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Daymer Bay, Cornwall

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General details:

For those who have never had the pleasure, Daymer is on the North/East side of the Camel estuary in Cornwall, opposite & slightly seaward from Padstow. It is an ideal location for all standards of boardsailors: Being fairly flat, one can stand quite a way out (This also means a fairly long trek back at low tide!) and the currents are not strong by the beach (although they are in the main channel). Further out in the estuary is the well-named "Doom Bar" which can throw up some amazing waves in the right conditions.

Take a surf or body board with you in case there's no wind, or hire one from one of several places in Polzeath. Polzeath beach is pretty good for surfing, although it can get very crowded.

Alternatively, take a mountain bike & do some exploring (or hire one in Wadebridge). The Camel Trail is worth cycling - after the long, gradual, uphill bit from Wadebridge to Bodmin, there's a pub (Borough Arms) with good beer to revitalise.

If you're really up for it, cycle down to Rock, take the ferry to Padstow, then cycle the Camel Trail up through Wadebridge, then Bodmin, on towards St Brewards. The trail ends just before St Breward, but if you leave the trail at the end, & make the very steep road climb up through to the top of St Breward, you'll be rewarded by an great pub with good food (The Old Inn). About 36 miles round trip.

Here's an extract about Daymer from a windsurfing newsgroup (Feb 2000):

A few rules of Daymer - Never Never sail it if the tide is going out, close to low tide and the wind is running down the valley (Southerly)!! You'll be headed for Ireland before you know it. There is a strong current running through the river channel in both directions.
At low tide it's a fair old walk to the water and at high tide there's not a lot of beach left if it's a big tide so I'd get yourself sorted out with a tide table.
At mid tide you can get lovely small waves on either side of the estuary where you can stand up - Great playgrounds!! But beware that there is little beach as high tide aproaches on the other side and if there's much swell there's a lovely little standing wave which develops!! Great if the wind is in the right direction!!
Doom bar is a classic if the wind is right and the swell is big enough in the open ocean to wrap around the headland - but be careful if you are not competent in waves - the currents are very strong!
There are also a couple of wind shadows from the hills around you so look at the area carefully and think about the wind direction so you don't end up in a no wind hole - Done it loads of times myself and thought if only I hadn't done that last 100 yards I wouldn't be doing this swim!!!! (Anything between SSW & ESE wind is bad as Brea Hill - the lump to the left of the beach at Daymer - causes a huge wind shadow)
All that sounds a bit negative but if you are looking for a first step into some predcictable, clean, not too powerful waves stay on Daymer bay side from an hour after low to an hour before high and if the swell is good you'll have endless hours of fun without feeling in danger.
Just remember if you cross the river channel you've got to get back. I've done it as the wind was dropping on a short board and was lucky not to have to walk to Padstow and get an expensive taxi ride back to Daymer. If you're concerned about your ability to get back then just sail it on an incoming tide - you can only end up at Padstow harbour or Rock - And there's a loveley pub at Rock that serves good Guinness!!!!!!
If there's no swell you'll get few better gybing platforms!!

Click on the pictures to see images of Daymer Bay:

looking se down the beach to brea hill photo over the camel estuary the author, windsurfing at daymer

Beach - mid tide.

Camel Estuary @ LW clearly showing the Doom Bar. (Daymer @ bottom R)

Me - blasting across the estuary. 8.5m2 on Xantos 310 (Apr '99)

photo of daymenr bay car park photo of shop/cafe at daymer  
Car park
Café/Shop in car park

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Directions to the right place:

Follow the A39 to Wadebridge from Camelford, or the A389 from Bodmin. Both these meet at a roundabout just NE of Wadebridge.

Take the small road towards Wadebridge town centre & after a hundred metres, turn R onto the B3314 to St Minver, Rock, Trebetherick.

Follow this road for a couple of miles to a small cross roads.

Turn L towards Pityme (I kid you not), Rock, Trebetherick, Polzeath.

At T jn in Pityme, turn L towards Rock & after about 50m, turn L towards Trebetherick & Polzeath.

After about 1 1/2 miles, you're in Trebetherick. The road starts to lead uphill, and where it bends R near the top of the hill, turn sharp L down a single-track lane leading down to Daymer Bay.

At the bottom is a large car park which nonetheless gets very busy in summer & at weekends. Expect to pay handsomely to park, then expect to pay some more as a "launching fee".

Click here for a location map

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How the winds work:

The wind directions at Daymer really need to be either on shore or cross shore because of the hills immediately behind the beach. Consequently the winds that work are NW anti-clockwise through to SSW, at Southerly the wind starts to get hidden by the hill at the left hand end of the beach. Northerly will probably work around low tide, but there will be a long walk to the water.

N - Excellent. Good for blasting across the estuary & for the waves on The Doom Bar.

NW - Cross shore starboard tack - best (but most dangerous conditions) on an ebbing tide, excellent blasting across the estuary

W - Cross-on from the R. Go for a cruise up to Rock on the incoming tide, head back on the outgoing (with care!)

SW - Pretty much cross-on from the L. Good blasting across the estuary.

S - Awful wind shadow from Brea Hill. Ok if you can get out beyond, but then you have to get back to the beach again! Avoid when tide is ebbing.

SE, E & NE - Awful. Gusty. Go surfing at Polzeath instead.

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Tidal conditions:

HW springs tend to occur around 06:00 - 07:00 (18:00 - 19:00). HW neaps around 12:00 (GMT).

LW springs make for a very (very) long walk, with a very small sailing area in the middle of the main channel, with the associated current running in or out.

HW springs make for very little beach and huge wind shadows from the surrounding hills unless you are very fortunate with the wind direction.

That said, you can still have an enormous amount of fun at Daymer on spring tides, you just have to prepare yourself for a long walk and don't expect to sail near the two extremes of the tidal range.

Neap tides are far better for sailing at Daymer, however you still have to very aware of the current which flows out of the estuary. Try to avoid sailing on an outgoing tide if possible.

Always try to sail wind against tide, particularly if you are heading out of Daymer Bay into the main estuary.

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Hazards:

Very strong currents in the middle of the estuary.

Rocks on the right hand side of the beach as you go out from the bay - these rocks wrap right the way round the headland to Polzeath making recovery very difficult if you miss your return to Daymer Bay and end up drifting out to sea.

Small rocks/pebbles/stones appear half way down the beach as the tide goes out. They're not big but can ruin you day/skeg/feet if you come across them unexpectedly.

Wind shadow from the surrounding hills.

Extra charge for windsurfers to use the car park compared to cars - even though the car park owner has no rights to the beach, he just has the monopoly on the access to the beach.

Be careful trying to get rigged-up sails down/up the steps: There are hand rails and signs by the top of the steps strategically placed to catch/tear monofilm. It's usually very gusty whilst trying to negotiate the steps. It's sometimes advisable to carry your kit down the small lane next to the car park.

CPGA Gig racing regatta. This takes place on a Sunday in June each year, coinciding with neap tides. The gig trailers take up much of the beach, and spectators take up the remainder - especially if the weather's good. Not to mention the car park gets full. If you're not there to windsurf, the racing's a good spectator sport. Check the CPGA website for dates/venues

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Facilities:

Large car park - expensive in the summer. Fills up quickly on bank hols and weekends when *good* weather is forecast (ie: warm, sunny & windless). Prices - June 2011: £6.50 for car, two people & windsurfing trailer.

There's a shop/cafe in the car park park.

Toilets

Post office at the top of the road leading down to the beach.

Pubs, cafes, surfing beach, surfboard hire & tuition in nearby Polzeath.

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B&B's / campsites

The Tourist Information office in Wadebridge will be able to help you here. Tel: 01208-813725.

Campsites:

Dinham caravan Park - St Minver. (OS 969749). Tel: 01208-812878. Not listed in Tourist Info guide, 2000.

Little Bodieve Holiday Park - Bodieve (OS 994734). Tel: 01208-812323. Open Apr-Oct. Close to Wadebridge & Camel Trail, about 5 miles/10mins drive to Daymer.

Lundynant Caravan Site - Polzeath (OS 945793). Tel: 01208-862268. Not listed in Tourist Info guide, 2000.

Valley Caravan Park - Polzeath (OS 936788). Tel: 01208-862391. Takes tents & camper vans. No dogs.

Tristram - Polzeath (OS 935789 - not indicated on my OS map, but apparently on hill-top overlooking the estuary!). Tel: 01208-862215. Open Mar-Oct. Takes tents & camper vans.

South Winds - Polzeath (OS 947792). Tel: 01208-863267. Quiet, gently sloping. Up steep hill heading North from Polzeath beach. Same owners as Tristram. Open Easter - Oct. Takes tents & camper vans.

Trewiston Farm & Caravan Park, Rock. Tel: 01208-863205. (Viv & John Mably). Open all year. Takes tents, caravans & camper vans. Highly recommended - price for camping (in 2011) - £13 per tent for 2 people including car. Price includes all hot water for washing, showering, washing-up. Very clean & well-maintained facilities. Farmhouse will make breakfast for you, too! Main camping / touring van field has a significant slope, however.

B & B's:

Daymer House, Daymer Bay. Tel: 01208-862639 (Mrs Burrows). Open all year.

The Old Vicarage, St Minver. Tel 01208-962951 (Mrs Tyson). Open all year.

Penmarley, St Minver. Tel: 01208-863081 (Mrs Ward). Open Apr-Sept.

Porteath Barn, St Minver. Tel: 01208-863605 (Jo Bloor). Open all year.

Trewiston Farm & Caravan Park, Rock. Tel: 01208-863205. (Viv & John Mably). Open all year.

Tzitzikama Lodge, Rock. Tel 01208-862839. Open all year. Self-catering option available..

Seaways Guest House, Polzeath. Tel: 01208 862382.

There are plenty of others - they're just not Tourist Information registered. Check Talking Pages, Yell.com or Yellow Pages or just turn up & hope!.

Hotels:

Atlantic House Hotel, New Polzeath. Tel: 01208-863032. Open Mar-Nov

Seascape Hotel, Polzeath. Tel: 01208-863638. Open all year.

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Pubs and eateries

The pubs in the immediate locality to Daymer Bay tend to cater for the surfing culture at Polzeath, which is not surprising since that is by far the larger market. However pick up a copy of the Good Pub Guide, there are some excellent pubs in and around the Daymer Bay area.

The Oystercatcher in Polzeath is convenient for food and beer - on the hill between Daymer & Polzeath

The Fourways Inn at St Minver serves good St Austell real ales and good food. Food is served from 7pm.

Try the Port Gaverne Inn - which, not surprisingly is up the coast at Port Gaverne - and serves Sharp's beers with average meals.

The Rock Inn, Rock

Mariners, Rock

Probably the best pub in the area is the Blisland Inn, up on Bodmin Moor. A bit of a trek from Daymer, but well worth the trip. Enough real ales & ciders to keep anyone happy for a few nights. If you're feeling energetic, you can cycle there along the Camel trail from Wadebridge. Turn R off the Camel Trail at OS ref 089732 - before the derelict Wenford clay dries works at Poley's bridge.

Slightly further afield is The Old Inn at St Breward. Also accessible by bike from the very northern end of the Camel trail: Go past Bodmin, right up to the end of the trail - past Poley's Bridge, then climb very steeply up through the village to the pub. A stiff climb, but the reward is worth it.

There's the Waterfront Restaurant in Polzeath.

The Tubestation in Polzeath does great coffees & cakes; to be taken whilst relaxing to a myriad surf videos. A cool place to hang out.

The beachcafe at Daymer provides light snacks and does pasties, fish & chips etc, ready to be followed up by cornish ice cream.

You can also get pasties, fish & chips locally in Polzeath and Wadebridge. The Galleon cafe on the left as you drop down into Polzeath from Daymer does pasties, chips, etc.

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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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