If North Devon is known for one thing, it is fantastic beaches! From the long stretch of golden sand at Saunton, to the rock pools of Westward Ho!, each of North Devon’s beaches have their own special charm. Whether you’re coming down on a surfing holiday, or simply want to enjoy a day of sandcastles and paddling, Combrew Farm is a great base from which to make the most of the coastline.
Below you’ll find our selection of some of the best local beaches, if you’d like more information about beaches not listed below, please do not hesitate to ask – we’re always happy to help our guests plan their perfect day out.
Instow Beach, also known as Instow Sands, is only 3 miles away from Combrew Farm and can be accessed via the Tarka Trail. Instow is popular for picnics and sandcastles during the summer, and is also a wonderful spot for a brisk, refreshing walk during the winter. Instow Beach is dog friendly all year round which makes it a popular spot for dog walkers. There is a car park next to the Instow Cricket Club and free parking along the quay (restricted to 1 hour from May to September).
Instow beach sees a dramatic shift in appearance throughout the day as the tide comes in and out, however, because it lies at the confluence of the river Taw and river Torridge, the sandbanks at the mouth of the estuary cancel out most of the ocean swell. Unless the tide is particularly high, there is usually sand at all stages of the tide.
There are a large number of boats anchored on the sand which create a great photo opportunity and an exciting prop for children’s games! The spot is also popular with windsurfers and kite surfers because of the calm water and absence of waves. Canoes and kayaks can be hired from Bideford Cycle, Surf, and Kayak Hire if you fancy a gentle paddle up and down the river.
The multi award winning Woolacombe beach has recently been awarded the number one spot on TripAdvisor for the second year in a row. The popular surfing spot also holds the 'England for Excellence Gold Award' for best family resort, and was voted the Best British Beach in the Mail On Sunday.
Woolacombe beach is an impressive 3-mile stretch of sand that lies between Morte Point and Baggy Point. The beach has been awarded a ‘Blue Flag’ and a ‘Premier Seaside Beach’ award for cleanliness, water quality, and facilities – the official awards for top facilities and safe bathing water.
Lifeguards patrol the beach throughout the summer season (from May) to ensure that families, swimmers, and surfers are safe in the water. Surfers come from all over the country to enjoy the great waves and clean water that Woolacombe beach is famous for.
Located just a few minutes’ drive from Saunton, Croyde has a superb sandy beach that is ideal for bathing and surfing. The quaint Devon village of Croyde is steeped in traditional, old-world charm, and is reminiscent of British life in the 30s and 40s.
Today, Croyde is a hub for the local surf community – the village has some lovely pubs, including The Thatch and Billy Buds. There are also a number of shops to browse and cafes to try out. This new wave of shops and bars has upgraded the area without removing the charm of the village’s past.
Saunton Sands is a stunning stretch of golden sand that sits in front by Braunton Burrows UNESCO Biosphere Reserve - the largest sand dune system in England! As you approach the beach, you’ll have the most impressive view of the burrows and the beach, a site that is truly unforgettable.
The surf at Saunton is pretty consistent all year round and is particularly popular with longboarders. In fact, Saunton beach is often used for longboarding contests and British Longboard Union events. A number of surf schools are located in the beach car park, with lessons running from Easter onwards. The ‘Beach Shop’ and toilet facilities are located near the car park, but if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, simply walk further down the beach or into the dunes and you’ll soon find a quiet spot to call your own. Saunton is the only beach in North Devon to have a ‘Landeez’ all terrain wheelchair. This specially designed wheelchair is able to traverse all areas of the beach and can also be taken in the shallows of the sea. For bookings, please contact the Beach Shop.Dogs are allowed on certain parts of the beach all year round; you can find more information about dog walking zones on the Saunton Beach website. A new parking system is now in place at the beach car park, with prices starting from £1 for the first hour (£7 daily cap in high season, £4 daily cap in low season).
With a sweeping stretch of sand, rolling waves, and plenty of rock pools to explore, Putsborough beach is an idyllic spot for families and surfers alike. Located just south of Woolacombe beach, Putsborough is usually quieter than its neighbouring beach, with a more laid back atmosphere.
The sandy beach has some phenomenal views of the South West coast and is renowned for its cleanliness and beauty. TripAdvisor has recently awarded Putsborough Sands a "Certificate of Excellence”, and their newly built toilet block has been awarded a platinum certificate from The Loo of the Year Awards Committee! The beach also has a car park and snack bar, meaning you can easily spend the whole day there. Surfboards, wetsuits, bodyboards, and kayaks are available to hire for a slot of 2 hours, or for the whole day.
Westward Ho! Beach
With a name made famous by Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho! is a popular spot for a day out at the seaside. The beautiful beach offers over two miles of golden sand and is backed by an iconic pebble ridge which links the beach to Northam Burrows Country Park, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Westward Ho!, also known as ‘Golden Bay’, has once again been awarded a Blue Flag award. The Blue Flag award is a prestigious award scheme that seeks to provide tourists with peace of mind that a beach has met a minimum standard of 27 strict criteria, including passes in: Environmental education and information, environmental management, safety and services, and water quality. The beach can be accessed from the village centre, or via Northam Burrows. Dogs are permitted at the Northam Burrows end all year round but the village end is restricted from May – September.