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Beachguide » Bigbury
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Sandy Beach Dominated by Burgh Island
Submitted by:
16th May 2004
Amenities Available
parking camping cafes lifeguards toilets dogs disabled
Photo of Bigbury beach - right hand side
 by: kelvin
Photo of Bigbury beach - wind shaddow
 by: kelvin
Photo of Bigbury beach - the view
 by: kelvin
Photo of Bigbury beach - Aerial Shot
 by: IainO
Photo of Bigbury beach - Bigbury and Burgh Island
 by: justal

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Burgh Island is recognised as being one of the best kitesurfing spots in South Devon, but it's not ideal. First of all it is a very popular windsurfing and surfing spot, so you aren't very welcome if you are going to cause a nuisance. Opposite this spot is Bantham beach which is the better place to learn (and kitesurf generally) but Bantham is not as good as Burgh in certain conditions and wind directions.

Bantham surfers will head for Bigbury in a NW. It gets a little gusty from this direction as Bantham is in the lee, whereas the "right side" of the spit facing the island is ideal for this wind direction.

At low tide the spit between the island and Bigbury allows you to launch either side, depending on wind direction, but it does get very busy in the summer and unless you know how to handle a kite, avoid kiting here when it is busy. The best beach is just below bigbury. At medium to high tide this beach is quite small and frequented by windsurfers, so be careful. You would launch form this beach in a North Easterly. If you get in trouble and go downwind you will end up on the spit. BUT, if the tide is coming in and the beach is disappearing.......then you could be in trouble so BEWARE.

Sports Suitability
Surfing starstar
Surf Conditions at Bigbury can be Good
Buggying star
Buggying Conditions at Bigbury can be OK
Windsurfing starstarstar
Windsurfing Conditions at Bigbury can be Excellent
kitesurfing starstar
Kitesurfing Conditions at Bigbury can be Good
Wind Suitability
Windsurfing at Bigbury Kitesurfing at Bigbury
NW   N   NE
SW   S   SE
NW   N   NE
SW   S   SE

Comments on Bigbury


There are 4 comments about Bigbury. These are shown belowPost a Comment
Author:Beachguide Comments » Bigbury
Posted By: justal

Member#: 1
Registered: 21-07-2002
Last Visit: 24-01-2021

Mood: Just Chillin

Bigbury Bay is a pretty bay dominated by Burgh Island, which is only an island at High Water. At low tide you can walk across the sands to Burgh Island and enjoy a drink in the Pilchard Inn. Even at High water you can take a trip across on the amazing tractor on stilts!!

Bigbury is a popular tourist location and can get busy in the summer. Car Parking can be a problem when busy.

It's been a while since I was at Bigbury, so things may have changed a little. When I was there last there were no camps sites or other accommodation at Bigbury itself. It does have toilets, Lifeguards on duty in the summer months and dogs are not allowed on the beach.
Posted By: IainO

Member#: 153
Registered: 23-02-2003
Last Visit: 09-05-2011

Mood: Closer to the sea now

From a windsurfing perspective I would add the following:

The beach faces South so directions fron NE through to NW work depending on the tide.

NE - Flat/Chop wind funnels down the Avon Valley making for cross off freestyle conditions. If there is a swell it can make for classic down the line conditions as seen in a recent copy of Windsurf.

E-SE - Cross on port tack, can be fluky as the wind is coming over the cliffs at Bantham.

S - Dead on shore. A nightmare to get out as the waves close out really quickly. Unless you're desperate, try elsewhere.

SW - Cross shore from the right. Best at low tide as you avoid the Burgh Island wind shadow. Waves can get over mast high as you get out past the river and can break up to a mile offshore. High winds can close the beach out completely.

W - Awesome at high tide as the wind funnels through the gap between Burgh Island and the Mainland. Dead Cross Shore so good for jumps and riding. At low tide Burgh Island creates a huge wind shadow.

NW - can be fluky on the main beach but useable on the beach the other side of the spit of sand to Burgh Island.

Car Park holds over 400 cars and costs 5.00 for the day. Patrolled regularly by the Council (even on weekends and Bank Holidays, all year round). Decent toilet facilities and Cafe. Some free parking available next to the emergency beach access road if you get there early.

Nearest shop is Reactive Watersports in Plymouth. Staff are very helpful and you will see them on the beach if it's windy.
They also have a webcam overlooking Bigbury.
Posted By: Ian

Member#: 29
Location: Land Locked
Registered: 04-08-2002
Last Visit: 25-02-2012

Mood: Chilled as hell

Make the Car Parking Charges 5 for the Day
Posted By: IainO

Member#: 153
Registered: 23-02-2003
Last Visit: 09-05-2011

Mood: Closer to the sea now

Now 5.60 for the day - inflation eh!
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