Cockington Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by EasyMalc
  • Things to Do
    by EasyMalc
  • Things to Do
    by EasyMalc

Most Recent Things to Do in Cockington

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    A Walk around the Lakes

    by EasyMalc Updated Jun 4, 2014

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    This short walk from the village is suitable for families and wheelchairs and has only a steady incline, so shouldn’t be too difficult for people with mobility problems.
    Start at the Old Forge and walk down Cockington Lane past Rose Cottage Tea Gardens as though you’re heading towards the sea front.
    On the right hand side you’ll see Cockington’s only hotel - Lanscombe House. This former Dowager’s House was re-built in 1881 after a fire destroyed the former tannery that existed here.
    Look out for a turning on the right just past the hotel and take the lane up under the Lower Lodge. This entrance to the park was built so that the Lord and Lady of the Manor could have access to and from Cockington Court without the villagers knowledge.
    On the other side of the gateway you’ll come to the first of three lakes. They’ve been here a long time and they need some attention to bring them back to their former glory. Thankfully they’re included in the restoration plans, but in the meantime just take care as you walk around them.
    They were originally conceived by the monks of Torre Abbey when they took over the lease of Cockington in 1196, and used purely for stocking them with carp for the monks to eat.
    After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the lakes were used, amongst other things, to soak cattle hides for use in the tannery at Lanscombe.
    In the mid 17th cent the Mallocks started to smarten the area up by turning the lakes into ornamental ponds and re-stocking them with carp once again. Surrounding the lakes you will see how they also planted many fine trees and shrubs. Some of these have become overgrown and invasive and part of the restoration will include some thinning out and replanting. The lakes themselves will be used in three different ways. The top lake will be used to catch the sediment that runs off of the fields, the middle lake will become an environmentally sensitive area to encourage dragonflies, frogs and other pond life, and the bottom lake will be used for the carp (and no doubt ducks and waterfowl).
    After winding your way up to the top lake make sure that you check out the Gamekeeper’s Cottage. This is another building that will be restored if everything goes according to plan. Originally there was a warren nearby and this was the Warrener’s cottage, but by the early 19th cent pheasant shooting became a popular pastime, and the cottage was occupied by the gamekeeper. The timber latticework on the edge of the cottage is where the game was hung to dry, and it wouldn’t have just been pheasant but pigeon, duck and rabbits etc. The last gamekeeper left the cottage in 1936.
    If you head on up past the cottage it will take you into Manscombe Woods, but instead, return to the path that will take you away from the woods and under the Old Totnes Rd. This will bring you to the carriageway junction where there is an old apple pound. Traditionally horses were used to transport a stone around the trough to crush the apples that were turned into cider - an important ingredient for the Devon farm labourer.
    Turning right at the apple pound brings you to Higher Lodge, the original entrance to the court. Walking through the gate will bring you onto the Old Totnes Rd where, by turning left, will bring you back into the centre of the village.

    Lower Lodge Gamekeeper's Cottage Apple Pound Higher Lodge
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    The Arboretum

    by EasyMalc Written Jun 2, 2014

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    The Arboretum is one of my favourite areas of Cockington.
    The trees are magnificent, there’s plenty of space, and no matter how many people are around, you can always find a quiet corner.
    From the Higher Lodge the Carriage Drive leads past the apple pound to ‘The Avenue’, which takes its name from the avenue of 42 Lime trees, planted here as recently as 1951, and it’s the Lime tree that has become the emblem of the Cockington Green Heart Appeal.
    Up on your left hand side is the Arboretum, planted with specimen trees from all corners of the globe. The oldest is a Sweet Chestnut (near to the church) dating back some 400 years and one of the oldest in Torbay.
    I have to confess that I’m no expert on trees but you don’t need to be to just enjoy this lovely part of the country park.
    Every year the elements take its toll on some of these beautiful trees, and this last year was no exception, but something tells me that as the years roll on other trees will be planted to keep the Arboretum a special part of Cockington.
    I sincerely hope so.

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    Cockington Court

    by EasyMalc Written Jun 1, 2014

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    I think it would be fair to say that after arriving at the village the next place visitors aim for is Cockington Court.
    With Cockington’s history stretching back a thousand years and a dwelling here for most of that time, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Court would be a showcase of its rich history - but you’d be wrong.
    Cockington Court and its surrounding area is run by the Torbay Development Agency, a commercial arm of Torbay Council, so this will give you a clue on what to expect.
    As regards the history of the court, the building would have been of wooden construction back in Saxon times and converted into local stone by the de Cockingtons.
    It was the Mallock family that next changed the appearance of the Court, and what we see today externally stems from 1820. It would have also been around this time that several buildings, including the almshouses, were demolished to open out the vista across the cricket pitch and parkland.
    Agatha Christie knew the Mallock family and came here regularly. One of her books - ‘Why didn’t they ask Evans?’, published in 1934, was dedicated to Christopher Mallock.
    Today, the main court building has a mixture of uses.
    On the ground floor there are Tea Rooms and the Kitchen Gallery, an art gallery which shows work from both local and international artists.
    Cockington is a popular place to have a wedding, and the Registry Office is situated on the first floor, but apart from
    an Interpretation Room which gives a run-down on the history of Cockington, there’s not a lot more for the enquiring mind to see here.
    I’ve heard it said that the building could have been put to better use - and I don’t think I could disagree with that sentiment to be honest.

    Registry Office The View from the Court The Tudor Rose Garden
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    Cockington Church

    by EasyMalc Updated May 30, 2014

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    Cockington’s Church, dedicated to St. George and St. Mary, has been here since the 11th cent.
    Initially it would have been a chapel for the Lords of the Manor but in 1203 the monks of Torre Abbey leased the chapel and its lands and kept them until 1539.
    The oldest part of this Grade I listed building is the tower which was built in the first half of the 13th cent, but the main structure is largely 14th and 15th cent.
    The church’s association with the three main Cockington families can be seen with memorials to the Mallock family and the Cary vault. The Font, dating from 1485 and made of Caen stone, has an octagonal shape with each face showing a shield of one of the families that the Carys married into.
    There’s also a fine rood screen and an unusual pulpit. This pulpit is not adorned with the usual Christian emblems but roughly carved with images of rams horns, anchor chains and fish scales. Legend has it that it came from the Spanish Galleon, the Nuestra Senora del Rosario, which was captured and brought into Torbay. Nobody knows for sure what its original purpose was for.
    It’s one of the loveliest churches in Torbay, and its setting makes it a place not to miss if you come to Cockington.

    The Pulpit The Font
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    Visitor Centre

    by EasyMalc Written May 12, 2014

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    In the centre of the village an arch with a thatched roof leads into the country park.
    Just inside the entrance up on the right hand side, is a hut which is, for the time being at least, the Visitor Centre.
    Between the entrance and the hut is an early 19th cent Grade II listed building known as the Linhay. This building is in urgent need of repair, but there is some good news. It’s included in the restoration plans, and when restored will become the new Visitor Centre.
    A Linhay (or Linny) traditionally had an open front with two levels - the lower to store wagons, and the upper one for hay. The one here though housed animals which is why the supporting pillars are circular to help prevent injury.
    The temporary Visitor Centre is manned when volunteers are available, so you may not always find it open. If you do though, you will find some enthusiastic people who are passionate about Cockington and will tell you everything you want to know about the village, country park and restoration plans.

    The Linhay
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    Cockington Village

    by EasyMalc Updated Apr 27, 2014

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    Many first time visitors to Cockington are confused when they arrive because at first sight there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot here. It’s only afterwards that they begin to realise that there’s more to Cockington than just the village.
    It has to be said though that the village centre is indeed very tiny with just a few gift shops and a couple of tea shops clustered around its centre. What it lacks in size though it more than makes up for in charm.
    This was the centre point of the original Saxon farmsteads, and the roads to Torre, Paignton, Marldon and Totnes all converged here (there was no coast road until 1840). Horses were the main means of transport and The 14th cent Forge, which still stands today, would no doubt have done a brisk trade for many years keeping the horses well shod.
    The Old Schoolhouse, which today is a gift shop, is even older than the Forge. Originally built in the 12th cent, it started life as a Devon Longhouse, which meant that the inhabitants had the dubious honour of sharing their accommodation with their livestock.
    The biggest influence on this part of Cockington back then though would have been Home Farm, which only finished as a working farm in1939. Weavers Cottage Tea Shoppe, next door to The Granary Gift shop was the farmhouse, and all these buildings would have overlooked a pond in front of the Forge.
    Rose Cottage, the other building around the village centre, was where the blacksmith of the Forge lived, before it became a village store and post office in Victorian days. Today it has a popular tea garden.

    The Granary Giftshop and Village Centre Weavers Cottage Tea Shoppe The Old Schoolhouse Rose Cottage Tea Gardens
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    Take A Walk In The Countryside

    by johngayton Updated Sep 6, 2013

    Walking south or east from Cockington returns you to the urban sprawl of Torquay but taking any other direction leads you into the lush rolling rural landscapes of this part of South Devon.

    There are several circular walks within the immediate area and for walks further afield (so to speak) the relevant OS map is the Explorer 110 - Torquay and Dawlish which yields all sorts of possibilites (and of course the OS maps at this scale show all the pubs!).

    Footpath Heading North
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    And Finally, The Pub!!

    by johngayton Written Apr 18, 2012

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    The village's pub, The Drum Inn, is one of the more recent buildings, having been constructed in 1936 after the aquisition of the estate by Torquay Council. The pub, and its extensive gardens, were designed by the renowned British architect Edwin Lutyens as part of the council's attempt to create a "model village".

    It is, architecturally, an impressive edifice but as a pub leaves me unimpressed. I suppose it is intended to serve the summer masses rather than being a village local; and being run by a major National pubco doesn't endear me to it either.

    Nice building though!

    Impressive Edifice Pedestrian Entrance From Main Road
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    The Almshouses

    by johngayton Written Apr 18, 2012

    The original row of almshouses was built around 1620 by the then Lord of the Manor, Sir George Cary, for occupation by "Aged and Deserving residents of Cockington and Chelston".

    The present row of seven cottages were rebuilt by the Mallock family around 1840 and are now individually privately owned.

    These are an archetypal set of English almshouses and being Grade II listed retain most of their external features from the 19th century reconstruction.

    Almshouses Rear Almshouses Front
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    The Stableyard Craft Centre

    by johngayton Written Apr 18, 2012

    Whilst there's the hideously inconconguous modern Seachange Art and Craft Centre which is, to my mind, a total eyesore there's also the Stableyard Craft Centre which is much more in keeping with the rest of the estate.

    The 17th century stables have been converted into artisan workshops where visitors can watch demonstrations such as glass-blowing, leatherworking, ceramics and the internationally-renowned Cockington Rocking Horse makers.

    Observing is free and if you want to buy anything they'll be more than happy to part you from your cash!

    Stableyard Craft Centre
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    The Organic Kitchen Garden

    by johngayton Written Apr 18, 2012

    In the manor's heyday its kitchen garden would have made the house's kitchens pretty much self-sufficient for seasonal fruit and vegetables.

    The garden is now set up as a learning resource focusing on educating people about how to grow crops using purely organic techniques without the use of artificial fertilisers or pesticides. There is a full-time gardener who works year-round with volunteer and trainee assistants and anyone interested can contact the Coutryside Trust via the website below.

    However as pic #2 shows maybe winter isn't the best time of year to showcase the pesticidal methods involved, although, having said that, as an old gardener I worked with many years ago used to say: "You have to let nature take its course and the bugs deserve their little bit too."

    The Organic Kitchen Garden Letting Nature take Its Course
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    The Rose Garden

    by johngayton Written Apr 18, 2012

    In the grounds of Cockington Court you'll find this walled rose garden. Of course this visit was in winter and so the blooms were a bit thin on the ground but I can imagine the heady scents and vibrant colours during the summer.

    The rose garden doubles as a memorial garden where you can pay for roses to be planted in memory of loved ones and the fee includes planting and an engraved plaque. Plantings usually take place in Novemeber and details, including a link to the reservation form, are on the website below.

    A Few Winter Blooms
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    Cockington Court

    by johngayton Written Apr 4, 2012

    Cockington as a village was pretty much privately owned from Norman times until it was taken over by Torquay Borough Council in 1932. During this period the estate was owned by just three families and the manor house, now known as Cockington Court, was developed and redeveloped during this period.

    The oldest obvious extant part of the building is the Tudor southwest wing, built under the Cary stewardship, which is dated 1577 but the manor had been on the site long previous to that. A major rebuilding took place around 1673 after the Mallock family moved in. In 1820 the Court was substantially remodelled (once again under the Mallocks') and not much has changed since then apart from a couple of cosmetic bits.

    Following the aquisition by the Borough Council the house has become a museum and gallery with part of the the ground floor used as tea rooms - which BTW are friendly, reasonably priced and very characterful.

    There's also the expected gift shop which is in keeping with the building and its surroundings and so there's no cheapo tourist, cwap but rather a lot of interesting stuff from local artists and artisans.

    If I remember correctly my morning coffee cost me £1.20 and the view and relaxed ambience were totally free.

    The Manor House (Cockington Court)
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    The Gamekeeper's Cottage

    by johngayton Written Apr 4, 2012

    One of the estate's most interesting buildings is the Gamekeeper's Cottage. This dates back to the 16th century and is conveniently located next to the former rabbit warren, which was a walled enclosure used to breed rabbits for fur and meat. The cottage is quite substantial but then only part of it would have been used as the gamekeeper's accommodation, the rest being for storage and during the season the hanging of meats. The slatted side in the pic was used for hanging pheasants after the shoots.

    The cottage was vandalised in 1990 but has been restored and is now used as meeting rooms and as an environmental education centre.

    Heading Towards Manscombe Wood
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    The Old Mill

    by johngayton Written Apr 4, 2012

    An inventory from 1654, probably made in preparation for the sale of the estate by the Cary family to the Mallocks, lists the village as having four mills (along with 60 messuages, 10 tofts and a dovecote).

    The only remaining one however is much more recent and was a water-driven saw mill built sometime in the late 1800's - the millwheel was made by the Newton Abbot company A Beare and Sons in 1878.

    This mill was in use until the 1970's when it was destroyed by fire and never repaired. The building still stands though, along with the millwheel and the pond, and is located close to the Linhay entrance to the grounds.

    1878 Millwheel Other Machinery Millhouse Millpond
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