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Daymer Bay, Cornwall

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General details:

Daymer is a small bay on the North/East side of the Camel estuary in Cornwall, on the opposite side & seaward from Padstow. 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 famed "Doom Bar" sand bar (NOT the beer, though that's named after the sand 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 decent 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.

There's also a mountain bike trail centre at Cardinham Woods, just over the A30 past Bodmin, and if you like some serious downhill trails, try Grogely Woods.

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. Similarly, be wary of sailing an incoming tide in a Northerly.

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!!

The 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.

If there's no swell you'll get few better gybing platforms!!

There's a webcam (in 2020) that sweeps from Rock, via Daymer, to Polzeath, from the opposite side of the peninsula.

Click on the pictures to see (some very old) 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

The beaches and sand bars tend to move around a lot between the Doom Bar and Rock. Probably not helped by the sand dredging in the channel. Generally, there's less sand on the beaches now than there used to be, so the estuary is consequently wider at low water than it used to be. Whilst this sounds like a good thing, another consequence is the appearance of lots of baby's head - sized rocks to blunt your expensive skeg upon.

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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 R 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. BEWARE if you have a large vehicle, van, motorhome or trailer: the lane gets very busy at times, and passing places (actually drive entrances) are small. It can get gridlocked.

At the bottom is a large pay & display car park which gets very busy in summer & at weekends. Expect to pay handsomely to park.

Click here for a location map.

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How the winds work:

The wind directions at Daymer ideally need to be either on shore or cross shore because of the hills immediately behind the beach. Consequently the winds that work are N anti-clockwise through to SSW. In Northerly & Southerly the wind on the beach starts to get obstructed by the "cliffs", and Brea Hill at the Southern end of the beach, respectively. Northerly will probably work around low tide, but there will be a long walk to the water.

Wind Direction Comments
N Wind blowing straight down the estuary. Best on falling tide. Excellent over the Doom Bar. Ok at low tide, but the beach gets progressively sheltered as the tide comes in, making it tricky to launch & return. Can get some big waves coming into the estuary
NE Ok at low tide, but the beach gets progressively sheltered as the tide comes in, making it tricky to launch & return. Best if not too much E in the wind. Can get some big waves coming into the estuary
E Awful. Gusty. Go surfing at Polzeath instead.
SE Huge wind shadow on beach. Getting out/coming back in very tricky
S Wind blowing straight up the estuary from Camelford. Gusty. Best on rising tide. Can be excellent over the Doom Bar
SW Cross shore port tack - best on a rising tide with good blasting across the estuary. Beach is sheltered from the wind at HW due to Brea Hill.
W Largely on shore. Difficult to get off the beach due to the curving bay. If you can get out, you can blast all the way down to Rock & back out to the Doom Bar
NW Cross shore starboard tack - best (but most dangerous conditions) on an ebbing tide. Excellent blasting across the estuary
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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 strong 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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Very strong currents in the middle of the estuary at mid-tide.

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.

Supposedly extra charge for wind/kite surfers to use the car park compared to cars - Supposedly harbour launch fees. Never had to pay this, myself.

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/puncture sails as they flip over in the flukey winds here. 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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Large car park - expensive in the summer. Fills up quickly on bank hols and weekends when *good* weather is forecast (ie: warm, sunny & windless). Payment by card: accepted.

Daymer Parking charges 2021 Polzeath beach parking charges 2021

Daymer parking charges 2021

The steps from the car park to the beach can be a bit congested with people at busy times. Bizarrely, most of these people seems not to understand the consequences of setting off down the steps whilst you're coming up the steps with 7.5sq m sail in a gusty wind. The lane/path at the S side of the car park might be a better bet at times.

There's a shop/cafe in the car park park, which tends to be open only in the summer.

Toilets (40p in 2021)

Pub, cafes, surfing beach, surfboard hire & tuition all 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.


Dinham Caravan Park - St Minver. (OS 969749). Tel: 01208-812878.

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. Mostly static caravans, but can also take motorhomes, caravans & tents

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 on hill-top overlooking the estuary On the left as you drive down the hill to Polzeath from Trebetherick). Tel: 01208-862215. Open Mar-Oct. Takes tents & motorhomes.

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 & motorhomes.

Trewiston Farm & Caravan Park, Rock. Tel: 01208-863205. (John Mably). Open all year. Takes tents, caravans & motorhomes. Low season price for motorhome (in 2020) - £18 + £3 for electric. Price includes all hot water for washing, showering, washing-up. Adequate facilities. 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.

There are plenty of others to be found on the web.

Hotels & self-catering:

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

St Moritz Hotel, Polzeath. Tel: 01208 862242

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

Gazillions of other places on the web

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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..

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

The Rock Inn, Rock (up-market)

Mariners, Rock (up-market)

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 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 (up-market).

TJs Surf Cafe in Polzeath has been very good when I've visited.

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 beach cafe at Daymer does ice creams, light snacks and pasties, etc.

You can also get pasties, fish & chips locally in Polzeath, Rock and Wadebridge.

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This page last updated: 3rd Sep, 2021.