Following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon was brought to Torbay on a ‘man o’ war’ en route to exile on St Helena in 1815. As he looked out over the sea and caught his first sight of Torbay he was heard to exclaim ‘Quel bon pays’! (What a lovely country!).
To the western side of Torbay lies Brixham, a small historic fishing port that has been inhabited since Saxon times, with evidence of trading and subsistence living stretching back to the ice age. In the Middle Ages, Brixham was the largest fishing port in the south west of England. Known as the ‘Mother of Deep-Sea Fisheries’, its boats helped to establish the fishing industries of Hull, Grimsby and Lowestoft.
Protecting the harbour today is the massive structure of Brixham Breakwater, stretching for half a mile into Torbay. The first stone in the Breakwater’s construction was laid in 1843 and the original structure stretched to 1400 feet in length. Over the years more structure was added until the Breakwater reached its full length in 1916. On top of this breakwater stands the 9 metre high cast-iron lighthouse.