Devon I

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

T’S a view that could in­spire the artist Damien Hirst and put a spring in the step of triple jumper Jonathan Edwards. But more of those two later... We were stay­ing on the fourth floor of Granville Point, an im­pos­ing, castel­lated for­mer Vic­to­rian ho­tel in the cen­tre of Il­fra­combe.

The views from our apart­ment, called Ocean Breeze, stretched far and wide, from the town’s seafront across the Bris­tol Chan­nel to south Wales. We had a bal­cony off the stylishly fur­nished lounge/ kitchen/diner and an even big­ger one off the spa­cious dou­ble bed­room.

And as we were hol­i­day­ing in Devon dur­ing this year’s heat­wave we were blessed with some stun­ning sun­sets as we sat there, glass in hand.

Granville Point is on a quiet road so there was noth­ing to dis­turb the sound of seag­ulls squalling and waves rolling in, seem­ingly be­neath our feet.

The twin bed­room had a Juliet bal­cony, the door to which we kept locked in case our two chil­dren couldn’t con­trol their in­ner ding­bats.

We were just a hop, skip and jump away from Il­fra­combe’s seafront gar­dens where we were sur­prised to find a trib­ute to Jonathan Edwards.

The Olympic gold medal­win­ning triple jumper moved to the town in 1976, when he was 10, and stayed there for 11 years.

Com­mem­o­rat­ing his 23-year-old world record, mo­saic cir­cles with bronze prints of Jonathan’s feet mark the points for each stage of the 18.29m leap.

Of course, I had to see if I could bet­ter the mark, but it turned out to be more of a hop, hop, hop, skip, skip... col­lapse.

The gar­dens are also home to Il­fra­combe Mu­seum, de­scribed as “a cross be­tween an Ed­war­dian col­lec­tor’s study and your granny’s at­tic’’.

A shrunken head and rows of pick­led bats are just two of the many cu­rios in this fas­ci­nat­ing place. Our daugh­ter was ex­cited to hold a mam­moth’s tooth, while we had to drag our son away from the ship to shore ra­dio sta­tion.

Next to the mu­seum is the eye-catch­ing Land­mark Theatre, known locally as Madonna’s bra be­cause of its un­usual dou­ble con­i­cal de­sign.

Here, too, is the tourist in­for­ma­tion cen­tre, where I’d heard vis­i­tors could pick up a fam­ily-friendly ‘trea­sure’ trail.

I had ex­pected it to be free but the eight-page leaflet cost a sur­pris­ing £6.99, which I reluc­tantly paid hav­ing al­ready promised it to my el­dest.

And the trail turned out to be a mur­der mys­tery based on the game Cluedo – cue “what’s mur­der, Daddy?’’, in­stantly killing the holiday mood.

It got worse. We spent half an hour try­ing (and fail­ing) to solve the first cou­ple of ques­tions and gave up com­pletely when bam­boo­zled by no.11...

“Along the Royal Bri­tan­nia Ho­tel, deduct the date linked to W. Wil­lis from the date re­lat­ing to The Bath House and add the date found near a draw­ing by G Rowe,’’ it read.

And this was sup­posed to be for ‘‘ages six up­wards’’! Still, at least the trail took us to some more of the town’s sights.

The walk to the top of Cap­stone Hill was well worth the ef­fort. From there we could re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate our apart­ment’s prom­i­nent po­si­tion. Here, too, we found a statue in mem­ory of a 14-yearold Rus­sian stu­dent who fell to her death from a cliff just along the coast in 2000.

The trail also led us up Lan­tern Hill, where a small chapel over­look­ing the quay doubles up as the UK’s old­est work­ing light­house.

Such tra­dional scenes con­trast starkly with an­other of the town’s at­trac­tions a strik­ing sculp­ture by con­tro­ver­sial artist Damien Hirst.

‘Ver­ity’ is a bronze work of a preg­nant woman. She stands on a base of scat­tered le­gal books and holds a sword and scales.

A “mod­ern al­le­gory of truth and jus­tice”, its sheer scale – at over 20m it’s the tallest statue in Bri­tain – is what grabs the at­ten­tion. But what keeps your at­ten­tion is that an anatom­i­cal cross-sec­tion of her head and torso re­veal her skull and a foe­tus inside her womb.

Per­haps not what you would ex­pect to find in a tra­di­tional English sea­side town, and it cer­tainly di­vides opin­ion –

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