The English Riviera

The English Riviera

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Torquay

 

This coastal gem, twixt Exeter and Plymouth
Since Victorian times beloved of pleasure seekers
And renowned for the healthful climate
Its atmosphere, that of a continental clone
Has long enjoyed the sobriquet of the English Riviera
Perchance a poor shadow of Nice or Cannes?

However in these modern days when all seek to maximize their air miles
Many more fly high over Torbay than ever sample its ground level charms
Thus its air of fading gentility not yet gone beyond maturity to terminal decline
But who knows – as this nation enters isolation mode over Europe
And foreign travel once again seems more of a risk than adventure
Let’s hope the resurging trend of ‘staycation’ will bring revival

But is this judgment on the delights of South Devon just too hasty?
On closer examination I was reminded that there is much to savour
On this southern coastline, whose strand encompasses tiny coves
Expansive beaches, garish promenades, and flotillas of shiny yachts
Bobbing at anchor, or riding the waves, under the eagle eye of the Coast Watch
And, even yet, throngs of holidaymakers, bent on pleasure come what may

So let’s not too readily dismiss this southern coast, skirted by
The reclaimed railway line as it speeds through Dawlish, Teignmouth
And onwards, via Newton Abbot, to Plymouth and far Penzance
Recall with affection the quaint village charms of Shaldon
Or worship the sun in sheltered bays at Babbacombe and Goodrington
A ferry to Dartmouth’s port, then Totnes, or see craftsmen work at Cockington

For those who still hanker for the Mediterranean shores
Should try just one more time to find their pleasure near at home
The English Riviera may conjure up an image less exotic
But the unbiased visitor will find that for food and wine,
For sport and leisure, and for stimulation of the mind and heart
No need to span the Channel, or escape these native isles

Ken Fisher

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