Nestled between Brixham and Kingswear, where the rolling hills of the South Hams meet the rugged South Devon coastline, Coleton Fishacre is a fine National Trust property offering a little something of everything for everybody. Developed by the D’Oyly Cartes, who built a dynasty from opera, the house is predictably stylish, and would have made a grand venue for entertaining during the Jazz age.
From the outside, the property exudes a sophisticated style that makes you feel as though you’re turning up to one of the infamous cocktail parties the family used to throw, and inside, an Art Deco theme runs throughout the rooms. That said though, as impressive as the building is, I wasn’t here to admire the scenery, I’d come to track down a rhino!
As part as an initiative run by Paignton Zoo to highlight the conservation threat facing wild rhinos, 42 life sized rhino models have been decorated and placed around the public spaces in the Torbay and Exeter area. It’s not quite Pokemon, but you can try to see them all!
If you’re thinking it can’t be too difficult to spot a life-sized rhino at Coleton then think again, with formal gardens, ponds, a private beach complete with tidal pool, an obstacle course, den making and Scout Point, as well as an observation point with fantastic sea views making an ideal picnic spot; there are plenty of grounds to explore and plenty of spots for such a creature to hide.
Eventually we found Rupert, named after Rupert D’Oyly Carte, relaxing in Coleton’s own Savanna amidst the bamboo and tropical shrubs. Decorated by local school children, Rupert embodies Coleton’s style of coastal meets countryside, while the horn is inspired by the curtain pattern from the main house.
So that’s Rupert ticked off the list, only 41 Rhinos to go!
Have you seen a rhino…? Share your photo if you’ve snapped one on your travels.