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Bread & Cheese Cove

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Overview





Bread and Cheese Cove is remote bay on the northeast corner of St Martin’s Isle, Scilly. It offers an anchorage in a remote and sequestered location.

Bread and Cheese Cove is remote bay on the northeast corner of St Martin’s Isle, Scilly. It offers an anchorage in a remote and sequestered location.

The deep horseshoe-shaped cove provides good shelter from east round through south to west. Attentive daylight navigation with good visibility is necessary to make any approach as outlying ledges need to be circumvented. It can be accessed at any stage of the tide but the ideal time to enter is at half tide or lower when its primary hazard is visible.



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Keyfacts for Bread & Cheese Cove



Last modified
October 7th 2019

Summary

A good location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Marked 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 waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

49° 57.927' N, 006° 16.226' W

This is in the middle of the bay in about 5 metres.

What is the initial fix?

The following Bread & Cheese Cove Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
49° 58.626' N, 006° 16.409' W
This is on the charted alignment of Round Island Lighthouse with Chad Carn (24 metres high on White Island) on 273.5° to safely pass Deep Ledges. It is ½ mile northward of the bay.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern England’s coastal overview from Land's End to Isles of Scilly Route location.

  • Round Island Lighthouse with Chad Carn on 273.5° clears Deep Ledges.

  • Steer south towards the small 12-metre high Murr Rock, off the Burnt Hill promintory which forms the western point of the cove, to clear Tearing Ledge.

  • 400 metres north of Murr Rocks steer for the centre of the bay.


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 Bread & Cheese Cove for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Bull's Porth - 0.1 miles W
  2. Perpitch - 0.2 miles SSE
  3. Higher Town Bay - 0.4 miles SW
  4. Tean Sound - 0.9 miles W
  5. Windmill Cove - 1.3 miles SSW
  6. St Helen's Pool - 1.3 miles W
  7. Old Grimsby - 1.4 miles W
  8. New Grimsby - 1.9 miles W
  9. St Mary's Pool - 2.1 miles SSW
  10. Porth Cressa - 2.4 miles SSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Bull's Porth - 0.1 miles W
  2. Perpitch - 0.2 miles SSE
  3. Higher Town Bay - 0.4 miles SW
  4. Tean Sound - 0.9 miles W
  5. Windmill Cove - 1.3 miles SSW
  6. St Helen's Pool - 1.3 miles W
  7. Old Grimsby - 1.4 miles W
  8. New Grimsby - 1.9 miles W
  9. St Mary's Pool - 2.1 miles SSW
  10. Porth Cressa - 2.4 miles SSW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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What's the story here?
Bread & Cheese Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Bread and Cheese Cove is a small beach set into a beautiful north-facing bay beneath Chapel Down, the high easternmost hump of St Martin’s. It is overlooked by the large red and white daymark set on the summit of the down. The coastal path to the daymark passes around the cove. There are two points to land in the bay, Stony Porth and Bread and Cheese Cove, of which Bread and Cheese Cove is the better benefiting from a small white sand beach.

The bay offers a well-protected deep water anchorage over a bottom comprised of sand, rock and weed. A visiting boat will most likely have the cove to itself as this is very much off the beaten path in a remote and undeveloped part of the island.


How to get in?
St Martin's Daymark tower overlooking the bay
Image: Scilly Aerial Photography


Convergance Point Use southwestern England’s coastal overview from Land's End to Isles of Scilly Route location for local approaches.

The location of the bay can be positively identified from seaward by the red and white banded St Martin's Daymark tower. It is situated on the 56-metre high summit of Chapel Down which is the bay's eastern head and the highest point of the island. 4.8 metres in diameter with a conical termination 11 metres high, the unlit historic tower is an important point of reference for the island group as a whole. From sea level, it normally begins to show about 12 miles out and is usually the first object to be seen when approaching the group from the mainland.
Please note

Care should be taken not to be confused with the all-white lighthouse on Round Island which is the northwest corner of the islands.



Western Approach Vessels approaching from the west attaining a latitude of 49 59.000 N clears Round Island, the always covered Deep Ledges, that have 0.6 metres over it LAT, Lion Rock, 1.4 metres high, and the ledges north of White Island. When White Island is aft of the beam it is safe to steer for the initial fix.

Eastern Approach Vessels approaching from the east should use the charted alignment of Round Island Lighthouse with Chad Carn (24 metres high on White Island) on 273.5° to pass the Deep Ledges, 0.9 metres LAT, that lay off of Saint Martin’s Bay.


The view north from Bread & Cheese Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


The first danger, from the north, is Deep Ledge, with 0.9 metres over it, located a ½ mile northward of the bay's eastern extremity. Thereafter, Tearing Ledge, dries to 3.5 metres, that lies 400 metres and just east of the centre of the mouth of the cove, and Fleming ledge, dries to 1.4 metres, off its eastern entrance. These may sound daunting but there is ample sea room between the isolated patches and the key danger, Tearing Ledge should be visible.


Murr Rock, as seen fro the bay's western extremity, with Tearing Ledge just
breaking offshore

Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the initial fix steer south towards Murr Rock which is a small 12-metre high islet a ½ mile southward and laying off Burnt Hill the western promontory of the bay.

If not already visible Tearing Ledge will be abeam when 400 metres north of Murr Rocks. It is then safe to steer for the centre of the cove from this point onward.

Continue for a ⅓ of a mile steering a central path into the bay between Murr Rock and the opposite headland. This clears foul ground that extends out about 120 metres from Murr Rock, on the west side, and the Flemming Ledge that lies about 150 metres off the eastern head.


Stony Porth in the southwest corner and Bread & Cheese Cove opposite in the
southeast

Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor according to draft and conditions. Land by tender on the sandy beach of Bread and Cheese Cove in the southeast corner of the bay. Stony Porth, in the southwest corner, is another possibility but it is full of boulders.


Why visit here?
The origin of the quirkily named Bread & Cheese Cove is unknown. Doubtless, it is because it is a lovely spot upon which to have a picnic and the ideal location to watch the sunset over the island. For the north coast of St Martin's is protected from the prevailing winds and has remained a wild and natural place scarcely touched by development.


View over the cove from the coastal path
Image: Michael Harpur


The only break with nature is the colossal bullet-shaped daymark that overlooks the bay from Chapel Down. The coastal path that passes out to it passes the head of the beach leading upward and then out across Chapel Down to the daymark. It is only a short but highly rewarding walk. Rendered in granite it was erected by Thomas Ekins as an aid to navigation in 1683. He was the first steward of the Godophin Family to live on the islands and encouraged the resettlement of St. Martins by Cornish people from the 1680s and he also built, and probably managed, the Church of St Martin Near Higher Town in 1683.


Improvised seat alongside the coastal path at the head of the cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Early historical descriptions of the Day-mark indicate that it was originally open inside with stairs leading to some form of viewing facility... "On a rocky promontory called St Martin’s Head, at the east end of the island, is a conspicuous Day-mark, built by the above-mentioned Mr Ekins. It is a circular tower, about forty feet [11 metres] high, hollow within, and plastered on the outside with lime, so that its whiteness renders it an excellent mark for seamen, being visible a distance of many leagues. On the inside is a stone staircase, winding to the summit, from which there is an extensive prospect, and in clear weather the western parts of Cornwall as well as all the Scilly Islands may be easily distinguished."


St Martin's Daymark
Image: Michael Harpur


Its bright white limewash gave way to red from 1833 and, now, as a compromise, it has its distinctive red and white candy bands. The daymark became less necessary in 1887 when the northwestern Round Island lighthouse was completed. Nevertheless, it remains the first identifiable object of the group when crossing from the mainland and provided good service to seamen for 200 years before that. It continues to do so to this day and it remains the earliest surviving example of a beacon in the British Isles.


Lands End as seen over Saint Martin's Head
Image: Michael Harpur


The ruins seen immediately beneath the daymark are that of a later signal station. This was established in 1804 and the bleak, isolated location meant that provisions for some modest accommodation had to be made for the men who staffed the station. The signal station relayed messages to ships offshore by semaphore during the Napoleonic wars.


Ruins of the signal station's accommodation close to the daymark
Image: Michael Harpur


It was to be a very shortlived station and abandoned in 1814 when the tower on Newford Down, now known as Telegraph Tower, was built to serve as an Admiralty Telegraph Station. What remains to be seen today are the ruins of the houses occupied by the soldiers. If the vegetation is not too high it may also be possible to see the wall footings of an early medieval chapel that may have also served as an early lighthouse.


The pathway to the centre of the island
Image: Roantrum via CC BY-SA 2.0


From a sailing point of view, Bread & Cheese cove is an important anchorage. Should an Atlantic gale blow in from the southwest the north side of St Martin's is the ideal place to find shelter and this is one of the best anchorages it has to offer. But it is just as lovely in fine weather. A scarcely visited small pocket of golden sand and crystal clear waters it offers complete relaxation to body and mind. It is a bit of a hike from the wilderness to acquire resources, largely concentrated in the centre of the island, but if the weather is good this could be a wonderful experience of itself where the journey may very well be the reward.

Similar to cove the ascent to the cliffy northeastern end of the island by the daymark is another great place to stop and have a picnic. On a clear day, it provides 360° views of all the islands. The westward view over the north shore shows some of St Martin's most perfect beaches. Beyond the headlands of Bread and Cheese Cove, and Little Bay is the long and sparkling white sweep of white sand fronting Great Bay. The Eastern isles look magnificent from here and on a clear day, Land's End may be seen through the haze as this is the nearest point in the group to the mainland of Cornwall.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at this remote location.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, eOceanic.


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






Aerial Views of St Martins Daymark


About Bread & Cheese Cove

The origin of the quirkily named Bread & Cheese Cove is unknown. Doubtless, it is because it is a lovely spot upon which to have a picnic and the ideal location to watch the sunset over the island. For the north coast of St Martin's is protected from the prevailing winds and has remained a wild and natural place scarcely touched by development.


View over the cove from the coastal path
Image: Michael Harpur


The only break with nature is the colossal bullet-shaped daymark that overlooks the bay from Chapel Down. The coastal path that passes out to it passes the head of the beach leading upward and then out across Chapel Down to the daymark. It is only a short but highly rewarding walk. Rendered in granite it was erected by Thomas Ekins as an aid to navigation in 1683. He was the first steward of the Godophin Family to live on the islands and encouraged the resettlement of St. Martins by Cornish people from the 1680s and he also built, and probably managed, the Church of St Martin Near Higher Town in 1683.


Improvised seat alongside the coastal path at the head of the cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Early historical descriptions of the Day-mark indicate that it was originally open inside with stairs leading to some form of viewing facility... "On a rocky promontory called St Martin’s Head, at the east end of the island, is a conspicuous Day-mark, built by the above-mentioned Mr Ekins. It is a circular tower, about forty feet [11 metres] high, hollow within, and plastered on the outside with lime, so that its whiteness renders it an excellent mark for seamen, being visible a distance of many leagues. On the inside is a stone staircase, winding to the summit, from which there is an extensive prospect, and in clear weather the western parts of Cornwall as well as all the Scilly Islands may be easily distinguished."


St Martin's Daymark
Image: Michael Harpur


Its bright white limewash gave way to red from 1833 and, now, as a compromise, it has its distinctive red and white candy bands. The daymark became less necessary in 1887 when the northwestern Round Island lighthouse was completed. Nevertheless, it remains the first identifiable object of the group when crossing from the mainland and provided good service to seamen for 200 years before that. It continues to do so to this day and it remains the earliest surviving example of a beacon in the British Isles.


Lands End as seen over Saint Martin's Head
Image: Michael Harpur


The ruins seen immediately beneath the daymark are that of a later signal station. This was established in 1804 and the bleak, isolated location meant that provisions for some modest accommodation had to be made for the men who staffed the station. The signal station relayed messages to ships offshore by semaphore during the Napoleonic wars.


Ruins of the signal station's accommodation close to the daymark
Image: Michael Harpur


It was to be a very shortlived station and abandoned in 1814 when the tower on Newford Down, now known as Telegraph Tower, was built to serve as an Admiralty Telegraph Station. What remains to be seen today are the ruins of the houses occupied by the soldiers. If the vegetation is not too high it may also be possible to see the wall footings of an early medieval chapel that may have also served as an early lighthouse.


The pathway to the centre of the island
Image: Roantrum via CC BY-SA 2.0


From a sailing point of view, Bread & Cheese cove is an important anchorage. Should an Atlantic gale blow in from the southwest the north side of St Martin's is the ideal place to find shelter and this is one of the best anchorages it has to offer. But it is just as lovely in fine weather. A scarcely visited small pocket of golden sand and crystal clear waters it offers complete relaxation to body and mind. It is a bit of a hike from the wilderness to acquire resources, largely concentrated in the centre of the island, but if the weather is good this could be a wonderful experience of itself where the journey may very well be the reward.

Similar to cove the ascent to the cliffy northeastern end of the island by the daymark is another great place to stop and have a picnic. On a clear day, it provides 360° views of all the islands. The westward view over the north shore shows some of St Martin's most perfect beaches. Beyond the headlands of Bread and Cheese Cove, and Little Bay is the long and sparkling white sweep of white sand fronting Great Bay. The Eastern isles look magnificent from here and on a clear day, Land's End may be seen through the haze as this is the nearest point in the group to the mainland of Cornwall.

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:
Bude Haven - 51.9 miles NE
Ramsgate - 188.4 miles ENE
Dover - 184.7 miles ENE
Folkestone - 181.4 miles ENE
Rye Harbour - 170.7 miles ENE
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Bull's Porth - 0.1 miles W
Tean Sound - 0.9 miles W
St Helen's Pool - 1.3 miles W
Old Grimsby - 1.4 miles W
New Grimsby - 1.9 miles W

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Bread & Cheese Cove.




























Aerial Views of St Martins Daymark



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