Devon and Cornwall are fabulous for paddle boarding, there’s so many incredible places to go. It was very hard to pick 5 across the two counties, so what I have done is pick 5 of my popular spots in South Devon and i’ll do a mini series for each area!
1. Branscombe, Sidmouth & Ladram Bay
I can’t possibly talk about the South Devon coast without talking about where I grew up! Sidmouth and the surrounding areas hold a special place in my heart with lots of memories of fun days on the water with the family. This area is part of the Jurassic Coast and is extremely beautiful. The red cliffs tower over the sea and make for spectacular paddles.
Here’s some paddle locations in this area:
- Sidmouth – A pebble beach and a fairly safe place to paddle with no strong currents, however keep away from the cliff edges because there are regular rock falls. I wrote a blog here about paddling from Sidmouth to Ladram Bay. Jurassic Paddle Sports operate in Sidmouth Spring through to Autumn if you wanted lessons, advice or someone to watch over you while you paddle.
- Budleigh Salterton – Another pebble beach and a big car park right next to the beach. Again this is a fairly safe place to paddle with no strong tides. Just make sure the weather and sea conditions are appropriate, Budleigh Salterton is fairly exposed and can be more susceptible to the wind.
- Branscombe – There’s a National Trust car park on Branscombe beach making access to the water easy and there’s a fabulous sea shanty for drinks and food. The water here is usually crystal clear. Again, it’s a fairly safe paddle with no strong currents but check the conditions before you head out on the water. There’s a blog here about paddling from Sidmouth to Branscombe.
2. The River Dart
The River Dart is stunning and there are lots of areas you can paddle along this stunning river. I wrote a blog about paddling along this river over here. This is a tidal river so before you paddle here, make sure you understand how the tides can impact your paddles. You don’t want to get stuck in the mud or find yourself struggling against a strong tide. It’s a very busy river so make sure you understand how to use the waterway safely so you don’t get in the way of boats and other vessels!
3. Bantham and Burgh Island
Tucked along the South Devon close is beautiful Bantham beach and Burgh Island. A glorious strech of sandy beach! There’s a car park right next to the beach in Bantham. You’ll also find The Gastrobus, where you can pick up locally-sourced snacks and drinks. The Gastrobus is usually open 10 am to 5 pm depending on the season and the weather. Bantham is also a renowned surfing beach but it also has some fantastic flat days that make for stunning paddles – just check the swell and forecast – I tend to use Magic Seaweed for this.
You can see Burgh Island from Bantham beach, it is located directly opposite Bigbury on Sea beach. The island is accessible at low tide by a strip of sand which at high tide is completely covered, leaving a ride on the unique sea tractor as the only means of access (or paddleboard!)
4. The Exe Estuary
The exe estuary is one of my favourites as there’s so much to see and lots of different paddles you can do. However, it is probably one of the most hazardous when it comes to the tides and currents. The Exe Estuary has extremely strong tides to make sure you know how the tide is going to impact you. Many people get caught out here, struggling against the strong tides. There’s a blog here on paddling from Exmouth to the River Exe Cafe. There’s blog here on paddling from Topsham to turf locks and there is a blog here on paddling from Exeter up to double locks.
5. Broadsands & Brixham
Broadsands to Brixham is a lovely paddle! Broadsands is a beach on the coast of Torbay. Make sure you understand how the wind could impact your paddle here. It’s a stunning area to paddle with hidden beaches and coves to explore. I have written about a route you can do over here.