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Overcombe

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General details:

A great location both for general sailing and for those wishing to venture out into the waves for the first time. Some fantastic starbord tack wave jumping & riding to be had. Although the waves and swell can get pretty big here, 3-4 feet seems the norm.

The beach is steeply sloping shingle & sand - can be hard on sensitive bare feet, especially once water-softened (the feet, that is!). It can also be hard on kit as there's a significant shoredump.

Overcombe beach Overcome car park the reef
Overcombe beach
Overcombe car park
View showing the exposed reef
Small wave day Mid Spock Back loop
Small wave day. F5, SSW.
Mid Spock (or is it a Vulcan or what?)
Back looper

If the wind doesn't blow & the weather's fine & you're feeling energetic; take a walk along the coastal path. About 1 hr's walk brings you to Osmington Mills & it's excellent pub.

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Directions to the right place:

From Dorchester, follow the A354 into Broadwey. At the 2'nd set of lights, turn L onto Littlemoor Road (signposted Upwey Station, Littlemoor & (possibly) Preston). Go under the railway bridge, & straight over the roundabout.

About 1 mile from the A354, turn R onto A353 at the roundabout towards Weymouth town centre. After about 1/2 mile, there's a pedestrian crossing with lights, a couple of shops on the R & new houses on the L - about 50m beyond, turn sharp L onto Bowleaze Coveway signposted to the Holiday Park. Turn immediately R into the car park by Second Wind (windsurfing shop) and the cafe.

Click here for a location map

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How the winds work:

The beach is SE-facing, so the best wind direction is SW (cross-shore from the R). Any more W than this & it tends to get messed up by the apartment blocks, houses, etc. SW thru' S, and NE work well, too. SE is dead onshore.

In E & SE winds, with the wind pushing the sea onto the beach, there's still a shoredump even at (neapy) LW. This gets worse as the tide comes in. Add the sideshore current to this, & getting off the beach becomes very difficult. Getting mangled, OTOH, is dead easy!

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Tidal conditions:

HW springs tend to occur around 08:00 - 09:00. HW neaps around 13:30 - 15:30 (GMT).

Best sailed at low tide. Whereas the boatyard at Portland dries out for hundreds of yards on spring low tides, it's ideal at Overcombe. Avoid spring highs - especially with any East in the wind - as the shoredump and undertow can be vicious and there's no beach left . Generally, it's best to avoid within 2hrs either side of high tide.

There often seems to be a S-bound sideshore current. In E & NE winds (wind with current), this can make it difficult to get going off the beach.

The water conditions can vary greatly, from fairly flat around high tide, to fairly wavy at mid to low tide.

On spring tides, there is the same double low tide effect as Portland; essentially meaning around 4 hours of low tide.

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Hazards:

There is a reef running parallel to the shore, about 5-10m out from the beach. The beach shelves quite steeply out towards the reef. It then becomes shallow for a way on the seaward side of the reef. The reef is exposed on spring low tides, becoming exposed when the tide height drops below around 0.5m (according to Admiralty tide tables). The reef itself is a fairly solid mass of rock, though not of the unpleasant jagged variety. It's actually fairly smooth, albeit very hard on fins - especially at speed. You have been warned!

There is a 2.5m wide gap in the reef, about 15-20m to the North of the cafe. Aim for this at low tide. You can just about see the reef under the water as long as the water's not too churned up. If you're uncertain about where it lies, swim your kit out & climb over it - as I mentioned, it's not particularly vicious, so you're not going to cut yourself up. Vice versa when coming back in.

Shoredump and strong undertow at high tides, particularly with E wind.

Swimmers, children, canoes, etc on hot days.

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Facilities:

Second Wind windsurfing shop & cafe - both in car park. What more could one want?

2003 update: Second Wind appear to have lost interest in windsurfing & now focus on canoes & kites.

The car park is now (summer 2006) pay and display, at 50p per hour or £4 for 8hrs+: It holds about 40 cars & gets VERY busy on good days in the summer - loads of day trippers. There is an "overflow" car park back on the A353 just by the shops. Unload your gear if you can find somewhere to stop for 3 mins, then park in the overflow.

The cafe does good meals, snacks etc & has seating on the beach. They'll even bring your lunch out to you!

Joy's Convenience Store - by the crossing on the A353 Preston Road - sells newspapers, sweets, drinks etc.

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B&B's / campsites

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Pubs and eateries

There's the cafe on the beach at Overcombe.

There's the New Inn on Littlemoor Road on the R as you're heading back into Broadwey (towards the A354), just after the roundabout. Does adequate meals & I seem to remember the beer's ok but it's some years since I was there.

Further afield is the Smuggler's Inn at Osmington Mills. Superb thatched pub doing good meals & good beer (Badgers). Not cheap.

Chippy back on the A353 (Preston Rd, Overcombe), by the pedestrian crossing (I think!). Not sampled.

Chippy & Chinese on the shopping precinct in Littlemoor as you're heading back from Overcombe towards Broadwey. Not sampled.

Chippy on the A354 in Broadwey near the junction with Littlemoor Rd. Not sampled.

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Content supplied by . Sept 2006 update from Al Donald - thanks Al.

Note: All comments and opinions mentioned in this section of the site are the personal opinions of the various contributors. Inevitably, one person's favourite may be another person's least favourite.

The information provided here is provided in good faith. We can take no responsibility for the consequences of any inaccuracies. Should you find any inaccuracies, then please take the trouble to tell us, using any of the update links.

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