South Devon

Introduction

This area extends fro Start Bay in the east to Whitsand Bay to the west.

It encompasses both the beautiful rural backwaters of the Salcombe and Prawle Point area and the bustling port of Plymouth.

Times of high water

Plymouth is a standard port and high water throughout this area will be close to high water there.

Salcombe: High water is 17 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport)

Bigbury Bay: High water is 5 hours and 23 minutes before high water at Dover

Wembury Bay: High water is at high water at Plymouth (devonport)

Tidal streams

Inshore Start Point: The north north-east going stream begins at 2 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south south-west going stream begins at 3 hours after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north north-east going stream reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs. The south south-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.7 knots at springs. The north-going tide reaches a high speed soon after turning, flowing 1.2 knots inshore and close to 3 knots offshore by 2 hours before high water Plymouth.

One mile ESE Start Point: The north-east going stream begins at 2 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south-west going stream begins at 2 hours and 55 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north-east going stream reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. The south-west going stream reaches a speed of 2.2 knots at springs.

Eddy to south of Start Point: An eddy forms in Raven's cove from 5 hours after high water Plymouth. By 4 hours before high water Plymouth, the eddy extends all the way to the Kingsbridge Estuary entrance.

Eddy to north of Start point: An eddy forms to the north of Start Point during the north-north east-going stream.

Prawle Point: The east going stream begins at 4 hours before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west going stream begins at 5 hours after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. The flow is affected by the large eddy that forms behind Start Point.

Mouth of Kingsbridge Estuary: The south south-east going stream begins at 15 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 45 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs.

Kingsbridge Estuary by Salcombe: The north-east going stream begins at 6 hours before high water at Dover. The south-west going stream begins at 20 minutes after high water at Dover. The north-east going stream reaches a speed of 1.6 knots at springs. The south-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.9 knots at springs.

Bolt Head: The tide flows east and west. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. Tide race.

Bigbury Bay: The east going stream begins at 4 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Dover. The west going stream begins at 2 hours after high water at Dover. The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.. The west-going stream is weaker than the east-going stream.

Mouth of the River Yealm: The east going stream begins at 5 hours and 45 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west going stream begins at 15 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The east going stream reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. The duration of the outgoing stream can increase after heavy rain. Apart from this, streams in Wembury Bay are weak. The out-going stream runs west along the coast and then north west between Great Mew Stone and Wembury Point.

5 miles south of Great Mew Stone: The east going stream begins at 2 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west going stream begins at 3 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The east going stream reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 0.8 knots at springs.. This information may be of use to paddlers heading to the Eddystone. The east going tide varies fairly normally, but the west-going stream reaches its maximum after around 2 and a half hours, then flows at this rate constantly until around 4 hours before high water Plymouth.

South west of Great Mew Stone: The east south-east going stream begins at 2 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west north-west going stream begins at 3 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The east south-east going stream reaches a speed of 0.9 knots at springs. The west north-west going stream reaches a speed of 0.8 knots at springs.

East of the Plymouth Breakwater: The south going stream begins at 10 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north going stream begins at 6 hours and 10 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

West of Plymouth Breakwater: The north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south-west going stream begins at 15 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north-east going stream reaches a speed of 1.3 knots at springs. The south-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.1 knots at springs.

Plymouth Sound: The Bridge: The flow accelerates over shallows running south west from Drake's Island to the mainland known as 'The Bridge' The south south-east going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north north-west going stream begins at 6 hours before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south south-east going stream reaches a speed of 2.4 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.6 knots at springs.

Plymouth Sound, North of Drake's Island: The east going stream begins at 33 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west going stream begins at 5 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The east going stream reaches a speed of 1.4 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 1.9 knots at springs.. The flow turns about the same time as in The Narrows, so that the flood comes in through both breakwater entrances and flows both west and north of the Island into the Narrows and the ebb does the opposite. More detail in the tidal atlas NP221, although the flows are relatively simple.

Plymouth Sound, Cattewater: The east going stream begins at 6 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west going stream begins at 5 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The east going stream reaches a speed of 0.5 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 0.7 knots at springs.

Tamar River, The Narrows: The south south-east going stream begins at 30 minutes before 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 2.8 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.3 knots at springs. The flow through this constriction generates eddies and confused flows, especially around Devil's Point on river left. It is best to stay river right.

Tamar River, Hamoaze: The south south-east going stream begins at 15 minutes before 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 1.3 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 0.8 knots at springs.

Lynher River: The north-east going stream begins at at high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south-west going stream begins at 6 hours and 10 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

River Tamar, Tamar Bridge: The north going stream begins at 5 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south going stream begins at 15 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north going stream reaches a speed of 1.7 knots at springs. The south going stream reaches a speed of 1.3 knots at springs.. The river flow can alter these times by 30 minutes in either direction.

Tamar River, Warleigh Point: The north north-east going stream begins at 6 hours after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south south-west going stream begins at 30 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The north north-east going stream reaches a speed of 1.7 knots at springs. The south south-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.2 knots at springs.. Flows are strongly influenced by the river flow, which can change these times by 30 minutes.

Penlee Point: The north going stream begins at 5 hours before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The south going stream begins at at high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.. A tide race forms here.

Eddy at Penlee Point: An eddy can form to the west of Penlee Point on the south-going stream.

Rame Head: The east going stream begins at 3 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Plymouth (devonport). The west going stream begins at 2 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Plymouth (devonport). The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs. A tide race forms here that can form breaking waves a kilometre offshore.

Eddy to west of Rame Head: An eddy, flowing south, forms to the west of Rame Head on the west-going tide. As a result, the flow here is always southerly.

Eddy at Devils Point*: During the in-going tidal stream there is a strong eddy off Devil's Point.

Bigbury Bay*: Streams are weak within Bigbury Bay. They increase substantially around Bolt tail.

Notes

QHM Plymouth: Queen’s Harbour Master, Plymouth may be contacted on VHF channel 14. The port has 2 control stations, Flag Port Control Station (Flag) which oversees movements in the Hamoaze, and the Longroom Port Control Station (Longroom) which manages the Sound.

Access/Egress

Options for access become somewhat limited around the Salcombe area. The small roads round these parts make shuttles take much longer than you might expect. This is a good area for out-and-back trips!

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

Torcross: (SX 825 423) g Limited parking and awkward access to the beach.

Hallsands: (SX 818 388) g Free parking and a short carry across the beach

Near East Portlemouth: (SX 744 387) g There are few good access points on the east side of the Kingswear Estuary. It is possible to access a beach along a footpath that leaves the road just to the north of the public toilets near the ferry. It may be possible to leave a car carefully parked here. Avoid National Trust Car at the end of the road - expensive and unhelpful.

Kingsbridge: (SX 735 440) g Public slipway near car park, usable at least 2 hours either side of high water.

Salcombe North Sands: (SX 730 382) g Large car park behind the beach.

Aveton Gifford: (SX 691 472) g Car park with slipway. The road beside the river floods at high water.

Hope Cove: (SX 675 402) g There is a slipway at the south end of Hope Cove, but more parking is available at Mouthwell Sands, just to the north.

Bantham: (SX 668 438) g Ferry landing place. Steep track to car park.

Bantham Beach: (SX 662 437) g Long carry, especially at low water. Can be surf on this beach.

Wonwell Beach: (SX 617 472) g Limited parking.

Mothecombe Beach: (SX 614 476) g Parking is a steep and a long walk up the hill.

Bridgend (Newton Ferrers): (SX 555 482) g Public slipway, dries 2 hours either side of low water.

Wembury: (SX 517 485) g A reasonably sized car park. Carry down steep steps to the beach - an awkward carry especially at low water.

Bovisand beach: (SX 492 506) g Significant carry to the car park.

Plymouth: Elphinstone car park: (SX 483 537) g Large car park with slipway.

Cawsand: (SX 435 502) g The road terminates at a slipway onto the beach. Drop boats here (or in the nearby square) before parking in the large car village car park.

Calstock: (SX 435 685) g Slipway and public pontoon near the Tamar Inn.

Suggested trips

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