medieval village of Cockington was noted in the Domesday Book, and,
on the face of it at least, little appears to have changed since.
village sits somewhat incongruously, right in the heart of urban
Torbay, but it stubbornly refuses to to be tainted by modern developments.
thatched village (even the public toilets here are thatched!) is
one of the most photographed places in the country,
and the surrounding country park and woodland makes
it an ideal destination for walking.
lakes, with surrounding wood
to the village can park in the public car parks - there is a charge
- and set off on one of several routes which are available.
this particular walk, the route went up the hill past the historic
Cockington Forge at the centre of the village, and Weaver's Cottage
tea shoppe on the right. There is then a right turning, through
a gate, into the grounds at Cockington Court.
path follows around to the left - to the lakes, and to the woods.
You can do both easily. The lakes make a picturesque and peaceful
starting point, before turning back, and heading to the woodland
walk - which is well signposted.
are also information boards placed at points of interest, such as
the Gamekeeper's Cottage, at the entrance to the woodland walk.
cottage nestles in the shadow of Manscombe Woods.
The earliest record of the cottage is 1517, and the last gamekeeper
to live here was in the early 1900s.
The cottage was severely damaged by arsonists in 1990, and only
the shell was left standing.
has since been restored and is used as an environmental education
centre. The intriguing slatted area, just beneath the roof (in the
top left of the photograph), was used to hang pheasants after a
fact, Manscombe Woods was probably planted in the 1800s for the
purpose of rearing and shooting pheasant. The wall which runs around
it dates back much earlier - to the 1600s, if not before.
of the woodland was blown down by the storms of 1990, and it has
had to be cleared and replanted.
Gamekeeper's Cottage - note the wooden slats in the top left,
used to hang pheasants after a shoot
path through the wood is a gentle incline, but you can go exploring
deeper into the woods if you like.
path takes you past fields, where, during the winter, the famous
Cockington horses can be found resting. There are also fantastic
views down the valley to Torquay, with Manscombe Woods to the right.
reach Cockington Court, you cross a narrow road, via a gate, and
walk along a muddier path. There is also a separate route for horse-riders.
The pathway brings you to behind the Court and Cockington Church,
where you have a choice - to stop for a cuppa and bite to eat, or
head off on another of the paths.
Court was the manor house for the squires of Cockington from Saxon
times right up to 1932. It is now managed - as is the rest of Cockington
Country Park - by the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust. The court
houses tea rooms, and a craft centre. Horse and carriage rides also
start from here.
walk back to the car park takes you down the long sweeping driveway,
which passes around the idyllic cricket ground, with its pavillion
high up on the overlooking hill. And, opposite the main car park
in the village is the Drum Inn, designed by Lutyens.
walk took two hours, but you ideally need a whole day to make the
most of it. It really is like taking a step back in time - the roads,
cars, and hectic 21st century lifestyle all seem a million miles
more details about Cockington, ring the Torbay Coast and Countryside
Trust on 01803 606035. Or click onto the trust's website, using
the link on this page.