Thursday, 16 December 2010

Tattie Vegitation on Rock Walk


More Work in January

The vegitation on the cliff face is looking a little tattie. I have been imformed that work will start in the New Year to improve the look of the place.

I do hope that more floodlights and in the right places coloured lights are going to be fitted to brighten the place up at night. It would be nice, Councillor Lewis, if it could be seen from Brixham without the aid of night goggles.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rock Walk By Night

From the top at night the best view is towards the Grand Hotel and Tor Abbey Gardens. Even at 9pm there were people wandering about looking at the Bay by night. But His Holiness the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Chris Lewis's claim that Rock walk would be visable at night from Brixham seems to me a little farfetched (see second photo).
A few coloured floodlights are needed to bring the cliff face back to it's former glory and to interest the droves of tourists Chris is expecting to travel miles to see Torquay's latest attraction.
The photos of the Harbour Bridge and the pub I threw in just to make up for the disappointment of Rock Walk at street level.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Rock Walk revisited

Saturday afternoon I went round to Rock Walk for the entertainment before the opening of the walkway up the cliff face. Had a brief wander round before having a few words with Professor Iain Stewart of Plymouth University. He was here to officially open The Royal Terrace Gardens, together with Nick Bye. Still I wont hold that against Iain who told me there was an other TV program on it's way which featured the North West Coast of Scotland, my favourite place on earth. I was going to get back later for the opening at 6:45 but at 6:30 the heavens opened instead so I stayed in. During the night there was a lot of wind and rain and I hoped the builders had done their job well and everything hadn't been washed away.

When I got up next morning there was a tree branch and the wild ground at the bottom of the garden. It had fallen down the 100 foot cliff face in the night.

To day, Monday, I had a walk up the steps, 150 up to the observation platform, no sign of a cafe selling cups of tea and ice cream but a fair number of people at the top taking advantage of the glorious sunshine and enjoying the views over the Bay. A couple of photos the 40 more steps up to the top. There is a pathway here that runs from Shedden Hill Road right across to the Harbour. This is the correctly called Rock Walk but the whole project is now know by the same name.

Here are a few photos.

Me up on Rock Walk. In the back ground is the Harbour which from here is overlooked by the Three Ugly Sisters.

The Viewing platform, sans cafe but with a few viewers.

The local long arm of the law making sure we weren't gettin high.

This struture is down at street level, this is what I imaging Ankh-Morpork would look like if it had been built on rock instead of loam.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Today's the Day

Royal Terrace Gardens Opening Festival
2 October 2010
A day of music and entertainment to celebrate the opening of Royal Terrace Gardens. (All events are free unless indicated).
Time Event Details
12 pm - 6.45 pm Creative Torbay Stage (Princess Gardens) A wide range of live music acts from across South Devon. The line up includes; Three Bags Full, Emily Howard and Friends, Hurache, Unsung Heroes, The Humanitarians and The Quails.
12 pm - 6 pm Geopark Marquee (Princess Gardens) Interactive exhibits and geological activities plus workshops, creative play, storytelling and other family fun. Exhibitors include Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, Plymouth University, Torquay Museum, Kents Cavern and creative activities with local Geopark artist Anna Kehler.
1 pm / 2.15 pm /3.30 pm Geo Cruises (departing from princess Pier) See the stunning coastline and discover the geology of the Bay aboard the Coral Star.
Tickets: £7.00/£4.00
2.30 pm - 4 pm Book Launch: The Official English Riviera Geopark Guidebook Come and meet BBC TV presenter (How the Earth Made Us and Earth: The Power of the Planet), geologist and Patron of the English Riviera Geopark, Professor Iain Stewart, who will be signing copies of the new English Riviera Geopark Guide Book. Copies of the book will be available to buy inside the Geopark Marquee
6.45 pm Official Opening Ceremony Torbay Brass Band will open the celebrations, followed by a special performance from the Community Choir led by Dartington Composer by Association, Hugh Nankivell.
BBC presenter and Patron of the English Riviera Geopark, Professor Iain Stewart will join the Mayor of Torbay to officially open Royal Terrace Gardens before the Grand finale, the light and sound show, Time and Tide.
7.20 pm Light and Sound Show Extravaganza: Time and Tide – The Final Act (Royal Terrace Gardens) What better way to mark the official opening of Royal Terrace Gardens than this; a SPECTACULAR animated light and sound show, using the rock face as its canvas. Music and sound complement an especially composed digital projection, as we see the rock face come alive. Centred round a live dancer, a tiny figure, climbing the new walkway, small wax rubbings and ink blots created with participants from around Torbay, are transformed from tiny moments into earthshaking events. The rock walk bends, stretches and rumbles as the awe-inspiring scale of geological time is mapped out before our eyes. A truly unique event, not to be missed.
8.00 pm Seth Lakeman plus Support (Princess Theatre) Local lad made good, Seth Lakeman, widely regarded as the UK’s foremost folk singer/ songwriter, makes his eagerly awaited return with new album Hearts and Minds.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a paid event. Tickets: £19.00 (£18 concs) available through or from the Princess Theatre Box Office: 0844 847 2315.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

More Photos

One shows the lighting in the steps and the other shows the lights at the foot of the rock face. Be better if it was dark, I hope.

More Photos from Top of Rock Walk

One of these two show Livermead Head and the other swings round to the Grand Hotel and the world famous balloon and includes some of the cliff and the road at the bottom.

More photos from Rock Walk

These two photos show more of the view from the top of Rock Walk.
One looks along the Princess Pier towards Brixham and the other shows Paignton in the distance.

Open Two Days Before Official Opening

At last, 2 years and 10 months since it was closed for safety reasons Rock Walk has been opened to Joe Public. I went along this evening (Thursday) as there was an item in the Herald Express saying all the barriers had come down and would say down till Friday evening when they would go back up for the Grand Oficial Opening on Saturday. This picture shows The area above the Harbour.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Almost There, The End Really is in Sight.

While on my daily wander round Torquay I noticed a poster advertising a forthcoming attraction concerning Rock Walk. Or as it is correctly known, The Royal Terrace Gardens. The Royal in this case being on of Victoria's daughters, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. She had an interesting life, click here to find out more. Anyway next Saturday is opening day as you can see from the poster on a nearby bus stop. Not a mention of the time though. Nick Bye will be there but don't let that put you off because Professor Iain Stewart together with a choir and all sorts of other attractions will also be in attendance. We might even get to walk up the steps and admire the view at last.

If you can't make it don't worry, I'll take a few photos and post them here.

This is from the Herald Express which does know what time it all starts.


The one-day festival celebrates the re-opening of the gardens after the three-year project to secure the rock face, restore the popular gardens, and with its flying staircases and viewing platform offering spectacular views and special lighting system, create a new attraction for Torquay

The festivities will start at noon and include street performances and live music by local bands, family workshops, and a spectacular 20-minute after-dark light and sound show. The day is topped by an 8pm concert performance by Seth Lakeman at the Princess Theatre.

For a copy of the poster shown in the photo PDF (560kb) click here.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Exactly When Will It Be Open? Does any one know for sure?

It isn't the time it is taking to finish the work but the continuing statements made by Torbay council saying it would be ready when it was obvious it wouldn't be. What was the point in all that other than a short term bolster to some politicians flagging position. For instance the deputy mayor said it would be open by the end of July; come the end of July when it wasn't open he said, Well I only meant the scaffolding and the Blue Wall would be down by the end of July and you would all be able to look at the cliff face, not that anyone would be able to walk up the walkways. No mention of that in his original statement.
I used to be an avid supporter of the council when the work started in Jan 2008 but now I believe they should have removed the trees, reopened the top foot path (Rock Walk) and left the cliff face alone.
Look at the photo taken yesterday (all the walk ways look like this) and tell me they aren't going to leave it like this. If they are then Councillor Lewis's statement that it is being built to last 50 years is clearly outrageous. If they aren't then how long will it take to complete the work. I don't care if it is next July; I just want to know.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Grand reopening 2 October

This is Rock Walk yesterday with only 37 days to the Official Reopening. All looks very busy, lots of work persons working hard. Hope they get it finished or someone is going to sound a little embarrassed when he says "I now declare Rock Walk well and truly open. Err..... sorry but you can only look for the time being but the weather has been against us. Come back in a couple of months." I only say this because Chris Lewis, the deputy mayor did say it would be open by the end of July. Mind you he didn't say which July.

It'll be great when it is finished though.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Grand Opening, Soon

A SPECTACULAR light show using Torquay Rock Walk as its backdrop will mark the official opening of the £3million restoration project.

A day of celebrations is being planned to mark the end of the controversial three-year project to clear and secure the rock face and create a tourist attraction with its flying staircase, lights and artworks.

Events on October 2 will culminate at 8pm with a performance by Seth Lakeman at the Princess Theatre.

The gardens will be officially opened at midday and there will be live performances and music. There are plans to have workshops and stalls all day for all the family.
The largest community choir in the Westcountry will strike up as dusk approaches, singing some 'rock' songs, followed by an especially commissioned 20-minute light show.
Events will be free, but the Seth Lakeman performance is ticketed at £19.

Cllr Lewis said: "While the gardens will be open for the public over coming weeks, we wanted to arrange something special to really celebrate the new gardens and get local residents and businesses involved.

There is still much work to be done and the place looks a bit of a mess but it is taking shape.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Gone, but replaced by something else.

The Blue Wall along Rock Walk has finally come down a couple of years after it went up. I think Torbay Council should have closed the road while it was being demolished and had a big party with a free bar-b-que and a band playing but never mind, it's gone. The blue boards heve been replaced by a see through fence so we can see what's happening. And what's happening is the walkways and viewing platform are almost finished, slight delay during the week due to high winds, the crane, like Mr Bye's balloon doesn't work too well in high winds. Not sure exactly when we will be able to climb up and have a look across the Bay at Brixham and Paignton, nor when the top pathway which was closed for 4 weeks five weeks ago will be open either but it will happen soon.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

'Singing' sound tests hold up at stairway to heaven Rock Walk opening

A bit more news on Rock Walk from the local paper dated 22 July 2010
TESTS to ensure Torquay doesn't end up with a 'singing' Rock Walk, just as Shaldon had its 'singing' bridge, were behind delays to the project.

Weather permitting, it is hoped to have the striking new walkways and their decorative wire railings open by the second week in August and the lower path open from the end of this month.

However, the contractors have been unable to use the crane in very windy weather to lift into place the dozens of custom-designed and built concrete steps which will form Torbay's own 'stairway to heaven'. Two days were lost last week.

Lighting has already been reinstated on the pathway at the top of Rock Walk after reports of the area again being used by drug addicts.

Work is under way to put in the Mediterranean style planting which visitors should be able to enjoy on the lower path from the end of July.

Contractors are busy finishing off the contemporary stairways and will be installing decorative wire panels under the handrails on which extra tests have been carried out to make sure they don't create unwanted sound effects.

The steel wires are to be individually tensioned and will create a shell-like pattern as the 230 steps work their way up the cliff face. The steps are having LED lights, and bespoke coloured and decorated feature glass installed in each riser and the lights will be visible across the Bay at night.

With the first plants, some giant stone obelisks and a smooth stone edging to the borders have been put in place, the gardens have already taken on a contemporary modern Mediterranean feel.

The opened out lower pathway offers views across the top of the traffic to the seafront and Bay.

It is aimed to take down the existing road barriers by the end of July. Some work will have to be carried out to repair and mark the road surface ready for the creation of the new meter controlled parking spaces, install traffic calming and signs.

A temporary fence will be installed while the roadworks are carried out.

When reopened the parking will be for three hours maximum with plans to increase that to four hours.

Some 2,000 plants will be going in, and 60 cubic metres of cockleshell used as a mulch.

Electricity cables have been installed for the light to illuminate the cliffs and trees and some of the metal and wood benches are in place.

The shelter at the Torbay Hotel end has been refurbished and an art work will be installed.

New flower beds will be created at that end.

A spokesman for Torbay Council said that as the testing had been done by the company providing the feature, it had not cost any more money.

She also said the scheme had not been delayed.

However it was stated in May that it was hoped to have the pathways open to the public by the end of July though some work on the rock face might still have to be carried out.


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Blue Wall will come down at the end of next week and Rock Walk will be open to the public at long last.

Well not quiet.Councillor Lewis, the man in charge said: "Everything is on target at the minute for Rock Walk to be opened to the public in the first two weeks of August.

"We never said that everything would be completed by July 30. We said parts of Rock Walk would be unveiled."

This is a quote from the Herald Express and the article went on to say the walkways could be open by mid August.

So when exactly will we be able to use the walkways as opposed to just looking at them. Same goes for the pathway at the top of the cliff from which the area has got it's local name, Rock Walk?

Sunday, 4 July 2010

More on open soon

The photo shows the work being done on the new walk ways. Soon we will all be able to get up there and take photos by the gigobyte of the Bay.
Below is a recent item in the local paper, The Herald Express, about the opening which is due on July 30 which is a Friday so I wiil probably be working.

A DATE has been set for the public opening of Torquay's £3million Rock Walk facelift.

On July 30 the wraps will finally be taken off the controversial scheme to turn the run-down, overgrown but much-loved gardens into the town's newest tourist attraction.

An official opening is planned for the autumn.

Deputy mayor Chris Lewis said the road system would stay as it is this summer.

Parking would be created on the cliff side lane, currently closed off, and the traffic will continue to use the seaside lane.

It had been planned to swap them over.

Cllr Lewis said: "We want to see what is proposed for Princess Gardens and we don't yet know what is happening at the Palm Court Hotel."

Plans to redevelop the Palm Court failed when the development company went into administration earlier this year.

The council has asked the proposed developer of the Pavilion, and buildings along the promenade, to present details to it next month following a public meeting.

Parts of Rock Walk have been closed since 2005 and the reopening has been delayed because of an extra £550,000 piling operation to secure upper pathways in the £3million overhaul.

At the cabinet meeting this week, mayor Nick Bye agreed to set aside £550,000 from its VAT 'windfall' following a successful tax refund appeal, to meet the unplanned extra costs of the project.

Cllr Lewis said they had saved some money on the project until surveys found extra piling was needed for the new pathways and supports because of the ground conditions.

They had kept to within the original £3million budget.

"We didn't want to cut back on the lighting and artwork which is what will make Rock Walk a special experience," he said.

"If we had cut that spending now we would never have finished it, which would have been criminal."

Pathways and a viewing platform have been created up the rock face which will be lit. Art works are also being created.

At night the multi-coloured night-time illuminations will be visible from across Tor Bay.

Parking meters will be installed on the cliff-side lane and it is hoped to create a new coach stop for the theatre.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Soon to be open again

At last Rock Walk is due to open once again to the public. It was closed in November 2007 as the cliff face was deemed to be unsafe. Trees that had been planted almost a hundred years ago were to blame. Their roots were forcing their way into cracks in the Limestone the cliff face is composed of and expanding those cracks. There was a danger that lumps of rock might crash down onto the busy main road at the base of the cliff. First the trees were removed in a 6 week period at the beginning of 2008. Half the road was closed and a boulder proof barrier was built along the central reservation by ISCA Scaffolding to prevent the possibility of a number 12 bus being hit by debris falling from the cliff. I am glad to say it worked.

Then followed a period of apparent inactivity. The council employed a company to carry out a survey on the cliff face to decide what exactly needed doing to make the cliff safe. In the autumn of 2008 a firm moved in to strengthen the cliff by drilling holes and insetting bolts, hundreds of bolts, into the limestone. Netting was also placed on parts of the cliff and a small area the required concrete support.

Over the last few months work has been proceeding to rebuild the walk ways that zigzag up the cliff so those who wish will be able to climb up and enjoy the views of the Bay and Paignton and Brixham. The footpath at the top of the cliff which is called Rock Walk is also being rebuilt and will open at the same time as the walk ways open. It had been hoped the work would have been completed for the beginning of June but a problem emerged that required extra work. If there are no more problems the area will be open at the end of the month. There will be a formal opening event some time later in the year.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Work Continues

As you can see there is lots of scaffolding zig zaging up the cliff face. In time this is where the walkways will be. Everyone is confident they will be complete by the end of July and the blue barrier will be removed and tourists and locals alike will be able to enjoy walking up the cliff and finally see the views of the Bay and Paignton and Brixham. Been a long time coming.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Latest News

So now the total bill for years of neglect is going to be close to £3million. Councillor Lewis, in charge of the project, confirmed that the recently discovered problems on the cliff face will also put back the opening until the end of July. Well what's an other month in the 2 and a half years it has already taken?

No mention was made as to when Rock Wall it's self would be open. Rock Walk is the pathway along the top of the cliff face that has now become the name of the whole area.

Councillor Lewis also said the planned changes to the road at the bottom of the cliff face would also be delayed for the time being. The cliff side of the carriageway would open for parking while traffic would continue to travel along the seaward side as at present. This arrangement would mean, for the time being more space for parking. The intended scheme would reduce the number of parking places in the area is disliked by many. It would have included a taxi rank and coach parking bays outside the theatre and a stop for the land train as well as disabled parking. This would restrict the number of car parking places to about ten compared to the 70 or 80 parking places for cars that were available prior to the work starting in Jan 2008.

Lets hope the wait is worth it.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Work Still Going On

More scaffolding gone up but it still looks like it will not be open for this summer.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Bad News I'm Afraid

THE reopening of Torquay's £3million Rock Walk project is facing a delay.

Unforeseen technical problems in creating new cliff face pathways look likely to push back the date, which was planned for June.

The above words are just a couple of lines from an item in the Herald Express. Last week as I drove past Rock Walk with a coach load of visitors I assured them that if they came back in the summer the Blue Wall would be gone and they would be able to walk up the cliff face and admire the view of the Bay from the soon to be completed walkways. (Should have known better.)

It seems that the supports that were being placed into the cliff face ended up in a hollow space and would have been no support what so ever. Councillor Lewis, the self elected deputy mayor of Torquay explained, "We have got to try to make sure we do it right, even if it costs more and takes longer.

I have a feeling Clr Lewis must hate the words "Rock Walk.". Which is why he keeps calling it Royal Terrace Gardens when everyone else calls it the mess on the sea front. Will he spend the rest of his life having nightmares about the place? Or maybe it will just go over his head.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

A Couple of Notices About Rock Walk

A Bit More Scaffolding Gone Up

Well Work continues even though we haven't had the best of weather recently. We should be able to see the final walkways being built soon. Hopefully Rock Walk it's self open soon as well. Rock Walk is the name of the path that runs along the top of the cliff though the whole area has become known as Rock Walk. This path will need some rebuilding and lighting. The view across the Bay, now visable since the trees came down is spectacular.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

It Will Look Good, and be nice to see the back of the Blue Wall

Point taken Anon. Perhaps I should have been more specific
about what I meant by 'the work'. True as you say the walk ways work did only start this Jan but the work on the cliff face, that is to clear the trees did start in Jan 2008.
In a recent post I made a comment that may appear to be critical of the firm building the new walk ways up Rock Walk. I also stated that the work had started in Jan 2008. The work to clear the trees from the rock face did start in Jan 2008 which is how long this blog has been running. How ever the council then waited Until Late in 2008 to start stabilising the cliff face. This work included fitting netting to the cliff face and boring holes into which long bolts were inserted to hold the cliff together. This work was finished in the middle of 2009. Then another delay before the walk way work began in Jan 2010. The reason given for both these delays was the council did not wish work and the noise it would produce to take place during the summer season and disturb the holiday makers. This will have delayed the completion of the work by 14 months. Had work continued without these breaks then the work would have been finished 10 months ago and would have been enjoyed by the visitors who were here last summer and we, the residents plus the visitors would no longer have to look at the ugly blue wall that is protecting us all.

I know the cliff face will eventually look good when everything is finished and as someone who went up on the cliff face several time while the trees were being removed fully understand why all this work had to be done. Basically the tree roots were tearing the cliff apart could have sent huge boulders rolling down the cliff and to quote Councilor Lewis," smashed into a number 12 bus"

It was the length of time from start (the clearing of the trees) to the expected completion of the walk ways in June that I was having a moan about in the recent post "A bit of a mess still."

Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

First Sign of The Bridge

One day soon (this year maybe) there will be a bridge across this section of the cliff. It will replace an old wooden bridge that was in a state of collapse before the trees were removed. It was also the centre for what the police discribed as "anti social behaviour". Drug taking to you and me. It is unlikely to return to that recreational use in the future as the whole area will be floodlit at night, till midnight any way 

A Distant View

On a grey winter's afternoon Rock Walk doesn't look too attractive from the distance. It is not all that appealing close up (see next Picture).

Looks a bit of a mess still

It's mid February and this will one day be the main walkway up the cliff. At the moment it doesn't look too promising that it will be open in JUne which is the date the council are hoping for.
The work started in Jan 2008 whichs means it's been going on, in fits and starts for over two years. Remind me again, how long did it take to build the football stadium in Wembley.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Walk Ways

Rock Walk

The team continue to make progress up the cliff but I am beginning to question the optimism behind the "Open by March" remark made by a Torbay councillor last year.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

At Last; Something Happening to Rock Walk

Nothing much happens to Rock Walk for years and years. Then I go away for a few days and the place is practically rebuild in my absence. Here work is going on to construct walk ways up to a viewing platform. The whole place will be tastefully lit up to keep the druggies and drunks out, sorry that should read, make the place attractive to holiday makers and us residents. Which will make a change after the last two years of the place looking like a bomb site.

One day soon Rock Walk itself will be resurfaced and provided with lights and the magnificent views of the Bay will be available to all. (Note; Rock Walk is actually the pathway at the top of the cliff but the whole area is now know by everyone as Rock Walk (except the council who continue to use it's old, long winded name. Which is so old and long winded I can't remember what it is) . The trees cut off the views having become overgrown in the 100 years since that were planted and hardly anyone went up there. It remains to be seen if numbers do increase after it is finally reopened)

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.