If you have ever thought about cold water scuba diving, then one place that you should definitely look into is at Stoney Cove. The cove was built when the site was turned into a quarry nearly one hundred years ago. The digging turned the location into one of the best sites to dive in, as the result was nearly thirteen acres of fresh spring water. The clarity of the water combined with the alternating depths of twenty-two, thirty-six, and seven metres gives you the chance to explore a variety of different diving experiences. The seven metre area is especially good for those novice divers who are just getting their suits wet.
Map of Stoney Cove
Stoney Cove also offers people who are interested in learning how to dive a range of equipment and training to choose from that will help get them into the water. Plus, the facilities there are top notch and are raved about by experienced divers across the globe. One of the reasons that everything there is such high quality is that in the beginning, after the quarry was allowed to flood, the site was used as a training facility for many divers who were going to work in the commercial sector. This just goes to prove how much of an excellent site Stoney Cove actually is for divers of all experience levels and ages. Plus, there is a dedicated dive school on hand to make sure that even those who have never dived before have the chance to get something from this amazing experience.
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Wrecks at Stoney Cove
While you might not think that there are any significant wrecks in a transitioned quarry that has been turned into a dive site, you would be mistaken. In fact there are several different wrecks of both ships and planes in the site that will pique your interest.
A Viscount aircraft cockpit, a Nautilus submarine, a Cessna aircraft, a Stanegarth tug boat, a Wessex helicopter and a galleon are just a few of the sunken treasures that await divers who are curious to see what these wrecks hold. However, there are also a few unusual items that await divers under the water and these include a bus, a VW camper, submerged trees, a Landrover, an estate car, a block house and a transit van!
These unique underwater items are just a few reasons why diving at Stoney Cove is such an interesting venture and this is also why it’s often busy year round, despite the colder temperatures in the winter.
Best Time of the Year to dive at Stoney Cove
If you are considering making the trip out to Stoney Cove then you might be wondering what time of year would be best for you to go. The answer to that depends on both your experience level and your reasons for wanting to visit the cove. For example, if you are a beginner diver and are looking to find a place to expand your diving credentials, then going to Stoney Cove during the warmer months of summer would probably be in your best interest. It will probably be extremely busy, but the water will not be as cold and you will have a good time.
However, if you are a somewhat more experienced diver who is looking to go to Stoney Cove for practice, then you should probably consider going in the winter months. During this time of year it is almost impossible to dive in the sea because of the colder temperatures, but diving at Stoney Cove is still acceptable. This would allow you to get in the dive time you crave while other venues are unavailable.
Notable Dive Spots at Stoney Cove
The entire area at Stoney Cove is broken up into different diving sites so that people of differing levels of experience can each get something special out of it. The cove is broken up into three different areas: novice, intermediate and experienced. This way no one who goes there to dive will have to feel as if they have missed out on something.
The novice area is where the Viscount cockpit and the Nautilus submarine can be found. This means that even if you have never dived before you will still be able to go in and see some impressive wreckage underwater. Many times when you go to a diving area as a beginner, you either feel way out of your depth or you worry that you have missed out on something special but Stoney Cove has cleverly made up for this by adding these items to compensate for the shallow depths.
In the intermediate area some of the notable diving attractions include the Wessex helicopter, a twenty one metre blockhouse, the tug boat, a wooden boat, the VW camper and the Bedford van. There are also many more options that are available for you to explore and quite a large area of twenty two metre waters in which you can do this. The facilities at Stoney Cove are top notch even for those divers who consider themselves to be more than mere beginners but don’t feel comfortable in the deeper waters.
The experienced section of the cove is set at thirty six metres and includes the submerged mini and the transit van. This area isn’t quite as large as the intermediate area but it still gives divers the opportunity to work on their skills.
Sunken Cockpit at Stoney Cove
Types of Marine Life You can See at Stoney Cove
There are a lot of fish for you to see at Stoney Cove and many of them will swim right with the divers as they seem to have absolutely no fear of the odd intruder. There are crayfish roach, perch and even giant pike that like to hang out at the edge of the novice diving area. These fish are perfect companions for your dive as they will allow you to swim around and enjoy their presence. Some divers take along bags filled with bread and sweet corn to feed to the fish. The experience is somewhat surreal as you are surrounded by fish that keep darting in to take the food from the bag. However, do not try to handle the crayfish as this can cause them to stress out and possibly even die from the experience.
Pike at Stoney Cove
Stoney Cove Diving Fact Sheet
Average Air Temperature: 17°C – 22°C
Average Water Temperature: 6°C – 12°C
Recommended Exposure Protection: Because of the cold water diving you will want to make sure that you use a dry suit so that you can dive in the lower temperatures. In the warmer summer months it may be possible to dive in a semi-dry suit, but it is not something that is recommended for novice divers to try.
Average Visibility: The clear spring water allows for a visibility of up to twenty metres.
Coldest Times: December – March
Warmest Times: May – September
Best Times to Dive: This depends on why you are going to dive at Stoney Cove. If you are an experienced diver who is looking to get in some underwater time when it is too cold to dive in the sea then the winter months will be better for you. However, if you are a novice diver who is just going to the cove to get in some experience, you should probably brave the crowds and dive in the hotter summer months so that you do not get too cold.
Worst Times to Dive: Truly there are no horrible times to dive at Stoney Cove. It is an excellent diving spot year round. Just remember that even though it is crowded year round you will find the population to be denser during the hotter months when more tourists are likely to find their way to the cove.
Stoney Cove Address and Contact Details
Stoney Cove's address is:
01455 273089 (shop)
01455 274198 (pub)
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Diving at Stoney Cove Video