Plymouth Sound

by on 04-16-2017 in UK Tourist Regions

Plymouth Sound

Plymouth Sound, or locally just The Sound, is a bay on the English Channel at Plymouth in England. Its southwest and southeast corners are Penlee Point in Cornwall and Wembury Point in Devon, a distance of about 3 nautical miles (6 km). Its northern limit is Plymouth Hoe giving a north-south distance of nearly 3 nautical miles (6 km). The Sound has three water entrances.

The marine entrance is from the English Channel to the south, with a deep-water channel to the west of the Plymouth Breakwater. There are two freshwater inlets: one, from the northwest, is from the River Tamar via the Hamoaze and Devonport Dockyard, the largest naval dockyard in western Europe. The other, at northeast, is from the River Plym disgorging into its narrow estuary, Cattewater harbour between Mount Batten and the Royal Citadel.

In addition to ships of the Royal Navy, large commercial vessels, including ferries to France and Spain use the Sound from Millbay Docks. Fishing vessels use it from Sutton Harbour beside the old town of Plymouth, called the Barbican. There are marinas at Sutton Harbour, Mount Wise in the Hamoaze and at Turnchapel. Waterborne traffic in the Sound is controlled by the Queen's Harbour Master for Plymouth.In the centre of the Sound, midway between Bovisand Bay and Cawsand Bay, is Plymouth Breakwater, which creates a harbour protecting anchored ships from the frequent south-western storms.

The breakwater is around 1,700 yards (1,600 m) long, stands in around 11 metres / 36 feet of water and was built by John Rennie and Joseph Whidbey starting in 1812. The breakwater has a 23-metre-tall (75 ft) lighthouse on its western end and a 9-metre-tall (30 ft) beacon with a spherical cage on top at the eastern end. It is said that the cage is a lifesaving device designed to keep wrecked sailors from drowning in the huge waves of a storm on the low-lying breakwater.

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