As far as travelling UK
surfers go, then the North Devon beaches are always a popular spot for those
that travel down as it's not as far as Cornwall
and is easily accessible from the motorways.
Indeed, talking with many of the local surfers around Croyde
and Woolacombe, they say come Friday night and especially when thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a bit of
swell coming, loads of estate cars turn up with their boards. Croyde seems to
suffer worse than Woolacombe in that it attracts more people so making for more
crowded conditions. The other main beach, Woolacombe again draws its fair share
of crowds but as itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s such a massive beach, at two miles long, it can offer a
selection of choice peaks at various stages of the tide. At the southern end of
Woolacombe is Putsborough which can really deliver and is worth checking as the
banks can be very good.
If your plan is to explore what North Devon has to offer
aside from just staying at the main towns, then there are plenty of hidden
spots which can be awesome, but of course weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not going to tell you where
these are, but seek and ye shall find. Just remember to respect the locals and
deploy etiquette in the line-up. The downside with North Devon, and just like Cornwall, is the crowd
factor. On a good day at Croyde, particularly in the summer, the beach can be
absolutely packed. The standard of surfing is very high, but in spring, autumn
and winter you can still can get a fair chunk of waves and manage to escape the
crowds. Getting around this stretch of Devon
will inevitably mean getting stuck behind your fair share of tractors too and
access to some spots is down little tracks, so allow plenty of time and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t
get too frustrated at the speed of the traffic, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in the West Country now.
Croyde: Probably the most popular spot in the area. On its
day Croyde can fire and offer top quality waves. The main problem with Croyde
is the crowd factor, so early and late surfs are a good idea. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offshore in
an easterly and pumping on a westerly groundswell and can get very hollow at
low tide. The standard is high here, so if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel comfortable check out
somewhere mellower like Saunton. The village itself is lovely and features many
thatched properties and for nightlife and eating and drinking, Billy BuddÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and
The Thatch are very popular with surfers.
Saunton: An enormous stretch of coast which works on all
stages of tide. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offshore on an easterly but doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the best banks
yet the waves peel gently but can lack power. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s popular with longboarders
and is a good place for beginners. Croyde or Braunton are the closest places to
Woolacombe: Again a massive stretch of beach which is
offshore on an easterly wind and westerly groundswell. It works on most stages
of tide and is less crowded than Croyde. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a busy town with loads going on
in the summer with many good places to eat and drink such as the ever popular
Red Barn and newer restaurants like West
Beach which specialises
in top quality local caught seafood. They also do cracking BBQs in the summer.
Putsborough: I suppose you could technically class this as
Woolacombe as itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right at the end of this stretch of beach but this gets more
protection from the winds particularly when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a south westerly. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best
from mid to high tide and can get very good. On bigger swells it tends to get a
bit rippy so watch for that. You can park right by the beach but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a very
narrow road down to it so donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t drive too fast and the only other downside is
that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll cost you Ã‚Â£5.00 to park your car. The best bet to stay and go out is
Woolacombe or Croyde and there are plenty of choices on offer.
Lynmouth: Tucked away about 30 minutes north of Barnstaple, this can be, on its day, one of the best
point breaks in the country. If thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a meaty swell at the main beaches (over
5ft) then lovely long lefts up to 300 metres can be ridden. It needs lightish
winds from the south and south east and a north westerly swell to be properly
on and works at all stages of tide, though itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best coming off low. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
definitely a wave for the more experienced surfer though as there are rips,
rocks and plenty of people to avoid!
Westward Ho!: Not the best, but it can have its good day.
Again swell needs to come from the west and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offshore on an easterly wind
and because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not as good as the other spots is generally much less crowded.
It works through the tide and is a good beach for inexperienced surfers.
Accommodation and loads of good places to eat can be found in Bideford.
BuckÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mill: A pretty little village full of thatched
cottages. The wave here can be a peach when big swells are pounding the other
spots. This reef break is offshore in a southerly wind and the sweet lefthander
works best at low tide but it can get very crowded and brings out all the decent
surfers in the area.
Porlock Weir: This break needs a huge swell for it to work
and is offshore in southerly and south westerly winds. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s quite tricky to get
to but worth the walk as when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fast and punchy.
SpekeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mill: Another tricky spot to access, this reef break
offers lefts and rights but it does get crowded and is dominated by the locals
so show courtesy and respect.
THINGS TO DO WHEN ITÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S FLAT
Lundy Island: Well worth a
visit and you get to hang out with puffins
The Big Sheep: Kids will love it and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mountain
boarding and sheep!
South Molton Skate
great place to spend the day
Attack your mates with a volley of paintballs
Karting Centre: Pretend youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the next Michael Schumacher
Golf: Loads of courses on offer from top class to pitch and