Combe Martin Beach Improvements

Peter James
February 7, 2020

Beach Enhancement

This Project is massive, made up as it is from 20 separate projects, and is the cornerstone of the Economic Plan. An enormous amount of time and energy has been spent by the CMCCT firstly researching and analysing to establish feasibility of a very wide range of ideas, and then exploring possible funding streams, working with a wide range of partners.

Taking each bullet point in turn, we report as follows;

  • Repair and extend river Umber retaining wall.

A variety of potential funding opportunities were pursued,and in 2019 CMCCT were successful in getting a grant from The Coastal Revival Fund for £29,000. This Grant was to undertake three (as numbered below) separate pieces of work at the seafront.


1) To repair and extend the River wall of the River Umber,from the point the Umber reaches the beach, down as far as the steps from road level. This is intended as the first step, with further work required onwards from that point. The necessary permits have been obtained from the Marine Management Organisation, and the work will commence as soon as tide and river levels permit.

Repair and reopen Green Hills beach steps

Provide proper access for all at beach entrances 

Incorporate a beach barbecue area

2) Refashion the beach access at the bottom of the Scar, so that it is more accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs, and make a more substantial barbecue area. Planning permission is required from Exmoor National Park Authority, and is in process.

3) Reopening the steps from Marine Parade down to the beach (Greenhill steps) New railings are being fabricated from stainless steel, and will be installed in February.

  •            Re-site interpretation boards and enhance

It is planned to undertake this work when the main entrance to the Beach is redesigned. Studies on the best method for this are ongoing. We will then need to find funding for this.

•            Improve beach lighting and access to power

This work was undertaken in 2018, by Combe Martin Parish Council, (CMPC) who identified grants from several sources to undertake this work.

•            Enhance beach area flower planting (real)

In 2019, Discussions took place with Combe Martin Shammick Gardening Club, who have agreed to undertake this work.

•             Provide storage facilities such as lockers for property and canoes

Several potential sites have been identified, and discussions are ongoing between CMPC and Combe Martin Kayak Club about the provision of canoe storage

. •           Provide bike racks

A set of bike lockers have been obtained, and will be installed by CMPC.

•            Provide a jetty for boat embarkation

A variety of ideas have been discussed and explored, and our initial conclusion is that a floating jetty will be more suitable for the particular geography and needs of Combe Martin. Combe Martin’s Water Watch Group are in discussion with a university about an in depth study of the beach and tidal currents, and CMCCT hope this will assist in identifying the best location for a jetty. Thereafter, funding will be sought

•             Improve indigenous planting

Discussions with North Devon AONB resulted in identifying expertise in this area, and Mary Breeds undertook an inspection of the beach and surrounding areas. Interestingly, it appears that there is a healthy amount of native species still established, and these will be encouraged by the removal of thorn and spring cutting of growth on the Greenhill areas, which we have asked CMPC to incorporate into their work schedules.

In addition, as renovations occur, and the opportunities arise, we plan to reduce non native species and plant indigenous plants instead

•             Create a tidal pool.

Subject to the analysis of tidal currents as above, and also dependent upon potential impact on bathing water quality, the possibility of creating a tidal bathing pool is being explored. The method of construction,from our investigations, is key to whether we are able to proceed. There is extensive legislation to negotiate in addition. CMCCT are identifying individuals to form a Working Party to further explore the possibility of proceeding with this project.

•            Provide outdoor showers.

CMPC have established an Annual Strategy meeting, to create their yearly Action Plan, which is refreshed each year dependent upon available funding and resources. We hope to get the provision of outside showers as part of 2020/2021 Action Plan

•             Contact relevant Universities to undertake hydrographic studies

This has been done, and responses are awaited.

•            Re-instate outfall pipe walking surface.

Following extensive lobbying by CMPC, South West Water have now undertaken works necessary to reinstate the surface.

•             Encourage local businesses to maintain and upkeep building appearance and frontages and to sponsor flower and lighting displays

Discussions have taken place, and several local businesses have undertaken significant renovation.

In addition, several local businesses contributed to the funding for new lighting.

•            Encourage future use of harbour for boat-based activities (trips, fishing, shuttle bus-boat)

Given that such usage will be dependent upon a jetty; this project will be allocated time and resources at a future point.

•            Market beach, coastal geology and rock pools to schools and other educational institutions for field trips

This project is scheduled to commence after the beach access improvements works have been undertaken.

•             Undertake regular and conspicuous beach cleaning, litter picking and seaweed collection

CMPC have prioritised these works, particularly during the tourist season

. •           Develop water sports facilities

This project will be explored in depth with the local providers of water sports equipment, and CMCCT have been exploring the most feasible sources of the large funding that this would require.

Combe Martin Museum/Information Point
Cross Street, Combe Martin,  EX34 0DH
Telephone: 01271 889031
Combe Martin Tourism