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Borough of Torbay
Status: Unitary, Borough
Region: South West England
Ceremonial County: Devonmarker
- Total
62.88 km²
Admin. HQ: Torquaymarker
ONS code: 00HH
- Total ( )
- Density


/ km²

Ethnicity: 98.8% White

Torbay Borough Council

Leadership: Mayor & Cabinet
Elected Mayor: Nicholas Bye (Con)
MPs: Adrian Sanders

Torbay ( ) is an east-facing bay and natural harbour, at the western most end of Lyme Baymarker in the south-west of Englandmarker, situated roughly midway between the cities of Exetermarker and Plymouthmarker. Part of the ceremonial county of Devonmarker, Torbay was made a unitary authority on April 1, 1998. Tourist authorities call it the English Riviera on account of its beaches and mild climate; it is a popular area with holiday makers.


There are three main towns around the bay: Torquaymarker in the north, Paigntonmarker in the centre, and Brixhammarker in the south, which have become connected over the years, swallowing up villages and towns such as St Marychurchmarker, Cockingtonmarker, Marldonmarker, Churston Ferrersmarker and Galmptonmarker.

The County Borough of Torbay was created in 1968 by the amalgamation of the Municipal Borough of Torquay, Urban District of Paignton and Urban District of Brixham, also taking in parts of the civil parishes of Coffinswellmarker and Kerswells from Newton Abbot Rural District and Churston Ferrersmarker and Marldonmarker from Totnes Rural District. The County Borough became the Borough of Torbay under local government reorganisation in 1974. In October 2005 Torbay became the first area of the South West to have an elected Mayor with Nick Bye being the successful candidate.

The southern limit of Torbay is Berry Headmarker, and the northern limit is Hopes Nose, although Torquay itself stretches further north into Babbacombe Baymarker, where the beaches at Oddicombemarker and Babbacombemarker can be found; these are noted for their interesting Breccia cliffs.

Torbay is bordered by the South Hamsmarker to the south and west, and by Teignbridgemarker to the north. Nearby towns include Totnesmarker and Dartmouthmarker in the South Hams Newton Abbotmarker and Teignmouthmarker in Teignbridge.

Because of the mild climate, Torbay palm trees are a common sight along the coast. However, this 'palm' is in fact a cabbage tree (Cordyline australis), originating from New Zealandmarker. These trees flourish elsewhere in the UK. It is suggested that the popularity of cabbage trees in Torbay is attributable to their first being introduced to the UK in that region.

The area has a large number of European students learning English.

The fishing port of Brixham is home to one of England and Wales's most successful fishing fleets and regularly lands more value than any UK port outside of Scotlandmarker.

Torbay's many geological features have led to the establishment of the English Riviera Geopark, one of 53 geoparks worldwide; as of July 2008, this is the sole urban geopark.


Torbay has three stations on the National Rail network:

These stations are now operated by First Great Western, as are some of the journeys that operates through them since Wessex trains was taken over by the company in 2006.

Torbay lacks direct motorway links and is served by the A380 road from Exetermarker. This road route into Torbay from Newton Abbot is congested in summer and during commuter hours. There are plans to remedy the situation though no clear alternative have been found as the road passes by areas of outstanding natural beauty. A bypass has been planned since as early as the 1930s and has come close on a few occasions to being built, however the latest plan was halted in autumn 2008 so the long term future is uncertain. It is most likely alternative schemes such as traffic calming and alterations to the existing A380 road will be implemented instead.

The bus franchise is largely operated by Stagecoach South West of the similarly named group, that operates a large share of the market in Torbay and the neighbouring towns of South Devon.

Notable people

Famous former residents of Torbay include authors Agatha Christie (who set many of her novels in a thinly disguised version of the borough), Charles Kingsley, Edmund Gosse and Rudyard Kipling. Peter Cook, comic, (half of a famous comedy team with Dudley Moore; the great industrialist and architect of the nearby Atmospheric railway, Isambard Kingdom Brunel; Prog-rock band Wishbone Ash, supermodel Lily Cole and astrologer Russell Grant also originate from the area.

Tennis player/TV presenter Sue Barker - Born Paignton April 1956.

Twin Towns

Torbay is twinned with Hamelnmarker in Lower Saxonymarker, Germany (since 1973), and Hellevoetsluismarker in the Netherlands (since 1989).


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