are very long lived, can be over 100 years and a mature specimen can have in excess of a hundred flowers. The name Peony Tree is actually a little deceiving, as they range from 3-5ft as a maximum, so more of a small shrub. There are other taller, more common varieties, which have smaller flowers, such as Paeonia lutea var. ludlowii (3m x 2m) and Paeonia Delavayi (3m x 2m) Tree peonies differ from herbaceous peonies as they do not die back in winter; they leave woody stems. Tree peonies also flower earlier than herbaceous peonies do (April -May) There is also a cross between tree peonies and herbaceous peonies, the best qualities of both types of peony combined into one plant, they are called Itoh hybrids. Itoh peonies are named after Toichi Itoh, a Japanese breeder. He made the first hybridisation in the late 1940s. Sadly he died before got to see them flower. Itoh Peonies (intersectional) are becoming very popular. There was great coverage of them at Chelsea Flower


Show last year. Intersectional peonies are generally a lot more expensive than herbaceous peonies. This is because hybridising an herbaceous and tree peony takes time. Once you’ve crossed your parent plants, it takes 3–5 years for the new plant to mature and bloom. That’s if the cross produces a pretty/different enough flower for the breeder. Then in the autumn the peony needs to be split to create more plants for a consistent crop. It usually takes 10–15 years to breed a new peony that can be released onto the market. The Tree peony was China’s national flower in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and has recently been voted back in as the national flower. A peony flower represents wealth and honour. I have specialised in growing a group of tree peonies called Gansu Mudan, they are relatively unknown, a little mysterious and slowly becoming popular. They are undemanding in their requirements and are magnificent, spectacular flowering shrubs. They are slow growing and will take 2/3 years to flower after planting. I do have a few varieties, in very limited quantities available, to buy. They have been grown from seed or division, so they are on their own roots system not grafts (unusual for tree peonies), so they are very happy, healthy and will establish a lot more quickly. Email mrfoxsgarden@hotmail.com for more information.

April/May 2020 | 57

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Social Diary

New Office Celebration Howard Mortgages and sister company Orestone Wealth Management moved into their beautiful new offices at The Old Bank Chambers on Fore Street, St Marychurch. Invited guests enjoyed drinks and canapés while celebrating the new premises.

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Our distribution teams deliver 15,000 copies of English Riviera Magazine to homes & businesses. If you don’t receive one in your area pick one up at one of the following outlets:

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Stoke Gabriel Road, Galmpton TQ5 0NH

Walks • Local Food • Heritage

Lucius Street, Torquay TQ2 5UW


October/November 2017

Meet Abbey School's

Brixham Library Artizan Gallery

• Nature • People • Events • Arts


Churston Library


& New Rowcroft CEO

MARK HAWKINS William Scoresby

Autumn 125 Activities Give It A Go!


WIN! Theatre tickets Smugglers! in our 2017

Readerthe Survey Watch wall and let the gentlemen pass views by... of Stunning autumn

Paignton & Churston



Torquay's Naval Architect


English Riviera Magazine for Residents by Residents DELIVERED FREE TO HOMES AND BUSINESSES

60 | April/May 2020


To promote your business to our readers email sales@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

Social Diary

Artizan Preview Artizan Collective held an exclusive private view of their March Contemporary Showcase at their gallery at 74 Fleet Walk in Torquay. Drinks and canapĂŠs were served and exhibiting artists included: Janet Ventre, Martin Dutton, Becky Nuttall, Elisabeth Hadley, Gesche Buecker, Jo Myerscough, Ian Watson & William Mills. South West Academician Martin Dutton and 2019 Patron of the Arts, Martin Cavanna were guest speakers.

Clockwise from top: Jacob Brandon (Artizan), Martin Dutton, Julie Brandon (Artizan) and Martin Cavanna Grace Clifford and Janet Ventre Jo Myerscough, Gesche Buecker, Bill Severn and Elisabeth Hadley Keith Richardson (Richardson Hotels) and Gordon Oliver Sarah Barrett, Cllr Nicole Amil, Alison Benney and Sandra To Elizabeth Elliott, Becky Nuttall and Anita Newcombe (English Riviera Magazine)


April/May 2020 | 61

Promote your business in the lifestyle magazine for Torbay Walks • Local Food • Heritage • Nature • People • Events • Arts





August/September 2017


Super Summer Events Meet

Illustrator Extraordinaire

Paul Barclay

Sailing Special


Give It A Go!


Snuggle up with a

Salty Sheep Riviera Heritage Dr Herbert Chilcote Brixham Battery New! Heritage Trail

Face Your Fears at Virtual Jet Centre


We visit Bays Brewery


Request our info pack anita@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk 01803 850886

Networking Lunch

Social Diary

Boyce Hatton’s Women in Torbay & Totnes (WITT) enjoyed a networking lunch at Lincombe Hall Hotel & Spa. Guest speaker was Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, who spoke about Women in Leadership. Jenny Clyburn (Francis Clark), Debra Bunclark (Handelsbanken), Donna Wynne (Donna Wynne Virtual Assistance), Talia Tucker (Francis Clark) and Laura Saunders (FC Financial Planning)

ď ° Maria Coton (Haldons Ltd), Victoria Gage (HotSW Careers Hub) and Janice Courtenay (Boyce Hatton)

Kristina Kilpatrick & Lisa Milford (both LK Lash & Beauty)

Rebecca Davies (TDA), Sharon Cox (TUFC), Kim Thornton (TDA), Alison Hernandez and Katie Cavanna (Re4orm)


April/May 2020 | 63

Message for English Riviera Magazine Readers Staff at Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Ageing Well Torbay (AWT) and Brixham Does Care are working with voluntary groups across the Bay and have set up an emergency phone line for people in need of help because of illness or isolation and also for those that are prepared to offer help. With more cases being reported daily, community leaders are concerned that self- isolators need support with day-to-day tasks such as shopping, prescription collections and dog walking. Callers to the helpline who are offering support will be asked in what way they can help and will then be asked to provide a reference so that some necessary checks can be carried out. It is then hoped to be able to help put helpers in touch with those needing help for the duration. Tracey Cabache, Community Development Manager, said: “These are extraordinary times and communities are going to have to look after their own wherever possible.

The phone line, which will be staffed 24/7, covers Torquay and Paignton.

The number is 01803 446022 Brixham Does Care can be contacted directly on 01803 857727 (Mon-Fri 9am to 4.30pm)

Please try to support our lovely local businesses as they are your friends and neighbours and do need your help at this difďŹ cult time. This will have the effect of helping our community recover in beautiful Torbay.

Keep well and look out for your neighbours!

Happy reading!

64 | April/May 2020

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BusinessBreaks... Yeti Delivery South West food delivery company, Yeti Delivery is helping local restaurants and takeaway shops stay in business through the coronavirus pandemic by offering a discounted rate to all new and existing partners who exclusively use Yeti Delivery’s delivery drivers to deliver their food. Yeti Delivery will also be providing a non-for-profit service to any new and existing partners who would like to exclusively use Yeti’s platform as an ordering tool but where the restaurants source their own delivery drivers, for example if restaurants want to use their own staff to deliver meals to customers. Partners who choose this delivery option will still get the same coverage on Yeti’s social media channels and will only be charged a standard card transaction fee and £1 per order which will go towards the ‘Help Hub’, a new initiative partnered by Yeti Delivery & local Torbay councillors to help deliver essential food & items to the elderly and vulnerable who are in isolation due to the coronavirus.   yetidelivery.com

Berry Head Hotel The Berry Head Hotel has launched a home delivery service in Brixham incorporating most dishes from their main menu – hot or cold, with no delivery charge. They can also add some essential stocks such as toilet paper, bread, milk and even light bulbs (subject to availability) plus a linen and laundry service. They are also offering a self-isolation service in a hotel bedroom for those not showing symptoms and wanting to protect themselves, with meals brought to them. Call 01803 853225   berryheadhotel.com


Churston Farm Shop Churston’s Traditional Farm Shop has extended its delivery area and is offering free home deliveries. The service is now available within Brixham, Roselands, Paignton and Preston. Minimum order £25. Call 01803 845837 and ask for Jack or Caroline.   churstontraditionalfarmshop.org.uk

Businesses Rally Round Businesses across the Bay have been implementing home delivery services so please try and support them rather than ordering via the big supermarkets where possible. Here are some that we know about but there will be more: Caterfood, Paignton 01803 664422 A wide range of food products Man Fridays, Torquay 01803 296416 Family owned restaurant Roots Greengrocer, Torquay 01803 428618 Veg, salad & fruit boxes plus basic food items Fairalls Fruit & Veg Brixham 01803 882277 A wide selection of fresh fruit & veg Ian Perkes Fish Merchants, Brixham 07985 609107 Fresh fish from Brixham Market Stefan’s Fish 01803 853957 Fresh fish from Brixham Market Taste, Brixham 07790 017766 Local wines, cheeses & chutney; can offer other food with delivery Ace Taxis Brixham 01803 882121 Will collect from local shops and deliver Cantina Paignton 01803 525377 Home delivery to TQ4 & TQ3 5-8pm

April/May 2020 | 65

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