Expert guide to Devon
An insider's guide to the best beaches in Devon, including the top spots for rock pooling and surfing and what to do at Woolacombe and Croyde Bay. By Suzy Bennett, Telegraph Travel's Devon expert.
Bill Oddie’s favourite beach for rock pooling, this south-coast spot near Plymouth has a marine information centre that runs summertime rock-pool rambles.
Wetsuits outnumber bikinis on south Devon’s only surf beach. Look out for stand-up paddle surfers, a quirky new take on the sport.
Getting to this red-sand and shingle beach – via an old smugglers’ tunnel – is an adventure. Leave time to visit Shaldon Zoo at the entrance, which is home to one of the UK’s largest collections of critically endangered primates.
A local secret, this small, sandy horseshoe cove is at the end of a long dirt track and only has space for about six cars. Get there before 10am and you’ll be assured a spot, even in the height of summer.
It’s hard to choose from the array of beach beauties that surround the yachtie town of Salcombe, but Mill Bay, a quick ferry ride across the water, pips the others to the post for being seaweed-free and basking in sun all day. Take an Ordnance Survey map to find quieter coves further up the coastal path.
Beneath wooded cliffs, this mile-long, privately owned sweep of shingle attracts families in their droves during the school holidays. By day, swimmers can practise their dives from a floating dock, and the beach café stays open beyond sunset.
More than 600 US servicemen were killed on this three-mile stretch of shingle when German E-boats attacked their D-day rehearsals. A Sherman tank on the sand commemorates them.
Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe
Accessed via hand-cut tunnels, this Victorian rock pool is a tranquil swimming spot on the otherwise choppy north coast.
Devon’s most famous surf destination and a lively beach-volleyball spot, by pretty Croyde village, attracts youngsters in their thousands each summer.
A Unesco Biosphere Reserve, this beach has 1,500 acres of dunes to play, hide or snooze in.
An epic, three-mile swathe of sand, which has oodles of space for surfers, swimmers and sunbathers – as well as a Blue Flag.