Dog Walks – North Devon – England – Croyde Beach – Saunton Sands – Westward Ho!

PET CHECK UK Long view overlooking Saunton Sands, North Devon

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Croyde beach

Beautiful walks along coastal routes and sandy beaches

Croyde is a small old English village with origins dating back to Celtic times, tucked away by the northern coast of Devon, surrounded by the North Devon Area Of Outstanding Beauty. The coastline faces the Atlantic Ocean and the western limit of the Bristol Channel.

Croyde is home to a small population, swelled during warmer months with young surfers staying in tent parks and holiday parks close by, popular for some of the best surfing waters and beaches in Britain.

Croyde beach allows dogs to freely walk and play from 1st October to 30th April. The popular visitor summer months are restricted. The beach waters are renowned for rip tides flanking at either end of the beach and it’s best to ensure your dog stays in the middle of the beach and be cautious when playing in the water with you, and where lifeguards may not be present out of season.

There is easy access on the main beach whilst the upper shore is flanked by wild sand dunes and vegetation. During the season there are cafes and eateries operating with toilet facilities and all year easy access car parking.

Saunton Sands is a little further south of Croyde Beach, boasting the finest hotel in North Devon overlooking the northern stretch of the glorious 3.5-mile-long straight sandy beach leading to Crow Point at the mouth of the River Taw estuary.

Saunton Sands does allow dogs on the beach 365 days of the year. Owners are asked to keep their pets on leads in front of the beach hut area at the start of the beach.

The beach was used to rehearse 1940’s D Day landings but later times has been home to rock stars filming their videos, and the Royal Air Force uses it from time to time to train pilots in landings and takeoffs. These events warrant closure of the beach so it’s always best to re-check dog walking restrictions at the Visit Devon website.

This is a beach that’s popular with families, is better for the safer swimmer, and currently operates without a lifeguard presence.

Westward Ho! made famous by Charles Kingsley novel, published 1855 of the same name, is a small village slightly tucked back from the coastline.

Dogs are allowed onto Westward Ho! beach 365 days but with a summer restricted area. Between1 May to 30th September dogs are only allowed on the northern end of the beach, but allowed full access to all the beach outside of these dates.

The beach is sandy with the upper shore backed with pebbles before leading to the Northam Burrows country park situated behind.

The main beach is patrolled in summer by lifeguards and has toilet facilities and the waterfront has family cafes and eateries with easy car park access.

There’s room for dogs on North Devon’s beaches, but with restrictions differing between the areas of the beaches starting from Easter time. Read our guide.

Visit Devon provides a list of the North Devon dog-friendly beaches with dates and it’s wise to double-check these dates before making a special journey.

The RNLI operates a lifeguard presence during the summer months at Croyde Beach and Westward Ho! as well as lifeboat-based nearby Appledore based on the River Taw estuary close to Westward ho! beach. Remind yourself of their beach safety advice before visiting.

Several veterinary practices are available nearby based mainly in Barnstaple or Bideford with selected practices additionally treating exotic pets.

If you’re planning to stay in the area, then Sykes Holidays holiday cottages rentals offer a number of holiday lets in a variety of differing dog-friendly properties with a selection near to the beaches but these do get booked very quickly. There’s a range of modern and traditional properties close to the coastline and Barnstaple and Bideford areas.

The biggest doggie tips are to remember to take lots of fresh water and a collapsible bowl for your thirsty dog and old towels to clean off the sand before going home! Don’t forget to take your rubbish away with you. Best to take both short and long leads with you and a muzzle if you think your dog requires it on busy summer beaches.

Before you travel you may like to use our useful Guides particularly if you are a new pet owner.

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Prices and information correct at time of writing. Images courtesy Visit Devon

Dog-Friendly Beaches in North Devon

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