Putsborough and Woolacombe Sands

Between the two horns of Baggy Point and Morte Point is Morte Bay and the 2½-mile stretch of sandy beach that makes up Putsborough Sands and Woolacombe Sands (the two morph into each other).

Woolacombe Sands has been voted one of Britain’s best beaches, so it’s not surprising that it is so popular with families visiting North and Mid Devon. There’s room for everyone along this expanse of golden sand and white surf, and in the several holiday parks for camping and caravans. But tucked into recesses on the southern face of Morte Point are smaller, less crowded beaches, as well as a gorgeous headland walk.

Putsborough is the southern, more isolated, end of the beach, sheltered from west winds by Baggy Point, with rock pools and fewer amenities than Woolacombe Sands (and there is no lifeguard) so perhaps more appealing to adult Slow visitors. There’s a dog-free area but otherwise it’s dog-friendly, and the café serves good food. The carpark is expensive (as they all are in this region) but if you park at the NT place in Croyde and walk over Baggy Point you can get the best of all worlds.

Woolacombe Sands came into its own during the Victorian period when sea-bathing became all the rage and the large houses and hotels that we see today were built. The beach is privately owned and deserves its accolades. It has ample carparking close by, clean loos, plentiful refreshments including fish and chips, and is cleaned daily. Beach huts can be hired for the day. Lifeguards are on duty and there is a doggy stretch as well as a dog-free area in the summer. And there are tide pools. For families it really is ideal.