News from the Geopark

New Public Spaces Protection Order for Hopes Nose and Berry Head

5 Jun 2023

Hopes Nose and Berry Head are managed by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust on behalf of Torbay Council and are unique and significant coastal areas of the Bay, both formally recognised as Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI).  They are important for Torbay’s status as a UNESCO Global Geopark, and are natural beauty spots enjoyed by walkers, geologists, ecologists, anglers and other recreational users. 

The geology of the area is of international importance and brings people from all over the world. Berry Head at Brixham is also National Nature Reserve, a Special Area of Conservation, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, is part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and has the UK’s only Area of Special Protection to safeguard the largest colony of guillemots on the south coast.

A new Public Spaces Protection Order will ensure the important coastal sites at Hopes Nose in Torquay and Berry Head in Brixham are protected from harm and remain safe for all to visit.  

Previous Orders have been implemented to tackle anti-social behaviour at Hopes Nose since 2016, but the new measure includes Berry Head for the first time, following continuing concerns at Hopes Nose and increasing reports of issues at Berry Head.  

The Order comes into force on Friday, June 9, 2023, and will continue to December 31, 2024. It follows reports about the behaviour and impact on the environment of a significant minority of people fishing from the locations, which are important to Torbay’s status as a Global Geopark.  

There has been evidence of anti-social behaviour including large amounts of litter including fishing debris and camping equipment, damage from barbecues, unauthorised camping and intimidating behaviour, which have had a detrimental impact on the environment and the enjoyment of the areas by visitors.   

Most people who take part in angling and other leisure activities in Torbay do so responsibly and with respect for the environment. The Order is designed to prevent the activities of a significant few who have been ruining the areas for everyone.  

The Order sets out a series of restrictions backed by enforcement powers. They include:  

  • No anti-social behaviour 
  • No littering  
  • No fires or barbeques or anything similar 
  • Catch no more than 20 mackerel in any 24-hour period  
  • Individuals to leave the sites when requested by an authorised officer and not return for 48 hours  
  • No camping including no use of tents, shelters etc.  
  • No removal, damage or interference with minerals or rocks  

Anyone in breach of the Order is liable to receive an on-the-spot find (Fixed Penalty Notice) of £100 or face prosecution in court.  

During consultation including with the public, Devon & Cornwall Police, Natural England, Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust and Devon Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority, there was overwhelming support for the PSPO as a short-term measure to allow for the development of longer-term options for the management of these spaces.    

Cllr Chris Lewis, Torbay Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Place Services and Economic Growth, said: “The PSPO has been renewed for Hopes Nose and now includes Berry Head for the first time, after receiving overwhelming support during public consultation. The measures address the issues that have been identified in the areas by residents, the police and Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, and provide enforcement powers to take action if necessary against the minority who have been causing problems. It is important that we protect these unique, beautiful and much-loved areas of Torbay that are so popular with residents and visitors, and make sure they remain safe places for everyone to enjoy, now and for future generations.”  

The Public Spaces Protection Order can be enforced by Officers of Torbay Council, Devon & Cornwall Police, Inshore Fishing and Conservation Authority and/or Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, and any of these organisations’ representatives. Read the Order Decision Notice.