Explore caves, forts, and wooded cliffs at the eastern edge of Plymouth Sound after launching from the fortified Mount Batten peninsula.
This is route 45/107 in our latest book “Paddle Boarding South West England:100 places to SUP, canoe, and kayak in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Bristol“
From Mount Batten beach head south towards the unmistakable clifftop bulk of Stadden Fort, battery, and the eye-catching wall, which looks more like an Arthur C Clarke-inspired installation than the remains of an 1860’s musket range. Paddle around Jennycliff Bay or simply sit and enjoy the views across the Sound to Drake’s Island as you watch the comings and goings in the shipping lanes. Continuing further south, the cliffs become densely wooded and a modern lighthouse roughly marks the journey’s halfway point. Beyond, where a small stream enters the bay, are various rocky inlets, fascinatingly folded rocks and small caves to discover. Pass the stone daymarks then directly below the radar on the hillside at Watchhouse Battery find the larger cave that is possible to paddle into at mid-tide. Round atmospheric Bovisand Pier and Fort to enter Bovisand Bay (a good spot for a dip) then walk uphill to the café. Return the same way.
Plymouth Sound special blue space
Plymouth Sound is the UK’s first designated National Marine Park which has multiple designations for protected habitats and supports over 1000 species of fish and other marine animal life.
Need to know
Distance 7km (return)
Access restrictions No licence required
Starting point Mount Batten Beach, PL9 9SJ. Grid ref. SX 4878 5307
Launching 150m walk from car park
Parking Mount Batten Car Park No.2 (charges), Lawrence Road, Mount Batten, Plymouth, PL9 9SJ
Pitstops Mount Batten great breakfasts, Galley Kitchen, tel. 01752 658282. Bovisand fabulous views, lunches, and cake, Cliff Edge café, tel. 01752 858898
Getting there E on A379, across Plym on Laira Bridge, R at 1st roundabout past Morrisons, then 2nd exit at next roundabout following signs to Hooe, Turnchapel, and Mount Batten
Lessons, tours Mountbatten Watersports and Activities Centre, tel. 01752 404567
Special points Jennycliff is a quiet bay away from the main shipping channels but exposed to crosswinds. Check wind conditions and swell: even with breakwater, swell can push in around Staddon Point. During mid-tide, there are flows up to 1.3knots (2.6km/hr) in Eastern Channel during mid-spring ebbs but staying close to shore generally avoids them. Aim to arrive at Bovisand Bay towards slack water. Offshore wind: NE through to E
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