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Beer is a small village situated less than a mile north off the south coast of England's prominent Beer Head. It offers a settled conditions anchorage under the lee of the headland off the beach of a very pretty village.

Beer is a small village situated less than a mile north off the south coast of England's prominent Beer Head. It offers a settled conditions anchorage under the lee of the headland off the beach of a very pretty village.

Beer Head only affords limited protection making this a tolerable anchorage in moderate winds from north around to northeast or calms with the absence of swell. Although the head provides a measure of protection from southwesterly winds the swell wraps around it making it too uncomfortable to stay. Access is straightforward night or day and any stage of the tide as there are no outlying dangers in the middle of the bay.



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Keyfacts for Beer



Last modified
October 27th 2018

Summary

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaInternet café in the areaPharmacy in the areaBus service available in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

50° 41.561' N, 003° 5.341' W

This is in Beer Roads on the 5 metre contour

What is the initial fix?

The following will set up a final approach:
50° 41.062' N, 003° 4.878' W
This is about 500 metres east by southeast of Beer Head on the 10 metre contour.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern England’s coastal overview from Portland Bill to Start Point Route location.

  • Stand off the southern end of Beer Head as rocks extend about 150 metres southward from the head.

  • A central bay approach, or following the cliff face and staying circa 75 metres off, leads into the anchorage.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Beer for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Axmouth - 0.8 miles ENE
  2. Lyme Regis - 3.7 miles ENE
  3. West Bay (Bridport) - 7.7 miles E
  4. Exmouth - 8.4 miles WSW
  5. The Bight - 8.6 miles WSW
  6. Starcross Yacht Club - 8.7 miles WSW
  7. Starcross - 8.7 miles WSW
  8. Topsham - 8.9 miles W
  9. Turf Lock (Exeter Canal) - 9 miles W
  10. Teignmouth - 11.3 miles WSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Axmouth - 0.8 miles ENE
  2. Lyme Regis - 3.7 miles ENE
  3. West Bay (Bridport) - 7.7 miles E
  4. Exmouth - 8.4 miles WSW
  5. The Bight - 8.6 miles WSW
  6. Starcross Yacht Club - 8.7 miles WSW
  7. Starcross - 8.7 miles WSW
  8. Topsham - 8.9 miles W
  9. Turf Lock (Exeter Canal) - 9 miles W
  10. Teignmouth - 11.3 miles WSW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search



What's the story here?
Village of Beer situated north of Beer Head
Image: Michael Harpur


Beer is a small resort village situated ¾ of a mile north of Beer Head and overlooking Lyme Bay. The village lies in a small valley that runs down to the sea with its own natural bay, Beer Roads, surrounded on either side by cliffs of white chalk.

Beer Roads has clean sand that offers good holding with ample depths.


How to get in?
Beer Head
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southwestern England’s coastal overview from Portland Bill to Start Point Route location for approaches. Situated 26 miles west by northwest of Portland Bill the precipitous 130 metres high chalk cliff of Beer Head makes a prominent seamark for all approaches. The prominent headland is the westernmost chalk cliff in England, as the cliffs extending to the west of the point consist of red sandstone.

Seven miles north of Beer Head a conspicuous radio mast will be seen standing at an elevation of 445 metres on Stockland Hill and a prominent water tower stands 1.2 miles north by northeast of the village. At night, a light is exhibited from a 5-metre high metal column situated near the village's St. Michael's Church but it can be difficult to pick out from the village lights.


Small boat following the line of the cliffs into the beach
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the initial fix follow the cliffs in towards the beach, standing 75 metres or more off. Vessels approaching from the west should not cut in close to Beer Head as outlying rocks extend out about 150 metres southwards from the head. Vessels approaching from the east can ignore the initial fix and take a central course up to the head of the bay.


Yacht anchored in Beer Roads
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor according to draft and conditions in sand with good holding. Keep a sharp eye out for local mooring buoys close to the beach. Land on the beach by tender.

Landing beach with temporary boat rental jetty in place
Image: Michael Harpur


The landing may prove challenging in any swell as the gravel beach is made up of large stones that make for an uneven footfall and it is very steep-too. During the season a temporary jetty is rolled in to facilitate a small boat rental business and that may be called upon to assist with a dry landing.


Why visit here?
Beer does not derive its name from the drink even if copious amounts have and continues to be consumed by inhabitants and tourists alike in the small pretty village. The name is derived from the old English word bearu which means ‘place by the small wood or grove’. This referred to the original forestation that once enfolded the village in a narrow cove between gleaming white headlands.


The pretty village of Beer
Image: Michael Harpur


Abundant discoveries of worked flint flaked tools, arrowheads, axes and an Early Bronze Age burial mound suggest Beer has been a site of significant human activity for several millennia. The natural coastal setting would have attracted these settlements but Beer also had an abundance of flint in its chalk rock, the hard glassy stone that could be used to make their tools and weapons. When the Romans stationed the 2nd Augusta Legion at Exeter, the useful harbour that Beer offered was not overlooked.


The chalky escarpment of Beer Head
Image: Michael Harpur


It was during their construction of the Fosse Way from Axmouth to Lindum Colonia, in Lincoln, that the Romans discovered a layer of very useful limestone beneath the chalks of Beer. The stone was to become known as ‘Beer Free Stone’ and proved to be an excellent carving material because of its malleability. When newly quarried it was soft and then, after exposure to air, it hardened and turned a gentle yellow colour. This workability and an inherent smooth texture combined to make it an ideal medium for monuments, screens and tracery. Consequently, the Romans began quarrying at Beer and this continued across the intervening centuries until the 1920s, at first from underground and in more recent years from above ground.

Beer Quarry Caves today
Image: John Scott via CC BY-SA 2.0
The extracted Beer stone has been used in countless Devon churches and houses and most notably in the construction of 24 cathedrals around the UK, including Exeter Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Tower of London as well as more modest buildings. It is also said that the mining of the stone from Beer created the expression 'stone deaf'. As almost all of the stone was quarried by manual labour the quarry-men tended to lose their hearing on account of the relentless bangs of the pickaxes upon the stone that reverberated throughout the caves. Hence they were called 'stone deaf'.

After the Romans departed the Saxons and Danes used the protected Beer Roads to launch inland invasions. Following the Norman conquest of England, Beer is mentioned in Domesday as Bera, where it was noted it had 28 households. Religious refugees introduced lace-making to Beer during Norman times and the Beer ‘lugger’ also appeared at this time. This is a traditional designed built with lug sails designed for launching from the beach with winches, still a familiar sight in the waters around the village. Five centuries later the Huguenots fled religious persecution to an area where lace making was established, which revitalised the industry which later flourished over the succeeding three centuries in Beer.


Beer Luggers on the beach
Image: Michael Harpur


In 1540, John Leyland referred to Bere as Berewood and noted it had a pier 'for Socour of Shippelettes... but ther cam such a Tempest a 3 Yeres sins as never in mynd of men had before beene sene in that shore, and tare the Pere in Peaces. ' That was the first and last mention of a pier at Beer and since then Beer boats have been winched up the beach by manual capstans. One operated by up to 20 men, now disused, remains to be seen on the beach today.

Jack Rattenbury
Image: Public Domain
By the 18th-century fishing had become an important source of livelihood for Beer people, the sheltered situation of the village and deep beach providing an ideal environment in which sea-going skills could develop. This combination of boating skills, ‘safe haven’ nature and the Beer Quarry Caves that could store large quantities of goods all combined to spur on the development of smuggling as a form of local business initiative. The most famous practitioner of this trade was Jack Rattenbury and his gang of smugglers who used the village of beer as their headquarters by the end of the century. Known as ‘the Rob Roy of the West’ he was the one who got away and in 1837, after thirty years at sea as a fisherman, pilot, seaman and smuggler he wrote about his life in a book called Memoirs of a Smuggler with the help of a local Unitarian clergyman. Rattenbury was reputed to have used a cave in the face of Beer Head ashis base, and this charismatic character and his career are now celebrated in Beer on its annual Jack Rattenbury Day.

As Jack's career was drawing to a close the prominence of Beer Head lead to a Napoleonic artillery battery being perched on its cliff edge. From about 1790 until the early 1800s ten guns overlooked the then sheltered anchorage of Seaton Bay. The gun emplacement had no fortifications and only a single stone building for the gunners to take shelter in as they billeted within the village. One night, a large cliff fall carried away all the guns and a portion of the building with it. They were never replaced.

By the middle of the 19th-century Beer was a well-established community with a population approximately the same size as it is today. Its chief economic activities remained quarrying, fishing and lace-making. One-third of the population was concerned in various ways with the sea, while upwards of a hundred Beer lacemakers were employed in the production of their most famous work Queen Victoria’s wedding gown. The resulting fame led to a great demand for their work and put Beer as a seaside village on the map causing it to develop as a spa and holiday destination. This was further accelerated by the coming of the railway in 1868.


Beer Fishing boats
Image: Michael Harpur


This pivot to tourism was fortunate as traditional village activities of fishing and, more especially, quarrying and lace-making, declined in economic importance in the 20th-century. A radar station was built on Beer Head in 1941 as part of the World War II coastal network of early warning radar stations codename the ‘Chain Home Low ‘system. During this time the Beer Quarry Caves where used for storing ammunition. The pillboxes were constructed to cover the beach and guard its only exit during this time, and still survive to this day.


Fishing boats are hauled in today by small electrically driven winches or
tractors

Image: Michael Harpur


Fishing still continues off the beach, but nowadays the boats are hauled in by small electrically driven winches using steel cables or tractors located on the beach. Beer's primary asset these days is its beauty. 40% of the present population consists of immigrant retirees and most of those concerned with the sea have diversified into the provision of recreational activities for the many seasonal visitors. This is most noticeable during the summer months when the relatively isolated community is overwhelmed by visitors of various kinds.


Flint faced fishermen’s cottages stacked up on Common Lane
Image: Andreas Trepte via CC ASA 2.5


The village is something of a tourist honeypot and this is hardly surprising as Beer is utterly delightful. It has everything you would want from a summer destination. An utterly perfect setting, the village is situated in a small valley running down to the sea, a beach enclosed by white cliffs on either side, and pretty flint faced fishermen’s cottages stacked up the hill with fresh fish and various meals to be hand at the shore's edge. Beer attracts large crowds during the summer when it is best enjoyed from swinging on the anchor in the spacious bay, far from the throng of people.


Beer's pebbly beach
Image: Michael Harpur


But there is plenty to come ashore to visit. A mile or so west of the village are the Beer Quarry Caves that are open daily with tours throughout their extensive complex. The remains of a WWII Radar Station on Hooken cliffs is easily visible above ground and a walk to Beer Head and the coastal walk either side of it are truly magnificent. The annual Regatta Week in mid-August, with the exception of the Second World War, has run continuously and provided entertainment for over 90 years. The high point of which includes barrel-rolling down Fore Street. Jack Rattenbury Day is held on the sixth Friday after the first Monday in August.

From a boating point of view, Beer does not offer the coastal cruiser a robust anchorage. But, with an auspicious weather window, it offers the passing boater a truly wonderful experience. Especially when enjoying views of this magnificent setting from the grass terrace of the Anchor Inn, whilst supping a pint of 'beer' with some locally caught seafood.


What facilities are available?
There are a number of cafes providing snacks from locally caught seafood. A small shop above the beach sells fish, crab, scallops and lobster that has been landed by local boats. The village above has a post office and various restaurants.

The nearest train station is Axminster and it is approximately 20 minutes away by car or by bus from Seaton. A London Waterloo to Axminster timetable can be obtained from National Rail Enquiries.
The X53 Coastlink runs from Exeter to Beer and Seaton, from where it follows the Jurassic Coast eastwards as far as Wareham in Dorset. Exeter is about 50 mins away from Beer via a bus service.


With thanks to:
eOceanic.


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
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Beer Roads, Devon, England
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Beer's pebbly beach
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Flint faced fishermen’s cottages stacked up on Common Lane
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Flint faced fishermen’s cottages
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Beer's Anchor Inn overlooking the beach
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Beer Luggers being paddled about
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Yacht setting anchor in Beer Roads
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur




Aerial views of Beer Head and Beer 1




Aerial views of Beer Head and Beer 2


About Beer

Beer does not derive its name from the drink even if copious amounts have and continues to be consumed by inhabitants and tourists alike in the small pretty village. The name is derived from the old English word bearu which means ‘place by the small wood or grove’. This referred to the original forestation that once enfolded the village in a narrow cove between gleaming white headlands.


The pretty village of Beer
Image: Michael Harpur


Abundant discoveries of worked flint flaked tools, arrowheads, axes and an Early Bronze Age burial mound suggest Beer has been a site of significant human activity for several millennia. The natural coastal setting would have attracted these settlements but Beer also had an abundance of flint in its chalk rock, the hard glassy stone that could be used to make their tools and weapons. When the Romans stationed the 2nd Augusta Legion at Exeter, the useful harbour that Beer offered was not overlooked.


The chalky escarpment of Beer Head
Image: Michael Harpur


It was during their construction of the Fosse Way from Axmouth to Lindum Colonia, in Lincoln, that the Romans discovered a layer of very useful limestone beneath the chalks of Beer. The stone was to become known as ‘Beer Free Stone’ and proved to be an excellent carving material because of its malleability. When newly quarried it was soft and then, after exposure to air, it hardened and turned a gentle yellow colour. This workability and an inherent smooth texture combined to make it an ideal medium for monuments, screens and tracery. Consequently, the Romans began quarrying at Beer and this continued across the intervening centuries until the 1920s, at first from underground and in more recent years from above ground.

Beer Quarry Caves today
Image: John Scott via CC BY-SA 2.0
The extracted Beer stone has been used in countless Devon churches and houses and most notably in the construction of 24 cathedrals around the UK, including Exeter Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Tower of London as well as more modest buildings. It is also said that the mining of the stone from Beer created the expression 'stone deaf'. As almost all of the stone was quarried by manual labour the quarry-men tended to lose their hearing on account of the relentless bangs of the pickaxes upon the stone that reverberated throughout the caves. Hence they were called 'stone deaf'.

After the Romans departed the Saxons and Danes used the protected Beer Roads to launch inland invasions. Following the Norman conquest of England, Beer is mentioned in Domesday as Bera, where it was noted it had 28 households. Religious refugees introduced lace-making to Beer during Norman times and the Beer ‘lugger’ also appeared at this time. This is a traditional designed built with lug sails designed for launching from the beach with winches, still a familiar sight in the waters around the village. Five centuries later the Huguenots fled religious persecution to an area where lace making was established, which revitalised the industry which later flourished over the succeeding three centuries in Beer.


Beer Luggers on the beach
Image: Michael Harpur


In 1540, John Leyland referred to Bere as Berewood and noted it had a pier 'for Socour of Shippelettes... but ther cam such a Tempest a 3 Yeres sins as never in mynd of men had before beene sene in that shore, and tare the Pere in Peaces. ' That was the first and last mention of a pier at Beer and since then Beer boats have been winched up the beach by manual capstans. One operated by up to 20 men, now disused, remains to be seen on the beach today.

Jack Rattenbury
Image: Public Domain
By the 18th-century fishing had become an important source of livelihood for Beer people, the sheltered situation of the village and deep beach providing an ideal environment in which sea-going skills could develop. This combination of boating skills, ‘safe haven’ nature and the Beer Quarry Caves that could store large quantities of goods all combined to spur on the development of smuggling as a form of local business initiative. The most famous practitioner of this trade was Jack Rattenbury and his gang of smugglers who used the village of beer as their headquarters by the end of the century. Known as ‘the Rob Roy of the West’ he was the one who got away and in 1837, after thirty years at sea as a fisherman, pilot, seaman and smuggler he wrote about his life in a book called Memoirs of a Smuggler with the help of a local Unitarian clergyman. Rattenbury was reputed to have used a cave in the face of Beer Head ashis base, and this charismatic character and his career are now celebrated in Beer on its annual Jack Rattenbury Day.

As Jack's career was drawing to a close the prominence of Beer Head lead to a Napoleonic artillery battery being perched on its cliff edge. From about 1790 until the early 1800s ten guns overlooked the then sheltered anchorage of Seaton Bay. The gun emplacement had no fortifications and only a single stone building for the gunners to take shelter in as they billeted within the village. One night, a large cliff fall carried away all the guns and a portion of the building with it. They were never replaced.

By the middle of the 19th-century Beer was a well-established community with a population approximately the same size as it is today. Its chief economic activities remained quarrying, fishing and lace-making. One-third of the population was concerned in various ways with the sea, while upwards of a hundred Beer lacemakers were employed in the production of their most famous work Queen Victoria’s wedding gown. The resulting fame led to a great demand for their work and put Beer as a seaside village on the map causing it to develop as a spa and holiday destination. This was further accelerated by the coming of the railway in 1868.


Beer Fishing boats
Image: Michael Harpur


This pivot to tourism was fortunate as traditional village activities of fishing and, more especially, quarrying and lace-making, declined in economic importance in the 20th-century. A radar station was built on Beer Head in 1941 as part of the World War II coastal network of early warning radar stations codename the ‘Chain Home Low ‘system. During this time the Beer Quarry Caves where used for storing ammunition. The pillboxes were constructed to cover the beach and guard its only exit during this time, and still survive to this day.


Fishing boats are hauled in today by small electrically driven winches or
tractors

Image: Michael Harpur


Fishing still continues off the beach, but nowadays the boats are hauled in by small electrically driven winches using steel cables or tractors located on the beach. Beer's primary asset these days is its beauty. 40% of the present population consists of immigrant retirees and most of those concerned with the sea have diversified into the provision of recreational activities for the many seasonal visitors. This is most noticeable during the summer months when the relatively isolated community is overwhelmed by visitors of various kinds.


Flint faced fishermen’s cottages stacked up on Common Lane
Image: Andreas Trepte via CC ASA 2.5


The village is something of a tourist honeypot and this is hardly surprising as Beer is utterly delightful. It has everything you would want from a summer destination. An utterly perfect setting, the village is situated in a small valley running down to the sea, a beach enclosed by white cliffs on either side, and pretty flint faced fishermen’s cottages stacked up the hill with fresh fish and various meals to be hand at the shore's edge. Beer attracts large crowds during the summer when it is best enjoyed from swinging on the anchor in the spacious bay, far from the throng of people.


Beer's pebbly beach
Image: Michael Harpur


But there is plenty to come ashore to visit. A mile or so west of the village are the Beer Quarry Caves that are open daily with tours throughout their extensive complex. The remains of a WWII Radar Station on Hooken cliffs is easily visible above ground and a walk to Beer Head and the coastal walk either side of it are truly magnificent. The annual Regatta Week in mid-August, with the exception of the Second World War, has run continuously and provided entertainment for over 90 years. The high point of which includes barrel-rolling down Fore Street. Jack Rattenbury Day is held on the sixth Friday after the first Monday in August.

From a boating point of view, Beer does not offer the coastal cruiser a robust anchorage. But, with an auspicious weather window, it offers the passing boater a truly wonderful experience. Especially when enjoying views of this magnificent setting from the grass terrace of the Anchor Inn, whilst supping a pint of 'beer' with some locally caught seafood.

Other options in this area


Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Alternatively here are the ten nearest havens available in picture view:
Coastal clockwise:
Exmouth - 8.4 miles WSW
The Bight - 8.6 miles WSW
Topsham - 8.9 miles W
Turf Lock (Exeter Canal) - 9 miles W
Starcross Yacht Club - 8.7 miles WSW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Axmouth - 0.8 miles ENE
Lyme Regis - 3.7 miles ENE
West Bay (Bridport) - 7.7 miles E
Church Ope Cove - 16.7 miles ESE
Portland Marina - 15.6 miles ESE

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Beer.


































Aerial views of Beer Head and Beer 1




Aerial views of Beer Head and Beer 2



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