The Beach Blog

Bude in pictures: and interview with Clive Symm of Symages Photography

Clive Symm is a talented Cornish photographer specialising in surf, wedding, commercial, landscape and portrait photography, and over the years he’s taken some fantastic pictures in and around Bude.

We caught up with him recently to find out a little more about the man behind the lens, providing insights into what motivates him, his thoughts on Bude’s fantastic surf scene, and why he loves Bude Sea Pool.


Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into photography? 

I’ve loved photography since I was at school, way before digital cameras were available. I worked at a local supermarket for the whole of the summer to save up and buy my first “proper” camera, a Ricoh KR10 Super and a 50mm lens. I’ve never stopped taking photos since then really. I’ve had a lot of sales jobs with some pretty big companies and being a photographer has always helped to build my profile within these. When I was at JVC I was often given their latest video cameras to take home and test.

You’ve taken some incredible pictures of the surf in and around Bude. What is it that motivates you to take pictures of surfing in particular? 

Having surfed myself since the age of about 14 it’s a great way to enjoy two of my passions at the same time. Also taking the odd surf shot has helped me stay focused on the sea when I’ve been unable to surf due to injuries or ill health. 

What’s your favourite thing about shooting around Bude? 

Bude has a great “vibe” about it, it’s one of those places that always feels welcoming no matter what the weather’s doing, the scenery is stunning and the people are, mostly, friendly. I love just going for an unplanned walk with my camera and seeing what images I can come up with. It’s not often I get home disappointed with the results.


Bude has produced some of the best professional surfers in the country in recent years. Why do you think that is? 

I think there’s loads of factors that have attributed to the success of our local surfers. Obviously we have some quality waves within a few miles of Bude and depending on the tide our local beaches can be surfed at almost any size. There aren’t that many days when there’s no surf. I’ve been doing this a long time and seen the amount of time and effort these athletes spend in the water improving their skills. They’re training constantly which makes a huge difference to their performance.  There’s a great community spirit locally.

Bude Wave Riders, run by volunteers, offer a great introduction into surfing for very little outlay. Also our more experienced surfers seem quite happy to share their knowledge with the young, up and coming, super keen, groms. We have some excellent surf schools, some of which run “elite” clubs for the up and coming kids that show potential. They can even get one-on-one coaching from British and European champions if they want it. Obviously media coverage is a huge part of everything these days. Luckily we have some great local photographers and videographers who spend a lot of time, in and out of the water, capturing images and footage of these guys helping to show the world of what they’re capable of.

Do you surf yourself, and if so, where’s your favourite spot? 

I do and my favourite local spot has to be any one of Bude’s three beaches. I live a couple of minutes away by foot from Crooklets and like being able to just wander down, check the conditions, get changed at home and be in the water within 10 minutes.

Your portfolio features some beautiful landscape pictures. Where is the most photogenic place you’ve come across in Cornwall?

Thank you, that’s a tough question, the whole of Cornwall is beautiful. I don’t really have a favourite. I’ll check the conditions, the time of year, when the sun sets, etc. and decide where to go on the day, could be anywhere…


We’ve also noticed Bude Sea Pool in lots of your images, and we’ve even shared a few of them ourselves. What do you think the pool brings to the local community? 

I think it’s a fantastic facility, one of the best ocean pools in the country, definitely a great tourist attraction which brings people into town. I really enjoy capturing the different moods it seems to have, very photogenic and just 5 minutes from home.

What’s the most memorable or favourite image that you’ve ever taken?

I don’t really have a favourite but this image (below) always comes to mind. It was taken just down the coast from Bude on a very stormy winter day a few years ago. I just love the energy and movement, not to mention the timing of that wave breaking against the cliff in the background…

What would your ideal day in Bude consist of? 

It would be warm and sunny with light offshore winds and the surf at first light would be about 4ft and clean. That’s when I’d get in for a wave. After a couple of hours I’d get out look back and see the surf building to 8ft. I’d check my phone for messages and see that the Ash brothers (two of my favourite local surfers) where going in for a wave. I’d grab my camera and shoot them until they got out. Have a quick look at the photos I’d taken and then head down to the sea pool for the sunset and maybe stay a little later to photograph the stars reflected in the water. Then on to The Beach for a drink at the bar.

Follow Symages Photography on Facebook and Instagram @symagesphotography.

Fundraising update

We want to say a big congratulations to the guys that took part in The Smugglers’ Challenge.

The team of four Bude locals set off from the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth on 29 August, aiming to paddle a surfboard almost 300 miles around the Cornish coastline, finishing up in Bude.

The weather, unfortunately, had other ideas. The team completed the stretch along the south coast without any problems, and were making incredible time. However, as the weather set in, it soon became clear that the exposed north coast would just be too risky. There’s very little shelter up there, and not many opportunities to dive into harbours for cover.

At the half way point, the team followed the advice of the coastguard and turned around to paddle back to Plymouth. The total mileage was around the same as it would have been if they’d made it to Bude, so it was still an amazing accomplishment.

The goal was to raise money for two cancer charities – Force and Cancer Research UK. We held a fundraising dinner in at The Beach in August, with all proceeds going directly to the challenge, and have been donating £5 from every three course lunch sold in September. To date we have contributed around £6,500 to the challenge, and have been very happy to support them the whole way.

Donations can still be made via the Smugglers’ Challenge website here. They are very close to their £30,000 target.

We have plans in place for a big finish celebration in early November, to mark the completion of this amazing challenge. Watch this space for more information.

Take a look at the video below for more on the challenge, and the story that inspired it.

An interview with Fretted Knot

If you’ve been into our bar on a Sunday afternoon, you may have noticed some live music being played from one of our very talented resident musicians, Fretted Knot, an acoustic duo made up of Mark Wilson on guitar and Buster Cottam on the bass. The talented pair play a great selection of covers and their own songs in acoustic, folky and reggae styles, the perfect recipe for the ultimate Sunday soundtrack. We had a chat with Mark to find out a little bit more about the band…

Firstly, how did you get into music?

After listening to my older brother’s CD collection of artists such as Jimmy Hendrix, Radiohead, Ash and lots more, I knew that creating music was something I definitely wanted to try. So I started guitar lessons with a few different teachers; some were classical and others more folk or rock influenced, but I loved learning anything I could get my hands on.

What can people expect when they see Fretted Knot perform at The Beach? 

We play a mixture of covers and originals, and the set can vary from John Martyn and The Beatles, to Nirvana and The White Stripes. Most of the covers will have our own twist on a song to make it a little different. For example, we play the White Stripes’ rock song Seven Nation Army in a reggae style, and Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box is played on a lap steel guitar, which gives it a slight country and folky feel.

How did you and Buster meet and why do you think you work so well together as a duo?

We met through a mutual friend when Mark moved to Bude and we work very well together, but we couldn’t say exactly why. Maybe because we both have beards?!

Who, what and where inspires you the most?

The North Cornish coast is a great place to live for inspiration, not to mention the friends and family we have here.  

Do you prefer to write and play your own music or play covers?

If it’s a cover we can relate to and put our own twist on then that’s easily as enjoyable as performing an original song, because you’ve still done something creative and made it your own. 

What would be your ultimate Sunday soundtrack?

(press play and have a listen)

What’s the best and worst gig you’ve ever done?

The worst gig was at a festival where the acoustic stage was next to a fairground waltzer playing very loud Techno, and the best gig was a showcase event at Ronnie Scotts in London. There was an awesome crowd and it’s a great venue.

What are your favourite songs to play?

Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder. It’s got great lyrics that are still very relevant today.

What’s your opinion on the music scene in Cornwall?

There’s some excellent festivals and venues in Cornwall, but it would also be great to see more showcase events for local singer-songwriters and bands.


We have live music in our bar from Fretted Knot and James Dixon on alternating Sundays from 4pm. Call 01288 389800 for confirmation or to book a table.

Family days out in Bude

Bude is the perfect family-friendly resort, with award-winning beaches and plenty to do to keep children and teenagers entertained. In anticipation of the brand new family-friendly suites we’re introducing to the hotel, we’ve rounded up some activities that will keep the whole family entertained, with a variety of pastimes for whatever the weather.

Segway Bude

Newly introduced this year, Segway Bude is a fun past-time and a great way to see the beautiful Cornish landscape. With qualified instructors and state-of-the-art segways to ride, you’ll be speeding along the countryside and coastal trails in no time. No previous experience of segway riding is required and although there is no minimum age restriction, riders need to be over 4ft tall and at least 32kg to operate one. Segway Bude also offer archery lessons, which a minimum age of seven years, and any children must be accompanied by an adult. Sessions

Learn to surf

Summerleaze Beach is right on our doorstep and it’s the perfect place to learn the art of surfing, with fun waves and suitable conditions for both experienced surfers and beginners. The beach is lifeguarded over the summer months, and there are several nearby surf schools offering wetsuit hire, group tuition or one-on-one lessons, including Big Blue Surf School, Bude Surfing Experience, and Raven Surf.

The Milky Way

Voted as Trip Advisor’s top ten UK amusement parks last year, The Milky Way is an all-weather attraction with something for the whole family. The north Devon-based adventure park boasts a multitude of activities, facilities and fun for all ages, including dodgems, rollercoasters and high-octane rides for the thrill-seekers, and vibrant play areas, pottery painting and an 18 hole mini golf course for a more relaxed day out. Live shows are presented in the indoor arena and feature a daily schedule of things to watch, including scientific experiments, birds of prey, and an entertaining and educational journey through the solar system for ‘galaxy showtime’.

Tamar Otters 

Stretching 21 acres into the Cornish countryside, the Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre houses plenty more animals and birds than you’d expect, including fallow and muntjac deer, owls, meerkats and wallabies. Guests can watch the British and Asian short clawed otters being fed at 12pm and 3pm every day, and see the sociable families playing together in their expansive enclosures. There are also nine birds of prey species to meet, including a Bengal eagle owl, a harris hawk, a kestrel and a buzzard, with insightful talks on the birds from a professional at 11:30am and 2:30pm every day.

Get on your bike

Cycling is a great way to see the Cornish landscape whilst getting out in the fresh air and burning off some of the kids energy. Bude Bike Hire have a range of bikes and equipment available to suit all abilities, with free, downloadable maps to help plan your route, which include the canal, coastal views or rugged farmland and countryside. It’s recommended that you book in advance where possible, and helmets are provided, with the optional add-ons of tag-alongs, trailers and child seats.

Hidden Valley Discovery Park

With a puzzling maze, a secret hobbit house and plenty of trails to explore, Hidden Valley Discovery Park is a unique day out. The grounds include six individual gardens within the park for visitors to enjoy, and a detective hunt with plenty of clues to solve. There is also a ‘forbidden mansion’, an impressive red brick building with a large labyrinth of rooms, secret passageways, concealed doors, upside-down rooms and exciting surprises. Guests can also ride on the miniature train that travels along mile-long railway track right around the perimeter of the park, and unlimited rides with all entry tickets to the park.

Tintagel Castle

Associated with the legend of King Arthur, Tintagel Castle is steeped in history and a beautiful location to visit, whether exploring the castle, the Dark Age settlement or the fascinating museum dedicated to the impressive landmark. The beach below the castle is great for paddling in the sea and rock pooling, and exploring Merlin’s Cave is a must when the tide is out. Park in the centre of Tintagel and take a stroll down the road to the remains, with far-reaching views over the sea and along the coast. The site also hosts an array of events and exciting occasions such as archeology festivals and magical storytelling sessions, so be sure to check what’s on before you go. A wide range of gifts and souvenir items can be bought from the gift shop too, including toy swords and tapestries.

Independent shops in Bude

There are some great independent shops in Bude to pick up a gift, souvenir or treat for yourself, specialising in all matter of items. Whether you’re looking for homewares or streetwear, we’ve rounded up the best places to go in Bude where you’re sure to find something. 

Spencer Thorn Bookshop 

This lovely little shop isn’t just for the bookworms; you’ll find something for everyone here, from books on cooking and upcycling furniture, to fiction and classic novels. There’s even a selection of book categories that are signed by the author, for a more personal and unique gift. You’re bound to find something appealing, but Spencer Thorn also has an online shop, stocking lovely smelling cosmetics, stationary, and decorative items for the home.

Find it: Spencer Thorn, Belle Vue, Bude, Cornwall EX23 8JS, 01288 352518

Sweet P Confectionery 

Using only the highest quality Belgian chocolate, this small, family-run business creates an array of chocolatey products that are made right in front of your eyes, as their kitchen is attached to the shop. They have a great assortment of goodies, with handmade truffles and filled chocolates in beautiful boxes, gourmet chocolate ‘slabs’ with various toppings and flavours, and various shapes of chocolatey goodness. There is also a selection of items that can be personalised, such as a completely edible chocolate photograph in a chocolate frame. If you have something in mind or can’t find what you’re looking for, they also have a bespoke service. Just get in touch to see what they can do for you.

Find it: 11-12 The Strand Shopping Centre, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 8QT


Drawing inspiration from the seaside lifestyle and a love of streetwear, Airculture supplies a wide range of items including clothing, footwear, skateboard accessories, art prints and vinyl records. You’ll also find a selection of sweatshirts and t-shirts in Airculture’s own designs, which would make a great gift or souvenir. If you’re on the way to the beach, grab some necessities here, like buckets, spades and the all-important frisbee.

Find it: Airculture Ltd, Belle Vue, Bude, Cornwall EX23 8JS

Bleujen Florist 

Aptly, the word Bleujen comes from the Cornish word for flower, and whether you’re looking for a decorative floral arrangement, a blooming bouquet, or a plant for the garden, this is definitely the place to go. If you’d like a bouquet, they can put together a bespoke combination of stems based on your preferences, or provide advice if you’re not entirely sure what to choose, and there are hampers available with wine, chocolate and a rose plant for the last-minute gift-giver. They also offer seasonal, hand-tied combinations which will be the highest quality flowers available at the time, and can deliver any orders within a 12 mile radius of Bude, but will go further afield if necessary.

Find it: Bleujen Florist, Unit 1, The Lower Wharf, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 8LG

Dolly Rockers

Discover this little boutique, specialising in shoes, with a wide range of collections from stiletto heels and pumps, to flip flops and knee-high boots. They also sell an extensive range of bags, patterned skirts, scarves and accessories, with new ranges arriving all the time.

Find it: Dolly Rockers, 1c Princes street, Bude, EX23 8AT

Spencer Thorn Jewellers 

Family-owned and run, Spencer Thorn Jewellers specialise in contemporary silver jewellery with elements of copper and gold. You will find a beautiful hand-made collection of individually created jewellery, which is all completely unique. They also offer a selection of watches for every taste and budget. If you’d like something a little personal or have something in mind they can also create bespoke jewellery pieces, and have a lovely Cornish themed range including charms and rings.

Find it: Spencer Thorn Jewellers, Belle Vue, Bude

Bude SurfCabin 

With a great selection of wetsuits, surfboards, clothes and footwear, Bude SurfCabin is the shop of choice for surfers in Bude. With ladies’, men’s and children’s departments, you’ll find the perfect present for a beach-lover, with a great selection of surfboard accessories like fins, leashes and tail pads too. They also provide wetsuit and board hire to give surfing a go. 

Find it: Bude SurfCabin, 7A Morwenna Terrace, Bude EX23 8BU



Kittiwakes are home furnishing specialists stocking a great supply of items that would make perfect gifts, like scarves, bags, smelly candles, trinkets, tea towels, mugs and clocks. It also stocks beautiful blankets, which would be great to snuggle under on a grey day, with a lovely selection of driftwood products that to bring the magic of the wild coast inside.

Find it: Kittiwakes, 1 Princes Street, Bude, EX23 8AT

Mackerel with feta, cucumber, apple and shallot salad recipe

Our Head Chef Joe Simmonds will make a special appearance at Padstow Christmas Festival, to demonstrate his fantastic culinary skills on stage this year, sharing the spotlight with Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Clare Smyth, along with plenty of other talented chefs.


2 mackerel fillets
30g feta cheese
Half an apple
Quarter of a cucumber
2 shallots
100ml white wine vinegar
100ml water
50g caster sugar
50ml cassis
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons wasabi paste
1 lime zest and juice
A small amount of cress or pea shoots to serve
Salt and pepper
A splash of cooking oil


Make a pickling liquor by heating the white wine vinegar, water, sugar, and cassis in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. 

Take the pickling liquor off the heat. Slice the shallots into half cm rings and place in the liquor. 

Next, season the mackerel (it’s best to do this five minutes before cooking). Add a splash of oil to a frying pan and place on a low heat to warm up.

Dice the apple neatly and place in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice from half the lime over the apple. Dice the feta and add to the bowl. 

Peel the cucumber and dice (or, if you have a melon baller make 10 balls of cucumber). Add to the bowl and season with salt. 

Place the mackerel skin down in the pan and hold down for ten seconds so it doesn’t curl.

While the mackerel is cooking, add the wasabi paste to the mayonnaise with a squeeze of lime juice.

Go back to the mackerel. In total, this should be cooked for 4-5 minutes on the skin side only, on a medium heat.  

While the mackerel is finishing off, start assembling the ingredients on the plate with a swipe of the wasabi mayonnaise. Dot the apple cucumber and feta around plate, then take the shallot rings out of the liquor and lean a few of them against against the diced salad. 

When the mackerel is 90% cooked, flip over, take off the heat and place on your salad. Garnish with lime zest, a pinch of pepper and cress or pea shoots. 

Festive Happenings

Christmas, believe it or not, is just around the corner. We’ve created a Christmas menu that is available from the 1 to 23 of December with both two or three course options available, and if your party is extra big our private clubroom can seat up to 25 guests. Our New Year menu, crafted by our head chef Joe Simmonds is a five course tasting menu, and a DJ will be serenading you into 2017. There are plenty of other exciting festive events in and around Bude, so to make sure you don’t miss out on anything, we’ve put together a run down of the dates you should put in your diary now…

1. #LightUpBude

To kick off the festive season, the big Bude lights night is on Friday 2 December, and will begin with a lantern parade at 6pm. After the lights ‘switch-on’, a procession of elves will guide guests from the Wharf to Nanny Moore’s Bridge. From there you can follow Father Christmas himself around Bude, ending at his Grotto. Mulled wine will be available at the marquee in the castle grounds and shops will be open until 8/8:30pm for late night shopping.

2. The Castle Christmas Fair

For an especially magical Christmas market, head over to The Castle, Bude on Sunday 4 December. A large marquee on the lawn will play host to stalls offering plenty of perfect food gifts for friends and family. The fair will be open from 11 until 4, and entry is free.

3. Mike Moyle Memorial Christmas swim

If you are in Cornwall on Christmas day, a Christmas day swim is an obligatory tradition. Bude Surf Life Saving Club, a charity based in Bude, are hosting the swim, and providing lifeguard safety cover, as well as mulled wine, hot chocolate, mince pies and sausage rolls all free of charge for the brave souls who venture into the sea. No wetsuits allowed, so remember an extra thick jumper for afterwards. All donations will go to the Bude SLSC, and any extra generous individuals who donate £25 or over may collect an extra Christmas present in the form of a free T-shirt at the event.

4. Boxing Day Barbecue

Fight off the Boxing Day blues by hopping over the border and joining Clovelly for a Boxing Day barbecue, with free entrance to the seaside village. Take a walk along the estate before enjoying a barbecue accompanied by live music, mulled wine and a treasure hunt.

5. Padstow Christmas Festival

Although this one is further afield, the festival is not to be missed, and is completely free of charge. Our very own head chef Joe Simmonds is demoing at 1pm on the Festival Stage, along with top names such as Tom Kerridge and Nathan Outlaw who will be demoing throughout the weekend. From Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 December the seaside town will be hosting a lantern parade, Santa fun run, traditional Christmas market and spectacular firework display. We will be publishing one of Joe’s recipes which he will be re-creating at the festival soon, so watch this space…

Nearby Walks

The height of summer is still a little way off, but as the days are getting longer and weather is getting warmer, there’s a real sense of Spring in the air. Whilst the pathways are quiet and the temperature is mild, enjoy some of the fantastic rambling routes in and around Bude that we’d suggest.

Bude to Marsland Mouth – 10 miles

Beginning at the Tourist Information Centre in Bude, follow the canal towards the sea and pick up the cliff-top path. Walkers will pass Bude Sea Pool and Sandymouth Beach to find one of the most remote areas of coast in Cornwall.

Maer Cliff – 2.1 miles

For views of two sandy beaches and an easy going footpath, an amble along Maer Down is ideal. Beginning at Northcott Mouth and finishing in Crooklets Beach, this walk is only around a mile long, perfect for visitors looking to quickly blow away the cobwebs. The nearby nature reserve is recognised internationally as a resting and feeding site for migratory birds that are blown by strong Atlantic gales, and the cliffs remain of geological importance. Although the path is exposed to occasionally harsh weather, the cliff remains laden with wild flowers. Northcott Mouth and Crooklets Beach are renowned for rock pooling, and whilst Crooklets has a seasonal ban on dogs, Northcott welcomes them all year round.

Bude Canal – 5.6 miles

As an alternative to a coastal path, Bude Canal offers a peaceful landscape with plenty of wildlife. The walk is predominately flat, with a low hill between the canal and coast path, ideal for children or wheelchair users. The path is bustling with pipits and buntings in the autumn, who are searching for pickings in the newly-harvested fields found alongside the canal. Bring a picnic and watch the kayaks and boats glide past in a picturesque setting.

Duckpool & Woodford – 5.1 miles

The walk along Duckpool Beach and the coastal path is known for its wildlife and small, but well-known, beach. The circular walk is around five miles and although the tide is too dangerous for swimming at any time of the year, the beach is a uncrowded hidden gem, which almost completely disappears at high tide. 

Bude Town Trail – 4 miles

With a beautiful coastline, it is easy to forget that Bude’s town trail is full of culture, history and beautiful views. When walking along Summerleaze Crescent and heading inland, walkers will come across pit stops such as the Clifton Memorial Stone and Bude Marshes Local Nature Reserve. 

Hawker’s Hut walk – 1 mile

This is a gentle walk on the cliffs of North Cornwall which encompass an array of breathtaking views. Walkers will come across historical landmarks, such as a beautiful church which is believed to date back to Saxon times, as well as Hawker’s Hut, the refuge of poet Reverend Robert Hawker. There is plenty of local wildlife and on a clearer day visitors can see Lundy Island.

Dunsdon to Vealand Farm Wild Walk – 4 miles

This child and dog friendly walk is around four miles and three hours long. Explore the grassland meadows and wander along the waterway before finding the Vealand Farm nature reserve, full of ponds, hedges and meadows.

Images courtesy of Adam Gibbard and Visit Cornwall.


The widely anticipated second series of popular British television drama Poldark returns to BBC1 on the 4th of September which means that once again the beautiful Cornish coastline will be making a regular appearance on screens across the UK. The plot is based on the acclaimed novels written by Winston Graham, and is set in various rugged locations around Cornwall. The final episode of series 1 left audiences in suspense after Ross Poldark is arrested for murder and wrecking, leaving his beloved Demelza distraught. To prepare viewers for the second series, we have picked out some of the filming locations around Cornwall which featured in the drama, for visitors to explore.

Bodmin Moor

Bodmin Moor was largely featured in the first series of Poldark and the cast and crew became very familiar with the 200 square kilometres of grassland and heather. It was the perfect backdrop for many scenes, including capturing cast members on horseback. The passion and family dramatics that Poldark is famous for are replicated within Bodmin Moor’s rugged views and stormy landscape. This was also where a number of the miners’ cottages were based along with Ross Poldark’s house, Nampara.

Port Quin

Port Quin, located just past Port Isaac was also featured in the TV series. The peaceful area that remains unscathed by visiting boats is ideal for conjuring up images of past settings and scenery.


The traditional appearance and collection of ships caught the eye of locations managers for Poldark and for some scenes it was used as the principal town. The original grade two listed harbour featuring plenty of tall ships allows visitors to be transported back to the 18th century, into Graham Winston’s setting.

Padstow area

The North Cornwall coast line was used for plenty of cliff scenes, and a lot of regular visitors will recognise the Camel Estuary and Tregirls beach. The wide, sandy beach of Porthcothan was also used in series one along with the headland at Stepper Point, which was used for some of the more dramatic cliff scenes, including horse drawn carriages filmed soaring across cliff tops.


Although Corsham in Wiltshire was Truro’s double for filming purposes, the Cornish city Truro was the author’s original inspiration for the story of Poldark. Therefore it only seemed apt to use the location for the world premiere of the series. Locals, producers, writers and headline cast members joined together for the first exclusive viewing of the first episode and claimed their first reviews, which were full of praise.

Images courtesy of Adam Gibbard and Visit Cornwall.


Bude Sea Pool is a partly man-made and partly natural swimming pool tucked beneath the cliff at the northern side of Summerleaze Beach.

The sea pool provides a safe haven for swimmers who can enjoy the benefits of wild swimming without having to worry about the dangers of the sea such as rips, big waves and surfers.

The sea pool relies on management from the Friends of Bude Sea Pool (FoBSP), a local volunteer-run charity set up to maintain the sea pool and maintain it’s landmark status in Bude.

We spoke to Fay Hargreaves, a member of the Friends of Bude Sea Pool, to learn more about this fantastic facility.

How and why was the Friends of Bude Sea Pool charity created?

FoBSP was created due to the reaction from the public – both locals and visitors – to Cornwall Council’s withdrawal of funding for Bude Sea Pool. The council were going to demolish it due to ongoing maintenance costs.

The tide bashes the pool twice daily therefore the fabric of the pool is compromised. Coupled with the lack of investment over preceding years this meant a lot of money was needed to bring it back to life, and safety standards.

How do Friends of Bude Sea Pool make a difference?

FoBSP are a small committee supported by a larger group of volunteers who are passionate about Bude Sea Pool.

Bude relies on tourism for its economy and therefore the businesses are very supportive. FoBSP raise funds via advertising businesses, membership, beach hut rentals, deckchair rentals, events, merchandise sales, donations and grants.

We raise the profile of Bude Sea Pool via social media interaction, and proactively highlighting the profile of Bude as a holiday destination. The funds are all used to bring the pool up to date with maintenance to ensure the safety standards are met as best possible practice.

Funds also encourage local engagement, for example, starting a water polo club with a grant from Sport England.

What makes Bude Sea Pool an important feature on Summerleaze Beach?

Summerleaze Beach is the first beach visitors go to when entering Bude, it is safe swimming on the North Atlantic coast, making it very family friendly. It is also used for training.

Bude Surf Life Saving Club use the pool for nippers training, and surf schools use it for beginner surf lessons sometimes when the sea is too rough.

Who uses Bude Sea Pool?

Many locals and visitors use the natural pool instead of swimming in the sea or chlorinated water of leisure pools. The canoe club uses it sometimes, and schools use the pool for lessons.

Why is it important to maintain Bude Sea Pool?

It is vital to retain Bude Sea Pool as a free amenity, for safe swimming in an otherwise hazardous area, with large sea swells and many rescues, especially in the summer months.

Visitors to Bude use the pool and Bude relies on tourism for it’s economy. Historically Bude Sea Pool was built in 1930 to save lives; this heritage is continued today and we hope it will continue for many generations to come.

How does seawater quality or pollution affect Bude Sea Pool?

The run off from the valleys when it rains a lot comes down the river in to the sea, this in turn washes into the pool twice daily. Equally it is safe to swim most of the time.

The only times the pool is closed is when the sea is polluted by South West Water and we are notified from doing sampling. Mostly the water is fresh and clean and a wonderful place to swim or play.

For more information on the pool and how to find it, go to Friends of Bude Sea Pool

Images courtesy of Symages Photography, Visit Cornwall and Adam Gibbard.