Combe Martin: One Foot in the Grave, set in Devon’s own Royston Vasey

Combe Martin?  A civil parish and former manor on the North Devon coast about 4 miles east of Ilfracombe.  You can’t really mistake this place, and you mustn’t.  Think Withnail and I and One Foot in the Grave, set in Devon’s own Royston Vasey. “Out of the World and into Combe Martin” as its old books say, Combe Martin is North Devon’s uber-complacent and decadent coastal ghost village, declining faster than Ilfracombe social skills.

It should be thriving with its harbour, scenery and ‘sheltered beaches’. And it does have a sort of council, allegedly. Instead, its tourism, reputation and economy are disappearing into the Bristol Channel. Not soon enough for some.

This ‘seaside resort’ is rarely advertised with a roar, more of a whimper; its dozen or so seaside tat shops barely open for half the year; the only all year round Cafe stops cooking at 3PM, you won’t find better. So it’s really just as bad as the rest of North Devon, but it’s far noisier for its size and more boring than a whist drive in a council office. If you are unlucky enough to end up here for some unfathomable reason, just drown your sorrows and feel like a genuine local.

There’s always room for fifty grockles and locals on the bumpy 30 seater trolley buses with manic [alleged] depressive drivers. The village is more deprived than Skegness and more miserable than Bognor, but it’s still the Mecca for organic hipsters, cowboy builders, cockney chancers, Brummie bellends and noisy yummy mummy clubs.

This eyesore backwater is a miserable public transport dead end where the only entertainments are drinking and idle gossip. That’s probably why it attracts the champagne property collectors, and all the awful townie grockles it deserves every summer. The only intelligent life lives in the local Wildlife Park, closed of course in Winter. The good news is that the village has a spiffing top chippy after the grockles go home, in fact that’s the only good news. Sorry.

There’s plenty of comedy at Combe Martin bus stops, when grockles suddenly realise they’ve made a terrible mistake. So if you enjoy a good laugh and like getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with the kids on a summer holiday evening – get your name down for a run down chalet. Travel about on a public sardine can with drunks, umpteen prams and yapping dogs. Victor Meldrew will be your driver, so don’t say you weren’t asking for it and don’t say you weren’t warned.

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