St. Bees

Status : OK
IMPORTANT - Restrictions on use If you intend flying from the 'South Head' (NW of the St Bees caravan park) do not take off or land in any fields with stock in them, unless it is an emergency situation. There are adequate take off places west of the cliff-top fence, which avoid rotor and avoid the fields east of the fence. Note the footpath has been re routed into the fields, but pilots can use the old footpath to get to the suggested take off areas (see ACCESS 'Getting to take off' & photographs).
Last Updated : Not recorded
Wind : SSW - WSW    
Nil Wind : No    
Grid Ref : NX962117 Height (AMSL) : 30' / 9m
Site Code : none Top to Bottom : 30' / 9m


W Coast - nr Whitehaven


Site guide last updated 4 May 2017

The area south of the café is suitable for novice CPs as long as they don't stray from the site and they respect windy days. The cliff area to the north of the beach is more unfriendly and less suited to novice CPs.

South of the beach café at St.Bees is a 6 - 15m clay cliff that is eroding and taking the golf course onto the shingle/sand beach. The site offers an area of coastal ridge soaring that is useful when inland sites may be blown out.

North west of the caravan park leads to some impressive sandstone cliffs further north. 340ft vertical height but very committing with no safe slope or bottom landing!

Site Officer

Chris Little : 07966153668

Postcode for Sat Nav Systems (read the Health Warning!)

CA27 0ES - This is the closest mail delivery point to the flying site and is positioned at:

Seacote Hotel. This is right by the main car park.

Getting There

From the main A595 turn off for St Bees at any signed junction. At St Bees make for the huge St. Bees Beach car park which is at the start of the Coast-to-Coast walk - west of St Bees Railway Station.
Unless you know a local, who will allow you to park on their property, you will need to pay for parking!

Getting to takeoff

South of the beach café: Take off is next to the café or a gentle walk further south along the path between the clifftop and the golf course.

North West of the caravan park: Follow the obvious cliff-top footpath for half a mile to take off - see photos. The lower cliff-top take off is in a corner of the fence next to a bank of gorse, to the west of the fields and the fence. There is a bigger (but sloping) take off area higher up the old path which can be accessed as in the photo, or by walking down the old path from the gate at the top of the hill (this avoids any erosion). Note that currently there is no active erosion anywhere along the old path.

Permission to use site

St Bees School (owns the golf course area).
Mr A Crichton, The Mill (behind Rottington Hall), Rottington, St Bees. (Cliff-top fields NW of St Bees caravan park).

Additional Safety Notes

The area south of the café is suitable for novice CPs as long as they don't stray from the site and they respect windy days. The cliff area to the north of the beach is more unfriendly and less suited to novice CPs.

Most of the take off locations require groundhandling skill to launch across a busy footpath; please be careful, considerate and polite at all times.

The state of the tide should be always be taken into consideration.

To the North, this site has some committed take off areas with limited landing options due to the boulders on the beach (or no beach!). If you lose height and can no longer top land, it is a significant glide back to a safe landing.

XC potential

See paraglider notes in BRIEFING section.


SOUTH of the beach café; take-off is normally from, or in front of, the old car park and requires some ground handling skills. There are further take offs to the south, some of which may be gentler on your wing than the car park, if you use these please take care not to infringe on the golf course or interfere with play. On a good day, with height, you can fly across the gap north of the café, onto the south head and back at will. Great fun but beware turbulence when joining the cliffs at the north end of the beach.

NORTH of the beach is a much larger sandstone cliff, facing SSW and then WSW, with a footpath along the top. Take-offs are committed (no slope or bottom landings). There are only large slabs below, so you will need to top-land, or glide to the beach, or to the grass north of the café (taking care of the car park and the public) or to the take off south of the café. When soaring the WSW cliffs further north and out of view of the beach, be aware of the state of the tide in case you come back too low.

To the south: On a good day you can cross the gap at the south end of the golf course and fly 5km South down the coast and back (beware of power lines, the railway line, Sellafield no go airspace and the UKAEA Police!).
To the north: The cliffs north of the old pillbox are experienced pilot territory (where the cliff angle changes from facing SSW to WSW). There might be a landing at Fleswick bay if the tide is out but you would have to be desperate to try it - best stay above the cliff top and top land while you can! On the right day, and with care, you can fly to the St Bees lighthouse and even beyond to connect with the Haig site.

Hang Gliding

See paragliding information.


Click on the photo for a full size image.

The beach at Bees looking north. The triangular area and the grassy slope are takeoff areas - marked by the gliders. Photo by Dave Horne
This photo is taken from the old footpath looking south. The new footpath now runs across the field and the old footpath outside of the field has been closed. The lower cliff-top take off is in front of the bank of yellow gorse, to the west (right) of the fields and the fence. There is a bigger (but sloping) take off area higher up the path. Photo by Rick Livingstone
Looking south down the southern cliffs. Black Combe in the far background. Photo by Nick Bubb.
You get an audience at St Bees! The take off area is at the bottom of the photo. Photo by Nick Bubb


Local Information - Pubs/Food etc

Nearest pubs to the site - for post flying debriefing only! You may find details of other facilities here

No pub details are available for this site. Send your recommendations to the webmaster.


This page shows records for this site. Some of the older records are not very detailed. More recent records may have an igc file available You can right click and download this to your PC. You can then use IGC Flight replay to view the flight.

Open Distance XC  
Distance : 33.5km
Date : 18/03/1997
Pilot : Rob Grange
Hang Gliding

No hang gliding records available for this site

Data Resources

Follow the links to see the site in Google Earth and Google Street view. To access the former, you will need to have Google Earth installed on your PC. You can also upload your flights to GE - use GPS Dump (Links Page) to convert a variety of GPS file formats to a GE kml file.

Link Resource Type Notes
Google Earth Google Earth - Car Park
Street View Google Street View - Parking The car parks at St Bees - packed on a sunny day!

St. Bees Map


St. Bees Map