It’s well-known that North Devon’s coast is home to beautiful beaches such as Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton – but there is also a multitude of hidden beaches and coves dotted along the gorgeous shoreline. Here are 15 beaches where you can escape the crowds.
1. Barricane Beach – Tucked between rocks, Barricane Beach sits on the outskirts of Woolacombe, harbouring exotic shells carried in by the waves from the Caribbean. If you go on a warm evening from Easter and through the summer period there is a café that serves its famous Sri Lankan curry to eat on the beach looking out to sea.
2. Tunnels Beaches – These beautiful private beaches in Ilfracombe were hand-carved in the 1820s. Step through the tunnels and you’ll discover a beautiful rocky stretch split into the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ beaches – a reminder of the beach’s history as Victorian bathing pools. The tidal pool remains.
3. Rockham – Rockham in Mortehoe, is a stunning secluded bay. Although it’s a short walk from the village down to the beach, it’s well worth it for the peace and serenity it has to offer. Make sure you check the tide times before visiting, as access is restricted at high tide. Rockham also makes a great resting point while walking the South West Coast Path from Woolacombe, to Morte Point and up to Bull Point Lighthouse. From here on a clear day you can even see across the Bristol Channel to Wales.
4. Wringcliff Bay – This beach is something special, sitting at the bottom of the Valley of Rocks, a top beauty spot on the outskirts of Lynton and Lynmouth. This is ideal as a stop while walking the Valley. Look out for the Lynton Goats on the way down.
5. Broadsands – Voted “Britain’s Happiest View” in 2018, this gorgeous little cove near Combe Martin is one of North Devon’s prettiest hidden gems. It’s quite a walk down to the beach from the road due to the sheer number of steps but it’s well worth it for the peace and tranquillity that await you on the shores. You can also hire a kayak or paddleboard from Combe Martin and paddle your way around to your little tropical paradise.
6. Bucks Mill – A hidden gem near Clovelly, Bucks Mill is a beautiful unspoilt beach in a secluded cove with a delightful waterfall at the end of a half-a-mile walk. Serenity and stunning views await you.
7. Lee Bay – Located in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lee Bay is a wonderfully secluded spot near the picturesque village of Lee, between Woolacombe and Ilfracombe. Known for its bright red Fushia flowers scattered along with cove amongst wild vegetation. This sheltered cove enjoys a warm climate that takes you transports you to an exotic destination.
8. Wild Pear Beach – This little cove sits just outside Combe Martin, nestling the sand and protecting it from the wind, which makes it perfect for sunbathing. This little gem is also a designated naturist beach so please bear this in mind. It is a steep ascent down to this beautiful spot, but again also reachable via a kayak or paddleboard around the coast.
9. Grunta – This little sandy cove near Woolacombe sits in front of the village of Mortehoe. This is another great little beach along Woolacombe’s busier stretch. As it’s only accessed at low tide, the receding water leaves lots of little rock pools which little ones will adore investigating – so make sure you pack a net and bucket and they’ll be happy for hours.
10. Woody Bay – Woody Bay, near Lynton and Lynmouth, sits at the bottom of striking cliffs covered in woodland, offering the perfect opportunity for wild swimming. You will discover a manmade rock pool here, accessible at low tide, while it’s also adjacent to the South West Coast Path, so you can visit while winding your way around the coast. You may see seals bobbing in the turquoise waters a little further out from shore. You could also take a little visit to Woody Bay, Lynton & Barnstaple Railway – a steam train that puffs through the picturesque Exmoor countryside.
11. Crow Point – Crow Point is a must-see if staying in the area, said to be one of the prettiest and most peaceful river beaches in the South West. The beach can be reached via toll road over Braunton Burrows past the most beautiful nature reserve. You will arrive at a unique viewpoint of the Taw/Torridge estuary, taking in Instow, Appledore and Westward Ho!. There’s a wreck out in the middle of the beach which makes a perfect photographic location and if you follow the shoreline you’ll find yourself on the world-famous Saunton beach, where the Robbie William’s Angels music video was filmed.
12. Mouthmill – Another fantastic spot near Clovelly, Mouthmill is a wonderful rocky beach with waterfalls and striking rock formations to enjoy. Surrounded by sheer cliffs and the remains of an old limekiln. Best visited in spring/ summer, you can walk from the car park through Brownsham Woods where you’ll be met with out of this world scenery. A trickling stream, shimmering sunlight filtered through the trees and a carpet of bluebells and wildflower as far as the eye can see. It’s truly magical.