One of the joys of living in our area is that we are spoilt for choices when it comes to places where we might enjoy a walk, especially once the tourists (for the most part) have ceased arriving in the Bay for their summer holidays. I would say, though, that as the Bay is more or less dependent upon summer visitors, we welcome them, they bring much needed revenue into our towns and villages, but sometimes when the roads are crowded and parking is almost impossible, we do breathe a sigh of relief once September arrives, the children return to school, and we have the area to ourselves again.
A favourite walk is from Preston sea front (not Preston Lancashire, I might add, but Preston, Torbay) where, once a row of beach huts have been removed for the winter, parking is again permitted where they stood. At low tide there are rock pools to investigate or just the expanse of Torbay to admire.
This area is lovely both when the tide is in or out, or when calm or rough seas prevail.
When the sea is rough, this is a popular beach for surfers and body boarders and all manner of water sports.
And, of course, once the dog-ban-on-Torbay’s-beaches is lifted at the end of the summer season, this beach is very popular with dog walkers.
The promenade at Preston is only a few hundred yards long and then, when the tide is out, we are able to walk on the beach underneath the low cliff upon which is built the Redcliffe Hotel. This was once a gentleman’s residence and now, as with a lot of large historic houses, is an hotel.
Once past the Redcliffe Hotel, Paignton’s pier comes into view.John R PIke, a local historian says in his book on Paignton, that “The promenade pier was an essential part of the seaside holiday scene in the 19th century,” and Paignton’s historic pier opened in 1879.
The sea front has many kiosks from which to buy ices and snacks in summer, but obviously they are closed in the autumn and winter months. Not long after passing the pier the next landmark is the Shoreline Café. This was part of what was, in the early 1960s, the ‘beach side’ of the then Paignton Festival Theatre. Sadly, the building – purpose built as a theatre in which were held many wonderful orchestral concerts, seaside shows, and choral society events – closed some years ago and it is now a Vue multiplex cinema.)
Of course, this photo was taken in summer, but it’s a lovely place for hot chocolate on a cold autumn or winter’s day.
Leaving Shoreline café, we approach Paignton Harbour.
The colonnaded building on the right is the Paignton Club, a purpose-built club for gentlemen which opened in 1885, built in the classical style. Close by are some pretty thatched cottages before you walk under the carriageway of the Harbour Light restaurant and the harbour is in view.
Along this walk are markers which show how far people have walked, and the journey from Preston to the harbour and return to our car is approximately two miles. And all on the level. For more hilly walks, there are plenty of those in our very hilly county of Devon!