With Hooe and Hoe both having the same word root – ‘Haw’ or high ridge it’s not surprising to find the land climbing steeply from the water on either side of the Plym estuary. However, although there is plenty of evidence to suggest the creation of the valley, or ravine, that houses the Plym, took place over many hundreds of thousands of years, the Cliff Road that we have above West Hoe and the Undercliff Road we have between Hooe and Turnchapel, are both the product of human endeavour.
Prior to extensive periods of quarrying, particularly in the first half of the nineteenth century, the land sloped much more evenly down to the water in both places – the same was true of Oreston and Cattedown. The waterside locations made them ideal targets for shipping building material around the country, before the age of the train, the engineers of the Breakwater also found these locations particularly convenient.
It was this quarrying that created the cliffs referred to in these two local place-names.