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

Sunday, December 20, 2015

CHRISTMAS SINGALONG: GOOD OLD BOYS SING RUDOLPH

Despite faltering (forgot the words) at halfway, the Good Old Boys (Zack, Kenny & Jim) and the Stoke Village Singers managed to ad-lib their way out of trouble. Olé!

CHRISTMAS SINGALONG: THE STOKE VILLAGE SINGERS PART 2

The Stoke Village Singers  are on again - this time with 'Having a wonderful Christmas time'.

CHRISTMAS SINGALONG: LADIES REMIX

Ladies get organised for their song

CHRISTMAS SINGALONG: THE STOKE VILLAGE SINGERS

In their rendition of 'Do they know its Christmas' ...
Some of the Stoke Village Singers in action

Saturday, December 19, 2015

CHRISTMAS SINGALONG HIGHLIGHTS VID CLIP

Lots of photos and vid clips to follow here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

CHRISTMAS SINGALONG THIS EVENING

The eagerly anticipated Christmas Singalong at the Thatched Tavern commences this evening at 7 pm. It promises to be most entertaining with staff reported to be dressing up for the occasion.

'Grand' update to the piano accompaniment
Musical accompaniment will be by piano and guitar and the carols will be interspersed with 'flash' raffles.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

A MAIDENCOMBE TRADITION - THE CHRISTMAS SINGALONG

Now in its fifth year, the Christmas Carol Singalong from the Thatched Tavern takes place in ten days time on Friday December 18th.  More details of the evening to follow.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

'BLACK BOX' MYSTERY OFF MAIDENCOMBE SOLVED

The strange 'black box' being towed by MTS Victory.
Residents have been puzzled  about a large 'black box' which has been towed around the bay off Maidencombe for the past few days. 
I took a video clip of the tug and tow riding out the rough weather off Maidencombe this morning:

The UK flagged tug MTS Victory with tow arrived in Lyme Bay from Rotterdam on the 27th November and has been prescribing a series of circles across the bay ever since.  'Drift sheltering', as it is termed, is to ensure that the towline does not come under too much pressure.

The 'black box' is in fact a dry dock gate which is in transit to Devonport Dockyard at Plymouth - so mystery solved.

Friday, December 04, 2015

ARCHIVE RELEASE: OLD SLADNOR & NOTES

The first in a series of historical Maidencombe from my personal archive. Original hand drawn maps are protected with the Red Cruise logo.


EARLY 19th CENTURY SLADNOR
Before the forming of what was to become Sladnor Park, the area was divided up between three landowners.  Sladnor House (estate), as it was then named, consisted of five parcels of land and was owned by the Reverend Elias Webb. A tight grouping of four fields,
owned by George Nickels were part of the Cards Farm estate (a total of thirty fields) at the site of the future Cleveland Hotel and  Suite Dreams. The remaining solitary field, Furse Park to the far west was owned by Elias Blackaller Jr.

Boundary hedge fragments present today should be treated with caution as some are later 20th century placings. 

'Red Cruise' Old Sladnor map


FIELD NOTES

Great Meadow Grove House
The largest parcel of land, arable in nature and including the great manor house at the head of the rolling coombe, more widely known as Sladnor Manor House which was gutted by fire in 1994.  The shells of the stable block and staff quarters to the north still exist.

Grove
Abutting the northeastern boundary of present day Sladnor,  this would have been a small grouping of trees planted for cultivating fruits or perhaps walnuts (several specimens mentioned throughout the coombe by Alan Hunt and the late Harry Nickels).  Part of the boundary hedge can still be seen jutting out from Rockhouse Lane side.

Maiden Coomb Park
Probably Maiden Coombe Park (a few errors by the clerk have been revealed) and classified as arable in nature. Possible origin of the 'Park' addition to Sladnor.

West Slade

The position of this hilly arable strip lives up to the definition of a slade: a little valley or dell, sometimes resembling a ravine. A theory has been postulated that the combination of Maiden Coombe Park and West Slade gave rise to the present day Sladnor Park title.

Lower Yelland

Associated naming of Yellands across the Teignmouth Road to the southwest.

Furse Park
Perhaps Furze Park as duplicated in other plots to the north of Sladnor Park Road. A mixture of gorse and arable land.

Mead
Designated a meadow so likely naming from the Middle English medwe or Old English
mǣdw-, oblique stem of mǣd or mead.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

RED FLAG ON MAIDENCOMBE COVE

Homemade red flag
Taking a stroll down to Maidencombe Cove yesterday, I was puzzled to see a homemade red flag positioned beside the final flight of steps before the beach cafe.

Displaced warning sign
Possible reasons could be because the warning sign (photo above) to keep away from the cliffs has somehow become displaced or there is a section of railing missing from below the cafe (photo below),
Missing guard rail


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

IMPRESSION OF MAIDENCOMBE'S TIN CHURCH

After further research on one of Maidencombe's enduring mysteries, I believe I have come up with a fair impression of what the 'fabled' Tin Church would have looked like - including its setting nestled between trees - back in c1904.The window of its existence was limited, perhaps from about 1890 until 1920.
Remarkably, a handful of these prefabricated ecclesiastical structures still survive today and are usually afforded listed status, such is their undoubted rarity.

Impression of Maidencombe's Tin Church in Sladnor as viewed from the south.
Situated east of Sladnor Park Road, the only existing evidence of the building is part of the stone entrance, though vestiges of the footprint can be made out below the path that led down to the church.  The building would have been of timber frame construction clad in CGI (corrugated galvanised iron) sheets. After assembly, the churches were painted, often in green or blue.

It is documented that a Parson Bird made the journey from Torquay every Sunday to hold the afternoon service which usually commenced about 2pm. At that time, before the advent of the motor car, he would have been either on horseback or in a pony and trap.

The religious denomination is not known for certain but amid the mid nineteenth century Noncomformist boom and demand for more churches, the probability is that the Maidencombe example supported that trend. 

In the impression (above) Sladnor Park Road would have been to the left of picture behind the screen of trees which, as today, were present a century ago.

MAIDENCOMBE SWIM SUCCESS

Neal Taylor from Brim Hill, Maidencombe, added to his list of achievements when he and his team claimed  two silver medals at the ASA National Masters  Age Group Champonships at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield. Neal is coached by Don Roberts BEM of Ashley Priors Lane.
Neal Taylor (right) at Ponds Forge ISC in 2012
There were over 1000 competitors participating at the three day event held between October 23 and 25.  Neal swam for Totnes in the 4 X 50 metres freestyle and the 4 X 100 metres freestyle relays, finishing runners up to Aberdeen Dolphins in both events.

Neal was first swimmer to go in the longer event and his opening leg can be viewed in the following video clip. He is in lane seven.


Friday, November 06, 2015

MAIDENCOMBER HONOURED BY THE QUEEN

Longstanding Maidencombe resident, Don Roberts of Ashley Priors Lane, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to young people and bell-ringing.  I have only just been made aware of this notable news item which I can now see was reported in the Herald Express last June - but without the Maidencombe connection.

A most respected member of the community, Don Roberts was my swimming master at Torquay Boys Grammar School and continues to coach and advise swimmers in Torbay including Maidencombe swimming star Neal Taylor from Brim Hill.

Don Roberts (centre left) Torquay Boys Grammar School photo 1968
A short quote from one of his pupils brings back memories of 'Mr Roberts' (all teachers at the grammar had nicknames - most of them uncomplimentary, but no-one could find fault or criticism with Don Roberts and he was affectionately known as plain 'Don Roberts' by pupils):

'Don Roberts, swimmer and chemist (in that order), an out-and-out Torquinian from Ellacombe and possessor of a booming singing voice: "And did those feet in Ancient Times?" (was that Concorde? No, it was Don)'.


Maidencomber Don Roberts honoured by the Queen
Article reproduced from http://devonswimming.org.uk/index.htm
A FORMER Torquay Grammar School boy has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to young people and bellringing.
Donald Roberts, 84, has been recognised for his ‘extraordinary commitment to swimming’ over four decades, according to his citation.
Mr Roberts started out as a newly qualified science teacher at the grammar school in 1953 and has remained an ever present at the school.
He took an active part in fundraising for the building of the Plainmoor Pool during the 1970s, which has remained an important part of the Torquay community.
He has carried on his involvement in the pool, and was instrumental in its recent refurbishment and survival when it was threatened with closure.
He carried this drive into Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, and has been leading swim and water polo teams throughout his time.
For the past 40 years, he has led at least one team, often two or three, to the national finals. In 2006, he was recognised as swimming coach of the year by Torbay Council.
During his 60 years, he has performed at over 1,000 bell towers, 380 in Devon. He has trained over 100 new ringers throughout the last 60 years, and in particular has shown great dedication to two churches, Babbacombe Church and St Marychurch.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A NINE STOREY 'VISION OF HORROR' WAS PLANNED FOR SLADNOR PARK

There are alarming details of what could have been built at Sladnor Park based on the approved 'Retirement Village' (Class C2) application of August 2007.

Portus + Whitton were the designated landscape architects and this was their description of the plans for Sladnor Park:

'This seaside site lies within a self contained valley of exceptional landscape quality and sensitivity. The proposal combines high design quality on a minimal footprint with a light-touch landscape enhancement strategy. The site includes 60 acres of woodland and pasture of high biodiversity value. Portus + Whitton worked closely with the LPA, ecology and forestry consultants in preparing a whole-site conservation-friendly management plan, including woodland management for both fuel and biodiversity, grazing for an organic rare-breeds herd of Devon Red cattle, specific management to encourage protected birds (cirl bunting) and bats (greater horseshoe), and restoration of ancient Devon banks.'

This carefully crafted statement made for reassuring reading by concerned Maidencombe residents.  However, the complex designer and builder, HBG Construction Western, furnished us with this concise but ultimately stark statement of December 2007:

Torquay - Sladnor Park

HBG will design and build a new health care village complex for Richmond Care Villages. This includes a nine storey care building together with coach houses, lodges, landscaping, car parking and associated works. The architects are PRC Group and the Quantity surveyor is Nisbet LLP. The project is valued at £33 million.



WHY A NINE STOREY BUILDING?
Nine storey 'vision of horror' on original Manor House footprint
 
A mini skyscraper of nine storeys (see impression of what this would look like in mock-up photo above) would have admirably fulfilled the 'minimal footprint' description but at the severe cost of imposing, in my opinion, a totally inappropriate monstrosity upon this beautiful wildlife haven.  Furthermore, a building of this height would hardly have aided established flight paths of substantial resident bat colonies.

Naturally, the cunning concept of a nine storey edifice was to give the owners far more scope (and potential profit) for adding extra infrastructure to the Retirement Village.

We should be grateful that this vision of horror was never visited upon an unsuspecting local population.  However, this further exposé should serve to make residents extra vigilant for future plans of the site.

Monday, October 19, 2015

MYSTERY AND TRAGEDY AT THE BELL ROCK c1864

We'll never know what exactly happened some century and a half ago off the Bell Rock at Maidencombe when two local fisherman drowned in mysterious circumstances.

They had set off late one February night in 1864 to check their crab-pots and had not returned come daybreak.
Boats were sent out and came across a macabre scene.  The upturned keel of their boat was still moored beside the Bell Rock and as the rescuers drew closer, they saw a body, entangled in lines, floating face down in the water.  No immediate sign of the other fisherman was found that day and it's still uncertain whether the unfortunate soul was ever retrieved for burial.

If you perchance to sail past the Bell Rock today, you can still see crab pot marker buoys close in to the rock.  In all probability, local fishermen are unaware of what happened that tragic night in 1864.

Capsized off the Bell Rock they never returned ..
The author Phillip Gosse  (1810-1888) recorded the event:
'At the foot of one of these an isolated rock,  
called,from its figure, the Bell, stands in 
the sea, where, even while I am writing this 
paper, a mournful tragedy has occurred.  
Two Babbicombe fishermen went out at  
midnight to examine their crab-pots at this 
rock, and did not return.
The morning revealed the keel of the boat 
bottom-up, moored by the pot-lines, and one 
poor fellow entangled by his feet in the same 
lines,while the sea washed his hair about the  
surface. The other has not yet been found'.
Bell Rock to the south of Maidencombe

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

BIDS FOR SLADNOR PARK CLOSED

The deadline for bids for Sladnor Park expired yesterday.  It is now a question of waiting to see if there are any Retirement or Care Home speculators who wish to take up the existing planning application. Any other use of the site would need a re-submission planning application which, in the light of Torbay Council's decision to remove Sladnor from the housing quotas, might be difficult to achieve in the short term.

Beautiful and unspoilt - but for how long?
With no guide price to go by, the current owners are likely 'feeling the market' and this could be only the start of their selling strategy.  'Caveat Emptor'  or 'let the buyer beware' as indicated by the rider in the sale pack that the sale is not dependent upon planning approval, would logically deter a flood of bids on what is clearly a most problematic site for potential developers.

Monday, October 12, 2015

'SEVEN SEVERAL ROADS' AT SOLOMON'S POST

At the turn of the 19th century, Maidencombe or Minnicombe/Minicombe as it was named (and pronounced) on maps of the period, consisted of a few farms and even fewer dwellings.  Solomon's Post was the confluence of many routes, taking traffic from St Marychurch, Barton, Stokeinteignhead and Shaldon.

Such was its importance and  location, Solomon's Post became the site for a turnpike and the toll house that stands there today.

The origin of the naming is not certain, but a mid nineteenth century chronicler ventures that 'the tolls on this turnpike-trust may have been farmed by one of those numerous Jews who took up that class of business'.

The following extract is courtesy of   http://www.turnpikes.org.uk/ and was published in 1825 some two years before the Shaldon to Teignmouth bridge was constructed and gives rise to the riddle of the names of these lanes and what happened to them.

'and from thence across Watcombe Lane to Solomon's Post, with One hundred and twenty Yards of each of the Seven several Roads which  lead from or near to Solomon's Post aforesaid, and from  Solomon's Post across several Fields to the Lane or Road which leads from Maidencombe Cross to Maidencombe Village, and from thence by Gabwell Common Hill to Stoke Common  Hill, and from thence to the Town or Village of Shaldon,'
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
The map fragment above is from an 1805 map of south western England which I have modified with a red line box and letters to indicate the seven roads (or lanes) which existed in this period at Solomon's Post.  The red dot between 'A' and 'G' indicates the toll house that was built between 1827/8 as part of the toll system established after the construction and opening of Shaldon Bridge in the same year.
(Holloway Head is the position of Watcombe Park and later renamed Brunel Manor.)

LETTER KEY:

A  This is Claddon Lane.
B   The steep hill dropping down to Higher Rocombe.
C  This is Ridge Road.
D  The short section to Gabwell Lane no longer exists. A house has now been built in this position.
E   This is Longpark Hill south. This connected to the main northern thoroughfare to Shaldon.
  This is Sladnor Park Road which led down to the old church and Maidencombe village.
G  Road from St Marychurch  and part of the yet to be built A379 Teignmouth Road.


This work incorporates historical material provided by the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth through their web site A Vision of Britain through Time (http://www.VisionofBritain.org.uk).


Monday, September 28, 2015

LUNAR ECLIPSE: 2:56AM AND A RED HUE EVIDENT

'This is good stuff, Maidencombers!'

LUNAR ECLIPSE: 2:31AM AND THE EARTH'S SHADOW MOVES ACROSS THE MOON'S FACE

A mainly exasperating and disappointing night trying to film the full lunar eclipse.  Cloud cover moved in from the southwest from 2am, providing only tantalizing glimpses of the Earth's shadow moving across the face of the Moon.
2:31am and the Earth's shadow moves eerily across the face of the Moon.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

VALLEY OF THE ROCKS

In the mid to late nineteenth century,  the Valley of the Rocks was a popular destination for locals and tourists as well as providing grazing rights for livestock of local farmers.  Picnics atop the 150 foot Giant Rock were commonplace and the area was made famous in 1852 and 1853 when the Torquay Choral Society organized two  Musical Fête Champêtres which attracted attendances of upwards of 8,000.  However, there were to be no more extravaganzas (the organizers made a huge loss after the 1853 event owing to the majority of attendees refusing to pay admittance - citing doubts as to the ownership of the land) and eventually the hitherto exposed and dramatic rock formations were lost to encroaching vegetation.

Musical Fête Champêtre at Watcombe, near Torquay
Colebrooke Stockdale, 1852
 
An interesting story related to me by my old friend Alan Hunt carries the history of the Valley of the Rocks into the twentieth century.  Alan's father, Jim, was the owner of the Maidencombe Tea Gardens at Ferndale House and discovered that hikers had difficulty in getting up the Goats Path from the Valley of the Rocks into Maidencombe.  Therefore, around 1920, Jim commenced work on cutting steps into the rocky section lower down the path.  These steps survive to the present day, so next time you walk down the Goats Path, you'll know who was responsible and when it took place.

The precipitous Goats Path in the late nineteenth century, before Alan's father cut steps into the rocks.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

MASSIVE CRANE TOW OFF MAIDENCOMBE

'Lurking' in the bay since Tuesday,  I only became aware of its presence just before setting off for a run and  I was fortunate to have my Sony HX300 with its super 200 X zoom to close in and see what was going on.  At first sight, it looked from a distance like a drilling rig, but as I zoomed in it appeared
The barge-mounted triple crane assembly estimated to be 150 metres in height.
to be some sort of crane platform.  The tug and barge-mounted crane assembly were some twelve miles away while I filmed.  The Dutch flagged tug/supply vessel Bluster is 70 metres long and using it as a scale, the crane platform must be at least 150 metres in height - a massive size.  She appears to be underway and making 6 knots en route for Tenerife.  Fingers crossed they have good weather and safe passage.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

SLADNOR PARK PALM RUN SURVIVOR

A still flourishing survivor of the Sladnor Palm Run in the eighties.
A hot topic at the moment, I suddenly recalled the 10K Palm Run from Sladnor Park in the early eighties.  Every entrant received a small potted palm tree.  I got two as I won the event which attracted a couple of hundred runners.  I planted them in a probably unsuitable shady position in my garden and only one survived.  I've just popped outside to get a photo and was most surprised to see that it has sent out two shoots which are reaching for the light.  A little piece of Sladnor history and I wonder how many have survived in Torbay?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

SLADNOR PARK VIEWING MONDAY 21 SEPTEMBER

Information has been received that there will be two viewing days for prospective buyers of Sladnor Park. The first will be tomorrow morning, Monday 21st September and another the week after on Monday 28th.
The closing date for offers (no guide price indicated) is believed to be on Tuesday 13th October.

EMSSTROM WAS ALREADY LISTING WHEN LEAVING EMDEN HARBOUR




The listing Emsstrom leaving Emden sea harbour


 A video showing the Emsstrom leaving Emden sea harbour in Germany and already listing several degrees to starboard makes for interesting viewing. The vessel, under tow by the tug Christos 22, sank approximately 2.5 nautical miles North East of Hope's Nose on January 14th 2013.
 Here is an extract from a legal site:
 

 There are no fixed criteria setting the standard for a vessel's seaworthiness. As a general rule however, a vessel will be found seaworthy if it is reasonably fit for its intended purpose, whether that be as a towed vessel, a towing vessel, a cargo-carrying vessel or a passenger-carrying vessel.

A vessel so evidently listing in calm waters would appear to be in a questionable state.  If you were a marine underwriter, would you have been happy to see this video?

The wreck of the Emsstrom is proving to be a popular destination for local divers.  There is a dive scheduled for next Sunday 27th September from 9:45 - 12:45.



Monday, September 14, 2015

Sladnor Park exposé

After ongoing consultations and dialogue with Torbay council, Richmond Villages, Natural England and various other sources,  I have been able to unravel some of the complexities surrounding Sladnor Park and the unexpected placement of the site onto the marketplace.

Relevant articles and information can be seen at the Maidencombe Community Group website at
www.maidencombeunity.org/news/


Links to follow are:  http://www.maidencombeunity.org/sladnor-park/ and
                                  http://www.maidencombeunity.org/sladnor-park-shunted-market-sale/




Monday, August 31, 2015

PING PONG DERBY EXTRAVAGANZA GETS INTO GEAR

The 'runners' for the Ping Pong Derby numbered & crated inside the Thatched Tavern.
Sign on the village green for the short-sighted!
All the ping pong balls (280) are numbered and crated inside the Thatched Tavern.   You can own a 'runner' for the day for the lowly price of £1.  Prizes for the first three past the winning line.  A fun fund-raiser for a vitally serious addition to our village - a defibrillator.  Supporting features are a dog show with many different classes to enter.  Brian's organising the event and is arranging for a judge from outside the village.  Bottle and cake stalls - see the posters around the village for details.   Helpers on the day urgently needed, so please contact the Thatched Tavern (01803 329155) if you can lend a hand on Sunday 13th September.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BIRTHDAY PLOUGHMAN'S LUNCH AT THE THATCHED TAVERN

Mum and son at the Thatched Tavern (photo courtesy of my sister)
My thanks to Mick, Fiona and staff of the Thatched Tavern for looking after my dear old Mum on her birthday today. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

PING PONG DERBY STAKES

Mick takes charge of the 'contestants' for the upcoming Ping Pong Derby.
Coming to the village this September - the Ping Pong Derby.  Full details to come from the Thatched Tavern.

Friday, August 07, 2015

NATURIST ON NATURE RESERVE

Here's a Huffington Post type story regarding the RSPB Nature Reserve at Labrador Bay.  I have encountered a male naturist on several occasions and always within the confines of the RSPB reserve.
On the first occasion I was a little surprised to come across a gentleman wearing only a haversack as I was out running. On another day, I espied him from some way off up on a higher trail.
Yesterday I encountered him again as I climbed the field beside Commons Plantation (Suicide Wood) the most southerly field of the reserve. He was standing a little way down from the summit and admiring the views over Babbacombe Bay.  From afar, it looked as though he was wearing beige shorts.
Naturists on a Nature Reserve?
Fortunately I knew immediately who it was and chatted to him as I went past. He was holding a strategically positioned item in front.  I had wondered why I had never seen him on my journey back from Labrador bends. This time I did.  He was fully dressed (must have had his haversack nearby) and was, presumably, about to quit the reserve via the Teignmouth Road.
I thought this amusing little story may be useful information to ladies who perchance may come across this gentleman and subsequently not be unduly alarmed.
A naturist on a nature reserve - no, surely he cannot have his wires crossed ...

LYDIA D & TOW STILL GOING IN CIRCLES

Well, I thought that the Lydia D and her tow were safely en route to Las Palmas until I checked and saw her progress - or rather lack of  - as indicated in the map above.  After going round in circles (in fair weather) she must have burned a few thousand gallons of fuel which is not cheap.
The Lydia D is currently about 8 miles southeast of St Austell.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

LYDIA D FAILS TO MAKE LANDFALL

The meanderings of the Dutch tug Lydia D and her tow have been curious.  She had been marking time in fair weather off Weymouth and the entrance to Lyme Bay since Sunday, prescribing a series of large circles.  Now five days later, the operation is currently some 30 miles south of Salcombe, making 4 knots en route for Las Palmas.  The AIS is intermittent and the vessel does not show with other vessels - a search of the name has to be punched in to reveal her position and track.
'Straightforward' is a word seldom used for these operations ...

Sunday, August 02, 2015

DUTCH TUG AND TOW APPROACHING

The Netherlands flagged tug Lydia D and her tow the renamed tanker Vaishnavi (formerly Nelson) are currently off Weymouth on a heading for Torquay.  Their destination is given as Las Palmas, presumably for bunkering but my most reliable source has indicated that there may well be another Dutch tug and tow also heading this way, perhaps for a link up.
Despite increased security and preventative measures by the Nigerian government, the highly suspicious trade in aged waterway tankers with their shallow draught continues.  The vessels are able to ferry stolen oil from pipelines out into deep water for transfer to ocean going tankers.  Keep you posted on developments.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A STROLL AROUND THE THATCHED TAVERN GARDENS

A video shot on Sunday morning, July 19th just before opening time.

Monday, July 20, 2015

MCG BARBECUE & AGM AT SLADNOR PARK

MCG Chairman Doug Palmer (left) relaxing after his hard work  preparing for the event.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

MAIDENCOMBE COMMUNITY GROUP BBQ & AGM AT SLADNOR PARK

After the anxious scanning of weather forecasts for the bay throughout the week and dire warnings of rain and wind, Sunday ushered in welcoming blue skies over the coombe with the temperature nudging 21 C by midday.

A report will follow on the MCG main website at www.maidencombeunity.org  but in the meantime, here are a few images from what turned out to be a very pleasant, tranquil and ultimately successful day  for the community group and supporters.

The BBQ gets underway
Parking area to preserve residents parking spaces
The tennis court as seen from the service road - residents would not have been disturbed

The AGM gets underway


Saturday, July 18, 2015

BBQ AT SLADNOR PARK SUNDAY

I've been anxiously monitoring the weather all week for tomorrow's barbecue at Sladnor Park.  The forecast has varied daily but the latest indication is for rain dying out in the early hours to give way to sunny periods and mainly dry from midday when the BBQ commences.  There'll be a mini marquee set up in the old hard tennis court to the left of the service road short of the first two bungalows.  Fingers are still tightly crossed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

GORDON OLIVER OPENS BRUNEL BAR & LOUNGE

Mayor Gordon Oliver opens the new Brunel bar and lounge at the Orestone Manor Hotel earlier this evening.
Mayor Gordon Oliver flanked by owners Neil and Catherine D'Allen  cuts the ribbon to open the Brunel bar

Monday, July 06, 2015

WWW.MAIDENCOMBE.NET USED EXTENSIVELY AS REFERENCE SITE

After perusing the site visitor statistics, it has become apparent that a steady stream of visitors  are arriving daily via search engines for information about Maidencombe, both historical and present day.

I must admit to searching the site for items posted which I had become hazy about and could not locate on my hard drive.

The site has had over 170,000 visitors who have accessed over 1.2 million pages on the site - an average of 7 pages per visitor.


Sunday, July 05, 2015

CLEAN UP AT MAIDENCOMBE CROSS

With all Torbay council departments critically short of funding and resources,  I believe that it is up to residents to assist in basic clearing up in their areas.  I trust that I do not upset anyone with the little I try to do to improve the visual aspect of our beautiful village.

Friday, July 03, 2015

MCG PICNIC AND AGM


SUNDAY 19TH JULY FROM MIDDAY
MAIDENCOMBE COMMUNITY GROUP BBQ / PICNIC & AGM
AT SLADNOR PARK


The MCG will be holding a combined BBQ and picnic within Sladnor Park on Sunday 19th July starting at midday.

The First Annual General Meeting will be incorporated within the event.  All MCG members and prospective supporters welcome.

A mini marquee will be set up in case of inclement weather.

Please bring your picnic and anything you want cooked on the BBQ from 12pm onwards.

When we have eaten, we will have our first AGM in the beautiful and relaxing surroundings of Sladnor Park.

Please confirm your presence with the chairman, Doug Palmer at our email:  info@maidencombeunity.org

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A STRESSFUL DAY

My apologies for the lack of posts the past fortnight as my carer duties have taken priority.  My grateful thanks go out to Devon Doctors and the ambulance crew who stayed for over an hour assisting my dear old Mum Monday afternoon.
If that wasn't stressful enough, our very, very old cat (at least 23 years old) started crying in pain and on inspection I found that one of her dew claws had grown almost full circle and had gouged deep inside her paw.   As it was past midnight, I successfully conducted the operation  myself, much to my Mum's relief.   A most stressful day.

Monday, June 08, 2015

A SPECIAL MOMENT

The magical moment
The full video is posted over on our sister site at www.myfoxesandbadgers.blogspot.com

Monday, June 01, 2015

LATEST TUG OPERATION OFF MAIDENCOMBE

GPS Avenger with tow
The GPS Avenger (year of build 2013) and tow currently moored two kms off Maidencombe.  Showing destination as Liverpool.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SLADNOR PARK CRAZY GOLF COMPLEX UNEARTHED

Doug Palmer above part of the Crazy Golf complex
The Maidencombe Community Group's chairman, Doug Palmer, discovered something unusual as he commenced mowing the grass in front of the chalets.  An ornamental concrete path meandered down the slope onto a series of inter-connected concrete levels.  Vegetation had crept over the 'path' over the years and eventually hidden it from view and memory.  Until seeing it for myself, I had forgotten that this was the site of the Crazy Golf complex that existed back in the sixties when Sladnor Park was a flourishing country house and holiday centre.  The sight of the jumble of concrete paths triggered past memories of the hotel, leisure room and swimming pool that were there when I first arrived in Maidencombe fifty five years ago.

GANGSTER SCARECROW

Very early hours on our Night Patrol and noticed this Gangster scarecrow but not sure who that is peeking over the shoulder.  Could it possibly be Michaela Myers?

Monday, May 18, 2015

DEMISE OF WATCOMBE HEAD

Watcombe Head April 2015
The crumbling state of Watcombe Head, north of Watcombe Cove reflects the sustained and rapid erosion of this part of the coastline over the past decade.  Further undercutting of the base of the striking red sandstone promontory will result in the total collapse of the headland.


Flashback to June last year

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SINGLE DECKER REVIVAL

Single decker at Maidencombe Cross

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A WALK THROUGH THE SMUGGLERS TUNNEL

The descent down to the Ness beach

POLICE HELICOPTER OVER THE COOMBE

From about 20:10 to 20:25 this evening a police helicopter was observed by numerous residents hovering over the lower coombe.  Eventually it moved off over Babbacombe Bay in the direction of Hope's Nose.  The reason for the activity of the helicopter and summoned coastguard was after a phone call was received regarding a man threatening to jump from cliffs near Babbacombe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

FIREBALL METEOR OVER MAIDENCOMBE

A little more information on the fireball meteor I witnessed in the early hours of this morning.  It appeared very low down in the sky and disappeared behind the ridge of fields on the top coast path (John Musgrove Heritage Trail).  As stated, it was searingly bright and could be compared to the landing headlights of an aircraft.  The relatively slow descent could be attributed to the shallow angle of the meteor's incoming approach.  No sound was heard.

FIREBALL METEOR SIGHTED

Due south of the Village Green at 12:31 am today.  An intensely bright white meteor of about double the brightness of the planet Venus (apparent magnitude -4.6).  Duration of transit approximately 1.5 seconds.  All the criteria to justify a rare celestial event - a fireball meteor.
As a keen amateur astronomer, I have never witnessed anything of this brightness before.  I would liken it to a slow motion meteor.  The gif image below is about the same elapsed time of my sighting.
The brightness of this fireball meteor gives it the potential of attaining meteorite status.

These extracts courtesy of the American Meteor Society (founded 1911):

Generally speaking, a fireball must be greater than about magnitude -8 to -10 in order to potentially produce a meteorite fall. Two important additional requirements are that (1) the parent meteoroid must be of asteroidal origin, composed of sufficiently sturdy material for the trip through the atmosphere, and (2) the meteoroid must enter the atmosphere as a relatively slow meteor. Meteoroids of asteroid origin make up only a small percentage (about 5%) of the overall meteoroid population, which is primarily cometary in nature.


An example of a fireball meteor (courtesy of NASA/George Varros)


FREQUENCY OF FIREBALLS 
Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.
Additionally, the brighter the fireball, the more rare is the event. As a general thumb rule, there are only about 1/3 as many fireballs present for each successively brighter magnitude class, following an exponential decrease. Experienced observers can expect to see only about 1 fireball of magnitude -6 or better for every 200 hours of meteor observing, while a fireball of magnitude -4 can be expected about once every 20 hours or so.

The next two nights will see the onset of the Lyrid meteor showers which may be spectacular this year.

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.