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  • Gethin Thomas

Brixham 2, Outer Harbour

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas NOVEMBER. 09, 2020

This is part two of my Brixham photo walk. It features various sights within the Outer Harbour and Marina. There is also a Fishing Boat Harbour not accessible to the public. Part one featured Shoalstone from the breakwater. Part three features the town around the Inner Harbour.

Brixham Harbour is located on the southern aspect of Tor Bay and boasts one of the largest fishing fleets in the UK, plus a thriving fish market to support it. Over 100 fishing boats land and sell their catch at the local Fish Market on the quayside. A visitor viewing platform is conveniently placed so visitors can watch the busy comings and goings of the fishing fleet, made up of large beam trawlers and the smaller day boats. Some of the smaller day boats can actually be seen working at various vantage points around TorBay such as Berry Head, Fishcombe and Hopes Nose.

Torbay has been served by Lifeboats since 1866 and Brixham has provided the base for a lifeboat since then. The Station was granted the Freedom of the Borough of Torbay in 1988. The Station is among the busier lifeboat stations in the Country and can anticipate around 100 launches in any one year. Brixham is a busy fishing port, there are five large marinas within the operational area together with leisure and yacht clubs, water skiing, para gliding, diving, cliffs (climbing, walks and falls!) - in fact any water activity you can think of probably occurs in the area.

Approached from the sea the view of Brixham with its many colourful houses cascading down on either side of the harbour is one of the prettiest along the South Devon coast. Brixham personifies the classic English fishing port, mixing tradition with a modern vibrant industry. The harbour has recently been subject to a huge regeneration project, creating an amazing new fish market complex with business and retail units.

Thanks to the registration system most of the boats are easily identifiable. The Hanna G from St. Ives. A potter/liner fishing boat launched 1992.

This is the Breakwater with the Slipway and Hard in the foreground. This expanse of sloping concrete is a Grade II Listed building protected by Historic England. Why would an expanse of wet concrete be Grade II Listed?

A Grade 2 listed building is defined as a UK building or structure that is "of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it". Buildings listed on the register are legally protected from being demolished, extended or significantly altered without special permission from the local planning authority.

Buckingham Palace is one step above this piece of concrete, as it is Grade I Listed. Have a good look at it and see if you can figure out a reason. The clue lies about 100 Kms South East of here.

Today this concrete Slipway is used for all manner of leisure activities but I wonder how many people using it know who built it and it's original purpose.

This Slipway was built by the US Army in 1943, initially for training purposes in preparation for the D-Day Landings.

One of these was Operation Tiger. During the D-Day Landings 2,500 US 4th Infantry and 32 amphibious DD tanks embarked from here on 4th June 1944 bound for Utah Beach, followed by three weeks embarkation of supply convoys.

It is an iconic reminder of D-Day and the part played by both local communities and the American military * Despite some alteration and modification , it represents the best preserved example of the standard type of hard and slipway * It is an important example of a historic World War II resource of national significance * It is linked to the nearby grade II* listed hard at Torquay * It has a memorial marker * It is associated with contemporary surviving defences.

HISTORY: The Brixham slipway and embarkation hard was built in 1943 as part of Operation Overlord, the springboard for the Allied invasion of German-occupied Western Europe. The hard was one of 68 purpose built structures constructed along the southern shores of England and Wales. Around another 40 existing slipways were used and some of these were adapted at this time. The Brixham hard in common with all the others was heavily used in the period immediately before the invasion and during the subsequent three weeks. The hard was derequisitioned on 27th February 1945. At the end of the war the associated jetties were removed and the concrete hard and slipway retained for commercial and leisure use. (Historic England)

2019 The Brixham beam scalloper van Dijck BM 362 has been through a few tough years, but has come through them with style, reports Quentin Bates. Now a major refit has been completed, which is expected to give the veteran beamer another 20 years of life. Skipper Drew McLeod said that it has been a long four months since van Dijck left for Stellendam at the beginning of February. The vessel arrived back in Brixham on 5 July. (

This view of the Inner Harbour gives a feel for how the old town looked a few hundred years ago. The original harbour was by modern standards very small. Brixham is built in a steep valley and brightly coloured houses spill down the sides.

These are seagull cages below. Not for keeping seagulls in but for keeping them out, of chimneys. A few years ago seagulls became quite a pest in holiday resorts. This was the result of all the takeaway food eaten by tourists some of which would go astray in the birds direction.

I remember about twenty years ago that they were a major problem in nearby Dartmouth, they were everywhere and even nesting on all the roofs. Many tourists would feed the birds, causing a huge boost in their numbers. Official campaigns were initiated to warn tourists not to feed them and it seems to have paid off. Dartmouth today has very few, although a handful of aggressive ones still remain. About a year ago I was eating a crab sandwich sitting on a bench when one attacked me from behind, over the shoulder and nearly made off with my lunch. So, be warned.

The scalloper Olivia Grace BM 63

Accumulate was originally the French registered trawler Saint Christopher that foundered in Dartmouth. It was raised, towed to Brixham, sold and renamed Accumulate . Currently undergoing refurbishment from July 2018. Info courtesy of J Richmond.

"Man and Boy" by Elisabeth Hadley, based on "The Wheel", an etching by Arthur Briscoe, unveiled November 2016.

"The Wheel" by Arthur Briscoe.

I don't know who he is but he and some friends were setting up a camera to take his photo.

Boats in the Marina and ships at sea.

I walked up to one of the upper levels to get a shot of the Inner Harbour. This will be part three.

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John Durham
John Durham

Seagull cages - brilliant! I detest the nasty critters. As a teenager, I worked with them at The IQ Zoo ( ) in my hometown. Long story short, I had to feed and clean cages, but also participated in "secret" training of the beasties for the US Navy to deliver messages from ship to shore. I got up in a church bell tower late at night and flashed a light to signal where they were to fly. Strange experience, among others at that facility.

John Durham
John Durham

And your tender bits, as well - they will turn on you in an instant. Often came home with numerous bites from the vicious birds. But, they do take to operant conditioning quite readily - greedy little buggers.

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