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The southwestern county of Devon has incredible waterways ranging from slow-moving picturesque rivers to seas with incredible coastlines.
Paddle boarding has become one of the most popular water sports practised in Devon, and we’re here to explore all of the best places to paddleboard in Devon so you can start your trip off the right way.
Combe Martin has a sheltered cove and is home to the highest sea cliff in England with excellent paddle boarding conditions for all skill levels.
While out on the water, you can paddle around different rock pools, coves, and hidden caves that lie not far from the beach's shoreline.
Car parks are located directly behind the beach with stand up paddle boards, and kayak hire conveniently placed next to them.
Croyde is an excellent paddle boarding location for experienced paddlers who are looking for a slightly more challenging experience.
The vast waters, hidden coves, and stunning coastline make paddle boarding at Croyde a breathtaking experience that is best appreciated from the water.
As Croyde is a fairly popular beach amongst locals and tourists, they have fantastic beach facilities, and you can find a range of SUP rental shops, toilets, food outlets, shops, and a car park.
Dartmoor has become incredibly popular for paddle boarders, especially in the summer months and depending on how far you’re willing to hike; you could end up in crystal clear waters with outstanding natural beauty.
The waters are pretty calm throughout Dartmoor, so even inexperienced paddlers can practice their skills and enjoy everything the National Park has to offer.
Some of the most popular places to paddleboard in Dartmoor include:
Watermouth Cove, not far from Combe Martin, has calm waters near the shoreline that are an excellent starting point for beginners. The sheltered cove eases you into paddle boarding and provides ideal sea conditions for those trying to get the hang of ocean paddling.
For the more experienced borders, paddling out a few hundred meters will supply you with ample opportunities to catch a wave and SUP surf. Boards like the GILI Mako are excellent inflatable SUPs that can be used in both flat water and surf conditions.
The last on our North Devon list is Wimbleball Lake, a large open reservoir surrounded by the beautiful British countryside.
Paddlers of all kinds enjoy visiting the reservoir due to its still waters that, even when busy, provide enough space for everyone to move around and get the most out of their paddling trip.
As Wimbleball Lake is dog friendly, you can even take your pup on your SUP with you. We’ve even gone into more detail about How to Paddle Board With Your Dog if you’re new to the pup and SUP community.
Toilets, showers, a cafe, and parking is readily available at Wimbleball Lake.
Burgh Island is a popular paddle boarding spot in South Devon which inspired two Agatha Christie novels - Evil Under the Sun and And Then There Were None.
Many paddlers enjoy the longer trip from Burgh Island to Hope Cove, where you can pass by small coves and hidden caves. For a shorter paddle with stretches of sandy beaches, launch your SUP from Bigbury-on-Sea, finishing the day with a trip to the nearby 14th-century pub, The Pilchard Inn.
Exmouth is a gateway to a selection of paddle boarding routes and gives you access to the marina, Exe Estuary, or open ocean.
The waters at Exmouth are relatively shallow, and even during high tide, the water comes up to waist deep, making it the perfect location for young or inexperienced paddlers to hop on a SUP and master their paddling skills.
An interesting way to end your day is by taking a water taxi to a floating barge on the Exe Estuary called the River Exe Cafe. Here you can enjoy fresh seafood and drinks while watching the sunset over the river.
The Kingsbridge Estuary is a sheltered tidal estuary with scenic surroundings, incredible river wildlife, and water conditions for paddlers of all skill levels. The most popular route is from Kingsbridge to Salcombe, which takes approximately an hour each way and has a conveniently placed cafe so you can stop for food and drinks.
Before heading out on the Kingsbridge Estuary, it is important to check the tides and ensure enough water is present for your entire trip.
Salcombe South Sands is the place to launch your SUP if you’re after crystal clear water and views of Devon’s unique and stunning coastline.
After launching your paddle board from South Sands beach, you can explore the harbor and stay close to the popular sandy beaches, or better yet, head out and paddle over to secret coves and secluded beaches that are only accessible from the water.
If you are after one of the most wildlife immersive paddles in South Devon, then South Milton Sands provides just that.
Dolphins and seals are regularly spotted throughout the water at South Sands, and you can even paddle out over the clear waters and explore Thurlestone Rock not too far from the shoreline.
South Milton Sands is also home to numerous rock pools, and when the tide is low, the water along the sheltered shoreline is calm and perfect for beginners.
The River Dart flows for 47 miles and enters the sea at Dartmouth. The banks along the river switch between bustling towns to views of the beautiful British countryside.
Experienced paddlers take their paddle boards down a 9-mile route on the River Dart from Totnes to Dartmouth, which takes them out to sea where they can explore isolated coves and take in the stunning coastal sights.
South Devon is home to a selection of waterways that are perfect for experienced or beginner paddlers. Here are the most popular paddle boarding destinations in South Devon:
Each individual paddler has different preferences when it comes to a paddle boarding location. Some prefer big waves that provide a challenge, whereas others prefer slow-moving water where they can paddle at their own pace and take in the surrounding views.
If you’re heading to Devon, here are the top 11 SUP locations that you should visit:
Dartmoor has numerous locations to launch your SUP and head out for a paddle. Some places in the National Park are more challenging to reach than others, so it’s recommended to take an inflatable SUP as the hikes can range up to 40 minutes in length.
Some of the most popular places to paddleboard in Dartmoor include:
Although not all waterways throughout the UK will require you to have a license, some of them still do.
Over 5,000 km of water is managed by the Environment Agency, the Canal River Trust, and other waterway authorities, so at some point during your paddle, you’re bound to SUP through waters that require a permit or license.
The easiest way to obtain a license is to visit the British Canoeing website and applying for the license that best suits you.
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