The local area

Explore the coast

Boasting secluded coves, award-winning golden stretches of sand and Areas of Oustanding Natural Beauty that are just brimming with wildlife, we’re not biased when we say that North Devon boasts some of the best beaches in the South West! To help you plan your visit, we’ve put together a few of our favourite sandy spots.

Long exposure of the beach at Heddons mouth on a sunny day

Heddons Mouth

Take a gentle stroll through ancient woodland alongside the River Heddon, to where it meets the sea between some of England’s highest cliffs. The Heddon Valley is home to a variety of wildlife including otters and the rare high brown fritillary butterfly. You’ll also find a restored 19th-century lime kiln on the beach, and a traditional country inn at the end of the walk in the local ‘Swiss style’.

The beach at Woolacombe, North Devon, England, UK, on one of the hottest days of the year.


Woolacombe Beach lies between Morte Point and Baggy Point. This three-mile long stretch of golden sand is renowned for its cleanliness, water quality and facilities. Lifeguards ensure safe family swimming during the summer and surfers come from all over the country to enjoy the great waves and clean water.Voted Number 6 in Europe and Number 20 in the World in the 2020 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards and previously the Best Beach twice in recent years. Woolacombe also holds the ‘England for Excellence Gold Award’ for best family resort and was voted the Best British Beach in the Mail On Sunday. Smaller beaches at Woolacombe well worth checking out are Barricane Beach and Combesgate Beach

A rugged English coastal scene in Devon.  The summer sun casts a glow on the rocks and solitary house.  Stitched panorama.  See more great images.

Lee Bay Ilfracombe

Something of a hidden gem on the secluded coast between Ilfracombe and Woolacombe. Except at low tide you won’t find much in the way of sand at Lee Bay – but you will find lots of rocks which are home to any number of rock pools, caves and formations – all of which make for some great exploring. Through the rocks to the left at low tide there’s a sheltered cove which is one of our favourite swimming spots. The relative shelter of Lee Bay makes it a good spot for stand up paddleboards and canoes. At high tide it is also good for snorkelling, but note there are no lifeguards on duty here. Somewhat off the beaten track Lee Bay beach isn’t the easiest place to get to with winding narrow lanes to navigate and limited parking. On the plus side, this tends to keep things quiet.
Sandy beach at Combe Martin in Devon

Combe Martin

Set in an attractive location at the bottom of the village lies Combe Martin’s beach; surrounded by glorious countryside, sea cliffs and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rock pools hug the cliffs surrounding the cove, harbouring all sorts of sea critters waiting to be discovered, while dolphins have been known to be seen off the coast during the summer months.The sandy stretch here makes it a great choice for families, and with food, shops and car parks close by, there are also spots perfect for rock pooling, fishing, sunbathing, and kayaking. The calm waters are ideal for the kids, and there are secluded coves to explore. Due to its sheltered position protecting it from strong currents or waves, the beach is a great location for swimming but take care in the water as there are no lifeguards on duty.



A little further west, the unbelievably beautiful Broadsands Beach is half a mile (as the crow flies) north-west of Combe Martin, and is one of North Devon’s most picturesque locations. Recently voted the “happiest view” in Great Britain following a poll by Best Western Great Britain, it’s well worth a visit – but take good shoes as it’s a half hour walk and down 250 steps to get to the secluded cove. You could, on the other hand, kayak or paddle board from Combe Martin, with Surfside who rent out equipment. (01271 883220 or