Five of the best dog friendly beaches in North Devon
Every dog lover knows that nothing beats taking your pet on holiday and exploring new places together. Long walks in the country are one thing, but let’s face it you can do that just about anywhere. What your dog will really enjoy is romping about on a beach, experiencing the sand between its paws and the novelty of paddling in the sea. The braver ones will dive right in for a swim.
Fortunately, North Devon is blessed with a gorgeous and varied coastline. While some of it is cliffs and rock, there are lots of picture-postcard coves and wide-open beaches for you and your dog to try out. Many are dog friendly throughout the year, while some have minor restrictions during the peak season.
Even on the stretches that allow dogs to run free, owners are always asked to be responsible, clearing up after their pet and being mindful of other beach users.
Here is our guide to five of the best dog friendly beaches in North Devon, all within easy reach of your five-star dog friendly cottages in Devon.
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You might not have heard of it before, but Woolacombe was voted the fourth best beach in Europe by TripAdvisor visitors. It’s easy to see why it gets rave reviews, with three miles of golden white sands, backed by sand dunes and with hidden rock pools, there’s plenty to see and loads of space to stretch out.
You’ll need to stick to the various doggie restrictions during the peak season, but the signs are clear and there’s still lots of open space. Dogs are forbidden between the stream to the rocks at the north end of the beach from April 1 or Good Friday (whichever comes earlier) until the first Monday in November. During the same period, they must be on a lead from the stream to Mill Rock, but from Mill Rock to the end of the beach your four-legged friends can run about as much as they like.
Don’t just take our word for it. When looking for recommendations, it’s always best to take on board the reviews. Here’s just one of those happy visitors who reported to TripAdvisor: “We took our puppy and he absolutely loved it. He was playing for so long and when it was time to leave we had to try and get him out of the sea!”
It’s doggie heaven on Saunton beach, with a wide sandy beach leading down to the clear blue sea. And best of all, your pet is welcome to run free all year round with one exception: when you walk down to the beach, keep to the left of the slipway. The smaller area to the right is not dog friendly. Owners are asked to keep their pet on a lead and keep walking until it becomes less busy – and then it’s time to open up the engines and go for it!
There is also a fenced off area within the sand dunes where dogs must be put back on a leash because it is used sometimes by livestock.
The large car park is close to the beach and after a long run around with the dog, you’ll enjoy a cuppa in the beach café.
Putsborough sands is another characteristically wide, open North Devon beach. It forms the southern section of Woolacombe Sands, near the picturesque coastal village of Croyde. Dogs are banned from part of the beach from April 1 to October 31 (to the left of the steps as you descend to the beach), but for the remainder, Fido can run amok without any restrictions. It’s clearly signed and there’s loads of room because this beach is a little further away from hotels and other attractions.
There’s a car park and you’ll find a café to enjoy a cup of tea and some water for the dog.
Even though this is not open to dogs all year round, it gets on this list because of its sheer beauty. And you can always visit with your dog during the off season (from the end of October through to April). It’s one of the better-known beaches in the south west, offering idyllic surfing conditions, and it’s also the starting point for some good walks. If you are around in the busy summer months, take the footpath to the National Trust owned Baggy Point. OK, it’s not a beach but it’s a great walk for you and the dog.
If you visit and are determined to get your dog on the beach in the summer, then 12-month dog friendly Putsborough beach is just to the north, on the other side of Baggy Point.
5 Westward Ho!
Well behaved dogs (and owners!) are welcome to run free at the north end of this popular beach resort all year round. You can clamber over rocks and enjoy the wide-open spaces, with grassland to the rear to romp through as well. Please be aware there may be livestock grazing, which means your dog will have to be on a lead.
The southern end of the Westward Ho! Is restricted in the summer months, but you’ll be fine avoiding it.
It’s recommended you keep an eye on the tide while on the Westward Ho! dog friendly beach. The sea can come in fast, and when the tide is in the water covers all of the sand, leaving only the pebbled section to walk on. No great problem, but something to be aware of if your canine companion prefers the luxury of chasing balls and sticks on the sand. After all that exercise, there’s plenty of cafes nearby for reinvigorating refreshment.
So, there’s five of our top picks for dog friendly beaches in North Devon. Best of all they are all within easy distance of idyllic luxury farm and country cottage accommodation, where your dog is welcome, too. If you wanted to cross over to discover dog friendly beaches in Cornwall, the good news is that’s only a few miles down the road, too!