As Britain’s ocean city Plymouth is well positioned for swims. Here I collect 3 which were shared with me by a friend who has extensively tested the options in the area while living there for the past few years. So many folk drive straight past heading for Cornwall or the beaches of Devon but there are such great options within and just outside the city that it makes for a great base for a swim weekend.
Option 1: The true city swim, Devils Point, Plymouth
Located just a short walk from Royal William Yard this swim is best at high tide but is accessible at other times. The entry point is off the pedestrian promenade along from the Devil’s Point Cafe which is on admiralty road. There are two buoys which make a great circuit. At high tide there is step entry. It’s rightly popular but never too busy. There are places to leave your clothes although I’ll bet there’s a long waiting list for the four changing chambers which seemed to be in the hands of some of Plymouths longest standing sea swimmers.
Option 2: Two ferries a walk and a swim, Cawsands, Plymouth
Pack your swimmers and some cash and set an alarm for a weekend. Start by taking the Cremyll passenger ferry which whisks you from just near Royal William Yard over to the stunning grounds of Mt Edgecombe country park to pick up the south west coast path. Head through the formal gardens hugging the coast. There are a couple of steep climbs, keep following the SW coast path signs. After around 2 miles the view will begin to open up in front of you to reveal the twin communities of Cawsand and Kingsand. Continue your walk aiming for The Old Bakery Cafe in Cawsand where, if you’ve got your timings right there will be a delicious coffee and sweet treat waiting for you. Wander down to the waters edge in Cawsand, you may find that the main beach is quite busy but just keep heading over the rocks and you’ll be sure to find a quiet spot to digest your snack pre swim. There’s great sandy entry and again a marked swimming area. The ferry then runs from here back into Plymouth, this time arriving in the Barbican where another excellent coffee can be found at Rockets and Rascals.
Option 3: The River Dart, Totnes
This makes a great day trip from Plymouth. Trains run regularly from Plymouth to Totnes. This walk/swim combo leaves from the station where there is a footpath heading out of the car park opposite the north bound exit signposted Dartington. Follow the path in less than 5 minutes you’ll already be spotting places to dip. Hold fire though. Head up into the Dartington Estate proper and you will find many tranquil places to head down to the River Dart for a dip. It’s easy to make a nice loop walk back to the station and there are many prime picnic-ing spots available. There is more information on walks in the Dartington Estate here. Once back in Totnes be sure to make a pilgrimage up the high street to sample some excellent ice cream at Delphini’s Gelato. There are plenty of lovely shops to explore in the town making it a great day trip destination.
There you have it, a perfect swim (and food) filled weekend.