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Old 24 June 2022, 10:51   #1
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Somerset Coast Launching

Hello all,

Any recommendations for launching along the Somerset coast late August? I need to drop family off in Bristol for 4 days so looking for somewhere not too far along the coast to camp (campsite for campervan) and boat for the 2 days in between drop off/pick up.

I was looking at Minehead perhaps?

I did the same trip last year and went down to RedCliffe Camping on Poole Harbour... that was pretty cool.

Any suggestions?

Thanks

Stig
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Old 25 June 2022, 17:29   #2
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Hi Stigomery.
The Somerset coast, unfortunately I s bit lacking in good launching sites. There is a slipway in Minehead harbour, and in Watchet.
Iíve not used either, personally. There is a very large tidal range along the coast, and strong currents, so depends on your set up as to whether youíd be comfortable. There is a long , narrow slipway at Burnham on sea, which drops into the estuary, off the beach. Again, strong currents and tide, a big drop off at low tides, and no facilities to moor up, or park close by. Ilfracombe has a slipway into the harbour, and Appledore further along the coat in the Torridge estuary. If you fancy some non tidal trips, Bristol floating harbour has two slipways- one for small boats by the harbour masters office, and a bigger one at the marina. Both have parking on site. There is also a caravan site immediately next to the harbour Near both slipways. Can get out onto the River Avon in either direction, via a few locks heading to Bath, or via Cumberland basin, down the tidal river to the Severn estuary.
Otherwise, itís really the south coast, Poole, Portland, West Bay( Bridport), and more heading west. All have camping sites in the area. I can give you more info on West Bay etc, or Bristol harbour, if either are of interest
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Old 25 June 2022, 22:59   #3
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For me having lived in the area many years and spent lots of time Cruising the Chanell...
Bristol docks (considering where your going to be based) is a good launch site and slip....a little run to Bristol Channel proper which takes you down the Avon Gorge and under Clifton Suspension Bridge in my opinion one of the Best and scenic Bridges in the World.
..Portishead has a good slip ...if you don't mind a very deep tidal loch....which you may have to wait you're turn for.
Minehead is ok over High tide...don't use the Harbour there is a better slip behind near the Sea Cadet compound with plenty of room for the Trailer....(and it's free) A much better bet is Watchet Harbour which because of the tidal gate gives a much wider window....is cheap ..and has Pontoons.
The Bristol Channel can be challenging with Very strong tides and huge tidal ranges and if possible I'd say to explore in company if you don't know the area...it can also be tremendous scenery especially if you like the Wild and Woolly stuff!
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Old 27 June 2022, 09:01   #4
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Hmmmmm, okay, might rethink this, I was hoping Minehead was far enough out of the channel to avoid the strong currents... I assumed (incorrectly) that the paddle-boarders on the Minehead tourist website signified safe, calm and gentle waters... doh!

Might look to the south coast again then, Poole Harbour was great, but really tedious getting out to sea from the far side... and Old Harry's Rocks, they can throw up some interesting sea conditions!

*Edit: And so I've just booked a campsite near Beer on the south coast... now to find launch facilities...
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Old 28 June 2022, 16:41   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stigomery View Post
Hmmmmm, okay, might rethink this, I was hoping Minehead was far enough out of the channel to avoid the strong currents... I assumed (incorrectly) that the paddle-boarders on the Minehead tourist website signified safe, calm and gentle waters... doh!

Might look to the south coast again then, Poole Harbour was great, but really tedious getting out to sea from the far side... and Old Harry's Rocks, they can throw up some interesting sea conditions!

*Edit: And so I've just booked a campsite near Beer on the south coast... now to find launch facilities...
Mate...I think you should give the Bristol Channel a miss for the time being....if you think the Tides ("strong Currents") deminish at Minehead

Beer is lovely and mostly much more benign Boating ....and in the Summer there is always plenty of other Boat traffic around too
It's where I started Boating in an Avon SIB ...in the early 70's
If you like Crab Sandwhiches??....Try "Duckys" right on the beach I've been 'sampling"all over the UK and they're still No.1!!
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Old 28 June 2022, 20:55   #6
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Looking forward to it although Beer beach looked a bit pebbly for the Honwaveís launch wheelsÖ will investigate when we get down there but if youíve done it 50 year ago I must be able to do it 😂
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Old 29 June 2022, 11:58   #7
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West Bay is also a good option, with parking included, and a caravan site about 150 yards away. Good slipway, pontoons, and boat wash . Good runs out along the Jurassic coast- west to Lyme Regis, Seaton and Beer, or east to Chelsie beach, and Portland bill.
Needs some care if the wind is Easterly, as it pushes any swell straight at the slipway.
Portland harbour has very good facilities. - cafes, parking, boat wash, and sheltered launch/ recovery. I have seen motor homes in the car park, but donít know whatís permitted. Camp sites in/ around Weymouth, but donít know if there are any a bit closer on Portland. Itís good for runs into Weymouth, or across the bay to Durdle door, Lulworth etc.
Personally I wouldnít venture east of Lulworth, especially if gunnery range is oprerating!
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Old 30 June 2022, 09:17   #8
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Thanks... very useful... looks like the tide range isn't huge on the days we plan to go out, 20/21/22 August so hopefully not too much hassle with mud... coming from a lot of boating around the Norfolk/Suffolk coast I'm used to mud, but hate the stuff... I thought the south coast was all magical rocks and cliffs...
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