Top surf spots in North Devon

North Devon offers some of the best surf spots in the country, so whether you're an experienced surfer or keen to try it out for the first time there's something here for everyone.

Surfers on the dunes
Surfers on the dunes at Woolacombe, North Devon

Combesgate and Woolacombe

There’s a good reason Woolacombe was voted Britain’s best beach in 2015 and 2016, as this 3 mile long stretch of sand offers great surfing for beginners through to experts. Woolacombe will work at all points of tide and the long lined up sets are popular with longboarders. If you are new to surfing you’ll find an array of surf schools ready to get you up and riding your first wave.

The National Trust look after much of the surrounding area including Morte Point, the Woolacombe sand dunes, Woolacombe Down and Baggy Point off in the distance. If it’s windy and the waves at the Woolacombe end of the beach are messy maybe try heading to the far end at Putsborough where the beach is more sheltered from Southerly and South Westerly wind. Alternatively why not head round the corner to Combesgate beach (towards Mortehoe) where the waves are sometimes smaller but better shaped.

The National Trust have family events running throughout the year so keep an eye on the website or pop into the Woolacombe Tourist Information Centre for more details and to book. If you want to stay a little longer why not look at our local accommodation offers.

View over Croyde Bay from Baggy Point
View over Croyde Bay from Baggy Point

Croyde

Sandwiched between the National Trust site of Baggy Point and Saunton Down, Croyde Bay offers a faster wave and is therefore more popular with advanced shortboard surfers. That being said, there are also opportunities for the less experienced surfer with a selection of surf schools to choose from, but beware of rocks and rip (especially as the waves get bigger). Croyde works best at low tide and will become gradually messier as the tide comes in.

Parking is available close to the beach at the National Trust Baggy Point car park (free for members). Toilets and an outdoor shower are also provided, as well as a tea rooms. Although a much smaller beach than its neighbours Woolacombe and Saunton, Croyde often has a faster, bigger and cleaner wave, but beware that the water can get crowded in the summer.

Butter Hill Barn is a great base for surfing in Lynmouth
Surfers at Butter Hill Barn Countisbury

Lynmouth

One of North Devon’s lesser known surf spots (and definitely not one for beginners) Lynmouth is the only point break (a wave that breaks along a headland) on this stretch of coast. The spot works best in a Southerly wind and Westerly swell and produces medium to large left hander waves, though be prepared to wait for your turn as it can get busy. The beach is rocky and there are dangerous currents to be aware of, but on a good day it can provide some of the best surfing in the area, if not the country.

Whilst you are enjoying your surf you can’t help but notice the magnificent cliffs of Foreland looming in the distance. The area of Foreland is looked after by the National Trust and there is a selection of accommodation in the area including Foreland Lighthouse, perched high on the cliffs above the Bristol Channel, or Butter Hill Barn which provides a garage for surfboard storage and can be rented from as little as £60 per night for 6 people.

After you are done surfing why not head up to Watersmeet, this stunning steep sided valley has been cared for by the National Trust since 1934 and harbours rare whitebeam trees, some of which are found nowhere else. Watersmeet House tearooms is a great place to refuel on cream tea and pasties.