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A Scenic Route on Saturday


We awakened to a brilliant blue sky.  Not a cloud in sight.  No rain, not even drizzle or mist, but a splendid ceiling of endless blue.  It really was a sight for winter-tired eyes and I couldn’t wait to get up and get out.

I made needing some shopping in Wellswood an excuse.  Husband is happy to go out if there’s a reason and so sometimes I construct a non-essential small shopping list, nothing important but all useful.

So off we went, first to Wellswood.  I’ve taken photos as we went via what I call “the scenic route.”

First of all, down our hill to the main road to Torquay.  On the left (photo below) there is a high red sandstone wall built in the 1930s.  This is also close to where the town’s gas works used to be but the gas works was made obsolete when North Sea gas was piped ashore in the 1960s and coal gas was no longer the fuel that we used in the  UK.  The gas holders (called by many ‘gasometers’) were dismantled, and the area where they stood is now a pretty park.  (This area is known as Hollacombe, and it is the area in which my friend, Linda Mitchelmore’s novel, Christmas at Strand House, is set.)

The road rises slightly and turns to the left and from there you have a brief glimpse of Tor Bay.

The road goes gently downhill until it travels along the seafront …

On the extreme left here you can see the Livermead House Hotel, the the piece of land jutting out into the sea, with the red sandstone cliffs, is called Corbyn Head (but with nothing whatsoever to do with the current leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.)

The trees here were planted after Dutch Elm Disease did for the lovely elm trees on this headland (the headland is actually out of sight here, on the extreme right, but as I was taking the photos through the windscreen of our car while husband was driving, had I turned to the right I’d only have photographed husband’s head, not Corbyn Head!)

We were now approaching Torquay sea front.  A sharp left here and you’d first see Troquay’s Grand Hotel and then Torquay station (the railway station, but it’s correct to say simply “station”; any other station, such as a bus station, requires clarification but a railway station is just a station.  This is often described incorrectly on TV, another little bugbear of mine.)

If you continue along this road, as we did, then on the left you will pass Torre Abbey Meadow, where the fairground is in July and August.  In the middle distance you can see the Abbey Sands building, built 2014, and somewhat in the style of the ocean-going-liner buildings of the 1930s.

I purposely pointed the camera at the cliff face known as Rock Walk, on top of which are perched hotels and apartment buildings. Indeed, many former hotels have been re-configured as apartment buildings since the heyday of holidays in Torquay in the 1960s and 1970s (and, of course, in Victorian times when it was a very popular watering hole.) The building on the left is the Abbey Sands building, apartments above and, on the ground floor (that would be 1st floor in America, I think) restaurants.

There were far too many cars and buses along Torquay sea front to take decent photos (or even half-decent photos) but from the sea front, passing the department stores such as Hooper’s (the high-end shop in Torquay) and Debenham’s (not high-end), we turned right to go via Meadfoot to Wellswood, rather than continuing up the main road.  Here (above) on the left, are some smart 1980s’ town houses.

And as the road winds around to the left you have your first glimpse of the sea, with Thatcher Rock and, in the distance, the Ore Stone (some say Lode Stone,  I’m never really sure of its name).

The road then winds around Meadfoot Beach …

In the distance you can see the white apartment block, built in 1961, Kilmorie.

Here, a closer view of Kilmorie with, in the foreground, the car park where we sometimes take our sandwiches and coffee after shopping in Waitrose.

From here, the road winds around to the left, and goes to Wellswood (a small village area of Torquay with a parade of about 20 to 25 shops) via Ilsham Valley.

There is little sign of spring as yet in Ilsham Valley, but soon the bluebells will be in bloom along the verge between the grassy area and the road.

There are several pretty houses which overlook the grassy valley, many in the Tudorbethan style popular in the 1930s, such as this house on a bend in the road. We parked just up the road from here and then walked to the shops.  I only needed a few items, but I bought the Saturday paper and also a copy of Country Living magazine.  Then it was back to the car …


From Wellswood we drove via St Marychurch (above)  to the coast road towards Teignmouth.  The top photo above I took today and you can see the spire of the RC church and the tower of St Marychurch (C of E) from which the village gets its name.  The bottom photo shows St Marychurch in 1959 and, in the middle distance, is the Hampton Court Hotel which was demolished (such a shame!) and it is where there is now a Co-operative supermarket, not a very nice looking building.  That is what is known as ‘progress’.

The coast road is a very twisty-turny road, but a very pretty one, with glimpses of the sea on the left and the hills of Dartmoor on the right.

It wasn’t possible to take any photos of the sea because of high hedges, as I say you only get glimpses of the sea, but to our left we could see snow on Dartmoor.

You will notice the ‘yellow’ road on the map above. Starting at D, the Torquay Road, we drove down the hill into Shaldon and then over the Shaldon Bridge, then turned left to Bishopsteignton, the village where our younger son lives.  We had a cup of tea with him and daughter in law, and then made our way home.  From this road are views of the River Teign, but while one can see them from the car, the hedges are often too high for good photographs being taken from a moving car, but I did my best (I hasten to say husband was driving.)

Sheep in the late morning sunshine, with the River Teign in the distance.

I never tire of this view. The river up to here is tidal and I was fortunate today that instead of mud flats  – which are still beautiful in their way – the river glistened in the sunshine (there was snow on the tops of the hills.)

It wasn’t long after taking the photo of the River Teign that we arrived home, and the sunshine was pouring through the windows into our hall.  This is the little William Morris country chair that my mother bought for me to go with my desk when I was twelve.  It now has a material seat as the original cane seat had rotted.  The small Sutherland table – supposed to have been named for Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland (1806 to 1868) – belonged to my parents.  Sutherland tables first appeared (according to my researches) in a design catalogue in 1849.  A very narrow central section is flanked on either side by two wide side flaps.  This form meant that while it could be stored neatly against a wall, it opened out into a good-sized table.

Our sitting room was similarly filled with sunshine, and here you can just see (reflected in the mirror) the archway and, beyond it, the dining area which by way of contrast was much darker.

We then had baguettes filled with cheese for a late lunch, and I have been reading my magazine (with a break from that while our little grandson was here for an hour or two).  Then I took delivery of a book, something which I think will be interesting for when I’ve finished reading Blackberry and Wild Rose.


A new book and a new magazine, those will keep me amused while husband watches rugby on the TV!

The hyacinths (my 2nd lot of bulbs, bought a little over two weeks ago) are now in full bloom and scenting the kitchen with their lovely fragrance.

And now we’re in February, January is over, and the days are getting longer.  It is now 5.25pm and the street lights have yet to come one.  Regardless of the snow in many parts of the country, spring really will soon be here.  Wherever you are, I hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Until next time.

About Margaret

Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. Oh I love to be reminded of the Devon countryside (and seaside, of course). Only five months until I shall see it once again. We too have had some wonderful winter sunshine today. I can stand the cold, but miserable grey days are rather depressing. As it was such a bright, crisp day, I also took the scenic route. Meeting a friend for a canal-side lunch, I also decided to take the scenic route, using the narrow country lanes instead of the dual carriageway. Spring is on its way! I’m just about to read it the same book! We’ll compare notes.

    • Margaret

      So glad you enjoyed the virtual journey around the coast to Bishopsteignton, via Wellswood, Eloise! Yes, like you, if I’m well wrapped up I can stand the cold (mind you, not the minus temperatures and certainly not the cold of mid-west America!) but the grey days are so dispiriting. How lovely to have a canal-side lunch, that would’ve been lovely today. The same book? Country Living or the novel?

  2. Margaret, I’m surprised you don’t have people lined up at your front door for breakfast, lunch and dinner if they read your blog. The smells are wafting all through Devon!!!!! You do make Devon sound spectacular and it makes me want to put it on my bucket list of places to visit. You should get discounts at all the restaurants from your promotion of the place you love. Good job! L

    • Margaret

      Oh, that I had a discount in such places, but sadly not! Seriously, it’s just fun to write my blog. I used to write for magazines, I’ve always loved writing but now my writing ‘outlet’ so to speak is my blog, and I write about the things that I like and which I hope will interest readers. As far as cooking is concerned, my cooking is pretty basic, but I concentrate on good quality food with good flavour. Even a simple carrot soup can be a feast if prepared with gorgeous fresh organic carrots, onions stock and a dash of cream. We don’t need a lot of faffy ingredients. When I read them in magazines I question why there are so many ingredients, because when there are too many, the flavours of each are masked. So my food is very easy but usually tastes good.

  3. So lovely to have a scenic tour of Torquay Margaret, thank you. I love to see your beautiful home too.

    • Margaret

      Thank you, Julie. I enjoyed the drive from home to Torquay, then to Wellswood for a spot of shopping (only basic things like yoghurt, bread, and a cauliflower to replace the one with which I’d made cauliflower & blue cheese soup during the week) and on to Bishopsteignton, a lovely little village on the slopes of the hills overlooking the River Teign.

  4. So lovely to have a scenic tour of Torquay Margaret, thank you . I love to see your beautiful home too.

  5. All your posts are refreshing and fun to read, Margaret. Like Frank Kennedy said to Scarlet in Gone With The Wind, “You act just like a tonic on me!”. And regarding your food posts, I was thinking yesterday as I read about all your soups, scones, etc., that I wished I could eat at your house every day!! Also, being inspired, I have got to get out and treat myself to: a manicure, some new lingerie, a new magazine, and some flowers for sure. All such lovely and uplifting little luxuries.

    • Margaret

      Thank you, Kay, I’m so glad you find my blog a fun read. Ooh, that’s great, to be like a tonic! As I’ve said to Lucy Woelbern, my cooking is really simple stuff, indeed a bright 10 year old could do it. Indeed, I learned much of my cooking from my mother in the days long before we had ‘convenience’ food. But my goodness, I should be in advertising if I’ve inspired you to have those new things – a manicure, new lingerie, flowers and a new magazine! But they are the small luxuries that I try to make sure I can afford by cutting corners elsewhere, such as not overspending in other directions.

  6. Margaret, have you ever known anyone who lived at the Kilmorie? Or have you ever been inside to see the views? It reminds me of a hotel I saw in Bermuda when I visited that was perched on a hill just like that. The hotel was the sight of a Doris Day and Cary Grant 1960’s film, A Touch of Mink.

    • Margaret

      No, I have never been inside Kilmorie, but I have a print out of the original brochure (from 1961) which an estate agent gave me when I was researching a feature a few years ago on iconic buildings in Torbay. It shows the 2160 sq ft (I presume the largest) apartment and my goodness, it must’ve looked sumptuous in those days, even today it is extremely spacious with a lounge/dining room some 35ft by 17ft 6″ overlooking the sea. I don’t think today such a building would be permissible in this area of outstanding natural beauty, but I actually like this 1960s block of flats (we refer to them as flats rather than apartments, although the word ‘apartment’ is being used more now) facing out to sea rather like a ship waiting for the tide.

  7. Hi. Love the description of that journey. You write so we can almost feel we are with you. I have only been to Torquay and paington once years ago. Thanks.

    • Margaret

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed the virtual journey from Paignton to Torquay, Lillian. It’s one I never tire of although I’ve lived in the Bay since I was a child.

  8. I am intrigued by your handsome stone fireplace – I have never seen one like it and I am wondering if it is a local Devon style? You certainly make it look lovely with changing displays.

    • Margaret

      We love our fireplace, too, Margaret. When our house was being built, the builder was putting in ‘crazy paving’ style fireplaces, and although we liked the property we didn’t like that style of rustic looking fireplace and so we asked if we might have a Minsterstone fireplace installed instead (at our own expense, of course.) We had seen these fireplaces in recently-built Bovis homes locally and really liked them. Anyway, we drove to the works of Minsterstone, in Somerset, and decided to have such a fireplace and ordered it then and there. It was expensive, even 33 years ago, but we’ve never regretted it. We do have a proper chimney (not just a flue) and so could have a ‘proper’ fire should we want one, but we have a living flame gas five in the grate instead, which is cleaner and instant. A year or two ago this fireplace was still available from Minsterstone, but I’ve recently looked at their catalogue online and I no longer see it there, but they do have some lovely fireplaces, all made of stone. WE have never regretted choosing this fireplace instead of one of ‘crazy paving’.

  9. I enjoyed that drive with you and Mr P. Thank you v much. I love ‘going on tour’ from the comfort of my couch – no passport, no queuing, no vaccinations, no jet lag ! Your part of the world is very pretty indeed. I especially like the tudorbethan (?) style house you included in one of the photographs….. We had some lovely rain showers yesterday morning. It was very exciting, not having seen rain for what seems an eternity. I even scrambled through the back of the car to find my brolly when we went for a walk. I didn’t really need it but I was like a kid with something new – as this brolly is bright blue with white polka dots and full-length, not a collapsible type which is what I carry in my handbag. So thru the light drizzle we strolled, me with my bright blue brolly resting on my shoulder and occasionally jumping in the shallow puddles. The drizzle didn’t last long, maybe 30 minutes but was lovely all the same 🌈☔️ I thought I’d splash out and insert some emoticons there xxx

    • Margaret

      Oh, I love those little emoticons! I’ve never found out how to include them in my posts, but those are lovely! I keep saying I must get a ‘proper’ umbrella and not just rely on those little folding ones that go into my bag! They are very flimsy and often too small for the job anyway. I love the sound of yours, bright blue with polka dots, that would appeal to me, too!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the tour around the Bay. Yes, it’s a pretty area but of course, there are the rougher areas, poor housing and so forth, ugly parts but there’s no point in showing those on my blog – I think we can all imagine rougher, dirtier, downtrodden areas and it would be unkind to those living there to post photos demonstrating that those aren’t the places in which one would with to live. But after all the heat you have suffered recently, how lovely to have that cooling shower or rain – I’d be splashing in the puddles, too!

  10. I love those hyacinths and herbs growing in the blue pots. Blue being my favorite and herbs being another favorite. Did you grow the basil from seed in that pot or did you buy a plant at the store? I never tire of seeing pictures of your lovely area as you travel around. Looks like spring there, to me, as we have much snow. Snow is melting, though, as we’ve had above freezing temperatures for several days. It’s rather a wet, snowy, muddy mess around here.

    • Margaret

      The hyacinths have been very pretty, Jeannine, but they’re going over now and are all floppy, but still they scent the kitchen. No, I didn’t grow the basil from seed – I buy pots of it in the supermarket. They are not rooted plants, but just sprigs of basil (or whatever other herbs they sell) pushed into the soil. They don’t last all that long, but i use them in various dishes, and then replace them, about once every three weeks. In summer I can sometimes get them to last longer, they begin to grow in the warmth of the sun on the windowsill.
      I’m sorry it’s still so cold with you. We missed having snow entirely, but last year snow came heavily in the first week of Marsh, so we’re not out of the woods yet!

  11. I really enjoyed the lovely ride with you from Paignton toTorquay. Such breathtaking views and vivid colours! I hope, someday I will be able to visit Devon. Thank you for showing us these beautiful landscapes of your part of the world ☺️

    • Margaret

      So glad you enjoyed the virtual tour of our immediate area, Kavitha. It is a pretty short journey even in winter. I am sure you would love Devon, although of course, in summer, the traffic is much heavier with all the tourists coming to our area, but we don’t mind too much – we like to share our good fortune in living here.

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