Coasteering’s the latest buzzword in adrenaline sports, attracting anyone who likes to combine exploring the coastline with character-testing thrills. Coasteering instructor Matthew De Havilland from H2OOutdoor in North Devon told Official Devon why it’s so fantastic, how to get involved, and where’s best to go coasteering in Devon.
Official Devon Advice: Do make sure that you only go coasteering with an experienced instructor. Find licensed providers of adventure activities
What exactly is coasteering, Matthew?
It’s a coastal journey in and above the water that takes you to places most other people don’t get to see. It involves some scrambling over rocks, jumping of the rocks into the sea and swimming through gullies and other coastal features. Coasteering lets you explore the coastline from a different perspective as you find secret sea caves, blow holes and that big jump you’ve been waiting for – if you have the nerve!
What do people get out of it?
The attraction of coasteering in Devon especially is that it makes you feel part of the coastline rather than an onlooker. It takes people back to when they were kids as they scrambled along the rocks to find hidden pools. The waves and currents push you through sections of rocks like a water slide to help you along your coastal journey, then you climb out and leap back into the sea ready for the next section. Coasteering can be tailored by your instructor so everyone can get what they want out of the activity, whether that’s big adrenalin-filled jumps from rocks into deep pools or more of a relaxing wild swim along the coast.
What makes coasteering in Devon particularly good?
Devon has a perfect mix of stunning scenery, clean seas, Atlantic rollers and some fantastic coasteering terrain to explore. As the waves from the Atlantic swell and meet our shores they create some very exciting features such as the Washing Machine (a swirly pit of water that gives you a good scrubbing) and The U-Bend (a gully that is shaped and works like the U-Bend of a toilet).
Where do you like to go coasteering in Devon?
Most of my favourites are on the north coast, but there are great coasteering spots on the south coast too.
Baggy Point near Croyde: this has something for everyone and is my personal favorite with some great jumps, amazing sea caves that you can swim all the way through, stunning scenery and regular sightings of the varied wildlife that inhabits this area.
Ilfracombe/Hele: A fantastic coasteering route with high cliffs and isolated beaches but some
sections are for experienced coasteerers only due to the long swims and committing nature of this route. Sticking to the Hele side gives a less committing route and will get your heart pumping with some good high jumps and exciting gully swims.
Lee: A beautiful location with very exciting terrain. One highlight is a lovely long sea cave than opens up into a secret cove. There are some fantastic jumps along the route but some
sections of this location are very exposed, making it better for experienced coasteerers.
Anstey’s Cove near Torquay: A popular spot on the south coast, with some lovely scenery and good jumps.
Can anyone enjoy coasteering?
Generally anyone with a good level of fitness and a sense of adventure will enjoy it. It takes you to exposed locations with sometimes difficult access points and so some mobility issues may occur, but we always talk to individuals to see what we can do to get them coasteering. H2Outdoor has an age restriction and can only take people age eight upwards.
Do you need much equipment?
The most vital thing you need is an experienced instructor. He or she will carry all the equipment needed to run a safe session including kit for the rest of the group. We provide top-quality buoyancy aids, safety helmets and full body wetsuits. All you’d need to bring is an old pair of trainers that can get wet.
What do you have to think about safety-wise?
You have to be able to fully trust in your instructor, and make them aware of your coasteering experience and ability. Also, check they are licensed under the AALA (Adventure Activities licensing Authority). This will mean that they’ve signed up to run their sessions in an agreed manor, and if they’re AALA licensed they’ll have been inspected by the authority.
Official Devon tip: Coasteering is licensable, and if you’re looking for a provider for a group of people under 18 without their parents present, the company you’re using must be licensed.
Contact Matthew at H2OOutdoor in North Devon