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Devon Beach Guide

Devon offers Beach-goers two spectacular coastlines in the North and South of the county. The North Coast runs from Lynton to Hartland, with renowned beaches such as Woolacombe and Westward Ho! The South Coast encompasses the “English Riviera”, with Torquay and Paignton popular tourist spots as well as the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  

SOUTH COAST

2020 marked the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower which set off across the Atlantic from Plymouth on the historic journey to the New World.  Estimates say that 35 million Americans are descended from the surviving passengers.  

Plymouth, with its beautiful waterside location, has all the entertainment and buzz that you’d expect from a city and, aside from the Mayflower, is also known for its maritime connections to Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh.  

Between Plymouth and Seaton you will find 120 miles of beautiful South Devon coastline where rolling green hills meet pretty seashores of hidden coves, rock pools and cliffs.  There is also an area of Jurassic Coast from Exmouth heading east into Dorset - this diverse and beautiful landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage site with scientifically important geology.  Just in case you’re still not impressed, the South Devon coast also has two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty! 

‘Visit Devon' states on their website that “the south east coast from Salcombe to Exmouth is one of the sunniest parts of the UK” and beach lovers will find South Devon beach huts at many of the much loved seaside resorts along this stretch of coast. 

The Victorian resort of Sidmouth, the seaside town of Seaton and the village of Beer on the Jurassic East Devon coast are also popular with families.  

NORTH COAST

If you don’t like heights then Great Hangman is not the place for you!  Located near Combe Martin, this is the tallest sea cliff on mainland Britain - soaring to a dramatic 250m in height, they form part of the beautiful Exmoor National Park. 

As well as National Park status, North Devon also boasts an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which covers most of the unspoilt coastline and there is also a long stretch of Heritage Coast. The stunning seashore scenery is a mixture of wild cliffs, sand dunes, rocky coves, shingle and pebbles ... and, for beach lovers looking for a North Devon beach hut, vast expanses of beautiful golden sands! 

In fact North Devon has sand aplenty - Braunton Burrows, near Saunton Sands, is an area of sand dunes covering nearly 2,500 acres (imagine 1,000 football pitches!) and is one of the biggest sand dune systems in Britain.  

If a surfboard is more your thing, then you’ll know that North Devon is the UK’s surf capital with world-famous Croyde Bay being a favourite spot with experienced surfers.  

The vibrant seaside resort of Woolacombe and nearby Saunton Sands are two of the best beaches in the west country, often winning awards for their pristine sands and water quality.  Ilfracombe with its little harbour claims to be the gastronomic hot spot of North Devon - so foodies take note! 

The picturesque coastal village of Westward Ho! has another beautiful sandy beach backed by pebbles and is a firm favourite with families.

PROS

  • Surfers paradise - beaches to suit beginners and more advanced
  • Great for watersports
  • Awards for it’s water and beach quality

CONS

  • Road network not so good
  • Some beaches in the South are pebble/shingle

Beaches In Devon

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