Ilfracombe Watersports

A new central hub for the community of Ilfracombe, this project celebrates local watersports groups and provides a catalyst for further social and economic regeneration of the area.  

This project comprised the creation of a new watersports hub at Larkstone Cove in Ilfracombe, Devon. Located directly across from Ilfracombe’s harbour, the development of the site was considered to have great potential in boosting tourism and rejuvenating an area of the town that was lacking in attractions or amenities for residents and visitors alike. 

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The new facility incorporates boat storage spaces, changing and shower rooms, a café and flexible teaching/club room. The project also involved the extension of a sea wall and the construction of a new slipway to provide safe access into the water.

This was an extremely challenging site to develop due to its steep topography, prominence within a sensitive Conservation Area, adjacency to a historic lime kiln and presence of a public sewer running across the site. Further complexity was added by specialist requirements for marine engineering of a new sea wall and slipway within a tidal zone and the maintenance of existing navigation lights to guide boats into Ilfracombe Harbour.

10 years in the making, bringing this project to fruition was a true collaborative effort with all parties from client, contractor and design team to statutory bodies and the local community contributing to the project’s success.

Photography by George Fielding


I was so impressed with the look of the building and also with the quality of it […], I think it is really important for you to realise that you have created a beautiful building; a building that will be well used by and will enhance the local community. I hope that in years to come you will look at the Centre, give a little nod to yourself and say “yes, I did that”! 

Ken Miles, Chief Executive, North Devon Council 

Project Details

North Devon Council
Ilfracombe, Devon, UK