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"A Bit Of A Tourist Trap But...." Cockington by johngayton

Cockington Travel Guide: 24 reviews and 79 photos

...Well Worth An Out-of-Season Visit

The tiny village of Cockington nestles in the wooded hillside above the urban sprawl of the seaside town of Torquay on the section of the South Devon coast known as the English Riviera.

It is thought that there has been a settlement here for about the last 2,500 years but its recorded history began after the 1066 Norman Conquest when the lands were gifted by William the Conqueror to the baron William of Falaise in recognition of his role during the conquest.

William of Falaise then took on the name de Cockington and when ownership of the area passed to the Fitzmartin family in 1130 they followed suit by assuming the de Cockington name too.

From 1130 until 1932 the village was part of the manorial estate of what became Cockington Court and owned by the Cary family followed by the Mallocks who sold it onto a trust governed by the Torquay Borough Council.

Because of this private and then municipal ownership the village has remained almost totally undeveloped since Medieval times retaining its 14th century thatched forge, weaver's cottage and many other period buildings.

"The Prettiest Village In England"?

Post-Medieval developments in the village followed the thatched theme and using local stone kept the appearance uniform. The blurb on the local tourist stuff all proclaims that this is "The Prettiest Village In England" - well I suppose it would, wouldn't it? And it is pretty although, to my mind, in a sort of "Tourist Trap" manner and I can imagine in mid-summer that it gets coachloads of day-trippers.

On my winter visit though it was pleasantly tranquil. On the "Local Link" minibus there were only about half-a-dozen of us and the driver gave us a short verbal tour of the village as we arrived, pointing out what was in what direction and where the return bus stop was.

Whlist the village is attractive I personally loved the surrounding woodlands which are criss-crossed with footpaths and bridleways. These woodlands were part of the private estate centered round the Court (as the manor house is known) and are a pleasant mix of manicured cultivation and wilderness.

And Of Course There's A Pub!

I assume there's always been an alehouse of some sort in the village but the present-day pub, The Drum, wasn't built until after the Borough Council took over the running of the village.

The pub was designed by the British architect Edwin Lutyens as part of the council's plan to turn Cockington into a "model village". Thus the pub was constructed with a thatched roof and its gardens incorporated into the manicured landscape of the Court.

But more about the pub later...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Pretty
  • Cons:Pretty Touristy!
  • In a nutshell:Nice to wander the village but even better to get off the beaten path
  • Last visit to Cockington: Nov 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (13)

Comments (2)

  • EasyMalc's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Some interesting comments here John. Just for the record Cockington Court and the craft studios are operated by the Torbay Development Agency and the Country Park is managed by the Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust

    • EasyMalc's Profile Photo
      Sep 6, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      I've been going in and out of The Drum for many years but more often than not I'll sit outside. I's always flattered to deceive as far as I'm concerned and now that it's run by a pubco I think it's lost any atmosphere that it did have.It could be - and should be - a gem though

    • johngayton's Profile Photo
      Sep 6, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      I'd love to see what sort of deal Marstons have got...and when it comes up for renewal - HA!

  • Callavetta's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    It looks pretty pretty..... maybe the prettiest. Haven't been to them all though.


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