Although close to the centre of the resort of Bude it does not appear to be so. With its wide expanse of fine yellow sand, it is flanked by cliffs on one side, unusually, a breakwater and river on the other, and, is backed by a small sand dune system. It is well known for its sea pool which is covered by every tide.
EX23 8HN - The beach is 500m from the shops and the centre of Bude and is well signposted. There is a large car park with a (capacity 560 cars) behind the sand dunes and beach facilities; it has spaces for the disabled. There are alternative parking areas next to nearby Crooklets Beach - EX23 8NE - and also a municipal car park some 350m from the beach which contains the Bude Visitor information Centre.
There are two easy, short and well defined access points through the sand dunes from the car park and a number of other points of access (some of which involve steps) on the northern side of the beach by the beach huts. A disabled access from the car park is well publicized and a ‘sand chair’ for the disabled can be hired from the Beach Office (in the car park).
There is also access from the road alongside the canal which leads to a bridge over the river and on to the beach. On the westerly side of the canal there is access to the beach via the slipway although this part of the beach is severed by the river so restricting access to the main facilities.
The beach is over 300m wide and at low water it is possible to walk along the sand to Warren Beach beyond Crooklets Beach and Sandy Mouth, a distance of over 4.5kms. It is truly a wonderful expanse of sand. In summer there is a good area of sand above high water which accounts for its popularity as it will accommodate a large number of people easily. There can be patches of shingle at certain times of the year.
There are a limited number of rock pools exposed at low water on either side of the beach. The man made sea pool in the rocks on the northerly side of the beach can be accessed either from the beach or along the cliffs and is a popular facility and has an area over 3500sqm making it of sufficient size for swimming. The graduated pool bottom makes it ideal for young children.
The breakwater provides a degree of protection from the westerly and north-westerly winds and also significantly reduces the swell at the river side of the beach.
There are a number of safety/rescue points which are in position all year. Lifeguards are on duty over Easter, and from May until the end of September. There is a designated bathing area that is patrolled. Lifeguards are also on duty at the sea pool when it is in use. The Lifeguards are located at a modern purpose built facility between the car park and the sand dunes.
In common with beaches on the north coast, Summerleaze is not renowned for swimming because of the swell and surf, at least for most of the year. There are currents on the breakwater side of the beach at mid tide and often strong rip currents on the sea pool side so swimming should only be undertaken in the designated and patrolled area. However, the sea pool at low water makes swimming possible and very safe.
It is a very popular surfing beach partly because it produces a good consistent beach break when other beaches along this section of coast are unsuitable. The best wind direction is from the east. Waves are from local wind swells as well as distant groundswells from a westerly direction. There is good surf at all stages of the tide although care needs to be taken at mid tide and above because of the rocks around the sea pool and when there are awkward cross waves. It is good for beginners as well as the more experienced.
It is not a beach for snorkelling or diving. As the tide recedes rock pools are exposed around the breakwater, the sea pool and rocks on the way to Crooklets Beach.
Dogs are permitted all year but from late May until the end of September must be on a lead.
Toilets are located next to the car park. There is a first aid room and also showers demonstrating the good public facilities.
There is a beachside refreshment kiosk, and shop and restaurant above the beach huts on the northern side of the beach. Beach hut hire is obtained from the Tourist Information Centre. There is watersports equipment hire and deck chair hire.
The public slipway for the launching of kayaks and small craft is on the breakwater side of the beach.
It is cleaned regularly by Cornwall Council who manage the beach. The water quality has been variable in recent years.
Summerleaze is a fine resort beach with interesting features. The most unusual of these is the start of the Bude Canal with the imposing lock gates right next to the beach. It was built in 1823 to carry sand and seaweed to inland farms.
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