Want to learn more about how local geology and geography have sculpted Torbay creating the immensely varied and beautiful landscape we live in today?

Local historian and heritage expert, John Risdon, will be giving a series of lectures on how Torbay’s landscape has developed over time. The lectures will be held in Torre Abbey's LearningLab every Friday from 6 February to 27 March 2015.

Torbay’s Mayor and Leader, Gordon Oliver, said: “We live in a unique area of the country which has outstanding beauty for which we have to thank our diverse and complex geology and geography.

“It is fascinating to learn how Torbay has changed since the Stone Age and these lectures help us understand how the present day communities surrounding Torbay have developed and adapted over literally thousands of years.”

Local historian John Risdon said: “Our first inhabitants took up residence within the caves surrounding the bay and Kent's Cavern, in particular, has now achieved worldwide recognition as an important site chronicling the origins of early man in Britain.

“From the first simple settlements to villages, farmsteads and finally to the towns of the 21st century, geography and the intricate paths of history have shaped the varied communities who live around the waters of the bay today. Although situated many miles from London, Torbay and its people have played a considerable role in the development of not only Britain but Europe as a whole."

The lectures focus on the impact made on our landscape by the earliest inhabitants who lived here during the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. Saxon feudal Devon, the Vikings, Normans, Tudors, Civil War and Nelson’s Navy are all covered in subsequent lectures.

There is a final lecture on the metamorphosis of Torquay into the Victorian and Edwardian resort which is still evident. The course will allow you to participate in this journey and hopefully provide fulfilment and a greater understanding of where we have come from and why.

After Easter, John plans to run three guided walks linked to the lectures in Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Dates to be decided in discussion with the lecture groups.

The full course is £40 for eight lectures or £6 per lecture (£48 in total). Tickets can be purchased from Torre Abbey by calling 01803 293 593. As these lectures are proving very popular, booking is essential. For further information visit www.torre-abbey.org.uk

Lecture dates and topics

Fri 6 Feb Understanding Torbay’s Geological Roots - Geological structure and relevance of the English Riviera Geopark.

Fri 13 Feb Pre-History; earliest Immigrants and inhabitants - Stone Age through to Bronze, Iron Age, Romans and Saxons

Fri 20 Feb The Birth of Our Communities - Saxon feudal Devon, the Vikings followed by Norman Conquest

Fri 27 Feb Tudor Expansion - The Sea Dogs of Devon

Fri 6 Mar Anarchy and Dominance - From Civil War, piracy and 'open house' to the authority of Nelson’s navy (created by J Jervis, Earl of St Vincent)

Fri 13 Mar Victorian Torquay - Social, industrial and technical advancements of a refined resort

Fri 20 Mar Victorian Paignton & Brixham - Development of contrasting communities.

Fri 27 Mar Edwardian Torbay and the Birth of Modern Tourism

News archive