English Riviera Magazine February/March 2021

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

EnglishRiviera February/March 2021



Looking forward to spring visits

Oldway Volunteers

The Mystery of Our Neolithic Ancestors

Meet the team

Local Books

A right good read...

Coastal Walk

Views north & south COM ITY






Give It A Go!

Outdoors for exercise

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THOSE THAT MATTER Insurance to shield your loved ones from unforeseen events is an essential part of your financial planning




There are two distinctive types of life assurance and both pay out lump sums on your death. Firstly, term insurance which provides cover over a pre-determined period, or whole of life which continues until you die. When choosing, it’s important to consider whom you’re providing life assurance for, and why. How much is needed and for how long? Check also whether your employer provides a death in service benefit that reduces the need for extra cover. If you’re looking to provide security for your family in the event of your death with a term insurance

contract, it may be worth considering ‘family income benefit’ as an alternative. This pays out a regular income until the end of a specified period, rather than a lump sum; and the cover is relatively inexpensive. Critical illness cover (CIC), meanwhile, pays out a lump sum if you contract any of a specified range of illnesses and conditions, ranging from heart complaints and cancers to rarer diseases. Typically, a policy will offer cover for 40 to 50 such conditions; but those specifically covered can vary considerably, making it hard to compare like with like. CIC can be sold as an extension to life assurance. Alternatively, it can be established as a standalone product. The correct option depends on personal circumstances. Income protection, which provides a specified level of regular income if you become unable to work due to sickness or disability, is the most expensive choice as it’s most likely to be called upon. It’s also one of the most under-utilised options – typically because people believe themselves to be already covered by their employer in the case of prolonged ill health. This is, however, rarely the case. When prioritising protection, individuals are more likely to need income protection than critical illness and more likely to need critical illness than life assurance. A survey by the Financial Conduct

Authority in October 2017 revealed that just under one-third of the UK adult population has ‘low financial resilience to’ the risk of death, critical illness or long-term sickness.




ew people find life assurance, critical illness plans and income protection attractive. Unlike a mortgage, investment or pension,there’s nothing aspirational about these household expenses, which help to safeguard you and your family financially against a serious illness or death. It’s all too easy to bury your head in the sand, with the excuses of: ‘It’ll never happen to me’; ‘We can’t afford it’; ‘We have more pressing calls on our cash’; or ‘My employer will look after me if something awful happens’.


There are price compromises available. The cover becomes cheaper, for example, if you are prepared to extend the period of time before the replacement income kicks in. Short-term income protection contracts that pay out for between two and four years offer another relatively affordable solution. At Orestone Wealth we believe that our ability to tailor solutions to an individual’s needs and attitude, coupled with access to our carefully selected protection panel, can help provide an important financial safety net for your family.

Why not contact us for a review of your current protection arrangements?

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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 February/March issue. We’re writing this at the end of frosty January and we’re still coping with Lockdown Three. The community spirit that we’ve all shown continues, and there is some hope on the horizon as our more elderly residents are already receiving their vaccinations with younger age groups still on the waiting list. In this issue we look at things we can safely do outside with fabulous features on overwintering birds by Mike Langman, volunteering at Oldway Gardens, early spring gardening with Mr Fox, a picturesque walk, some wonderful photography by Chris Slack and a roundup of open-air pastimes to try. We also visit Torre Abbey’s wonderful Palm House and look forward to its reopening, hopefully soon. For art-lovers there are forthcoming exhibitions that we may be able to visit later in the spring and lots of online options to view. We also see how local businesses and charities including Bays Brewery and Paignton Zoo are faring. If you’re staying home why not try our Heritage Quiz Number 4 and enter our competition to win a fascinating book? And for nature-lovers we have a delightful photo report on a recently spotted visit to the River Dart by a pod of fun-loving dolphins!

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 26 March 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.

Happy reading and stay safe!

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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

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February/March 2021 | 3



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In this issue | February/March 2021 6 Openers Local news snippets

10 Torre Abbey’s Palm House A wonderful place to visit in spring

16 Cyril Fletcher All round personality

18 Where did the first Torbay Folk go? Kevin Dixon explores the mystery

20 Our Breathtaking Bay Images to soothe the soul by Chris Slack

22 A Sting in the Tail? Overwintering bird life

28 Oldway Gardens Volunteer Group Meet the team

32 Give it a Go! Fun things to do outside

36 Walk Coastpath views to north and south

38 Heritage Quiz Test your historical knowledge

40 Curl up with a Good Book

10 Torre Abbey’s Palm House 20 Our Breathtaking Bay

A review of new books by local authors

43 Food & Drink Fancy a tipple at home?

45 Support Paignton Zoo How we can help protect their future

46 Arts Roundup Art exhibitions and events

48 Gardening Early spring tips

On the cover Torre Abbey Glasshouses

© Anita Newcombe

48 Gardening englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

February/March 2021 | 5

Chad’s Charity Cycle

17-year-old Chad Nelson has a special reason for supporting The Brain Tumour Charity - he was diagnosed with a brain tumour last August. After a series of operations and treatments to drain excess fluid and treat a Cerebral Spinal Fluid infection, Chad is now stable and awaiting his next scan in April. During this hugely difficult time for Chad and his family, support has come from friends, from The Teenage and Young Adults Support Team at Derriford Hospital, and from The Brain Tumour Charity. Having joined their young person’s support group Chad is hoping to become a young ambassador for the charity, raising awareness and valuable funds. Chad’s first challenge will be a 26-mile bike ride along the River Exe from Exmouth to Dawlish, supported by his good friend Issac. Chad says, “This may not seem far to those who cycle, but for me (also carrying too much weight after all the drugs I have had) it is quite a challenge!” The cycle is expected to take place on Easter weekend subject to any government restrictions. Please help Chad to raise muchneeded funds for The Brain Tumour Charity by donating on his Just Giving page. justgiving.com/fundraising/chadcc 

New Hospital Ultrasound System

Section, both Dainton and Teignmouth Golf Clubs plus Babbacombe Lions Club and Masons Clubs in Teignmouth. In addition there have been many excellent donations from individual members of the public as well as Davys House, Torquay Boys’ Grammar School. The TPSA has now started fundraising to provide another piece of equipment costing approximately £17000. Any additional donations to assist the purchase would be very welcome and can be sent to Darrell Fulford at Corbyns, Ridgeway Road, Torquay Road TQ1 2HE.   tpsa.org.uk

Paignton Zoo’s New Tigers Paignton Zoo has two new female Sumatran tigers, recently arrived from Denmark. Sisters Padme and Carrie are just under two years of age. They are at the zoo as part of a European conservation, breeding programme for this Critically Endangered species, which is overseen by ZSL London Zoo. The new stripy residents are being housed in the old lion exhibit, with the lions being moved to the old tiger paddock. The switch of enclosures has been made ahead of the arrival of two new lionesses to join the zoo’s male lion, Yali. It has enabled the zoo to do some work in the paddocks, such as pond works and on the shelters. Sumatran tigers are the smallest of all tigers and are native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Their stripes are closer together and their fur darker than other subspecies, allowing them to better blend into their tropical rainforest habitat. Sumatran tigers have suffered due to poaching and habitat loss, primarily for palm oil plantations.   paigntonzoo.org.uk

Torbay Prostate Support Association (TPSA), formed in 1999 has donated £65,000 to Torbay Hospital, which purchased a new BK3000 Ultras High Resolution Ultrasound System. President Peter Hosking said, “The funds have been raised by a truly magnificent Community effort over two years with the excellent help of so many parts of Torbay and surrounding areas.” These substantial contributors include: The Chestnut Appeal in Plymouth, the collaboration of the local Rotary Clubs, Churston Golf Club Senior 6

| February/March 2021

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Dolphin Encounter A large pod of dolphins visited the River Dart delighting local kayakers.

PHOTOS © : Andy Kyle - TheViewFromThe DartmouthOffice.com

Editor Anita Newcombe and kayaking buddy Karen Williams were out taking their socially-distanced, regulation exercise on the River Dart on a Sunday in midJanuary when they came across a large pod of dolphins. “Suddenly they were all around us leaping joyfully and chasing fish – it was the most wonderful experience,” said Anita. The dolphins were fishing, possibly for herring and had young calves with them too, a couple of which were very small and over-excited, flipping into the air alongside Mum. Dolphin mothers are wonderful teachers

and spend a lot of time teaching their young the skills they need to reach independence. The pod was playing and fishing in a big oval area between Lower Ferry and Dartmouth Castle. Anita and Karen were able to watch the dolphins for an incredible 90 minutes, paddling against the strong current to maintain their position on the river. The dolphins seemed to like the kayaks’ upriver movement and swam and leaped closely alongside for some time. Meanwhile, there was one other group of two kayakers on the water, observing this extraordinary spectacle plus a crowd of onlookers on Bayard’s Cove. At one point three picket boats from Britannia Royal Naval College came past and passengers on the Lower Ferry also got a good look at the show. 


February/March 2021 | 7

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£900,000 Freehold With gracious architectural features, the property offers the rare opportunity to acquire a Grade II listed property. The accommodation has 4 reception rooms, kitchen/breakfast, utility and laundry, 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Excellent cellarage. Tented canopy veranda, gardens leading to the park, double garage. EPC Rating – D


£895,000 Freehold With parklike gardens, the property offers a detached home presented in excellent order. The accommodation has a reception hallway, sitting room, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room and utility with a conservatory accessed from the hallway opening to a terrace. To the first floor are 4 bedrooms, en-suite bathroom and bathroom. Detached garage. EPC Rating – D

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10 | February/March 2021

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Torre Abbey’s

Palm House

Torre Abbey’s heated Palm House is a wonderful place to visit especially in the spring (or when lockdown permits). You’ll find a jungle of palms, lots of exotic flowering plants, scary carnivorous plants plus edibles like ginger, tea, coffee, chilli and banana. Anita Newcombe pops by.


uilt in 1969 The Palm House replaced a slightly smaller, wooden structure constructed by the Cary family who lived at Torre Abbey for hundreds of years. In 2008, Ali Marshall joined as Head Gardener and found it rather run down, lacking in plants and under threat of closure. Having secured a reprieve she then set about hunting for new plants for a complete restock. You can’t just pop round to the garden centre for these

Amazingly generous local gardeners gave other plants including a rare Pelargonium dropped off by a local man. Many years before, he had been given an original cutting from the Palm House and now returned the favour from the same plant. A jacaranda was donated from the nursery at Greenway House and many more plants were kindly gifted allowing Ali to recreate and develop this rare collection.

rare plants as they are extraordinarily difficult to source. New palms were donated by Kew Gardens in London and Ali headed there by train with a couple of carrier bags to collect the ‘seedlings’ she was promised. However, these ‘seedlings’ turned out to be 6ft high plants! Ali tells me that she ended up hiring two taxis to get her back to the station and annoyed other train passengers by loading them all into the train’s bicycle compartment.

All these plants need warmth and lots of humidity so in addition to the heating they must be watered regularly, twice a day in the summer. One of Ali’s joys is watering here on Christmas Day, sometimes with a glass of bubbly in hand. She tells me that she’s even enjoyed a packed lunch in the warm here when it’s been snowing outside. Whilst automated ventilation and energy efficiency measures have saved lots of money, the next project is to


February/March 2021 | 11

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Out & About work towards becoming carbon neutral with solar power plus anaerobic digestion using heat from compost. Visitors find the Palm House hugely therapeutic and some school visits have included those with special needs. One child with locked-in syndrome had his first real response to external stimuli with Mimosa leaves that close when stroked. Ali explains, “He loved them and later became a volunteer which helped him further; he even acknowledged me – it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”

There will be lots in flower in spring but the Palm House doesn’t really have seasons. There are seven species of banana you won’t see anywhere else and if you love house plants you’ll be amazed by the giant cheese plant you can see here. And don’t miss the fabulous giant Bird of Paradise plant. What I love about Torre Abbey’s Palm House is its warmth, humidity, colour and tranquillity – it’s definitely a therapeutic place to visit. And it offers fabulous opportunity for the amateur photographer and the sketcher. I particularly liked the Elephant’s Foot plant, the Scotch Bonnet chillies, the orchids and the bougainvillia. Some of the plants have wonderful and unusual scents like nutmeg, rose and even chocolate. Ali englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

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Out & About tells me that her favourite plant is the elegant Fishtail Palm with its large raggedy leaves that are aparently known as ‘the hand of the gods’ in Indonesia. The gardens also include the amazing Arid House with its collection of cacti and succulents – definitely worth a visit. Also created by Ali Marshall is the Agatha Christie Potent Plants Garden designed to celebrate Torquay as the birthplace of the world famous crime writer. Over half of Agatha Christie’s doomed characters were poisoned and the range of sinister plants on show include the sources for cyanide, morphine and ricin – don’t worry though because they have to be processed before they become dangerous. The gardens have been part of the Bay’s Agatha

The gardens have a band of regular volunteers, who also propagate and offer plants for sale. Get in touch if you’d like to volunteer or make a donation.

Christie Festival over many years and Hercule Poirot often drops in! The gardens have a band of regular volunteers, who also propagate and offer plants for sale. Get in touch if you’d like to volunteer or make a donation. Within the gardens are also the ruins of the original abbey that were destroyed under Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. Established in 1196 Torre Abbey is is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a museum of history with wonderful art collections and period curios. Please check opening details on website before travelling.   torre-abbey.org.uk

Head Gardener Ali Marshall surveys the Agatha Christie Potent Plants collection


February/March 2021 | 15

Cyril Fletcher Cyril Fletcher was a famed comedian, television personality, entrepreneur and writer of ‘Odd Odes’ who later wrote many gardening books. Torbay Civic Society Chairman, Ian Handford tells us more.


yril would first visit Devon at the age of eighteen but it was not until he and his wife Betty moved to Torquay for eighteen months in the early 80s that he turned up at my business premises, the Adding and Calculating Bureau in St Marychurch. Here, one of my staff, Mrs Mary Hutchison, helped him with his correspondence using our secretarial services. Cyril Trevellian Fletcher was born at Watford Hertfordshire June 25th 1913 into a family who owned an early Morgan three wheeler. This would often convey his father a lawyer and the family around the Wiltshire Downs, to Bath, Bradford on Avon and even distant Dorset. His maternal grandfather was John Ginger who worked at the Berskins Brewery in Watford High Street. John owned land where Cyril had his first taste of matters of the earth, spending hours watching his grandfather dig, manure, plant and harvest goodies to be eaten or displayed later. These experiences fired his imagination, which led to him writing extensively on gardening. His paternal grandfather was George Fletcher owner of a grocery shop in the High Street, where Bottoms the butchers and Butchers the opticians traded; these names seemed most odd to Cyril - the idea of odd-odes perhaps in embryo. At the age of seven Cyril attended Woodside School North Finchley until the family moved on to Trowbridge Wiltshire, where his father was appointed Town Clerk. While attending Trowbridge Dame School, Cyril could never have envisaged that when he was an adult he would portray a ‘Dame’ in panto. Now his father moved again becoming Clerk to Barnet Council; here in the midtwenties Cyril was installed at Friern Barnet Grammar School. Now he organised its concerts until at the age of seventeen he got his first job as a clerk at Scottish Union and National Insurance Company on a salary of £50 a

16 | February/March 2021

year. From 1930 he studied drama at Guildhall School of Music & Drama every week while still a clerk by day. He organised the company’s annual dance and as an avid reader of poetry he discovered John Clare, John Masefield and William Wordsworth, following which his earliest odes appeared in an unofficial company magazine. We can never know why Cyril chose to come to the Ferry Hotel Dittisham to celebrate his 21st birthday but we do know that by the age of twenty-two he resigned his job to become a comedian. His initial break was in 1936 when BBC Radio hired him. This led to his first opportunity to perform live on stage courtesy of Greatrex Newman owner of the Fol de Rols summer show. Newman booked his new personality with a funny voice, to play at White Rock Pavilion, Hastings. His early success brought him two summer shows at Llandudno and, as radio was still his main medium, being ‘live-on-air’ was par for the course for Cyril. When attending interviews or rehearsals Cyril always turned out in a bowler hat, washed leather gloves and a rolled umbrella. Soon he was being recruited by theatres as distant as Plymouth in the south to Glasgow in Scotland. Forever in demand but always short of new material in 1938 Cyril recited an Edgar Wallace poem live on air. ‘Dreaming of Thee’ was an immediate hit and a newly discovered talent. Failing his medical in the Second World War (due to a mastoid operation) his stage career continued until eventually he met singer Betty Astell at a Charity Concert at Colston Hall Bristol. There supporting his bandmaster friend Henry Hall, he confided to Henry after the show that he was going to marry that beautiful singer Betty Astell - and later he did, on May 18th 1941. The newly-weds embarked on a six-month tour before moving to a new home at Welwyn Cottage, Hertfordshire. Now they spent four glorious years creating a garden of

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Riviera Heritage Backing their judgement, they created another company, shrubs, roses and herbaceous borders. With gardening which this to day is still managed by their only child Jill. always a joy to Cyril he now wrote authoritative books Cyril and Betty changed home frequently and having like ‘Cyril Fletcher’s Gardening Book’, ‘Rose Book’ and purchased a holiday home in Torquay after leaving Sussex ‘Planning the Small Garden’. they intended to settle here permanently. However the The Fletchers always owned dogs; a spaniel and a lack of a garden at their new house hurt too much so Scottie accompanied them to a number of homes. moved again. Betty calculated that their various moves Continually on the move their second home was East saw her supply 265 sets of curtains before their final move Grinstead, where two gardeners created an exquisite to Fort George St Peter’s Port in the Channel Islands. garden. They stayed five years, before moving to Cyril was part Newbridge Hill of TV’s ‘What’s where Cyril Betty calculated that their various moves saw her My Line’ for years played his first supply 265 sets of curtains before their final move to although later in Dame in panto. Fort George St Peter’s Port in the Channel Islands. life it would be Recalling that his after-dinner period, he tells a speaking skills that sustained him. He returned to the story about buying some extra-large, ladies’ court shoes in small screen by re-inventing himself for ‘That’s Life’ a local shop. One can imagine the scene when he entered (1973-1994) until ten years later he died at his home on for a fitting. The astounded assistant called the manager Guernsey at the age of 91 on January 2nd 2005.  who, together with his large Alsatian, confronted this  torbaycivicsociety.co.uk “odd” customer. Cyril with a twinkling eye told him, “Sir - I am merely an actor playing a woman”. The couple owned numerous residences plus holiday homes even at Dartmouth and Torquay. Eventually they created a touring production and came to Torquay in 1949 to stage ‘Magpie Masquerade’ at the Pavilion Theatre. Written by Betty, this brought a three-year contract for seasonal summer shows with Betty performing as dancer and singer and Cyril as host of the shows. While writing odes and publishing books Cyril also partnered Betty in a production company and even established a theatrical agency business, The Associated Speakers Agency. They provided every size, type and topical speaker imaginable and at an hour’s notice. With three hundred retained artists, which included the late and great Sir Harry Secombe, they became true theatrical entrepreneurs. The Fletchers recognised the threat of TV, to both live variety and cinema, yet predicted that traditional seaside summer shows and Cyril and Betty at their Torquay holiday home pantos would survive.


Where did the first Torbay Folk go?

Around four thousand years ago the inhabitants of Torbay died out - and we don’t know why. Kevin Dixon explores the mystery.


his near extinction took place over several hundred years but we know from DNA evidence that they did disappear. These lost locals were the Neolithic communities who were responsible for megalithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Torbay’s oldest building, the Chambered Tomb or Passage Grave at Broadsands. In their place came migrations of people from continental Europe. Dated to 3768-3641 BC, the Broadsands tomb is older than Stonehenge and is representative of the final part of the Stone Age, the Neolithic, which spanned from around 4000BC to 2,500BC. The peoples of the Neolithic Revolution had adopted agriculture and settled down in one place. To make room for new farmland, mass deforestation took place while new types of stone tools began to be produced. The Neolithic also saw the construction of these monuments in the landscape, the earliest being chambered tombs, to later be replaced by stone circles and other landmarks – the greatest of which are at Stonehenge, Avebury and the immense Silbury Hill. These megaliths seem to be linked with the new ways that

18 | February/March 2021

people thought, in their religion, and how they ordered their society. The Broadsands tomb is a stone mound megalithic chamber, which had a single entrance passage. Discovered in 1956 by local archaeologist Guy Belleville, the tomb was excavated by C Ralegh Radford in 1958. Archaeologists found three first inhumations of two adults and one infant alongside Neolithic pottery – an adult male aged at least forty, a young adult male who was over 5ft 6ins tall, and the infant. There may have been more as the remains had later been cleared to the sides of the chamber and trodden into the floor. It was when two human thighbones still embedded in soil were dated that we found that the inhumations took place between 3768 and 3641 BC. It appeared as if several ritual fires had been lit before a new pavement was put in position, possibly a ritual cleansing prior to reusing the chamber. Then there was a later inhumation of a young male below the age of twenty alongside later Neolithic pottery. Oddly, evidence from stable isotope analysis showed that the occupants of the tomb had a diet almost wholly

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Riviera Heritage

Left: The toppled tomb at Broadsands, and right: how it may have looked when complete.

based on land based food. Very little fish was being eaten when the Beaker population seems to come in. despite these folk living so close to the sea – unless they This downturn in the climate, alongside an overweren’t locals. Guy Belleville also found worked flints, exploitation of land by Neolithic farmers, may have arrowheads and parts of polished flint axes about half a caused a decline in food production. It could be that mile from the tomb. There appears to be no other definite the Beaker folk arrived to find that much of the original examples of a Passage Tomb in the southwest of England population had already disappeared - they just occupied and they are unusual in Britain, though they are common an empty land. Intriguingly, Stonehenge’s great stones in Portugal and Brittany, suggesting some kind of link were put in place immediately before the Beaker people with the continent. arrived. The entire population of Britain in the early Neolithic It doesn’t look as though this was a violent invasion. may have been only around 100,000 people and not The Beakers came in small groups and over a long period much is left, of centuries. particularly in Archaeologists found three first inhumations of two Also, evidence Torbay, which shows that adults and one infant alongside Neolithic pottery has largely been interpersonal – an adult male aged at least forty, a young adult built on. But violence was male who was over 5ft 6ins tall, and the infant. we aren’t the higher in descendents Neolithic Britain than it was in the Beaker period. On of those original Neolithic builders. As with the rest of the other hand, there is a suggestion that some Beaker Britain, our Neolithic locals were almost completely folk carried plague with them. Perhaps our original locals replaced by newcomers about 4,500 years ago. had not been in contact with this pathogen before and Bringing Bronze Age technology to Britain was a had little resistance to it. migration by a people from the Beaker culture, which The new Beaker arrivals had a very different way of spread across Europe and can be tracked through its living. They didn’t construct massive stone monuments distinctive pottery. The Beaker people replaced 90% needing the work of hundreds of people. They favoured of the British gene pool in a few hundred years. They more modest round earth barrows, burying their dead would have looked differently to our tomb builders with bell-shaped pots, copper daggers, arrowheads, stone who had olive-brown skin, dark hair and brown eyes. In wrist guards and perforated buttons. Many of these comparison, the Beaker folk had lighter skin, blue eyes barrows can still be seen on Dartmoor and, presumably, and blonde hair. Torbay would have featured others on our hilltops that We don’t know what killed off the original Torbay folk. have now been lost. It may be that the incoming Beaker people had better It’s also suggested that it was the Beaker people that technologies, social organisation, or ways of feeding introduced the Celtic language to Britain; new forms of themselves. communication would most likely have accompanied There is also the possibility that our early farmers such a massive population change. were already facing population collapse through climate So we still don’t know why the original Torbay folk change around 5,500 years ago. After a population peak at vanished; just that new locals came in and have been here around 3,500 or 3,600 BC, Britain’s population declines ever since.  to a low level until about 2,500 BC and then increases. Note: Bones and relics from the tomb can be seen at Around 2,500 BC the population is very low and that’s Torquay Museum.


February/March 2021 | 19

Wonderful Views from the illuminated staircase at Royal Terrace Gardens.

Our Breathtaking Bay A number of large cruise ships, each with about 100 crewmembers aboard, took up residence in the Bay during 2020 as the pandemic prevented them from operating.

Riviera Photospread

Brixham was illuminated by huge lighting structures in November when a 150-strong cast and crew descended on the port to film a major new drama called Tailspin.

Photographer Chris Slack has been out and about capturing some iconic images of Torbay. Although 2020 was an extraordinarily difficult year, our beautiful Bay always provides us with astounding views to soothe the soul.

Paignton Pier opened in June 1879 and at 240 metres long makes a stunning subject for a beautiful sunrise shot.


A Sting in the Tail? Torbay is renowned for its wintering birds, attracting birdwatchers from far and wide. However, tiny warblers may also be seen here, benefiting from our (mostly) mild weather. Mike Langman explains how these smaller birds survive and the risks they run wintering in the Bay.


inter is nearly over‌ According to the meteorological definition, spring starts on the 1st March. Now that seems very early, perhaps the astronomical season is better - spring starts on 22nd March, the spring equinox, when we have an equal amount of day time and night time. In reality, here in the South West, that will be on the 17th March. However even this will seem to vary depending on the weather that day - confusing isn’t it? Just imagine how it must appear to the wildlife around us. Here in Torbay we have birds that regularly migrate from more northern climates to spend the winter with us, like the Redwing, Fieldfare, Teal and Snipe. Tor Bay with its sheltered, east-facing aspect is an important wintering area for lesser-known wintering sea birds such as three species of Diver: Great Northern, Red-throated and Black-throated plus four species of Grebe: Great Crested, Red-necked, Black-necked and Slavonian. There are also seaduck, Common and Velvet Scoter, Eider and occasional Long-tailed Duck. With such a great variety

of birdlife Tor Bay attracts birdwatchers from not only Devon but from all over the UK, many staying several days to walk, watch and perhaps book onto increasingly popular wildlife-watching boat trips. There is another group of much smaller birds for which Torbay, with its mild winter climate and coastal habitats, is very important - warblers. These tiny birds are mostly insectivorous; if the insects hide away or are killed off in prolonged frosts or snow, the birds will either die with them or have to move on further south and west. Strictly speaking, birds like the Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Firecrest should be wintering in countries further south, even as far as Africa. During the autumn some Chiffchaffs, instead of immediately taking on a long arduous and dangerous migration, stage their movement, stopping for a few days or weeks, then moving on when they are fattened up or when food supplies run low. A few find that our small relatively frost-free coastal marshes at Broadsands, Goodrington and Clennon Valley can offer them such a healthy population of invertebrates that the birds decide to stay.

Great Northern Diver

22 | February/March 2021

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Riviera Birdwatching The larger Blackcap is an interesting warbler; in parts of Europe it has altered its migration habits. Our British breeding population of this summer migrant moves away in the autumn, migrating to southern Europe and Africa. However a population from central Eastern Europe has found it can survive the winter in the milder British climate, supported by a good food supply. It was ringing schemes that proved where these birds had come from and where they go. Tiny individually coded aluminium rings were put on Blackcaps’ legs in one place only to be recovered in another part of Europe. Unlike the smaller warblers, Blackcaps have a varied winter diet of berries, fruit and insects. Our gardens with ornamental berry bushes and artificial bird food (especially fat balls) can support a surprisingly heathy winter population of Blackcaps. The phenomenon of wintering Blackcaps is not new but has dramatically increased. They became more abundant as a winter visitor according to a 1980s survey but there was a phenomenal 77% increase in winter numbers in the next 2007-11 Devon Birds Survey.


The Firecrest is a little different, although a spring migrant occurring on our coast in the spring as they move north and in the autumn as they migrate back south, they also regularly overwinter. This tiny warbler is equal in size to the Goldcrest, our smallest British bird, and weighs little more than a 20 pence piece. The Firecrest’s small size means it can survive eating fewer and smaller prey than its larger warbler relatives. Like the chiffchaff they only eat small invertebrates, so frost-free coastal marshes are a perfect place to survive the winter. During colder spells they can be found feeding just above the water level among reeds, picking off aphids or midges. Alternatively they move into evergreen holly bushes and ivy covering tree trunks and branches, both of which are microclimate habitats, slightly warmer than the exposed deciduous trees and scrub around them. The Firecrest is really a southern or central European bird that has successfully expanded its range north. In Devon it was first proven as a breeding bird in 2014, but by 2020 the breeding population had grown to well over 50 pairs. It also has an increasing

A few find that our small relatively frost-free coastal marshes at Broadsands, Goodrington and Clennon Valley can offer them such a healthy population of invertebrates that the birds decide to stay.



February/March 2021 | 23

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

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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 rge private courtyard and the local precinct just a residents can join in if they large private courtyard and the local precinct is just a residents can join in if they wish. ve minute walk away, with all the amenities you would five minute walk away, with all the amenities you would Traditional home cooked meals are provided in 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. ose 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 undry, dining room, lounge and beautiful garden.

about running a house are taken away.

24hr emergency pendant to work, so all concerns 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

Registered Society No: 23413R under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014

Riviera Birdwatching Chiffchaff

a cleaner are happy

winter population that has flourished over the last couple of mild winters. rtainment For all of these warblers spending a winter in Britain which the instead of migrating south is a gamble for birds with such specialist diets. Should the weather turn into a prolonged cold spell the food supply will become limited or perhaps ded in the even disappear. In some years our winters have had a

visions are s.

sting in the tail, with some of the harshest and coldest periods being at the end of February and into the early spring. We will all remember the ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018, a long period of icy winds and snow from Russia that dramatically reduced numbers of winter warblers that had made it through the ‘winter’, now killed off by the temperatures, wind and lack of food. Even resident

Blackcaps - Male (below) and female

food, so han a BT residents, concerns

all system

e 2 englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

February/March 2021 | 25

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Riviera Birdwatching

birds normally able to tolerate some frost and snow like the Wren and Goldcrest suffered with populations being decimated just when the winter was meant to be over. Going back even further in the late 1950s the Wren population around Postbridge on Dartmoor was around 500 pairs but in the spring of 1963, after the severe winter there were just four singing males left, that’s a decline of over 99%! In early March 2018 during the ‘Beast from the East’, birdwatchers were heartbroken to see larger birds like Lapwing, Golden Plover, Redwing, Fieldfare, Skylarks, Pipits and even wildfowl dying in front of them. On our beaches’ strandlines, corpses of land birds were found; these birds must have been migrating in an attempt to escape the worst of the weather only to be lost in bad weather at sea. As tragic as it might seem, these losses are usually made up for during the following breeding seasons due to less conflict from a reduced population all trying to establish and maintain their own territories. With luck a couple of favourable warm springs and summers, with no extraordinary weather events, will mean bird populations bounce back. Small birds like Goldcrest may even rear two broods totalling twenty young in a good year!  englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

Mike Langman Mike Langman Torbay resident, former Devon Bird Recorder, worked for the RSPB for 9 years, Chairman of Friends of Clennon Lakes, lifelong birdwatcher and naturalist, wildlife illustrator and guide. mikelangman.co.uk February/March 2021 | 27

Meet the Volunteers

The Oldway Gardens Volunteer Group continues to do a fantastic job keeping the beautiful gardens at Oldway Mansion looking wonderful. They tell us their stories.

Steve Berry “Hi my name is Steve. I am a 62-year-old retired Openreach Engineer. I have good memories of Oldway Mansion and the gardens having got married here 32 years ago. I found Oldway Garden Volunteers on their Facebook page and I am so pleased I did! It helps me get out in the fresh air, exercise, socialise and work with a great bunch. I feel that I am making a difference at Oldway.”

“Hi I’m Roger. I’ve been an Oldway Garden Volunteer for 9 months and have enjoyed every day helping to bring back the gardens to life. All the encouragement and compliments we get really helps. It’s great talking to the visitors as we complete each area of Oldway Gardens; it’s beginning to look lovely now. All the volunteers are doing a great job, now we are looking forward to spring. Cheers all.”

Roger Allen

“Hi, my name is Pete. I became a member of the Oldway Garden Volunteer Group because I have a few hours to spare each week. Having got married at Oldway 42 years ago, I would like to see the gardens as vibrant and colourful as it was then. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys fresh air and the outdoor life to volunteer, and make a difference and get satisfaction.”

Pete n Redfer

28 | February/March 2021

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Riviera People

Terry Emerson “Hi my name is Terry, I became of the very first volunteers as the call for help fitted in nicely with moving to the area and I needed a way to join in the local community. I love every minute of the hard work it takes to keep Oldway looking great; it keeps me fit and I’ve got to know a great bunch of fellow volunteers.”

n Sarah Capla

Tony Kilbey “Hi, i’m Tony, 78 years old. I joined the Oldways Garden Volunteers after moving here from Cornwall a while ago. While in Cornwall I did 15 years volunteer work on the National Nature Reserve on the Lizard, which I loved. I am enjoying making a difference in Oldway gardens (mainly on the rockery at the moment) and as I don’t have much of a garden at home Oldway replaces that! It’s always good to have a (socially distanced) chat with members of the public and have compliments on our work.”

“Hi I’m Sarah and I volunteer at Oldway. I have so many memories as a child experiencing precious times here and now I can give something back. I don’t know much about gardening but I learn things every day I’m there and have learnt that it doesn’t matter about your ability cause even the littlest thing makes a difference. I adore the gardens and the mansion; it’s a beautiful place to spend some time in and reflect on how stunning nature is. Please make contact and join our fabulous team and help to keep this treasure alive.”

Lewis sby Summer englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

“Hi I am Lewis and I have been volunteering at Oldway as part of the team for a long time. I really enjoy helping out around the gardens and especially like to cut the grass, which I do very well, so I am told! I also like chatting with the visitors to Oldway.” February/March 2021 | 29

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Riviera People “After working for 41 years in education, mainly in Nottingham, it is a joy to be able to work outside with such a keen set of volunteers. First memories of Oldway were in 1968 when I travelled down from London in the summer holidays to meet my future wife and was told how she used to work in the tea shop in the Mansions when she was 16. My interests are the hard structure in the gardens including benches, paths and rockery. I also liaise with the Community Payback supervisors and team members whose work makes such a difference to Oldway. It has been hugely motivating to work in the grounds because of the extensive positive feedback, support and thanks we receive from the public using Oldway. I like to think we are making a difference.”

n y t ar M e Pop “My name is Martyn and I returned to Devon from Wales where I had studied horticulture for 5 years and worked as a gardener for 15. I had visited Oldway and was preparing my CV to apply to work here when lockdown was enforced! When I heard about the volunteer group I signed up and decided to concentrate on the area by the main road. We set about clearing the Maidenhair Vine (Muehlembeckia complexa), which was suffocating the adjacent trees and shrubs. It didn’t take long to realise we were unearthing one of the most epic rockeries I have seen! We endeavour to find a balance between restoration and progressive plant displays so have been cutting everything back and rethinking the planting scheme and are set to be on schedule for when the growing season begins. The group is super friendly, you can do as much or as little as you want, when you want, and it’s nice talking to the public. It’s been a lifeline to me and many others; getting out of the house, fresh air, calm environment, exercise and social interaction.”

Bev Geake

“Hi, I’m Bev and I’m the volunteer who picks up litter between 8-9 most mornings! I retired from the NHS as a nurse/nurse educator 4 years ago and now I work as a celebrant. I have always enjoyed running or more recently, walking around Oldway grounds and got very fed up with the constant litter being left in the beautiful gardens. I’m definitely more of a clean freak than a gardener so litter picking is a perfect volunteer role for me. I love being the elusive member of the group and I’m so proud to be part of this amazing, friendly and hard working team.”

Find out more and get involved Oldway Gardens Volunteer Group englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

February/March 2021 | 31

Fun Things to Do Outside...

Two things that we’ve definitely learned from the last year are the benefits of exercise and fresh air. Torbay is the perfect place for this with walks, parks and stunning outside places close to all areas. We take a look at some of the options (restrictions permitting). Walking Whether you have the time and energy for a lengthy yomp or just a short stroll, Torbay has a huge choice of routes. Just make sure to don sensible footwear and bring a waterproof jacket, maybe in a rucksack with a drink and a snack if heading off the beaten track. Discover all the places you can walk to directly from home – it’s very liberating and saves a fortune on fuel! South West Coast Path The Torbay section of this wonderful trail is 22 miles long and includes woodland, cliff walks, beaches and some pavements. We love the Brixham to Broadsands section, which takes in some stunning beaches. From Broadsands, heading towards Paignton you’ll gain some amazing views but be prepared for steep climbs. Stroll around the gardens at Roundham Head before enjoying Paignton Harbour and wandering along Paignton Seafront. You can pick up the path again behind the Imperial Hotel and walk through once cultivated gardens at Peaked Tor Cove towards Daddyhole Plain and on to Meadfoot Beach and even Thatcher Point if you’ve got the energy. southwestcoastpath.org.uk John Musgrave Trail For the serious hiker, the John Musgrave 35-mile walking trail can be split into more manageable sections: Maidencombe to Cockington (11miles), Cockington to Totnes (9.5 miles), Totnes to Dittisham (9miles) and Greenway to Brixham (5.5 miles). countryside-trust.org.uk Other Amazing Local Walks There are also superb Cockington Estate Walks, Berry Head walks (accessible with a network of tarmac paths), Walls Hill (with its bronze age field system) and woodland walks around Occombe, Scadson and Cockington Valley. countryside-trust.org.uk

32 | February/March 2021

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Give It A Go! Outside Kayaking River or sea kayaking is a wonderful way to see our local area from a unique viewpoint. You’ll also be able to commune with nature – seals, sea birds and occasionally dolphins are some of the star attractions of this sport. Ideally you’d join a club that will supply you with kit, guided trips and training, often for a surprisingly modest annual fee. There are many clubs in the area. Try Paignton Canoe Club, Brixham’s Ibex Canoe Club or Dartmouth Yacht Club’s canoe section. Often Canadian canoes and kayaks are also on offer. paigntoncanoeclub.org.uk ibexcanoeclub.org.uk dyc.org.uk


Sea Swimming

We are so lucky to have breathtakingly beautiful viewpoints and a wide range of fab subjects, not least the wonderful cruise ships that have been around all year. It’s also something you can do from home especially if you have a garden. Try and snap and identify some garden birds – so pretty on frosty days. Don’t forget to leave some food and water out for them.

Feeling anxious, stressed or frustrated by lockdown? Sea swimming is all the rage to lift your spirits and there is apparently growing evidence that its helps reduce tension and aids sleep. It’s enjoying a big ‘moment’ in Torbay right now. One can see swimmers at our local beaches all year round but for support and safety if you have no experience, Healthscape is a non profit organisation that organises socially distanced open water swims and gentle dips. FB @healthscapecic

Devon Rocks and Stones heres been a rr o interest in stone painting with the pastime of decorating, hiding and hunting little rocks and stones. This one is especially suitable for children o all ages ts so e citing to find a bea ti ll painted rock in an unexpected place. I usually photograph and replace them. See the Facebook page for more advice and details. Devon Rocks and Stones

Tennis PHOTO © :Grace Jeyes

There is a good choice of great tennis clubs around the Bay but when lockdown relaxes why not dust off your ancient tennis rac et, find a ew balls and head to one o man ree tennis courts around the Bay? Free courts are available at St Mary’s Park, Brixham, Upton Park, Torquay and Victoria Park in Paignton. englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

February/March 2021 | 33

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34 | February/March 2021

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Give It A Go! Outside Running We e heard a lot abo t r nning being beneficial or health and there’s no doubt that runners enjoy getting into the great o tdoors more o ten than most b t be s re to start slowl i o re ncertain abo t o r fitness o ll onl need a pair o sensible r nning shoes to start and don’t worry about squeezing into shorts, most runners wear leggings and baggy t-shirts these da s Running Clubs great option is to oin a local cl b and ma be sign p or their starter or o ch to class initiall r i iera acers in or a , o th e on in aignton or ri ham Harriers cl b meets are still restricted on go ernment ad ice then wh not ha e a go at the pro sion on irt al e ents and challenges that now abo nd or r nners rivieraracers.co.uk southdevon.run brixhamharriers.co.uk

Birdwatching When loc down allows s to lea e o r gardens and ent re rther afield, the a has some splendid sites or the ine perienced birdwatcher or a id birder r err Head ational at re eser e, lennon a es, aidencombe and lots more sites (and see i e angmans article in this iss e Wh not tr a bit o s etching and painting too

Fishing his can be a er therape tic acti it and orba is the per ect spot to gi e it a go op lar places where o ll spot lots o fishing acti it are on rincess ier, ri ham rea water, ead oot each, ddicombe each, lberr o e and man more o co rse o can also hire fishing boats to ta e o o t here is lots o in o on orba ishings website torbayfishing.com

Cycling oc downs, partic larl the first one, ha e been a boon or ner o s c clists li e m sel with the roads ieter than s al o re getting bac into c cling wh not ta e a c cling co rse or head to orba elopar once restrictions permit orba o ncil has an online orba cle ap ater, once tra el is allowed o co ld head to Haldon orest ar and tr some gentle o road mo ntain bi ing forestryengland.uk/haldon-forest-park

Virtual Challenges o need something to get o o tside reg larl and o ten o co ld tr the ands nd to ohn roats irt al n We e tried it and its great n here are man other a ailable too endtoend.run


February/March 2021 | 35

Views North &South

Need to know

Distance: 2.8 miles Exertion: Moderate Time: Allow between 90 minutes and 2 ½ hours if including Hope’s Nose Terrain: Coastpath. Steep and rutted in places. Not suitable for pushchairs or very young children. Muddy in winter. Dogs: Some road crossings. Refreshments: Seasonal at Meadfoot Start Postcode: TQ1 2QP Grid Reference: SX 93427 64577


fantastic walk for experiencing some of the Bay’s finest uninterrupted views of the coast to Teignmouth, East Devon, across Lyme Bay to Portland Bill on a clear day, as well as some of Torquay’s most dramatic geology and of course a plethora of fantastic

36 | February/March 2021

cruise liners to behold! Much of the South West Coast Path section of this walk has been improved by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust over the past two years after consultation with local residents identified views that had long been lost to uncontrolled undergrowth and tree cover.

1 From the car park on Anstey’s Cove Road take the Bishop’s Walk path 10 metres to the right of the road that drops down to Anstey’s Cove. This will eventually emerge onto Ilsham Marine Drive. Along the way there are numerous viewpoints, some with benches and shelter, affording fantastic sites of Long Quarry Point, and Hope’s Nose and further afield along the East Devon Coast. There is an extended route taking you down towards the edge of the woods and cliffs which eventually leads back up to the main path for those who’d prefer a longer walk. 2 When the path reaches Ilsham Marine Drive cross the road and take the elevated grassy path up the hill back toward the coastline. More uninterupted views

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Riviera Walk Ordnance Survey

© Crown copyright. Media 082/19




3 4

across Lyme Bay from here.The path follows above the line of the road around to Hope’s Nose. The path down to Hope’s Nose is steep and narrow in places and a little scrambling is required to get all the way to the water’s edge. The way down is the way back up so for a less strenuous walk you might want to leave this part out although it’ll tire the children out! 3 From the top of Hope’s Nose follow the road downhill for 30 metres until you see the sign for the coast path towards Thatcher Point on the right. The path takes you down past the stunning Thatcher House with its beautifully kept grounds and out to Thatcher Point for a close-up view of Thatcher Rock and its seabird


colonies (take your binoculars) and long views across the bay. Take care here; there are some long drops. Follow the path back up to the road. 4 Follow Ilsham Marine Drive down to Meadfoot Beach and turn right to follow the valley back up towards Anstey’s Cove. This long grassy route is known as Manor Gardens and Lincombe Slopes and is a popular summer picnic location and a good opportunity for a spot of cricket or football. At the top of the green space follow the road once more for a couple of hundred metres before crossing over and following the next area of parkland back to the car park.

February/March 2021 | 37

The Heritage Quiz №4 Can you work out the identities of these famous people who had connections with Torbay and the surrounding areas? 1. Known as ‘The Calculating Boy’ and born in Moretonhampstead, this calculating prodigy became an international star while still a child, later becoming a notable engineer. He died at his home on Warfleet Road in Dartmouth where a blue plaque can be seen today. Who was he? 2. Inventor of the jet turbine engine, which had a major impact on our fortunes in WW2, he spent much of his retirement at his house Walland Hill in Chagford where a red plaque can be seen. Who was he? 3. Anna Constantia Thynne was an authority on early life on earth. After researching rockpools in Torbay, she invented the world’s first what?

38 | February/March 2021

4. After inventing stainless steel, also known as rustless steel, he settled in Torquay and died at Livermead in 1948 where a blue plaque can be seen at Mead Road. Who was he? 5. A world famous explorer, who graduated from Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, his final written words included, “We shall stick it out to the end. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write any more.” A commemorative statue can be seen at Mount Wise Plymouth. Who was he? 6. The elegant property now known as Wylam House in Torquay was home to Lord Herbert Plumer, a heroic British army officer. What earth-shattering event did he superintend at Ypres while fighting the Germans in WW1?

7. Elizabeth Goudge was a writer, hugely popular in the UK and America; she spent many years at Marldon. What was the name of her 1950 novel, which featured The Chapel of St Michael at Torre in Torquay? 8. Born at Plympton near Plymouth this renowned

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Riviera Heritage Quiz



English portrait painter was given a full state funeral and now lies at St Paul’s in 1792 London. Who was he? 9. In 1902 he invented and patented Liqufruta, a cough syrup still on sale today. After retiring to Shaldon, his wife created a delightful botanical garden, which can still be visited. His grave at nearby Ringmore bears the word ATURFUQUIL, which is Liqufruta backwards (a ruse to get round a ban on advertising). Who were they? 10. He invented viscose rayon and became a renowned geologist, settling in Paignton. Who was he?

For lovers of local history and heritage here’s a chance to win a copy of the newly published Famous Devon Figures Volume II book, which features 60 short biographies of famous figures, past and present, associated with Torbay and Devon. Just answer the following question: In which year was the Torbay Civic Society founded? Email your answer to: editorial@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk along with your name and address. The first correct answer selected at random after the competition closes will receive a copy delivered to their door. Deadline for entries is 31 March 2021.

If you don’t know the answer or can’t wait that long you can order your copy at the local bookshop:

www.englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Look out for more local books coming soon...

Answers: 1. George Parker Bidder; 2. Sir Frank Whittle; 3. Domestic aquarium; 4. Harry Brearley; 5. Scott of the Antarctic; 6. Under Sir Herbert the Royal Engineers tunnelled under the German position and detonated 500 tons of explosives, creating what was known at the time as, “the biggest explosion in human history”; 7. Gentian Hill; 8. Joshua Reynolds; 9. William Newcombe Homeyard & Maria Laetitia Kempe Homeyard; 10. Edwin John Beer

With thanks to Torbay Civic Society englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

February/March 2021 | 39

Curl up with a Good Book...

There are some compelling and wonderfully enjoyable new books out by local authors. Why not treat yourself? Heads, Hearts and Tails Bea Hutchins Paignton resident Bea Hutchins has created a beautifully crafted concoction of poems and stories that take hold of our everyday experiences and turn them into a world of wonder and delight – funny, touching and wacky. She has a whimsical eye for the humdrum detail of life, turning it into an extravaganza of joyful detail and heart-warming insight. In this debut work, Bea brings us a collection that we can hide under our pillow and dip into, to soothe the soul at fraught moments. Topics include: Grandpa, fishing, wheelie bins, my dog, curly perms, moving house, autumn, jam making, cubby hole, motherhood and lots more. Her descriptive powers are stunning - she paints wonderful pictures and impressions for all to enjoy and gives us nostalgia, comedy and reflection. I loved it! Heads, Hearts & Tails is subtitled A Distillery of Poetry & Stories and Bea tells me that she used the distilling method for making gin as a format for the collection. Bea is a true Devonian coming from several local generations (plus a smattering of Cornish). Get your copy: ohbeahave@ hotmail.com

40 | February/March 2021

M.E. Myself and I - Diary of a Psychic Nicky Alan This is the compelling autobiography of no-nonsense police officer Nicky Alan, who during her 18 years in the force as a major investigation bereavement-trained detective always demanded hard evidence. But in 2003 after an injury, she found herself medically retired. As the granddaughter of a seventh son of a seventh son from London’s East End and having spent a childhood thinking that the spirit people she saw were normal, Nicky began a career as a full-time international medium. She started touring with well-known spiritualists and appeared on Angels with Gloria Hunniford and numerous other radio and TV shows across the UK, Europe, Australia and the US. Her newly published book M.E. Myself & I – Diary of a Psychic tracks her pain and hopelessness after a serious car accident in 2012 leaves her with ME and Fibromyalgia. Inspired to write her ‘miracle journey’ surviving chronic illness through her connections with the spirit and angels Nicky delivers a compelling and emotional read. She now lives near Torbay’s wonderful beaches with her two dogs Teddy and Mia and a second book You Won’t Leave Me is nearing completion. Get your copy: nickyalan.co.uk

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Riviera Authors

The Thistle and The Rose Arthur Gordon Arthur Gordon was born in Scotland but lived most of his life in the West Country. The Thistle and The Rose is a delightful collection of poems, many describing real places in Torbay and Dartmoor and interspersed with stories whisking us off to Scotland. On topics within the Bay there are evocative poems about Berry Head, bikers at Paignton Pier, The Old Coach House pub in Paignton, The Mallock Clock Tower in Torquay, cruise ships in the Bay, falcons (possibly at Berry Head), a Hercules steam train running along the Dart, Paignton Pier, Torquay seahorses, the Bay’s red cliffs and lots more. The Thistle and the Rose will take you on a wonderful and thoughtful tour of some well-loved places from the comfort of your armchair. Get your copy: ahstockwell.co.uk

Famous Devon Figures Ian Handford This superbly illustrated and beautifully designed book contains 60 short biographies of famous and influential people past and present, who have strong associations with Torbay and Devon. Packed with intriguing detail, amusing 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. Get your copy: englishrivieramagazine.co.uk


The Princess of the Sea Arthur Gordon Also by Torbay resident Arthur Stockwell The Princess of the Sea is a beautifully designed and illustrated children’s book about Miranda, a beautiful mermaid who lives in a cave at the bottom of the Mewstone just off Dartmouth. Miranda’s friends include a colony of grey seals, Herman the hermit crab, Ernie the old conger eel, Dolly the bottlenose dolphin, a tiny seahorse called Neptune and a huge blue whale called Bertram. Miranda also has a sister called Marianne who lives at Thatcher Rock They have lots of adventures and fun including a summer ball where the crabs dance a jaunty ‘boogie-woogie’. Children will adore this wonderful book. Get your copy: ahstockwell.co.uk




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

Compiled by

Ian L. Handford Published by Devon Magazine Company Ltd

February/March 2021 | 41

For Our Loyal Customers


35% OF F

Thanks for your support during lockdown, we look forward to raising a glass with you soon!

shop online at:

shop.baysbrewery.co.uk Enter the code LOYALTY35 at checkout A range of other local drinks available too!


Follow us Our beers are also availabe for collection from our Brewery Shop in Aspen Way, Paignton TQ4 7QR Call us now to place your order 01803 555004 - Open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri - Social distancing rules apply! on & so ng ck di sto ed B in g es rin Tre Sp uit Fr ft So

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Food & Drink

He was a wise Man who Invented


During the first national lockdown the team at Bays, the popular local family brewery based in Paignton, successfully repurposed its route to market. Now in Lockdown 3 they have a brand new online ordering website and a well-oiled doorstep delivery service.


nce Devon headed into Tier 3 closing down large parts of the hospitality industry, family-run Bays once again found itself with a brewery full of award-winning beer with nowhere to go. So by the time the full national lockdown hit, their popular doorstep delivery was in full swing again and Bays-lovers were picking up a 35% discount on their orders for these award-winning beers. You’ll see the jaunty Bays Brewery vans, emblazoned with some of their most sought after beers like Devon Rock Craft Lager and Devon Dumpling, regularly trundling around the Bay and cheering up the locals. The Bottled Craft Range includes the delights of Devon Rock Craft Lager (4.5%), Devon Cove Pale Ale (4.%), the Bottled Ale Range includes Gold (4.3%), Topsail (4%) and Devon Dumpling (5.1%) – all huge winners in the local thirst-quenching stakes. You can also order beer boxes, hampers and gifts. There’s a Bottled Cider Range on offer that includes

Bays Windfall Cider (4.7%) and Hunts Misty Maid (4.2%). In fact Bays is supporting other local drinks makers by adding their products to the Bays online ordering list. Wine choices include Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve white wine, Sharpham Rose, Sharpham Pinot Noir and Sharpham Sparkling Blanc. If you fancy a tipple of spirits you can also order local Deck Chair Gin and Red Sails Brixham Gin, Cove Vodka (from Hope Cove) and a couple of choices of rum. If you want to remind friends and family you’re thinking of them, but don’t know what they’d prefer you could send them a Bays voucher in denominations of £10, £25, £50 or if you’re feeling exceptionally generous £100. The Bays team has become adept at its Covid-19 hygiene procedures and the arrival of the Bay’s van often causes a bit of excitement. People have been sharing their fun doorstep delivery photos and messages on Facebook and delivery is free when you order two items or spend over £28. Meanwhile, the team at Bays has still been brewing with their 5-stage process, which produces such divine results. Of course they’ve been sending positive waves to their friends in the drinks trade – pubs, restaurants and bars that have been forced to close ts been a terribl di fic lt time to be in an local business and the drinks world is no exception. While we wait for life to get back to some sort of normality and having a drink means staying at home, the cheery faces of the Bays drivers have certainly been giving residents a bit of a lift!   baysbrewery.co.uk @baysbrewery February/March 2021 | 43

Promote your business in Torbay’s Best Glossy Magazine Since launching English Riviera magazine in August 2013 we have worked with many local companies helping them grow their businesses with a substantial return on their investment. Our aim has always been to deliver engaging, informative content marketing to inspire our readers, encouraging response for our advertisers. Walks Local Food Heritage Nature People Events Arts

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Support for Paignton Zoo Paignton Zoo opened to the public in 1923 and has delighted visitors ever since – here’s how we can help protect their future.


ow on its third clos re and in spite o terrific s pport Or purchase an Annual Pass and enjoy unlimited entry to the from the public, Paignton Zoo, a leading conservation zoo for 12 months and discounts in the shops and catering and education charity, still needs lots of ongoing donations outlets. Your new pass will start from the date that the zoo and help. The Zoo’s 2,500 animals, many endangered in the can safely reopen. Making a donation is easy, you can donate wild, must be looked after and fed every day. Even when the via text, to donate £10, simply text PZOO to 70085. (Text will zoo has been open, capacity restrictions have meant a big cost £10 plus one standard network message rate and the drop in income. It costs £20,000 money comes straight to the zoo). a day to run the beautiful site and You could be a zoo saviour and The Zoo’s 2,500 animals, to care for the animals. They need fundraise from the comfort of your many endangered in the high quality food and often have wild, must be looked after home. We know some people have very specialist diets to keep them fantastically creative ideas on how and fed every day fit and health to raise money for the zoo. We all The good news is that there are lots of easy ways to support need something to keep us busy on the lockdown winter the zoo that don’t cost a penny! Did you know that you days. Paignton Zoo can’t wait to hear your ideas! could shop on Amazon and raise funds for the zoo with no We know a lot of people are missing the animals and the expense to you? Simply go to Amazon Smile, search for team will continue to bring the zoo to you. Paignton Zoo South West Environmental Parks Ltd; sign in to your Amazon has lots of activities planned in the future; keep an eye on its account, shop and then check out as normal. It’s really easy social media and website to find o t more lease contin e to do and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible to support Paignton Zoo by giving what you can and let your purchases to the Zoo. friends and family know about the campaign. This is really You can also buy your favourite zoo resident a special gift important in helping to ensure the future of Paignton Zoo.  through the Amazon Wish List. There are many items on the  paigntonzoo.org.uk list for different species. These are delivered straight to the zoo; all details are on the Paignton Zoo website. Paignton Zoo has a range of different animals available for adoption and packs start from as little as £35 for 12 months - a great gift for any animal lover.

To donate £10 text PZOO to 70085


February/March 2021 | 45


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 Exhibitions and Events

Moments featuring Louise Bougourd 9-20 March (plus launch event 6 March) Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturdays 10am-6pm Louise Bougourd is a painter of seascapes, landscapes and still life. She is largely self-taught and lives in Devon. She has exhibited work at the Mall Galleries, London with the Society of Women Artist and was selected to exhibit with the Chelsea Art Society. She says, “I do not seek an actual representation; I focus on the connection with a place and feeling to steer my creativity” Artizan Gallery & Café, 7 Lucius Street, Torquay, TQ2 5UW art-hub.co.uk/ex/moments20 Just Breathe Louise Bougourd

each another but there is a clear differentiation in medium, technique and style. Artizan Gallery & Café, 7 Lucius Street, Torquay, TQ2 5UW artizangallery.co.uk Listen Sara Evans

March Contemporary Showcase 10 March – 4 April Wednesday-Sunday 11am – 4pm To launch Artizan’s calendar for 2021 they will be welcoming a group of contemporary artists working across multiple mediums and in both 2D and 3D. List of artists will be announced. Artizan Collective Unit 5, 74 Fleet Street Torquay TQ2 5EB art-hub.co.uk/ex/march2021

Artworks Online Collection

The Sculpture Studio at Artizan Joining this newly renovated studio in March are Elizabeth Hadley, Ezra Bailey, Jenny Amon, Anthony Barclay and Sara Evans. The artists’ work is complementary to

46 | February/March 2021

Diana the Huntress Elizabeth Hadley

Explore the Postcard Artworks Collection online, support culture in Torbay Eggshell No. 17 Black and take away a unique Serpentine, Gold original work from as little as £10. Ezra Bailey Half blind auction, half raffle, the scheme, started as part of the English Riviera Winter Open Exhibition 2020, allowed artists to donate small original works in lieu of exhibition fees. These generous donations now form an exclusive collection of work accessible only to backers who every month get the opportunity to view included artworks and secure a new piece of art against their donation. art-hub.co.uk/postcards

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Artizan Artist Support Pledge This idea supports artists and makers and was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using Instagram, artists and creatives can post images of their work using #artistsupportpledge giving details of the piece offered and the price (no more than £200 or equivalent). If interested in a piece, you just message the artist. Every time an artist reaches £1,000 of sales, they pledge to buy £200 of work from other artists. Artizan is supporting Torbay arts by working with #artistsupportpledge and promoting exhibited works under £200. Every time we reach £1000 worth of sales, we’ll reinvest and purchase work from a local artist. The piece will then immediately go back on display, but the artist will receive payment straight away and see the benefit o a sale art-hub.co.uk/artistsupportpledge For more information contact: juliebrandon@artizangallery.co.uk 07522 509642 artizan gallery.co.uk Also check out art-hub.co.uk

The GALLERY @Cockington Court

Local Artist Profile Beth Hill Geopark Ambassador Artist Artizan Gallery supports the Geopark Ambassador Artist Programme designed to promote artists who are inspired by the wonderful UNESCOrecognised English Riviera Global Geopark. As part of this project, Beth Hill was commissioned to produce a piece of artwork for an interpretation board, which is being installed as part of improvements to Beacon Cove in Torquay. Graphic designer and artist Beth takes her inspiration from landscapes right across the English Riviera. Her background and training is in Fine Art and she combines her skills to create her beautiful nature illustrations. She sells these via her online shop and at craft fairs. She loves walking along the coast and countryside of Torbay and enjoying the views, which she sketches before taking them back to her studio to complete. Beth was born and brought up on a farm in Shaldon before moving to Torquay. With two children aged 6 & 9 she is kept pretty busy but has managed a very successful pre-Christmas period with sales of her prints, greeting cards and gifts proving very popular. hillfolk.co.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. 01803 607230 Facebook @cockingtoncourt


February/March 2021 | 47

Mr Fox’s Garden

In this issue Mr Fox enjoys having more time in his shed and rejoices in the delights of snowdrops and hellebores.


’m just sitting down to write this page and I’m thinking to myself, “I’m not going to mention the current state of affairs - it’s a gardening page - I’m just going to write about gardening.” But the subject is almost impossible to avoid. It’s February and our gardens have been battered by the wind, frost and rain; it’s all looking rather grim out there and the news is dominated by statistics about the virus or things that are happening over the sea in America. I usually have a few good garden conversations with people every week and at some point think, ‘Arr! I’ll make that the topic of my page’. But the series of lockdowns are now coming up to their one-year anniversary and no one’s going anywhere. Aside from my kids, aged 3 and 5, I’ve not spoken to anyone. On a brighter note I’ve been getting lots of ‘shed time’ and I’m actually really rather chuffed with myself. I’m approaching the end of a project that I started what seems like an age ago. It’s like a big jigsaw now – I’ve got the pieces, I’ve just got to put it all together. The story starts 6 years ago, I was digging away and snap! The handle of my spade had gone. It was no big deal; I’ve been breaking shovels and spades all my life. The broken spade was put back in the van, taken home and put with all the other broken spades. Everything’s so cheap nowadays; it has apparently become uneconomical to repair anything - uneconomical! Anyone with any sense can clearly see the madness in this approach. I decided to buy only the best quality from then on. I’d found out that lots of the tools we buy are manufactured in the Far East and shipped round the world to us.

I thought to myself somebody should start making gardening tools in England – so off I went. The first thing I had to do was to learn about working with metal then start studying metallurgy then to learn woodworking. I had some limited knowledge in all those areas but putting a fence up and turning a trowel handle are two very different things. Before me lay a task of the most grievous kind. Starting out with no knowledge, skills or money, it seemed impossible, but soon after my wife Catherine got involved we started a journey, which has ended with us making a lot of lovely garden art...

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 48 | February/March 2021

Mr Fox

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Snowdrops and hellebores are out in flower now...

One of the first bloomers of the New Year, the snowdrop is one of our most endearing and collectable flowers.

Hellebores They are by far my favourite flower (along with tree peonies). They burst into bloom pre-Christmas and are still flowering their hearts out all the way through to March. There are so many colours and forms, each one as beautiful as the next!

Fun facts about snowdrops The Snowdrop’s scientific name is Gallanthus. This translates to ‘milk flower’. The common snowdrop we normally see with one flower per stem is a Galanthus nivalis, which translates as ‘milk flower of the snow.’ Snowdrops were named after earrings not drops of snow. During the 15th to 17th centuries women often wore dangly, white drop-shaped earrings known as ‘eardrops.’ Snowdrops and hellebores contain a natural antifreeze. Even if they collapse in freezing weather they recover once the temperature rises. During World War 2, the U.S. Military Police were given the nickname ‘snowdrops’. This was because their green uniforms and white cap/helmet with white gloves made them resemble snowdrops. They are not native to the UK - they were introduced before 1600. Snowdrops have a naturally occurring substance called galantamine; it is used to help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, although the bulbs themselves are poisonous. A single Galanthus plicatus ‘Golden Fleece’ sold for £1,390 on eBay in 2015! There are more than 2,500 varieties of snowdrop. They vary in height from 7cm to 30cm and are divided into approximately 20 species. englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

Jobs for early spring... • Order bare-rooted plants now, as they can only be supplied while dormant, during the winter months and come without plastic pots. Trees, shrubs, roses, hedging plants and fruit are cheaper and often bigger and better than container grown plants. • Fertilise the ground where your bulbs are lying and remove dead flower heads. Allow the leaves to die back naturally as this is how the bulb builds up energy for spring. • Many veg and flower seeds can be sown now, in a propagator if you have one, or on a welllit windowsill. Re-use your old plant pots but wash first in hot water to avoid pest and disease problems. Food containers like yoghurt and margarine pots, and mushroom punnets are great to grow in so long as holes are made for drainage.

February/March 2021 | 49

Paignton Zoo needs your



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