Places To See In North Devon

Old Pound Smithy

As there is so much to see and do in North Devon, we’ve put together a little list of some of our favourite bits nearby.  In addition, as a North Devon Biosphere Business Partner and Eco Accommodation provider, we also have the North Devon Explorer map below, which shows all of the amazing nature sites and activities in the area.

Places to Eat

There are some great places to eat nearby, some well-known, and others not. Here are a few of our recommendations.

THE FARMERS ARMS Places To See In North Devon
The Farmers Arms

We are extremely lucky to have the Farmers Arms in our village.  This old pub has been recently developed by IT entrepreneurs Michael and Xochi Birch.  Michael is British born and has strong family ties to the village and is investing heavily in the village with The Woolsery Project.  The pub offers fantastic food, wonderful local beers, fine dining, and a calm beer garden with heated bottom warmers in the benches!

WOOLSERY FISH AND CHIPS Places To See In North Devon
Woolsery Fish and Chips

Simply the best fish and chips around. Next door to the pub and part of the same Woolsery Project. You have to try the curry sauce, minted peas, and barbecue beans!

Outside the Glorious oyster chack
The Glorious Oyster

A quirky sea-food beach shack, just behind the dunes at Instow, this place serves up delicious fresh sea food, and drinks.  During the summer , they also have a DJ session one a month on a Friday.

  Sandhills Car Park, Instow EX39 4LF
PIG ON THE BEACH
Pig on the Beach

(Seasonal only) For an amazing Vegan Pie… and any other pie.  Sit upstairs for views over the sea and watch the surfers if the swell is up.

  51 Bath Hotel Rd, Westward Ho!, Bideford EX39 1GW
THE BOATHOUSE
The Boathouse

For the gorgeous roof deck. Overlooking the sands at Instow beach and views on to Appledore, this pub does great food and can be followed by a lovely walk along the beach with an ice cream.

  Marine Parade, Instow, Bideford EX39 4JJ
HARTLAND QUAY HOTEL
Hartland Quay Hotel

For mind boggling views of the coastline.  Enjoy a pint and take in the dramatic views. This spot is a favourite for the film and TV industry!  There is also no better place to be when an Atlantic storm comes in to watch the huge waves hit the ragged coast. Food also available.

Nearest Beaches

There are so many beaches to visit in the area. Locally to us most of them are dramatic stony beaches, some with wet sands at low tide.

Sandy Beaches

WESTWARD HO!
Westward Ho!

This is the nearest big stretch of sand. It is backed by a natural pebble ridge with plenty of parking behind, toilets and RNLI Lifeguards. There is surfing and kite surfing.  Westward Ho! itself offers lots of seaside entertainment.

SAUNTON SANDS
Saunton Sands

A little further, the other side of Barnstaple. Saunton Sands is a lovely dune backed beach and great for surfing.  Behind the beach is the incredible Braunton Burrows – a fantastic nature reserve.

BUDE
Bude

Bude (Town and Beach) is around 20 minutes to the south. It is a lively town to explore and has a pleasant beach, which can become a little crowded in peak season.  The sea pool here is something quite special.

SANDYMOUTH
Sandymouth

This beach is another wet sand beach, so be sure to head there when the tide is out. It is beautiful though with acres of space. There is a little café as well at the National Trust car park.

Rocky Beaches

Most of the coast between Westward Ho! and Bude is a wild dramatic rocky coastline, with rounded stone beaches, some with areas of wet sand at low tide, as such they are often best when the tide is out.  Our favourites are:

PEPPERCOMBE BEACH
Peppercombe Beach

The best thing about this beach is it is hard to get to and so there is rarely anyone else there. To get here you will need to park at Horns Cross and walk down about a mile. Parking can be a little tricky as it is mostly in the layby up the road on the A39. Alternatively… do the hike from Buck Mills!

BUCKS MILLS
Bucks Mills

Our nearest spot and a real beauty. Descend down the valley from Bucks Cross and park in the public parking just above the village, then walk down, past the picturesque cottages, and down the step path to the beach. There is water fall to the right which used to feed the old lime kiln. If you go at low tide and want a spot all to yourself, head left across the stones for around 10-15 minutes, to the other side of the spit (which used to be the old harbour wall). Here you will find a big sandy area with easy flat entry into the sea.

SPEKE’S MILL MOUTH
Speke’s Mill Mouth

Again not easy to get to but a lovely walk from Hartland Quay.  There is huge waterfall where you can swim in the pool at the bottom.  The bea\h is reached via some steep steps down. There are some nice rock pools to swim in here.

WELCOMBE MOUTH
Welcombe Mouth

this is another spectacular and dramatic bit of coast, with striated rocks heading out to sea. We usually combine this visit with lunch at The Old Smithy Inn.

Favourite Walks Nearby

We are incredibly fortunate to be just within a few miles of the famous South West Coast Path.  It is 630 miles long and is the longest established National Trail in the country. Starting at Minehead in Somerset it runs along the coastline of Exmoor, continuing along the coast of North Devon into Cornwall. It follows the entire coastline of Cornwall, goes across the mouth of the River Tamar and continues into Devon. After running along the south coast of Devon it then follows the Dorset coastline before finally ending at Poole Harbour.

The North Devon section is of course one of the most spectacular parts.  For more detailed information, walk recommendations and Places To See In North Devon, we recommend visiting the southwestcoastpath.org.uk website.  Below are some of our favourite local sections.

CLOVELLY TO MOUTH MILL / BLACK CHURCH ROCK
Clovelly to Mouth Mill / Black Church Rock

 If you haven’t been to Clovelly then you must. There is a fee to enter the village but it is well worth it.  If you arrive at high tide you can jump into the harbour from the very high quay (at your own risk of course!!).  The walk along the coastal path starts from the top of the village heading west.  Walk through coastal forests and along super high cliffs, before descending down to Mouth Mill and the impressive Black Church Rock. It is probably around 4 miles there and back.

BUCKS MILLS TO PEPPERCOMBE
Bucks Mills to Peppercombe

Bucks Mills is our nearest bit of coast, just 7 minutes drive away.  The beautiful little village dates back to the Doomsday Book.  Take the coastal path up the super steep hillside out of the village near to the Phone Box signed to Peppercombe and follow for around 2.5 miles through the coastal forests.  Either head on to the beach when you drop down from Peppercombe Castle or carry on a little further to the beach at the end of the red cliffs.  Peppercombe beach is best at low tide when the sands are exposed.

HARTLAND QUAY TO SPEKE’S MILL MOUTH
Hartland Quay to Speke’s Mill Mouth

This is a fantastic walk and has the benefit of a pub at Hartland Quay.  It is also not too long.  The scenery is nothing short of spectacular!  From Hartland Quay follow the Coastal Path south (from the middle car park) for around 20 minutes.  At Speke’s Mill  Mouth there is huge waterfall, and steep steps down to the beach. There are some nice rock pools to swim in here.

WESTWARD HO! TO ABBOTSHAM CLIFFS
Westward Ho! to Abbotsham Cliffs

We like to head down to Westward Ho! on a Sunday, have lunch at the Pig on The Beach and then take a leisurely stroll along the coastal path towards Abbotsham cliffs. This is a relatively easy stretch of the coastal path, with not too many climbs.

SURFING AND KITE SURFING
Surfing and Kite Surfing

Try the North Devon Surf School at Westward Ho!  A lovely bunch of people and where we learnt to surf! Visit https://www.northdevonsurfschool.co.uk/

  1 Pebbleridge Rd, Westward Ho!, Bideford EX39 1HN
BOAT TRIPS
Boat Trips

The Ifracombe Sea Safaris offers trips out to sea dolphins, and trips to Lundy Island, which we hear are fantastic.  The other way to get to Lundy is on the MS Oldenburg.  For more information about Lundy visit https://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/lundyisland

Special Days Out

CLOVELLY Places To See In North Devon
Clovelly

This little village is part of the Clovelly Estate which is all privately owned. As such there is a fee to enter, but it is well worth it. There is a visitor centre with all the info you will need. The village hasn’t changed a jot in hundreds of years.  The houses cascade down a steep valley, where there are no cars, and the only way the residents can bring in their shopping or whatever is by dragging sledges down the cobbles.  At the bottom is the harbour with the Red Lion Pub. Try combining the day with a walk to Black Church Rock.

LUNDY ISLAND Places To See In North Devon
Lundy Island

This is a real gem for nature lovers. The island can be reached by a regular ferry from Bideford as well as private hire companies, such Sea Safaris in Ilfracombe.  It is also possible to stay overnight on Lundy, in one of the cottages or at the campsite.

RHS ROSEMOOR GARDENS Places To See In North Devon
RHS Rosemoor Gardens

Set deep in the north Devon countryside, The Rosemoor estate was once the home of Lady Anne Palmer. Lady Anne developed a passion for plants when she met noted plantsman Colllingwood Ingram while recuperating from measles in Spain. Over the next 30 years, she travelled the world to collect specimens for her garden, which she gave to the Royal Horticultural Society in 1988. The estate now comprises 65 acres of land, which includes rose gardens, a winter garden, a fruit and vegetable garden, a formal garden, woodlands, and many stream and lakeside plantings, making Rosemoor an enchanting place to visit whatever the season.