Woolacombe Croyde & Saunton
Facing the waters of the Atlantic, between Ilfracombe and Barnstaple, and within the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are the fantastic trio of beaches at Woolacombe, Croyde, and Saunton. The longest of the three and my personal favorite is the beach at Woolacombe. At over three miles long, made of golden sands, gently sloping and backed by a dune system, it's unsurprising that Woolacombe Beach is regarded as one of the finest beaches in Europe, and rated by Tripadvisor as Britain's best beach in 2015, as well as 4th in Europe and 13th best in the World. Although in the summer the beach gets very busy with tourists, at three miles long it's always possible to get away from the crowds and find a bit of seclusion.
Nearby is the smaller but scenic beach at Croyde. Exposed to Atlantic swells yet sheltered by two headlands, Croyde has some of the best surfing conditions in Devon and is, therefore, an extremely popular location for surfers.
The third of the trio is Saunton Sands, another long sandy beach, backed by the impressive dune system of Braunton Burrows, which is one of the largest dune systems in the UK and of such international importance it's been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.