Nestled on the superb North Devon coast in the spectacular Exmoor National Park, there are plenty of gorgeous golden sands to explore. Venture along the coast in search of surfing hotspots, secluded coves and tidal bays and you won’t be disappointed.
Close to home, the dog-friendly shingle beach in Lynmouth is an easy spot to while away the hours. Hire deck chairs in summer months and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins who call this water home. Great for little ones, rockpools appear at low tide and are great for making a splash, enjoying a paddle and searching for marine life.
It’s rare that the conditions are perfect, but when they are, Blacklands and the surrounding water is a surfers’ paradise. If you’re an experienced surfer, keep an eye on the swell and bring your board along in the hope of riding some of the country’s finest pointbreaks.
There is plenty of parking in Lynmouth, though you can always stretch your legs or ride the Cliff Railway down to the sea and leave the car behind. There are car parks and on-street parking giving you plenty of choice if you do decide to drive. Dogs are welcomed all year round so bring all the family along for a fun-filled day.
Eateries line the streets of Lynmouth so you can enjoy tasty treats and indulge in traditional pasties, cream teas or fish and chips if you decide not to pack up a picnic.
Tucked beneath the towering cliffs of Valley of the Rocks, Wringcliff Beach is a shingle cove where you’re likely to find peace and quiet. The beach is accessed via a steep, rocky path which is sometimes damaged by harsh weather and may be closed for your safety. It’s a great place to visit whilst walking the South West Coast Path and you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the crystal blue seas.
There is parking at Valley of the Rocks if you fancy taking the car, though the walk from Lynton should only take half an hour. Dogs are welcome.
Sitting at the end of the toll road which stretches from Valley of the Rocks past Lee Abbey, this small pebbly cove is a real gem and is often a quiet spot to enjoy a swim and admire the magical surroundings. Follow the river as it trickles down to the beach and discover the small tumbling waterfall which keeps the greenery vibrant and creates an air of tranquillity.
Boasting a rich and interesting history as a Gothic manor house, a school for evacuated boys and latterly, an Abbey, Lee Abbey stands proud and commands a terrific spot with glorious sea views. The building is a Christian Retreat Centre yet retains lots of its rustic charm and you’ll likely pass by the main building on your way to the beach. If you swim in the sea, glance up at the cliff and see if you can make out Tinkerbell Cottage which is shrouded by trees and hidden away from the beach.
Reach dog-friendly Lee Abbey Beach by walking the South West Coast Path. Park at the small beach car park or at Valley of the Rocks and walkdown the toll road past the Abbey. There is a seasonal tearoom serving up tasty treats and if you’re lucky, you may find a street food truck serving delicious goodies at the top of the beach path.
A delightful, quiet cove with a secret bathing pool revealed at low tide, Woody Bay is a gorgeous gem on the South West Coast Path. Zig-zag your way down the steep, 1-mile path and you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views and somewhere to enjoy a swim and a bite to eat. Take cover in the old lime kilns or venture past the striking rocks at the far end of the cove where at low tide, you’ll discover an old Victorian bathing pool. Pink marine life stands out against the brilliantly turquoise water- a great place for little ones to play and a wonderful spot for a wild swim. Admire the crashing waterfall and keep an eye on the tides as at high tide, most of the beach disappears.
Woody Bay was once destined to be a Victorian resort, similar to that of Lynton and Lynmouth, however, the owner ended up becoming bankrupt and the pier he had built was destroyed in storms. You can spy the remnants of the pier at low tide and if you head back up to dry land you’ll come across Woody Bay Station which still runs train rides today.
There is a small car park at the top of the 1-mile path and another at the top of the cliff where you’ll sometimes find an ice cream van during summer months. Dogs are welcomed all year round.
Tucked between towering cliffs, with far-reaching views and a river which disappears beneath the pebbles before joining the sea, Heddon’s Mouth is a gem in the North Devon Coast and Exmoor National Park. Tread the South West Coast Path from Woody Bay or follow the mile-long path from the Hunter’s Inn to reach the lapping tide. Wander past the old lime kiln and down to the dog-friendly beach which is perfect for skimming stones, wild swimming and taking in the rugged scenery.
The path from the Inn is accessible for all-terrain mobility scooters and pushchairs and you can hire two all-terrain mobility scooters from the Heddon Valley. Call 01598 763402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Book in advance to ensure availability.