This is an easy walk on relatively level ground and ideal for families. Enter the watermeadow from Old Mill Road and follow the wooden walkway to Cockington village.
There is evidence that this was primarily and farming and fishing village - the remains of its harbour can be seen a low tide just off the Livermead Cliff Hotel - and the estate was owned by the Cockington family for 300 years from 1048.
Passing the 500-year-old forge, the visitor information centre and working water wheel you will see The Drum Inn, closed during lockdown, but a significant building in that it was built by Sir Edward Lutyens at a cost of £7,000, opening in 1936.
The pub sign depicts an Elizabethan soldier beating a drum and the original is attributed to Dame Laura Knight’s studio.
What was originally a medieval deer park, Cockington Country Park has been one of the Bay’s most charming cricket venues since 1947 but the focal point is Cockington Court, home to the Cary family from 1375 to 1654 when it was sold to the Mallock family from Exeter.
They owned it until 1932 when the estate was sold to Torquay Corporation. The court was built in then 16th century but few architectural features remain from then as it has been extensively altered over the years.
The Mallocks were friends of Agatha Christie and her novel, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans, is dedicated to Christopher Mallock. The family staged amateur theatricals in the Court and the Torquay-born crime writer overcame her usual shyness to appear in some of them.
Cockington Church, dating from 1069, stands alongside the court and its idyllic, photogenic setting makes it a popular setting for weddings.
Walking back through the park follow the sign to the lakes - they’re actually ponds but the Mallocks thought that ‘lakes’ was a more upmarket name - and at the gamekeeper’s cottage and if you’re feeling energetic you have the option of continuing through Manscombe and Scadson woods, emerging on the Old Paignton Road at Hollicombe.
Alternatively continue past the lakes and head back through the watermeadow.