Out & About

33rd Annual Show

South Devon Fuchsia and Pelargonium Society 33rd Annual show at Furrough Cross United Reformed Church Hall, Babbacombe, Torquay on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th July 2011.

31st Annual Show

South Devon Fuchsia and Pelargonium Society 31st Annual show at Furrough Cross United Reformed Church Hall, Babbacombe, Torquay on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th July 2009.

Flower Festival

Furrough Cross United Reformed Church flower festival June 2009 plants and refreshments were available.

Scrumptious homemade cakes!


The one-day sales to encourage more recycling organised by Torbay Council in April and June 2009 at Torbay Leisure Centre were highly successful. Bay residents purchased large quantities of heavily discounted items such as water butts, compost bins, stands, caddies diverters etc. Re-usable cotton bags were handed out to help reduce the usage of plastic and polythene bags. Representative from West Country Wormy sold wormeries and gave advice on worms, nature’s natural recyclers.

Babbacombe Downs Flowerbeds

In May 2009 Greg, John, Mike, Pete, and John from Plandscape Contractors planted approximately eleven thousand plants on the Babbacombe Downs flowerbeds.


Plants for the bedding displays include: Geraniums, dandy, maverick orange, red, orchid and select mixed. Salvias rhea and Victoria blue. Marigolds perfection mixed and gold. Kochias, Verbena vernosa. Petunias express vein mixed and burgundy. Cannas green and purple leaf. Begonias nonstop mixed and red. Coleus black dragon, wizard mixed, and silver dust cinerias.

Open Views

Torbay Council contracted Hi-line Tree Contractors (Exeter) to reduce the amount of shrub, tree overgrowth and litter along approximately a 275 metre narrow strip of Babbacombe Downs cliff face. The work began on Monday 26th January 2009. This along with a long-term woodland management and re-opening a path to the beaches will once again open up the spectacular views from the downs.

An amazing amount of years of accumulated litter was uncovered as the work progressed.

Babbacombe Downs

Torbay Council and contractors refurbished the shelter on Babbacombe Downs during October 2008.

New cedar roof tiles and shelter repainted.

Annual Show 

South Devon Fuchsia and Pelargonium Society 30th Annual show at Furrough Cross United Reformed Church Hall, Babbacombe, Torquay on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July 2008. Contact and details see South Devon Fuchsia and Pelargonium Society article further down this page.

President -  Mr Tim Hext, Chairman -  Mr Fred Friend, Life President -  Mr Fred Friend.

Flower Festival

Simon Tonge from Paignton Zoo opened the Flower Festival held at Furrough Cross United Reformed Church Babbacombe 26th to 28th June 2008.

Bronto Skylift Hydraulic Platform

24th November 2007 Torbay fire brigade personal from White Watch on exercise with a Bronto Skylift Hydraulic Platform at the Chilcote Car Park next to the Millennium Copse (Green).

The twenty-four ton vehicle can be used both as a lifting platform and as a rescue staircase on various angles of sloping ground and can be operated up to wind force 6.

The hydraulic platform operates and extends to 32 metres (approx 100ft) vertically.

Downward to a maximum of 5 metres (approx 15 ft) below the parked vehicle level.

 A Talk About Climate Change

The National Council for Conservation of Plants & Gardens Devon Group organised a talk by Peter Gibbs the well known BBC Weather Forecaster, and Chairman of Radio 4's 'Gardeners Question Time'.

His presentation entitled Climate Change and Your Garden - Disaster or Opportunity? was held on Saturday 17th November 2007 at The Rivera Centre Torquay.

St Marychurch & District Community Partnership

The twelve Community Partnerships within Torbay are open to everyone. The opportunity to ensure the democratic participation from all sectors within the Torbay and enables local people to voice concerns on local community issues. The future of the bay is the responsibility of all of us for the benefit of all. If you are interested in St Marychurch, Babbacombe, Plainmoor and Maidencombe, why not join. Contacts and details see: Links & Constitution page.

Torbay's Crime Reduction Team: Police, PCSO's, Neighbourhood Beat Officers and the Community Partnership stand at the road show held outside Sainsbury's Torquay store at the Willows on November 3rd 2007.

HMS Bounty in Torbay 

The replica of the HMS Bounty on its world tour drew crowds of visitors during the two days whilst berthed at Princess Pier in Torquay in August 2007. A unique opportunity to tread the planks of the upper and lower decks and experience the living and working conditions 200 years ago. Perhaps it may have stirred memories of boyhood pirate games. The Bounty on a voyage similar to Captain Bligh’s in October 1788 and will arrive in Tahiti for the 220th anniversary in 2008.

In days gone by plant collectors journeyed the world seeking out native plants to bring back to this country. Some of these expeditions were undertaken in ships similar to the Bounty. Many of our parks and gardens are enriched by specimens of plants and seeds introduced by those plant collectors.

Through the efforts of horticultural entrepreneurs past and present we are able to propagate, cultivate and enjoy the fruits of their work. The United Kingdom is well known for its ‘Bounty’ of keen gardeners.

HMS Bounty website Logon: http://www.tallshipbounty.org/index.php

South Devon Fuchsia and Pelargonium Society

Meetings are held at St. Martins Church Hall, Barton Hill Road, Torquay. On the first Monday of each month (except when it falls on a Bank Holiday, then meetings are held the following Monday). Entry: Members £1.00 Guest Speaker Nights £2.00 Non Members an additional 50p. Guest speakers, plant advice, all are welcome to come along to this friendly society. Contact: Show Secretary Mr R Cook Mobile No 07903185490 ( Please avoid phoning on Sundays where possible).

A Brief History of the society.

The society was formed in 1978, through the persistence and hard work of Joan Cooper, who recruited Fred Friend, the late Fred Collett and the late Fred Whitemore as Founder Members. Sadly in December 2005 aged 94, founder member of our society and renowned grower of pillars Fred Collett passed away.

Meetings were held in the Moose Hall, Barewell Road on the first Monday of each month. Since 2005 we hold the meetings at St. Martins Hall, Barton Hill Road Torquay, however the day of the meetings remains unaltered. The Society was originally named The South Devon Fuchsia Society, but because of the popularity of Pelargoniums amongst members, these were included and the South Devon Fuchsia and Pelargonium Society were established. Its aim to pass on and further the knowledge in Fuchsia and Pelargonium cultivation.

Fred Friend was elected the first President of the Society, followed by the late Joan Cooper, Fred Collett and Rene Snell. Our present president is Mr Tim Hext, who has been a dedicated member of the society for the last 27 years, which includes 4 years as Chairman and 3 years as Show Secretary. He has an honorary membership to the society, in appreciation of his services to the club.

The first annual show was held in the Moose Hall in 1979, moving to St. Marychurch Town Hall in 1982 and to the Spanish Barn on Torre Abbey in 1992. It remained at this venue and went from strength to strength under the chairmanship of Mr Ray Pratt. Unfortunately in 2004 Ray could no longer continue as an active member of the club due to illness, though he remains one of our most honorary of members. The Belgrave Hotel was the location for the 2005 and 2006 Annual Show.

The aims of our society remain unchanged and this is reflected in the wonderful displays that grace the annual show. Originated by Fred Collett large pillars are still entered, as well as huge standards, magnificent baskets, wide spread fans and many more pot grown plants, all creating a multicoloured extravaganza!

The Society welcomes new members and those joining at our annual show enjoy 17 months of membership for the normal annual fee. Text.article courtesy The South Devon Fuchsia & Pelargonium Society.

Photographs: the annual show on July 14th/15th 2007 at Furrough Cross United Reformed Church Hall, Babbacombe.

Views of the Area

St Marychurch & War Memorial photograph courtesy Mr J Vowden

St Marychurch Town Hall inquest of Emma Keyes held in 1884. Sold in 2005 now private flats and business premises

Church of our Lady Help of Christians and St Dennis

Fore Street St Marychurch

Babbacombe Cliff Railway from Petitor

Babbacombe Pier from the slopes

Babbacombe Beach from Petitor

The Knoll Petitor whats underneath

Crown & Septre St Marychurch ( Camara listed since 1976 )

Kitsons Memorial St Marychurch

Foxland Walk St Marychurch

St Marychurch Precinct Social Centre

Babbacombe Bay from the Downs

Babbacombe Cliff Railway

Oddicombe Beach

Babbacombe Downs

View of Dorset coast from Petitor

Oddicombe Beach

Village Green Coombe Pafford

Ansteys Cove

View of St Marychurch from King George V playing fields

St Marychurch from Great Hill Road

View from Great Hil Vista

Valley of the Rocks Watcombe

Big tree Brunel Woods

View from Great Hill

Cary Park Babbacombe

Rural scene

Local Information

Many have been enchanted, visited and resided in St Marychurch & Babbacombe including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, The Prince of Wales, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Barret Browning, William Blake, Sean O'Casey, Baroness Georgina Mount Temple plus many more. Her description of Babbacombe in her 1846 journal Queen Victoria wrote: It is a beautiful spot, which before we had only passed at a distance. Red cliffs and rocks with wooded hills like Italy, and reminding one of a ballet or play where nymphs appear, such rocks and grottoes, with deepest sea on which there was no ripple'

The bracing sea air, mild climate, palm trees, walks, attractions, restaurants and hotels welcome visitors to this fabulous area. Walk down to the beaches via either Babbacombe Beach Road or the pathways (Babbacombe Slopes) part of the South-West Coastal Path. The path winds its way through scenic woodlands to the beaches.

St Marychurch Precinct Social Centre (opened in 1996), Model Village (opened in 1966) and Bygones museum (opened 1987 ) well worth visiting. Tessier Gardens (awarded a Green Flag in 2007/08) just off the Babbacombe Road maintained by Torbay Council a haven of peace and tranquility. Babbacombe Theatre (opened in 1939) located at the far end of the Downs where visitors can enjoy the summer shows. Bruce Forsyth, Jimmy Tarbuck, Roy Hudd, Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball a few who have entertained audiences in the past.

One of only sixteen funicular railways functioning in the United Kingdom Babbacombe Cliff Railway is run and operated by Torbay Council. Contact: Telephone 01803-207960. Believed to be one of only two, both unique in design and still operational. Regular safety test are carried out to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers.  Opening times 9.30am to 5.00pm summer season (closed winter months).  Last up journey signaled by the ringing of a ships bell 30 minutes before railway closes. Station manager 01803-328750. Renovation completed new carriages, motor and track overhauled.

Two beaches form picturesque Babbacombe Bay (Lyme Bay) part of the 22 miles of the English Rivera coastline. Oddicombe a Blue Flag beach to the North sand, shingle and rock. Babbacombe beach further to the south access to both is via a walkway.

Babbacombe & Oddicombe Beaches facilities available, toilets, first aid, public telephones, deckchair hire, cafe and ice cream. Beach huts for hire daily, weekly or seasonal. Oddicombe Beach the base of the Corinthian Yacht Club (founded in 1935). Babbacombe Beach one of the most popular areas in the region for diver training and a well known scuba diving venue. Home of Babbacombe Sea Anglers Association (formed in 1967). Sea fishing popular, mackerel, pouting, garfish, pollack and bass if casting from Babbacombe pier and or Oddicombe beach (best fishing times night and at high tide . Note: Dogs not allowed on certain beaches May to September.

Georgina Baroness Mount-Temple

Lady Mount-Temple sister of Lord Tollemache of Helmington a great humanitarian whose interest included the Band of Mercy founded by Lord Mount-Temple, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Anti-Vivisection Society and the Temperance Movement.

She resided at Babbacombe Cliff later re-named Babbacombe Cliff Hotel (now converted into flats ) during various periods of the year until 1894 she became a permanent resident. Fed birds from the veranda at the front of her residence, interested in the protection of wild birds. Died on October 17th 1901.

On the northern end of Babbacombe Downs is a bronze statue erected by her friends in her memory (sculpture Mr A. G. Walker). In the presence of the Mayor Cllr Mr J Taylor unveiled by her great friend Archdeacon Basil Wilberforce on a wet and stormy day in October 9th 1903.

The basin and the pedestal of the fountain on which it stands are of a greenish black basalt from Trusham in the Teign Valley, the pedestal stands on a base of grey Ashburton marble from H. Jenkins & Son Union Street (business ceased trading).

John Babbacombe Lee

In 1884 at a beach house called 'The Glen' (now site of a car park) its resident Miss Emma Keyes was murdered by John Lee. One of the most notorious crimes of the late nineteenth century which became world famous see: Glen Sannox page.  Comprehensive website on this event by UK historian Ian Waugh logon to: www.murderresearch.com/

A Winter's Bay in 2005

Glen Sannox Project Babbacombe

View from Babbacombe Downs

Babbacombe Downs

St Marychurch

St Marychurch churchyard

Millennium Green

St MarychurchBypass

Millennium Green and car park

War Memorial St Marychurch

Babbacombe Cliff Railway

Baroness Temple Statue

View of Babbacombe Bay

Old Local Pictures

St Marychurch Late 1890's

Hampton House 1917 ( WWI New Zealanders discharge depot )

'Duchess of Devonshire' leaving Oddicombe beach 1913

Cary Arms Babbacombe 1890's

Golf Link St Marychurch 1930's

Babbacombe Downs 1905

Oddicombe Beach from Babbacombe Downs 1890's

Crow's Nest Babbacombe early 20th century

Cary Park Babbacombe 1907

Babbacombe Beach 1890's

Babbacombe Beach 1860's

Babbacombe Downs 1890's

Babbacombe Slopes 1900

Ansteys Cove 

Giant Rock Watcombe

Watcombe Glen 1905

Old Petitor Rock

St Marychurch lych gate

Watcombe Path

Old Picture of Babbacombe Beach.

Old Picture of Oddicombe Beach.