Woolacombe Weather Station

Please ensure that you are a temporary or annual member before you fly. This helps us to help you on the hill, and means we have your contact details if we need to get in touch with you.


OS Map Coordinates: Sheet 180 – SS 458426

Latitude: 51°15’88.0″N, Longitude: 4°20’60.3″W


Paragliding / Hang Gliding – CP Rated

If unsure, check with one of the club coaches before flying.

Take Off

Traditionally, Hang Glider Pilots normally rig through the gate and to the left (south) on the short grass.  However, Hang Glider and Paraglider Pilots may rig anywhere – please be aware though and allow space for take off and top landings for both PG & HG.

Please do NOT rig in the take off area and the take-off “ramp” which is coned off during busy periods. It is advised that PG pilots take off low down to avoid getting dragged if the wind is a little strong.

The takeoff “ramp” is in between the two red streamers on the posts next to the wind sock that marks a runway from those points out to the sea. IT IS MANDATORY that this area is kept clear of obstruction.  On busy days the take-off area will be marked with fluorescent cones on either side of the launch area. (see map).

For Hang Glider pilots, especially on stronger wind days, it is recommend that they launch on the area cut out a the western lower edge of the hill where a grass strip is cleared between the gorse. This take off is lower down and enables pilots to get airborne quicker.

Top Landing

HG landing is anywhere behind the wall and safe from any obstacles. PG can land in front of the wall but please clear the take-off area as soon as you have landed. You can also land in the back field making sure you are a safe distance away from any of the walls and cars.

Slope Landing

It’s possible for paragliders, but beware that the gorse is thick and quite high in many places and towards the south end of the ridge there is fencing  – some electric which will be marked by orange cords.

Bottom Landing

We try to keep bottom landing to a minimum but are allowed to land on the green to the right of takeoff and just in front of Marine Drive car park (see yellow block on map). If landing on the green just in front of Marine drive then be careful of rotor for the last 30ft in stronger winds.  We can land on the beach to the south of Mill Rock.

*No flying below 100ft is allowed to the north of Mill Rock.

*No landing to the north of Mill Rock unless an absolute emergency.


There is a wall that runs the length of the takeoff field that has barbed wire either side of it. We advise all PG Pilots to take off low down the hill to avoid getting dragged onto it.

HG Pilots when landing in the back field it is recommended that you land at least 300 yards downwind of the wall to avoid any possible collision and rotor. There is a bowl in the landing field about 200 yards behind the wind sock that should be avoided. Anywhere behind that at the highest point is safe, smooth & level to land.

HG Landing in front of the wall is only for experienced pilots and not on busy days. For a coastal site thermals can be a little feisty at times nothing dangerous, but you just need to exercise caution.

If the search and rescue Helicopter repeatedly flies over and close to the site then a rescue is in progress and all pilots should land immediately. A large L will be displayed on takeoff and/ or a fog horn sounded but should this for some reason not happen all pilots must land anyway. Experienced pilots may fly the sand dunes if the wind is a bit too strong for the top of the hill. To reiterate, please do not fly below 100ft above the dunes to the north of Mill Rock. No taking off or landing is to take place anywhere to the north of Mill Rock either.

Woolacombe Downs and the local area is used regularly by Horse Riders. Please give them plenty of room, space and clearance as the horses can get easily spooked by Hang Gliders and Paragliders above them.

Acrobatic Manoeuvers

Acro, or radical manoeuvers are strictly prohibited if you are within 500 feet of any other person, in the air or on the ground. This is in accordance with the Air Navigation Order. Any manoeuvre which, if it went wrong and could contravene the above rule, is also prohibited. An example of this is: A deep spiral directly over other persons, but greater than 500 feet away, that, if it became unrecoverable could impact those below.

XC Potential

Great potential. Flights of over 100k have been achieved from here! If going XC then make sure you have significant height when flying over the wind turbines which are approximately 5kms downwind.  Ensure you are in a good climb to avoid landing out too close downwind of them in rotor.


From Woolacombe Village follow the road south to to the bottom of Challacombe hill. There is access to the lower parking here which is Marine Drive.  For the top parking, continue up the steep hill and enter through the gateway by the lay-by at the top which is marked “North Devon Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club”.


There are 10 car parking spaces allowed near take off along the wall near the trough on a first come first serve basis in the top field.

Hang glider pilots are allowed to drive over and drop their kit off when all spaces have been taken but must then remove the vehicle immediately and seek alternative parking. After you go through the first gate proceed through the second gate which has a tally system on it to display how many parking spaces are available. Flip one space as you go through and please stick to the track all the way. Please close all the gates behind you.

There is a local commercial school that have a separate license which allows them to have 3 extra parking spaces bringing the total allowed spaces to 13. When their vehicles are on the hill they will be marked with the school’s Logo.

Alternative Parking

A nearby campsite behind Woolacombe allows us to park at very reasonable rates: £1 per vehicle which is donated to the Air Ambulance:

Little Roadway Farm, Georgeham Road, Woolacombe, United Kingdom, EX34 7HL


Or there is ample paid parking at Marine Drive just below take off.

See map for all locations and side notes in this guide.


From the top field access is through the gate into the take off area. Please ensure this is kept closed at all times.

From Marine Drive below the hill, access is from a footpath at the entrance to Marine Drive which will be signposted “Woolacombe Downs”. Alternatively, if you are parked closer to the “Porthole Cafe” further along Marine Drive, walking access is located through a gate 200 yards to the north of the cafe. The track will be signposted “Woolacombe Downs”.

Emergency Information

Dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 Emergency Services by SMS. Note: You must register this prior to an emergency.

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Name and mobile number of who is calling
  • What has happened?
  • What is the problem, state of the casualty. Ensure you use Fall from Height and Remote Location.
  • Location: OS Grid Reference Sheet Sheet Sheet 180 – SS 636 482 or specific location if different.
  • Details of casualty: Name, Age, Address (if known).