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A fine coastal site, frequently flyable and an excellent choice for new pilots with a briefing from a local pilot.
SSW-WSW (BEST SW)
Please note: The old West Bay take off in front of the houses and just above the promenade is NOT to be used under any circumstances.
Parking at Highlands End has been negotiated for current Condors members only and is not available for visiting members of other clubs. See below for visitors parking.
New visiting pilots are required to make contact with any club official prior to flying, for latest up to date guidance. All pilots to read the updated site rules below - 04/07/20
From Chideock direction to Bridport (A35)
Travel along the Bridport bypass and having passed the junction to Bridport, (short dual carriageway) travel uphill on a three lane road, and then observe a junction on the right, marked, Eype, rest area, etc. Turn right, then travel around the road, passing the rest area, and also 2 small junctions on your right. At the next junction (small grass triangle area, with sign post Eype), follow this road, pass New Inn Public House, (also nearest public telephone), then Eype’s Mouth hotel, until you reach the coast. The site is now on your left (east). Walk down the steps, cross small stream, and up the slope towards the caravan site, where owners reside. Take off area, is the area just before reaching the caravan park.
From Beaminster or Dorchester
At the Texaco filling station, (also roundabout) follow signs indication A35 west, (Exeter). Next roundabout, 3rd junction marked A35 Exeter. You will then shortly be on a three lane road, until a set of double white lines, and within a few hundred yards, you will observe the signs for Eype etc. turn left and follow directions as above.
There is a private car park right on the edge of the beach at Eypes Mouth, if there is no attendant please place your money in the Honesty Box. It has been noted by the landowner that some pilots are abusing this privilege and choosing not to pay - PLEASE DO NOT. Parking is also available at the nearby Eype House Caravan Park (on the right as you approach the beach) from Easter BH weekend to the end of October but shut in the winter. Pay in Eype Eats as usual or leave money in the key drop box if closed.
Site Rules - updated to reflect Covid 19 guidelines, 04/07/20
We are trying to ensure that no overcrowding or incidents take place that could jeopardise our continuing flying here. Please be prepared to play your part!
The arrangements for crowded conditions are summarised in the diagram below. We hope that they will allow everyone to make use of the site whilst maintaining social distancing and reducing the potential for incidents to an absolute minimum.
Pilots are requested to announce their intention to fly on Condors Chat or Site Reports Telegram so that everyone can have an idea of numbers and can judge whether or not to fly.
Everyone who visits needs to be aware of the arrangements beforehand and radios will allow easy marshalling around take-off, when required.
The take-off area should be kept clear unless actually taking off or preparing a wing prior to bunching it and forming a queue along the north and west boundaries. This should make it easier to avoid any incidents if top-landings are permitted.
Pilots must stay clear of tourists on the benches and of course walkers on the footpath. Arriving pilots should queue from the north gate before preparing their wings when space arises.
The only take off available for us is at the top of the cliff in front of the caravan park.
It has been noted that some pilots are finding alternative take offs in strong winds, this is beginning to cause the club a problem. Please do not take off from the beach, the locals are not happy about it and if we lose the option to land there we lose the site.Do not take off from the low cliff car park, the landowner has not given permission for this.
Do not soar the low cliff in front of the bungalow and low cliff car park. Use it only to transition to the higher cliff and Thorncombe Beacon.
Flying at this site has always been a sensitive issue needing careful negotiation, please respect our site rules.
Take off is over a near vertical cliff edge, so beware of rotor. In light wind speeds, the wind at ground level blows up the slope from Eype Mouth, but as soon as your wing inflates, turns into prevailing wind from the sea. At higher wind speeds this problem doesn’t seem to occur, BUT exercise extreme caution, due to rotor and possibly being blown backwards. It is best practice to be airborne well before arriving at cliff edge.
A public right of way exists all along the Jurassic coast, therefore walkers etc, have priority over pilots. Do not lay out paragliders across the footpath, but layout inland of the path. When inflating in readiness to take-off, do this on the downwind side of the path, and then cross to take-off, so long as you don’t inconvenience walkers. If anybody is in the way, be extremely polite in making any request, or wait until they have moved away. If you leave any baggage, for safety, leave along the hedgerow, but at your own risk.
Ensure that there is a suitable beach to land prior to flying as, after storms, the beach has often been removed by heavy seas. There is beach landing west of the promenade at Westbay, and as far as you wish towards Thorncombe, without hindering walkers, sunbathers, etc. When landing on the beach, please keep well clear of tourists and be prepared to walk a bit farther rather than risk a near miss. Be polite if challenged that you have landed too close and do not enter into a discussion, move away and pack up.
Landing on the Westbay main beach is only permissible during winter periods (when it is likely there will be less people present).
Top landing is possible along the front edge of the cliff at take-off, but beware of the likelihood of rotor. Walkers may well be on the footpath, and if you overshoot there is the possibility of collision, which has to be avoided at all costs.
The attraction of flying this site is the scenic ridge run, possible all the way to Charmouth in the right conditions. Hazards encountered are the transition onto and around Golden Cap, really only practical at low tide, possible difficulties gaining height at Charmouth to come back and the long transition east over low cliffs back to Golden Cap. There is only one path up from the beach between Charmouth and Golden Cap and that is via the steps at St Gabriel's Mouth. Landing out makes for a very long walk back!
For the return trip from Charmouth please note: Use caution in strengthening wind conditions. The cliff is spine backed and a number of pilots have been sucked over the back. Keep well out in strong winds and do not fly directly onto the back cliffs at Stonebarrow (high cliff at the back of the main slip, where the coast path runs at the back of Cains Folly). Local pilots advise gaining height on the cliffs in front and attempting to cross onto the back from the eastern end. There is rotor from the cliffs in front and a dead zone if you get low trying to cross the main slip. A number of pilots have been dumped into the trees, usually needing ropes or a helicopter for extraction. Study the area well from the air before attempting any crossing of the slip and take note of where the locals are flying.
May be possible from Thorncombe Beacon or Golden Cap.
Please be aware that there has been a considerable landslip in the bowl and that soaring conditions will very likely have changed since your last flight there. Do assess conditions very carefully.
Accidents have probably been caused by pilots attempting to soar too close to and below the cliff edge. Turn well before the headland to avoid collision with other pilots returning from the East (West Bay) also below cliff height.
Expect rotor present anywhere when flying cliffs. In light conditions make sure that the cliff you are scratching is into wind. Pilots have been stranded on the cliff. Beware of the risk of being blown backwards when conditions are strong.
Be prepared to lose height well out in front of the cliffs and even over the sea, when making preparations for landing.
Mr Martin Cox - Highlands Caravan Park