Bigbury Bay is a vast expanse of water that is split into two at low tide by the River Avon. At the eastern end of the beach is Bantham, while on the western side is Bigbury-On-Sea which links to the famous Burgh Island (an episode of Miss Marple’s Poirot was filmed here). Both sides of the estuary offer challenging waves during winter and big storms while flatter days offer the opportunity to explore this part of Devon’s coastline.
The River Avon is perfect for a flat water paddle. Time it right with the tides and the current will take you all the way up to the small village of Aveton Gifford. Stop off and grab a bite to eat before returning with the ebbing flow.
The River Avon paddle offers some stunning scenery and at points you would be forgiven for thinking that you were somewhere more exotic like the Amazon!
If you are thinking of indulging in a spot of kayak surfing then observe the correct surf etiquette, as on good days the line- up will be swarming with surfers, SUPers, bodyboarders and other kayakers.
They don’t take kindly to water users not abiding by the rules.
The Bigbury side offers slightly gentler waves while Bantham can serve up some hollow wedges during big swells. If you are confronted by conditions such as these then consider whether your skill level is up to it before heading out.
How to get there:
Take the A38 towards Plymouth before turning off on the A3121 to Sequer’s Bridge. Turn left, following the signs for Modbury along the A379. Bantham and Bigbury are then sign posted.
Car parks are located on both sides of the bay with a café bar servicing the Bigbury side. Both car parks have toilet facilities. Lifeguards operate through the summer season.
The current that flows in and out of the River Avon can be extremely strong. If you are going to attempt to cross it then be aware of this. Paddling inside the estuary also needs some understanding of tides. Rocks, big swell, other water users and rips at the eastern end of Bantham should also be taken note of. Hostile surfers can also be a problem.
Ins and Outs:
Dropping your kayak in the water can be done from either beach. To make the trip up the River Avon, you can launch on the beach side and paddle round or drop in off the slipway that is located in Bantham Harbour. The steps leading down are just after the car parking attendant’s cabin on the right hand side.
The fishing town of Salcombe is located back east along the coast and here you will find a bustling and vibrant maritime scene. Plymouth is in the opposite direction – heading west.
Nestling on the south facing coast of Devon deep in the South Hams, Bantham/Bigbury-On-Sea/River Avon is an ideal spot for all the family – whether you are seeking flat water paddling, surf orientated kayaking or exploration and touring. Open tidal water separated by an estuary that can feature flat water, moderate waves and testing big swell days.