Torquay weather and temp in Fahr.


Maidencombe resident since 1960. Local historian and author of the 'Coves of Maidencombe'.
Copyright © 2013 . All Rights Reserved.
Blog Directory & Business Pages -






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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012



MAIDENCOMBE COVE CHRISTMAS DAY SWIM: The obligatory pre-swim photo shoot


The celebrities appear on the steps preceded by Mick, the landlord of the Thatched Tavern.  Ziggy Austin, the main man and co-ordinator of the event and a special celebrity guest as Neal Taylor makes a welcome appearance.  Neal is a top swimmer for the Oddicombe Club and has won a host of national swimming titles. He is one of the all time sporting greats of Maidencombe-upon-Sea.


The Environment Agency have had a look at this and considered closing the cove yesterday.


Becbla the blind vixen - A Christmas Story

Christmas Day began early for myself and So Cruise as we set off for our Night Patrol around Maidencombe just after midnight. There was an extra present in my back pack - a generous slice off So Cruise's Christmas dinner - a leg of lamb. In a fairytale world, its recipient was to be Becbla, my totally blind vixen who depended on me for food. She had gradually lost sight over a period of months, but fortunately had known me when sighted and had taken food at quite close quarters. I was only hopeful that she would be able to take this prize as many factors conspired against her on a nightly basis. She no longer came close, preferring to wait some way off and relying on me to throw her food from anything up to 25 yards. If other foxes were in the vicinity, they would dash up and snatch the food from her jaws as she was unable to defend herself. Her only advantage was her sex - a blind dog fox would have little chance of survival and would be attacked and killed. I had seen her running alongside younger foxes and was fairly sure she had been an 'auntie' in the upbringing of these younger foxes. We arrived at the designated field system just before 1 am and So Cruise, my faithful collie cross, sat and waited as I set off down the side of the hill to see if Becbla was in the vicinity. A quick sweep with a high intensity beam revealed her lying down some 60 yards away and she retreated into a hedgerow as soon as the beam illuminated her - being sensitive to light. Turning my head torch off, I advanced slowly towards the spot where she had been. About 30 yards away, I stopped and waited, knowing from experience that she would probably emerge in a few minutes time - though perhaps in a different area. I was aware of another fox watching me from higher up the field which didn't help matters. If it saw me throw the meat, it would be on it in an instant. Several minutes passed and I was on the point of giving up when the clouds cleared and the area was lit up by a 90% waxing gibbous moon overhead. Then suddenly, I spotted a movement in the hedge about 30 yards off - at the extreme range for throwing accurately. It was now or never, and I threw the meat with a whispered prayer. As the meat was still arcing in the air I whirled and shone my head torch straight at the other watching fox. Dazzled, it turned and fled. Wheeling, I could just make out Becbla searching for the meat which she had heard hit the ground a few feet away. She probed the ground for a few seconds and then I saw her lift her head with the meat in her mouth and she then immediately turned and disappeared with her Christmas meal. The whole episode had seemed to be only a matter of a few minutes, but when I looked at my watch I was surprised to see that it had lasted all of twenty minutes. I hastened up the hill to find So Cruise still waiting patiently for me. As we continued our journey, I reflected on the magical quality of the night and the oh so real Christmas Day story of Becbla, the blind vixen. Her taking of the lamb treat the best Christmas present of them all ...

Monday, December 24, 2012


Sunday, December 23, 2012


The karaoke slot from the Thatched Tavern ...

Christmas Carols from the Thatched Tavern: The First Noel

Christmas Carols from the Thatched Tavern: Oh Come All Ye Faithful ...

Christmas Carols from the Thatched Tavern: Dashing through the Snow ...

Christmas Carols from the Thatched Tavern: Hark the Herald Angels ...

Christmas Carols from the Thatched Tavern: Good King Wenceslas

Christmas Carols at the Thatched Tavern: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Maidencombe Carol Singing

A great night of carol singing in the combe last night.  I have 28 video clips and quite a few stills to process.  Hope to start getting them posted later today.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Maidencombe's Three Ships of Christmas

Our header photo shows the three Maltese flagged cargo vessels presently moored off Maidencombe.  Perhaps it is the romantic in me, but from afar they seemed like crowns - as in the Christmas carol of Reverend John Henry Hopkins Jr. 'We Three Kings'.   Will they still be there for Christmas?  That I do not know, but they are somehow symbolic moored as they are at this time of the year ...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas in Maidencombe

Upcoming this Saturday December 22nd,  a Carol Singing Extravaganza commencing from the Orestone Manor Hotel.  You are invited to join in, whoever you are, wherever you reside.  We will be meeting up at the Orestone at around 7 pm for the first stage of the Maidencombe Journey.  Mince pies and mulled wine will fortify the pioneers as they sing their first carols afore they merrily continue down aways the Rocky House Lane, always a singing as they go.  The intrepid souls will give a final outdoor rendition on the Green and then proceed a short way into the final destination of Ye Old Thatched Taverne to warm their spirits - and indeed imbibe of a little of the same in preparation for the next batch of family favourite carol singing.
Thine gracious hosts, Mick & Fiona will regale the assemblage with food and drink aplenty.  All in all, a merry and traditional evening awaits ...

Thursday, December 13, 2012


It took many months and a fair bit of effort by Maidencombe residents, but finally the new waiting restrictions are now in place at the Maidencombe Cross layby, as seen above.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A tiring day

What with laying the trail for the Ashburton Hash House Harriers late afternoon and running it later in the evening, it was a pretty tiring day.  Some twenty hardy souls braved the sharp conditions out Labrador side and beyond the shelter of the combe. 

Monday, December 10, 2012


Those strange people known world-wide as 'hashers' are coming to Maidencombe this Tuesday December 11th.  The Ashburton Hash House Harriers will 'circle up' outside the Thatched Tavern pub at 7:30 pm to get their instructions from the 'hare' who, hopefully, will have laid a trail for the hash to follow.  After the trail, the hash will repair to the bar for sustenance - as after all - hashing clubs throughout the world share the same ideal: 'Drinkers with a running problem'  ... 

Thursday, December 06, 2012


This informative brochure plus the feedback form is available from both the Thatched Tavern and the Orestone Manor.  Maidencombe has now achieved recognition and is highlighted in the section 'ST MARYCHURCH, MAIDENCOMBE & DISTRICT'.  Maidencombe is part of the St Marychurch Community Partnership which comprises St Marychurch itself, Plainmoor, Babbacombe and Maidencombe.

There are nine Community Partnerships within Torquay and submissions from all the components make-up have been registered with the Neighbourhood Forum.  Maidencombe's submission is a concise and strong document placing safeguards on particular areas for protection.  The submission can be read on the Maidencombe Residents Association website:

Now is your opportunity to register your feedback on Maidencombe in the enclosed form. I will be posting a link to the form in the right hand panel.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


The sound of lowing could be heard all around the combe Tuesday afternoon as the Rock House Lane barn was occupied by cattle going into winter quarters.  Conditions regarding surface water down in the village are improving slowly.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


I can report that the Maidencombe Cross layby has now been clear since this photo was taken on November 27th.

Monday, December 03, 2012


The ominous forecast of up to an inch of rain to fall on Sunday happily proved to be inaccurate as barely a quarter of an inch was recorded by my weather station (wheelbarrow on the lawn).  No appreciable increase in surface water noted Sunday night.  The combe remains saturated, however, and it will still take weeks for the watercourses to clear.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

A MAIDENCOMBE SPECIAL - Equisetum arvense

Or you may know it by the more common name of Horsetail.  Very unkindly classed as a weed,  this marvellously attractive and hardy perennial plant grows in profusion on the slopes around the cove and reputedly has legendary healing qualities for numerous ailments.


Just as the combe was starting very slowly to drain from the floods a week ago, yet another band of rain is sweeping in from the west which inevitably will bring more flooding.  Up to an inch of rain will fall from midday today for roughly an eighteen hour interval.  Some of this rain will be very heavy so batten down the hatches and ensure the gutters outside your properties are clear.

Saturday, December 01, 2012


One thing I omitted from the commentary is that some of the water seeping out of the valley field adjacent to Home Orchard is still being fed by underground watercourses from Sladnor side.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Just had a report by a resident in Sladnor Park that a silver Subaru Impreza was seen entering the lodge car park area and leaving without stopping a few days ago.  I have looked at a photo of this make and it is very similar indeed.  If you see this make and colour of vehicle driving in or around Maidencombe, please take a note of the registration number and forward it to me at 

Thursday, November 29, 2012


So Cruise and I were walking past the Thatched Tavern at about 12:50 am this morning when we encountered two men - in their twenties, both wearing dark jackets - walking towards us from the direction of the Court House.  Neither looked at me as we passed each other, but I did venture a 'good evening' (can't really say good night at that time of the morning) and they replied in similar vein.  I thought it odd as they were strangers but assumed they were occupants of Suite Dreams.  I looked back and saw them walking down towards the beach car park.   There was a high powered silver sports type car parked opposite the Court House.   It was only later today that I learned that two prowlers had been chased off Maidencombe Farm by a very alert resident - some 10 minutes or so after my encounter.  Apparently some tools were also stolen from a nearby property.  Counter measures have now been put into place by a concerned community to augment/assist local police.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A respite

Our dedicated weather chart shows a dry week ahead - fingers crossed that this is accurate.  Water still flooding down Rock House Lane and Steep Hill.  Cattle present in the orchard before presumably being put into the barn adjacent to winter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beach waterfall a 'no-show'

Reportedly back in action after the recent rains - but no evidence of this when I inspected an hour ago.  However, there is cause for concern as parts of the cliff face are in the process of slipping as seen here.

Casualty in the car park

Tree down blocking the entrance to one of the overflow car parks at Maidencombe CP.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monsoon Maidencombe

Another very wet day and I cannot recall such sustained rainfall in one year such as we have encountered here in Maidencombe.  I have spent much of the afternoon and evening cleaning up after my outside shed was swamped by near liquid mud on Saturday evening. Yet, all things considered, we have got off lightly compared with other areas in Devon and Cornwall.  The inordinate rainfall in June and July was blamed by forecasters on a southward meander of the jet stream though that reason has not been cited this time round.  My garden is currently a sea of mud and a journey to replenish the bird table is now a perilous mission.

Tor2 quick off the mark to clear land slip


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Plans are afoot for placement of a notice board on or near the village green adjacent to the Thatched Tavern public house. Approval has been sought and readily given from the Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust and Hal Bishop on the Torbay Council. Siting proposals are in progress but would probably be at the northern end of the green facing Steep Hill lane. Councillor Ray Hill has been notified at a meeting of the Neighbourhood Steering Group held on Monday November 19th. There is an existing covenant on the green and planning permission will be needed though it should be noted that there was a notice board on the green several decades ago.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


From 3 pm Thursday afternoon further bursts of heavy/torrential rain forecast. Flooding into properties down Brim Hill/Steep Hill/Rock House lanes owing to leaves blocking the flow of water. Just finished clearing the road outside my bungalow which was blocked and directed water down my entrance. House holders in these lanes should ensure their entrances are clear.


No sooner had the combe nearly dried out from sustained rainfall, a further four inches has fallen over the past 72 hours with watercourses once again inundated. The natural bowl of the combe will always pose serious problems with heavy rainfall and care of the maintaining of hedges and trees is essential.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Nearing completion ...

Maidencombe Cross leviathan

Five days and counting ... presumably awaiting pick-up - the rather large digger cat parked next to the bus shelter at the cross.   Suspect that it may be damaged as it was leaking oil when down the bottom of Steep Hill.   It isn't lonely, however, as the infamous Pink Horse Lorry is within chatting distance ... UPDATE TUESDAY NOVEMBER 20: Now collected and Maidencombe Cross clear in front of the bus shelter.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Sunday, November 18, 2012


An updated video was taken earlier this evening and will be posted after compressing from the very large 1920 HD MOV format.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Poor image but I'm convinced it is a bat outline.

UFC (unidentified flying creature)

Taken at the top of Brim Hill this evening at 17:52 hrs.  I've retained the MOV video format (high quality & uncompressed) and only cut the clip at the best visual points.  As So Cruise and I approached the top of the lane, this bird/bat flew straight at us and either circled and returned or there was another following it.  I was sure that it was a bat at the time - the light was almost gone and the much smaller Common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) is common place along this stretch. However, on playing the clip back, I became aware how big it was and it just might have been a very rare  Greater Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) that I saw.  On the other hand, could it have possible been a bird - sometimes the mind can play tricks ...  Take a look for yourselves and see what you think. UPDATE:  Just taken a freeze frame and it has bat wings - just a matter of identifying the species.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Barn clearing

Preparations commenced Thursday for wintering of stock in the Rock House Lane barn.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The historic Court House

Nestling deep within the combe lies the historic Grade II Listed Court House.  Previous to this, it was one of the original farm houses - Court Farm.  Retreating back into the very mists of time, this is reportedly the same site as the near legendary manor house named 'Mansum', owned by, amongst others, one Ralph Tregoz who was granted a licence by Bishop Grandisson of  Exeter in 1330 for an oratory at the property.
The ancient Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum) lies within the garden and is believed to have been brought back from the Lebanon as a sapling in the mid-16th century.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Strange 'spectral' shape in Rock House Lane

Walking back home in the early hours of Sunday November 11th, I heard a low hum or buzzing sound and whirled and took a flash photo - shown above.  So Cruise my collie cross was spooked and wouldn't come back to me when I called.  It was only when I processed the photo that I saw this 'cloud'.  It is, coincidentally, positioned outside the two labourer's cottages which were demolished in the 60's.  May be a camera flaw - but it is strange nevertheless.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Impromptu notice board

Photographed inside the orchard this evening.  A space had previously been made when cows grazing in the orchard knocked the TCCT map down.  This was kindly retrieved by Mick, the licensee  of the Thatched Tavern.  Having not as yet been replaced by the trust, the 'vacancy' has been exploited, as can be seen by the photo.

Plans are already in motion for an official village notice board to be sited on the village green.  I'll keep you updated on this ongoing project which has been favourably received by the TCCT and Torbay Council.


As part of our history of the area,  we'll take a look at some of the known, and not so well-known features of Maidencombe which I trust some will find of interest. See right hand column.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Early hours Friday November 9th

So Cruise and I heard the 'Hound of the Baskervilles'  again and the sound appeared to be coming from the Teignmouth Road and behind or beyond Jon Glanvill's Garage.  It still had an echoing quality as if the animal was in a large room or hall.  The howl stopped after a few seconds and was not repeated.  Strange ..

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Hound of Baskervilles in Maidencombe?

A few days ago I had an enquiry from a concerned resident about a dog howling in the combe.  The resident had heard this howling in the day and at night but couldn't exactly identify where the sound was coming from.  I hadn't heard anything from my side of Brim Hill and thought no more of it until ... two nights ago.  So Cruise and I were setting out for our Night Patrol a little later than usual at around 12:45 am and were just starting up Brim Hill when we heard the most extraordinary sound.   It was a loud and echoing howl which seemed to be coming from the Orestone Drive direction, though it could have been from over the top of Glass Wood slightly to the left.  It was an eery sound and we stood, transfixed for several seconds, listening intently.  Then the howling stopped abruptly and there was an uncanny silence ...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

An unusually quiet night in the combe

Well, what happened last night?  Apart from a few isolated bangs mid-evening, the expected barrage never came on Bonfire Night.  The weather was obliging, but apparently the wallets were not.  In the midst of bleak economic conditions, the like of which have not been witnessed since the depression, folks made the wise decision to 'opt out' of sending their cash up in flames.   It was particularly good news for the denizens of the night (wildlife) who are reluctant to venture abroad on this dreaded night. 

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Our highly unusual black and white blackbird (getting whiter as time goes by) was making a late visit to our bird table trusting that all traffic had finished for the day - and I happened to catch the saga that unfolded.  It happened literally in the blink of an eye - slow motion of the attack included at the end of the clip.


Maidencombe residents joined other diners to enjoy a three course meal followed by a firework display in the grounds of the Orestone Manor.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All quiet down in the village

Unwilling to go into details here, but suffice it to say that things appear to have settled down at the bottom of the village since last Friday.  I would ask everyone to be vigilant  - especially so following the disgraceful dumping of ten sacks of hazardous material in Brim Hill on September 30th.
Try to take a note of any registration numbers of vehicles and the time, date and location.  This information can then be passed on to our community policeman - I'll get details for everyone and post in the side panel.
Maidencombe is, and should continue to be, a safe and peaceful place for all residents and we can all play a part in achieving this.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sport excellence in Maidencombe

A piece of Torbay and Maidencombe history was written over the weekend when Neal Taylor of Brim Hill, Maidencombe  was competing in the ASA Masters Swimming Championships at  Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield.
 Neal Taylor (on the right) pictured at Ponds Forge Sports Centre.

His coach, another Maidencombe resident, Don Roberts of Ashley Priors Lane, revealed that Neal is the first ever club member to break the two minute barrier for the 200 metre freestyle event - no mean feat even today as it was the legendary USA swimmer Don Schollander who was the first man in the world to break 2 minutes for the event, on July 7, 1963.  Don Roberts was the winner of the Torbay Sports Award back in 2006 in recognition of his outstanding services to Oddicombe Swimming Club and Torbay.

Neal maintains a tradition of sports excellence for Maidencombers, following in the wake of Hiley Edwards - formerly of Maidencombe Cottage - (1951-2009) the Devon cricket captain who scored more than 16,000 runs in 17 seasons.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Details are hazy, but there was a police operation today at Suite Dreams in Steep Hill with vehicles being seized.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


At a council Transport meeting held at the Town Hall this afternoon, it was decided to implement waiting restrictions at the contentious Maidencombe Cross layby.  After being advertised August/September, the matter was laid aside after objections were received against restrictions.
Support for the restrictions came from various councillors, including St Marychurch Ward councillor Peter Addis.  SEE HERALD EXPRESS ARTICLE SIDE PANEL RIGHT.

Massive temperature drop in the offing

Get those thermals out - there's a shock to the system coming Friday with a massive 20+ (F) degree drop forecast. Come the evening, temperatures will plummet dramatically.  With the wind chill factor coming into play, it'll feel like 30 F approaching midnight Friday..

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I'll try and get more of the calendars out to those who ordered them in the next few days.  Sorry for delay, but I've been unwell the past few days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Sorry about the loss of the blog today - all my other sites are fine but, inexplicably, The Maidencombers suffered a rare HTML crash necessitating the uploading of another template.  A bit of rearranging to do yet, but hopefully we'll be back in business later today.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Arctic winds combe bound

Our first taste of winter and plummeting temperatures as a cold front sweeps in from the north this Friday.  Start looking for the gloves and scarf.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Evening sky on fire above Sladnor

So Cruise and I had just returned from our early evening walk but had noticed the pink hues forming as the sun set behind the western ridge above the Sladnor chalets.  I collected my camera and went out again to capture a few shots.  The hues changed dramatically in the space of a few minutes, progressing rapidly to lurid crimson.  Later, on our nightly tour of the combe,  the magic continued with the light rustling of falling leaves reminding me of the transition into deep autumn. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Maidencombe beach cascade

The famed cascade as seen about a hundred years ago - one of the natural wonders of Maidencombe.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

'It was good while it lasted ...'

As we highlighted a few days ago, something had to be done about the outfall from the cascade flooding the approaches to Maidencombe cove.  It had become dangerous and was an accident waiting to happen for any unsuspecting visitor to the beach.  So, regrettably, the Trust was notified and immediate action was taken, which ultimately spelt the end of  the 2012 revival of the celebrated cascade.
UPDATE Friday October 19th:  Now hearing that the clearing of the grill was not as a result of any call to the council or trust, but as  a  scheduled task.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Maidencombe Calendar now available for distribution

We are pleased to announce that the MRA calendar is now ready.  A screenshot of the front cover is posted on the right.  In the next few days I'll be emailing those residents who have ordered copies to arrange delivery. Reply to query:  Please email me at  with your name and address and I'll reserve you a calendar.  They are priced at £6.50 each. If you reside outside of Maidencombe, I can arrange p & p for you.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

House Martins swarming in the combe

Noticed  swallow type birds swarming south of the orchard yesterday but wasn't close enough to identify.  Late afternoon today So Cruise and I encountered them again east of Maidencombe Cross.  White underbellies and fairly short forked tails eliminated both swift and swallow and noted that House Martins have been sighted in fairly large numbers in this vicinity past few days.  Allied to the drop in temperature, sure signs that winter is on the way.  We wish we could migrate to Africa with them!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Continuing our informative video clip footage of Maidencombe, a quick look down from the lower coastal footpath at the first cove north of Maidencombe beach - Blackaller's cove. Thought to be named after the wealthy and influential landowning and farming Blackaller (one who lives by the dense alder wood) family :  Elias  Blackaller ( 1793-1865 who was born in Stokeinteignhead and is recorded in the 1861 census as residing in the Court House, Rock House Lane); Elias Blackaller (1761-1839); John Blackaller (1834-1879); Susan Blackaller (1840-1905).  Recorded in the Pictorial & Historical Survey of Babbacombe & St Marychurch, Volume 2 as being Lord of the Manor of Maidencombe at Court Farm until 1882.
It is a matter of conjecture whether any of the Blackallers had a direct connection with this tiny cove, let alone even visited it and the more common name of this cove is simply 'Table Rock'.  A look at the clip will show you why ... 


Not a regular occurrence for Maidencombe by any means - this clip taken on December 19th 2010. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spend a peaceful minute ..

As promised, So Cruise and I popped down to the beach to see the cascade.  Very pretty and peaceful it was too, however,  work will have to be done before next spring to divert the flow of water from the concrete slabbed approach to the beach.
Up to the sixties, when there was no unsightly wire cage or slabs, the outfall was absorbed  into the sea via natural rock layers.  The legacy of man-made 'improvements' has now succeeded in making the access point hazardous to navigate.


If this is an indicator of the amount of water falling onto about six square feet in 48 hours, I have made an approximate (very!) calculation of how much water has accumulated in the combe over the same period.
Bear in mind that I failed maths at school but here are the calculations:

Surface area of wheelbarrow 6 square feet .. amount of rain water 2.5 gallons .. surface area of combe  approx 160 acres or 6,969,600 square feet ...  divide that figure by 6 = 1,161,600 ... multiply that by 2.5 and you arrive at a figure of 2,904,000 gallons.

So there we have it - roughly 3 million gallons of rain water falling on the combe in the past 48 hours.  Flooding evident on underground watercourses surfacing in the lower reaches by the beach car park.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


Shades of last summer's great deluge when over four inches of rain fell in as many days.  Further sustained rainfall the past 36 hours.  I'll pay a visit to the beach tomorrow to judge the amount of water gravitating down the combe and out via the cascade.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Soggy combe

Just over an inch of rain fell Sunday night - as measured by my ever reliable weather station (wheelbarrow on the lawn) and this on top of the heavy rainfall of a couple of days previous.  The forecast for the rest of the week doesn't bode well for the chances of the combe drying out any time soon.  Be careful out walking - it's quite treacherous in places.

Kestrel o'er the combe

I've seen kestrels around Labrador Bay but they aren't as common as buzzards in the combe.  I managed to get this short clip in the field due south of the orchard late Sunday afternoon.  Excuse the camera shake but I had no tripod and was in zoom mode lying prone on the ground - tricky.  There's a slow-mo section at the end of the clip.
Birds of prey can be tricky to identify but the size of this bird and the unmistakable ability to hover distinguished this as a kestrel and not a hobby (can't hover) or a Peregrine falcon (black head mask).

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Combe flooding

Sustained heavy rainfall from late evening Friday into the early hours Saturday has resulted in the drains overflowing throughout the lower reaches of the combe.  Steep Hill and Rockhouse Lane flooding across the full width of the lanes from midnight onwards.

Friday, October 05, 2012

A Nightmare on Maidencombe Street (2012)

The sort of  garbled signage you would expect in urbanised Torbay but now Maidencombe Cross has taken on nightmarish proportions as seen in the photo above.  Back in the 1950's a majestic tree stood  in the centre of this grassy rise. Granted, there is a need for appropriate signage to inform but this conglomeration is ill-thought out and does little to enhance Maidencombe.

All is quiet

The layby has been empty for two days and nights now.
UPDATE:  Next day it was occupied once more.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Believed to have taken place between  approximately 1:30pm and 3pm Sunday September 30th.  Anyone with information please contact local police. Broken asbestos is extremely dangerous. Do not open or approach these bags.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Flashback to 2001 and 2003

 Extracted from

The Volunteers - DAG

The ancient settlement of Maidencombe is a picturesque long shore hamlet on the northern boundary of Torbay characterized by thatched buildings and open countryside with spectacular Red Devon cliffs reaching down to the sea. The settlement has a long history mentioned in the Doomsday Book and is one of the last few undeveloped Coombes in Torbay. Records show that the area, which boasts a beach cafe as well as a car park and toilets, has been popular with locals and tourist since at least the thirties. Residents have enjoyed the use of these facilities for decades and feel privileged to live in such a beautiful rural location, which lies in an area designated as a Heritage Coastline and through which the South West Coast Path passes.
Lack of investment and neglect by the previous leaseholder tenant (legal action resulted in the forfeiture of lease). Along with vandalism and a major landslide in 2001, the facilities at Maidencombe beach required urgent attention. Maidencombe Residents Association extensively canvassed residents as to future arrangements for the area.
There was overwhelming support for the transfer of the land to the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust managers of some coastal farmland in Maidencombe. The residents Association held discussions with councilors and the Trust. The idea was adopted and the transfer took place in April 2003. Maidencombe Orchard and Beach Project in conjunction with Maidencombe Residents Association, Torbay & Coast Countryside Trust, businesses and the local community
In 2003, Maidencombe residents, Torbay & Coast Countryside Trust helped by St Marychurch Action Group open up the vista view cleaned up the car park and watercourse. Large amounts of rubbish were removed and improvements appreciated by locals and visitors.

New to the combe

Popped by to welcome the new occupants to Coombe Close,  Diane and Kevin.  They're country folk and are very keen to find out everything about Maidencombe. I'll revisit when they've unpacked a few boxes!

Youngest occupant in the combe

However, on seeing me about 60 yards away, it became frightened and rushed to mum for protection.
Dear old dad was taking a keen interest in my filming and I slowly retreated.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Probably pushed

Upon closer inspection in daylight hours, it now appears more likely that the signpost adjacent to the bus shelter at Maidencombe Cross was pushed over rather than accidentally struck by a vehicle.  A sad state of affairs indeed.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Was it pushed or was it hit?

That is the question after I observed the stricken signpost adjacent to the bus shelter at Maidencombe Cross in the early hours of today.  It may have been struck by a vehicle as there seems to be part of a car on the ground nearby.  I'll try and replace it later, if  possible.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blackberry tart

And it tasted all the better for being free!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

First blackberries!

I'd been sampling the blackberries for a few days as they gradually ripen but there weren't that many to justify taking a bag.  However, yesterday So Cruise and I came across a section of hedge with enough for a  tart topped with good old quick jel.  No bag but after scratching my head, puzzling over the problem, I saw my cap in my hand!   And here's the result!  They're a tiny bit hard but should be ok in the tart.  Mum makes the pastry herself and a treat awaits this evening!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Comment in from concerned resident re safety issues

This already posted under a different post but highlighted as I've already had identical comment from other residents and I consider this an important issue:

As a new local resident, this is one stretch of road that needs some serious attention from the local council ! Having to cross the road outside Brunel Manor to get to the Torquay bound side in order to catch the bus in said direction, my wife and I have twice come close to being run down by motorists either coming up the hill towards Teignmouth or coming round the corner in the direction of Torquay ! Its also true to say that HOWEVER often and hard you look before crossing that road at that point, you can still be part way across the road when a car appears over the hill or around that corner at speed ! VERY DANGEROUS !

Decidedly autumnal

As ever,  people can seldom agree.  The start dates of the seasons is no exception.  There are those folks that go with the vernal equinoxes and those that desire simplicity - the seasons neatly packaged into the first of the month as in March April and May being spring and so on.  The vernal equinox system does have questions to answer such as why does summer start on June 21st and mid summer's day come one day later?   Being a good old country boy, my preference is for simplicity and the first of the month start date for the seasons.  It is a system favoured by the much maligned met office after all.  For a few nights we've broken the hot water bottles out of storage and talk of it still being summer is readily dismissed.  The air is crisper and the blackberries are ripening - all signs to combers that autumn is with us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I've seen the emails regarding this and will contact Wednesday at 2pm.  Thanks P.


Further to the previous post, I contacted John Clewer, Senior Engineer - Highways Development & Traffic  for clarification of the ruling.
He states that there will be a report and discussion on October 25th.  I have the details of the five objectors to the proposed restrictions and they all cite the fact that they oppose the restrictions on the grounds that they use the layby for parking their cars in order to walk around the coastal paths.  
Mr Clewer said it would be valuable for a submission from concerned residents supporting the restrictions to be tendered by the end of this week.

It should be mentioned that at present - and how it has been for many months now - no cars can be parked in this layby at any time owing to the continued parking of the horse truck.  Whenever the horse box departs (usually at weekends) two vehicles are at hand to immediately take up position.
Residents have noted that when the horse box returns,  two occupants get out of the lorry and move the vehicles to let the horse box take up its original position - to the exclusion of any other road user.

For this reason alone, the objectors' statements have little validity as they are unable to avail themselves of parking in the layby at any time.  I will keep you informed of this ongoing saga.


There is feedback from a resident regarding the proposed waiting restrictions at the layby between the phone box and bus stop at Maidencombe Cross.
I copy the following open letter from one of our residents affixed near the bus stop:

To: The 45 people who signed the petition to remove the (permanent parking of = my insert) pink horsebox.
Having consulted our local councillor he agreed to having an overnight parking restriction on our layby.  At the very last minute without any consultation it was altered by the highways department to 2 hours restriction.
I phoned on the closing day Sept 13th 2012, and was told by our councillor no objection had been received and enforcement would start within two weeks, as soon as signs were put up.
On the 14th September I was informed that 5 objections had been received and an extended period of consultation would be necessary.
I have now tried all legal means known to me to have the antisocial pink truck removed and I have failed. So please accept my sincere apologies for raising your expectations only to have them dashed on the altar of bureaucracy.  
Signed P Coxill

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Murder In Maidencombe!

We had only just ordered our drinks and sat down next to a blazing log fire at the Orestone Manor Hotel when a blood-curdling scream emanated from the restaurant.  Shortly afterwards, a stream of concerned diners filed past us towards the lobby.  Thereupon, a ghastly sight of a body sprawled face down between some furniture revealed itself to the horrified diners.  A plain clothes police inspector appeared and began to question the assembled dinner guests.  Clearly, a murder most horrid had been committed at the Orestone Manor ..

Well, not quite, you'll be relieved to hear.  Neal and I had inadvertently stumbled upon a Murder Mystery Night 'executed' by the cast of the Candlelight Theatre Company which continues to be an exciting night out, enjoyed by all who attend.  Some well-known residents were recognised among the diners.  I was quite taken aback to find that I knew the 'police inspector' well in 'real-life'.
I'll be posting details of forthcoming evenings when I get them.

Orders for the Maidencombe 2013 calendar

A big thank you to all the residents (and beyond) who have placed orders for the first ever Maidencombe 2013 Calendar.  Still a limited window to reserve a calendar but please do not delay as the print is imminent.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Brim Hill road repair Thursday Sept 13th at 11:45 am

Repairs to Brim Hill complete

Brim Hill open for traffic from 1 pm after new tarmac strip put in place to repair subsidence.

More checks at Sladnor bus stop

All residents be aware of continued police checks on the stretch of road from Brunel Manor entrance to Maidencombe Cross.  Drive safely and within the speed limit of 30 mph.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


A quick line to say my modem blew up earlier this evening and internet connection lost.  Posting this from the Thatched Tavern free Wifi connection which has been a godsend - thanks Mick and Fiona. Booked an Argos emergency replacement from the pub.  Hopefully reconnected tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Received news today of reported break-ins down Stoke Road and Kirtons Road area.  Believed to have taken place in daylight hours.  All residents should ensure the security of their properties and be on the lookout for anyone acting suspiciously in their area. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


 Weather permitting, the long awaited repairs to the top of Brim Hill (now has become dangerous) will take place by Highways. Exit from the village only from Rock House Lane. Unsure whether contractors to Brim Hill Villa will have a day off, if not, Steep Hill may suffer the same fate as the residents of Brim Hill with upwards of 15 cars/vans parking.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Maidencombe Calendar

Our first ever Maidencombe Calendar for 2013 is now ready to print and includes the Winner of this year's Maidencombe Photo Competition as well as submissions from other Maidencombe residents. Considerable support for this was noted at the last meeting of the MRA down at the Thatched Tavern. To enable us to decide on numbers for printing, we would be grateful for feedback as to requirements for this collector's item. You will appreciate that time is pressing and if you could reply promptly it would be most helpful. It is estimated that the cost per calendar - on near A4 (actual size US letter format) quality gloss paper - will be in the order of £6.50 each. Bear in mind that this would make an ideal stocking filler for family or friend due to its undoubted uniqueness. A previously unpublished 1935 photo is also included and is bound to surprise. If you would like to reserve one or more calendars, please email me at ... thanks, Jim Campbell

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Neighbourhood Plan and how it affects Maidencombe

Submissions by individual areas in Torquay have to be registered by the end of this month. A glance at the areas (see clickable link below) reveals that both Maidencombe and Babbacombe come under the St Marychurch ward segment though both will submit a separate chapter representation.

In each 'chapter', the area concerned should examine (succinctly) the needs of the community and what course it takes over the next 15-20 years. Areas for preservation/protection from development should be cited.
Without a submission, there would be an open invitation for developers to march in and earmark swathes of land for building upon.

It is most likely that each and every area in Torbay will put forward arguments why they should not have new housing imposed within their boundaries but nimbyism alone will not suffice to keep the developers at bay.

In conclusion, our submission will have to be a powerful and passionate document to provide a solid defence of our area.

The Maidencombe Residents Association is in the process of preparing our submission.

CLICK HERE for the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan Area

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Coastal path clear

The fallen trees/branches from last winter's storms have finally been cleared from the southern approach coastal path (Beach car park up to Goats Path) and the overgrowing hedge has also been cut back. A joy to be able to run around this section unhindered once more.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Further degradation of road surface in Brim Hill

Highways contacted Wednesday August 29th to update on proposed repairs to the upper stretch of Brim Hill.  Works should have commenced on August 22nd.  Engineers will now be visiting as a matter of urgency.  Road users are urged to use considerable caution negotiating this stretch of the hill.  The safety issues are such that barriers may be erected in the short term. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The 'summer' is nearly over

Par for the course this final Bank Holiday weekend with leaden skies and heavy rain showers prevailing for much of it.  June and much of July were wiped out with extraordinary rainfall figures and the summer, such as it was, has come and departed in the blinking of an eye.
The combe now awaits the autumn and its forthcoming harvest of blackberries, apples, pears and hazelnuts. And then - Christmas looms ...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bank Holiday video

A walk up the connecting path from Ashley Priors Lane to the Perch - the entrance into Maidencombe.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Maidencombe Farm restoration

Of historical and architectural value, this ruined shell postdates  Maidencombe (Home) Farm itself by about a century - believed to have been built circa 1830. The walls were exposed stone and the roof would probably have been made of  thick gauge corrugated iron.

The Cross at night

Maidencombe cross early hours of  August 24th.   Both photos shot with the same Canon Powershot SX40.  On the left is automatic, no flash deployed and on the right, automatic, no flash but with 64 LED camera attachment.  As utilized for the badger photo.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Unauthorized sign

Getting to be a habit this sort of thing.   The ugly direction sign is bad enough but placing further signage obstructs the view of vehicles exiting Brim Hill.  A resident has already muttered ill-will regarding this particular outrage and I have my doubts about it remaining there too long ...

Badgers love bananas

.. but be careful when offering one.  A young badger sow about to snatch a banana from my hand in the early hours of Friday August 24th.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Layby empty

The Highways notice regarding the proposed waiting restrictions just beyond the bus shelter at Maidencombe cross is posted at the gate entrance nearby.   It will also be in the Herald Express today.  It is proposed that waiting will be restricted to a maximum of 2 hours from 6 am to 10 pm daily.  The layby has been strangely empty for the past two days.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A shady spot

.. to rest awhile on our Sunday afternoon stroll.

Our resident buzzard

..perched atop the Cove's aerial looking for an evening snack.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday August 18th: Water polo clip 3

From a closer vantage point ...

Saturday August 18th: Water polo clip 2

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bowden Close entrance

Looking pretty as a picture.

Top of Brim Hill

Now cleared by the new owners of Bowden Close.  The yellow hydrant visible again.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Maidencombe Beach Olympics this weekend

Fingers crossed that the weather is kind for this upcoming event - this post from Ziggy Austin:
The beach Olympics are fast approaching, the 18th and 19th Aug. Hope everyone feels inspired by the efforts of team GB. Events will include beach volleyball, cricket, tag rugga, hurdles and waterpolo. Possibly extreme
Frizby. Hope to see you all there! (Maidencombe beach 10am onwards)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Longpark Hill north

Made a one-way system a few years ago for safety reasons though the southern exit onto the Teignmouth Road has seen several serious accidents.  Perhaps the one-way system  should have been put in place the other way round - north to south?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The combe unfolds

So Cruise and I risk squeezing off a photo on the bend above Maidencombe.

Whiteway Lane

Looking up the Teignmouth Road northwards and some 80 yards from the Maidencombe sign and entrance into Torbay from Teignbridge. So named after the original resident Mr Whiteway.  A tricky exit for vehicles and pedestrians.

Sentinel knight

A modern addition landmark on the northern heights of Maidencombe.  Its position and purpose remain unknown.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Wing walker biplane over Maidencombe

Snapped (had about 5 seconds to zoom and click) over Maidencombe at 17:33 hrs today.  No one actually on the top so not sure what it was up to.

Thanks for the duckboard!

Some kind soul has put a duckboard down to bridge the muddy approach by the metal stile entering the far car park.  So Cruise and I availed ourselves of this luxury on Monday afternoon and were grateful!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Welcome to new residents in Maidencombe

I popped in to welcome the new occupants of Maidencombe Cottage (adjacent to the car park) on Sunday evening.  Unpacking and settling in is going well and the couple are keen to get involved in village matters. They used to visit Maidencombe for their holidays many years ago so are acquainted with the area.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Green gates are locked

The Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust has received news of cars parking day and night at the top of the village green.  This apparently had led to other residents asking the Trust if anyone could do this. The Trust  has requested the Thatched Tavern to lock the gates at this time and only to unlock them should the main car park be full to allow cars to use the 'overflow' parking option temporarily.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New arrivals to the combe

News from the Thatched Tavern that there are newcomers arriving in the village this Wednesday.  We will be welcoming them and giving everyone an update later this week.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday July 28th: Finally drying up

Photos taken Saturday afternoon which show the still sodden ground in the back of the beach car park.  A valiant effort was made Friday to mow here - with limited success.  Photo on left shows the muddy patch which has to be leapt to exit onto the orchard and Rock House Lane.  Conventional exit via the metal stile still with wellies only.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Green mowed

Just about dry enough for the mower to operate on the green and (limited) on far overflow car park.

Maidencombe Photo Competition

Entries still coming in for our Maidencombe Photo Competition.  Remember that entries will close on Tuesday July 31st.  Preliminary judging taking place this weekend. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Accident just waiting to happen

Information received of an accident between a motor bike and car at the top of Rock House Lane Wednesday July 25th.  Motorcyclist taken to hospital with skin abrasions but fortunate not to have been more seriously injured.  A resident from near where the accident took place confirmed that it was 'an accident just waiting to happen'.  He has contacted Highways who will be inspecting the spot with a view to putting in a 'SLOW' sign at the top of Rock House Lane.  Apparently there have been numerous cases of vehicles careering into Rock House Lane at reckless speed from the Teignmouth Rd (from Torquay side) and several near misses.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Parasol time ...

.. at Headlands, Brim Hill this afternoon.


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.


Eerily shrouded in mist, two of the lower chalets of 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

Search This Website




Blogging Fusion Blog Directory



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.


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



After scrutiny by a panel, this site has been added as a reputable source of information about Maidencombe.


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.


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 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.


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

From myfoxesandbadgers site


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.


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.


Some of the features we will be mentioning:



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.