History of the Park

The area of Goodrington and Youngs Park was a world where a watery wilderness existed, a marshland of little use, or so it seems. A large lagoon, or lake, locally called May's Pool occupied an area close to the sea. A myth was perpetuated about its depth. Parents warned their children of dire consequences if they fell in the 'bottomless pool'. In 1667, a chap called Richard Thorne did his bit to perpetuate the story by drowning there after falling from his horse. Hundreds of years later when Goodrington Park was being reclaimed, it was found that the "bottomless pool" was all of two feet deep. Now it is the boating pool.

In the Park there is a lone grave which bemuses curious visitors. 'The Major's Grave' has a granite headstone with a simple inscription. Goodrington Park was consecrated ground - a significant fact which helps to dismiss the theory that this is a grave of a suicide victim. However, 300 French sailors are reputedly buried beneath the park. A convent of Roman Catholic nuns cared for French prisoners of war. The Major was supposed killed in action but because he was English and a Major, he had the privilege of a head-stone and a marked grave. During the Napoleonic wars there was a hospital in Goodrington Park. It later became a private house, a catholic nunnery, and later a rather drab looking Hotel. It is now a friendly family Pub frequented by locals and visitors alike. However, casting an eye over the doorways and along the walls, will reveal its history as a hospital. Each area and room is still listed as a hospital ward.

In 1931, 80,000 tons of sandstone had to be moved in an attempt to prevent coastal erosion. The zigzag paths which weave across the headland looked raw and stark so Herbert Whitley kindly provided many subtropical plants, shrubs and trees to heal the scars and create some lovely surroundings.

There was a proposal to call these grounds 'The Alexander Gardens' after the First Lord of Admiralty who had a tenuous connection with Paignton. However a change of government resulted in this idea being abandoned. By 1935 the park, on what some people called Paradise Head, was laid out in fine ornamental fashion - a site of 'verdure, floral and aquatic splendour'.


The Park and its People

Youngs Park People (YPP) is a voluntary Community Group formed in May 2007 to help improve Young's Park, Goodrington. This active group have the management of many of the flowerbeds in the park, this is achieve by using money raised through membership fees and donations to buy plants which their volunteers plant. These volunteers also tend the flower beds each year and re-plant where necessary.
YPP enthusiastically seek community grants and have successfully been awarded grants ranging in amount. These include an O2 'It's Your Community Grant' of £1000 in their first year of existence, which enabled YPP to purchase gardening tools, water butts, and some structural plants for the flower beds.
In 2009 YPP were successful in their application for a 'Big Lotto Breathing Places' grant of £10,000 which they used to extend the boardwalk in the wildfowl conservation Area of Young's Park, provide interpretation boards and bench seating in that area and install CCTV cameras to cover the park. YPP, in partnership with Torbay Council, installed the boardwalk with footings and handrails.
In 2010 YPP applied for a 'Big Lotto Community Spaces' grant and were awarded £50,000 to build a bandstand/outdoor performance area in Young's Park. This was completed in June 2011 and is used for Brass Band Concerts and much more. Their website and newsletters list regular events making wonderful use of these fantastic facilities. Performances are planned for 3rd and 4th June 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee weekend as well as regular performances by Torbay Concert Brass and much more!
YPP have entered the RHS 'It's Your Neighbourhood Awards' for the last 4 years, achieving the highest ward of 'Outstanding' each year. YPP also produce the portfolio for Paignton's entry into the RHS South West in Bloom competition each year.
If you are visiting Youngs Park, why not stroll the short distance to Goodrington Beach too. A visit to Goodrington would not be complete without seeing the Seashore Centre down by Goodrington Beach. This attraction is run in conjunction with the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust. Many attractions inside are, or have been, found locally and the fish-tanks are constantly a draw for the young faces peering in.

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