This August marks the fifth anniversary of historic local attraction, Babbacombe Cliff Railway, being owned and managed by a specially set up Community Interest Company. Run by a voluntary Board of Directors the railway has gone from strength to strength in recent years and transports around 100,000 people a year up and down the cliffs from Babbacombe Downs to Oddicombe Beach.
To celebrate this a very special anniversary afternoon is planned on Saturday 2 August. Designed to be a family event there is entertainment for the children, including free face painting and fun tattoos with some balloon modelling as well. But the key part of the day is the Babbacombe Ukulele Festival which is bringing together five local ukulele groups to play and sing and entertain the crowds throughout the afternoon. An open-sided marquee will be on the promenade with plenty of seating and visitors are encouraged to come along and enjoy several hours of live music.
Babbacombe Cliff Railway CIC Chairman, John Ayres, said “We’re very excited about this event. It’s wonderful to have had five successful years running the Cliff Railway and we’re hoping for many more successful ones to come.” He added “As one of the founding members of the Babbacombe Ukulele Strummers, it’s particularly nice to be able to bring the two together. We’ve got ukulele bands from Babbacombe, Hatherleigh, Torbay, Marldon and Newton Abbot so should have some fantastic music on offer from 12.30pm to 4pm. The plan is for everyone to play a few songs en masse at the end too so should be a great afternoon.”
After the devastating storms earlier in the year, the Cliff Railway Visitor Centre down on Oddicombe Beach is open again and welcoming lots of visitors each day. There are also now catering vans on the beach, after the Café was badly damaged so ice creams, drinks and all sorts of tasty delights are available to those visiting Oddicombe.
The event is free to attend although normal Cliff Railway charges apply to travellers. Starting at 12 noon when there will also be a number of charity stalls to browse make sure you pop in and help celebrate this latest milestone for Babbacombe Cliff Railway which transported its first passengers back in 1926. For more information visit www.babbacombecliffrailway.co.uk
It’s 1926 and the world famous “Babbacombe Dazzler” diamond has been stolen from the Babbacombe Cliff Railway Visitor Centre on Oddicombe Beach. Who took it and why? There’s mystery and intrigue wherever you look at the Babbacombe Cliff Railway Agatha Christie Festival event on Saturday 21 September and all are invited to bring their detecting skills and work out whodunnit.
Nicky Allen, Marketing Manager of the Cliff Railway, says “We took part in our first Agatha Christie Festival last year and we got a great response. Lots of people came along to solve the mystery and all those involved really enjoyed it. This year we have another great mystery to solve and some very interesting characters for the public to come and question. The action takes place between 12 noon and 4pm and we’ll have live music down on the beach all afternoon from great local jazz band “High Society” as well as the Babbacombe Ukulele Strummers putting in an appearance. With plenty of clues to be found and a cast of 1920’s extras to help we hope that people will enjoy putting the pieces together and seeing if they can work out who stole the dazzling diamond.”
The event will finish at 4pm with the unmasking of the thief. Nicky added “Our wonderful 1926 policeman, whom I’m sure everyone will remember from last year’s event, will be on hand to ensure that justice prevails.”
This event is completely free of charge to enjoy (usual Babbacombe Cliff Railway fares still apply). So, if you’d like to meet “The Unusual Suspects” and get involved in a bit of crime-solving fun make sure you’re on Oddicombe Beach between noon and 4pm on Saturday 21 September.
For more details on this and all the other Festival events go to www.agathachristiefestival.co.uk
On Easter Monday, 1 April, there’s a fun Easter Egg Trail for children at Babbacombe Cliff Railway. From 10.30am the first 150 children to travel on the Cliff Railway will be given a treasure trail form to complete. Around the stations and beach there are pictures of 8 eggs to find. Each egg has a name and the children need to make a note of the names of all the eggs. Once their treasure trail form is completed they hand it in at the Visitor Centre on Oddicombe Beach to receive a special Easter treat. The event will end at 2pm (or when stocks of treats run out!)
Nicky Allen, Marketing Manager for the Cliff Railway, said “We’re looking forward to a bit of Easter Fun on the Monday. As well as our Easter Egg trail we have live music down on the beach at 11am, kindly supplied by the fabulous Babbacombe Ukulele Strummers who will be performing some great sing-a-long numbers for half an hour or so.” She added “We’re hoping to see lots of families at the event and, obviously, we’re hoping for a nice, sunny day. The Cliff Railway opened for the season back in February and we’ve already had lots of visitors. This time last year we opened our Visitor Centre down on Oddicombe Beach which is free to look around and has proved incredibly popular with locals and holidaymakers. It gives people a chance to find out more about the history of the railway and how it works.”
The Visitor Centre is manned by volunteers and the Cliff Railway is always looking for new volunteers to get involved. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or would like to find out more, pop along on Easter Monday for a chat about what it involves. Cliff Railway Administrator, Melanie Sweet, said “We have a great band of volunteers helping out in the Visitor Centre. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty good place to work, the gorgeous Oddicombe Beach. We even have our own deckchairs! We’re a very friendly group and I know that a lot of the volunteers have made new friends by coming along and working in the Visitor Centre. It would be great to have some new volunteers for this season. We just need some friendly, welcoming people to ensure our visitors have a good time and enjoy looking around.”
Babbacombe Cliff Railway has its own website at www.babbacombecliffrailway.co.uk, you can Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/babbcliffrail or follow them on Twitter @BabbCliffRail for all the very latest news.
The sun came out for the first weekend of the 2012 Babbacombe Festival and crowds enjoyed a varied programme of activities including the Local History Society Exhibition and live music on a sun-soaked Oddicombe Beach while the Sailing Regatta was taking place out in the bay. Torbay Owls drew lots of admirers on Babbacombe Downs and a great variety of stalls were on show at the ‘Festival Fare’ event held in St Marychurch Precinct. The patchwork and quilting exhibition in Furrough Cross Church Hall was also a big success.
The Festival however is still far from over with a host of activities and events for the coming weekend. On Thursday 21 June you can join a free guided historical walk around the area starting at the Dolphin Inn in St Marychurch at 2.30pm and lasting around 90 minutes. The Furrough Cross Flower Festival opens its doors for its 3-day run and the Real Ale Festival with Barn Dance is on in the HSBC Marquee on Babbacombe Downs that evening from 7.30pm. Over 20 real ales and ciders available and tickets are just £6 per person with tickets available to buy on the door.
Friday is “Health Thyme” in the Marquee. A day-long health and wellbeing exhibition which is completely free to visit. There will also be free guided walks around the delightful Tessier Gardens all day, just turn up at the main entrance in Lindridge Road. The day finishes with the ever-popular German Oompah Night.
Saturday and its Armed Forces Day on the Downs. There’s music, pomp and ceremony as well as some fantastic aircraft lined up to display. Fun starts at 10am with the Veterans’ Parade at 1pm and the air display at 3pm. The Uko-fonics ukulele band will be in various locations around the area entertaining as they go and David Hanbury’s Vegas Spectacular will take place in the evening.
Sunday and Babbacombe Downs is home to the Lions Club Fête, Torbay Owls and the now-famous Hanbury’s Fish and Chips on the Downs Music Festival where there’s great food and wonderful entertainment from 12 noon onwards. With a ukulele workshop in St Anne’s Hall for anyone who fancies trying a ukulele and meeting some of the members of the Babbacombe Ukulele Group, make the most of Babbacombe this weekend and get to as many events as you can.
For more information on all 2012 Babbacombe Festival events as well as a picture gallery of what’s been going on so far go to www.babbacombe.org
After all the excitement of last weekend’s torch procession through the bay, this Saturday 26 May will see the 1948 sailing relay torch arrive on Oddicombe Beach at around 2pm. It will have travelled by sea from Brixham along with a flotilla of boats.
There will then be some great family fun with games down on Oddicombe before the torch travels up in a Babbacombe Cliff Railway carriage at around 5pm where it will then be taken to Babbacombe Corinthian Sailing Club for an evening of celebrations.
Activities down on the beach will include Mummy warp, Horse shoes, Frisbee Golf, Water Balloon challenge, Big Squeeze and a Tug of war.
There will also be a free taster sailing session for anyone who is interested in learning to sail whatever their age.
John Ayres, Chairman of the Babbacombe Cliff Railway Community Interest Company, said “We are delighted to be able to help transport the 1948 torch and be a part of the celebrations. It’s great that it will be at Oddicombe Beach and hopefully people will come along to see it. It’s the perfect opportunity to visit the Cliff Railway Visitor Centre as well as find out more about Babbacombe Sailing Club.”
After its night in Babbacombe the torch will go back down to Oddicombe early on Sunday morning where it will set sail for its next port of call, Teignmouth.