bowling in Devon

Talking Bowls is a new online journal, dedicated to bringing you news and information about bowling in Devon, the Devonshire bowling scene, and promoting the popularity of bowls as a whole in the South West.




 Independent Sports Blogger in Torquay and Devon


 About David


David Coombes is an experienced sports journalist, who has written for the Daily Telegraph and The Times, as a bowls correspondent. He has 20 years of experience in local journalism, and over 40 years of experience in bowling, having joined his local outdoor bowls club in 1979, and still playing regularly as of 2022.




Bringing back bowls in the South West

Covid has hit the popularity of bowling in Devon hard, with the epidemic and lockdown changing many people’s social habits, even after lockdown restrictions have been eased. Many bowls clubs in the region have seen attendances drop over 50% since pre-Covid levels.

Talking Bowls aims to foster a renaissance in indoor and outdoor bowls in the area, and keep people informed about activities, events, news and developments. Articles will be added here regularly to keep all our followers up-to-date. Watch this website regularly to keep yourself abreast of the latest bowls news.

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 To contact David about an article concerning bowling in Devon, or to sponsor the website: 

Contact 07899 866861 | Email   Contact



A brief history of bowls

There are Roman engravings depicting bowls as a sport, which date back nearly 2000 years. Bowls in England has been played since time immemorial, and was already well established in the 13th century. The oldest bowling green in the world is in Southampton, and hosted its first game in 1299!





‘There is plenty of time to win this game, and to thrash the Spaniards too.’ 

– Francis Drake




The game was banned to ‘commoners’ by Henry VII, who wanted English people to train at archery and war-related sports, but bowling persisted as a popular sport. It was during this period that Francis Drake was said to be so engrossed by a game of bowls, that when he was informed of the oncoming Spanish Armada, he coolly finished his match before organising his navy. It was not until 1845 that the ban on lawn bowls was finally rescinded.

The proliferation of lawnmowers in Victorian times helped make bowls, and many other sports that needed a flat surface, accessible to millions, and it is played in over 50 nations, as well as being a popular draw for spectators in the Commonwealth Games.

The golden era for outdoor bowls was probably the 1970s and 1980s, when the championship was televised live, and many bowls clubs were established.




Get in Touch

You can contact David directly about an article about bowls in Devon by calling 07899 866861 or email We welcome articles and contributions from all parties.

Contact Today

Call us: 07899 866861



Independent Sports Blogger in Torquay and Devon