10 of the best beaches for swimming in Devon
PUBLISHED: 15:15 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:16 30 September 2020
�National Trust Images/Ian Shaw
Swimming in the ocean is one of the joys of summer in Devon. Enjoy HAZEL SILLVER’S guide to the best beaches to take the plunge this summer
Best for families and swimmers, offering safe waters to swim in
1) Woolacombe Beach, Woolacombe
Three miles of clean golden sand make this award-winning beach a great family day out. Enjoy swimming and water sports, and take a stroll along the beautiful coastal paths.
Lifeguarded daily from April to September
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/woolacombe. Sat Nav: EX34 7DL
2) Broadsands Beach, Combe Martin
This dreamy cove nestled in the Exmoor coast offers safe swimming waters. Accessible via the South West Coast Path with a stepped descent down to two beaches with an island and caves for exploring. N.B. Check tide times before heading out. There are no toilets.
Sat Nav: Park at Sawmills pub or near Napps Caravan Park (EX34 9SW) or at Sandy Cove Hotel (EX34 9SR)
3) Blackpool Sands, near Dartmouth
This beautiful Blue Flag beach has an idyllic Mediterranean feel. Try paddle boarding and kayaking, enjoy great food in the Venus Cafe and stroll around the gardens above the beach.
Lifeguarded in summer
More information: blackpoolsands.co.uk. Sat Nav: TQ6 0RG
4) Mill Bay, near Salcombe
This sheltered privately-owned beach has golden sands and safe, clean, turquoise water. Enjoy the rock pools at low tide and enjoy a stroll along the gorgeous coastline to the Gara Rock restaurant.
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/mill-bay. Sat Nav: TQ8 8PU
5) Thurlestone Beach and South Milton Sands, near Kingsbridge
Two sheltered sandy beaches with clean waters, looking out to the iconic Thurlestone Rock arch. Enjoy great food at The Beachhouse cafe (beachhousedevon.com).
Lifeguarded daily from 6 July to 1 September
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/south-milton-sands. Sat Nav: TQ7 3PA
Best for walkers and adventurous swimmers, offering romantic, hidden away coves to take a dip
6) Woody Bay, Martinhoe
A tidal swimming pool lies in wait at this secret cove nestled amidst wooded red cliffs beside a waterfall and an old lime kiln.
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/heddon¬valley Sat Nav: EX31 4QX. Park near Martinhoe Manor.
7) Crook Point Sands, Lee Bay
Described by Daniel Start in his book Wild Guide: Devon, Cornwall & the South West (£14.99; Wild Things) as "perhaps the best and most secret beach on this wild coastline", this secluded beach is found from the coast path half a mile west of Lee Bay. 100m SW of Crook Point is a gap in the hedge fence; a path leads through thicket and descends to the beach with ropes to aid you. Please take care!
Sat Nav: EX35 6JN
8) Woodcombe, Lannacombe and Mattiscombe, Start Point
A succession of secluded bays just off the South West Coast Path, including lovely swimming at Woodcombe Beach and Ivy Cove.
More information: Wild Swimming Walks Dartmoor and South Devon by Daniel Start Sat Nav: Walk from East Prawle (TQ7 2BY) or Start Point (TQ7 2ET)
9) Soar Mill Cove, nr Salcombe
Enjoy a walk along stunning National Trust coastline and stop off for a swim at Soar Mill Cove, where you might be joined by the local seals. N.B. Visit at low tide
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/bolberry¬down Sat Nav: Park at Bolberry Down (TQ7 3DY) or at Soar Mill Cove Hotel (TQ7 3DS) if you're going to eat there.
10) Hallsands, nr Beesands
Strong swimmers will enjoy this shingle beach, from which you can swim south along the coast through clear water to see the ruins of a former fishing village. N.B. Not suitable for weak swimmers.
More information: Wild Swimming Walks Dartmoor and South Devon by Daniel Start Sat Nav: TQ7 2EY. Alternatively walk from Beesands (TQ7 2EH) or Start Point (TQ7 2ET)