Where are the prettiest/best beaches in Devon?

(54 Posts)
ReshapeWhileDamp Fri 01-Apr-11 22:42:24

Sorry, am clueless. blush I was all set to book a week in the best self-catering cottage I've ever seen, near Beaminster, Dorset - we've been there twice before. But it's no longer available as the owners are selling up. <sob>

Can't find anywhere nearly as special in Dorset that isn't hugely expensive, isn't suitable for a 3 yr old or hasn't already been booked up. sad So I'm looking further afield in Devon, but I don't know where to look. We're looking in last week of June, and don't want anywhere too busy, if that's even possible. Tell me about your favourite Devon beaches!

OP’s posts: |
Tortoise Fri 01-Apr-11 22:44:53

I love Dawlish/Dawlish Warren.

Tommy Fri 01-Apr-11 22:47:47

Woolacombe - huge and beautiful smile

ShowOfHands Fri 01-Apr-11 22:52:38

We're going to Devon the last week in June. With a 3yr old.

We're staying in Ilfracombe but there are lots of beaches along the coast there. Woolacombe is very big, sandy, surfing etc. But there are smaller coves next door (Barricaine is it, we only know it as the shell beach?). I prefer smaller places with rock pool like Hele Bay, Lee Bay etc. Google images is your friend. I adore the tunnel beaches. Google that too, in Ilfracombe. Victorian beach, separate male/female entrance. Lots of rock pools and when the tide goes out, there's a natural pool there. It's amazing.

North Devon's good with a child. I loved Exmoor when little. And Watermouth Castle was always brilliant.

ShowOfHands Fri 01-Apr-11 22:54:08

Ooh the tunnels beaches has a website.

exexpat Fri 01-Apr-11 22:56:55

Wembury Bay is lovely - brilliant for little ones to potter around in rock pools. There is a place with holiday cabins in the valley leading up from the beach - Churchwood Valley which is very child-friendly, though the cabins aren't huge or luxurious, but they are surrounded by greenery and wildlife.

RustyBear Fri 01-Apr-11 23:06:23

Showy, if you'd been going to South Devon instead of North, you could have gone to see this at Torcross...

Lots of lovely beaches between there & Wembury - East Portlemouth, Gara Rock, Hope Cove, Soar Mill, Thurlestone & my favourite beach Bigbury

FannyLogan Fri 01-Apr-11 23:08:46

Another vote for Bigbury on Sea.

ShowOfHands Fri 01-Apr-11 23:22:41

Rusty, I just gasped when I opened your link. It's beautiful.

And google maps informs me it's not far from Widecombe a la the SOH song. It would be silly to drive across Devon for a pillbox and a song, yes?

cece Fri 01-Apr-11 23:34:52

This is the place for you. A bit further south as in North Cornwall. We stayed here and it is lovely apartment and a very short walk to beach. Trevone has two beaches; a rocky one and lovely sandy one with a stream for little ones to play in.


RustyBear Fri 01-Apr-11 23:39:54

Well, maybe not for that pillbox and that song (I actually skipped over it the first time I listened to that album, thinking it was the trad version, which I don't really like - big mistake, love it now)

To be honest though, I think it might seem a very long way with a smallish child in the car...

I have lots of memories of that pillbox - we used to go on holiday every year to a village about two miles inland, where my father now lives, and Torcross was my mum's favourite beach. Years ago, before the massive storm the beach was different and there was a big deep pool between the pillbox and the rocks - I remember my sister falling straight in fully clothed from the top of the big rock, and I have a vivid memory of her lying on her face at the bottom of the pool.

All that area was cleared of all the people who lived there in 1943/4 so the troops could practise for the D-Day landings- too long a story for this thread, but look up Operation Tiger.

ShowOfHands Fri 01-Apr-11 23:56:10

I'm looking it up online. I've looked up the pillbox in my books too (I have several books on pillboxes around the UK). I'm surprised I have friends tbh.

Sounds wonderful but your sister shock. Frightening. And I wouldn't take the 3yr old gawd no. I'll leave her with some friendly folkies. Or my parents who are going with us. grin We're going to Bournemouth on the way there to visit sil so theoretically we could drive the long way round and have a look on the way. I'd like a nose around and some pictures.

Steve Knightley sat next to me and sang Widecombe Fair acoustically once. Amazing night.

Oh. Just shouted through to dh and asked him if he knows anything about Operation Tiger (he is obsessed with military history). He's pulled out a book and started with a flourish 'DW, Slapton Sands, you must know about it. Right, here's what happened...'


RustyBear Sat 02-Apr-11 00:07:22

They recovered one of the tanks a few years ago and it's now a memorial to all the men killed - it was raised largely through the efforts of Ken Small, who is probably the author of your DH's book - he used to sell copies on the beach.

We used to play in the pillbox, but I'm not sure if you can still get inside - it may have been shut up by the council. Last time I was inside it it stank and had obviously been used for less innocent purposes than our childhood games....

RustyBear Sat 02-Apr-11 00:09:05

My sister was fine by the way, she came up streaming with water and laughing....

ShowOfHands Sat 02-Apr-11 00:19:13

Oh yes the distinctive smell of the inside of a urinal pillbox. There's one in Gosport that actually is a toilet now. There are so few left comparatively considering how many there once were. I like the fact that they try to utilise them round here. Feed stores, bat caves etc. It pleases me greatly. I dream of owning a pillbox. I might build one in the garden. I have all of the plans for their designs too, I could do it properly. Not only am I surprised I have friends, I found a man to love me. Gawd only knows how.

DH has just covered the Sherman memorial and is really getting into his stride.

Loveholidays Sat 02-Apr-11 14:44:24

Devon beaches - where to start?? Will give you a run down of North Devon beaches - it's a quieter area than the south:
Westward Ho! - it's blue flag, about 3 miles long, flat & firm sand - LOTS of space, dog friendly at one end, rock pools at the other, lifeguards, plenty of water sports etc etc (only 1 hours drive from M5).
Saunton Sands - across the Torridge estuary from Westward Ho! near Braunton and v similar
Croyde and Woolacombe lovely sandy beaches between Ilfracoombe and Braunton (also can recommend a less busy beach call Puttscombe which is between these two).
Moving west onto the Hartland peninsula are rock pool beaches at Bucks Cross, Mouthmill, and at the Cornish border is our favourite: Duck Pool - a lovely little cove with turquoise sea and amazing rock pools. Just a bit further and it's Sandymouth beach - a vast expanse of sand - there are many more and all just wonderful!!
Robin Hill Farm Cottages is a good place to stay - it's surrounded by green fields near Bideford which is in the middle of all these beaches, just off the A39, and has indoor swimming pool + hot tub; massive games room and plenty of safe space outside as well

ReshapeWhileDamp Sat 02-Apr-11 22:17:31

Wow, thank you! smile Loads to research and get my teeth into. My mum just told me Hope Cove and Wembury, too. I'm tempted by North Devon because it looks wilder and quieter, but would DS need a wetsuit to go into the sea? In Dorset, it was mostly warm enough (just) to swim. I may have been to St Edwards briefly two years ago - if it's the place I'm thinking of, it was stunning, and Toddler Heaven. Fab sand and rockpools. Not sure we can go as far as Cornwall though.

(Showy, I now have Steve Knightley Envy, thanks to your Widecombe Fair experience! grin Though when I saw SOH in Reading just before Christmas, he did point to my enormous pregnant belly and make some suitably aghast comment, so I do have my own Steve Knightley Experience, I suppose. grin )

OP’s posts: |
ReshapeWhileDamp Sat 02-Apr-11 22:22:08

Sorry, getting confused. blush Not St Edmunds, Trevone. I'm sure that was the one.

Now all I have to do is find somewhere with vacancies for late june!

OP’s posts: |
nottirednow Sat 02-Apr-11 22:32:07

Message withdrawn

ReshapeWhileDamp Sat 02-Apr-11 22:35:42

DS1 is 3. DS2 will be 6 months and will probably stick to splashing in sandpools!

Branscombe - ok, will check it out. (that was where the Napoli's cargo came ashore, wasn't it? Ok, how many more Show of Hands songs can we refer to in this thread?! grin)

OP’s posts: |
GetOrfMoiLand Sat 02-Apr-11 22:39:36

OOh Show - I lived in Ilfracombe most of my life!

Most beautiful beaches in the UK <dares anyone to disagree> are in North devon. Saunton especially. What is fantastic is parking up at Braunton Burrows and walking through the burrows to get to Saunton.

Putsborough is also brilliant - it is the other end of Woolacombe beach, you can only access it via country lanes, so is far less busy and commercialised.

For a lovely walk, go to Morthoe and walk (only a mile or so) down paths to Rockham - not a beachy beach as such, but it is beautiful, and is great fun to go rock pooling and looking for crabs etc here

Lee Bay on Exmoor is also beautiful, it is near Lynton and Lymnouth and through the Valley of Rocks look

GetOrfMoiLand Sat 02-Apr-11 22:41:04

And tunnels beach has a BAR. I used to be a season ticket holder, I used to come home from work, pick up dd, go down the beach collecting a glass of wine on the way, and sit there with my feet in a rock pool catching the last of the rays.

I live in bastarding Gloucester now. My nearest beach is Weston grin <and cries>

RustyBear Sat 02-Apr-11 23:02:37

I also have SOH envy, because I couldn't get to see them when they were in Reading....

ShowOfHands Sat 02-Apr-11 23:48:52

What on earth did he say about your pregnant belly? I saw then twice when heavily pregnant and Steve and Phil joked that I should be very careful not to go into labour and sue them. I was dancing like a loon though. Badly.

Gerrof, we always stop at Lynton and Lynmouth for breakfast on the way to Ilfracombe and go on the cliff railway. We used to go to Ilfracombe every year when little and stay in a place called Langleigh Farmhouse Hotel in the Torrs Park area. It's an old people's home or flats or something now I think.

My overriding memories of Ilfracombe are the museum, the lifeboat going out daily to pull some eejit out of the water after they'd bollocksed over the quay, enormous seagulls and the pitch and putt place.

We're staying at Chambercombe Manor, I cannot wait. I was fascinated with it as a child.

'Lyme Bay to Ebay' is surely the best lyric ever. grin

GetOrfMoiLand Sat 02-Apr-11 23:54:51

You know, I have seen you here for years and never connected Show of Hands with the band. I have met Steve Knightley loads, I used to work at Ilgfracombe College, he came in all the time and did songwriting workshops for the students, and he was often there for end of term teacher piss ups as he was mates with loads of the teachers.

God I had a huge crush on him grin

How lovely that you are staying at Chambercombe Manor - I used to live at the top of the hill in Crofts Lea Park. I LOVE the Chambercombe manor tours, the volunteers who do the tours are lovely. And they are scary!

Langleigh farmhouse was lovely as well, think it is a private house now.

And that museum - I swear that is the best museum ever, that two headed cat, the drawers full of Victorian wedding cake and the desk from a naval battleship. I used to go there loads as a kid and the curators used to let the kids fiddle with all the stuff, it was great fuin.

I would move back there in a minute if there were any bloody jobs.

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