Plymouth Sound, shores and cliffs

About this route

This magnificent coastal section runs along the eastern side of Plymouth Sound from Andurn Point northwards to Mount Batten Point. As you travel along this route you can experience a varied and impressive geology. The rocks become younger as you head north but all were laid down during the Devonian Period (417 – 354 million years ago), named after this county.

The Southernmost outcrops at Andurn Point consist mainly of red and green slates with sandstones that were deposited in lakes and rivers in seasonally arid conditions. Heading north, the dominant rocks are slates, siltstones and sandstones but these are greyer in colour and contain some marine fossils, indicating flooding of a continental edge by the incoming of the sea.

Getting Around

On foot: the South West Coast Path winds along the site, the beaches are only accessible at low tide; Crownhill Bay has cliff access to the beach.

By bus: there is a regular service from Plymouth (Royal Parade) to Turnchapel, see www.journeydevon.info for latest times.

By road: coastline accessed from minor roads leading to the beaches. Car park towards the north end of Jennycliff and beside road leading to Fort Bovisand.

Facilities
Car parking at Jennycliff and beside road towards Fort Bovisand, beach cafe open during summer season.
Terrain
Beaches accessed at low tide only.
Accessibility
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OS Maps

OS grid reference: SX 492 497 - SX 487 533

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Interesting information

At Bovisand Bay the harder Staddon Grits appear and form the headland from Staddon Point northward. The sandstones in this formation were deposited in marine sand bars. To the north, most of Jennycliff Bay is cut into softer and younger marine slates but the northernmost promontory of Mount Batten Point is made of limestone laid down in a clear warm tropical sea.

Along most of this coast you can observe dramatic faults and folds in the rocks, sometimes producing a chevron pattern. These give clear evidence of the terrific pressures that were exerted on the rocks during a period of techtonic plate collision between 330 and 300 million years ago.

This area is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.

Andurn Point by Derek Harper

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