There is plenty to do in the Geopark to fill your days but here are just a few suggested itnieraries for Family Fun, Adult Groups, and School and Student Groups (we do however recommend that teachers take a look at our Education pages for further details)
Please note that regular bus services operate around the Bay for details please visit www.stagecoachbus.com and http://www.dialabus.info/ for up to date information. Coach Parking is available at the majority of sites please confirm when booking your trip at the individual sites.
Family Fun - Travel Backwards Day
9:00am Start your day by fueling up in the here and now at Occombe Farm. The café serves delicious breakfasts, all local produce.
10:00am Turn your car into a time machine and head to Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves, Torquay (please call 01803215136 or check http://www.kents-cavern.co.uk/ for tour times, family ticket 2a+3c = £29). Incredibly you've already jumped back to a time when mammoth, sabre-toothed tigers, cave bears and early man made the caves their home. Enjoy lunch with Cavog the caveman at the caves.
1:00pm Back aboard the time machine to head to Goodrington Sands, Paignton and hang on tight you'll be travelling back to the Permian Period. All the red rocks seen here are around 270 million years ago. Reach Outdoors based at the Seashore Centre (01626 873625 or 07816 881 821) run a range of amazing outdoor adventure experiences from Kayaking to Coaststeering. What a great way to discover all about the English Riviera's marine life of past and present. Or, if the tides are right and you want to stretch your legs pick up a Saltern Cove Trail leaflet to explore the coastline to reveal the incredible stories the landscape holds. Build sandcastles with our pink sand on the beach (scientifically proven to build the best sand castles) and relax. If the kids are having fun on the beach why not enjoy the rest of the afternoon and end your day with dinner at the Inn on the Quay.
3:30pm Alternatively, if you still have the energy and want to take the final trip back in time head to Berry Head National Nature Reserve, Brixham, free entry all year (01803 883262). This 200ft high limestone headland is a spectacular 400 million years old! Explore the Napoleonic Forts, and wild landscape. If you plan ahead why not take a picnic and a bottle of wine, you could finish your day enjoying the most amazing view of the Bay.
Family Fun - Underground, Overground Day
9:00am Start your day with breakfast at Kents cavern Prehistoric Caves, Torquay (please call 01803215136 or check http://www.kents-cavern.co.uk/ for tour times, family ticket 2a+3c = £29) then head underground on a guided tour through the amazing passage ways of this scheduled ancient monument. Brace yourself when they turn out the lights it really is pitch black!
11:30am Head to Torquay Harbour head out to sea on a Geopark Sightseeing Cruise (please call Paignton Pleasure Cruises for times on 01803 529147) The cruise will provide spectacular views of the Geopark.
1:30pm Feet safely back on the ground? Then drive, walk or catch the bus to Cockington Village, Torquay. Take a horse and carriage ride through the park to Cockington Court (free entry all year, for further information call01803 607230 or visit www.cockingtoncourt.org/) and enjoy a late lunch in the licensed restaurant which serves local quality produce. This beautiful old manor house is set within 450 acres of parkland so plenty of space for the kids to run and play. You can watch sparks fly at the blacksmithy and glass being blown as this is a craft centre where local craftspeople demonstrate and sell their wares. Behind the Court you will find the Ark Play Area, suitable for all children including those with disabilities. Then wander or catch the carriage back to the village to explore the traditional thatched village.
Or alternatively head to Occombe Farm, Paignton (free entry all year, for further information call 01803 520022 or visit www.countryside-trust.org.uk/occombe) for the rest of the afternoon. Watch the workings on the farm and have fun exploring the beautiful woodland and meadows on a 2km easy-access nature trail. The award-winning farm shop and cafe feature the best of local food, together with an in-house organic butchery and organic artisan bakery. Open to the public all year round and entry is free.
Adult Group Tours - History and Heritage Day
9:00am Start your day with a delicious breakfasts at Torbay's oldest home Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves, Torquay (please call 01803215136 or check http://www.kents-cavern.co.uk/ special group rates are available if booked in advance) Here you can marvel on a guided tour of the Prehistoric Cave, a protected scheduled Ancient Monument and a site of special scientific interest. Situated in Torquay, Devon, UK, the cave has an incredible record of human activity from all three stages of the Stone Age, the palaeolithic, stretching back over 500,000 years!
11:30am Head to Torquay Museum. Ranked among the finest in South West England, Torquay Museum is a journey of discovery for all ages. The Museum's new interactive Explorers Gallery, one of the most modern and creative galleries in Devon, traces the incredible journeys made by Torquay's famous explorers, from the frozen wastes of the Antarctic to the depths of the Brazilian rainforest. You can also detect the real life story behind Agatha Christie, the world famous crime writer who was born in Torquay, in the only gallery in the England dedicated to her life and work. Take a break and Enjoy lunch in the museum cafe
2:00pm Wander down to Torquay Harbour and hop aboard a Geopark Cruise, please contact Paignton Pleasure Cruises or call 01803 529147for cruise times or to book your own personal cruise, to explore the Bay from its most spectacular vantage point the sea. The crew aboard will provide wonderful commentary about all aspects of the Geopark but if you are looking for something more specialist commentary can be provided by John Risdon, heritage consultant with a vast knowledge of the Geopark and Agatha Christie, by special arrangement.
3:30pm Depending on the length of your cruise you may like to finish your day with a trip to Torre Abbey (for further information call 01803 293593 or visit http://www.torre-abbey.org.uk/, last admission at 5pm) the Geoparks oldest Building. It has a story spanning 800 years and was once the most important Abbey of its kind in England, the brothers who lived here then were known as the White Canons. Following a massive three-year restoration project visitors can now explore the most ancient and hallowed parts of the building where some stunning finds have been unearthed
Adult Group Tours - Traditional Crafts and Local Food Day
9:00am Tucked away in a beautiful valley, start you day with a gentle stroll around the picturesque thatched village of Cockington. From here you can wander towards the big house or why not arrive in style, take a horse and carriage to enjoy the views of the formal parkland, ornamental lakes, cricket pitch and historic church. A warm welcome awaits you at Cockington Court (free entry all year, for further information call01803 607230 or visit www.cockingtoncourt.org/), where local crafts people demonstrate and sell their wares within this historical manor house. Enjoy a mid morning coffee and snack in the licensed restaurant which serves local quality produce, and you can visit our organic kitchen garden and rose garden.
12:30pm Now its time to head up the valley to Occombe Organic Demonstration Farm (open to the public all year round and entry is free for further information 01803 520022 or visit www.countryside-trust.org.uk/occombe). If you're not quite ready for lunch, enjoy watching the workings of the farm or reconnect with nature on the 2km easy-access trail through stunning open meadows and woodland. Fancy an al fresco lunch? Then head into the award-winning farm shop which hosts an in-house organic butchery and organic artisan bakery, or enjoy lunch in the comfortable surroundings of the farm cafe featuring the best of local food.
3:00pm Having enjoyed the sights, smells and sounds of the countryside its time to head seaward to the traditional fishing harbour at Brixham. Radiating a warmth of its own, Brixham nestles in the rugged cliffs at the southern end of the Geopark. Life in Brixham centres around its pretty harbour, where you will absorb the many flavours of the town in the bustle of one of Britain's busiest fishing ports. Wander around the many independent shops on the harbourside and watch the fishermen unloading their daily catch. Finally finish your day with freshly caught seafood from one of the local restaurants and cafes or head to the Berry Head Hotel for dinner. The hotel was originally constructed as a garrison hospital for the forts up on Berry Head during the Napoleonic Wars. Later it became the home of the local Rector of All Saints, Brixham, the Rev. Francis Lyte. It was here that towards the end of his life that he created the wonderful hymn ‘Abide With Me'.
7:30pm If you still have some energy left then why not take an after dinner, evening stroll around Berry Head National Nature Reserve (only10 minutes walk from the hotel). Here you can explore the Napoleonic Forts and end your day admiring the spectacular view to be had at the end of the 200ft high limestone headland.
Student Group 2 Day Itinerary:
09:30am After a hearty breakfast provided by Occombe Farm, set off from Warren Barn Residential Centre to meet your coach. It is worth noting that coaches are not permitted in Cockington village so there will be a short 10 minute walk to and from the drop-off point in Herbert's Lane.
10:00am You will begin your journey through time at Hope's Nose. As you walk down to the tip of Hope's Nose, you will have amazing views of Torbay to the South, and on a clear day, the Jurassic Coast to the East. Take care on the final descent to the wave-cut platform as the path is steep and narrow in places. Hope's Nose is a fantastic location for studying the Devonian Limestone formations and the fossils contained within them. There is also the option to walk further around the headland to find a raised beach. The beach was formed during the last ice age and species of mollusc can still be found preserved in the beach sediments.
12:30pm A short drive away, Goodrington Sands provides a suitable location for lunch as there are toilet facilities and the students can picnic on the beach. It is also the destination for the next section of your visit.
1:00pm After a break for lunch, there will be a short walk to Saltern Cove National Nature Reserve which provides an opportunity to view deformation, fold structures and the unconformity between the Devonian Limestone and Permian Sandstone. The route will also take you via Goodrington Beach where you can find Permian flash flood deposits (Breccias) and the mysterious burrows of an unknown prehistoric creature. Please note - access to Saltern Cove is tide dependant, please check the times of high water before your visit.
3:00pm The final site for your visit will be Roundham head which has excellent exposures of Permian sedimentary rocks. The cliffs clearly show how environments have changed through time leading to interesting patterns of deposition.
4:30pm Meet your coach and travel back to Warren Barn. The Drum Inn in Cockington Village is an excellent place to relax and refuel after a long day of field work.
9:30am Feeling refreshed after a decent night's sleep, it's time to meet your coach for another day travelling though time in Torbay.
10:00am Your day will start at Kents Cavern where your group will be given a tour of the caves. You will experience what it would have been like to live in the caves and will be able to see the remains of some of the creatures who may have shared the caves with your ancestors.
11:30am A short coach journey takes you to Torquay Museum where you can discover more about the history and heritage of Torbay. See if you can crack the explorer's code and find out more about some of Torbay's famous residents. There is also the option of a 30 minute talk about some of the artefacts which have been excavated from Kents Cavern and are now housed at the Museum.
12:30pm Students can either have lunch in the Museum café (Please let the Museum know before your visit) or take a short walk to the sea front with a packed lunch.
1:30pm A pleasant walk from the Museum and along the sea front takes you to Torre Abbey, the oldest building in Torbay. The staff here are happy to lead groups on a tour of the Abbey and explain about its turbulent past and the fascinating lives of the people who lived there.
2:30pm The perfect way to finish your visit is with a Geopark Sightseeing Cruise leaving from Princess Pier. The cruise lasts approximately two hours and takes you to Hope's Nose, across the bay to Berry Head and back past Paignton along the coastline. It includes a full commentary and provides an excellent opportunity to see some of the locations you have already visited as well as impressive views of the geology.
4:30pm You have now finished your journey though time in Torbay. Meet your coach and head back to Warren Barn for a well earned rest and another visit to The Drum Inn in Cockington.
Primary School Itinerary (Key stage 2 example)
10:00am The first part of your adventure will be out at sea aboard a Geopark cruise. This provides an opportunity to view Torbay from a whole new perspective and discover new features that the children may never have seen before. The boats depart from either Princess Pier, Torquay or Brixham harbour and the length of the cruise can be tailored for your group's needs. During the cruise, children will be provided with an activity pack which contains different tasks and challenges. The children can complete the activities alongside listening to an informative commentary aimed at their level. They will also be able to look out for some of the local wildlife which visits the bay including Basking Sharks and Dolphins during the summer months. Your cruise route and end destination can be planned specifically for your group. Potentially, you could travel across the length of the bay by beginning in Brixham and ending in Torquay ready for the next part of your journey.
12:00pm Packed lunch on the beach (Torre Abbey Sands)
1:00pm Having spent the morning out at sea, children will be travelling deep underground in the afternoon when they visit Kents Cavern. Imagining what it would have been like to live in pitch darkness in the depths of the caves, they will meet some of the fearsome creatures who may have shared the caves with our early ancestors.
Primary School Itinerary (Key stage 1 example)
Geopark Explorers Day - Led by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust A day themed around the idea of exploration and adventure that provides an opportunity for children to view a familiar area from a different perspective.
10:00am Upon arrival at the Goodrington Sands, children will be given a brief introduction to the Geopark concept, a health and safety talk and will be told about the day's activities.
10:15am The first activity will take place on the beach and will involve the children taking part in a time travelling role play game. The group will pretend that they have found a time machine and are travelling back millions of years to find out what Torbay used to be like. This activity will require some role play as the children will imagine that they have stepped out of their time machine and into a completely different environment: 375MYA it would have been very hot and they would have needed swimming costumes because Torbay was underwater; 270MYA it was still very hot but this time they would need a sun hat and plenty of water as we would have been a desert; 2MYA it would be a very similar temperature to today but they would need to be careful of sabre-toothed cats and woolly mammoths! They can also be asked simple questions throughout their journey e.g. What can you see? How do you feel? Would you have liked to live here?
10:30am Following on from this, the children will look at what the weather is like today, on the day of their visit, and different ways of testing the weather. Rain gauges will be used to find out how much rain has fallen in the past month/week/day, thermometers will record the air temperature and simple pin wheels made by the children will test wind strength and direction. These results can be taken back to school and used in the classroom for post-visit activities.
11:15am The next activity will involve the children, working in small groups, following a short trail around Goodrington. They will be given a series of clues and challenges which will encourage them to look closely at certain features and explore the area using their different senses.
12:45pm After lunch, the children will take part in a beach treasure hunt. They will be given buckets and a set amount of time during which they will have to hunt around on the beach to collect as many different items as possible. They will then use a grid, which they have drawn on the sand, to sort the items into different categories. Initially they only need to sort them into natural or un-natural but if there is time they could also break the items up into smaller groups e.g. wood, plastic, shells, food wrappers etc. They could also think about who these items might have originally belonged to and where they have come from. This will introduce the concept of sustainability at a young age.
1:30pm For the final activity, the children will be given Dictaphones which they will use to record sounds associated with the seaside and to create sound maps of the area. This could include waves, seagulls or arcade games and will vary depending on the time of year and will produce interesting comparisons.
Note for Teachers: This is just a sample of some of the activities available to Primary School children around the Geopark. If you would like to spend longer experiencing the English Riviera Geopark and would like to try everything that we have to offer, why not consider staying in Warren Barn Residential Centre? This is a residential camping barn suitable for all age ranges and will mean that you are within easy reach of all our sites. We recommend that teachers visit the education pages on our website or contact us to find out about all of the options available.