Sunrise over the Cobb
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The Cobb - Lyme Regis Harbour

The Cobb at Lyme Regis

The harbour for Lyme Regis is called the Cobb. No satisfactory explanation of the name exists but a man-made construction has served as a refuge here since at least 1313. The earliest known drawing, made in 1539, shows a basic shape similar to the present construction, and this was built after the westerly gales breached the breakwater in 1824. There have been additions since that date but the major part of the Cobb dates from then. It was connected to the mainland in 1756 and the North Wall was built in 1823.

To get to the Cobb, you can either walk west to it from the square along the Marine Parade and Cart Road or from one of the two main car parks: Holmbush on the left as you leave town towards Exeter and the Devon coast, or Monmouth Beach which is west of the Cobb and accessed down the steep hill next to Holmbush.

There is only one way onto the main part of the Cobb, entering past the RNLI lifeboat station on the right and the slipway to your left. The lifeboat station and shop is well worth a visit to appreciate the importance of the charity's lifesaving work.

The slipway is used by all those launching boats into the water and removing them. In winter all the non-commercial boats are taken from their moorings for safe storage on land.

Steps to the outward wall of the Cobb at Lyme Regis

As you pass the station you will see there is a road round the harbour and also steps up to the outward wall. Walking the wall is the best way to see the Cobb, providing the weather and sea conditions allow.

Meryl Streep managed to get to the end of the Cobb in the film The French Lieutenant’s Woman in bad weather so it can be done, although rumour has it that it was a stunt man dressed in her cloak.

However, in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Louisa Musgrove jumps off the steps, falls, and is concussed - so mind how you go!

One of the buildings on the Cobb has been converted to house a marine aquarium. The buildings are on the Victoria Pier, which is used by the working boats because it is the deepest part of the harbour, though even here at very low tides there is not enough water to allow mooring. Fishing and boat trips run regularly from the Cobb.

The end of the Victoria Pier offers the classic view of Lyme Regis, with a panoramic view of Charmouth, past Stonebarrow and Golden Cap to West Bay, and beyond to Chesil Beach.

Boat Building Academy launch at Lyme Regis harbour

The thriving Boat Building Academy can be found at Monmouth Beach, where you can watch craftspeople at work using traditional methods. This is also the birthplace of Lyme Regis Gig Club's 32ft-long Cornish pilot gigs. Gig rowers can often be seen training in Lyme Bay.

Lyme Regis Power Boat Club is also at Monmouth Beach, hosting a variety of social events and national water ski racing events.

With some of the best sailing waters in the country, Lyme Regis Sailing Club welcomes visitors. Harbour facilities include 11 seasonal visitors' moorings, a pontoon accessible at all states of the tide, and access to showers, fresh water and power on request.