The summer holidays are upon us, which means most of the beaches in Devon will be littered with families, jostling for space to play frisbee and queuing in the sun for a lunch time cone of chips. But how about a secret beach spot reserved just for you? How about a quiet spot tucked away from the tourists? How about dramatic scenes the locals like to keep to themselves?
We’ve got you covered – here are five of Devon’s most beautiful and secret of secret beaches. Some just round the corner from our lovely Woolacombe, some further afield, all wondrous. So load the car with windbreaks, fill the boot up with a picnic and set-sail for a day of sun, surf and solitude!
Mouth Mill Cove, Clovelly
An hour’s drive south from Woolacombe is Mouth Mill Cove – a small, isolated cove that has forever been associated with piracy and smuggling. You can reach this little beauty spot by a gentle woodland path which leads down from the National Trust car park at Brownsham. At the cove you can still see the remains of an old limekiln, although the exact location of the old working mill here is unknown. You’ll also be able to see the striking Blackchurch Rock, a huge triangular rock arch which juts out into the sea.
Rockham Bay, Mortehoe
Just two miles north of Woolacombe on the coast path, Rockham Bay Beach is the perfect day out for families with kids with a sense of adventure. There are countless rock pools to explore and clamber over as well as the remains of an old shipwreck that has been fused to the rocks and reclaimed by nature.
Woody Bay Beach, Martinhoe
Just 40 minutes north of our lovely campsite at Woolacombe Bay, Woody Bay is a wild, rocky place that has something for even the most sedate of beach goers. There’s a tidal pool where lounging in sea-water without current and rip-tides is absolute bliss, a crashing waterfall and the old remains of a grand resort scheme to explore. Perfect!
Ladram Bay, Otterton
Down on the other coast, Ladram Bay is like something out of the travel magazines. The beach itself is what dreams are made of, with golden sand perfect for dipping your toes into whilst slurping on an ice-cream. But the hidden beach isn’t the draw to Ladram, but the imposing red-stone stacks which sit in the sea just a few metres from the shore. The coast line here absolutely begs to be discovered by kayak, and you can hire them from a kiosk at the bottom of the slipway.
Landcombe Cove, Slapton
Landcombe Cove is about as quiet and isolated as it gets; to get there you’ll either need a boat or brave the treacherous path down the cliff. The small sweep of secret beach is backed by steep, overhanging cliffs, which will make you feel like you’re the only person in the world if lucky enough to get it to yourself. On a hot day when the sea is flat and glistening with a few yachts anchored off shore, you could forgive yourself if you mistake the scene ahead as one from the Riviera. Landcombe is just over two hours cross-country from Woolacombe.