I have lived in North Devon for a year and a half now, and I can easily say I have fallen in love with this part of the UK. The landscape is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the food is delicious. I would highly recommend coming here for a holiday, and these are what I would consider the highlights of the area.
Braunton Burrows is a wonderful place to head to for an afternoon in the sun. While there are no facilities such as cafes or toilets, you can enjoy a day away from the crowded beaches. You can get to Crow Point, which looks out over the Taw Estuary across to Instow and Appledore on the other side, by bike or car, along the toll road (Just £1.50 for cars). Walk through the quiet dunes to the sandy beach, spotting rabbits, listening to birds and seeing the pretty wild flowers blowing in the wind. I would recommend bringing a picnic or a few snacks to have on your walk too. Dogs are welcome on the beach too!
Visiting Clovelly is like stepping back in time. The village has steep, cobbled streets that make their way past white cottages to the harbour. No cars are allowed, and you have to pay to enter the village, but it is worth it. The locals use sleds to get their shopping up and down the steep cobbled streets, and there are many places in the village to stop off and learn about its history. Stop off at the New Inn Hotel for a cream tea, and walk to the edge of the quay that dates to the 13th-century and looks out at Bideford Bay. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Lundy Island. Along the pebbled beach, there is a waterfall too, making for a perfect photo opportunity.
Valley of the Rocks
There are two ways to visit the Valley of the Rocks; drive by car or walk along the coastal path from Lynton. I recommend the walk, especially on a warm, sunny day, as the views from the path of the cliffs are beautiful. When the sky is clear, you can spy the south coast of Wales from Lynton, and the deep blue sea makes it look like you could be in the Mediterranean. Along the path, you will come across some natives – goats! You can walk along by the animals and envy at their nimble footwork, climbing up the cliffs. Valley of the Rocks itself is breathtaking, and even if you go on a misty day, it still has drama and character. Just remember a camera!
When I first visited Hartland Point, my jaw quite literally dropped. As you drive down and turn the corner, the coastline is stretched out before you. Ragged black cliffs and rocks make you truly appreciate the beauty of nature. At low tide, there is a sandy beach, rock pools and rocks to scramble over and little caves to explore. Parts of the old quay and harbour can still be seen, though it was destroyed in 1887. The South West Coast Path can be accessed at different points of the Quay so that you can see a lot more of the incredible coastline.
The Tarka Trail is a cycling and walking route that can take you through several towns in North Devon; Barnstaple, Bideford and Instow, to name a few. The route is leisurely and flat, making it accessible for all abilities. There are several places to hire bikes from, and also a few cafes and places to stop at for a bite to eat. If you pass through Instow, be sure to stop for a Hockings, a clotted cream ice cream that is exclusive to Devon! The Tarka Trail runs along the River Taw and River Torridge, and the wide estuary provides you with some lovely views!
I had heard about this place a lot before visiting myself, and I was pleasantly surprised at how pretty it was. Even driving along the quiet country lanes to get there was enjoyable. The walk to Heddon’s Mouth follows the River Heddon, where it meets the bright blue sea between some high cliffs. The Valley is also a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), home to a variety of wildlife, and you can walk through some ancient woodland, listening to the river bubbling along in the background. The beach is small and pebbly, but a lovely place to set up a picnic.
Have you been to North Devon before? If so, what were your favourite places to visit? Let me know in the comments!