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Salcombe to Burgh Island

Salcombe to Burgh island by boat_edited.
Distance : 16.2km/10Miles

This is another great local short blasts for any boat in Salcombe.  Depending on the speed it can take anywhere between 1 hour  to 17 minutes as the distance is only 10 miles.

10 knots = 0hr 52mins

20 knots =  0 hr 26mins

30 knots = 0hr 17 mins


If this is going to be your first trip then I would suggest doing this one before trying to visit Dartmouth. There are less danger zones in this direction and it's a much shorter trip. However there will be no fuel at Burgh island and no real safe places to beach along the way.

As with any costal route, wind, swell and tide all play a big role in the safety of your journey. The most dangerous sections are the hidden rocks around Soar Mill Cove  and the waves at  Bantham.

Depending on how adventurous you feel then the tide will play a big part in the sections that you can or can't do. It's best to leave Salcombe two hours from high giving you the chance to visit the beautiful river Avon.

Sights worth seeing

The first obvious landmark you'll see is Hamstone Rock which is what we're named after. It's here where Rheece grew up on South down farm. On a high tide you can go inland from Hamstone rock and get close to the beautiful and mostly quiet Soar Mill Cove. In summer the waters are crystal clear and the costal rocks have spider crabs and lobsters if you're lucky!


Just before Hopecove there is a small seal colony in a deep cave. Please don't get too close and only watch them form afar as this colony struggles with tourist attention. Hopecove has two beaches, inner Hope (the first one) and Mouthwell sands (just around from the cliff). As you can see from the image below there are rocks sticking out a distance from the sea wall. Depending on the tide they could be very close to the surface.

Salcombe to burgh island boating_edited.

After Hopecove you have South Milton sands which is home to Thurlstone rock.

Unforcenatly this entire area is scattered with a sea cut platform of sharp jiggered rocks, so best stay clear. If you brought your SUP then it's a must to paddle through the hole at high tide! This is also the best beach for a sunset.

Salcombe to Hopecove_edited.jpg

If you have a suitable boat and enough fuel, then its worth driving straight out to sea from here. It's not uncommon to spot a small pod of dolphins here or the odd porpoise. Keep an eye out for circling birds as they will spot any sea life before you do. you should see Burgh island from here which almost blends into the headland.

Dolphins salcombe to burgh island_edited

Burgh island was originally attached to the main land but was left out in the sea after thousands of years of erosion. However its also left behind a sand bar stretching all the way out to the island, so again be careful of the tide and depth. 

Burgh island from salcombe_edited.jpg

Hopefully you left on an incoming tide and still have time to check out the beautiful and quiet river Avon. This can be a tricky entry as the waves form around the river and beach. Only go through if the waves are small and you feel confident, the waves will most likely be bigger on the way out and outgoing tide. Again very tidal here and you only have a few hours or even just an hour on a small neap tide. You will also need a chart plotter as the mud banks and large and channel is narrow.

Salcombe to burgh island and river avon_edited.jpg

The photo below is a low tide and big waves so please don't even think about going there in conditions like this. You can slowly (speed limit) meander your peaceful way up the river until it gets to a wider area. This is signposted with a Averton Gifford water ski area. Unforcenatly unless your a member the speed limit still applies. a little bit further and there are views of a lime kiln and lots of bird life. It's best to turn back here as the mud banks and shallow and the tide is probably starting to go out now.

Salcombe to burgh island_edited.jpg

Have a great day boating and we'll see you out there!

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