England Ireland Find Havens
England Ireland Find Routes
Boat
Maintenance
Comfort
Operations
Safety
Other



NextPrevious

Watcombe Cove

Tides and tools
Overview





Watcombe Cove is a small east facing bay situated on England's south coast midway between Teignmouth and the northern entry point of Tor Bay. The small open bay offers an anchorage to one boat and an enclosed beach upon which to land.

Tucked in below high cliffs the bay offers tolerable shelter from westerly conditions but this should really only be considered a day anchorage for a beach landing. Daylight approaches are straightforward at all stages of the tide as there are no outlying dangers.



Be the first
to comment
Keyfacts for Watcombe Cove
Facilities
Shore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


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 water

Considerations
Note: sectioned off swimming area in the vicinity

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
2 metres (6.56 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
3 stars: Tolerable; in suitable conditions a vessel may be left unwatched and an overnight stay.



Last modified
November 21st 2018

Summary

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Shore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


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 water

Considerations
Note: sectioned off swimming area in the vicinity



Position and approaches
Expand to new tab or fullscreen

Haven position

50° 29.764' N, 003° 30.781' W

This is in about 1.5 metres between the two heads of the cove.

What is the initial fix?

The following Watcombe Cove Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
50° 29.775' N, 003° 30.523' W
This is 300 metres east of the Watcombe Cove and on the 5 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. The outer approaches are clear of dangers, and the bay is steep-to to the shoreline. An approach from the east 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 Watcombe Cove for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Babbacombe Bay - 0.6 miles SSE
  2. Anstey’s Cove - 0.9 miles SSE
  3. Hope Cove - 1.3 miles SSE
  4. Torquay - 1.5 miles SSW
  5. Teignmouth - 1.7 miles N
  6. Paignton - 2.6 miles SSW
  7. Brixham - 3.4 miles S
  8. Dittisham & The River Dart - 4.7 miles SSW
  9. The Bight - 4.7 miles NNE
  10. Exmouth - 4.9 miles NNE
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Babbacombe Bay - 0.6 miles SSE
  2. Anstey’s Cove - 0.9 miles SSE
  3. Hope Cove - 1.3 miles SSE
  4. Torquay - 1.5 miles SSW
  5. Teignmouth - 1.7 miles N
  6. Paignton - 2.6 miles SSW
  7. Brixham - 3.4 miles S
  8. Dittisham & The River Dart - 4.7 miles SSW
  9. The Bight - 4.7 miles NNE
  10. Exmouth - 4.9 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.

Expand to new tab or fullscreen



What's the story here?
Watcombe Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Watcombe Cove lies immediately south of Watcombe Head and just over a ½ mile north of Petit Tor Quarry, the northern extremity of Babbacombe Bay. It is a small sandy cove at the base of a wooded hillside with a seasonal café and public toilets.

The small cove offers an anchorage for one boat in settled offshore winds.


How to get in?
Watcombe Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southwestern England’s coastal overview from Portland Bill to Start Point Route location for seaward approaches.

Initial fix location From the initial fix steer eastwards towards the cove. The exposed red cliffs of Watcombe Head stand prominent.

The small enclosed Watcombe Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Sound in and anchor off according to draft and conditions.


Why visit here?
Watcombe is first recorded as Whatecomb in a Charter Rolls of 1414 and Whetecombe in 1438. The name means ‘wheat valley’ suggesting it took its name from the arable fields leading up to the townland's northern steep slopes.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Image: Michael Harpur
Watcombe cove was formed by a landslip and sea erosion. First came the undermining wave action of the sea that caused an overhanging cliff, then the action of rain and rain-water saturating the sand and sandstone which in time caused sections of the cliff to give way and form the cove. Though the landscape of the cove was entirely natural, the landscape of the townland above could not be more different. By contrast, it is to the largest part manmade and inseparable from the Brunel family, whose creation it was.


The legendary railroad engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the indefatigable engineer of the Great Western Railway, the steamship Great Britain, the Clifton Suspension Bridge etc, discovered the area while surveying the railway extension to Torquay. So taken with its beauty and perspectives he bought an estate above the cove in 1847 with the objective of building a country home, possibly with a view to his eventual retirement. He drew up a plan for a mansion on a hilltop site overlooking the sea and spent time in advance setting out woodlands on the slopes. This he largely carried out himself with his head gardener Alexander Forsyth supplemented with advice from William Andrews Nesfeld who is famed for his use of trees at Kew Gardens.


Sadly Brunel never saw the house or gardens finished due to his death in 1859. He had already imported large quantities of Oregon Pine timber for his house and the foundations were laid, so a buyer had to be found who was prepared to work with what was already done. Consequently
though the present house at Watcombe Park is known as Brunel Manor, its design has no connection with Brunell's intended home. It is nonetheless Grade II listed with many of the principal features surviving substantially unaltered from 1859. Around 66 acres of Brunel's original 136 acres of parkland remain as gardens, park, woodland and protected coastal scene. These can be visited today.


The view from Brunel Manor Gardens
Image: Peter Lunn


From a boating point of view, this is a pleasant idyllic spot to anchor off for a day and come ashore. The cove has a wonderful enclosed beach encircled by fantastic red cliffs and mature wooded hillsides. The steep path that leads down to the cove tends to dissuade the crowds and the café, promenade and toilets make it very comfortable for a day with a family.


What facilities are available?
It has a pathway leading up to the road, cafe and toilets which are open from May till September, and a promenade.


With thanks to:
eOceanic


Expand to new tab or fullscreen
Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.




Watcombe Cove, Devon, England
Image: eOceanic thanks Derek Harper via CC BY-SA 2.0


Watcombe Cove Café and prominande
Image: eOceanic thanks Derek Harper via CC BY-SA 2.0

A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.


Add your review or comment:

Please log in to leave a review of this haven.



Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site. Free to use sea charts courtesy of Navionics.