My final post about Paignton covers the area between Broadsands and Brixham, and includes the short walk from Broadsands to Elberry Cove and an extension to Churston for those who want it. The village of Churston Ferrers, technically speaking, comes within the boundary of Brixham, but I think it makes more sense to include it here.
You don’t need to belong to Mensa to work out where Broadsands gets its name from. It’s the last major Paignton beach before reaching Brixham (which doesn’t have any major beaches incidentally), and is another safe place for toddlers to paddle in. Unlike the beaches nearer to the town centre, there are very few amenities, and that’s the reason why some people enjoy coming here.
I don’t suppose it’s much more than half a mile from Broadsands to Elberry Cove, but this stroll along the grassy path next to the sea around Churston Point is ideal for those who aren’t able to walk too far and just want to be able to enjoy the sea views and breathe in some fresh air.
Steps lead down to Elberry Cove which is shingly rather than sandy, but a pleasant spot if the water skiers aren’t around.
At the far end of the small beach are the remains of Lord Churston’s Bath House: Built in the 18th century, this 3-storey building allowed the ground floor to be flooded as the tide came in, and enabled His Lordship to go for a swim without losing his dignity even if he lost his swimming trunks. Come to think of it, he probably wore a swimming costume back then – or perhaps he didn’t wear anything at all, who knows?
The coast path between Elberry and Churston Coves involves a steepish climb to begin with, and then a walk through Marriage Woods, and for those with mobility problems, it’s probably best to call it a day at Elberry if I’m being honest.
The village of Churston Ferrers lies just inland between the two coves and is easiest to access from Elberry if you’re walking.
Churston Court, or Churston Manor as it’s now called, was the home of Lord Churston and has had a presence here since Anglo-Saxon times. Obviously, there’s a lot of local history attached to it, but you’ll be relieved to hear that I’m not going into that now: What I’ve always liked about it though, is that ever since I’ve known it, it’s somewhere that you can go into just for a drink.
In 1967, after a thousand years of aristocratic life, the manor house was sold. I don’t know who bought it, but when I first came here the owner was Peter Malkin, a man I previously came across when he restored Boringdon Hall, another historic building on the outskirts of Plymouth. He did a magnificent job there, and he did another one here.
He was a very amiable character and so it came as a bit of a shock to see his face on TV with a warrant out for his arrest. Without going into all the details, his marriage had broken down and he was wanted for abducting his son. After a world-wide search, they eventually caught up with him and he went to prison for 8 months. He no longer owns Churston Court, but I still enjoy going there, and I think he deserves to be part of its history.
Well, that’s it as far as Paignton is concerned. I came here on holiday when I was a kid and loved it – so much so, that I think that’s why I’ve ended up here. Times have changed, and although Paignton isn’t quite the same place as it was (like most other places I suppose), I still have a fondness for it.
I’ve changed as well: Travel and different interests broaden the mind no end, and as much as I love visiting all these other places, when I wake up each morning and see a beautiful sunrise, or go to bed and see the moon shimmering on the water, I thank my lucky stars that I live in somewhere like this. Paignton isn’t perfect by a long way, but it’s still a place that families love to come to – and I can think of a lot worse places to live.
POSTED – October 2020