6 Prime Locations for Canoeing/Kayaking in Devon and Cornwall

With the last few weeks of summer and long nights still on the cards, maybe it’s a good idea to take a long weekend away down to Devon or Cornwall for some time on the water?

Let’s have a look at some fantastic places to take your canoe out to make the most of those warm golden evenings ahead.

First up is Devon, famed in the canoeing and kayaking world for such meccas as the River Dart and the Tavy, but let’s take a look at some other waters for you get your boat on to.

The Jurassic Coast

This visually stunning stretch of coastline runs all the way from Old Harry Rocks in the east of England to the glorious Orcombe point in Devon. The whole area is converted as England’s first designated World Heritage Site; the coast is steeped in historical locations and of course, amazing waters gliding along on your canoe.

Set off at Old Harry Rocks, slightly west of Swanage, and enjoy the unreal beauty of the sea stacks as you head over towards the infamous K-Bay for some fun in the surf if there has been any swell.

The great thing about the Jurassic Coast is the magnitude of places you can enter the water. Our favourite has to be Durdle Door; a stunning sea arch that simply cannot be missed!

Lopwell Dam

For a tranquil day out paddling the canoe, head over to Lopwell Dam on the River Tavy. Lopwell is a huge weir where you can huck your kayak right over if you fancy some excitement. Lopwell is famed as a great place to give beginners an introduction into white water, and when there’s been heavy rainfall, you can get a decent shove down the slope.

With an abundant variety of fauna and flora, the area surrounding the dam as well as the water itself is a site of designated special scientific interest so expect stunning scenery and myriad of wildlife to accompany you as you paddle along.

Lee Bay

A picturesque village, which lays in a valley between Ilfracombe and Mortehoe in North Devon, with a fantastic local free house which brews its own beer and serves amazing food to enjoy after a long day paddling the canoe.

The jewel of the village is the bay itself. In the height of the summer season, it is still a quiet location to enjoy. You have a couple of options after launching from the bay; firstly, you can potter around the interesting sights near the beach itself; we advise either paddling a mile and a half left to Rockham bay in Mortehoe passing Bennet’s Mouth, which has a clean, freshwater stream running into it, ideal for topping up the water bottles. Secondly, you have the chance to head right all the way to Ilfracombe harbour which is a few miles, but makes a great paddle on a flat day.

Moving away from Devon, you can travel further south and eventually, you will end up amongst the crystal-clear waters of the Cornish coast; teaming with coves and caves to explore and some of the clearest water in the British Isles.

Here are a few examples of our favourite paddling locations in Cornwall:

Daymer Bay

If you’re looking to explore, then Daymer Bay could quite well be your paradise as it is the transition from the Camel Estuary into the Atlantic. The right-hand break here is famed for saving waves that compare to those in Bali, maybe just not quite as warm!

Paddling out to sea you will come across the famous Doombar, and on a big day, this will pound with surf. Get around the headland toward Polzeath, and you will find an abundance of gullies to play around in.

Just be aware of strong tidal currents flowing throw the Camel Estuary, and above all, have fun.

St. Ives

The cream of the crop for the laid back paddlers, this chilled little town sat in the far west peninsula bustles with culture, artists, bohemians and water sports enthusiasts all are looking for somewhere to escape the rest of the world.

St. Ives lays right in the path of prevailing Atlantic weather systems, which makes it as a place to embrace whatever Mother Nature has to throw at you.

The best part about the bays at St. Ives is that they all face in different directions, allowing you to decide which to pick depending on the forecast, swell, or experience.

Carbis Bay

As opposed to the full-on bays such as Godrevy or Gwithian, Carbis Bay is a lot calmer as it doesn’t get hit by those huge Atlantic swells. At low tide, there is a sandbar which makes for a lovely wave to paddle on, just stay away from the chewy backwash you get around the cliffs, and you will be okay. At high tide, you get a great shore break to mess around in, just be careful when landing the kayak as not to get too battered.

Just note, it can be quite tricky getting down to the bay because of slippery steps when wet and very narrow paths.

Looe Beach

Discover Looe beach at the eastern end of town, known as one of the finest paddling spots in all of Cornwall for its outstanding calm waters and sheltered conditions, perfect for the canoe. Exploring the coastline around Looe is the perfect day out on the canoe as it is filled with interesting geographical features, rocky out crops, small caves and towering cliffs.

There is also a river you can paddle up for quite a considerable way. It is worth looking at the tide times so you can use the ebb and the flow to help with the paddling. Exiting the estuary, you can either swing right and head over to Seaton if you have the daylight, or go left to explore the coast and St. George’s Island. Just watch out for strong currents around the estuary and fishing boats out at sea to be steered clear off.

With the summer seasons still keeping things warm and calm on the water, why not have a look at our canoes and kayaks for sale for an upgrade or a new rig?

1 Comment

  1. George Matten on July 6, 2020 at 7:07 am

    Lopwell dam is an SSSI and a private nature reserve. Launching craft above the dam is Prohibited.

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