William of Orange Statue – Brixham


I don’t know if you’ll find this interesting or not, but today I learnt a snippet of information about the statue of Prince William of Orange (William III of England) on the harbour side in Brixham. It’s not the usual historical stuff about his landing with an armada + army to eventually claim the crown of England, which is well documented on various web-sites I’ve seen, no this bit of info is rather more about the monument itself (erected 1889).





Firstly, to document where the following info’ comes from; well its a little less than first-hand, not even second-hand, and it probably wouldn’t stand up to cross examining in a court of law … but please bear with me :-

I work with a colleague, who has a friend, who’s Mother was born near to, and in later years had a 2nd home in Brixham as well as her main home up here in Warwickshire (Royal Leamington Spa as it happens, just to keep a very tenuous link to the monarchy). Well, my workmate used to visit his friend’s mother’s home in Brixham when he was a child …. still with me ? …. good, ’cause I think I’m still just about keeping tracks of this as I write.

Well, it seems the lads of Brixham in the previous generation to my workmates-friends-mother (or it could have been 2-generations before her) used to use the statue of our esteemed monarch as target practice, throwing stones at the quite frankly pretty large stationary object … It couldn’t have been hard to hit! … However, one such throw must have been particularly accurate, as it hit and removed William’s nose and to this day the statue stands noseless !  …. He was rendered rather squat featured, even ugly, just proving that vandalism isn’t anything new !

I wonder if the culprit was ever apprehended and brought to book. Could he have been charged with treason for defacing (or should that be de-nosing) a former King of England? 

Unfortunately, the two pic’s I took don’t really show his face very well, but if you’re in Brixham take a look [ However, I found an image on flickr (above) that shows this perfectly! (thanks to DaveJG (offline)’s photostream)] …. it’s only an anecdotal piece of history, but almost as interesting as the traditional history that Brixham is justly proud of.

A slightly silly post, but what the hey ….

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings.


20090405_Afternoon Walk onto Berry Head

20090405_Afternoon Walk onto Berry Head

When : 5th April 2009

Who : Me and my family

Where : Brixham, Devon, England

Map Used : OS 1:25,000 Pathfinder Series sheet SX85/95 (quite old now)

Start + End Point : 927,563

Approx Distance : around about 3 miles (5 km) or so.

Heights : Approx 200 ft (about 65 metres).

Parking : We were parked at our guest house (The Melville) ; There is parking in Brixham and a car park above Shoalstone Point off Berry Head Road, not far from The Berry Head Hotel which has it’s own car park ; Also, I’ve read there’s parking in the country park of Berry Head Common with a visitor centre (but we didn’t go there).

Summary : Really a bit of a stroll rather than a proper walk … including: Brixham Harbour, Lifeboat Station,  Breakwater Beach, Berry Head Hotel (and a cream tea), through the woods to Berry Head Fort, Return the same way.

Following our relaxing morning in Brixham (see earlier diary post) doing pretty much nothing, we decided to take a walk up onto Berry Head. This promontory is a national nature reserve, has a couple of Napoleonic Forts, and marks the southern boundary of Torbay, giving super views out over the sea.


The walk was quite straight forward really, starting off by skirting around the harbour. Where Katie and I bought a couple of tubs of prawns to eat on our way, a particularly traditional thing to do by the seaside, with a little vinegar and a sprinkling of black pepper, eaten with a cocktail stick – scrummy. 

We then passed by a new, modern looking, development of apartments, past the lifeboat and marina, and the start of the breakwater wall to reach the very small Breakwater Beach.

The beach was extremely busy : kids skimming stones, dogs splashing at the waters edge, but mainly and most unexpectedly scuba divers … well I think it was predominantly people learning to scuba, and we had to smile at the various shapes and sizes waddling about the beach in their wet-suits and flippers, lumping the obviously heavy breathing tanks about. Now, there are some people that look good in wet-suits (Halle-Berry or Angelina Jolie maybe come to mind or perhaps Pierce Brosnan for the ladies?) but there are others that, errrm … well … errrm … don’t look quite so good. I’m being unkind, I’m sure it’s great fun. I found a web-site detailing the diving, so if you’re interested :- http://www.divemagazine.co.uk/news/article.asp?uan=5126 

After some skimming of stones (away from the wet suited swimmers) and an explore of the rocks at the far end of the beach, we climbed the steep steps away from the shore to reach Berry Head Road, where we turned left heading away from the town.

The road eventually started to climb the headland, but not long after we turned off left to visit The Berry Head Hotel, (http://www.berryheadhotel.com/ ) where we found a table on the terrace overlooking the bay. A pint of excellent ale went down a treat, as did the cream teas we ordered for a late lunch. The view out over the sea reminded us of the time (a on a previous holiday), where we sat on a terrace in the sun, overlooking Lake Balaton from Tihany in Hungary. 

There was much hilarity as the hotel manager tried to teach a lady staff member how to first fix and then raise The Union Flag (or Union Jack if you prefer) on their flag pole on the terrace. It took him ages and during this time Justine and I joked that 50% of the time our national flag gets flown upside down. Well, you’ve guessed it … he’d got it wrong and no sooner had he stood back to admire the flag as it unfurled, then there was a chorus of disapproval from us and other guests on the terrace. Well it must have been ½ an hour later, with the manager, several members of the public, the lady staff member [and at one point the hotel chef], the flag was finally raised again, this time the right way up!, to warm but slightly ironic applause and a gentle cheer. Sometimes a walk is defined by the non-walking bits, and this was one such moment.

Eventually, we reluctantly dragged ourselves to our feet to move on. I could have quite easily bought another pint and stayed there all afternoon, but that wouldn’t have gotten us up onto Berry Head …. We rejoined the road to climb quite steeply for a short while, before branching off left to follow an obvious path through the woods, still climbing. Craig spotted some lovely clumps of wild cyclamen in flower just off the path peeping out from behind some trees. He paused briefly for a look and then was gone, running up the hill once again, as both he and Katie tried to find a suitable tree to climb (unsuccessfully as it happens).

The path eventually levelled out and led us to the entrance of a large Napoleonic fort with commanding and extensive views out to sea and along the coast.



One remarkable aspect of the view were about a dozen large tankers anchored out in the bay, all unmoving as if in a giant parking-lot for ocean going ships … They were there all week, and they made national news as it was reported they were full of oil being “held back” from the refineries so as to keep supply scarce and prices at the petrol pumps high! … How much truth there is to that I don’t know, but the cynical streak in me can well believe it!http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/7989760.stm

An explore of the fort saw the girls going off in one direction and us lads off in another, eventually meeting again near the fort’s entrance, the ramparts here looking back to Brixham over a large disused limestone quarry. Craig especially liked the replica canon’, pointing outwards through the massive stone walls in mock defence of the monument.


The route back was identical to the outward journey, except for a slightly different descent through the woods, and we didn’t reprise the visit to the hotel. It was all downhill to revisit Breakwater Beach. Justine and I sat on the pebbles whilst the kids collected shells; tried valiantly to skim stones and generally busied themselves as kids do next-the-sea.

One word of advice though, as both Justine and I found to our cost – The beach has spots of naturally occurring tar which has a habit of unerringly sticking to clothes – normally on the seat of the trousers. If you sit on the beach here, use the low concrete wall and not the pebbles themselves. Oh and another thing, (despite beach-info websites saying dogs are not allowed) the beach IS used by dogs and there were, to be polite, several calling cards left for the unwary to find …. Most unpleasant! …. Dog owners PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE clear up after your animals have fouled public places!!! To be less than polite, dog shit stinks and my family (especially my kids) should not have to walk around eyes glued to the ground to avoid the mess. Having said that, on a more positive note, the water here looked crystal clear and we all liked the patterns of light dancing about in the shallow waters.

After a quite short time, hastened by the doggy-do and tar on our clothes, we headed back to the harbour area where we admired the statue of William of Orange (with the obligatory sea-gull perched on his head).

The Statue marks his landing here in Brixham, with an army, to eventually take the crown of England – He became William III. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/william_iii.shtml

To end the day, we bought a selection of bread rolls, salad leaves, sausage rolls, salami, etc., from the local co-op store and sat on the harbour side benches (near our earlier crabbing spot) for an impromptu healthy looking picnic as the sun dropped and early evening drew in. Eating our salad I‘m not sure if we felt superior-to or envious-of our fellow holiday-makers sitting near us, turning up as they were with packets of fish and chips. We did a bit of people watching as we ate, as the last of the Torbay shuttle ferry boats came and went.

The local sea-gulls, opportunistic as they are, were raiding the rubbish bin twenty feet or so away, desperately searching for fish and chip left-overs, where people’s wrappers were being discarded …. And that was the first full day of our holidays gone.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next walk = 20090406_Morning Walk into Shaldon

20090405_A Morning by Brixham Harbour

20090405_A Morning by Brixham Harbour

When : 5th April 2009

Who : Me and my family

Where : Brixham, Devon, England

Parking : We were parked at our guest house (The Melville) but there is parking in Brixham

Summary : A relaxing few hours, mainly crabbing or taking photos.

I know this post isn’t describing a walk; so what’s it’s doing in my walks diary? you could legitimately ask …. Well, good question, but first and foremost, and in the nicest possible way, “it’s my blog and I’ve just changed the rules for a moment, so please bear with me”.


Following my very early dawn walk with Craig (see earlier diary post), and a hearty breakfast, we all walked back down to the harbour in Brixham, leaving the car (parked prettily), in front of the guest house. Whilst walking down the pedestrianised shopping street, I picked up a packet of bacon from one of the small supermarkets, whilst the rest of my family went in search of a large sand-castle type of bucket (without the spade) and some crabbing lines; “watch out crabs, here we come” was basically the plan for the next few hours.

There-onwards the morning was spent at the far end of one of the inner harbour walls perching ourselves on a set of broad steps down to the water, kind of mid-way between the inner harbour and the marina, and backing onto where the fishing boats off-load their catch.

The tide was on the rise, perfect for crabbing. Once set up, Justine and the kids settled down to catch as many as they could ….

I say catch, but really the crabs just let themselves be hauled out of the water, they haven’t got the sense to just let go of the chunky bacon tit-bits attached to the hooks, their hunger obviously over-riding any fear of being caught (and I suppose potentially eaten). 

Well, crabbings not really my thing and I soon got a bit bored, but the kids love it; the crabs don’t really come to any harm; and they get a free meal along the way.

I stayed fairly close to lend a hand with picking up the crabs for a closer look (I am a brave Daddy!) or to help Justine untangle lines, etc. However, I did take myself off for a stroll around the immediate vicinity, to take some photo’s. 


The surrounding quayside, working and pleasure craft, the marina, lobster pots, etc., giving a host of potential subjects, and this my reader-friends is the point of this post … I so liked some of my pic’s, I thought I’d share them with a larger audience … Maybe a tad big-headed, but hey isn’t blogging about sharing thoughts and experiences and dare I say it, maybe showing off just a little?!

That’s about it really, except to say Brixham is a super place to be, especially if the sun’s shining and you’ve got the time to just relax, do pretty much nothing and enjoy the comings and goings of a proper, bustling, traditional fishing port that has managed to stay alive, and maybe (looking at the marina) prosper, even with the decline of the fishing industry.


Now, the afternoon became a bit more energetic, (just a bit), because we did go for a walk, well, stroll really onto Berry Head, and I’ll write a post for that next.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next walk = 20090405_Afternoon Walk onto Berry Head

Coventry War Memorial Park – Perimeter Distance

I’ve noticed quite a few times that people have found my blog posts by google-ing (or other such internet searches) by asking how far is it around the perimeter of Coventry’s War Memorial park …

Well I’m sorry that my previous posts didn’t have that info; …. but as it’s been asked several times now …. It’s 1.6 miles.


How do I know this?, ’cause I’ve just lifted the following little snippett of info’ from a .gov website …. I don’t feel I can argue what the city council has published, I imagine it’s as accurate as anyone’s gonna publish :-

“Approximately 48.5 hectares in size, the park consists of two distinct areas, the formal garden with the War Memorial and the sports facilities areas with playing fields, golf course, Splash ‘n’ Play Park and play areas. There is also a 1.6 mile circular footpath around the park.”


If you want more of this kind of formal information, the web-site I found where the above paragraph was taken from = http://www.coventry.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/environment/land-and-premises/parks-and-recreation/war-memorial-park/


If you just want to see what the park is like (in the spring), please go see my earlier post …. https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/20090304_coventry-war-memorial-park-walk/



If you want just pictures … then I can suggest the “Flickr” photo hosting website (it’s where I blog my pic’s from) then the following link should work just fine : http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=%22coventry%22+%22memorial+park%22

I hope that helps,

Oh, and if you want to visit my other walks diaries, please do so, you’re very welcome.

T.T.F.N, I hope you enjoy my scribblings, Gary.

20090405_A Before Breakfast Walk in Brixham

20090405_A Before Breakfast Walk in Brixham

When : 5th April 2009

Who : Me and Craig

Where : Brixham, Devon, England

Map Used : OS 1:25,000 Pathfinder Series sheet SX85/95 (quite old now)

Start + End Point : 917,558

Approx Distance : around about 2.5 miles (4 km) perhaps, (maybe a tad more?)

Heights : None

Parking : We were parked at our guest house (The Melville), but there is parking in Brixham

Summary : An early (very early!) walk around the harbour area in Brixham.

My little boy Craig had woken very early and as normal he was wide awake long before the rest of us would have even stirred …. We’ve kinda learnt how to cope with this at home, but it certainly didn’t bode well for a couple of hours in a family room with the four of us in fairly close proximity.

Anyway, I’d half planned for this very eventuality and had packed my camera in its bag ready for an early start. I’d read how good “the light” was just before sunrise especially by the coast … I think proper photographers (not me I’m afraid) call it the “magic hour” or the “golden hour”. Anyway, Craig and I dressed as quickly and as quietly as possible and we slipped out of the room promising to be back for breakfast, leaving the girls of the family to snooze a while longer and get up at their leisure.

Having tip-toed down the several flights of stairs, we surprised the owner of the B+B, by the front door. I’m sure he doesn’t get many guests up and about before sunrise in the normal course of things. ( http://www.themelville.co.uk/ )

Stepping out into the early morning air transported me back to some of my childhood holiday memories, of going down the paper shop for a newspaper with my Dad. Perhaps Craig will have the same feelings stored in the back of his memory banks to resurface some time in the future. There’s something special about the crisp chill in the morning air anywhere, but especially so by the seaside and even more so when you live almost as far from the coast as you can in England, as we do!

We quickly made the distance into the town, having walked the route the previous evening helped, knowing where to go. Just shy of the front I decided to nip into a newsagent’s, where I bought a paper for me and (after much deliberating over the one he wanted) a comic for Craig … I think we settled on “The Beano” eventually ….

We also picked up a couple of bottles of water for a drink as by now I was feeling my thirst needed a good quenching.

A few more steps brought us to the harbour side, very close to the statue of William of Orange. We turned left, passed the statue and then passed the replica of the Golden Hind and headed off down the quayside in front of the row of restaurants, shops and seafood stalls, eventually ending up on one of the inner harbour walls.


Looking out over the marina, the light was indeed quite beautiful as we watched the sun slowly lighten the sky from behind Berry Head. (Berry Head is the peninsula that protects Brixham from the prevailing south westerly weather).

I found the scene quite stunning, and Craig pointed out how he liked the trees silhouetted on top of the hill; quite observant for a seven year old I thought.

Turning around by 180 degrees, the early light lit up the bright colours of the fishing vessels in the harbour and the pastel painted walls of the houses above. I found it amazing how the vibrant colours contrasted with the almost monochrome scene when looking directly towards the sun rise.


There was hardly a whisper of breeze and the marina, sheltered behind the long breakwater, was like a millpond – lovely.

 Heading back towards the Golden Hind, I just couldn’t help but click away with my camera, although I’m technically not very proficient with my new DSLR, I tried hard to pick my subjects and compose what I hoped would be interesting shots, or at least hold it square and steady! ….



Can anyone tell me why images of lobster pots never quite seem to work very well? They ought to, given their locations, textures, colours, etc., etc., ….

Perhaps practice makes perfect, but I wanted to head off around the other side of the harbour, so we moved on leaving the crustacean traps behind for another time.

Upon reaching the western side of the harbour, the rising light levels made the town on the other side almost glow.

Although the tide was pretty low, there was enough water to give some super reflections. The whole scene was quite fantastic.


 Carrying on, we passed some posh new apartment blocks built in a modern style, quite nice but somehow they felt almost sterile when compared to the older traditional terraced houses perched on the slopes above the harbour. Perhaps the new will mellow and blend with age, but somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if they just start to look faded in time.

It didn’t take long to reach the lifeboat, the iconic shape and instantly recognisable blue & orange colours standing out against the multitude of predominately white modern yachts in the marina.




Soon after, we reached the landward end of the outer harbour breakwater. The small lighthouse in the distance beckoned us onto the almost 1-km long construction and Craig set of at the run … My word he’s got some energy for a little-un ….

We eventually reached the seaward end and the white washed lighthouse, where I took a couple of pic’s, and Craig turned around and promptly started running back towards land … I think he was competing against the half-a-dozen joggers using the wall in their training routine. Given the age and size difference, I think he gave a pretty good showing of himself.

Anyway, the raised pace wasn’t a bad thing, as time had flown by and we had to make tracks, back past the outer and inner harbours; through the town and back out to the guest house. We barely made it back in time for last call for breakfast …. I got a couple of glowering looks from my lovely wife and daughter, and one or two (probably deserved) pointed comments to-boot! … A pot of tea, cereals, juices and of course a traditional and hearty English breakfast went down a treat … We’d certainly worked up an appetite on our little expedition.

Following are a few web-links that I’ve found ; you might find them of interest :-





I hope you enjoyed my scribblings (and my pics) ….

Next walk = 20090405_An Afternoon Stroll onto Berry Head.

20090721_Brilliant ! – Going To The Lakes – Yippee

Brilliant! … I’ve just got off the ‘phone to Patterdale Youth Hostel …. Brilliant! …. Just booked myself and my sister Janet for a week-end of walking in Mid-September …. Brilliant! …. Something else to look forward to …. Brilliant! …. Now I’ve just gotta get fit enough to attempt Striding Edge/Helvellyn (weather permitting of course) ermm hard work, training walks, etc., … Yep that’s Brilliant too !

Oh, did I mention I think that’s … errr … Brilliant!