Helford River Camp 2019

The main family camp this year is Helford, where we camp on a farmer’s field which has access to the Helford River two hours either side of low tide.

This is one of Cody’s regular and most popular camp site, for those who’ve not been before, the field is reasonably flat at the bottom end and a steep slipway has been cut down to the foreshore in the SW corner.

Opening Times

The site is available to us from Saturday 27 July to the Sunday 11th August inclusive. Throughout our stay we will need to remember that the unspoilt character of the Helford River area is carefully monitored by the local conservationists, and that there are oyster beds below the low water mark near our camp site. On previous visits we have found that we can avoid conflict with the oyster bailiffs by refraining from launching and recovering our boats during the two hour periods around low water (low water at the river entrance is 10 to 15 min before LW Falmouth). As with all our camps, we will need to leave the site as we would wish to find it. In the event of prolonged wet weather, we should take care not to create muddy tracks when driving out of the field, perhaps leaving cars at the top of the field.

Site Facilities

  • tap water at the top of the field.
  • grey and waste disposal on the field for Elsan waste disposal.
  • access to the foreshore via a steep cutting.
  • a gentle slope.

Site Restrictions

No dogs or pets of any description are permitted at camp.

The camping field is tent only. It may be possible to accommodate other sorts of camping vehicle, and usually only in extenuating circumstances, with the permission of the land owner, via the camp organisers.

Dinghies should be stored in a line near the top of the slip but leaving enough space for operation of the pulley system.

The slip way to the beach is steep and can be very slippery when wet – please use the ladder and handrail.

Vehicles should be parked across the slope of the field so that in the event of handbrake failure the vehicle will remain stationary.

For some mobile phone providers, users will not pick up a signal on the campsite and a walk 200m up the hill may be necessary to get reception.


The sailing area is spectacular, including potential destinations of

  • Gweek
  • Ferry Boat Inn
  • Tremaine Quay
  • Coverack
  • St Mawes
  • Falmouth
  • Maenporth
  • Carrick Roads
  • (Overnight destination Truro)

As well as excellent local sailing in Helford Passage itself.

Camping at Helford

Typical Camp Activities

This is the sort of things that we get up to on camp – none of these things can be done at a single location, but these are the sorts of things our family camping programme tends to offer.

1Set up camp. Local sailing PM
2Shakedown Sail – local fleet sail to nearby destination
3Long fleet sail – 20 to 26 miles, experienced adventurers only. Local sailing for families
4Long fleet sail – meet families who have travelled there by car
5Pirates Breakfast – early morning adventure for kids under 8, followed by a waterfight for all. Afternoon paddle to local venue
6Family walk, local sailing
7Day out at the beach, sand castle competition, body boarding
8Fleet sail to a local beach with kids and picnic.
9Long fleet sail – over 20 miles
10Fleet sail with families for brunch at a local town. Fun games on the field for all ages, including egg and spoon and egg sandwich, welly throwing, tug of war, ridiculous games where everyone gets wet.
11Late evening fleet sail and paddle to a pub, night sail and paddle back in absolute pitch black looking for phosphorescence in the water, navigation lights are a good idea
12Regatta – series of sailing races culminating in an all-in swimming / canoeing / sailing relay race. Camp fire in the evening.
13Sail to a pub for ice-cream
14Chicken Run – a sailing game where the aim is to arrive at the finish line at a particular given time. Pub lunch.
15Treasure Hunt, Walk, Local sailing
16Camp closes

Joining instructions will be sent to members about two weeks before.

Recent Posts

Mind the laundry – adventures on the Exe.

A last minute decision to take a trip to Exmouth on the evening of Friday 5th October saw Mel and Steve travel to Exmouth to join Nick and others on a daysail in the estuary on Saturday.

The forecast had been for F4-5 from the East and Topsham would have been an easy destination, but as the week progressed the forecast abruptly changed to zero for Saturday morning.

The millpond of the estuary – paddling only…

And it is onto a millpond of reflection that four boats began the paddle; Nick and his crew in his beautiful Trio, two people in the Wayfarer and two in an RS Vision (I apologise, I am useless at remembering names). After an hour, and with 20 minutes left of the flood tide it was clear that Topsham was not a likely destination, and we diverted to the unbelievably picturesque Lympstone. This is where the laundry comes into the story – the dwellings in Lympstone have no gardens, and the locals have taken to hanging their washing on the shoreline on ropes strung between great wooden poles to dry.

Foreshore laundry.

We avoided the laundry as we made land and shortly afterwards enjoyed the hospitality of Susannah’s Tea Room, a lovely traditional coffee-shop cum centre-of-village-life walkers cafe with yummy cake and drinks.
While we were enjoying the good company and coffee, the wind built to a F3 from the SW. The other boats headed back, and we followed the navigation marks to Topsham. As it happens, the twists and turns of the navigable river forced us to enjoy some lovely spinnaker broad reaches.
The water gets shallow in Topsham, and without local knowledge we chose not to land, because it looked like it would be easy to get stranded; at one point it looked as if we were in the middle of the channel and were in only in 70cm of water with 40m to the shore…

The beat back to Exe SC was in F3-4 was with the ebb tide under us. We briefly stopped at a secluded beach just north of Lympstone, nestled between the red Triassic rocks of the area, and mused that a Cody SC expedition to this estuary should include a stop here for lunch. In total, we sailed about 14 miles.

Triassic Rocks and Trio.

Thanks to Nick for arranging the facility at Exe SC, and pies, Laura for helping us drop the boat at the sailing club late on Friday, the skippers and crew of the other boats (I should have taken a pad and paper with me) for their engaging and knowledgable company at the coffee stop, and apologies again to Annie for shying a soft drink all over her just after she’d provided it to me at the bar.

The wind on Sunday was forecast F4-6, and when we got to the club, also blowing a F4-6 so we left the racers to it.

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