Plymouth Holiday - Good Things and Bad Things?


New member
16 May 2001
Warsash, R Hamble, UK
Having read about the joys of sailing in and around Plymouth Sound in 'another' sailing magazine, we have booked up to stay at a Saltash campsite with our 18ft lift keel trailer sailer and three small children (4 - 18 August).

Does any one have any suggestions about what to do and what not to do, where to go and where not to go etc.


Jane and Mark


New member
14 Jun 2001
Aberdeen, UK
Hope you have a good time. A few suggestions, from someone who's been based in Plymouth for a couple of years.

I imagine you're looking for daysails, with 3 young children and an 18 footer. First of all, the tide's quite strong in the river, so you really need to time trips to have a favourable tide, both there and back. You're well placed in Saltash for a variety of trips. A few suggestions below:

1) Up the Tamar to Cargreen. Quayside at the Crooked Spaniards Inn which you can lie alongside for a few hours either side of high water. Either go to the inn for lunch (I guess you're honour bound to have at least a drink there!) or follow the shore south to the park by a small beach just as you come out fo the village. May even be a slide and some swings there, but don't pin the kid's hopes on them - I can't remember for certain!

2) Up the Lynher. A nice sail as far as the Dandy Hole, and on a rising tide you've the whole expanse of the river to tack across (assuming you draw, as I do, not more than a couple of feet). Unless its blowing a gale, you'll almost certainly be blanketed by trees where the river turns north beyond the Dandy Hole, but you could either motor up to St Germans, or land on the north shore at the bend in the river for a run around / picnic on the shore. Alternatively, if you take the south branch of the river to Wacker Quay there's a car park / picnic area there which you could moor by for an hour or so at high water. But it does get very shallow in there and its pleasanter and quieter out on the main river.

3) South down the Tamar. Enjoy looking at the submarines and naval ships moored at Devonport dockyard, then you've a couple of choices:
a) Head west into Millbrook Lake. Lovely spot, really quiet once you get out of earshot of the dockyard, and you can go ashore either by coming alongside the wall at the south side at high water or onto the lovely beach in the southeastern corner of the lake - tucked away round the point which is on your left as you come off the main river. Beware, there's a spit which protrudes about 100 yards west from about halfway along this shore, which you need to round to reach the beach. Nose in gently watching the depth, or get a glance at half-tide.
b) Go through "The Narrows" and out into the Sound. You can anchor immediately on the right as you come out of the river. "Barn Pool" is a lovely spot, often popular at weekends, with Mount Edgecumbe country park forming the western shore of the bay - land (if you have a dinghy - its a beach, there's nothing to come alongside) and you've the whole country park to explore as well as the Mount Edgcumbe Arms for lunch.
c) Carry on across the Sound - getting to be a longish day trip this (4-6 hours sailing in total?) to Cawsand Bay at the western entrance to the Sound. Again, nowhere to come alongside, but a pretty bay, good anchoring, characterful fishing village to explore.
d) If you're up for a longer sail still - and one which is well worth it - head out of the Sound altogether, pop east around the Great Mewstone and into the river Yealm to Newton Ferrers. Several mooring options. Anchor in the bay at the mouth of the river for a run ashore - small sandyish beach with rocks for scrambling on around the river mouth. Moor to the pontoons at the fork in the river if you've got a dinghy to get ashore with and either explore the village or head south to follow the coast path around the shore. Or head east where the river forks and moor alongside the little jetty at Noss Mayo belonging to the pub (the Swan?) for a couple of hours either side of high water.

That's a bit long, I'm afraid. But I hope it gives you some ideas - I've mentioned most of my own favourite spots. Do email me if you'd like any further info. And do spend a couple of days exploring Dartmoor too!


Sailing a Corribee


Well-known member
7 Jun 2001
Re: Plymouth Holiday

With a boat like yours, and assuming you have an outboard, its worth going as far up the Tamar as your kids have the patience for. Go with the tide. Good places to visit are Cotehele Quay (visit the Elizabethan house and Gardens), Gunnislake (pretty, typically Cornish village), and Morwellham (A sort of tin mining theme park). You have to be a bit careful with the tide on this last. If you do overdo it, the boat can be left at Gunnislake, return to Saltash by train.

Cawsand is the spot my children loved. A good beach and rockpools are ideal for them, excellent waterfront pubs where you can keep an eye on them is great for you. A stopover en-route is at Cremyll, where Mount Edgecombe park can be visited - kids like the ruin at the top of the hill.

Avoid Cawsand though if the wind is between NE and SE, and you may need a dinghy if you can't beach your boat. There are also nice beaches on the east side of the Sound, but they are too exposed for landing.

Another must with kids is to sail round Plymouth Hoe to Queen Anne's Battery marina - not too expensive for a short stop - and visit Plymouth Aquarium and the Barbican.

The one thing to be particularly careful about when cruising this area are the strong tides in the Tamar, particularly near the Saltash bridges and towards the mouth.

Hope this helps.