Location: Porthilly Cove, near Rock

County: Cornwall

Directions: Rock is on the opposite side of the Camel estuary facing Padstow. You need the B3314 out of Wadebridge. There is also a ferry across from Padstow and a good deal of walking.

Rock itself is not really a seaside town but a sort of upmarket housing estate before you get to the sea. The turning to Porthilly Cove is a turning on the left before Rock harbour, so if you find yourself at the end of the road youíve gone too far. There is a narrow lane down the road between the houses and if lucky you may find a parking place (the beach is not well known or crowded). You will then need to walk along a flat footpath for a hundred yards or so before coming out on the beach.


Aerial photo

The aerial photo does not do justice to it as it seems to have been taken at extreme low tide. At any other time, most of that sandy area is covered with water.

Type: beach! But of a type suitable for model boating.

Size: undemanding.

Shoreline access: on three sides, the fourth side is open sea.

Depth: knee deep for hundreds of yards out.

Restrictions: nothing I could see.

Clubs: A local (full size) dinghy club use the beach to launch from.

Public access: Yes.

Facilities: none. A few rocks to sit on. No shop. Not many people. When we were there, just two or three family parties.

Anything else: Of course, most beaches are no use for model boats especially free sailing. Apart from the crashing surf there is the risk that your boat will head for France or America.

However Porthilly Cove is special. It is a sock-shaped bay of white sand with little wind, no cross currents and a very gentle slope of the sand. At high tide there is still a semicircular area of sand left to sit on (unlike some Cornish bays where everyone ends up sitting on rocks). The area of knee-deep water extends for a long way out. You will be able to retrieve your boat easily from three sides and you can of course follow it while wading.

Because of this I thought I might add Porthilly Cove to the Pond Guide even though itís a beach not a pond, as Cornwall seems to be short of purpose-built ponds.

Note to pictures: the Star SY6 was admired by other beach visitors who recognised it as a classic yacht. The rubber dinghy demonstrates how calm and shallow the water is.

Andy Tribble, 07/02/2005

Hi. There is a good natural pond at Falmouth at Swanpool. It's a large deep lake with only partial access used by a local club. The water is brackish. It's near the beach and has good breezes. A good place for large boats. Howard Thomas, 24.06.2006

Information Wanted

Andy Tribble, a regular contributor to this site, has found what look like ponds on the following aerial photos - can anyone help with further information? Please email me on the link below.


Hi. There is a small yachting pond at Pensance. It's not the thing you saw on the map. That is an outdoor swiming pool. The yachting pond is at the end of the prom (western). Not very deep. My fiesta just managed to sail in it. It's surrounded by trees, but the local breeze made for good sailing. Howard Thomas [16.01.2006]


The picture showing a pond on the coastline at Bude,Cornwall, is the
local public swimming pool. I am sure that there are by-laws which would prevent the sailing of model boats there!. Also during the summer months there are lifeguards on duty,covering the beach area and swimming pool.
Two years ago a local man was campaigning to free up the Bude Canal to model boats and yachts,I do not know whether he had any success.The R.N.L.I. local Bude branch organise a Model Boat Festival on the canal once a year and all the Cornish,Devon.and Somerset clubs attend ,plus other clubs and individuals from further afield. Also in attendance are various trade stands.
There are quite a few sailing venues in the South West, log on to the City of Plymouth Model Boat Club site for details of our sailing waters.Also the Looe
club sails on the Millpond situated by a large car park-see there site. At Truro they have use of a pond near Malpas.Ilfracombe uses a pond at a local park.
At Northam,N.Devon they use a nearby pond.The South West Association of Model Boat Club web site is :-WWW.SWAMBC.ORG and their hand book gives details of all the S/West clubs sailing waters,including the clubs at Jersey and the Isle of Wight. I trust this may be of help to you in adding your web site.
Bob Wilson,
City of Plymouth Model Boat Club



Location: Tamar Lakes

County: Cornwall

Size: Large

Depth: Snorkel

A lake not a pond, so not 100% access and the other side is a long way round, so not suitable for freesailing.

Although not a purpose-built boat pond, the Tamar Lakes are used by the Appledore MYC on Sunday mornings for sailing their One Metre and Marblehead class racing yachts and also scale model boats. The Lakes have gravel beaches and a couple of landing stages so that it is possible to get out to keel depth without getting your feet wet.


Listed by Andy Tribble, 30.06.2008

Anything to add or amend?