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Ilfracombe Watersports Centre

Commercial Ilfracombe

Marine Leisure Hub

The project involved the construction of a new watersports facility in Ilfracombe, North Devon which is nestled within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) between Larkstone and Rapparee Coves.

The hub boasts community facilities for local watersports clubs and includes storage for boats, a slipway providing safe and easy access to the water, training and event facilities, disabled access and a commercial cafe with stunning views of the harbour. Those using the hub have access to changing rooms and indoor and outdoor shower facilities. 

There was a requirement for a new sea wall and slipway which made for a complex build. The bespoke sea wall blocks are uniquely modelled to fit the shape of the cover, and could only be installed at certain points of the Ilfracombe tide.

Construction Challenges

The main building was constructed using a heavy steel frame infilled with masonry walls to the ground floor and lightweight steel framing to the first floor; externally a stone façade clad at first-floor height with larch cladding and topped with a zinc standing seam roof. 

An insitu concrete ground floor with falls for the boat stores, an insitu concrete first floor included steel permanent shuttering. Internally the first floor fit out consisted of a painted underside of roof structure with coordinated surface mounted services, vinyl floor coverings and traditional wall finishes. 

With the site being very steep the levels gave rise to the need for an external grade passenger lift, its drainage included coordinating & installing a pumping station on this congested site. On a further level higher up the cliff we constructed a new canoe store that also incorporated showers and changing facilities. This two-storey timber frame building was finished externally in shiplap larch cladding with a black cement sheet roof. Internally traditional fit out with cement-based boarding to the canoe store.

A state-of-the-art marine leisure and learning hub

The new Ilfracombe Water sports Centre has become an exciting, state-of-the-art marine leisure and learning hub and a unique place of education that has become a real asset to North Devon. It provides numerous water sport opportunities for residents and visitors to learn new water sports including the safety aspects of those past-times. It also allows them to make the most of the fantastic North Devon coastline from the water and also enjoy the spectacular scenery at the same time. 

The new centre boasts community facilities for local water sports clubs giving their clubs a home and a base. It includes storage for boats, a slipway providing safe and easy access to the water, training and event facilities and a beautiful commercial café, installed as part of the contract works Pearce Construction undertook, which has stunning views of the harbour.

Construction Award Nominee

This facility is not just a place of education for aquatic enthusiasts but a testament to visionary infrastructure. With state-of-the-art facilities, it stands as a paragon of inspiring infrastructure, fostering a love for water sports among locals and visitors alike. Its sustainable design and inclusive approach made it a worthy entry into the “Excellence in Educational Building Project” category of the constructing excellence awards, reflecting the commitment of Pearce Construction to learning and social cohesion.

The project has also been shortlisted for the Michelmores Property Awards 2024.

Client: North Devon District Council

Architect: Grainge Architects

Value: £3,300,000

Procurement Route: Competitive Tender

Duration: 20 Months

“I am very proud of our team and the work we have undertaken to create this Water sports Hub. It has been a challenging but very rewarding project. This is a very unique new place of learning which we hope will be well used by the local community and others. I want to thank our client and everyone who has been involved in successfully delivering the project”

Mark Davis - Construction Director at Pearce Construction