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Unlock the secrets of the past at many of our beautiful sites. From the 18th Century garrisoned forts at Berry Head to a Second World War Look-Out post at Peak Tor. There are Victorian cliff garden walks now declared as Sites of Special Scientific Interest(SSSI), County Wildlife Sites and Areas of Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland with many interesting historical features. We run educational visits to many of our sites that focus on curriculum based history. What better way to learn than standing in the very spot where that point in history actually happened!main image: BlueMoonPhotography)

Cockington horse and carriage

Historic Country Park and Estate

With recorded settlement dating back to the time of the Saxons, Cockington is a picturesque estate with 1000 years of history waiting for you to discover. Thatched cottages nestle in the village, barely changed over the centuries, whilst the Grade II listed Cockington Court and eleventh century church lie within the boundaries of the country park itself. Explore further and you’ll find the old Gamekeepers Cottage and the estate’s two former lodges, all sitting within the historic, landscaped parkland. The three lakes here are said to date back to the mediaeval period when monks from Torre Abbey used them to raise fish!

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Brunel woods

Brunel Woods and Bishop's Walk

Isambard Kingdom Brunel once planned to retire to Watcombe, Torquay. He commissioned the design of a garden and house overlooking St Marychurch. The garden was created but sadly Brunel died before the house was ever built. The garden has since transitioned to woodland but some of the species and features of Brunel’s time survived. There is a network of paths to follow and great views over the Bay that we know today as Brunel Woods. Sadly the woodland was badly damaged in the 1990 storms.

Bishop’s Walk was created by Henry Phillpotts, the Bishop of Exeter from 1831 until his death in 1869. He lived in a nearby mansion called Bishopstowe, which in later years became the Palace Hotel. Bishop’s Walk is a part of the Hope’s Nose to Walls Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The South West Coast Path runs through it.

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The Shortest, the Highest and the Deepest!

The lighthouse at Berry Head was built in 1906. This still active lighthouse is indeed the shortest lighthouse in the country, but also one of the highest, although it is only 5 metres (16 ft) tall, it is a whopping 58 metres (190 ft) above sea level! It’s also the deepest because the optic was originally turned by a weight falling down a 45 metre (148 ft) deep shaft. Worth a visit and the views are stunning!

More about Berry Head
Berry Head cannon fort

Garrison Forts and Look-out Posts

At Berry Head discover two forts dating back to 1795. The Northern Fort housed 600 men plus cannons and protected Brixham Harbour from the threat of French invasion. The Southern Fort protected the Northern Fort from land attack and contained a barracks, powder magazine, kitchen and store house.

At Peak Tor Cove, Torquay, there is a Second World War lookout post, now only a peaceful place, looking out across the tranquil water of Tor Bay to Brixham and Berry Head beyond.

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Berry Head

Ancient Quarry

The Limestone quarry at Berry Head dates back 300 years! As recently as the 1950s, thousands of tons of stone were still being removed. Extracted lime was used to make fertiliser, mortar and cement. Stone cut from the quarry was also used to support the wartime D-Day campaign and appears in notable local buildings, like the Brixham Town Hall! Today the quiet seclusion of the quarry makes it ideal for nesting seabirds and hunting peregrine falcons, and the caves are home to bats.