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.

Blog Archive

Monday, April 29, 2013

THE BELL ROCK - CLOSE UP

Took a look at the Bell Rock Sunday afternoon - video clip following.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

THE BADGER BRUISER TWINS AND A MEADOW CHASE

So Cruise, my collie cross and I have just returned from a particularly arduous Night Patrol around the combe.  The main order of business is to ensure that the blind vixen, Becbla, is fed whenever she ventures out into the meadow.  She usually positions herself strategically away from other foxes and gobbles up a chicken thigh and then runs off with another thigh before another fox or badger approaches.

Tonight was mayhem.  The two badger bruiser twins (virtually identical first year females from the same litter) burst on the scene, scattering two 'regular' foxes and, most unfortunately, Becbla.  It was going to be a long night.

Becbla circled and came back.  I threw her a thigh but no sooner had she reached it, two other foxes rushed up and snatched it from her.  Unable to defend herself, Becbla always drops the food immediately. This happened twice more and then I decided enough was enough and chased all foxes and badgers from the meadow.  Then it was a waiting game.  I turned off my head lamp (not really needed with clear skies and a virtual full moon) and crouched down.  Fifty yards away, So Cruise waited patiently.

It was over twenty minutes before Becbla cautiously ventured out.  She got  a chicken thigh and departed, eating on the run.   I managed to throw one more thigh from 30 yards away which she also got safely. 

By the time we completed our Night Patrol, two hours had elapsed - a long night yes, but also a satisfying one.


Friday, April 26, 2013

YOU CAN PAT A BADGER BOAR

... though it's not recommended!  Clip taken early hours today.  The boar is blind in his left eye.

Badgers love bananas

The one-eyed boar snatches the treat from my hand.

ONE BADGER AND ONE FOX

They are so intent watching me that they fail to notice each other.  Clip taken in my garden early hours today.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

THE OLD MAN OF THE BELL ROCK


RESIDENT PHEASANT

Invariably drops by each day for seed and peanuts - here puffing himself up and about to display for a hen bird nearby.

A GATHERING OF BULLFINCHES

... on my bird table yesterday.  Reported to be quite rare in other parts of the country,  we are fortunate to have over a dozen pairs frequent our garden.

Monday, April 22, 2013

TEN THOUSAND VISITS

Just seen that our village blog has broken the 10,000 visit (not hits) barrier earlier this evening.  I am truly taken aback by the numbers. The spinning globe you see on the top left column was only put on November 12th last year and I thought we were a bit presumptuous in placing it on the site.

Thank you everyone for your continuing support and interest.    Jim Campbell, resident of Maidencombe for the past 53 years.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The wolf came to the camp fire but the fox did not

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) roamed the earth long before the wolf (Canis lupus) and survived by hunting alone or with a companion as opposed to the wolf which hunted in packs - and having the ability to bring down far larger animals by dint of superior numbers.

The age-old tale of the wolf coming to the camp fire of humans and being accepted gives credence to the ultimate domesticating of the wolf to dog in only a few generations.

Every night So Cruise, my collie-cross and I go out on the cliff paths and around the combe, encountering foxes that I have built up a rapport with over many generations.

I  marvel at the similarities of the fox to the domestic dog.  Trust is hard won with this super-intelligent predator, but once established,  can endure for the life-span of the creature.

The average life of the red fox is only about two years.  When looked after, this readily increases to five or even seven years - as I can testify to, having known individuals attain that span over the many years I have associated with them.

I can see many things in the attitude and eyes of my foxes.  There is great curiosity in this human and his dog who roam amongst them and know their habits so well.

Those of you who have a dog would take for granted their pet coming to them when called - observant and understanding of every gesture.  Very few could imagine foxes (and badgers) coming from over half a mile away when called.   They do for me - but then it has taken me many years to earn that trust.

The wolf came to the camp fire but the fox did not ... the faint longing may have been there though ...

Friday, April 19, 2013

BLUEBIRD'S LAST BIRTHDAY HASH?

Reports are filtering through from Cruisedog Towers that the infamous Bluebird will once again be holding his Birthday Hash from the Thatched Tavern Monday Bank Holiday May 6th.  The legend in the Hashing Diary intriguingly reads: 'The Last Birthday Hash' giving rise to speculation that Bluebird will make yet another dare-devil attempt on his trail.

Previous escapades have included the Thirteen Coves Death March;  the scaling of the Bell Rock (which resulted in Bluebird being assisted back to the pub after accidentally stabbing himself with a beer bottle - sigh);  the un-roped scaling of Oddicombe cliffs below the ill-fated Ridgemont House (the cliff has now collapsed completely) and the abortive attempt to be the first hasher to scale Labrador heights cliff carrying a case of beer on his back - to name but three infamous Birthday Hashes.

Hash officials are tight-lipped about the forthcoming hash and have declined to comment.

It should be stressed that the only person at risk on the night will be Bluebird himself  ...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Exciting times

These are indeed exciting times for residents of Maidencombe.  Following on from the Mayor of Torbay making an historic visit to the village to talk with and listen to views of villagers regarding the registration of the green,  I can reveal that submissions from ward partnerships have now closed.

Maidencombe's submission was described by St Marychurch Ward Partnership as  being robust and passionate.  It had to run the gauntlet of being queried as disproportionate in length and scope compared to other areas within the ward.  It is hoped that the St Marychurch submission which includes St Marychurch, Babbacombe, Plainmoor and Maidencombe will be allowed to stand in its entirety as the ward is so much larger than other wards.

All ward submissions will be formulated within the Neighbourhood Plan which should mesh and become operational with Torbay Council's Local Plan within the next few weeks.

The defences against over-development within Maidencombe are about to be put in place.  The fight for registration of our green as a Village Green now moves towards resolution. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MAYOR'S VISIT TO MAIDENCOMBE

The Mayor of Torbay, Gordon Oliver, pictured above (tall gentleman long black coat) made an historic visit to Maidencombe today to discuss options for registering the Village Green.  More on this story to follow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

ODDICOMBE CLIFF FALL - SCARY UP CLOSE


ODDICOMBE CLIFF FALL - STILL IN MOTION


ODDICOMBE CLIFF SLIDE

This is just around the corner from Maidencombe and is a frightening indication of what is to come.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

APRIL 1ST POSTING


An April fool's prank was posted on April 1st! It was taken down at midnight.
Readers can be re-assured there will be no development of wind farms in Maidencombe. Certainly, any such plans would have been known to the Council and would have become common knowledge. According to statistics we had, on April 1st, some "international" visitors to the blog, including the International Space Station. This, of course, was a prank played on us by google!

WAS ANYONE FOOLED BY THESE? I KNOW I WAS!
CLICK HERE FOR AN OVERVIEW OF THE BEST APRIL FOOLS SPOOFS IN THE BRITISH PRESS IN 2013

NIGHT PATROL VIDEO SHOOT

So Cruise and I encounter 'Croucher' one of my foxes, the old one-eyed badger boar and two badger sows on our Night Patrol through the combe.  Every night a different adventure and something to observe. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

UPCOMING VIDEO SHOOT

Every night, So Cruise, my collie cross and I go out around the combe, observing and looking after the welfare of foxes and badgers.  For the past year, the three main animals have been the one-eyed fox, 'One-eye', the one eyed badger boar and 'Becbla' a totally blind vixen and it's always a satisfying if all three are sighted and fed.  Tonight (early hours today, actually) was such a night with the blind vixen venturing out to be fed, dodging the attentions of two young badger sows who were intent on mugging her.  The old one-eyed badger boar appeared and trotted alongside us to the appointed feeding place on a strip of grass where he snatched a banana and then guzzled down some chub, a handful of peanuts and finished off with some chicken scraps.  Old One-Eye was waiting for us, looking furtively around for the new batch of young foxes who were bold enough to attack the old fox and snatch his food.
I haven't been taking any footage of our 'Night Patrols' recently, but plan to in the next few days.  It needs quite a bit of preparation - tricky holding the camcorder and directing the lighting.

Looking forward to the summer





A selection of archive photos of Maidencombe   


Sunday, April 07, 2013

BRUNEL'S 'WATCOMBE BRIDGE'

Originally planned as a miniature engineering project for Isombard Brunel's son, Henry Brunel.  After his father's untimely death in September 1859, Henry was determined to complete the project, which he duly achieved from his father's preliminary sketches in 1861.
The seven foot wide bridge spanned the Teignmouth Road just below the site of the Maidencombe House Hotel opposite the Brunel Manor (then Watcombe Park) gate piers. The bridge endured until the turn of the twentieth century, a testament to the sturdiness of design.
The photo shows a pony and trap proceeding down the Teignmouth Road towards Watcombe and Torquay.

Tin Church at Maidencombe

I've previously located the stone entrance to the old church at Maidencombe - shown on the OS map of 1906 - and had always thought that the structure was of wood as the duration of its existence seems to have been only a few years.
Now confirmation of this as the church was locally known as the 'Tin Church' and was open for worship every Sunday afternoon.  This would certainly suggest that the building was wooden framed with metal cladding sheets.
Parson Bird from Torquay conducted the services. 
Maidencombe has had chapels over the centuries, one reportedly in the Old Orchard and another in The Slopes.  
The Tin Church was located at the northern end of Sladnor Park Road and the footprint is still discernible. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

VIXEN TAKING MEDICATION BY HAND

Filmed by a remote infrared cam on a tripod,  one of my foxes seen taking medication for sarcoptic mange.  The video clip is posted over on our sister site www.myfoxesandbadgers.blogspot.com

A PUKKA JOB

Skilled local labour was enlisted and a pukka job was done at the junction of Brim Hill lane and Rock House lane.  This was the scene of a landslip which blocked Brim Hill completely a few months ago.  I watched in disbelief as a solid mass of earth inched its way across the road (I had arrived on the scene with So Cruise at 1:30 in the morning just after it had happened).  Nature will eventually cover and mask the gap.  Well done Richard!

An antique of the future

By the year 2125 this advertisement board will attract curiosity and collectors will bid for this memento of the past. 

AND SO IT BEGINS ...

The decline of Maidencombe cove.  The rains of the past months take a terrible toll as the red sandstone and earth begin to shift inexorably downwards.  The Environment Agency has already forecast the inundation of this pocket beach as well as Watcombe beach around the corner by the year 2125.  The Shoreline Management Plan excludes any strengthening or augmentation of present man-made defences. Our Armageddon beckons ...

Friday, April 05, 2013

IT'S BACK ...

A trip to the beach reveals ...

More subsidence on Maidencombe beach

A report coming in of more subsidence above Maidencombe beach.  I'll go down later today to evaluate and take a few photos.

MY FAITHFUL COMPANION

So Cruise, my collie cross, waits behind a stile before the descent and entrance to Cades Lane leading to the South West coastal footpath and the village of Maidencombe.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

WARNING FOR MAIDENCOMBE BEACH

Following the spectacular collapse of a section of the sea wall at Livermead on Easter Monday,  the sewerage system has been damaged and disruptions are taking place as a consequence.
Sewage is now being diverted to the outfall at Hope's Nose and there is an increased risk to bathers.
This extract has been gleaned from South West Water:

In the meantime, Livermead Beach is closed and we will be issuing ‘red’ warnings to the public advising them not to go into the bathing waters at Beacon Cove, Torre Abbey and Hollicombe due to possible pollution from the sewage coming from the overflow.

‘Amber’ warnings stating there is an increased risk of pollution will be issued for Shoalstone (Brixham), Broadsands, Goodrington, Paignton Sands, Preston Sands, Meadfoot, Anstey’s, Babbacombe, Oddicombe, Watcombe and Maidencombe.


Warning signs are likely to be displayed but please do not enter the water along these beaches until the hazard has been resolved.

HMS Kent firing in anger

Remarkable photo taken by my father of the forward two 8 inch turrets of HMS Kent (heavy cruiser) opening fire in WWll.  As radio officer he had completed duties and had gone topside to try and get some photos for the album!   This was the only photo that came out - the others, unsurprisingly, were blurred and useless.   He had failed to put on ear protectors and was temporarily deaf for the next few hours.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Descent from the Giant Rock via the North East route (animal track)

The first in a series of video clips taken on Good Friday.  Audio poor as there was quite a wind blowing!

MY DAD - CHAMPION SWIMMER

Seen here in 1937.  Jim won many swimming titles in the Royal Navy and as an amateur swimmer when he resided in South Devon before the war.  Unlike his son, Jim was an extremely modest athlete and I recall a story my mother related to me.  Jim had come home for recuperation leave after being wounded and had turned up at a swimming gala in Chudleigh to 'have a go' and perhaps earn a few bob (there were money prizes in those days and you wouldn't necessarily lose your amateur status).   He was recognised by an official who had hurried up to Jim and asked him if he could possibly not swim that afternoon in order to 'give the locals a chance'  !   Jim didn't want a fuss and  returned home.  Looking at this photo, I can see where my athletic talent, such as it was, came from. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

THE GREAT ADVENTURE - ARCTIC CONVOY PQ1

Royal Fleet Auxiliary RFA BLACK RANGER

The entry in the logbook reads:  Engagement: September 21 1941 Reykjavik.  Discharge: October 19th 1941 Scapa Flow.  Rating: 2nd Radio Officer.  Description of voyage: Foreign.

This then was Convoy PQ1  (PQ denoting outward and QP inward) and my late father's participation as a radio officer on board the Royal Fleet Auxiliary refuelling tanker Black Ranger.

The ten merchantmen sailed from Hvalfiord, Iceland on September 29th bound for Archangel. The convoy was heavily defended by ten warships including the 8 inch heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk.  The convoy faced threats from surface ships, U boats, aircraft and mines.

In the event, all ships reached Archangel
CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE
safely.  The Black Ranger stayed at sea without docking at Archangel and returned with convoy QP1.
For Jim, it had been a routine engagement - unlike the torrid time he had experienced on his previous engagement aboard the MV D L Harper which had been attacked by a JU 88 on February 20th 1941 which had bombed and strafed the tanker causing extensive damage.

HEADER PHOTO OF CAPS AND UNIFORM

Whilst preparing the promised article on my father's participation in the Arctic Convoys of the last war, I came across a parcel of tallies (black silk ribbons tied around the flat white sailor caps) of the Royal Navy ships my father served on as well as his cap and jacket of second radio officer in the merchant navy.  
The photo (below) shows 7 caps with their tallies:

Two of them were shore bases - HMS Malabar and HMS Osprey.  The former was a shore establishment in Bermuda responsible for aircraft repair and replacements and the latter an anti-submarine training establishment at Portland.

Jim served on HMS Kent,  a county class heavy cruiser; HMS Valentine, a V & W class destroyer; HMS Caledon, a C class light cruiser; HMS Bruce, an Admiralty class destroyer leader and HMS Vidette, an Admiralty V class destroyer.

The jacket bears two wavy lines of gold braid on the sleeves denoting the second radio officer - the braid only went half way around the sleeve owing to a shortage of gold braid!

In applying for the Arctic Star medal for Jim, I was fortunate to have his Continuous Certificate of Discharge logbook which gives dates and details of his merchant service.  It reveals fascinating information which I am still in the process of researching.  The article continues with Convoy PQ1 and QP1.

To be continued ...

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.

SLADNOR PARK CHALETS

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

BURNING OF THE BAMBOO MAN JUNE 5 2016

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

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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 exist. 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.