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secret swims | wild woods | canoes and wild camps | foraging | mother nature
The coast of England has the most spectacular variety of beaches in the world. From the sunken sands of Weston-super-Mare and Yorkshire to the secret coves, caves and bays of Cornwall and Devon.
Finding quiet places means different things in different areas. Sometimes it will entail a 45-minute hike around a cliff edge to where a tiny path zigzags down to the clear waters on a white sand bay. At other times it can mean skipping down from one of the busiest beach car parks at Padstow in Cornwall, St Bees in Cumbria, or Margate in Kent, and then walking from cove to cove at low tide to places others don’t know or care about. If you’re not overloaded with deckchairs and heavy hampers for six, it’s all good fun.
Learn about the tides and the moon. This is the key to finding ‘hidden places’. What can appear dull, rocky and littered at high tide can look like a deserted paradise on the low. Research spring tides and the lowest equinox tides. It doesn’t take much nowadays. At the very least, search the web for tide times and extreme lows. Try to arrange your coastal trips to coincide with the moons and the tides. That way you get to see it all at both high and low tide.
Reaching a remote beach doesn’t always require a canoe or kayak, and there’s a huge sense of empowerment and freedom to be had from being able to get to somewhere that’s isolated by feet alone – especially if it involves an old rope ladder or a scramble down a worn cliff path. A secret swim followed by a hot coffee warmed on a campfire or out of a flask is a moment beyond magical.
Covehithe Broad – Suffolk
Covehurst Wood – East Sussex
Egypt Bay Beach – Kent
Allwoods Copse – Hampshire
Ryde East Sands – Isle of Wight
Lee Bay – North Devon
Long Nanny Bridge – Northumberland
Huttoft Beach – Lincolnshire
Black Buoy Sand – Lincolnshire
Jenny Brown’s Point – Lancashire
Gutterby – Cumbria
Longton Sands – Lancashire