Favourite South West Anchorages

The South West is full of sheltered anchorages, some of which are well known and often full of other cruising boats and there are others known only to those that have cruised these waters for several years.

Here are a few of our members’ favourites in no particular order;

Cellar Bay, River Yealm

Shelter from NW through N to South. Open to S through to W.

Okay holding in sand and shingle, some weed and regular passing traffic leaving and entering the R Yealm.

50° 27′.77N 4° 12′.31W

Cellar Bay at low water looking toward the Mew Stone & Rame Head
Cellar Bay

Kingsand and Cawsand

The classic overnight anchorage on entering or before leaving Plymouth Sound.

Shelter from SW through W and N to NNE. Open to NE through to South.

Good holding in sand, but beware of eelgrass beds, swimmers and crowds!

50° 19′.86N 4° 11′.58W

Cawsand Bay in late evening
Cawsand Bay

Hope Cove

Shelter from SSE through E to N. Open from SW to NW.

Excellent holding although prone to swell following persistant westerlies. Excellent catering and village shop ashore.

50° 14′.68N 3° 51′.90W

Hope Cove in the late evening immeadiately following the spring 2020 “Lockdown”
Hope Cove, Bigbury Bay.

Barn Pool, Plymouth

If it was good enough for Darwin’s Beagle, its probably good enough for you too! The Beagle lay at anchor here before departing on its famous voyage to the Galápagos Islands.

Good holding but you will need to be close in as the bottom shelves very steeply. Keep an eye on your scope as you are likely to be close to other boats. An extraordinary vantage point to watch large warships entering and leaving Devonport or to view the air displays on Armed Forces Day!

Shelter from SSE through S to NW, although strong winds can create unpredictable gusts over the Mount Edgecumbe Park and estate.

50° 21′.35N 4° 10′.27W

Tuck in close as the bottom shelves steeply!
Anchor close in and with care to avoid charted obstructions and the swinging room of other boats.

The Saltstone and the mouth of Frogmore Creek, Salcombe Harbour.

Salcombe isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but in good weather and out of the peak season it is a jolly lovely place to be! Easy access to all shoreside facilities and the new Co-op suppermarket near the Shadycombe carpark. On the right tides there is also excellent dinghy access to the eateries and hostelries of Kingsbridge, Frogmore and South Pool. Err as close to the mouth of Frogmore Creek as the tide and your nerves permit to avoid the inevitable rush hour of speedboats returning from Kingsbridge on evening high tides. You will have to pay Salcombe Harbour dues to anchor here, but the scenery is lovely and you will never have been relieved of your £12.00 in such a courteous way as the Salcombe Harbour team achieves!

Excellent holding in mud and sand.

50° 15′.12N 3° 45′.53W

Early Evening out of season, Frogmore Creek.
Shallow draft boats will be able to anchor in the mouth of Frogmore Creek with ease.

Silvermine Point, St Austell Bay

Close to the historic and picturesque Charlestown Harbour (Star of Poldark, The Onedin Line and many other TV and film dramas) and a short hop away from the very busy port of Fowey.

Shelter from SW through W to NE. Open to E & SE. Sand and weed. Beware of the mussel farm to seaward.

50° 18′.71N 4° 45′.67W

From the pages of Dick Brown’s sketchbook
Chartlet showing the approximate locations of the nearby mussel farm.

St Just in Roseland

Diectly opposite Mylor Yacht Harbour on the River Fal and considerably less expensive!

Sheltered from NNW through E to SSE. Good holding in mud and sand.

50° 10′.83N 5° 1′.38W

St Just Creek and Mylor Yacht Harbour.
St Just Creek from Google Street View.

Mouth of Cowlands and Lamouth Creek, River Fal

Under the shadow of a bronze age settlement and a short dinghy ride from the visitor pontoon at the National Trust’s Trelissick Estate, this sheltered anchorage is a great place to ride out a storm. The estate provides a pleasant way to spend a day ashore whether walking or visiting the house itself.

Sheltered from all directions, although strong southerly winds can funnel up the river. Excellent holding in mud and sand.

50° N 13′.34N 5° 1′.66W

Looking north up the River Fal at anchor at the entrance to Lamouth Creek
Just enough room to tuck in amongst the laid moorings.

Dandy Hole, River Lyhner

The most famous “secret” anchorage in the South West! Access to Wacker Quay 2 hours either side of high water with walks to the village of Antony and its gastro pub the Carew Arms.

Shelter from all directions except strong easterlies.

50° 22′.52N 4° 16′.34W

Balu’s ship’s dog Pickle, navigating back from his walk at Wacker Quay.
“W” denotes the access to Wacker Quay

For the very latest information regarding the prcise location of the Dandy Hole, visit our blog post, The Dandy Hole Has Moved!


Once the main port in Mounts Bay, Mousehole is now a picturesque but busy village about 2.5 miles south of Penzance and Newlyn. St Clements Isle lies just offshore and helps to provide shelter from NW through N to NE. Holding is good in sand and broken shell.

50° 4′.92N 5° 32′.16W

Mousehole Anchorage

The Cove, Saint Agnes & Gugh, Isles of Scilly

Excellent, if sometimes crowded anchorage between the twin islands of Saint Agnes and Gugh. Access ashore to a small village shop and post office, the popular Turks Head pub and ferry access to the other main islands.

Excellent holding in sand. Provides shelter from SSW through W through N to ESE.

49° 53′.44N 6° 20′.11W

An unusually quiet Cove anchorage in early season.

Portnadler Bay, Looe

Shelter from NW to N. Open from SW through S to E. Mixture of good holding in sand and rocky patches.

50° 20′.22N 4°28′.18W

Portnadler from Google Earth.

Porthbeer, South of Coverack, Lizard penninsula

A sheltered sandy cove just south of Chynhalls Point. a short distance south of Coverack. At high water the fine sandy beach is often completely covered but after a sustained stormy period, the sand is often striped back to a stoney collection of boulders of the local serpentine rock.

50° 50 0′.78N 5° 5′.64W

Tean Sound, between Tean & St Martins, Isles of Scilly

49° 57′.95N 6° 18′.34W

Saint Helen’s Pool, Isles of Scilly

Good shelter from most directions in the pool south of the old quarantine island of Saint Helen’s. Approach from the NE through St Helen’s Gap with care!

49° 58′.02N 6° 19′.29W

St Helen’s Pool seen from the old quarantine building.