North Devon

Is home to some of the best beaches

Pretty is an understated word, a pleasant word. Could be substituted for dramatic, or rugged. Really, North Devon beaches are all three—a soul rousing elixir of jagged cliffs, quaint wooded coves, silken sands, and atmospheric shingle.

When visiting North Devon here are some beaches you must see…whatever the season. Although in winter, you’ll find them particularly special. Not a soul in sight, just you and the coastal landscape. The icy seasonal shift brings with it a peace, unmatched by any other time of year.

Broadsands
Broadsands

Ever wondered where the happiest spot in the UK is? Right here, overlooking this Neverland-esque North Devon cove.

This is a wild unsupervised place, with deep water—perfect if you’re wrapped up warm and fancy some blissful seclusion. There are 200 stairs descending to the beach, an immoral amount on a hot day, but on a crisp winter’s day…good things come to those who trudge.

Broadsands is found tucked away between Combe Martin and Watermouth.

Barricane Beach
Barricane Beach

Just up the way from Woolacombe beach is a mysterious little cove. For some reason, a quirk of the tides, Barricane beach is famous for its diverse shells—including cowries.  In the summer it’s often a smidge quieter than the main beach. On chilly days, it’s ideal for poking around in the rock pools and it’s popular with in-the-know surfers seeking the best winter waves.

Woody Bay
Woody Bay

If Mother Nature set out to design a beach perfect for winter, Woody Bay would be her muse—a dramatic rocky shore backed by wooded hills. This beach isn’t one for sandcastles, but it is sublime for wintery visits. Here you can explore and get those epic Insta-worthy shots in peace and quiet. Why not pack a flask and hunker down?

Today, this is a quiet bay, but silence was never the original plan for Woody. Way back when, in the late 19th Century, it was owned by a wealthy colonel. He wanted to transform the area into a tourist destination to rival Lynton and Lynmouth. However, starting with a pier too short for Bristol steamers to dock easily, his dreams collapsed.

The pier was storm damaged and never repaired or lengthened. The colonel ended up in prison for frittering his client’s money on his doomed Woody Bay development—dying soon after. If you scour the beach carefully you might still find evidence of the ghost pier.

Not the happiest tale, but it certainly adds a delightfully spooky atmosphere to an already wild frontier of the Exmoor coast.

Rockham Bay
Rockham Bay

This modestly sized beach near Mortehoe has the best of both worlds, with biodiverse rock pools and pure sand. It’s a bit of walk to get there, but not too strenuous and the reward is well-worth it: beautiful scenery and moody waves. You can bring your dog too, any time of the year.

The sharp headland here, Morte Point, is well worth walking to—with an exquisite open panorama of the Bristol Channel towards Lundy Island.  On clear winter days, this is breath-taking.

As beautiful as it is, Morte Point can be quite sombre, with a long history of shipwrecks, seeping into Devon folklore.  It wouldn’t be Devon without such stories, after all what made the coast dangerous in the maritime past is what makes it so awesome. Awesome in the true sense that is. 

Crow Point
Crow Point

Yes, it sounds like a location on a fantasy novel map. Really, this gothic gem is a lovely sandy expanse to the south of Braunton Burrows, where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet.

The view from Crow Point across the waters to Appledore, with the verdant rolling hills behind is quintessentially Devon—very idyllic.

Woolacombe Beach
Woolacombe Beach

No coastal break in North Devon is complete without a visit to our very own Woolcombe beach. Pull on your chunky knit jumper and wellies and explore three miles of gorgeous, gently sloping sand and pristine ocean on your doorstep. This is the jewel in the crown of North Devon beaches, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Of course, it fluctuates from year to year, but to give you an example of how loved Woolacombe beach is, TripAdvisor has voted it the best beach in the UK before. In fact, all at once it was voted best beach in the UK, fourth best in Europe, and 13th in the world.

Well done Woolacombe.

Just a hop, skip and a jump from our front door, it’s the perfect spot for a bracing winter beach stroll to blow away the cobwebs. And when you get back, we can have gorgeous warm scones and piping hot tea ready for you.

Woolacombe Bay Hotel

Woolacombe Bay Hotel

Our sanctuary by the sea, now with a brand-new Salt Gymnasia and Alchemist Spa, is but a stroll from Woolacombe beach. It’s the ultimate wellness bolthole on the North Devon Coast—perfect for a refreshing winter hotel break, where you can hunker down away from the hubbub.  

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