Movers and Makers in Kingsbridge Devon
PUBLISHED: 11:53 05 January 2011 | UPDATED: 17:39 20 February 2013
Devon Life meets three locals at the centre of Kingsbridge community life. Words by Anna Turns, photos by Martyn Norsworthy
AAt the heart of the South Hams, Kingsbridge lies at the top of the Salcombe estuary or ria, a drowned valley which does not have a river flowing into it. A century ago, merchant sailing ships would bring limestone from Plymouth up to Kingsbridge so that quicklime could be produced in the many limekilns that are still to be found on the shores. These days, ships have been replaced by leisure yachts and motor boats moored up at the Quay.
Kingsbridge still retains a lot of its charm, with individual shops and cafs lining the hill either side of Fore Street. Farmers markets continue to be held regularly in the square down by the Quay, a reminder that farming is still the lifeblood of the community
Dick Balkwill grew up on a farm in Aveton Gifford and has been a vet for 30 years. I love my job. And for a community like Kingsbridge, I really believe that a local veterinary service is vital, he says. In 1989, he and his wife, Anne, started the Selworthy Veterinary Group, which has developed into the four-vet practice it is today. We look after large animals and pets, which means I am both out on visits and in the surgery, says Dick, whose daughter, Emily, is also training to become a vet.
Dick and his family own four horses, five Angora goats, three rescued dogs, two rescued cats, a rescued guinea pig and a rescued rabbit, plus two African land snails.
I love Bowcombe Creek and enjoy taking our small fishing boat down the estuary to visit Salcombe or for an evening barbecue on the foreshore. We are very lucky to live alongside such a beautiful estuary.
Born and raised in South Devon, Ginny Edmonds has lived in Kingsbridge for the last eight years. She has been a member of Kingsbridge Gymnastics Club since the age of three, and started coaching at 14. Now, as coach of the Sports Acrobatics Squad, she helps train 35 gymnasts, whose ages range from 5 to 19.
We spend the summer performing our acrobatic displays around the South Hams, says Ginny. They are all amazing gymnasts and it is so much fun teaching them.
For the past year, Ginny has been teaching at Diptford Primary School. The best bit about teaching is that every day is different and children are so much fun to work with. Ive got involved with all areas of school life: I run a Gospel Choir, Cheerleading Club, Ive organised various sporting activities and Ive just finished the whole school production of Alice in Wonderland.
I enjoy going for drinks with the girls at the Creeks End down on The Quay, or sitting outside for lunch at the Seven Stars. In the summer, I go to the beach, especially South Sands at the mouth of the Salcombe estuary.
Graham Fish has lived in Kingsbridge for 35 years, with his wife, Susan, and three daughters. During that time there have been many changes but the constant in all of that time, he feels, is how inspirational the area is to an artist. His studio is at Bantham, where his passion for the sea is satisfied by painting and surfing.
Grahams desire is to produce something that stands the test of time. He likes working on large formats, but this year has embarked on a project to paint a small landscape of the same view each day through the year. The paintings themselves are 6in x 8in, but 365 of them will make an overall area of 5ft x 20ft. www.grahamfish.com
Harbour House is a great space to display art and the light is natural. The Red Earth Deli makes a great cappuccino, and the Seven Stars pub has live music, good beer and food. I also love to eat fish and chips from the Cod Father on a bench by the Quay.