The beach community at Widemouth Bay

It’s the summer to find your beach. To help you, we’re getting under the sand at just some of Cornwall’s best beaches (there’s lots). Here we talk to people in the community around Widemouth Bay…

Ado Shorland, Widemouth Task Force

I first came here to surf about 40 years ago, and like so many people do, I just fell in love with it and never left. I’m from South Devon originally, a proper country boy. I think that’s what drew me to Widemouth: I call it countryside on the coast. You have a unique combination here of lots of different ecosystems – fields, cliffs, dunes, rock pools, reefs – so there is a lot of wildlife here, and the human footprint has been relatively small so far.

That desire to keep Widemouth clean and pristine was where the idea for the Task Force came from. It started about 13 years ago when I was out on the beach one day picking up driftwood to make things out of, and I found myself having to get rid of a load of plastic at the same time. Suddenly I had a bit of a light bulb moment and realised that we actually had a big problem on our hands. I organised my first beach clean and it’s just grown from there.

We’re lucky; we have a huge amount of support from the community and local volunteers, whether that’s with wildlife rescues, dune restoration or plastic pollution. The impact of the Task Force’s work has been really rewarding. Nowadays, we don’t even organise beach cleans any more, as the awareness around it has grown so much. Everyone just does it as second nature.

Robin Edmonds, Surf Coach and Owner of Freewave Surf Academy

We’re a long way from the A30 here, surrounded by high cliffs and open countryside, and of course there’s no train line – it’s helped Widemouth stay wild. Many people don’t even realise we’re in Cornwall; they think we’re in Devon!

The landscapes around Widemouth are unique. You’ve got so many different settings, all within a few miles radius: incredible cliff walks, unusual geology and archaeology, coasteering down at Millook, Crackington Haven and Bossiney, stand-up paddleboarding on the Bude Canal, and of course some of the best surfing on the north coast. Personally, I think Widemouth is one of the best beaches to learn to surf on – as we face due west, we get the brunt of the Atlantic swells.

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Beth Lewitt, Beach House

The wildness is what I love most about Widdy. It’s one of the last bits of the north Cornish coast that still feels really untouched, like Cornwall was twenty or thirty years ago. It hasn’t been overdeveloped, and there is still space to escape here.

There’s such a strong community here. Everyone looks out for each other. There’s a real DIY ethos; I suppose it’s because we’re quite a long way from anywhere. Everyone just gets on and makes things happen. We’re an eclectic bunch, a mix of artists, creatives, adventurers, surfers, smallholders, environmentalists, retirees, all sorts. For me that’s one of the pleasures of running Beach House – we offer a place to bring people together and I’m always bumping into new characters who have their own interesting story to tell. This is a place with heart, soul and a proud, independent spirit.

Image credit: Dean Forrest

Keiran Hammond, Photographer and Watersports Guide

When I was growing up, Widdy was always the beach you came to when you wanted to get away from town. My friends and I would come over here as even in summer we knew we’d be able to find a quiet corner of the beach we could have to ourselves. It’s still the same now.

I started out working as an outdoors instructor for the family business, Shoreline Activities. I also worked as a lifeguard. My interest in photography grew out of that. I spent my whole life exploring the coast, looking for new spots to surf, spending time with friends on the beach, and over the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to translate that into a career.

Widemouth is a fantastic beach for photographers. There’s a sense of space here, and lots of interesting visual elements. I come to Widdy when I want to get that wide-open, in-the-middle-of-nature kind of vibe. I tend not to shoot sunsets directly, but you often get brilliant light down here late in the day, which brings out all these colours and textures in the landscape. It’s a photographer’s dream.

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Image credit: Keiran Hammond

Wander through Widemouth

Discover the wild shorelines and coastal history of Widemouth Bay.

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Widemouth Bay beach champions

Hear what our Widemouth Bay beach champions Mark and Helen have to say about this stretch of coastline.

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