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Cannon ball at Cannon Ball Alley - Courtesy of Luke Cooper-Berry

Scuba Diving Southwest Coast of England, UK, Europe

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: Cannon Ball Alley

Location: Plymouth

Description: Reef

Depth: 14 metres (46 feet)

Visibility: 4 - 12 metres (13 - 40 feet)

Rating: ***

Located south of Fort Bovisand and north of the Mewstone, this area is littered with cannon balls from the nearby HMS Cambridge firing range. Apart from all of the balls, the rocky seabed and kelp growth make this home to a lot of sealife, giving plenty to see. A very safe dive for beginners and a good area to practice drills as the current rarely gets too strong around here.

Luke Cooper-Berry, BSAC Open Water Instructor

Dived here and raised a cannonball covered in concretion and iron oxide. It was as good as new once back at home and I broke it off. Now in fresh water for a few months. Spotted a few cannonballs but a lot are fixed to rocks by concretion.

Been diving here a few more times recently and there is loads still on the seabed. The 1st cannon ball I recovered had a 'fuse' on it still and it was complete, a lot of them don't have fuses as they have broken off with time.

I believe the fused cannonballs are called 'mortars' and were deigned to explode on impact and were full of gunpowder. After doing some research I believe them to be from the 1800's.

Tristan Lethaby, Master Scuba Diver

The gunnery site at HMS CAMBRIDGE didn't open until 1938, so any cannon balls found off Wembury are long, long before CAMBRIDGE’s time.  We used to fire 20mm to 4.5" from CAMBRIDGE - most of the 4.5" rounds will be five to seven miles offshore. Sorry to spoil a good yarn!

Andrew Welch, Commanding Officer, HMS CAMBRIDGE, 1994-97

The cannon balls are from Bovisand! Target barges were moored near the Shag Stone.

Howard Painter | 29/09/09

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