Lyme Bay

Introduction

This area extends from the end of Chesil Beach to Start Bay.

This is a varied area, encompassing the steep valleys east of Exmouth, the busy 'English Riviera' around Paignton and the picturesque river Dart.

Times of high water

West Bay: High water is 5 hours before high water at Dover

Lyme Regis: High water is 4 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Dover

Seaton Bay: High water is 4 hours and 33 minutes before high water at Dover

Exmouth: High water is 4 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Dover

Teignmouth: High water is 4 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Dover

Torquay: High water is 5 hours before high water at Dover

Brixham: High water is 5 hours and 5 minutes before high water at Dover

Dartmouth: High water is 5 hours and 10 minutes before high water at Dover

Tidal streams

Tidal flows are relatively weak in this area, although small races do form on some points. There are faster flows in some of the harbour entrances. An impressive level of detail is known about the tidal streams in the Dart, perhaps unsurprising given how long the Navy have been operating their officer training from here.

Inshore streams in East Lyme Bay: The east going stream begins at 6 hours after high water at Dover. The west going stream begins at at high water at Dover. The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

Beer Head: The east going stream begins at 6 hours after high water at Dover. The west going stream begins at at high water at Dover. Inshore streams between Seaton and Straight Point are weak with maximum rates less than a knot.

Straight Point: The east north-east going stream begins at 6 hours after high water at Dover. The west south-west going stream begins at at high water at Dover. A small tide race forms.

Exmouth harbour entrance: The south-east going stream begins at 1 hours after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south-east going stream reaches a speed of 3.3 knots at springs. The north-west going stream reaches a speed of 2.6 knots at springs. The stream runs inward and outwards in all directions when the sand flats are covered, but becomes confined to a channel at lower water. The maximum rate at the bar (south of the lifeboat station) is 1knot. Rates in the narrows can be 3 or 4 knots, perhaps 5 knots on a springs ebb.

Between Holcombe and Straight Point: The east north-east going stream begins at 1 hours and 45 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west south-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 0.4 knots at springs.

Outside the bar at Teignmouth: The north north-east going stream begins at 1 hours and 35 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south south-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 10 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs. In general, flows between Dawlish Warren and Torquay are less than one knot.

Teignmouth entrance: The east south-east going stream begins at 40 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 35 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 5 knots at springs.

The in-going stream attains a rate of 1.5 knots at the bar, running in the direction of the buoyed channel until the banks are covered. As the banks cover, the south-going coastal stream runs inward across Spratt Sand (a large sandbank to the east of the IRB station). Later, once the north-going stream starts, it runs in across Pole Sand (around the point to the south of the entrance).

The stream attains a rate of 4 to 5 knots at The Point (southern end of the spit). It initially runs North in the channel inside The Point at 2 to 3 knots, before running north and north-west across The Salty as it covers. This gives rise to and eddy on the town side of the channel from New Quay to The Point.

The out-going stream runs intially from the road bridge across The Salty. As the tide falls, it increases and becomes constrained to the channel. Outside The Point, it initially runs ENE across Spratt Sand, later becoming confined to the buoyed channel. After 5 hours and 10 minutes after high water Plymouth, it runs south around the point to the south of the entrance (over Pole Sand)

The out-going stream attains a rate of 1.5 knots at the bridge, 3 knots in the channel off the town, 5 knots at The Point and 2.5 knots at The Bar.

Eddies and overfalls form at The Point when the flow exceeds 3 knots.

Hope's nose, east of Torquay: The tide flows north and south. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs.

Berry Head: Has tide races

Around Combe Point and Mew Stone: Outside of the entrance to Dartmouth - i.e. outside Combe Point and Mew Stone: The north-east going stream begins at 1 hours and 5 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south-west going stream begins at 4 hours and 40 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs.

Mew stone: Tide races form here.

Dartmouth Harbour: At the entrance narrows: The south south-east going stream begins at 35 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south south-east going stream reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.2 knots at springs.

At the beginning of the in-going stream, the SW-going coastal stream runs across the mouth of the Dart from the Mew Stone to a point south-south east of Blackstone point. From there it runs north-north east towards Wash Point and Kingswear Castle (Warren Ho area on OS maps). An eddy forms, running at 1 knot, towards Inner Froward Point, turning east towards the Mew Stone. This eddy continues until 1 hour and 15 minutes before high water Plymouth. The north-east going stream then runs directly into the harbour.

The in-going stream is weak along the west side of the mouth and does not exceed 1 knot until the narrows. It decreases as the channel widens inside the narrows.

The out-going stream runs south across the channel from Kingswear before following the channel through the narrows. It continues in the same direction outside the narrows before turning north-east to join the coastal stream. It turns south-west with the coastal stream after 4 hours 40 minutes after high water Plymouth. The rate decreases to 1 knot inside and outside the narrows.

Eddy south of Kingswear: On the out-going stream in Dartmouth Harbour, an eddy flows strongly west on the eastern side of the channel between Brookhill house (888 507) and Kingswear

Eddy east side of Dartmouth entrance: On the in-going stream, a weak eddy forms between Brookhill house (887 507) and Kettle Point (889 504).

Eddy inside Dartmouth entrance, west side.: During the in-going stream, an eddy flows strongly south and east from Bayard's Cove Castle (just south of Dartmouth) to One Gun Point, starting 4 hours before high water at Plymouth.

Eddy near One Gun Point at Dartmouth entrance: During the out-going stream, an eddy forms between One Gun Point and Castle Point (the Castle and nearby Church is marked on the OS map 886 503)

Dartmouth upstream of Kingswear: The north going stream begins at 5 hours and 45 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south going stream begins at 40 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north going stream reaches a speed of 0.9 knots at springs. The south going stream reaches a speed of 1.2 knots at springs. The flow attains its maximum by the lifeboat station and RN college, decreasing to 0.6 knots by Higher Noss Point and to 0.8 knots near the Marina to the north side of Kingswear. Outgoing streams can be stronger with high river flow, with 2.5 knots recorded.

Eddies in Dittisham Lakes: Eddies can flow up to 2 knots near the pier and floating pontoons to the east of Dittisham Court during the out-going stream.

Eddies at Anchor Stone: Strong eddies form at Anchor stone, especially during the out-going stream.

In the river Dart: The duration of the out-going stream increases upstream, so that at neaps or with high river flow, there is no flood at all by Totnes.

Tor Bay: Tidal flows in Tor Bay are very weak.

Notes

Straight Point Firing Range: Operates weekdays between March and October. Contact on VHF channel 8. Firing times here.

Access/Egress

West Bay Harbour: (SY 461 903) g Pay and display parking and slipway.

Eype Mouth: (SY 448 910) g Somewhat steep carry down to the beach.

Seatown: (SY 420 917) g Large car park by the beach.

Charmouth beach: (SY 365 930) g Car park by the beach.

Lyme Regis Monmouth Beach: (SY 337 916) g

Seaton: (SY 246 898) g Car park set back from beach on Harbour Road.

Sidmouth: (SY 125 872) g Beachfront parking

Dawlish Warren Beach: (SX 983 787) g Park at the far end of the car park to reduce the carry - this will still be around 200 metres.

Dawlish Railway Station: (SX 964 766) g Limited parking, but perhaps a useful option for a shuttle by train? A low bridge at the south end of the station allows access under the tracks to the seafront

Brixham Breakwater Beach: (SX 932 567) g Small car park.

Brixham: (SX 925 566) g Limited parking near slipway on the west side of the harbour.

Kingswear Waterhead creek: (SX 885 514) g Large car park and a short carry to the water. Good at high water, muddy when lower.

Dartmouth harbour: (SX 879 514) g Either use the public pontoons outside, or paddle into the enclosed harbour where there is a slip. Car park to the north.

Totnes Rowing club: (SX 809 597) g Council car park and ramp down to river just beyond the rowing club south of the town on river left.

Totnes Steamer Quay: (SX 807 599) g Steamer Quay car park, on river left downstream of the town's bridges. Best at high water.

Strete Gate: (SX 836 457) g Decent sized car park close to the beach.

Suggested trips

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