Bigbury is arguably the most versatile and consistently windy location in SW Devon.  It can provide both fantastic wave and flat water sailing and is able to challenge all levels of sailor.  It has very good facilities and local anminities.  It is patrolled by lifeguards Apr to October and offers good shelter for small children and families watching from the beach. Access is via the A379 between Modbury and Kingsbridge.  


Suitable windsurfing levels


  • Start Windsurfer (flat and light onshore summer day's) 

  • Intermediate non planning (In the right conditions)
  • Intermediate planning
  • Advanced windsurfers



Ideal wind direction

SW-NW and NE


Best conditions


The best conditions will depend upon the style of sailing you are looking for.  Here are a few examples;


Cross Off waves with a NE wind.  The Bantham valley accelerates the wind producing a greater wind speed than forecast.  Combine this with a large favorable S/SW swell and Bigbury can provide some epic starboard wave riding.  Regrettably not often enough for the local sailors enough.


A NE wind without the swell provides excellent, safe flat water blasting, especially if you sail while the tide is flooding.  If you sail close to the beach at LW it is very good for flat water freestyle.


SW wind can be great bump and jump conditions for all abilities.  The conditions vary with the swell height.  If windguru is predicting max swell heights of under 3.0m, then the conditions are ideal for those wanting to develop their coastal and cross on wave sailing skills.  In big swells at LW and HW the waves can create a large amount of shore dump making it a challenge to launch.  The waves are often better formed at mid tide, being more evenly spaced across the shallow sand banks.


W/NW can provide good port side wave riding especially at mid tide.  Mid to HW allows you to windsurf between the lifeguard hut and Burgh Island allowing you to avoid its wind shadow and on big days, the larger sets on the outside.


In a SW/W sailing  2 hours after HW allows you to sail down wind into the waves at Bantham with the confidence that you will be able to get back up wind by either using the ebb tide or walking.


Conditions when this location should be avoided

A northerly wind is very tricky, dead off shore and only just sailable at LW.  Bigbury is best avoided in a strong southerly with a big swell as it becomes almost unsailable.


Local hazards

Bigbury is separated from Bantham by the River Avon.  The river flow combined with a large swell can create some very fast flowing rip's and unpredictable currents.  In these conditions the waves have a lot of power and are very unforgiving.  There will many walls of white water erratically flowing around.   Not the conditions to be seperated from your kit, if so you are in for a big swim.

You will find that you share the water with swimmers (marked by the life guard flags), surfers / kayakers and kitesurfers, therefore it is important to be conscientious of the other water users. 

In any westerly wind direction you have to be aware of the wind shadow produced by Burgh Island. Not nessecerly a hazard more of an annoyance.


Rigging area and launch access

On the beach at the bottom of the steps by the life guard hut or at Spring HW on the dry sand by the small access road to the north of the beach.


Local amenities

There are public toilets and the Venus Cafe and shop.  The Toilets and cafe are open all year round.  There is a pub on Burgh Island and plenty of other choice in the local area.  Next to the toilet block there is a fresh water shower.

The nearest campsite which offers basic facilities, is on the farm at the top of the hill over looking the beach.


Car Parking

There is plenty of parking at Bigbury, with a large pay and display car park, costing £5.60 for the day.


Local Shops

Reactive Water Sports, Plymouth    - 01752 403300
Edge Water Sports, Exmouth          - 01395 222551