Headlands, Rias and Secret Coves
Much of the Devon South Coast is quite inaccessible by road due to the large number of river valleys that rush to the sea from Dartmoor. In their lower reaches they once meandered, but sea level changes created drowned river valleys called rias. Heavily wooded these tidal waterways are great for water transport. The River Dart, Tamar, and the Plym are the most well known for sailors.
In between rivers are rugged headlands and cliffs with a variety of geology. Planning protection for Devon’s coast in terms of ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and ‘Heritage Coasts’ mean has some great hideaways and secluded anchorages. Wherever you stop there is the SW Coast Path, which was originally created for the revenue men on horseback to patrol isolated peninsulas and bays to catch smugglers landing their contraband.
West of Brixham is the impressive Berry Head, its high limestone cliff’s home to Peregrine falcons. The other side of the Bay is equally popular with rock climbers and you can sail past the distinctive Thatchers Rock. It is rare to go East from here as the port choices are limited without covering big distances.
Dartmouth & River Dart
Only a short evening sail away is the almost hidden entrance to Dartmouth and Kingswear. The river is gorge like with a bend in the river which hides the historic ports until you are almost off Town Quay. The new harbour-master here in 2017 is actively encouraging the charter vessels to sail up the River Dart, creating a timeless scene for tourists and lots of sail handling for you.
Start Point & Hallsands
The iconic white lighthouse on this famous headland features in many maritime paintings, and marks the tide ripped Skerries sand bank. If you take the inside passage you might stop at the abandoned village of Hallsand, where buildings were claimed by the sea in a great storm.
Salcombe – Golden Beaches & Yachting Mecca
Not many harbours have such perfect golden sands revealled at low tide. Salcombe is a holiday heaven for those who love messing about in boats, but very busy peak season. If you are lucky enough to get a mooring off the town you can admire you classic boat from the waterside inns.
Newton Ferrers, Plymouth & Cawsand
Interesting pilotage up the Tamar or the River Lyhner if you want to get involved in navigation. Anchor at Barn Pool for a BBQ or the village of Cawsand for a seafood meal in the pub that sits on the county boundary. Behind the Breakwater you will find Navy ships, yacht races, ferries to dodge and dozens of navigational marks at night. You are on the border with Cornwall, so you might just go for a ‘foreign’ foray.