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Cornwall Marine Directory

Cornwall Marine Directory :: Torpoint, Saltash, the Tamar River and Plymouth Sound

Torpoint, Saltash, the Tamar River and Plymouth Sound

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As well as marking the eastern edge of Cornwall, the Tamar River is a great location for a variety of watersports as it leads into the sheltered estuary from its mouth in Plymouth Sound.

The wide wooded valley of this mother of Cornish rivers absorbs many other rivers into it flows to the ocean. The Sound itself is a great place for watersports enthusiasts to go dinghy sailing, waterskiing, diving as well as many other sports. It also offers the majestic sights of Mount Edgecumbe, Drake's Island and Plymouth Hoe.

Aerial photograph of Tamar River

For those wanting to step ashore, there is a wealth of things going on in the city including a thriving centre, marinas and excellent facilities and entertainment including cafés, pubs, clubs, restaurants and a large theatre.

hidden tidal creeks...  great to explore in a dinghy or kayak

In total contrast, the Tamar boasts hidden tidal creeks, and is a great spot to explore in a dinghy or kayak. It offers countless opportunities for recreation and picnicking at several points along its shores. A shallow-draft boat can get up the river valley as far as Cargreen, Cotehele and Calstock which used to be vibrant centres of trade but to look at them today, you would find it inconceivable that such pretty locations could ever have been involved in hard industry.

The small Cornish towns of Torpoint and Saltash on the Tamar River are the maritime gateway to the county standing guard over this stretch of water that separates Cornwall from the rest of mainland Britain. It sometimes feels that the Saltash chain ferry and the road and rail bridges are all that keep the Cornish peninsula from drifting away. This stretch of the Tamar has a rich history of small boats ferrying people and goods across the river but the hubbub of the city seems far away.

Sailing out of Torpoint

 Torpoint, which faces the bustling naval dockyard at Devonport, is a great place to stop if you want to explore further up this vibrant river. Torpoint harbour is known as the Ballast Pound - the 200-year-old pool is recognised as an ancient monument and can accommodate around 100 boats. Torpoint also has a sailing club that holds frequent races during the season and all the facilities you would expect from a small town are available a short walk from the water. Just south of Torpoint is a pretty stretch of water known as St John's Lake which dries completely and has moorings along its eastern edge.

Beyond Torpoint the River Lynher branches off to the west meandering towards the village of St Germans with another five miles of creeks and tributaries to explore. The River Lynher (or St Germans River as it is also known) is one of the prettiest waterways in this part of Cornwall.

A look to the left as you row or paddle up the Lynher will give you a glimpse of amazing lawns leading up to a large country estate. This is Antony House built by Sir William Carew in the early 1700s. Built on the peninsula dividing the Lynher from the Tamar, the Repton-designed gardens, sweep all the way down to the water's edge on two sides, offering an amazing sight to the passing boater. torpoint_qtr_yacht


Further up the Tamar, Saltash has a new pontoon available for short-stays. These are a great boon if you want to stop and get your bearings or use this as a base for excursions. The Union Inn pub has an impressive presence on the Cornish side of the river as it's painted with the huge Union Flag mural that it gained in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.


It would be hard to venture up the Tamar without appreciating the magnitude of the two giant bridges that carry road and rail traffic between two counties. The road bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the UK when it opened in 1961 - although the accolade didn't last long. More significantly the rail bridge was declared as a feat of engineering genius when Isambard Kingdom Brunel completed it in 1859 - the year he died. The area below the bridges is known as "the Hamoaze" a local word describing the estuary where the tide meets the river, the Tavy and the Lynher before entering Plymouth Sound.

If you are touring this area then Plymouth is also the place you'll be stopping if you need anything other than the most basic supplies and maintenance. Both Plymouth Marina and Queen Anne's Battery (QAB) have good facilities. Use the search box at the side of the page if you want to find specific facilities or businesses.

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