In her new book England & Wales Island Bagging:
A guide to adventures on the islands of England, Wales, the Channel Islands & the Isle of Man, Lisa Drewe shares some of her favourite paddle board destinations on the isles.
With a couple of dry bags strapped to our deck we’ve been able to take our camera and camping kit to explore and research so many islands of England and Wales. Here’s some of our favourite journeys.
- St Clement’s, Cornwall
A tiny island that lies 350 metres offshore from Mousehole, a sleepy fishing village on the outskirts of Penzance. The island is surrounded by sea life and offers an incredible underwater landscape. Leave from Mousehole Harbour (avoid disturbing the island’s seals).
- Burgh Island, Devon
An iconic island located on the largest sandy beach in South Devon, near Bigbury-on-Sea. Paddle board around the whole island at high tide in good weather to explore the wilder side of the island with its hidden coves and caves and get glimpses of Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel’s grounds and secret tidal Mermaid’s Pool. Finish with a pint at the island’s Pilchard Inn. Paddleboards are available for hire on Bigbury Beach.
- Spike Island, Bristol
The Floating Harbour that borders Bristol’s Spike Island is a great place for beginners. Launch into the protected waters near The Cottage Inn, on the southwest side and enjoy floating past the SS Great Britain and the colourful rows of houses of “Bristol’s Balamory”. Plenty of great cafes and pubs for post-SUP refreshments. SUP Bristol provide hire and tuition.
- Thames Tideway Islands
Explore the islands on the tideway of the River Thames. From Kew Bridge circumnavigate Oliver’s Eyot, Brentford Ait, Lot’s Ait and the wildlife sanctuary of Isleworth Ait opposite Kew Gardens. From Richmond Bridge, circumnavigate nearby Corporation Island and the Flowerpot Islands or work with the tides to travel 1 km upstream to Glover’s Island, 2 km to Eel Pie Island or 4 km to reach Teddington Lock. Go independently or board hire and trips with Active360 Paddleboarding from Kew or Richmond.
- Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey
A stunningly situated island with the pine forest and sand dunes of Newborough on one side with the distant peaks of Snowdonia on the other. Set off from Newborough beach, plenty of parking, and explore the island’s many coves and hidden beaches.
- Holyhead Harbour, Holyhead
Protected by the largest breakwater in Europe, this is gentle paddle boarding relative to the more turbulent waters around the rest of Anglesey. Great parking, launching and Marina Café at the sailing club (at the west end of harbour).
- Ynys-y-Castell, Pembrokeshire
An uninhabited and craggy island that can be circumnavigated at high tide. Leave from the picturesque cove and village of Abercastle. Sheltered from the prevailing winds, this is a great trip to explore the island’s cave and the cleft between the island and the mainland.
- Ynys Gewni, Pembrokeshire
An uninhabited islet at the mouth of the River Solva, with a great sea cave to explore. Paddle downstream from the picturesque and popular harbour of Lower Solva, with plenty of cafes and pubs for refreshments on your return.
- Watcombe Bay, Isle of Wight
A hidden bay that sits at the base of the cliffs below Fort Redoubt that can only be reached by swimming or paddle boarding from Freshwater. There are a couple of chalk caves to explore.
- Herm Island, Guernsey
With beautiful sand beaches and the most southerly colony of puffins in Britain this is a paddle boarder’s heaven and a great island to circumnavigate.
More details of these islands and further adventures on islands can be found in Lisa Drewe’s England & Wales Island Bagging: A guide to adventures on the islands of England, Wales, the Channel Islands & the Isle of Man (Vertebrate Publishing, £20).