Beaches, coastal walks and historic Plymouth near by – the Cornish anchorage of Cawsand Bay has it all, says Jane Cumberlidge


Cawsand Bay, positioned on the west side of Plymouth Sound is a delight, writes Jane Cumberlidge.

Whether you drop the anchor here just as a pleasant lunchtime stop or for the night, this is a classic anchorage.

Cawsand and Kingsand are at their most relaxing mid-week at either end of the season as they are very popular with local boats.

The approach is straightforward; it’s perfectly sheltered with any west in the wind and makes a good stopover when on a West Country cruise if you don’t want to go into a marina.

To the east, you can watch all sorts of vessels negotiating the channel around Plymouth’s historic breakwater, fishing boats, naval ships, Brittany Ferries and scores of yachts.

Approaching up Channel from Falmouth or Fowey, Rame Head is a distinctive mark with its little chapel on the summit.

Draystone red buoy lies just off Penlee Point, around which is an area where anchoring is prohibited, clearly marked on the Admiralty chart.

Coming from the east you just head for the west end of the breakwater and in towards the pretty village waterfront.

Chart of Cawsand Bay

Credit: Maxine Heath

You can anchor anywhere in Cawsand Bay clear of the local moorings, nudging in as close as your draught allows; the holding is good but it’s worth attaching an anchor buoy.

Dividing the two beaches is the Maker with Rame Institute, the third building on this site, both of the earlier two having been destroyed by storms.

In 2014 it was again severely damaged but swift action saved it and it has been beautifully restored and the sea wall below it strengthened.

The clock tower was built in 1920 to mark the coronation of George V, which was in 1911 the same day the foundation stone of the institute was laid.

From the beginning of April to the end of October, a ferry runs from Cawsand beach to the Barbican in the centre of Plymouth.

It’s a good way to visit the city but be sure to leave someone on board as a shift of the wind into the east would mean moving pretty quickly.

There are pubs and cafés in the villages and Kingsand has a Spar minimarket for supplies. The Halfway House is a good choice for a meal ashore.

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You can join the South West Coast Path here for walks either west to Rame Head or east towards Cremyll.

The bay forms the boundary of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park with its formal gardens and deer park.

There are shops and a choice of cafés if you need fortifying before you follow one of the walks around the estate.

Until 1844, Kingsand was in Devon and Cawsand in Cornwall, and you can still see the house with the dividing line marked on it.

Historically, the inhabitants would have made their livings through pilchard fishing and smuggling.

There was a network of tunnels under the cottages where the contraband was kept, but they have all now been sealed up.

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