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...more
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...more
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...more
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,...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Cockington is only about a mile and a half from Torquay town centre but the walk is mostly through the urban sprawl and so the best option for getting between the two is the regular minibus service. I think this has changed slightly since I was last there, or maybe the "Local Link" has been rebranded to "Chelston Leisure Services", but the bus is still the #62 which runs from Torquay Strand roughly every 40 minutes in a circular route with a journey time of about 20 minutes each way.
On my last trip the driver was exceptionally helpful, giving us a quick verbal tour of the village as we got off and telling us where the bus stop (at the old school house) for the return leg was.
Use the journey planner on the website below to get up-to-date timings and routes.
Recently completed (2011) at a cost of about 3 million pounds is the Seachange Art and Craft Centre in the grounds of the manor house. This is "aimed at protecting and nurturing our heritage and culture for the residents of and visitors to the Bay attracting higher-spending consumers into the area, whilst also creating jobs for creative business people" (to quote the website).
OK there are several interesting artisans now in residence, such as Paul Tout's handmade furniture workshop and Tony Fagan's chocolaterie but the buildings they are housed in are ludicrously incongruous when compared to the rest of the village and the other outbuildings within the estate.
I suppose the trendily modern workspaces are at the cutting edge of environmental friendliness with their use of sustainable timber and energy efficient design but compared to the Stableyard, which is the estate's other Craft Centre housed in the 17th century stables, these new ones are a visual abomination.
This initiative was implemented by the commercially-motivated Torbay Development Agency, as opposed to the more conservation-concerned Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust. The TDA's website makes all the right noises but the final result just doesn't work for me - http://www.torbaydevelopmentagency.co.uk/projects/torquay-projects/cockington-court-craft-centre
So "TEAR THEM DOWN!!"
Cockington's cricket club (The Corinthians) fields two XI's who play pretty much every summer weekend on the sloping pitch in front of the Court. This used to be part of the estate's deer enclosure but these days is a main thoroughfare and enjoyed by the visitors dogs.
OK they don't play in any major leagues and the opposition is mostly local (tho' they do get as far as Bideford once a year) but what a beautiful setting for a game.