North Devon has some of the finest coastal scenery in the UK - from the deep wooded valleys or 'combes' that typify the Exmoor coastline to the large golden sandy beaches at Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton. The new UNESCO World Biosphere status is centred on Braunton Burrows a unique area of over 1000 acres of sand dunes populated by rare plants and stretching out along the Taw/Torridge estuary into marshes and the mediaeval Great Field.
The beaches make the area popular not only for family holidays but also for thousands of watersports enthusiasts who come all year round for surfing, kite-surfing, wind-surfing, kayaking and beach activities such as kite-buggying and sand yachting. The Goldcoast OceanFest in June celebrates many of these exciting activities in a two-day extreme sports bonanza.
The South West Coast Path and Exmoor National Park also make the area a popular destination for walking with the increasingly popular Walking Festival in May each year taking in some of the area's finest coast and countryside. The Tarka Trail is centred on Barnstaple and provides off road opportunities for walking, cycling and one of the most scenic train rides in the region down to Exeter.
There are ancient harbours in spectacular settings at Lynmouth and Ilfracombe and Combe Martin has the longest village High Street in Britain - 2.5 miles long ! Barnstaple is the regional centre and encompasses a marvellous indoor Pannier Market.
Tourist Information Centres
Barnstaple, 01271 375000, email, website
Braunton, 01271 816400, email
Combe Martin, 01271 883319, email, website
Ilfracombe, 01271 863001, email, website
Lynton, 01598 752225, email, website
South Molton, 01769 574122, email, website
Woolacombe, 01271 870553, email, website