Salcombe, South Hams, Devon

Top spots for an ocean dip in the South Hams

The sun is out, there’s only a gentle breeze and today is the day you feel inspired to dip in the ocean….. Later, on instagram, you’ll call it a ‘wild swim’ but in reality it’s going to be a quick, yet refreshing, full body salt water submersion. It will be enough to leave you feeling invigorated and energised. You’ll be left wanting more of the same every day of your South Devon holiday. Decision made, you’re going for it. Next question, where to go?

There are a few key beach features that make an ocean swim (or dip) in the South Hams a truly wonderful, and safe, experience!

Stunning scenery – beautiful views are a wonderful distraction when you find yourself edging slowly into the bracing cold water.
Calm water – sheltered coves and beaches are protected from the wind and swell making swimming easier and safer.
Sandy under foot – let’s face it, numb feet hobbling over large pebbles or slippery rocks is not for everyone. Soft golden sandy beaches make for a more graceful entry and exit!
Warm up options – if you forget your coffee flask then we think it’s essential to be able to buy a hot drink to warm up.

Where to find these amazing swimming spots:

Outer Hope in Hope Cove

A beautiful sandy beach nestled into the rocks along the South West coast path. A low man made wall in the water allows protection from any waves or swell making this a perfect safe spot for an ocean dip. The award winning Cove Cafe in Outer Hope is a great post swim destination for a barista coffee or even a craft beer for your well deserved reward.

Mill Bay, East Portlemouth

Opposite the pretty town of Salcombe, Mill Bay is a stunning sandy beach that is very well protected from the wind and waves due to its location on the banks of the Kingsbridge estuary. There is limited parking (National Trust car park) but there are many other more adventurous ways to access this beach, such as hiking from Gara Rock, or taking the passenger ferry from Salcombe. A short walk along the beach at low tide and you’ll find the Venus cafe serving hot drinks, snacks and ice cream.

South Sands and North Sands, Salcombe

A pair of very popular beaches in the pretty and bustling town of Salcombe are the ideal spot for salt water submersion. Soft, golden sand, beautiful views and multiple options for hot drinks and lunch (Bo’s Beach Cafe, South Sands or The Winking Prawn, North Sands) make these beaches lovely spots to spend the whole day. Arrive early to avoid the crowds!

South Milton Sands

Check the wind direction and wind strength before setting off. An easterly low breeze will mean calm water on this west facing beach. At mid/ low tide there is a natural sea lagoon where rocks provide some protection from any swell. The really adventurous and strong swimmers could even head off to swim through Thurlestone rock (a natural rock arch way in the sea) but this is only advisable for very strong swimmers in calm waters. The Beachhouse cafe is also right next to the beach offering cosy indoor seating in case the post swim shivers take a while to ease off!

Remember, always check the tide times, scan for dangerous currents, read the weather forecast carefully and swim with a buddy.

See you in the water!

About the author

Natalie created Yoga Field & Sea in order to share the healing and calming powers of Yoga and wild swimming amongst the stunning hills and beaches of South Devon. After two decades of living overseas, working in demanding corporate roles and raising three kids she decided to return to her homeland to create rejuvenating experiences for people who desperately need a break from the craziness of life. Visit Yoga Field & Sea to check out the 2021 Devon yoga and coastal experience retreat line up.

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