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Hope Cove

Tides and tools
Overview





Hope Cove is a northeast-facing bay situated four and half miles south of Teignmouth and on the north side of the entrance point to Tor Bay on England's south coast. The open bay offers visiting boats an anchorage in a secluded natural setting.

Tucked in below its high cliffs the bay offers good shelter from northwest round through west to south, even in strong conditions. Approaches are straightforward at all stages of the tide in daylight as there are no outlying dangers.



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Keyfacts for Hope Cove
Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
November 9th 2018

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

50° 27.926' N, 003° 29.326' W

This is in the centre of the bay in about 3 metres.

What is the initial fix?

The following Hope Cove Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
50° 28.128' N, 003° 28.934' W
This is about 600 metres out to the northeast laying up a central approach to the bay.


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. The outer approaches are clear of dangers, and except for its northwest corner where there is a ledge, the bay is steep-to to the shoreline. An approach from the northeast through the centre of the bay presents no hazards.


Not what you need?
Try our Advanced Havens Search tool to find locations with the specific attributes you need, or click the 'Next', coastal clockwise, or 'Previous', coastal anti-clockwise, buttons to progress through neighbouring havens. Below are the ten nearest havens to Hope Cove for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Anstey’s Cove - 0.4 miles NNW
  2. Babbacombe Bay - 0.7 miles NW
  3. Torquay - 1 miles WSW
  4. Watcombe Cove - 1.3 miles NNW
  5. Paignton - 2 miles SW
  6. Brixham - 2.3 miles SSW
  7. Teignmouth - 2.8 miles N
  8. Dittisham & The River Dart - 4 miles SW
  9. Dartmouth Harbour - 4.9 miles SSW
  10. The Bight - 5.6 miles NNE
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Anstey’s Cove - 0.4 miles NNW
  2. Babbacombe Bay - 0.7 miles NW
  3. Torquay - 1 miles WSW
  4. Watcombe Cove - 1.3 miles NNW
  5. Paignton - 2 miles SW
  6. Brixham - 2.3 miles SSW
  7. Teignmouth - 2.8 miles N
  8. Dittisham & The River Dart - 4 miles SW
  9. Dartmouth Harbour - 4.9 miles SSW
  10. The Bight - 5.6 miles NNE
Alternatively the above can be ordered by compass direction or coastal sequence


Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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What's the story here?
Hope;s Nose and Hope Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Hope Cove is an open bay that lies between Hope's Nose and Black Head a ½ mile to the northwest. The cove, nestled between sheer cliffs and wooded headland is largely untouched by any development save for a handful of houses overlooking its northwest corner.

The cove provides a good anchorage in offshore winds with very good sand holding.


How to get in?
Hope Cove open to the northeast
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southwestern England’s coastal overview from Portland Bill to Start Point Route location for seaward approaches. The bay is readily recognisable by Hope’s Nose, the northern promontory of Tor Bay. Hope’s Nose is a sloping headland rising to a knoll, 105 metres high, about a ½ mile inland.

Keep clear of the northwest corner of Hope Cove as a ledge extends out up to 300 metres from the foot of the cliffs.


Anchor in the middle to southern section of the bay
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor according to draft in the centre of the bay in good sand holding. Land on the beach that is mainly rock, and sea-polished stones and shells. From the centre of the beach, you have to clamber across giant boulders to get to the steep and well-worn pathway out of the bay. It's an extremely steep path down to the tip of the promontory, through scrub and some short turf.


Why visit here?
The name Hope Cove, and Hope’s Nose, are derived from the old English word ‘hop' meaning ‘small enclosed valley’. The name was surely reinforced during the centuries of sail when the easily accessible cove with good holding, would have provided a welcome respite from a storm.


The rugged landscape of Hope's Nose with Hope Cove in the backdrop
Image: Michael Harpur


Human history runs deep here and a number of scattered artefacts from the Mesolithic period through to the later Prehistoric period have been recovered from clifftop locations above Hope Cove. As if further evidence is needed less than a mile from the cove is the popular tourist attraction of Kents Cavern. Also called Kent’s Hole, this is a large limestone cave that is Britain’s oldest recognised site of early human habitation, dating back more than 500,000 years. It yielded some of the earliest evidence of human coexistence with extinct animals and a 38,000-year-old human jawbone discovered in the cave is Europe’s oldest human fossil.

The view southward from Hope's Nose
Image: Andy Walker via BY-SA 2.0


However, it is related to much older geological history and Hope's Nose has been designated part of the English Riviera UNESCO Geopark. Geopark describes an area of exceptional geological interest and Hope's Nose is one of the most protected sites in the whole of the UK. The pale-grey limestone rocks which form the platform at the end of Hope Nose were formed in the tropical reef systems of the mid-Devonian period around 395 million years ago. The limestone is rich in fossils which include dome-like stromatoporoid sponges, branching tabulate corals, and the occasional rare patch of coiled snail shells which inhabited lagoons behind the reefs.

Hope's Nose is also recognised for its 'raised' beach upon its southern end. This a crumbling deposit of yellowish sands around 9 metres above modern sea level. Sea-shells that look like contemporary species, appear within this layer but they were laid down 200,000 years ago. Then the climate was much warmer causing a melt of the polar ice that raised the sea levels to this height. The ‘raised beach’ provides important information about the dramatic climate changes of the last million years or so, which rapidly swung from freezing glaciations to warm interglacials. It also stands as a significant warning of a sea level rise in the recent geological past and possibly a warning for the future.

Crystalline gold from Hope's Nose
Image: James St. John Follow
It is important to look but not to touch, as it's strictly forbidden to damage or remove any samples as this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, managed by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust. For care was not always taken here and especially so during Victorian times when the most exciting discovery in these cliffs was gold. 250 million years ago great earth movements caused iron, palladium and gold-bearing carbonate to crystallise out in veins that infused into the fissures of the cove’s limestone. Once the find was publicised prospectors descended upon Torquay in the hope of getting rich quick. Collectors used heavy duty cutting equipment to remove samples of the gold veins which were worth large sums of money. Fortunately, the gold was in the form of delicate feather-like crystals that were compressed into narrow fissures so that mining was never a commercially viable proposition. This saved the headland, leaving it back to nature as it is seen today.

In this respect, the headland is also an important place for rare flora which has lead to it being designated by English Nature as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Devonian limestone provides an alkaline soil which is good for types of orchid, including the autumn lady-tresses orchid. The combination of limestone and sea salt provides the right ingredients for plants and lichens which struggle elsewhere.

Hope's Nose with anglers on the point
Image: Michael Harpur


Hope Cove is a delightful curving bay and the rocky Hope's Nose is one of South Devon's best fishing venues. One of its beneficiaries is a seal that will most likely be seen hand-fed by the fishermen off the point. A short but fascinating exploration of the geology and history around Hope's Nose is a must. The Victorian Bishop's Walk through the woods between Anstey's Cove and Meadfoot Beach provides fine views, which include the islets Lead Stone and Ore Stone and Berry Head, the other horn of Tor Bay. The route has been voted one of the top 50 walks in the UK and deservedly so.


Yacht passing south of Hope's Nose
Image: Andy Walker via BY-SA 2.0


From a boating point of view, Hope Coves' high cliffs give excellent protection from westerly conditions. Just 2½ miles from Torquay is serves as a wonderful escape from the bustling havens of Tor Bay. Here, less than an hour away, swinging on anchor with peregrine falcons and seabirds wheeling and diving for food overhead over the coves placid waters, makes it feel like it could be a million miles away. There is plenty more of the natural world to see, to make it worth launching the dinghy.

Well sheltered from the prevailing winds, like Babbacombe and Anstey’s Cove, all three anchorages make convenient tide wait locations to cross Lyme Bay, 40 miles to Portland Bill. Straight in and out these havens also could serve to provide a midway stepping stone for a Portland to Plymouth run or vice versa should you want to forgo the creature comforts and temptations of Brixham Marina. But similar to all the anchorages in Tor Bay, none offer a safe haven in easterlies, where only the harbours of Torquay or Brixham will provide protection.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities in this remote bay.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, eOceanic.


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Hope Cove, Torquay, Devon, England
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Fishing men on Hope's Nose
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Yachts passing between Hope's Nose and the Lead Stone or Flat Rock
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Thatcher Rock
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur




Hope's Nose, and Hope Cove




Dendritic gold from Hope's Nose is on display in the Natural History Museum in London



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