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Bantham is a great beach; we moved to about five minutes out side of it a few years ago and have been going to it whenever posable since.
SURF AND BEACH
Bantham is probably the most consistent beach on the south coast. Surf there tends to range from fairly flat to about eight foot. However in larger swells it can get a bit choppy. The sand banks are normally spread out enough to give a good range of wave sizes, larger further out and then building up again slightly smaller nearer the beach. The beach itself is a fairly large sandy bay with small dunes towards the back. There are rocks on the right hand side of the beach where people sit to gain a bit more privacy as the beach does get busy in the summer. Further around the corner to the right of the beach is where the river Avon reaches the sea.
Those of you who have been to Cornwall to surf will be familiar to the Cornish unfriendly ness to tourists. Obviously it is down to the indervisual person, but generally I would say this is not as much of a problem in Devon;. it seem to be a much more friendly, social arrangement.
Life guard are on duty during the summer and try to keep the local surfers and tourists body boarding separate. This makes thinks much safer for the body boarders and easier for the surfers.
VILLAGE AND SURROUNDING AREA
The surrounding are is beautiful, with rolling hill and woods. Next to the beach are some fairly steep hills good for mounting boarding when the surf is down.The village has a good pub called The Sloop Inn, and a corner shop/cafe.
The local town of Salcombe is great for people looking for more pubs and cottage style accommodation.
The area around the beach has a couple of B&B's and many campsites, varying in expense. The nearest train station is Totnes, which is probably to far away to walk with boards.
Other main breaks around the are include Bigbury, which is really the same place, just the other side of the bay; North Sands along the Salcombe estuary, this is a good beach for when the surf is rough because it tends to be cleaner and there are much less people; normally you would be the only person in the water.
Lanacombe is slightly busier than North Sands, but is also more consistent. Lanacombe has some good campsites, including Maelcombe House.
The best time to surf Bantham is usually about two hours before and after low tide. however this does mean there is a long walk down the beach to the sea.
Bantham shape causes a strong rip tide along the left hand side of the water when the sea is rough. Tourists who are not aware of this often get caught in it and have to be picked up by the life guard. It is important to remember if ever caught in the rip that you must paddle sideways out of the current, as you will not be able to paddle against it and will eventualy wear yourself out.
In the summer when the beach is busy and the surfers are kept to a certain area it increases the risk of being hit by another persons board.
Bantham is a great beach for surfer who wish to stay clear of too commercial places, such as Newquay.