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

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.

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).


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.