John & Hilary’s Slippery Slope Walk – Sunday 12th January

15 people including 2 new members, started at Paignton Harbour for John and Hilary’s walk. Unfortunately, the boss was poorly so the second in-command took charge and what a wonderful job he made of it.

They left Paignton Harbour via Roundham Head, also known as Paradise Head, to reach Goodrington.

The weather was kind, sunny with only a slight shower, just before lunch.

The area between Roundham and the harbour was once marshland, and there was a causeway running across it linking the sailors’ Torbay Inn with the town itself. The marshes were not drained until the middle of the eighteenth century.

The group took the coast path down to Goodringnton, via Rock Walk. This path was constructed in the 1920s, along with the Promenade, by Welsh miners brought to Devon on a work creation scheme following the First World War, before the Great Depression.

Leaving Goodrington behind, the path continued alongside the South Devon railway for a while to Sugar Loaf and Waterside Camp Site before reaching Broadsands Beach

Coffee was taken at Broadsands and lunch at Churston Church. One of the new ladies and our Chairman took a detour here, leaving the rest to traverse a rather hilly part of the walk.

The return route meant crossing through the once marshy area of Grange Farm, long since developed into houses, where ancient maps reveal there was a police house and linhay barn, the path was taken up towards the Roselands Estate, again a large farming area connected to Stoke Gabriel rather than Paignton back in the day and home to Crabbs Winery until the 1970’s, when the land was purchased by Wimpey for development.

A popular dog walkers paradise today and extremely muddy but expertly traversed by the group who made their way up and then down the muddy slope to Clennon Lakes.

Created by Torbay Council in the early 1980’s Clennon Valley Lakes provide a nature reserve for wildlife as well as a place for the local community to enjoy, once being land owned by Herbert Whitley, who built Paignton Zoological Gardens, as it was then known.

The descent to Clennon Lakes was extremely slippery. Thank you to Kay, Carol and Baz for supporting one of the new walkers down this notoriously difficult slope.

Until 2011 the area was poorly managed and the lakes were badly silting up.  In 2014 Friends of Clennon Lakes was formed and thanks to the hard work of volunteers, the lakes have once again become a thriving wildlife haven.

Our walk finished at 3ish with 7 walkers going for tea at the Shoreline Cafe, where there were a few non-walkers to greet them. A good walk was had by all and the only casualty was the leader taking a tumble – but no-one noticed!


John L