Friday, 2 October 2009

Work To Start Soon say Council.

Something happening at last.

From The Herald Express
MAJOR work is due to re-start at Torquay's Rock Walk next week.
The work at Rock Walk and the Royal Terrace Gardens follows months of preparation throughout the summer.
On Monday contractors Obelisk will start building dry stone walls along Rock Walk.

Dawnus has been appointed as the main contractor for the major phase of the restoration works.
The company is now working on the designs for the engineering features of the cantilevered pathway, bridges and viewing platform.
Following an agreement on this work, the contractors are expected to start the building phase once the materials have been manufactured with a planned start date during the middle of November.
The pathway construction will include lighting and handrails which will be installed at the same time.
The Rock Walk pathway from Shedden Hill to Fleet Street will be re-surfaced and new street lighting will be installed as part of the Royal Terrace Gardens restoration works.
Work is expected to start in late October and will take four weeks.
Torbay Council is currently looking at decorative lighting designs for the Royal Terrace Gardens.
It is hoped this phase of work will be going out to tender before Christmas 2009.
An artist, Juliet Hayson, from London, has been appointed to create art and sculpture designs for the main lower pathway.
Deputy mayor and cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr Chris Lewis, said: "This latest round of work marks a huge step forward in our plans to restore Rock Walk and protect its long-term future.

As it looks now, from Cliff Rd Livermead.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Torbay Road by Rock Walk

This is the situation now, no parked cars between here and Belgrave Road. Before the work started her in Jan 2008 ( for 6 weeks) this was a duel carriageway road, two lanes in both directions. On both sides of the road the left lane was allocated for parked cars, and coaches outside the Princess Theatre. The big problem when driving along this section of road was cars pulling away from the left lane. Some one would stop to let a car out, not because they were kind sweet souls who just wanted to help a stranger on their way. No, they wanted to get into the parking space. So you would sit there while the car moving off shunted back and forward and pulled away then the car that had let him out would reverse into the parking space, sometimes in a way that suggested they had plenty of practice at reverse parking but usually in a way that suggested it was the first time in their lives they had ever tried this really difficult manoeuvre. And usually this little trick would happen two or three times a trip in the summer, always when you were running late. It happened on the way back as well. Now all that has gone and under the new scheme in which traffic will switch to the landward side of the road, the sea ward side will as I mentioned be for parking, it will remain gone.

Couple of little problems, buses pulling away from the existing stops at the Pavilion will have to get out against traffic wanting to go ahead and get in the parking lane, Please Let The Bus Out. Second problem, before the work started there were two bus stops at the Theatre, one on each side of the road. They are no longer in use but it is a long way from the Pavilion to the next stop at Belgrave Rd. Will they be reinstated and if so they will block the road as there is no room to put in a lay by? Third problem will be the Boy Racers who will try and get in front of the through traffic by nipping through the parking area at 50 mph. I hope there will be suitable provision to seriously discourage them.

I will take my thoughts on this matter down to the Library on Tuesday (I'm working Monday) and mention them to who ever is in charge. Oh yes, one more idea. Will there be someway of stopping mad people walking along the central reservation?

P.S. My thanks to ISCA Scaffold, the company that built the Blue Wall. It was designed to stop rocks falling down the cliff and onto the road putting all our lives at risk. So far no rocks have made it onto the road so the Blue Wall has done it's job admirably. Well done ISCA.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

August 24 2009 News Update

TORQUAY residents and traders have a week to give their opinions on a new layout in one of the town's busiest roads.
Torbay Council has defended its decision to hold the consultation on the new layout for Torbay Road, along Rock Walk, for just one week during one of the busiest times of the year.
The aim is to keep traffic flowing in both directions on the one side of Torbay Road avoiding delays previously caused by vehicles parking.
Many road users have described this as a positive move and have asked the council to keep the layout when the road re-opens fully.
The new design proposes two-way traffic on the land side carriageway for the majority of this section of Torbay Road.
The other carriageway, closest to the sea, would be used to provide parking, taxi rank, coach drop-off and disabled parking, without causing disruption to through traffic.
It will also be used to hold on-street events such as markets, street entertainment and small fairground rides

Deputy mayor and cabinet member for transport, Chris Lewis, said: "During a week-long consultation on Rock Walk's Royal Terrace Gardens last year many local residents, businesses and visitors said they were in favour of a single carriageway design along Torbay Road.
"We have listened to these comments and drawn up these plans.
"Now we'd like as many people as possible to let us know what they think about the design which aims to keep traffic moving along the seafront, while reinstating parking spaces.
"This will be a temporary layout and, if in a couple of years, it proves popular then we will look at making it a permanent feature and more aesthetically pleasing."
He said he had heard of few objections to the proposal but said he would be willing for the public to be consulted further about the new layout if people were unhappy.
A spokesman added: "This week has been chosen following a number of enquiries from the public and we, therefore, wanted to get the proposals out as soon as possible.
"Once we have received feedback from the consultation, we will take comments to elected members to consider any proposed changes, after which we may need to consult again.
"If we find people have not managed to get to the exhibition to express their views, we will, of course, look to extend the consultation period."
Consultation displays will be available at Torquay Library for a week from Monday and at Breezes Café in the Princess Theatre on Thursday, August 27 from 11am.
Comments on the traffic design plans can be made at the consultation events or by email to: or through Torbay Council's website, www.torbay.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Art Work For Rock Walk

No much is happening down at Rock Walk at the moment. The work to make sure nothing kills any visitors and locals has finished though the Blue Wall will stay in place for the time being. This is so work can be carried out to replant the area. This is expected to finish by March next year. Once the Blue Wall comes down the road will be reopened. It is expected that the seaward side of the duel carriageway will be set aside for parking and through traffic will use the cliff side of the road. One slight problem with this is there will be no room for the two bus stops, one in each direction, that used to serve this stretch of road. Mind you it has been so long since these bus stops were used that it is unlikely anyone will notice.

Below is an item from the Herald Express dated 7 July 2008

THE search is on to find artists to create two new pieces of art for Rock Walk.

The £24,000 projects will be part of the restoration of the Royal Terrace Gardens with the first anticipated to be finished by Christmas.

Stabilisation works on the cliff face have already finished on budget and restoration work has now started.

Torbay Council has asked art and design consultants Ginkgo to help find an artist to produce work for a grotto found within the lower wall of the gardens.

The grotto is currently empty and the artist will be required to create a 'moment of delight and surprise' for visitors.

The design should compliment the wider regeneration project which celebrates the Victorian love of pleasure, gardens and amusements.

An artist or designer is also being sought to create material on or near a planned viewing platform.

It is hoped the piece would promote a greater understanding of the Torbay's Geopark status and the wider Bay, focusing on the view looking out and away from the gardens.

The interpretation should link Rock Walk to other sites and key locations within Torbay and may highlight the view and its landmarks.

It also needs to be low maintenance, robust and resilient to all kinds of attention from visitors.

Deputy mayor Chris Lewis said: "We want to protect Rock Walk for future generations and I can't wait for these plans to come to fruition, when we create a place where residents and visitors can once again visit and enjoy.

"We are committed to looking at creative ways in which we can revitalise our town centres and support local businesses as well as the creative and cultural community. These commissioned pieces of work will reinforce the local identity, enhance the area and be a landmark that attracts new visitors to Rock Walk and the Royal Terrace Gardens."

Cllr Dave Butt added: "We have a wealth of artistic talent in Torbay and across Devon so I really hope that local artists and designers will register their interest for these projects. The grotto is a really unusual location for a piece of artwork and should inspire many creative ideas.

"I am really looking forward to seeing all the finished artwork in Rock Walk."

The grotto art would be completed by December with the viewing platform material being finished by March next year.

To finish it on time submissions need to be in by July 16 with interviews taking place the following week.

For more information visit

Thursday, 11 June 2009

End in Sight ( Who are you kidding)

This item in the Herald Express came to my attention. It would appear the the work to stop rocks hitting number 12 buses has finished. Now all that needs doing is construct some walk ways and plant loads of exotic plants and that could take a year or more to complete.

Stabilisatiion work on Rock Walk completed
Monday, June 08, 2009, 09:23
THE rock stabilisation at Rock Walk should finish this week but the overall scheme will not be ready for another year.
Contractors will stay on site for a further five days to carry out small works, for example, checking clips which hold the safety nets in place and painting all protruding rock bolts as part of the £1million contract which is on budget.
Restoration work to the Terrace Gardens will begin in the third week of June and is expected to be finished a year later, depending on weather.
Work carried out during this summer will be limited to minimise noise and the movement of heavy equipment to avoid disruption to local business, residents and visitors.
The work includes rebuilding dry stone walls on the site including those around the Royal Terrace Gardens, repairing railings, installing street lighting as well as resurfacing and repair work to Rock Walk footpath. The safety barrier will remain in place until the restoration works have been completed to ensure the safety of contractors.
The main construction works will be held over until the autumn.
The final design for Rock Walk has now been changed following comments received during a public consultation in 2008.
An application for planning permission for the new restoration works will be submitted shortly.
Torbay Council hopes to hold an open day in the near future so residents and traders can examine the final design.
Subject to planning approval, there will be new lighting and pathways and work will start on a viewing platform. The bottom footpath is also being redesigned with seating bays.
All landscaping work will be carried out following completion of the main structural works.
Cabinet member Cllr Kevin Carroll said: "We're absolutely committed to restoring Rock Walk and protecting its long term future. We want to carry out this work as quickly as possible with the least amount of disruption. I would like to thank traders and residents for their patience.
"I can't wait for these plans to come to fruition, when we create a place where residents and visitors can once again visit and enjoy."

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

More on Nets.

This is The Great Orme in Wales and is an example of a cliff covered with netting. Still clearly visable years after it was put in place.
Just to give you an idea of what parts of Rock Walk will look like.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Nearly There. Well Perhaps Not.

Having said on Monday that there had been nothing in the paper about Rock Walk recently this appeared today, Wednesday.

From the Herald Express

WORK to shore up Torquay's crumbling Rock Walk cliffs should be finished by the end of next week.
Experts who have spent months working on the cliff face will have substantially finished their contract by the end of the month.
Chris Flewitt, director of Vertical Technology Ltd, said they had not experienced any major problems during the £1million contract.
The company, which has also tendered for cliff work at Hollicombe Beach, Preston, Paignton, has netted and bolted the cliff, using 200 rolls of 50m square netting.
The netting is designed to last 120 years. Some 50 rock anchors have been inserted, between three and six metres long, to secure key blocks of rocks. Loose rock surface has been sprayed with concrete.
Mr Flewitt said greenery was already starting to grow back through the netting. "We have put a lot of effort into this, but probably by this time next year you won't be able to see it," he said.
They expect to come back in to carry out final checks on the works, probably over 10 days. Though Hampshire-based, they have other work in the area, including at Buckfastleigh.

Cllr Chris Lewis, who was on site to check progress, said work will be taking place creating new pathways this summer so the roadside barrier will remain in place.
The long-term plan is to create parking on the seaward side carriageway and re-open the cliff side of the road to two-way traffic.
"When it is finished it will look really attractive. It is already looking better than it did when you consider the overgrown and dangerous trees and the fact they found 500 hypodermic syringes in there in the first week," he said.
Cllr Lewis said they would keep the barriers up while the work is still going on, for example to protect equipment being used.
The next phase of restoration work will take place during the summer. All the work carried out will be limited to minimise noise, movement of heavy plant and equipment to avoid disruption to local business and amenities. It will also involve repair and maintenance of dry stone walls and railings. The top path will remain closed this summer.

The design will be for a Mediterranean-style planting scheme along the bottom path. Planting will start in early 2010, with most plants established by 2011.
Plants will be established mainly along borders with pocket planting, where possible on the cliff face.
Most of the plants on the cliff face will be left to regenerate naturally.

The netting will get hidden as the vegetation grows through it but what about the netting over bare rock, about 20% of the cliff face is rock? Also it is a shame that the top path is not going top be reopened, probably for an other two years and Councillor Lewis neglects to give even a hint of a completion date, that is when we can start walking along the walkways and admire the view and the plant life.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Work Continues Slowly

Work continues. Here two teams drill into the rock to fit bolts that the netting will be secured to. This work should be completed by the end of the month or early in June. Then we wait for the next stage, the construction of the walkways and the replanting. The Herald Express has been quiet about Rock Walk for the last few weeks which must mean there is no information coming from Torbay Council at the moment. Maybe they have forgotten all about the place.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Still Putting the Nets Up

As you can see most of the cliff face has been covered by netting. At the moment it doesn't look good but once the vegetation grows through it will improve, I hope. I have heard it could be a year, even two before the council start serious planting. Don't leave it too long or you will have to hire a crane to clear the scrub a third time.
A close up of the net. Not beautiful is it?

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Not Much Longer Now

Work nears completion to secure Rock Walk
Monday, March 30, 2009, 09:22

WORK on the new look for Torquay's Rock Walk should be completed next month.

While contractors are busy clearing and securing the rock face, work is underway on the next phase of the project to turn it into a horticultural attraction.

But the bulk of that stage of the work will not get underway until the autumn.

A spokesman for Torbay Council said: "The design for the restoration works is progressing and will be complete for mid-April.

"Work is now progressing on the design of the path and viewing platform and it is anticipated the tender for final design and construction will be advertised during April for further design over the summer and implementation during next autumn and winter.

"We are hoping to carry out advance works over the summer concentrating on the upper path and railings and drystone walling. This is to keep any noise and disruption to a minimum during the busy summer season.

"Site investigation works will be done during April to establish the ground conditions for the new bridge and path works.

"Planting designs will be worked on over the next few months."

The stabilisation and clearing work is due to be finished in June.

The overall project should be completed by April 2010.

End of story.

Meanwhile a couple more photos of the work.
Looks like a gun emplacement but I suspect this is the bit that is going to need a little bit of concrete to keep the cliff face up.
This section is in the middle of the cliff face and looks the most dramatic. A couple of workmen drill into the rock, much of which does not appear to be completely stable. I hope there will an absence of netting in this rock face or it will look extremely tame.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Progress is being made.

Here workpersons are hacking out any loose rocks and fixing bolts to any too big to remove.
Not as exciting as cutting 20 tonne trees down I'm sorry to say. A picture of the cliff face from high up on one of the buildings overlooking the Harbour.

Monday, 16 March 2009

A Wall Not Far From Rock Walk.

This is part of the sea wall over looking Livermead Beach. If you look carefully you will notice that the two large lumps of rock are coming loose. You can also notice there is plant life growing out of the gap between these two large lumps of rock forcing the rocks to move ever so slightly.

The rest of the wall for hundreds of metres in both directions does not have plant life growing in the gaps and the rest of the wall doesn't have lumps of rock coming loose. Plant roots might not look all that strong but the do have the effect you can see above. Imagine what effect tree roots would have on this wall. Imagine what effect the tree roots were having on Rock Walk.

Which basically was why the trees had to go.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Netting, nothing but netting?

From The Palm Court Hotel in the south to the Pavilion in the north A great plastic curtain is decending across the face of Torquay.

It doesn't seem to make much difference if the cliff face is covered with vegetation or bare rock, soon it will, by the looks of what has happened so far covered with plastic netting.
I hoped the idea was to knock the loose bits down, bolt the big slabs to the bedrock with great long steel pegs and cover any suspicious bits, i.e. might fall down in the next hundred years with net, not just put net curtains over the lot like some front room parlor. But the two photos show curtain at one end and curtain at the other all together looking like some one is just about to draw them across the cliff. What a mess. Why not leave the safety barrier where it is and we can admire from a distance. Building walkways and steps is a crazy idea, no one ever uses them. Just open the top path for the view and let the cliff slowly crumble, It's what cliffs do the world over and have done so for the last 4.5 billion years. Who are Torbay Council to stand in the way of such an ancient tradition?

So we just let the cliff fall down, gradually. The Big Blue Wall can stay where it is, for ever protecting passers by till it too erodes away. At least from a distance it won't look too bad, not if you don't concentrate; and paint it a better colour.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Lots of Changes at Rock walk

I have been away for 7 weeks in what used to be the world's biggest prision. Now known as Australia. Personally if my house used to be a prison I would prefer to forget it but there you go. Anyway back to Rock Walk.

When I left the cliff face at the Pavilion end looked like this. Here was where the most rock fall occurred while the trees were being removed. Some of those rock slabs look very big.
Now it looks like this, quiet a change and I missed it all happening, sorry about that. The rest of the work will be fairly tame stuff like below workmen are fixing netting to the cliff at the Mojo end. Tame? Not when there is a 100 foot drop behind you.

The netting looks fairly ugly at the moment but once the vegetation starts to grow through it should improve the look of the place.
Work is due to be completed by June and according to a newspaper report it is on schedule.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Sorry no up date recently

This isn't because nothing has been happening. Well nothing did happen for the two weeks over Christmas and New Year but I am unable to get down to Rock Walk at the moment due to the fact I have left the country. No, the tax man isn't after me, I am on holiday. The picture should give you a little clue as to where I am.

I will keep an eye on the Herald Express for any news and will be back by the end of February which is well before the expected completion date.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Closed For Christmas and New Year

As you can see nothing much has been happening down on Rock Walk.

The photo above was taken on 17 Dec 08 and the photo below was taken on 31 Dec 08 and there any difference appart from the sun illuminating one photo more than the other. I expect work will start again on Monday.

Notes about the blog. Updated 08 March 2008

Not much is happening at Rock Work now. All the work clearing the trees has been done. A barrier has been erected to prevent rock falls from reaching the road. Now we wait for the geological survey in May to see what can be done to fix the rocks in place.
After that when work starts again later in the year I will post more photos.
Any news items I come across I will post as they appear in the local paper.

Or you can work through the whole blog to find more detail.

If you left click on a photo you get a larger image.

Each day has the label "Day", click on it and you will miss out the other posts.

Articles from the Herald Express are labelled Herald Express.

And so on.

Please feel free to leave a comment.