Understanding Tide Times in Bideford (2023)

When visiting Bideford, North Devon and its surrounding beaches, understanding the local tide times is crucial for both safety and enjoyment.

Situated on the banks of the River Torridge and near several beautiful beaches, Bideford experiences some of the most significant tidal ranges in the world due to the Bristol Channel’s unique characteristics.

In this short blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of tide times in Bideford and how to stay informed during your visit.

Key Takeaways
Understanding tide times in Bideford is crucial for safety and enjoyment of the area’s beaches.
Tide times help you avoid dangerous situations, plan beach trips, and spot marine life.
The Bristol Channel’s resonance and funnel shape make Bideford’s tides among the highest in the world.
Swimming is generally safer during slack tide, one hour before or after the high or low tide.

Bideford Tide Times

See the widget below for the tide times in Bideford, Devon. Other locations such as Westward Ho!, Sauton Sands, Croyde and Woolacombe, will not be far away from these times either.

Featured Places to Stay Near Bideford

The Importance of Tide Times in Bideford

The tide times in Bideford and its nearby beaches are vital to consider for various reasons.

Whether you’re planning a day at the beach, a coastal walk, or a fishing trip, being aware of the tide times can help ensure your safety and make the most of your visit.

Here are a few reasons why tide times matter:


Understanding when the tide is high or low can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations, such as getting stranded on a sandbank or being caught in a strong current. Always check the tide times before venturing out, especially in areas known for large tidal ranges.

Its also worth noting that the sea comes right up to the boulders at Westward Ho! beach and you really do not want to be surfing into those

Beach Access

Some beaches in Bideford Bay can become inaccessible during high tide, while others may reveal hidden coves and rock pools at low tide (nearly all of the beaches have rock pools, except for Instow).

Knowing the tide times can help you plan your day and choose the best time to visit a particular beach.

A prime example other than Westward Ho! is Instow Beach, if the tide is in, then there can be little to no sand left on the beach either for you or the dogs to enjoy.

Wildlife Spotting

The large tidal range in the Bideford area creates a unique ecosystem, attracting diverse marine life.

Low tide is an excellent opportunity to explore rock pools and spot various marine creatures, such as crabs, starfish, and anemones. The same goes for hobbies such as fishing and kite surfing.

The Bristol Channel’s Effect on Bideford’s Tides:

The Bristol Channel, which separates South Wales from the southwestern tip of England, has a significant impact on Bideford’s tide times and the size of its tidal range.

The channel’s funnel shape, combined with the resonance created by the tide moving up and down the estuaries, can result in some of the highest tidal ranges in the world.

In Bideford, the difference between low and high tide can often exceed 10 meters (32 feet!!!).

In Summary:

Being aware of the tide times in Bideford is essential for ensuring your safety and making the most of your visit to this beautiful coastal town.

By understanding the local tide times and the factors that influence them, you’ll be well-prepared for a memorable and enjoyable stay in Bideford and its surrounding beaches.

Tide Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can you tell when the tide is turning in Bideford?
A: Look for visual clues such as seaweed or wet sand. If the sand above the waterline is wet, the tide is probably on its way out. If everything is dry, the tide is probably on its way in.

Q: Why are there two tides daily in Bideford?
A: Bideford experiences two high and two low tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes because the Earth rotates through two tidal “bulges” every lunar day. High tides occur 12 hours and 25 minutes apart.

Q: Is it safe to swim during the tide going out in Bideford?
A: Swimming is usually easier during the hour before and after a high or low tide, also known as “slack” tide, because there is less water moving and weaker currents. However, rip currents can still occur, so always stay aware of potential riptides.

Q: When is the safest time to swim in the sea near Bideford?
A: Check the local tide times and aim to swim one hour before or after the specified time of the high and low tide, during the hour known as “slack” tide. Always stay aware of potential riptides.

Q: Where are the best places to go swimming in the sea near Bideford?
A: Some popular beaches for swimming in the sea near Bideford include Westward Ho!, Saunton Sands, and Croyde Bay.

Author Matt Ogborne
Matt Ogborne
About the Author

Welcome to Bideford.com! I’m Matt, a seasoned explorer and avid fan of Bideford and the broader North Devon area. With over a decade of consistent family visits, virtually every weekend, I’ve immersed myself in the rich history and vibrant culture Bideford & North Devon.

On this site, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge amassed from my adventures here. From in-depth local guides to engaging blog posts about Bideford. Whether you’re looking for recommendations on things to do or guidance on where to stay we have you covered. Join me as we delve into the heart of Bideford, North Devon – a town that’s more than just a destination, but an experience waiting to be discovered.

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