Saunton Sands Beach near Braunton
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Beaches near Braunton

Braunton is close to some of the best surfing beaches and most beautiful stretches of sand in the country. The dramatic coastline provides a breathtaking backdrop for the bays, coves and beaches which dot the north Devon coastline. There are also some sandy spots by the estuary which are great places to visit, too.

Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands boasts 3.5 miles of beautiful beach which wraps itself around the Braunton Burrows and eventually meets up with Crow Point. Find a quiet spot for a picnic, set up camp by the rugged rocks or find shelter in the dunes. Welcoming those with waggy tails all year round, this is a fantastic spot for your daily dog walk and means no one gets left behind on all-important beach days.

The waves at Saunton are long and slow, perfect for surfers of all levels and very welcoming for beginners. Saunton can be a great spot for other water sports such as kitesurfing, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking, too. You can hire surf equipment at Surf Saunton, Walking on Waves, and Saunton Surf Hire and can book both private and group lessons at Surf Saunton or Walking on Waves.

The large beach car park means you should be able to find a parking spot easily. However, on sunny summer days the car park can get extremely busy and sometimes full, so get up and out early to secure your spot and avoid disappointment. Alternatively, if you leave yourself with enough energy to climb back up the hill at the end of the day, continue past the car park and find a spot in one of the Saunton laybys. With magnificent views of the ocean, these laybys are top sunset destinations- made even better by having a portion of fish and chips in hand! Sandy Lane car park also has access to Saunton Sands via a walk through the Braunton Burrows.

If you get hungry, visit the Beachside Grill or the majestic Saunton Sands Hotel for a delicious lunch or a tipple.

Saunton Sands

Crow Point

Follow the toll road past Velator Quay, walk the American Road or climb over the Braunton Burrows to find yourself at Crow Point, where the Taw and Torridge rivers meet. A vast sandy stretch which eventually joins Saunton Sands, this is a great place for a walk or a quiet beach day. With no surf, the estuary at Crow Point is a great place to stand-up paddle board and take in the views which reach across to the seaside villages of Instow and Appledore. Keep your eyes peeled for the shipwreck and the lighthouse, both interesting landmarks to observe.

The Braunton Burrows are the largest sand dune system in England and have a military history, playing a big part in World War I as a training ground for the Americans. The military still use this ground today for training purposes, so keep your wits about you and your eyes peeled for helicopters, which can often be seen flying overhead.

A car park at the end of the toll road has plenty of space to park right by the beach. There is parking at Velator Quay with a lovely walk along the river and marshland leading you to Crow Point. You are guaranteed to see an abundance of wildlife on your walk, see if you can spot any unusual birds, swans, or local cows.

Wreck at Crow Point

Croyde

Wind your way down the hill from Saunton and gawp as you get your first glimpse of stunning Croyde beach. Backed by rolling hills and impressive sand dunes, hunt down a quiet spot, or gather for a sheltered BBQ.

Renowned for its great surf, Croyde is one to visit if you’re a fan of water sports. Surf South West, Surfing Croyde Bay and Croyde Surf Academy all offer surf lessons for any ability and surf hire is available at the Little Pink Surf Shop in addition to the surf schools. There are plenty of opportunities to try your hand at coasteering sessions where you will adventure your way through caves, launch yourself off rocks and see the coast from a different vantage point. In summer months, Croyde is lifeguarded daily by the RNLI so you can make a splash safely. 

Baggy Point is brilliant for coasteering, especially at high tide where you can jump safely into the water from surrounding rock formations. It is also a great place to fish and spearfish, and to enjoy a walk high above the ocean.

A busy bay, Croyde only welcomes canine companions from October 1st to April 30th. You can walk your furry friend on the South West Coast Path which winds its way around the headlands and Baggy Point. 

There are plenty of car parks at both ends of the village and a handful of places to grab some picnic food or stop off for lunch.  

Croyde Beach

Woolacombe and Putsborough

Venture further along the coast and discover the 3-mile-long stretch of sand from Putsborough to Woolacombe.

Sheltered by Baggy Point from the south westerly winds, Putsborough sits at the southern, usually quieter, end of the beach. Plenty of rockpools will keep younger members of the family entertained, and dogs are allowed on some parts of the beach all year round, making Putsborough a family-friendly day out.

Head to the beach café for spectacular sandy views and snacks to treat your tastebuds. The café also doubles up as a shop and has everything you might need for a day at the beach including buckets, spades, sun cream and more

At the northern end of the beach, Woolacombe sits just below the village and consequently, is often busier than Putsborough. The main beach at Woolacombe has won many awards, and was voted 'Beach of the Year' by The Times June 2021. The water is great for surfing and swimming and is lifeguarded daily by the RNLI during summer months to ensure your safety in the sea. Hire boards and wetsuits or book a surf lesson at a handful of shops and surf schools including Hunter, Woolacombe Surf Centre and The Bay Surf Shop. For a different experience on the water, hire a kayak and set off to explore the scattering of coves tucked away along the coastline- a great way to get a different perspective of the dramatic cliffs and marvel at views reaching far across the ocean.

Dogs aren’t welcomed directly on the main Woolacombe beach in summer months, though they are allowed to roam the middle of the 3-mile stretch of sand if kept on a lead.

View from Putsborough towards Woolacombe beach


On Which Beaches Can I Walk My Dog?

You can take your four-legged friend for a game of fetch all year round at Saunton Sands, Crow Point, Braunton Burrows (keep your dog on a lead in zones where cattle are grazing), and Putsborough.

Seasonal restrictions are in place at Croyde and Woolacombe. Dogs are not welcomed on Croyde between May 1st and September 30th. At Woolacombe, no dogs are allowed in Zone A (between the rocks at the north of the beach and the stream) from April 1st or Good Friday to September 30th, and must be kept on leads on Zone B (between the stream and Mill Rock) from May 1st until September 30th.

Are the Beaches Accessible and Family-Friendly?

All of the local beaches are family-friendly with rockpools, sand dunes, and safe shallow water for younger family members to enjoy safely.

Croyde and Woolacombe are patrolled seasonally by the RNLI.

At Saunton Sands you can hire Landeez and Nomad All-Terrain wheelchairs from the beach shop. These ensure that wheelchair users can make it safely onto the beach and in the shallow waters so that everyone can enjoy a wonderful day out. Advanced booking in summer months is recommended, call Saunton Sands Beach Shop on 01271 890771. Wheelchairs can be booked on a half-day, daily or weekly basis to accommodate your requirements.

An all terrain 'Tramper' Mobility scooter and a Beach Wheelchair can be hired from the Woolacombe TIC.

The Braunton Mobility Centre will be happy to help with any of your mobility needs during a stay to North Devon. Please call 01271 814577 or visit their website.

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