Day 335 Around Tor Bay, The heart of The English Riviera

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Brixham to Torquay

15 miles

Holly’s house, nr Teignmouth

the view from Berry Head, all the way back to Start Point
For the first time in at least a week I woke up and my tent was dry. Typical then that I should prepare to set off early and, just as I came out of the toilet block, it rained. It was only a short shower, but enough to delay me 45 minutes while I dried my tent. 

walking out to Berry Head
It was nice to walk around Berry Head, the Southern end of Tor Bay, with good visibility. This headland is now a country park, complete with ruins of a Napoleonic Fort. The iron ore and ochre found in these limestone cliffs was used to develop the first rust-resistant paint, another string to Brixham’s bow. 

the view across Tor Bay from Berry Head
Rounding Berry Head I got an incredible view all around Tor Bay. The red sandstone cliffs really stand out, amongst the amorphous mass of buildings. The English Riviera really is quite crowded. 

Paignton and suburbs
I passed through Brixham Harbour, Elberry Cove, and on to Broadsands, the first of the main beaches (Goodrington Sands, Paignton and Torquay being the others). 

Brixton Lido
processing seafood at Brixton Harbour
I liked that Brixham had lots of small gardens that were being tended by volunteers who worked under the strap line “Pride in Brixham”. The town also keeps a “heritage fleet” of old fishing sail ships running for groups and young people to experience sailing. 

one of Brixham’s lovely gardens around the harbour
Brixham’s Heritage Fleet
Approaching Broadsands I could hear a steam train, and then I saw it, the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway. In the sunshine, walking along The English Riviera, which has a certain style and air, I felt like I’d been transported back to a 1930s Agatha Christie novel. I’m pretty sure I saw Poiriot in the train window – he must have been heading to the Burgh Island Hotel to investigate a murder!

Elberry Cove
the steam train on the line above Broadsands
After all the beautiful, golden, sandy beaches I’ve passed, it was strange to see the ochre-red colour of these beaches. The sea also looked different, no longer clear, but opaque. The setting was stunning. On this hot day there were plenty of people enjoying the beach and the sea. 

a beautiful view of Broadsands
I assumed that because Tor Bay is a very deep bay it is therefore sheltered and the sea generally calm. I came to this conclusion because none of the beaches had lifeguards, instead they had “beach managers”. 

Goodrington Sands (next to the railway line)
beach huts on Goodrington Sands, below Roundham Head
Tor Bay really is a holiday Mecca. There was a huge water park and plenty of amusements and shops. Paignton had all the fun of Blackpool, but with more consistent sunshine and warmth. When I reached Paignton I veered off the wide, grassy promenade and walked up the main tourist street into town, heading for the Victorian Times tea shop. 

looking back at Berry Head
Paignton’s painted houses on the sea front
Gary and Deb, friends who own the tea shop, were expecting me for lunch. I was delighted to be treated to proper tea, in a teapot, and some delicious homemade food. I had a 2-hour break and could have stayed longer. 

a proper pot of tea at Victorian Times
It was still hot and sunny when I left Gary and Deb (with another cake for later) and headed around to Torquay. 

approaching Torquay
The marina had several expensive-looking boats in it and the old town behind it reeked of faded gentility. The Pavilion was boarded up and crumbling, a bit like some of the enormous old houses on the cliff. Newer additions to the town looked to be a big wheel (smaller than the London Eye but same concept) and a place called Living Coasts, which is a zoo of sorts and covered by huge netting. 

Torquay Harbour (the Living Coasts netting clearly visible)
Holly kindly came and picked me up from Kilmorie, almost at the far end of Tor Bay. 

approaching Kilmorie, the North end of Tor Bay
It had been a beautiful, slightly surreal, and very hot walk around the whole of the bay, the heart of The English Riviera. 
looking across the entirety of Tor Bay, from the North to Berry Head

One thought on “Day 335 Around Tor Bay, The heart of The English Riviera

  1. Chris F July 16, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    Your pic looking back at Broadsands says it all………beautiful blue sky and seas just gorgeous….topped off by tea and cake….heaven!!


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