17 walkers set off from Torquay Museum, taking Museum Road and then Montpellier Road, past the supposedly haunted St Johns Church, a grade I listed building originally created in 1823 as a ‘chapel-of-ease to the parish church at Tormoham’. Ghost story began on 19 November 1883, at the funeral of Henry Ditton-Newman. Henry died from pleurisy at the age of 39 and was to be buried in Torquay Cemetery. He was the organist of St John’s and wrote hymns, a collection of which were published after his death. According to reports, poor Henry hadn’t completed his musical career at the time of his death and was seen to play the organ at his own funeral. This was supposedly witnessed by the vicar, the Rev. Mr. Hitchcock, who saw and heard the recently-deceased organist sitting at the console and accompany the singing.
Our route continued onto Braddons Hill Road East and up to Alpine Road, before making a brief stop near the cliff top, to admire the view down over Fleet Street, to the harbour and beyond. Fleet being the newer name for the River Flete, the town’s subterranean watercourse which used to regularly flood the area prior to the Council’s flood management schemes. After a group photo there we followed Warberry Road West and Rosehill Road to the footpath into the woods, which stretch up to the top of Warberry Hill.
After leaving Warberry Copse we had a refreshment break in the little park at the top of Quinta Road, before heading down the adjacent path to the end of Perinville Road. After walking a short distance up Babbacombe Road, we took the steps to a short path, emerging near the cricket pitch on Walls Hill. We then headed to Babbacombe Downs Road and down to Babbacombe beach taking the lower path to Oddicombe beach for lunch.
Our homeward route took us along Babbacombe Downs and then over Walls Hill before coming out on Babbacombe Road, next to the site of the former Palace Hotel. We then followed Ansteys Cove Road, through the playing fields down into Ilsham Road. After a comfort stop at the community cafe, we returned to our starting point, via Ilsham Road and Babbacombe Road.