English Riviera Magazine December 2020

Page 1

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

EnglishRiviera magazine

Dec/Jan 2020/21

Simon Akeroyd



Local Cider Maker



this Christmas!





Heritage Quiz

Test your local knowledge

Walk off Christmas

on the coast path

The russians are coming... to Torquay Museum


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

INVESTING RESPONSIBLY Helping you find solutions to turn your money into a real force for good

Global carbon emissions have fallen, according to analysis published on the Climate Action website in May 2020, while data from NASA, published by the World Economic Forum in April 2020, suggests that air quality has improved dramatically as countries around the world have taken steps to restrict activity and travel. The view that investments are measured by value alone is changing. In a world awake to the challenges of climate change, energy consumption and pollution, contemporary investing is about achieving financial wellbeing in a world worth living in. Understanding climate change risk within your portfolio is increasingly important as world policy continues to evolve. Our commitment to support you, and future generations, means helping you be conscious of the impact your investment has on climate change, as well as how carbon risk could affect your investment value. Whilst the environmental impact has been positive, an ONS report

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain, published in April 2020, highlights some of the social aspects of the outbreak. Over half of the 1581 individuals surveyed highlighted that the lockdown measures and worry of the virus affected their wellbeing. One in five also mentioned it affected their household income and a staggering 84% were worried about the effect the coronavirus was having on their life.




he consequences of the coronavirus pandemic will be profound, wide-ranging and long-lasting. So, it’s no surprise that sources of optimism, arising since the crisis unfolded, were quickly seized upon. Perhaps the most significant is the effect on our environment.


With many of us now considering the impact on the community and health of the planet in our everyday decisions, it’s no wonder that many organisations are also rethinking how they do business.

Shining the spotlight on corporate behaviours helps illustrate why businesses cannot simply be about making profits. There’s a huge awareness that the general public are more sustainable in the way they live their lives. Successful companies also think about their wider stakeholders and strive to improve employee satisfaction and community spirit – and that contributes to longterm success. You too can make a difference through the companies you invest in when it comes to your investments and savings.

As part of our distinctive approach to investment management, we carefully assess external fund managers’ attitudes to responsible investing. We review how they incorporate environmental, social, and corporate governance in their decision-making, and how their investment strategy considers climate risk. We believe what gets measured, gets managed. Reporting the carbon footprint of our St. James’s Place Portfolios allows us to identify opportunities for change. And this is just the beginning. We’ll continue aligning our St. James’s Place Portfolios with targets based on scientific developments, with the ambition of delivering you greater insight and aligning your investments with your personal ethics. The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select, and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.

Adrian Adrian Howard


Managing Director


01803 659659 / 07853 370222 • adrian.howard@sjpp.co.uk


The Old Bank Chambers, Fore Street, St Marychurch, Torquay TQ1 4PR The Partner Practice is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products. The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives.


About us...

To the December/January issue. As we finalise our popular Christmas/New Year issue we are still in Lockdown Two and expecting to emerge on December 2nd. Our coastal communities right across the Bay have been wonderful with numerous examples of residents and business owners helping and supporting each other. A revolution of kindness and local pride has come upon us and long may it last. Now is the time to get out there and buy all your festive gifts and seasonal food and drink locally. Many businesses will deliver for free. To help inspire you, we’ve created a feature focussing on the fabulous shopping experiences you can have both at Cockington Court’s Craft Centre in Torquay and also in the picturesque and wonderfully stylish independent shops in Brixham. These are only some of the choices of course – the important thing is to keep your Christmas spend, whether it be modest or extravagant, right here in the Bay. And don’t forget local businesses have online shops too! In this issue we also bring you the latest socially distanced events and exhibitions, propose a delightful winter walk, consider the garden, offer a scrummy recipe and delve into our fascinating local history with a quiz to challenge the little grey cells.

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 January 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.

d @EngRivieraMag c englishriveramag f englishriveramagazine

Have a wonderful Christmas and stay safe!

englishrivieramagazine.co.uk If you would like to ADVERTISE your business in English Riviera Magazine Call 01803 850886 or email sales@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Walks • Local Food • Heritage • Nature • People • Events • Arts

EnglishRiviera June/July 2019


A Sailing Adventure with




Wilfred Owen's

Torquay Vacation A Lifetime in Art



Give It A Go!


Debbie MacPherson Fashioning Leather

Vistas & Views on the coastpath

Occombe & Paignton Harbour

Armchair Twitcher

Feathered friends in your garden

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


December/January 2020/21 | 3

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Retirement Planning • Savings & Investments • Inheritance Tax Planning ATC Tax is the trading name of Arlo Tax Consultants Ltd. Registered in England No: 12484262 Registered office: First Floor, Cockington Court, Cockington, Torquay TQ2 6XA The Arlo Group UK Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 208467.

In this issue | December/January 20/21 7 Openers Local news snippets

12 Edgar Wallace One of Britain’s most successful writers


Shop Local this Christmas

14 John Nutt Pirate King of Torbay

16 Torquay, Built on Seven Hills? Kevin Dixon mulls over the evidence

19 Secret Soviet Mapping of Torbay The Russians at Torquay Museum

20 Meeting Simon Akeroyd Sparkling Cider at Cockington Court

25 Shop Local This Christmas Treat yourself and your loved ones

35 Festive Feasting From around the bay

36 A Winter Walk Victorian gardens and lookouts

39 Heritage Quiz Test your historical knowledge

40 What’s On Our pick of local events

44 Arts Roundup Art exhibitions and events

47 Gardening The wonder of trees

19 The Russians are coming...



14 The Pirate King of Torbay englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

44 Arts Roundup December/January 2020/21 | 5



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Torquay Museum 175th

Coast & Country Cottages Coast & Country Cottages is recruiting new properties to meet demand. The South Devon based business is looking to work with new holiday homeowners following a surge in enquiries and bookings from customers planning to visit the region. With demand for destinations such as Brixham and Kingswear currently


very high, the agency has recently recruited a number of new properties, including their first in Brixham, Blue Buoy Cottage. This stylish property overlooking the marina and sleeping six people is already proving a popular choice for 2021. Coast & Country Cottages’ expansion into new areas comes following two of the busiest years on record for the agency, with consistent growth in bookings and revenue for owners. Despite government travel restrictions, a number of properties secured over 30 bookings for 2020, with record advanced bookings for 2021 and 2022. To find out more about letting your holiday home with Coast & Country Cottages, please call Rachel Farley on 01803 227990 (option 3) or visit coastandcountry.co.uk. 

Famous Devon Figures Book

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Torquay Museum has turned 175, a grand age for a grand and wonderful piece of the Bay’s heritage with its exciting exhibitions and fascinating collections. An anniversary exhibition is planned for 2021, having been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund some of Torquay Museum’s hidden treasures will be coming out of storage to go on display. It may be an eclectic mix as residents have been busy choosing many of the objects that will mark the occasion. About 100 have already been chosen and there is still a chance for local people to help choose the remaining 75. Clare Howe, Project Curator explains, “Social distancing has made it more difficult for us to welcome the public into the museum stores as they are designed for storage and so don’t have much open space. To overcome this, we are hoping people will engage with the project virtually,” If you would like to get involved or know more please e-mail clare.howe@torquaymuseum.org or call 01803 293975. 

This fascinating T O R B AY C I V I C S O C I E T Y book contains 60 short biographies of famous and DEVON influential people FIGURES VOLUME II past and present, who have strong associations with Torbay and Devon. Packed with intriguing detail, amusing Compiled by Ian L. Handford anecdotes and illuminating insight, your eyes will be opened to the sometimes strange and wonderful lives these big personalities lived. The extraordinary inventors, beloved entertainers, passionate politicians, TV stars, poets and writers, capricious clergy and many more people who loved Torbay and Devon will astound and delight you. Written and compiled by Ian Handford of Torbay Civic Society this high quality book is a followup to his popular earlier collection. If you’ve enjoyed reading our local heritage articles in English Riviera Magazine, you’ll love this new book, which also makes the perfect festive gift. Famous Devon Figures can be ordered online and costs £12.99 plus £5 postage and packing. Visit englishrivieramagazine.co.uk to order your copy. 


60 short biographies of famous figures, past and present, associated with Devon

Published by Devon Magazine Company Ltd

December/January 2020/21 | 7

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

Supported Housing for Independent People


Sheltered Housing for Independent People over 55

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 happy 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 the 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 arge 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 the 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 are by,and so it iseasy nice and easyand to goexplore. and explore. lose by, so it isclose nice to go provided for residents to have in their rooms. provided for residents to 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, so nd support and without dignity. losing their independence telephone lineno which the residents, there are billsis necessary to worryforabout, other than a BT 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 residents 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. The houses have a communal house has a small and friendly committed aundry, 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: www.abbeyfield.com

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

Families, Foodies & Farm-Lovers Rejoice!

Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust’s £2 million pound plan to regenerate Occombe Farm and create a major new attraction is now well underway. The refurbishment and extension of Occombe Farm Café completed the first phase and funding is now in place to begin work on phase two. The new project at Occombe Farm will be a big boost for the Bay with a big new farm shop with lots of lovely local and regional produce. The extended building will also provide Occombe Farm Café with a new, much larger terrace above with space for 80 extra covers. There will be a huge indoor play barn created using natural materials and with a farm and country theme. Working with local natural play specialists, Earth Wrights, of Dartington, Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust will deliver a new experience for children, based on exploration, nature and discovery. A giant ‘Jumping Pillow’ will be installed in the outdoor play area. Designed in Denmark this innovative and safe feature is expected to offer fun for all ages. A self-guided trail will take in the Animal Experience Barn (animal handling and feeding) and the Rare Breeds a cleaner Trail with animal paddocks, outdoor play features and

fun interactive activities for children. There will be a children’s party room available and good quality babychanging facilities. A huge emphasis will be placed on making the new Occombe attraction accessible, engaging and inclusive for all. The trails have been designed with low gradients to accommodate wheelchair-users, with a plan to incorporate sensory and accessible play features throughout. The project is expected to create up to 60 new full and part-time jobs. Whilst there is still a shortfall in finances for the ambitious new project, Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust is confident that with continued fundraising, the project can be fully delivered by next summer. Occombe’s redevelopment is being funded through a combination of loan finance, provided by Torbay Council via the Economic Growth Fund, a grant from Garfield Weston Foundation, several legacies and donations and Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust’s own funds. It is hoped that local community support will help raise the last £10,000 to finance delivery of the whole project. A project leaflet is available on the website link below or email info@countryside-trust.org.uk   countryside-trust.org.uk/occombe-farm-plans/

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December/January 2020/21 | 9

Coffinswell £650,000 Freehold Capturing the essence of village living, the property offers a delightful thatched cottage, its gardens and grounds complementing its semi-rural setting. Recently re-thatched, its presentation enhances its character features, with 2 reception rooms, kitchen, ground floor shower room, utility, 2 bedrooms, en-suite shower room and en-suite cloakroom. The gardens are a particular feature and incorporate a separate studio and office, garden store and greenhouse. 2 separate garages. EPC Rating – F


ds es, nd ce, es. F


£875,000 Freehold The property offers a beautifully appointed coastal home with distinctive design elements. The accommodation has a hall, lounge, open plan kitchen/dining room, 2 ground floor bedrooms, en-suite shower room, shower room, utility, to the first floor the main bedroom has a dressing room and en-suite, guest bedroom and en-suite. Landscaped gardens, single garage. EPC Rating – D


£800,000 Freehold With contemporary style, the property offers an elegant home capturing views looking into Tor Bay. The accommodation has an open plan living area incorporating a kitchen, dining area, lounge, foyer to the kitchen, cloakroom and laundry, shower room, 3 bedrooms, en-suite bathroom/shower, office space. Landscaped garden, double garage. EPC Rating – C

01803 296500 • mail@johncouch.co.uk 43 Ilsham Road • Wellswood • Torquay • TQ1 2JG


EDGAR WALLACE Born illegitimate and left on the street, Dick Freeman (later Edgar Wallace) became one of Britain’s most successful writers and often visited Torquay. Torbay Civic Society Chairman, Ian Handford tells us more.


luck, the typist in Cape Town sent one of his despatches dgar Wallace was initially born in Fishgate to the Daily Mail in London. He was later contacted December 1875 to Marie Richards (Polly) by Lord Northcliffe and became the paper’s overseas and Richard Horatio Edgar. Illegitimate and left correspondent. Miss Ivy Caldecott, typist and daughter abandoned on its ninth day of life, the baby was found of a Wesleyan Missionary, would be rewarded for her by a Billingsgate fish-porter and taken home to 7, action, as in April 1901 she married not now Dick, but Ashburnham Grove, Greenwich, where the resident Edgar Wallace. family of ten then named it Dick Freeman. On returning to London Wallace found he was An affectionate but impudent child, as a teenager involved in a £50,000 Daily Mail lawsuit, after a false Dick joined a firm of printers before selling newspapers claim of a mutiny. Then a second legal action occurred, on the street and working in a shoe shop. Later he tried and this time he was sacked. It was a career turning his luck at sea on a trawler. Familiarity with his adopted point because it led to him publishing his first adventure Billingsgate and Old Kent Road area was a great help story The Four Just Men in to Dick when he became He now realised that his career 1905. The public adored Wallace (a name he made would be to write and he spent over it and it became an instant up) the compulsive writer. 20 years producing 150 adventure success. He now realised With his formal education that his career would be ceasing at twelve, he forever and crime books plus 17 plays to write and he spent over thereafter carried a pocket 20 years producing 150 adventure and crime books dictionary, which he studied every day. plus 17 plays. He also wrote scripts for Hollywood Wallace enlisted in the Royal West Kent Regiment and, his daughter-in-law the biographer Margaret and during the 1890s having joined the Medical Staff Lane said, “He always ensured his public got suspense, Corps he went to South Africa where he became a action and excitement, humanised by a deft touch in contributor to the Cape Journals. He adopted what he characterisation and easy humour.” One series of stories called a ‘Kipling style’ of writing. Later his poems were was set in West Africa and included: Sanders of the published as collected works in The Mission that Failed River (1911), Bones (1915) and The Clue of the Twisted and Writ in Barracks. Candle (1916). Discharged from the Army in 1899, he became a He visited Torquay, leasing The Grove on Babbacombe journalist with Reuters, acting as second correspondent to Lord Methuen’s Western Division. Now by a stroke of Beach Road (now Babbacombe Cliff Hotel). For three

12 | December/January 2020/21

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Riviera Heritage months he welcomed a succession of visitors including: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Oscar Wilde, John Ruskin, the composer Fred Clay and Rosina Vokes agent for Gilbert and Sullivan. He also befriended the postman Mr Varnham, a follower of Rudyard Kipling, who was Wallace’s hero. It seems Kipling had been instrumental in helping the still-budding author. Having learned Varnham was a fisherman, Wallace nurtured the friendship and the postman later confirmed Wallace was, “a very affable, unassuming man, living a free-and-easy life, and I found that he had an amazing thirst for knowledge.” He continued, As soon as he heard of my dual capacity he wanted to know everything about fishing, from mackerel to fishing for whales - we would yarn for hours.” The postman also said “With regard to the literary value of his work, Edgar Wallace considered himself a commercialist, who gave a certain public what they were willing to pay for.” He also put the ‘mythical black cigarette holder’ rumours right, as he actually saw it used as Wallace dictated to his secretary. Once, when Wallace returned to Torquay, he acquainted himself with resident Greville Page. Mr Page’s heirs cherished that connection, and after the author’s death they found he had dedicated The Clue of the New Pin to Greville. Page also left his thoughts about Wallace saying, “His great weakness was for cigarettes and weak tea and at intervals of half an hour or so, a servant would bring him a large cup of tea which was so weak, it was little more than diluted water”. Books and dramas poured from Wallace Edgar’s pen, some produced in as little as four days. By the early


thirties he was earning over £50 thousand per annum, an astonishing sum for a man only educated until age twelve. His characters had little depth yet his main detective J G Reeder appealed to thousands of followers. But as Wallace confirmed, his aim was not to instruct or uplift, merely to entertain and make money - a task he did very well without any mention of sex, a subject he always avoided. Wallace often stayed at the Palace Hotel Babbacombe Road (now demolished) and Greville Page made regular visits. Yet it was at his Haymarket office where Page witnessed a most interesting incident. Wallace’s permanent stenographer, Bob Curtis (who held the world record for stenography) wanted a new manuscript, at which Wallace simply produced one from a drawer. It seems, said Page, “stories of all different types and suitable for all sorts of publications were systematically filed in advance”, ready instantly on request - “he would sit at his dictaphone for hours on end and tell those ingenious stories which would eventually be read by thousands”. Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace died in Hollywood aged fifty-seven, while writing King Kong. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and diabetes mellitus, induced by a habit of working in superheated environments while drinking copious quantities of heavily sweetened tea. His second wife Violet (another typist) was left with four children and huge debt. It was ironic that her husband died impoverished. However, fortunately royalties cleared the £150,000 debt within two years and thereafter dividends flowed.   torbaycivicsociety.co.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 13

John Nutt

Pirate King of Torbay For centuries pirates plagued Torbay. What isn’t well known is that, on occasion, the pirates were actually from the Bay. Kevin Dixon takes up the story.


hile we usually don’t know that much about the captains of these predatory ships, we do know of one notorious Torbay-based pirate. This was John Nutt who operated from his headquarters in the Bay during the early seventeenth century. Born in Lympstone, near Exmouth, John Nutt arrived in Newfoundland as a gunner on a Dartmouth ship around 1620. And it was in North America during the summer of 1621 that John Nutt turned pirate. He organised a crew and seized a small French fishing boat, a Plymouth ship and a ‘Fleming’ vessel of 200 tons. He then offered his services to protect French and English settlements, including the Colony of Avalon, at the time under the leadership of George Calvert. This association with George would later pay dividend. John continued to raid shipping both in the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Irish Sea before returning to England, setting up a pirate base in Torbay. By the latter years of the sixteenth century, piracy had 14 | December/January 2020/21

become much more profitable due to opportunities in the New World and to a general growth in European trade. The need to build larger ships to cross the Atlantic meant that there were more enticing cargos, and so the average prize increased. John was able to take anything up to 10 or 12 vessels a week. This allowed such pirate-captains to acquire more formidable vessels, offer bigger bribes, and pay large sums for pardons. John could also pay regular wages and commissions, which offered employment to workless sailors, and he even managed to lure seasoned sailors away from the Royal Navy. Piracy meant that acquired goods could be sold cheaply and supplies purchased from the traders of the Bay, so developing the local economy. Accordingly, we hear that John was supported by Devon folk who provided the pirates with all necessities. It was reported that, “The pirate had been lately in the habit of making his retreat at Torbay, near which he had a wife and children, and of occasionally landing there.”

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Riviera Heritage This lawlessness became a real problem for the authorities as John became, “too strong for capture. Mayors and municipalities of seaports and harbours, poured in upon the council complaints of his outrages; of his laughing from his safe retreat at Torbay at the attempts to make seizure of him; of his impudently wearing the

John was able to take anything up to 10 or 12 vessels a week. This allowed such pirate-captains to acquire more formidable vessels, offer bigger bribes, and pay large sums for pardons

& my associates courtesies in a plantation which we have very clothes of the men he had plundered; of his bragging begun in Newfoundland, by defending us from others of the pardons he had received”. that might have done us wrong.” Of course, this freebooting couldn’t be allowed to The whole affair caused a scandal in the English court. continue, so Vice Admiral of Devon John Eliot was John was released and received £100 as compensation, tasked with apprehending John. Yet, the Pirate King had around £25,000 today. Meanwhile Eliot, in a complete been successfully evading capture for years and, “was too role reversal, was accused of betrayal and imprisoned in strong for the vice-admiral. Riding in a place that could Southwark’s notorious Marshalsea prison for four months. not be commanded, and landing in great force when at After receiving his pardon, John appears initially to any time he came ashore, he laughed at the endeavours have remained within the law. As master of various ships, to seize him.” he even received government licenses, called letters of Still, over time, it appears as though John either had marque, to attack vessels during the war with France. become aware of the closing net, or was just tired of his On the other hand, by 1632 there were fears that John life of crime. In May 1623, John was “in his third year” might join his brother, another notorious of piracy when he wrote to Eliot from buccaneer, Lundy-based Captain Robert his “man-of-war” based in Torbay. He Nutt. Robert had defied the efforts of requested a royal pardon. several men-of-war to capture him. To Riding from Plymouth in order to solve this particular pirate problem, negotiate his surrender, Eliot visited the King pardoned Robert Nutt and John’s ship in the Bay and found him commissioned John to deliver the moored beside a captured Colchester pardon. vessel, which still contained a valuable What we do know is that John did cargo of sugar and timber. Eliot return to his old buccaneering profession. showed John a pardon - however, by In 1632 he was working with a this time the pardon was out of date. 27-strong Moorish pirate squadron in Not aware of this subterfuge, John Irish waters. While there, he chased away agreed and offered a £500 bond, around three men-of-war and took a vessel laden £125,000 today. Both the Colchester with Lord Wentworth’s baggage and plate. vessel and John’s own were to be kept The authorities felt suitably betrayed, in Dartmouth harbour as security. These Vice Admiral of Devon John Eliot “The successful villain repaid during those terms were settled in the pirate’s cabin, nine years, by a series of such humiliations as this, the “over a flask of wine”. royal favour and state protection which alone saved him However, once back on English soil, John was arrested from the gallows Eliot had built for him. He has become, by Eliot and imprisoned, tried and convicted for piracy. at length, incomparably the greatest nuisance in his Royal orders then came to Eliot to press John’s crew into majesty’s dominions.” the Royal Navy. John, however, became aware of this, We don’t hear much more of John Nutt’s escapades. warned his sailors and hundreds of them fled to safety in That he wasn’t captured or hanged suggests that he and Newfoundland. his family quietly retired somewhere to live off their pirate Was Eliot doing his duty and legitimately setting a trap for a notorious criminal; or was he acting dishonestly with booty. Perhaps that was in his old haunt of Torbay and his descendants live amongst us still.  his eye on the £500 bond and the Colchester ship? englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 15

PHOTO © : Plymouth City Council: Museum and Art Gallery

Whatever the truth, John was about to be hanged when his powerful protector and old friend, Secretary of State Sir George Calvert, later Lord Baltimore, intervened. Calvert stated that he had already granted John one pardon and would be glad to secure him another. He was, “grateful to a poor man that hath been ready to do me


Built on Seven Hills? The English Riviera’s tourism website comments that Torquay’s, “famous seven hills provide the backdrop to a waterfront scene”. But was it really built on seven hills? Kevin Dixon mulls over the evidence.


he idea of seven hills has been eagerly adopted locally and we have the Lodge of the Seven Hills Masonic Temple, founded in 1949, and the Seven Hills Amateur Boxing Club. So, are there seven hills, and was Torquay built on them? Sadly, this is another one of those Edwardian myths. First of all, there isn’t a definitive list, though the following have been suggested: Westhill, Barton Hill, Daccombe Hill, Sherwell Hill, Sheddon Hill, Stentiford Hill & Braddons Hill.

16 | December/January 2020/21

Some of these candidates are quite unlikely. Daccombe is a very long way from the original rural communities of Torre and the Strand while Shedden Hill was only named in the 1850s. We’re not even sure of the actual number of hills. AJ Jukes-Browne in 1907 in ‘The Hills and Valleys of Torquay’ identified eight: “It was the boast of ancient Rome that the city stood on seven hills, but in this respect Torquay can claim still

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Riviera Heritage greater distinction, for our town spreads over no fewer than Shedden Hill just the lower slope of Waldon Hill? It’s also notable that the number seven has special eight hills, some of which are higher than those of Rome. significance in the Christian tradition: the seven days of On the southern front, presenting bold precipices to the Creation; God rested on and sanctified the seventh day bay, are three fine hills: Waldon Hill, rising above the well (Sabbath); Noah is commanded to bring seven pairs of known ‘Rock Walk’ to a height of 200 feet above the sea; every clean animal onto the ark; seven days of the feast Vane Hill and its prolongation into Daddy Hole Plain, of Passover. As a new town with a high degree of self which are both more than 200 feet high; lastly the wooded importance, an imperial mission, and an Anglican elite, and winding slopes of Lincombe Hill with its central ridge seven hills just seemed appropriate. which reaches an elevation of 400 feet above the sea. North And so while we can’t really claim to be built on of the last is the long ridge of Warberry Hill, the summit of seven hills, there is a link which is the crowning height to another place and of Torquay (448 feet), and Anglo-Saxon ‘Torquay’ began from it descend the western underneath a craggy tor and then prophesy. During the spurs which are known as the spread over the next thousand years 1880s a mysterious group calling itself ‘The Order Braddons Hill and Stentiford to encompass other hills. We just of the Temple’ occupied Hill. Beyond these, to the stopped counting when we got to ‘Cloudlands’, a house in North-West, are the smaller a nice number... Torquay’s Chelston. Their eminences of Castle Hill and leader was the Spiritualist Countess Marie Borel. The Torre Hill. These are the eight central hills.” Countess believed that her adopted son, Prince Baptiste Well, ‘Torquay’ certainly wasn’t originally built on seven St John Borel, also known as ‘Mr Northlew’, had special hills as there wasn’t a Torquay. The manor was recorded in powers. She also understood herself to be the “woman 1086 as Torra, the name deriving from the Old English clothed with the sun” who was to “bear the child to rule Torr, a rocky hill. It’s also generally accepted that the ‘tor’ the world with a rod of iron”. in Torbay refers to the distant hills of Dartmoor. Torrebay This is a reference to the ‘Woman of the Apocalypse’, a is not recorded before 1401 and ‘bay’ is a Norman word. figure from the Bible’s Book of Revelation, which describes The suggestion is that the Bay was named by seafarers to in lurid detail the end of the world. It was written in about differentiate the hills from those of Dorset. Torquay is AD 95. In the Bible the woman gives birth to a male child now built on hills but is a relatively modern town. The who is threatened by Satan. When the child is taken to first mention of the name ‘Torquay’ seems to come from heaven, the woman flees into the wilderness leading to a the execution of Catholic martyr Cuthbert Mayne in ‘War in Heaven’ in which God’s angels eventually triumph. 1577 when instructions were given for a “quarter” of his Satan takes his revenge on the woman and, in the body to be put on a pole at an obscure place called form of a dragon, initiates war on “the remnant “Torquay”. of her seed”, identified as the righteous So why seven hills? It was largely due to followers of Christ. prestige and the Victorian and Edwardian Revelation says, “I saw a woman sit enthusiasm for all things classical. The upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of title ‘City of Seven Hills’ usually refers names of blasphemy, having seven to Rome. But, since Rome was founded heads. And the woman was arrayed in many cities have claimed to be built on purple and scarlet colour, and decked seven hills, including Bristol, Brussels, with gold and precious stones and Bath, Madrid, Constantinople, pearls, having a golden cup in her hand Washington DC, Cincinnati, San full of abominations and filthiness of her Francisco Seattle, Mumbai, Barcelona, fornication. The seven heads are seven Liverpool, Brisbane etc. St Cuthbert Mayne hills, on which the woman sitteth.” What usually happened is that a We don’t know whether the defensive site begins on a hill and then, countess was attracted to Torquay because of the seven as a town spreads, it takes in other hills – Anglo-Saxon hills myth and after a few months of activity we hear ‘Torquay’ began underneath a craggy tor and then spread nothing more of her or the prince. On the other hand, over the next thousand years to encompass other hills. We the Bible does say the end of the world would begin in a just stopped counting when we got to a nice number. And place with seven hills...  we didn’t even have a good definition of what a hill is. Isn’t


December/January 2020/21 | 17

The Secret Soviet Mapping of Torbay

Riviera Out & About

During the Cold War the Soviet Union used spy satellites, reconnaissance aircraft and spies to draw up astonishingly detailed invasion maps. One of the locations secretly mapped was our very own Torbay.


he Russians are Coming!’ at Torquay Museum is a fascinating exhibition that reveals the breathtaking and rather sinister extent of Russian Cold War interest in Torbay. Was a British invasion planned? Did the Russians think the time was ripe for a Communist takeover? Why not visit the exhibition and find out what the Soviets were really up to in the 1970s? It’s an age often remembered in Britain for economic decline, power cuts and high inflation but was still comparatively wealthy with the advent of colour TV, foreign holidays and Punk Rock. The level of detail on these painstakingly researched and carefully drawn Soviet maps was extraordinary with even the height of pavements logged. The Russian maps emphasised the ability to move around the terrain with


road and rail infrastructure plus navigable rivers all marked. Churches were only included if they possessed a spire that could be used for navigation. The Soviets even created models of buildings and houses to assist their officers with identification. This level of detail shown on the maps was of course useful for spies and policy makers, diplomats, invading armies and potentially occupiers. Was an invasion in mind? ‘The Russians are Coming!’ explores the possibilities raised by this top secret mapping programme, which must have been hugely expensive and would no doubt have some specific objective in mind. Sift through the clues in this amazing exhibition and decide for yourself.   torquaymuseum.org

December/January 2020/21 | 19

Fine Sparkling Cider at Cockington Court

with Simon Akeroyd Simon Akeroyd took over the well-established Yarde Cider a few years ago and his awardwinning sparkling drinks are now on sale at Cockington Court. Anita Newcombe pops by.


’m visiting Cockington Court to see the craft cider studio where many of the cider-making processes can be viewed. The Yarde of Cockington studio complements the work that takes place at Yarde’s Stoke Gabriel cider house, which is not open to the public. When Simon and his wife Annabel bought the business they decided to focus on high-end ciders and other sparkling tipples. He tells me, “It was serendipity – I was out kayaking with a friend and I mentioned that it was my dream to own a cider farm – he told me that Yarde was for sale and I didn’t hesitate.” Simon is a man who really knows about apples, having spent his school holidays among the cider orchards of France at his father’s farmhouse in Normandy. He then worked on various vineyards and fruit farms in France,

20 | December/January 2020/21

and also cared for over 1000 different apple varieties at RHS Garden Wisley. His career encompassed working as Garden Manager for the Royal Horticultural Society and the National Trust. Later he spent a few years as a BBC horticultural researcher and producer, working on projects like Chelsea Flower Show and Gardener’s World. He is an author who has published 23 gardening books, including specialist guides on pruning and fruit growing. Who could possibly be better prepared to create the finest ciders? As I arrive at Cockington Court, Simon is busy with some customers who are purchasing bottles of his very special, fine sparkling cider. This is no ordinary cider. Firstly unlike many pub ciders, it is 100% fermented apple cider from apples hand picked in local orchards and pressed traditionally.

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Riviera People

The first fermentation takes place using wild yeast on the apple skins. They are then placed in bottles and champagne yeast is added for a second fermentation (Méthode Traditionelle). Only rare local apples like the Paignton Marigold and the Bickington Grey are used. Then after a year, the bottles are turned daily for 6 weeks, in the traditional method that the French use to make Champagne. You can see this happen at Yarde of Cockington - during the process Simon is turning up to 1000 bottles daily. The bottles are placed in French oak pupitres at an angle with the necks pointing towards the ground. The ‘turning’ shakes the sediment into the neck in a procedure called ‘riddling’. englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 21

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Riviera People Whilst the French have always claimed that Dom Perignon discovered how to make bubbly in 1697, British physician and scientist Christopher Merrett had already documented a method of adding the sparkle to sparkling wine within a paper to the Royal Society in 1662. Stronger bottles had to be developed to stop them exploding. The next bit of the process is tricky; it’s called disgorging. The neck of the bottle is frozen, trapping the sediment in the ice block. The cider-maker takes the cap off the bottle and the sediment ice block shoots out. Simon tells me, “It can fly out like a bullet.” Now here’s the best part – the bottle is now topped up with a ‘dosage’ including a small amount of apple brandy – just enough to give a wonderful richness of flavour before the bottle is corked, foiled, caged and labelled. Simon tells me that the caging machine is really expensive – he uses it to compress and insert the cork before adding the foil and cage – a time-consuming, hand finished process. This is definitely a celebratory cider, ideal as a festive tipple; it sells right across Devon and is popular in places like London and Surrey. Simon explains that a good quality cider should always carry the year it was produced and Yarde’s should be good for 10 years if the bottles are stored properly. Simon is very keen on rewilding orchards, collecting apples from orchards that are distinctly wild and believing in minimal intervention when growing apple trees. He also loves to see wildflowers growing in orchards to attract pollinators and other wildlife. He says, “Apple trees are wonderful things – plant an apple tree in your garden and it will support birds (including mistle thrush), bugs and wildlife. It doesn’t matter if the apples aren’t picked, the tree is a great asset to the environment and helps reduce CO2).” In addition to the Yarde Fine Sparkling Cider, Simon produces Sparkling Wild Elderflower Wine as part of his Rewilding Range. There is also Sparkling Pink Elderflower Wine, which is hugely popular and perfect for a special occasion, Sparkling Wild Nettle Wine, Sparkling Wild Dandelion Wine and Sparkling Blackberry & Apple Wine. He’s done some interesting experiments with Ali Marshall Head Gardener at Torre Abbey and, during the first lockdown, produced a wine from a purple elderflower. He has also created a Sparkling Wild Rose Petal Wine from Torre Abbey rose bushes and is now considering trying a hibiscus wine. For these wines, Simon uses a giant kettle englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

to heat up water to which is added cane sugar, yeast and lots of squeezed lemons. This is stirred with a paddle then infused with the flowers they are using. The infusion process usually takes a few days and is finished when the taste seems right. When Simon was growing up his Mum had a catering business preparing homemade jams and chutneys. He says, “When I was home from boarding school the house always smelled amazing.” He also regularly visited his Dad in Normandy and helped sell cider from the garden gate. Simon’s hopes for the future of Yarde Cider are to grow the business and to continue elevating the process to a higher level. He wants to encourage people to try fine ciders. He says, “ There’s a big movement for real cider and not the watered-down drinks you often get – this would never be allowed in the wine industry.” His other mission is to encourage more people to grow apple trees in their gardens and to sow apple seeds. He tells me of Johnny Appleseed, the 18th century American pioneer nurseryman who travelled across America sowing apple seeds. He says, “The US has amazing diversity because of it. This is something we can all do.” In addition to his work at Yarde, Simon is currently writing his latest book called 50 Ways to Outsmart a Squirrel (and Other Garden Pests). Last year he completed four books; the Royal Horticultural Society or the National Trust often commissions this work. His ‘Perfect’ series includes: Perfect Compost, Perfect Pruning and Perfect Lawns. Why not give a Yarde Cider a try this festive season? Pop in and see Simon and Annabel and watch them at work at their Cockington Court cider craft studio. If you don’t like bubbles, then Yarde also produces a delicious still Devon ‘Real Cider’ similar to scrumpy and made from local orchards. You can also buy online. Don’t forget that there are lots of other makers at Cockington Court with a huge range of hand-made products on offer. You’ll be able to meet the artisans and watch beautiful pieces being made in front of your eyes. You can also enjoy a fabulous walk in the country park and some tasty treats in the Seven Dials Café. You can park at Cockington Court for just £1 a day on 5 & 6 and 12 & 13 December. More details on the following pages.   yardecider.co.uk December/January 2020/21 | 23

Perfect gift ideas for Christmas

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ocal & Treat Yourself

Christmas Shopping

on Court Craft Centre

ping local is vitally important this year; small independent businesses will be relying ow how fabulous our local shops and makers really are? Why not pop into Cockington check out the incredible array of hand-made goods? It’s a shopping paradise!

Janet Ventre Mosaic

Driftmoods – The Slate Shop

MooBoo Home – Interior Lighting & Design

Rex Latham Blacksmith

Janet’s magnificent mosaics are colourful, fun and uplifting with spectacular jewel colours (although soft greys are rather popular too). The beautiful pieces you’ll see in this lovely studio include mirrors, mosaic pictures, house signs, coasters and pendants. It’s so intriguing to browse and find the perfect gift although you’ll definitely want something for yourself too. You can commission a special piece and Janet’s mosaic pictures have included nursery scenes from the Gingerbread House to the Big Bad Wolf, sailing scenes, floral gardens and brightly coloured birds. The statement-piece mirrors range from large to tiny to suit every home and every budget. You’ll have trouble tearing yourself away!  janetventre.wixsite.com/mosaic

MooBoo is a family business run by Nic and Andy; their lighting and home wares are inspired by beautiful timber and ceramics. If you’re looking to create a little ambience in your home and find some distinctive gifts then you’ll definitely love it here. Funky lamps, striking chandeliers, wine racks, bottle openers, coat hooks, bathroom items and lots more are available and they also make bespoke furniture and gifts. If you’ve got an idea, they will make it for you. Much of their wood is reclaimed from timber recycling projects and they adore old and historic timbers. A feel-good experience and great fun to browse.  mooboohome.co.uk


This family business run by Craig and Lynn offers a treasure trove of handmade slate gifts and home accessories. You can choose from traditionally rustic Cornish slate, natural slate (which is black) and their unique Fused slate collection with its different colours and beautiful, shimmering appearance. Festive gift ideas abound with slate clocks, tableware such as placemats and coasters, chalkboards, cheeseboards, food stands, serving trays, ikebana vases, mirrors and slate house signs. The Cornish slate collection has been reclaimed from farms, barns and homes and has a characteristic colouration created by its high iron ore content and a century of exposure to the elements. Special indeed!  driftmoods.co.uk

It’s always a treat to stop by the glowing forge where Rex Latham and his daughter Katie practise their traditional trade. The light is ‘dimpsy’ or subdued so that the blacksmiths can ascertain the temperature of the work by its colour and ‘strike while the iron’s hot’. Pop into the forge shop where you can buy glorious handforged products for yourself, or as festive offerings. You’ll be spoilt for choice with boot stands, beautifully worked pokers, paper knives, BBQ & champagne butlers, log baskets, coat hooks, candle holders, stunning ornaments and many other tempting items. Rex and Katie also specialise in restoration, conservation and bespoke and contemporary commissions. Just superb!  rexlathamblacksmith.co.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 25

Enjoy Winter Wonders at Torbay’s magical Cockington Court. Why not pay us a visit in December and January? We’re open every day from 10 til 5pm and we have plenty to enjoy throughout the winter! You don’t want to miss the Desire exhibition – perfect gifts for your home, family and friends. Select unique gifts from hundreds of stunning, local, handmade items from our galleries and craft makers’ studios. You will find jewellery, leather bags, mosaic mirrors, hand-blown glass, celebration cakes, fine sparkling cider and much more. We look forward to helping you find something unique to treasure. Cockington Court – Centre of Creativity, Cockington, Torquay. TQ2 6XA Tel: 01803 607230 @Cockington Court @CockingtonC

26 | December/January 2020/21

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Christmas Shopping

Isabella Day – English Artist Goldsmith

You’ll find some truly divine and unusual handmade jewellery gifts in gorgeous precious metals including rose gold, peach gold, yellow gold and white gold at Isabella Day’s studio at Cockington Court. We love her wonderful star chart bracelets, pendants and rings that show the position of the stars on a memorable date personal to you. Many of the pieces are set with beautiful gems and Isabella specialises in making her own high quality gold alloys. She and her team also make stunning bespoke creations and remodelled items. If you just want to be inspired or have an idea for a special item, don’t miss this delightful place.  isabelladay.co.uk

endless with Claire Austin England making bridal accessories and jewellery, Dandelions and Pearls offering bespoke vintage-inspired clothing, Gaff Interiors & Upholstery showcasing their beautiful furnishings and Takahashi McGil creating fabulous wooden homewares. K & H Carriages also operate from here and offer horse and carriage rides around the beautiful settings of Cockington. Cockington Court’s Kitchen Gallery in the splendid 17th century manor house has a growing reputation in the arts world as a contemporary gallery space of regional significance, having showcased work by artists of international acclaim as well as emerging local talent. Also in the main house is the Visitor Welcome Point and Gallery. Here you’ll find a truly superb selection of hand made items by the craft centre’s creative community and local artists and craft makers. By now you’ll be ready for a cuppa, some homemade food or a yummy cake and the spacious Seven Dials Café is right next door. Do bring sensible shoes and a warm jacket for a stroll around Cockington Country Park during your visit. Parking is available right behind the court. There’s also a special parking offer for just £1 a day on 5, 6 and 12,13 December. It’s a great day out so come prepared for a delightfully memorable experience while you get your festive purchases done.  cockingtoncourt.org

There are many more makers at Cockington Court Craft Centre with the whole place a treasure trove of artisan creativity. Don’t miss Ourglass where you can watch pieces being blown and purchase a wonderful array of extraordinarily beautiful glassware including vases, bowls, paper weights. Tulip Wood makes traditional wooden toys that will delight and surprise any child. Debbie MacPherson Atelier makes hand crafted goods including handbags in the most beautiful leather. Gail Tresize is a ceramic artist making quirky little harbour sculptures, fishing boats, beach huts and other gorgeous scenes. Flower La Vita is an enchanting flower workshop and has wreath kits for Christmas as well as garlands and table pieces. Chrystine Jones is a contemporary artist working in pewter – you must see her spectacular framed artworks. Daisycakes makes breathtakingly beautiful cakes in their cake studio – you’ll be hooked! The variety at Cockington Court Craft Centre simply englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 27


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Shop Local & Treat Yourself

Christmas Shopping

in Beautiful Brixham

This winter season is a great time to rediscover the wonderful shopping experience that Brixham can offer. Around the pretty harbour, up the now super-stylish Middle Street, into Pump Street, Fore Street and along Bolton Street you’ll find many trendy boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, wine shops, foodie haunts and much more.

Sandy Toes

Right on the corner of the harbourside and Middle Street, Sandy Toes is a delightful boutique run by Sian and born out of her love for the beach and coastal living. You’ll never be short of ideas for a thoughtful gift with this fabulous shop’s imaginative and beautifully arranged collection. Here you’ll find sparkling jewellery, candles, fashion bags, scarves, books, cards, hand made ornaments, home styling pieces and lots more. Many items are exclusive to Sandy Toes and are bound be treasured. Brands include East of India, Katie Loxton and Joma. Don’t miss the amazing Rader LED porcelain fir trees and light-up pebbles – elegant and gorgeous! Sian’s husband Dean runs their second shop on Fleet Street in Torquay and you can also order online.  sandytoesgifts.co.uk

Clothes Locker

Pop in and see Christine at Clothes Locker, also on Middle Street, near the harbour. It’s a treasure trove of fashion and accessories for the whole family. At this time of year, the knitwear, cosy socks, pyjamas, slippers, warm hats, knitted headbands, neck gaiters, thermal leggings and fur lined boots are all popular but we love the paua shell jewellery, perfect for festive gifts. We spotted very cute and vibrantly jolly baby mittens and some nicelooking traditional men’s slippers.  clotheslocker@yahoo.com

Nicky Stevenson Gallery

Following a career as a designer and prop maker in the film and theatre world, Nicky started painting full time in 1992 and now runs the Nicky Stevenson Gallery on what has become a creative, funky and stylish Middle Street. Her painting is inspired by everyday life and is full of ironic humour, narrative interest and her trademark bold colour – quite delicious to view! Birds, fish, flowers and reptiles feature in her hugely fun and imaginative colour menagerie portfolio. Her paintings are also available in her popular home wares range, which now includes gorgeous cushions, place mats, chopping boards, canvas bags, aprons and high quality Wentworth wooden jigsaw puzzles. It’s a real feast of choice for the gift-seeker.  nickystevensongallery.com englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

5 Doors Up

5 Doors Up is an absolutely scrumptious artisan bakery run by Dan and team. They offer bread and bakes including Brixham Wild Sourdough, Focaccia, pizza dough balls, croissants, scones, sausage rolls, chocolate brownies, cinnamon buns, pains au chocolat. Eccles cakes and lots more. They also have oat milk, organic eggs and their special roast coffee. Check their website for online orders and Christmas order forms. They also have gift cards, perfect for the foodie in your life.  5doorsup.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 29

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Christmas Shopping

The Wine Loft

Another spectacular find on Middle Street is The Wine Loft, a wonderful owner-run wine shop and deli. James tells me that they have over 400 wines in stock and 80 of them are between £6 and £10, making ideal Christmas gifts and tipples for the home. The Wine Loft provides a well-organised, free local delivery service with no minimum order (mostly same day in the Bay) and also offers gift vouchers. On the foodie side they specialise in Spanish and Portuguese deli foods from artisan producers including cheese, meats and the finest tinned fish. Preorder the amazing Spanish Torta De Santiago (almond cake) as a yummy and unusual Christmas treat.  wineloftbrixham.co.uk

Ella’s Chocolate Emporium & Tea Rooms

Tracy and her team make top quality, handmade Brixham chocolates with a huge choice for Christmas. Ella’s Chocolate Emporium & Tea Rooms in Fore Street is always popular and you can buy here or order online and have them delivered (free local delivery). On the website you can choose a box and then select the chocolates to go in it. Stunningly attractive and mouth watering options include: Dark Caramel Heart, Dark Chocolate Orange, Marc de Champagne, Irish Cream Barrel and Capuccino Cup; you can also include a personalised message for your beautifully packaged gift. Also on offer is the super Christmas chocolate-Rudolph, a huge Christmas Chocolate Bauble for that ‘wow factor’ on your Christmas table available in gold, copper or silver. Another real treat are their Chocolate Christmas Hampers with lots of luxury items.  chocella.co.uk


Moving across to Brixham’s historic Pump Street, Lulubelle specialises in some really unique contemporary gifts and homewares. Lots of great gifts including a range of amazingly creative pieces of art and statement pieces make this place a must-visit. We’ve seen extraordinary abstract liquid art, a Jeff Koons style balloon dog, an umbrella lady lamp, a majestic stag painting and a pop art elephant. We loved the gorgeous Zen garden with candleholder – very relaxing!  Facebook @lulubellebrixham


December/January 2020/21 | 31

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Christmas Shopping

The Middle Street Experience

There are lots more fabulous places to visit on Middle Street including: The Colours of Brixham Art Gallery, Maison et Vie, Taste, Real Collections, Luis Boutique, Adorabella Crowns, Brixham Maid, Brixham Sewing Box, Crafty Cwtch, Flotsam 50, Port Espresso, Curious Kitchen and many more. It’s a truly wonderful shopping experience with lots of foodie (and drinkie) delights.

Brixham Outdoor

Located on bustling Fore Street, near the Market Street end, Brixham Outdoor will tempt you into the great outdoors with its great selection of quality kit and outdoor clothing. They’ve got great brands like Regatta and Craghoppers and are normally open 10am to 4pm, seven days a week. With the emphasis of health and exercise and Brixham’s astonishingly beautiful walks and coast path hikes plus many other outdoor activities available, maybe it’s time to treat yourself to some quality new gear.

Ron Campion

A long-established Brixham business, Ron Campion Furnishers are a godsend when you’re looking for beautiful and practical home enhancements. They’ve got a huge showroom in Bolton Street, a great website and offer free home delivery across the Bay. There are lots of choices of bedroom furniture, fitted wardrobes, dining rooms, living room furniture and even ideas for your home office. They also have a range of home accessories, bed linen, cushions and lots more.  roncampion.co.uk

Churston Traditional Farm Shop

CHB Painting & Decorating

We haven’t forgotten the many Brixham businesses offering home services to brighten up and look after your home (being even more ‘your castle’ than usual). Craig Hathaway-Brown is one such, running a family business that has been passed down the generations from his grandfather, a professional decorator. Craig gets great reviews for high quality work and his friendly manner.  chb-painting-decorating.co.uk


On the main road into Brixham is the amazing Churston Farm Shop bringing you some of the West Country’s finest food with wonderful locally produced lamb, beef and turkey (get your Christmas orders in). They have a superb selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, artisan food and drink items and a large deli and bakery with tantalising festive mince pies already on offer. There’s also a delightful garden corner and a car wash plus plenty of parking. Christmas trees on site from 1 December,  churstontraditionalfarmshop.org.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 33



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HHH Torquay’s only Waterside Hotel Enjoying panoramic views across Torbay

The Livermead Cliff Hotel on Torquay sea front, is the perfect place to unwind by the sea this Festive Season. This highly rated 3 Star Hotel has AA Covid Confident and Visit Britain Good To Go accreditation to give you that extra peace of mind. The Hotel has 65 Bedrooms, all with new wide screen TV’s, Tea making facilities and Free Wi-Fi. Livermead Cliff has a breathtaking waterfront location in Torquay and is a level walk to the Marina and Town Centre. The Livermead Cliff dining facilities include the Oceanic Restaurant, Riviera Terrace and the Bay View Bar. Why not come in for a Coffee with home made Shortbread biscuits or try one of our Festive Sunday Lunches. We are taking bookings for Christmas Celebration Lunches, Teas or Evening Meals throughout December. The hotel is also running Festive Breaks throughout December and is open for Christmas and New Year packages. Visit our website for our latest offers available throughout the year. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Enquiries please call

01803 299666 34 | December/January 2020/21

Torbay Road, Sea Front, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 6RQ info@livermeadcliff.co.uk


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Festive Food

Captivating Cassoulet

According to popular legend, the Method: Start by placing your sausages in a saucepan very first cassoulet was created in and add the red wine, bay leaf and thyme. Cook until Castelnaudary in South West France the sausage is firm and cooked (this can be done a couple in 1337, which was under siege from of days prior to the dish if you wish). Roughly chop before the English during the Hundred Years’ the next stage of cooking. War (1337-1453). This recipe for the Now place a medium sized saucepan on the stove, add your now-classic and heartwarming dish is chicken stock, tarragon and cream and reduce until the sauce is by Head Chef of the Brasserie At The nice and glossy. Leave to one side. In another frying pan on a high heat sear the chicken breasts Bay, Callum Tasker.

skin side down to crisp up the skin. Once coloured turn and seal the flesh side (remembering to season) and place in a hot oven at 180°C. The chicken will take approximately 10 to 12 minutes. While waiting for the chicken to cook, heat a small amount of oil in a saucepan, then add your pancetta, silver skin onions and roughly chopped sausage. Once a good colour is achieved add the drained beans and the sauce, bring to the boil and season. When the chicken is ready, take out of the oven and rest for a couple of minutes. To serve, divide the cassoulet between two bowls, slice the chicken diagonally and place on top. Served with a chilled glass of white wine.

Ingredients to serve 2 • • • • • • • • • • • •

2 x French trimmed, boneless chicken breasts 1 tin of cannelini beans, drained 1 pint of good chicken stock, reduced 200ml of double cream 3 Toulouse sausages Red wine 300ml Thyme Bay leaf 200g pancetta lardons 200g silver skin onions Tarragon, small bunch Seasoning salt and pepper

Jingle All the way... Bays Brewery Jingle Ale

Why not treat yourself to some of Bays Brewery’s wonderfully festive Jingle Ale? Also the perfect tipple to leave out for Santa when he visits on Christmas night! Available from shop.baysbrewery.co.uk


December/January 2020/21 | 35


Distance: 3.0 miles Exertion: Moderate with some steep sections Time: Allow 1.5 hours Terrain: Coast path of varying quality and roads. Not suitable for pushchairs or very young children. Dogs: On leads near livestock, some roads Refreshments: At Torquay Harbour Start Postcode: TQ1 2EQ Grid Reference: SX 92582 62934


his walk along one of the Bay’s highest limestone plateaus passes through what was once a beautifully cultivated Victorian rock garden. Although now unkempt and preserved as a wildlife conservation area many rare and beautiful plants can still be seen. There are stunning views across the Bay and down through the wooded cliffs to the crystal clear waters. From viewpoints along the way one can see some of Torquay’s most dramatic rock formations such as the Devonian limestone arch, named London Bridge by the Victorians. Towards the end of the coast path section lies Peaked Tor Cove where one can find Torbay Home Guard’s Second World War lookout post. Its secluded location,

36 | December/January 2020/21

protected from enemy aerial surveillance and with a panoramic view across the Bay made it the perfect lookout spot. Today the building is home to a colony of endangered Horseshoe bats. A great short walk to work off that Christmas lunch!

1 Start from Daddyhole Plain car park. If you look down to the sea below you might catch a glimpse of the devil. Daddy, an ancient word for the devil, lives in a cave at the bottom of the cliff according to local legend. Walk towards the southernmost end of the plain, next to the NCI Coastwatch tower and follow the path under an archway and along a high path with clear views. Pass underneath an observation point, proceed along the path until you reach the steps. All along this path rare and beautiful cultivated plants can be seen in the undergrowth as this area was once cared for by local gardeners. 2 Descend the switchback of steps through the densely planted holly oaks and pass above London Bridge. 3 You can detour left to stand atop the bridge but it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted! Carry on another 200 yards, past more viewpoints and benches to snatch a breather, and the path meets a T-junction. 4 Turn left to walk back on oneself to get the best view of London Bridge and quarry sites where limestone was removed to build Victorian villas. 5 Follow the now metalled pathway towards the imposing Imperial Hotel and take a detour at Peaked

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Riviera Walk N





1 4

Main route Alternative route

Tor Cove. Descending through the once ornate terraces above the rocky cove, one arrives at the Home Guard lookout point and gentlemen’s bathing platform. Peaked Tor Rock, at the left of the cove was once a popular training point for high divers preparing for the Olympics. 6 As the path reaches the road there is opportunity to take a direct and shorter route back up to Daddyhole Plain by turning right. 7 Turn left and proceed downhill and turn left at Beacon Quay. Take the steps down to the busy harbourside where one can stop for refreshments in one of many cafés and bars. Follow the harbourside road to



2 Ordnance Survey

© Crown copyright. Media 082/19

the right of the inner harbour, carry on up the hill and turn right into Meadfoot Road. 8 Follow the road until Meadfoot Beach comes into view then turn right into the lower car park where the coastpath can be rejoined and will return you to Daddyhole Plain after another uphill section broken with a pleasant viewpoint over the southern end of the beach. 

December/January 2020/21 | 37

Thinking of letting your holiday home? With over 20 years’ experience in holiday letting, our locally-based team are proud to offer expert knowledge, bespoke property management options and consistent year-round bookings. Contact us today to find out about the award-winning support we could offer you.

01803 227994 coastandcountry.co.uk info@coastandcountry.co.uk

38 | December/January 2020/21

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Riviera Heritage Quiz

The Heritage Quiz №3 Can you work out the identities of these famous people who had connections with Torbay and the surrounding areas? 1. The first woman ever to serve in the British Parliament, there is a statue to her on Plymouth Hoe. Who was she?

5. This famous comedian and magician attended Radcliffe School in Exeter and a blue plaque exists at his family home in Forde Road. He tragically died on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London in 1984 with theatre staff, the audience and millions of TV viewers initially thinking it was part of his act. 6. He founded Castle Drogo, the last castle to be built in England. 7. An acclaimed American dancer, she was beloved of Paris Singer and performed at Oldway Mansion. She tragically died when one of her trademark trailing scarves became tangled in the wheels of her car in Nice in 1927. 8. A successful British actor of stage, radio and television, he appeared as Detective Sergeant Stone in Z Cars in the 60s and 70s. He retired to Brixham and helped save Brixham Theatre. A blue plaque can be seen at Brixham’s Town Hall.

2. He invented stainless steel before retiring to Livermead in Torquay where a blue plaque commemorating his life can be seen at Mead Road. 3. GP, poet & novelist, he wrote Deep Sea while working in a Victorian doctor’s house in New Road Brixham where a blue plaque commemorates his life. 4. Writer, polician and a close friend of Charles Dickens, he caught a chill while strolling on Torquay Seafront and died at his home in Warren Road in 1873. A blue plaque was placed on the property at Marine Palms in March 2020 (the last before the first lockdown).

9. A best-selling author who lived in Marldon for many years, her 1950 novel Gentian Hill featured The Chapel of St Michael at Torre in Torquay. 10. He retired to Salcombe after his Electric Rejuvenator made his fortune. His unusual collections in house and garden can be viewed at the property in Salcombe (now National Trust) renamed after him. Answers: 1. Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, 2. Harry Brearley, 3. Francis Brett Young, 4. Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 5. Tommy Cooper, 6. Julius Drewe, 7. Isadora Duncan, 8. John Slater, 9. Elizabeth Goudge,10. Otto Overbeck

With thanks to Torbay Civic Society englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 39

December/January AROUND THE BAY

Please check all events before travelling as there may be last minute cancellations and changes and everything is subject to Covid measures and restrictions – always bring a mask. Some venues will not be open every day and this may vary during the period listed here.

The Russians are Coming! On till 2 January

See the full page feature in this issue on this amazing exhibition.

Torquay Museum, 529 Babbacombe Road, Torquay TQ1 1HG 01803 293975 torquaymuseum.org

Claws! The Human History of Cats On till 2 January

Exploring the relationship of cats and humans from distant prehistory until the present day, including cats in Ancient Egypt, Myth and Magic and Man eaters, this exhibition will include enormous awe-inspiring skulls of extinct sabre-tooth cats and cave lions, a cat mummy, wildcats, man-eaters and dozens of fascinating catrelated artefacts.. A must for all cat lovers!

Torquay Museum, 529 Babbacombe Road, Torquay TQ1 1HG 01803 293975 torquaymuseum.org

The Great Big Brick Safari On till 3 January

National Trust Greenway – Arrive by Kayak!!

Open at weekends (Saturday & Sunday) The stunning gardens and café (takeaway) are open at Agatha Christie’s former holiday home at Greenway during the weekends and visits must be prebooked online with a timed arrival slot. Booking dates are released a week ahead. Members book for free. Carpark is pay and display at £3 (members free). Children under 5 don’t need a ticket. Experienced paddlers can also arrive by kayak or canoe and land at the Boathouse for free (prebook your mooring space and entry ticket – you will be sent safety info). You can also arrive on foot via the Dart Valley Trail, The Greenway Walk or the John Musgrave Trail or walk along the lane from Galmpton.Dogs on leads are welcome.

Greenway Road, Galmpton TQ5 0ES 01803 842382 nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway

National Trust Coleton Fishacre

Open at weekends (Saturday & Sunday) The gardens are open at the former hideaway of the D’Oyly Carte family with its luxuriant garden by the sea. Visits must be prebooked online with a timed arrival slot. Booking dates are released a week ahead. Members book for free. Carpark is pay and display at £1 per hour or £4 for the day (members free). Children under 5 don’t need a ticket. Access from the coast path will be closed. Dogs on leads are welcome.

01803 842382 nationaltrust.org.uk/coleton-fishacre

Over 80 wild animal creations made from thousands of LEGO® bricks has formed a trail that visitors can follow with the help of a Great Big Brick Safari map. The trail is included when visiting the zoo. Online booking is essential for zoo entry and certain exhibits and areas (including zoo entrance building) require face coverings. You will need to select a zoo entry time but can then stay all day.

Paignton Zoo, Totnes Road, Paignton TQ4 7EU 01803 697500 paigntonzoo.org.uk

40 | December/January 2020/21

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What’s On

Giving Tuesday, Paignton Zoo 1 December

Paignton Zoo is planning various online activities to celebrate Giving Tuesday and raise much-needed funds. As a conservation and education charity, funds raised as part of this campaign will go directly towards the care of their animals and vital wildlife conservation projects. Activities will include live Q&As with keepers and live enrichment with the animals through their Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the day. There will be an online auction on eBay of a stunning tiger painting donated by Torbay artist, Rishi udgate n addition, the oo will be running a raf e to win an original painting done by the zoo’s Western Lowland gorillas! You can also donate to help the zoo reach its £20,000 fundraising target.


be prebooked. A new online booking system will be launched soon but call to book in the meantime. All equipment is provided but dress warmly and wear gloves to protect your hands.

Barton Hall, Kingskerswell Road, Torquay TQ2 8JY 01803 313350 skitorquay.co.uk

Babbacombe Model Village and Gardens From 3 December

This delightful 4-acre outdoor attraction hopes to reopen from 3rd December with the seasonal addition of ‘A Very Mini Christmas’ offering a selection of miniature Christmas themed scenes (until 3 January). Advance booking is strongly advised and you should be able to book your tickets and arrival time slot up to 14 days in advance from 1 December. The coffee shop expects to be serving takeaway drinks, sandwiches and snacks to be en o ed on the large outdoor terrace Theres a great over’ drone video and lots more info on their website.

Hampton Avenue, Babbacombe, Torquay TQ1 3LA 01803 315315 model-village.co.uk

Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves From 3 December

Torquay Alpine Ski Club From 3 December

A fabulous outdoor slope where you can learn to ski or snowboard. All lessons and practice sessions must now


This superb underground cave system will be operating significantl reduced tour capacities and ou can also book a private tour for your family group, which would make an amazing celebratory treat. Check out the spectacular Long Arcade, The Face, The Organ Chamber, The Rocky Chamber, The Great Chamber, The Cave of Inscriptions, The Bears Den and more. Please note that children under 2 are free but will need to be carried. Advance booking is essential.

Ilsham Road, Torquay TQ1 2JF 01803 215136 kents-cavern.co.uk

December/January 2020/21 | 41

Bygones Victorian Christmas 5-31 December

Bygones have a new one-way system with social distancing to help you safely enjoy your visit. There is no need to prebook but entry is subject to the attraction’s new maximum capacity being reached. Immerse yourself in a traditional Victorian Christmas with real Xmas tree and delightful decorative snow. Original artefacts from Victorian Christmas celebrations will be on display.

Fore Street, St Marychurch, Torquay TQ1 4PR 01803 326108 bygones.co.uk

Hive Events is promising a wonderful Christmas event at Torre Abbey with a real ice rink, shopping chalets, activities for all ages and live on-stage entertainment. Entry, ice skating sessions and Santa’s Grotto tickets can be booked online.

The King’s Drive, Torquay TQ2 5JE torre-abbey.org.uk

Willow Star Workshop, Torre Abbey

Create a willow star with lights for your home with willow artist and sculptor Victoria Westaway. Victoria has created sculptures for both RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows, she exhibits nationally, works to commission and loves sharing her skills by running fun willow workshops across the country. Workshop Times: 12.30pm - 3pm, 4pm - 6.30pm and 7pm - 9.30pm. Cost: £25 per person, materials included. Maximum 5 people per workshop.

The King’s Drive, Torquay TQ2 5JE torre-abbey. org.uk

Theatre Wreath Making Workshops, Palace Theatre Paignton 5 & 12 December

Create a beautiful Christmas wreath to hang on your door or abo e our fireplace with this fun session offering lots of natural materials to use plus plenty of festive ideas. Cost: £20 per wreath to include mince pie and hot chocolate or mulled wine. Social distancing in place.

Palace Avenue, Paignton TQ3 3HF 01803 665800 palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk

Abbey Christmas, Torre Abbey 10 December-3 January

42 | December/January 2020/21

Aladdin, Babbacombe Theatre 19 December 12noon & 2.30pm

Follow Aladdin on his uest to find a magic lamp for the Evil Sorcerer Abanazar, who has promised Aladdin a treasure trove of wealth. Meaning he will be

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What’s On able to marry the Princess but all is not as it seems once he steps inside the dark and dangerous cave. Socially distanced seating; the show will last 1 hour and 10 minutes and there will be no interval.

Babbacombe Downs Road, Torquay TQ1 3LU 01803 328385 babbacombe-theatre.com

Superstars, Babbacombe Theatre 9, 16, 23, 26, 28 December & 1 January Enjoy this fast-moving family variety show with a touch of seasonal spirit and lots of favourite songs from show soundtracks. There’s also lots of side-splitting comedy and wonderfully choreographed dance routines. Socially distanced seating.

Babbacombe Downs Road, Torquay TQ1 3LU 01803 328385 babbacombe-theatre.com

Buttons, Palace Theatre, Paignton 31 December

Ten minutes into what should have been Cinderella, Buttons realises he’s on his own as the rest of the cast have been furloughed. The star-studded cast from the cancelled panto (kids will know them from CBBC) make a surprise appearance on video call but Sheffield comedian Tom Binns as Buttons is left to carr the show. He has lost the magic of panto but with the help of his Fairy God Mentor, played by Bernie Clifton, he rediscovers the magic just in time for a happy ending. Social distancing in place.

Palace Avenue, Paignton TQ3 3HF 01803 665800 palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk

Aladdin, Palace Theatre Paignton 9 & 10 January

Fasten your seat belts and take off on a socially distanced magical carpet ride to Old Peking to meet Aladdin and his hard working mother and local laundress, idow Twanke laddin is on his uest to find a magic lamp for the Evil Sorcerer Abanazar, who has promised Aladdin a treasure trove of wealth. But all is not as it seems once he steps inside the dark and dangerous cave. Can the Genie of the Lamp help our hero? Performances will be run without an interval.

Palace Avenue, Paignton TQ3 3HF 01803 665800 palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk

Holding an event in February or March?

E-mail us at editorial@ englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

and we’ll list it in the next issue


December/January 2020/21 | 43


Please check before travelling as events are subject to change more than usual. Ongoing events reopen after ‘lockdown’.

Torquay’s Artizan Gallery and Artizan Collective

A Port in a Storm Fiona Hiscox

Exhibitions and Events

English Riviera Winter Open A Port in a Storm for Devon’s Visual Arts On till 24 December (may extend into the New Year) Artizan’s annual winter open show has welcomed hundreds of e on artists since it first started in as well as receiving international entries and sales. For the last two events, hosted at the Artizan Collective Gallery Thatcher’s Rock Clark Nicol on Fleet Walk, they’ve seen submissions, audiences and sales increase ear on ear, and the want to be no different despite the unusual times. There is a dedicated online exhibition page where all the work from this and all pre ious e hibitions can be iewed ia a irtual walk through of the space. You can go and see this e hibition in the ph sical world from ecember Artizan Collective Unit 5, 74 Fleet Street Torquay TQ2 5EB art-hub.co.uk/ex/erwo20 For more information: juliebrandon@artizangallery.co.uk 07522 509642 artizangallery.co.uk

Landscape Vessel Jennifer Amon

44 | December/January 2020/21

Summer’s Song Song. Lisa Parkyn To promote your business to our readers email sales@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk


Objects of Desire Exhibition, Cockington Court On till 24 January An exhibition at Cockington Court’s Kitchen Galley showing a range of creative gifts for the home, family or friends. These have been selected from leading south west artists and designer makers. Special parking offer: £1 a day on 5 & 6 and 12 &13 December. The Seven Dials Café and many other craft studios will be open. 01803 607230 Facebook @ cockingtoncourt

The GALLERY @ Cockington Court

Studios entrance dressed up in glow in the dark outfits and face paint and enjoy viewing the moth installation. Time: 4-5pm. 01803 607230 Facebook @cockingtoncourt

The People’s Choice Exhibition, Torre Abbey On till 19 December Torre Abbey presents some of its diverse collection of art that is not usually on display. Featuring favourite works chosen by visitors, staff, volunteers and councillors, expect to see art from both regional and international artists included as part of your visit. As well as the People’s Choice Exhibition in the main gallery, you can also enjoy the more permanent collections around the abbey. The Cary Dining Room, Chapel, Ballroom and Medieval Undercrofts will also be open, as well as the 800 Years Exhibition telling the story of the abbey. 01803 293593 torre-abbey.org.uk

10.30am-4.30pm daily Ongoing selling exhibition showing the region’s leading artists and makers. Items ranging from scarves, jewellery, ceramics, metalwork, artists cards, metalwork, collages, paintings and prints. Special parking offer: £1 a day on 5 & 6 and 12 &13 December. The Seven Dials Café and many other craft studios will be open. 01803 607230 Facebook @cockingtoncourt

Jerwood Makers Open, Torre Abbey 23 January – 4 April Jerwood Makers promotes the significance of making and materials within the visual arts arena, seeking to support exceptional skill and imagination.Artists for this exhibition are: Lucie Gledhill, Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge (Forest + Found), Mark Corfield-Moore, Tana West and Bethan Lloyd Worthington. Entry included with abbey admission. 01803 293593 torre-abbey.org.uk

Brixham Arts Society Online Exhibition

Cockington Court Moths Project As part of the Moths to a Flame UK Project Cockington Court is working with Art and Energy to create an exciting UV installation. On 5 December come to The Stable Yard englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

Why not visit Brixham Arts Society’s website where they are currently showing an wonderful online exhibition of members’ work with many local subjects and a wide range of styles and techniques? The society was formed in 1949 as a forum for local artists to meet and offer mutual support and they warmly welcome new members. brixhamartssociety.co.uk December/January 2020/21 | 45

• •

Membership only £37.50 per person, per year; including a Free Parking and Benefits Package. Or just support our work (without free parking and benefits) for just £25 per year!

You can support our work with a one off gift or a regular monthly donation. £25 will pay for the restoration of one metre of hedgerow! £2 a month funds the maintenance of 100 metres of path for a year.

To join us or donate contact us today: 01803 520 022 or www.countryside-trust/support-us

ENGLISH RIVIERA WINTER OPEN EXHIBITION A PORT IN A STORM FOR DEVON’S VISUAL ARTS Torbay’s annual Winter showcase of Devon fine art, sculpture, ceramics and gifts. Curated by Artizan Gallery and hosted by Artizan Collective with the kind support of Fleet Walk Management and the South West’s independent creatives.

Open Wednesday - Sunday, 11AM - 4PM, with late night shopping and extended opening on selected dates throughout the holiday season. For more information, exhibiting artists and online purchases, visit art-hub.co.uk/ex/erwo20.



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Mr Fox’s Garden

In this issue Mr Fox muses on the wonder of trees, the myriad uses of ash wood, the gardening profession and shopping local at Christmas.


erry Christmas! Although, I have to say, hard times are upon us so don’t spend too much if you can’t afford to; there’ll be another Christmas at the end of next year and if you do want to spend a small fortune, make sure you shop local. There’s another serious disease sweeping the nation, ash dieback. Woodlands up and down the country are being chopped down and burned to help stop the spread of the disease. I remember my delight when back in 2013 when India officially recognised dolphins as non -human persons. All the water parks were closed and the dolphins swam off happily. I’ve had a dream that in another 5000 years trees will be held in similar regard, or at least companies will have to come up with a better reason when tearing down a forest than to build a straight road. Ash is a fantastic wood, strong, shock absorbing and flexible. When the great Victorian mountaineer Edward Whymper designed his mountain tent he specified ash wood for the poles. Through the ages ash has been the wood of choice for arrows, oars and handles. The Anglo Saxon word for spear is Æsc and that’s most likely where the common name comes from or maybe it’s because it burns so well; who knows? Ash is known to attract lightning and it’s seldom you’ll one growing alone in a field so maybe that’s where it gets its name, it’s a kind of chicken and egg scenario though. I do love a good bit of etymology. The Latin name for ash is fraxinus, (I’m just guessing here) but the Latin word for lightning is fulgur, light is lux and fire is ignis so ‘fulgar-lux-ignis’ maybe somehow turns into ‘fraxinus’; I don’t know… If there are any professors of etymology out there reading this then please drop me an

email and enlighten me; I’d love to know. It used to upset me how many ‘cowboy’ gardeners were driving round undermining our profession. I’ve come to terms with it nowadays; it’s a fact of life. In the next issue I’m going to write about what to do if you want to become a gardener/handyman serving Torbay. It’s really not impossible and if you’ve found yourself unemployed or in a tricky situation due to the events of 2020, just see it as a new opportunity, ‘don’t be afraid to pick up the spade’. There are many unsung heroes in 2020 and in amongst them is my accountant, James Twigger at Accounting 4 Everything. All though the corona crisis they’ve been running weekly webinars helping us gardeners, plasterers and mechanics understand all the complicated things we don’t want to try and understand Whatever you do, have a delightful Christmas, it may not be the busiest one ever, but I’ll say it again - see it as an opportunity, learn a new skill, learn a language, learn an instrument, paint the shed, crochet or finish that book you started but never quite finished reading in1984. All the best, and Merry Christmas,

Mr Fox

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 englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

Mr Fox December/January 2020/21 | 47

l y BYoca iver l ER or l de RD c f as O De stm i 18 Chr epr




60 short biographies of famous figures, past and present, associated with Devon

If you’ve enjoyed reading our local heritage articles in English Riviera Magazine, you’ll love this new book, which also makes the perfect festive gift. Famous Devon Figures can be ordered online and costs £12.99 plus £5 postage and packing.




60 short biographies of famous figures, past and present, associated with Devon

Compiled by

Ian L. Handford Published by Devon Magazine Company Ltd

www.englishrivieramagazine.co.uk 48 | December/January 2020/21

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Feathered friends

Nothing says winter like the arrival of robin redbreast to the garden but if you want to see them regularly you’ll have to make them feel welcome by putting out winter bird food. Also try to ensure any water sources like ponds and birdbaths don’t freeze or dry out (chance would be a fine thing, I hear you say!).

A tidy shed is a tidy mind... Make sure you’ll be ready to go in the spring by ensuring that your lawnmower and all other tools are clean and dry before you put them away for the winter season. Try and store them in a dry and secure shed or garage. Also remember to drain out any fuel from petrol-powered machines. It doesn’t keep, and may cause problems next year when trying to start up the machines. Send your mower off for a service after Christmas to beat the spring queues.

Pots & Containers Container gardening is getting more and more popular these days as it gives us the flexibility to move our favourite plants around the garden or patio to make the most of the climate or floral displays. Over winter, potted plants can be at risk from waterlogging and freezing. Make sure all your pots are free to drain either by placing them on pot-feet or a loose surface such as a gravel path.

Split your perennials for free plants in the spring

Winter Gardening Jobs

Use pot feet to stop waterlogging


• Clear up fallen leaves, especially from lawns, ponds and beds. • Insulate outdoor taps and pipework. • Prune your acers, birches and vines before Christmas to avoid bleeding. • Plan your vegetable crops for the coming season. • Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering. • Divide perennials and bulbs such as snowdrops once flowered. • Prune hardy evergreen hedges.

December/January 2020/21 | 49


128 Union Street, Torquay TQ2 5QB Tel 01803 292950

Conroy Couch Xmas ad 165x238 Nov20 AW.indd 1



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