MAIDENCOMBE.NET AUTHOR Jim Campbell

MAIDENCOMBE.NET AUTHOR Jim Campbell
Maidencombe resident since 1960. Local historian and author of the 'Coves of Maidencombe'.
Copyright © 2013 . All Rights Reserved.

COMBE WEATHER

TIDES

CURRENT MOON

KESTREL CALLING

BUZZARD IN MY GARDEN

RESERVE

NST

The bowl of the coombe as seen from Sladnor heights

The bowl of the coombe as seen from Sladnor heights

Maidencombe point

Maidencombe point
as seen above Maidencombe cove.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOLOMON'S POST MARKER

With no carpentry skills to draw upon, the reconstruction of a Solomon's Post marker was daunting but as a former silversmith who had work experience in Hatton Garden, I felt ready to make the attempt.
Here follows the basics set out in photos as I progressed.
Cutting of the pyramid cap.
The 4 inch beam had to be thoroughly dried indoors for several months and then fine sanded smooth.
Two coats of white matt undercoat were applied, followed by two coats of exterior white gloss. The beam was left for ten days for the paint to cure. Then the black stripes were applied, spacing at four inches.
The beam dried and sanded.
The layout of the letters was next, utilizing stencils to space the legend SOLOMONS POST evenly - no apostrophe was used as in the original post set up.

Lettering layout.

Two inch lettering applied.
Finally, the Solomon's Post marker is displayed in my living room, whereupon my mother, thinking I had appropriated the original sign, exclaimed: 'Do they (authorities) know you've got that?'
The reconstructed Solomon's Post marker in my living room.
So, fifty years after it was removed and presumably destroyed, the historical marker comes back to life.




THE SOLOMON'S POST PROJECT

THE SOLOMON'S POST PROJECT

History
The old black and white wooden sign posts - so evocative of the era - that served the rural hamlet of Maidencombe were replaced by more 'modern' metal road signage in the mid sixties. Notably, a major casualty was the non fingerpost Solomon's Post which stood at the junction of Ridge Road and the main Teignmouth Road.  Its status was purely historical - being a record of the importance of the major crossing point which would later serve as the site of the toll house circa 1827 after the turnpike was officially designated.  
 
Reconstruction of the marker post
 
In hindsight, the marker should not have been removed but its relevance and importance may not have been appreciated at the time.

The only remaining trace of Solomon's Post is the retained name of the old toll-house, now returned to residential use. The other associated naming was the Solomon's Post Caravan Park in Ridge Road which was dismantled in the nineteen eighties.

The bus timetable of the era listed Solomons Post as an official picking up and dropping off point and, in those days of less frenetic traffic overload, the #13 Devon General bus would draw up exactly opposite the black and white post on the bend.  With the removal of the historical marker, Stagecoach Devon have relisted the stop (now repositioned further back in a purpose built bay) as 'Maidencombe Sladnor Park Road', thus further fading and eroding the historical significance.

The image of the iconic landmark has remained with me for the half century since its removal and I visualize it on the corner every time I pass. I can recall seeing it for the first time in 1960 when, as an eleven year old with a vivid imagination, I really thought that the post was emblematic of King Solomon of Israel!  In those days, before the advent of the internet, knowledge, especially the local history variety, was hard to find. Indeed, it has only been fairly recently that I have discovered the origin of the local naming*.

The other evocative symbols of past Maidencombe community life were the three K6 red telephone boxes, that through cell phone technology and lack of use also passed into history. Obviously, they will never return but the Solomon's Post marker is quite another matter, such is its social historical importance. Indeed, the central hub of Maidencombe was at this 'Seven Several Ways' junction and not the sleepy combe, sparsely populated with a few farms and isolated houses.

I have been in contact with a much respected council officer and he also is supportive of the idea of reinstating the marker.  He indicated that Torbay council, if approving such a venture, would probably wish to manufacture the sign themselves, however, with such financial constraints right across the table, it is unlikely that funding would be available.

To this end, I have undertaken the task of reproducing the marker myself. If nothing else, the facsimile could be temporarily repositioned at its original location and photographed for posterity. 
 
* See the article  SOLOMON’S POST AT MAIDENCOMBE at www.maidencombeunity.org

Monday, August 21, 2017

GOT MAIDENCOMBE.NET BACK

Pleased to be able to get our original domain of www.maidencombe.net back today. I 'lost' it after an admin error by the provider stopped me from renewing and I have had to wait to get it released again.
All previous archived posts had been lost so relieved to have them back. My apologies for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

SPANISH PLUME HITS THE COMBE

Isolated thunderstorms and flash floods hit Cornwall and Devon overnight, resulting in localised flooding and severe damage at Coverack.  They were initiated by a 'Spanish Plume' (very warm air pushing north from the Spanish plateau on a southerly airflow).
Maidencombe did not escape but was let off comparatively lightly after 35mm of rain fell in about ninety minutes.  Light rain together with sheet lightning at 11:30pm were the harbinger to a sustained downpour of heavy rain which fell just after midnight.
Sheet lightning captured from my porch last night.
My extension was flooded after the porch guttering was inundated by run-off from the conservatory.
I shot video of part of the thunderstorm from my porch:
video


Friday, July 14, 2017

MYSTERY AT MAIDENCOMBE CROSS

A blue Astra Sport Cdti was seen blocking the farm gate below the layby at Maidencombe Cross last Tuesday.  It was later moved by the police into the layby where it has remained for the past three days.  Strangely, the keys were still in the car and were removed by the police to Torquay police station. With the garage close by, it would appear that mechanically the car was sound.
The car remains in the layby with this notice taped to the windscreen:
The Astra has a cymru plate so presumably is not local.
The Astra abandoned with the keys inside.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

SOLOMON'S POST CARAVAN PARK HISTORY

Research has been ongoing regarding the Solomon's Post Caravan Park off Ridge Road in Maidencombe. Photographic evidence is particularly hard to find but I have been able to locate an image taken circa 1960 when I first arrived in Maidencombe.
Caravans at Solomon's Post c1960
This was taken at the time when the site was unauthorized and living conditions were primitive and the winters hard to endure.  A few caravans had been present since about 1930 and word of mouth resulted in a steady accumulation of these most basic forerunners of 'affordable housing'.  In the photo (above) small, two wheeled caravans can be seen, cut into the slope of the field with the backdrop of the Stoke valley below. Tiny wooden sheds served as privies.  A few years later, larger, more permanent mobile homes moved onto the site and water and electricity installed. These upgrades ultimately would result in the demise of the caravan park. I can remember that these later homes were towed onto the site and had concrete footings, making them permanent dwellings.

By the early sixties, the authorities took an interest and the owners were forced to make an application to the local planning authority to license the field off Ridge Road as a legally permissible caravan park.  This was granted on March 4th 1963, but after objections and several legal rulings, the permission was withdrawn and the site was cleared in the late eighties.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

BOUNDER IN THE BAY

You may be wondering what the ship lying off Maidencombe for nearly a fortnight is doing there.  The Antigua & Barbuda flagged general cargo ship Bounder is apparently 'awaiting orders', which covers several eventualities.  The Sanko Mineral, anchored off Maidencombe off and on for over a year was also apparently awaiting orders until it transpired that the ship was at the centre of a legal dispute and could not continue to any port.
The cargo vessel Bounder as seen on June 1st.


CHERRY THIEVES

It's that time of year when the cherry thieves strike in my garden.  I have five trees and every year without fail, various sweet tooth birds swoop to strip the trees bare.  The main culprits are pigeons though even small birds take their share.  Unfortunately, cherries do not ripen off the tree so picking green unripe ones is not an option.
My kitchen owl perched on a cherry tree.
This year, I have enlisted the help of my kitchen 'owl' to see if he can protect my crop on one tree at least.   I'll let you know how he gets on...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

BACK IN BUSINESS

I am glad to report that the new domain of www.maidencombe.org.uk is now functioning correctly. There were redirect problems with the DNS settings which have now been resolved.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

NEW PUBLICATION FOR MAIDENCOMBE COMMUNITY GROUP

A new publication by the Maidencombe Community Group will be available shortly.  Entitled 'Maidencombe, Coves, Walks & History', it is crammed with descriptions, exclusive maps and a concise history of Maidencombe, courtesy of the first hand knowledge of residents Jim Campbell and Alan Hunt. More details to follow.
Front cover of MCG publication



NEW DOMAIN

Please note that our website has a new domain. We are now located at www.maidencombe.org.uk

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

NEW FENCING SOUTH OF THE VILLAGE

TCCT workers have been cutting back and clearing old hedgerows in the fields to the south of the village the past few weeks.  Now new stock proof  fencing is being erected and hopefully the hedges will regenerate rapidly with the onset of Spring.
Hedgerows are essential for wildlife and in particular the highly protected Cirl bunting which is established - albeit fragilely in and around Maidencombe.
TCCT operatives installing the new fencing around Tom Box field.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

FIRST SNOW WARNING FOR COOMBE

Snow warning from 5pm Thursday

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

GANTRY ISLAND PATH & KERBING - SAFETY ISSUE OR URBANISATION?

The further urbanisation of Maidencombe has been realised with council work being carried out on the notorious 'Gantry Island' at Maidencombe Cross.
The increase of traffic along the A379 corniche road from Torquay to Teignmouth has made it expedient for residents to walk through the 'island' rather than attempt passage in the road.

The island 2016 style
In the fifties, the island never existed, being part of Bowden meadow with a  five bar gate where the present entrance is today.
1950's uncluttered rural feel
The funding for the tarmac path and associated graduated kerbing came via Section 106 money which had to be spent before the current year elapsed.
The unsightly 'Gantry Island' - an urban wilderness
Though safety is of paramount concern, long term residents can only compare the above photographs with some resignation.  The more urban infrastructure, the less rural atmosphere ...

Monday, October 17, 2016

END OF AN ERA

Mick & Fiona:  Great service to the community  March 2010 - October 2016 .



Justin thanks Mick and Fiona on behalf of the residents. video

Sunday, September 25, 2016

19TH CENTURY ORCHARDS OF MAIDENCOMBE


The names, location and extent of the early to mid nineteenth century orchards in and around the village area of Maidencombe are virtually unknown today.
The old cider orchard off Rock House Lane still exists today, but what of the others that once covered a significant area in the bowl of the coombe?   
For the first time, the locations and descriptions of the Orchards of Maidencombe are documented:

Key:  C Cleared  D Developed  E Exists
ORCHARD ABOVE LAND (D) Owner: Elias Blackaller Jnr.
The footprint of Five Meadows on the junction of Rockhouse Lane and Brim Hill marks the position of the curiously named (though accurate as the fruit trees would have been raised some way above the cart track) 'Orchard above land'. In the early 19th century, it should be noted that there were no tarmacadam surfaces and all transport was horse drawn.  Rock House Lane (unnamed at that time) was a compacted, largely earth cart track and the location of Brim Hill was a continuation of this up to 'Wendy' where it dissipated into pedestrian access to Maidencombe cross.
CHARITY'S ORCHARD (D) (E) Owner: Daniel Codnor
The smallest of the orchards upon which the footprint of the house at Home Orchard in Brim Hill now stands.  Subsequently retaining orchard in the name when it was largely cleared for a large chalet style bungalow in the 1930's.
BABBAGES ORCHARD (C) Owner: Daniel Codnor
A long, narrow orchard opposite Charity's orchard and adjacent to the Orchard above land. It was cleared for grazing and agricultural use in the early 20th century.
BACK ORCHARD (C) (D) Owner: Elias Blackaller Jnr.
The largest of the orchards by far, the Back orchard took in all of the land now occupied by Coombe Hayes, Barn Hayes, Mouse Cottage (formerly Byways) and much of the gardens of Home Orchard. It was 'L' shaped and stretched over part of what is now known as 'the Slopes' to the western boundary of the Courthouse in Rockhouse Lane.
GREAT ORCHARD (C) (D) Owner: George Nickels
Part of the Cards farm estate, Great orchard extended up from the present day footprint of Suite Dreams in Steep Hill around the corner and up to the footpath directly opposite the Beehive.  It was cleared for grazing and the development of the property Rose Vine.
UNDERDOWN ORCHARD (D) Owner: George Nickels
Also part of the Cards estate, Underdown orchard occupied a narrow corridor running from where Coombe Close now stands in Brim Hill right across the combe to Steep Hill with the Beehive directly above. It was cleared to make way for houses.
ALLEY ORCHARD (D) Owner: George Nickels
Yet another Cards orchard, Alley orchard abutted the eastern half of Underdown orchard and became the gardens for the houses off Steep Hill.
WEST ORCHARD (C) Owner: George Nickels
A far-flung Cards orchard in Sladnor Park situated below Great Meadow Grove House (better known as Sladnor Manor House).  Cleared for grazing.
ORCHARD (BARN AREA) (C) Owner: Elias Blackaller Jnr.
The orchard existed where the barn and Linhay structure (c1750) are today. Largely cleared for other agricultural use  by Henry (Harry) Nickels.
CIDER ORCHARD (E) Owner: Elias Blackaller Jnr.
The sole surviving orchard in the bowl of the combe today and maintained by the TCCT and local residents.
HOUSE AND ORCHARD (E) Owner: Elias Blackaller Jnr.
Situated in the grounds of Little Thatch (c1800) Steep Hill. Apple trees still present today.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

MEET YOUR COUNCILLORS

video
For those residents who were unable to make last Thursday's 'Meet your Councillors' opportunity at Brunel Manor, here is their short personal introduction which I recorded with their assent and permission to post.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

MOUSE TAKES THE BISCUIT!

My mouse checks to see what's in the tray.
I had noticed a mouse darting up to a food tray I'd left on the wall at night but it had always been too  quick for me to really identify it.  This evening, armed with my camera, I staked the tray out.  A few minutes of waiting and then a little head popped up and I pressed the 'record' button. I've slowed the video to half speed to enable clearer viewing. Pretty sure it's a field mouse as opposed to a house or wood mouse. Anyway, it certainly took the biscuit - digestive that is!

video

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

WARSHIP RIDDLE OFF MAIDENCOMBE

HMS ECHO H87 currently moored off Maidencombe
It is a usual occurrence to see River-class warships (our regular visitors: HMS Severn P282 & HMS Mersey P283) moored off Maidencombe and AIS cloaked.  I noticed a different Royal Navy ship moored close in this afternoon and took a photo to discover its identity.  It is H87 HMS Echo, a hydrographic survey vessel whose principle role is to conduct survey operations in support of submarines or amphibious operations.  Looking on the AIS tracking site, I was surprised to see that the vessel is showing as HMS Daring (D32) a Type 45 Destroyer. Both vessels have vastly different IMO (International Maritime Organization) numbers so the error is puzzling.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

BREXIT REACTION IN THE COMBE



The historic exit from the European Union on Friday was, unsurprisingly, not without a certain amount of emotion in the combe and environs - almost exclusively from the disgruntled 'remain' camp. A straw poll, taken before and after the vote, indicated the same 50-50 division as that of the national opinion polls.

However, I can happily report that all the Maidencombers I have encountered and spoken to so far, have conducted themselves with quiet decorum.  On a less positive note, the local (St Marychurch and Maidencombe) reaction on that 'social' networking website has been of the usual haranguing style - all from the remain camp who it seems, had difficulty acknowledging the democratic process.

The Austin's lighthearted EU scarecrow and poll
The EU scarecrow (above) and built-in poll which has endured for the weeks leading up to the referendum, predicted the actual result. 

BURNING OF THE BAMBOO MAN JUNE 5 2016

SLADNOR PARK CHALETS

SLADNOR PARK CHALETS
Eerily shrouded in mist, two of the lower chalets of Sladnor Park.

AN ODE TO SLADNOR PARK

(sung to the tune of 'Home on the Range')

Oh give me a park where the badgers can roam
Where the deer and the wildlife reside
There never is heard the developer's word
To disturb where the denizens abide

Oh give me a park where the diggers are banned
And the architect can't earn his fee
Where the noise of the town
Is a far distant sound
And conservation is all it can be

For when houses are built
The council covered in guilt
And all the animals forlorn
Now the only sounds to be heard
Are vehicles absurd
And the cries of a motherless fawn

Jim Campbell

BLOG CONTENT

BLOG CONTENT
The twinning of Maidencombe with Comeinbemad reflects the light-hearted nature of this gentle blog. The articles posted are written by the author alone and have no connection with any official body or association.

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OUR MAIN LINK - CLICK ON IMAGE TO REDIRECT

OUR MAIN LINK - CLICK ON IMAGE TO REDIRECT
THE ENDANGERED CIRL BUNTING - SYMBOL OF THE MAIDENCOMBE COMMUNITY GROUP

PUTTING MAIDENCOMBE ON THE MAP

PUTTING MAIDENCOMBE ON THE MAP

OUR LOCAL LINK

I came across this fascinating and informative guide to St Marychurch and Babbacombe recently. For many Maidencombers, these are our local shops and first 'port of call' before venturing into the urban jungles of Torquay. There's a local news feed which is regularly updated. Well worth a look. Here's the link:



CLICK HERE FOR BABBACOMBE & ST MARYCHURCH GUIDE WEBSITE

MOST VIEWED POST ON THIS SITE

MOST VIEWED POST ON THIS SITE
The old Toll House on the west side of the A379 Teignmouth Road, stands at the junction of Claddon Lane with the A379 about 50 yards from Ridge Road and the former position of the black and white Solomons Post sign (see side panel right). This early photo shows the open porch (lower left) - now blocked off and the blanked out toll-board recess (top right). Under the angled roof on the right, there is a small shop and working post office. The building probably dates from 1827 when the new road was built. Originally named Solomon's Post Gate when there was a gate across the road for the toll collector to open upon payment.

RAMBLING GROUP WRITE-UP OF WATCOMBE TO MAIDENCOMBE WALK

Found this interesting little site with a rambling group's write up of walks. CLICK HERE FOR MAIDENCOMBE WALK ARTICLE

MAIDENCOMBER SLADNOR VIDEO AND WRITE-UP

YOUR LOCAL WEB APPROVES DREAMINCOMBES

YOUR LOCAL WEB APPROVES DREAMINCOMBES
After scrutiny by a panel, this site has been added as a reputable source of information about Maidencombe.

ARCHIVE: MAIDENCOMBE TIMELINE EVENING AT THE THATCHED TAVERN

The first Timeline evening took place Wednesday evening March 20th at the Thatched Tavern. Local lad Ziggy Austin's brainchild, it was an endeavour to map out the history of Maidencombe on a ten metre paper scroll. The initiative was first mooted and widely supported on Ziggy's Maidencombe Residents Facebook page. Residents and non residents were asked if they could research local history on the area and bring along any material such as postcards or text to place on the scroll.
The first evening was well attended and as can be seen in the photos on the left, a great deal was achieved.
Longest residing villager, Alan Hunt attended to add his considerable knowledge and was supported by his 'young' student Jim Campbell with a mere 53 years of residence under his belt.
The pub opened up the restaurant area for the occasion and were most generous in providing sandwiches for the studious throng.


SOLOMONS POST AT THE JUNCTION OF TEIGNMOUTH ROAD & RIDGE ROAD

SOLOMONS POST AT THE JUNCTION OF TEIGNMOUTH ROAD & RIDGE ROAD
No known images of this iconic Maidencombe landmark. Post war and up to the late 1960's, sign posts were wooden posts painted black and white. This is a close reconstruction of the sign where buses would actually pull in to for passengers to alight or board.

A UNIQUE VIDEO

A video of one of my foxes being treated for Sarcoptic mange - taking the medication on the food by hand. She recovered completely and my thanks go out to the Derbyshire Fox Rescue who supplied the medication.

DRAMATIC EROSION OF THE SOUTHWEST COASTAL FOOTPATH

Worth a look as Maidencombe's section of the SWCP is also very much under threat.

From myfoxesandbadgers site

ARCHIVE: DANGEROUS STATE OF CLIFF FACE

ARCHIVE: DANGEROUS STATE OF CLIFF FACE
Photo taken from the beach cafe above Maidencombe cove and the arrows indicate the cause for concern. A minor land slip has already taken place and the Environment Agency had a look Christmas eve in case the cove had to be closed.

ARCHIVE: Entrance to Crossways at Maidencombe Cross

ARCHIVE: Entrance to Crossways at Maidencombe Cross
After a catalogue of antisocial behaviour displayed by motorists illegally entering a private area, the police recommended that the entrance be made narrower. A sad indictment of society.

THE FOLLY AT SLADNOR PARK

THE FOLLY AT SLADNOR PARK
Constructed between 1830-1833 by Mrs Groves who inhabited Sladnor Manor House at the time. The hexagonal tower and accompanying arched outbuilding were built of Devon red sandstone. A projecting castellated cornice crowned the gothic apertures and single faux crossbow slit at ground level. A most interesting aspect of the folly is the purpose-built pony and trap winding carriage-way which Mrs Groves carved through the north western woods of the estate to facilitate her passage to and from the folly. The structure is now in poor condition and it is earnestly hoped that Richmond Villages, the new owners of Sladnor, will be able to make safe the folly to enable residents to enjoy in years to come.

FEATURES OF MAIDENCOMBE

Some of the features we will be mentioning:

ROCK HOUSE GAZEBO
THE CASCADE
THE IRON STILE
THE CASTELLATED FOLLY
THE BAT RETREAT
THE PUMP HOUSE
THE PILL BOX
THE 190 OAK
SMUGGLER'S LANE

GRADE 2 LISTED ROCK HOUSE GAZEBO

GRADE 2 LISTED ROCK HOUSE GAZEBO
Circa 1850. Constructed of Devon red sandstone with unfortunately, as is the case with the Sladnor Folly, some cement patching. Sited at the eastern end of the garden, overlooking the sea. A single storey structure with faux castellated parapet. It has a one-window front incorporating a gabled porch on the front to left with a segmental headed and arched doorway. There is a matching arched window to the right. Reportedly, the structure had a flight of external steps for access to the flat roof with commanding views of Lyme Bay. The interior is clay-tiled laid.