Friday, 5 August 2011

Outing to the Eastern Side of Plymouth Sound

My hubby and I took my parents out for the day again yesterday. This time we went over to Plymouth and explored the eastern side of Plymouth Sound. My hubby used to live in that area before I knew him, so he knows lots of out-of-the-way places and there's still lots that's unspoilt, like the hidden bit of SE Cornwall that we visited last time we went out. This particular area is steeped in history and full of views of familiar places, but from a completely different perspective.

We had lunch in a pub in Turnchapel which has been run by the same couple for years, and she does all the cooking. We got an excellent 2-course meal, perfectly cooked, for £4.95 a head! My hubby has been going there for years and often goes there with his boating friends.

We were killing ourselves laughing half way through the meal, because my mum got up and went to look at the garden while we were waiting for our deserts to come, and my hubby took a swig of his drink and said, “This beer tastes a bit lemony!” He took a sip of my mum’s drink which was supposed to be a lemonade shandy and said “She’s been drinking my beer!” When she came back, I asked her if she was enjoying her shandy, and she drank some and said “Oh yes, I always enjoy a nice shandy!” My hubby was mouthing, “Don’t tell her!!” and she didn’t know why I was smiling so much and trying not to laugh! Next time we go out, I shall say to her, “Would you like a nice glass of beer today?” She will reply, “You know I don’t like beer!” Ha ha ha!!!

After lunch we explored Mount Batten, Bovisand and Wembury, with a quick detour to Down Thomas. There are lots of forts in the area – my hubby explained to us that Lord Palmerston built them in the days when there was real anxiety about a possible invasion by the French under Napoleon III, which never happened, so these forts are now known as Palmerston Follies!! Most of them have been used by the MOD and some are now in private hands.

Here are a few photos from our day out.

Terraced houses in Turnchapel:

01 Terraced Houses in Turnchapel

The National Marine Aquarium from Mount Batten, taken with the zoom lens – this is one of my all-time favourite places to visit. Notice the sea-green glass windows and the roof shaped like a wave. In front, you can see the masts of the yachts in the marina.

06 National Marine Aquarium from Mount Batten

Rock-climbing at Mount Batten - see Shoshi hanging on by her eyebrows up there! (...Not!)

07 Rock Climbing at Mount Batten

Mount Batten Tower (this isn't a Palmerston Folly but dates from the time of Charles I):

08 Mount Batten Tower

Drake's Island, once used as a prison – from this angle you can see the prison buildings. Our local Alcatraz.

09 Plymouth Sound and Drake's Island

Staddon Heights Wall and the Golf Course:

15 Staddon Heights Wall

This wall, which you can just see between the trees, is a free-standing wall which was built as a firing range. When it was first built, the locals thought it looked like a sea wall, and the story went around that it was built on the top of the hill by a particular British Isles ethnic minority not renowned for their intellectual prowess (although I strongly dispute that notion - I believe they just have a different way of thinking from the rest of us lol!!), as a sea wall, and then they realised they couldn't drag it down to the sea, so they left it there!!

Here’s a view of the Palmerston fort at Staddon:

12 Staddon Fort

This one is definitely still MOD property, with all its “Keep Out!” signs in evidence!

Before we went to Bovisand, we had a little wander around Hooe. This is where Sir Francis Drake was playing his famous game of bowls when he spotted the Spanish Armada, not Plymouth Hoe, as is usually supposed. Also on the outskirts of Hooe is the site of Sir Walter Raleigh’s mansion, which was pulled down in the 1930s, and all that remains is his summer house. We approached the site down an extremely narrow lane, at the far end of which is a large locked gate giving access to more MOD property, and no turning space, so my hubby had to show off his reversing skills all the way back to the road, which impressed my parents no end! (We get plenty of practice round where we live, reversing down narrow lanes!)

All around this area there is a lot of evidence of military presence, much of which has now disappeared with the downgrading of the armed forces; I didn’t manage to get a photo of the RAF officers’ mess, unfortunately, as we were driving at the time and couldn’t stop, but it’s very impressive – a nice curved building with neo-classical leanings. RAF Mount Batten was where the flying boats were stationed, and their large hangars are still standing.

The RAF quarters for non-commissioned ranks are still around too – a far cry from the officers’ accommodations – it’s a rabbit warren of little brick block buildings huddled together and known affectionately by the locals as the “Hooe Loos”!! (I didn’t get a photo of those, either…)

And so on to Bovisand. Here’s a picture of the beach:

16 Bovisand Beach

There’s a quite magnificent fort at Bovisand, another Palmerston Folly. From this point, one can see the Breakwater across Plymouth Sound, which I've never seen from this angle before; we were quite far round on the eastern side of the Sound and so were able to see it end on. The familiar view is full-on, from the Hoe, from where you can see it stretching across the Sound.

17 The Breakwater from Bovisand

Here are some views of Fort Bovisand, which is incredibly massively constructed with huge granite blocks. The whole fort is pretty extensive, and after passing out of MOD hands, was for a while the home of the Plymouth School of Diving, where many North Sea divers were trained.

18 Approach to Bovisand Fort

19 Bovisand Fort

The part of the fort where the great guns were housed, down on the edge of the sea, is circular, and has the gun ports all around. The actual ports have been converted to windows, as you can see in the photo above, and the divers’ accommodations were in converted rooms behind.

21 Bovisand Fort

Surrounding the ports are incredibly thick, multi-layered panels of steel armour, which was once painted, but the surface has corroded in the sea air, and the metal has begun to rust, giving rise to the most glorious grungey textures which I simply couldn’t resist!

25 Rusty Texture at Bovisand Fort

27 Rusty Texture at Bovisand Fort

30 Rusty Texture at Bovisand Fort

31 Rusty Texture at Bovisand Fort

32 Rusty Texture at Bovisand Fort

Rocks below Bovisand Fort:

33 Rocks Below Bovisand Fort

Here’s an interesting rock formation below the fort, beside the old sea wall:

37 Rocks and Sea Wall Below Bovisand Fort

I also took a couple of photos of the top of the wall I was beside when I took that photo – you know me – I love walls! I love the shapes and colours of the stones, and the spots of lichen.

38 Stone Wall Detail at Bovisand Fort

39 Stone Wall Detail at Bovisand Fort

After this we made our way to Wembury, via a quick detour to Down Thomas, another attractive little seaside village. The coastal path at Wembury is the property of the National Trust, and when I was well, it was one of my favourite walks – my hubby and I used to walk for miles along the cliffs, with the springy turf and wild flowers, and the wonderful sea air blowing in, and the skylarks singing… That’s one of the many things on my famous List of Things to Do if I ever get well again!!! The path that leads up to the church goes on up the cliff.

46 Wembury Church

Colourful canoes at Wembury:

47 Colourful Canoes at Wembury 
The Mew Stone at Wembury:

42 The Mew Stone

For a brief moment, there appeared an incredible streak of light on the horizon over the sea – the weather had been pretty changeable all day, but it didn’t rain, and there were occasional bursts of sunlight, but this was such a dramatic effect.

51 Light on the Horizon at Wembury

Finally, here are a couple of pictures of us! When I go out, I very rarely take family snapshots as my camera is usually drawn to the natural beauty of landscapes, quirky details, fun architecture, textures, textures, and – did I mention textures? LOL!! Here’s my hubby with my parents:

52 Family Group

I was very amused at this because my mum was very anxious to cross her legs before I took the picture, so that the plaster on her leg ulcer wasn't showing!! In the next picture, she's hiding it behind my wheelchair! (she really is a hoot sometimes…) I hate this picture of me - my necklace is all crooked, and I look like a fat lump!!! (A friend on the Brainfog forum suggested that my necklace was crooked to balance my hubby’s crooked belt buckle! Ha ha ha!! What a scruffy lot we are!!!) My dad managed to cut our feet off, but I suppose that’s better than cutting our heads off (or perhaps you disagree?)!!

53 Family Group

I really enjoyed the day, despite feeling pretty lousy all day. (I had a busy day last Sunday, and have suffered pretty severe payback every day since then.)

Hope you've enjoyed this vicarious trip around some of the lesser-explored bits of South Devon!


  1. A great record of your jaunts! And fancy you taking pics of rust .... I can't imagine what you see in it! lol x

  2. Lovely photos Shoshi, She dont look tipsy to me the beer could not of been to strong, be careful she don't get a taste for it, or you will have to sit her on your lap ROFL.
    Love how the frame is coming along

  3. I really loved seeing the photos! I have never been across the Atlantic Ocean, so it was quite an adventure for me to read all about your history. I love the whimsical photos too... it's exactly the kind I love to take!!

  4. What incredible photos. WOW! Looks like a lovely time!

  5. Shoshi - I just left you a comment, but I tried writing more and I hit some keys funny and it got sent before I was finished. Would you please just delete it if it's kind of funny at the end? Thanks! I can leave another one to replace it. I think I remember what I said!


  6. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful pictures. I would love to visit England and have you as our tour guide! (I live in Plymouth, but my Plymouth doesn't look like yours. :) )


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