South Coast of Devon and Cornwall
Best months:
September to April

South Coast of Devon and Cornwall

England, United Kingdom
LAST UPDATED 20/06/2008
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introduction

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Mark Twyning: St. Micheals Mount, Penzance; 21.08.06

The south coast of Devon and Cornwall starts at Lime Regis over on the eastern border of Devon and runs through to Lands End at the very south western tip of Cornwall and the British Isles. There is a pub at Sennon, near Lands End, called "The First and Last" pub. The granite cliffs at Lands End are a great viewing platform to admire the stunning views of the Atlantic coastline and to see the storms rolling in, they also make for excellent climbing. To the east along the south coast back towards Devon is an undulating coastline of smugglers coves and sandy bays, all hiding their possibility of heavenly surf on just the right day. This really is just a beautiful place to hang out, surf or not, it's picture postcard territory.

surfing

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Minack Theatre carved from the cliff face; Andreas Praefcke; 07.04.05

Despite the fact that the south coast of Devon and Cornwall is renowned for its sleepy coves and fishing villages it is also home to some great surf breaks. It doesn't break as consistently as it's north coast cousin but all it takes is a big south westerly Atlantic swell to make it comes alive. With breaks like Porthleven in its listings it's a coastline to take very seriously, often throwing up perfect glassy peaks when the north coast is windswept and gnarly.

travel

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Shetland pony with cart; Kersti Nebelsiek; 11.12.07

The only major motorway (freeway) into Devon is the M5 which enters from the north east through Bristol, at Exeter it splits into the A30 & A38. There is a good network of 'A' roads through Devon And Cornwall, however when you get off the beaten track to some of the quieter surf spots the roads do get very windy and narrow with high embankments either side of them, there are passing places for on coming traffic. During the summer months and public holidays the roads here can be hell with long traffic jams as the rest of England tries to squeeze into these 2 counties.

There is one small international airport in Devon, Exeter International.

Domestic flights from Gatwick, Mancherster, Leeds and Bristol also go to Plymouth Airport.

where to stay

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Apache Wickiup; Curtis, Edward S; 1868-1952

Boutique hotel or friendly farmhouse, wooded campsite or cosy cottage - the choice is yours for your south coast Devon and Cornwall surfari. A good place to base yourself for a start would be Plymouth. This major city has more than enough choice for accommodation and gives you equal access to the south coast breaks of Devon to the east and Cornwall to the west. There's plenty of nightlife down at the Barbican to keep you occupied during the evening too.

what to pack

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Surfboard in the sand; Matt Smith/crystalbluephotography.com 2004

The south west of England has probably the mildest weather the British Isles but it can still get pretty bitter in the depths of winter (Dec- Feb). At this time of year you will to bring plenty of warm clothes: Long trousers (pants) warm pullovers, jacket, beany, scarf etc. In the summer months (May- Sept) shorts and T-shirts are the go, with maybe longer pants for the evening time. Just about anything and everything can be bought here if you forget any items there are plenty of shops etc.

For the water you will want a 5/3mm wetsuit and boots for the colder months (Dec-Feb). In Spring through to Autumn you will be fine in a 3mm steamer and maybe a shorty in the summer on the sunnier days.

Your standard shortboard for 2-4ft days will see you though most days, maybe worth packing something a little more business like for the bigger days on the reefs like Porthleven etc. And a fish for the summer smaller swells. There are also plenty of longboard waves around.

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