Video of North DevonAccommodation plotted on a map (opens new window)About the area

About the Golden Coast area of North Devon

- this is the westward facing coastline of North Devon: a coast of vast sandy beaches and rocky headlands.

This coast, eroded by great seas and the prevailing westerly winds screaming in from the Atlantic in winter storms, is interspersed by the headlands of more resistant rocks at Down End, Baggy Point (NT) and Morte Point (NT). In summer, and on calmer days out of season, the beaches are popular with young families and surfers.

Saunton Sands, just under four miles long, is the southermost; backed by 2,000 acres of sand dunes some of which are over 100 feet high. The tide covers a gently shelving beach of golden sand, which at low tide is 600 yards wide. The beach is privately owned and the carparking charge pays for beach cleaning and other services including some well-maintained toilets; apart from a beach shop and quality cafe among the dunes, and the four star hotel on the hill above, there's little sign of man's influence - the long beach is bordered by the sea to the west and south, dunes to the east and rocky Down End to the north.

Beyond Down End is Croyde, a partly thatched village half a mile inland from its relatively small, sandy beach, again bordered by dunes: the beach is 600 yards across. North of Croyde is the wonderful Baggy Point, owned by the National Trust: freely accessible, Baggy provides a lovely setting for a gentle walk from the northern side of Croyde Beach, there are many seats to sit upon and gaze wistfully at the waves and distant Lundy isle.

North of Baggy is Woolacombe Sands, over two miles of golden beach, backed by sand dunes belonging to the National Trust. The southern end of Woolacombe Sands is known as Putsborough, this is a popular beach for young families, it has a stream flowing across it which can be fun to dam or divert. The central part of Woolacombe Sands is not suitable for water sports as tidal currents can be treacherous, but the northern end, at Woolacombe itself, offers extensive areas for bathers, with separately designated surfing stretches. The smaller beaches and coves around Morte Point (again National Trust) offer many different, even unusual, features well worth exploring.

All the National Trust lands on this coastline are freely accessible - please put a few coins in their collecting boxes or alternatively pay to park in their carparks at Woolacombe Warren (the sand dunes behind the beach, accessed from Woolacombe) or Croyde Bay (at the end of the road running around the northern side of Croyde Beach).

a view of the new museum  in braunton from the south west
Admission Free

Braunton Museum

The Bakehouse Centre, Caen Street, Braunton, EX33 1AA. Tel: 01271 816688.

Braunton Agricultural & Maritime Heritage The collection reflects the early beginnings of Braunton with particular reference to the Braunton Great Field, one of only two remaining working examples of Saxon strip farming in England. Braunton's Maritime heritage, based on the thriving port of Vellator, is just 2 minutes drive or 10 minutes walk from the village centre.

Opening Times: All year round, Mon-Sat, 1000-1500 in winter, 1000-1700 in summer.
Admission Charges: Free
Dogs admitted: No.

the main exhibition hall at the elliott gallery in braunton
Admission Free

Elliott Gallery

Hillsview, Braunton, EX33 2LA. Tel: 01271 812100.

Art and craft gallery, video painting courses daily. Occasional painting and craftwork demonstrations. Free carpark.

Amended Opening Times: MidApr-Oct, Mon-Sat, 11.00-17.00; Nov-Dec, MidFeb-MidApr, Thu and Sat only, 11.00-16.00
Admission Charges: Free
Dogs admitted: Yes - well-behaved and on a lead.

a hot day on the braunton burrows
Admission Free

Braunton Burrows

Saunton, Braunton, Devon.
Webinfo: Braunton Burrows

At two thousand acres this is the largest sand dune system in the UK. Dramatic scenery with steep-sided high sand dunes, some with shifting sands. Wild open grassland plains and hollows interspersed with dense patches of scrubby bushes. Colourful summer flora. The only Unesco Biosphere reserve in Britain. The dunes contain about 500 species of flowering plants - it is one of only two UK sites for the Water Germander, and has a wide range of rare orchids. Adjacent beach, Saunton Sands, to the west of the reserve.

Opening Times: All year, daily, at any reasonable time.
Admission Charges: Free - but some carparks charge £6.00 per day (May-Oct).
Dogs admitted: Yes.

a flume tube reveller arrives with a splash at the pool at cascades

Cascades Tropical Adventure Pool

Ruda Holiday Park, Croyde Bay, Braunton, EX33 1NY. Tel: 01271 890671.

Cascades 84-degree tropical adventure pool with giant 230ft flume and rapids ride. Safe pools and mini-waterfalls for younger children.

Opening Times: 14 Mar-13 Nov.
Admission Charges: Adult: £ Child: £ . Under 2s: free. Spectators: £.
Dogs admitted: No.

people in the garden at the heritage centre at mortehoe

Mortehoe Heritage Centre

Mortehoe, Woolacombe, EX34 7DT. Tel: 01271 870028.
Website: Mortehoe Heritage Centre

Interpreting the natural and social history of this rocky corner of Devon. Displays on shipwrecks and traditional agricultural practices. National Trust coastal management. Suggested walks.

Opening Times: Easter - end of October: Easter-June & Sept/Oct Sun-Thu 1000-1500, Jul/Aug every day 1000-1800.
Admission Charges: Adult: £1.00. Child: 50p. Concession: 85p. Family: £2.00.
Dogs admitted: No.