Best dog friendly beaches in Devon
Devon is a great place for a dog friendly beach break, with everything from hidden rocky coves on the coastal path to great sweeps of sand to explore with your four-legged friend. We often head down from our Bristol base, dogs in tow, and these are five of our favourites, whatever sort of dog friendly beach you’re after. They’re all dog friendly year-round too, so you can take your pick, grab the lead and the bags and head off whenever you like.
If you arrive at high tide, the rocky beach at Lynmouth might not be the great stretch of sand you were looking to run your dog around on, but it’s one of our favourites for its other charms. There’s great rockpooling, fabulous clifftop hiking with stunning views and the near-vertical railway that joins the village in the cove to Lynton above. When the tide recedes, a proper beach is revealed and you can hire a deck chair and sun yourself. With plenty of parking, dogs permitted year round and the village’s amenities, it’s a great balance between the more remote coves and huge, golden dog friendly beaches like Croyde and Woolacombe, that have restrictions.
Beesands is well worth pushing on that bit further into Devon for. As you head out towards the south edge of the South Devon AONB, you find some truly unspoilt countryside and eventually arrive at the village from which the beach takes its name. It’s a popular fishing spot, so might not be the best choice if you don’t trust your dog not to investigate the odd bait box, but there’s a lovely walk over to the Start Bay Lighthouse and you can end the day at the superb Cricket Inn. The pub’s big doors fold open to let the fresh air in and give the place a casual feel. The food is great, the beer is local and it is, of course, dog friendly.
Rockham Bay/ Mortehoe
Timing is everything if you’re heading to Rockham Bay, known by the locals as Mortehoe. Access is heavily restricted at high tide and with a two kilometre walk and a few sets of steep steps taking you from the nearest parking, you need to think carefully about when you’ll arrive. Get it right though and you thread through the clifftop wildflowers to find yourself on a wonderfully peaceful beach, with cliffs looming behind and great granite blocks jutting out around you. At low tide a long rocky shelf is unveiled, with pools full of marine life just waiting to be barked at.
When the sun is shining and the sea sparkles, a visit to Slapton can feel almost tropical. A long strip of pale sand separates the sea from the freshwater lake of Slapton Ley and makes for an atmospheric walk that can feel like you’re strolling on a desert island. Even on the many occasions when it’s feeling a bit more British, it’s still one of our favourite dog friendly beaches in Devon, as the lake is a nature reserve, home to many bird species and rare flowers. There’s a classic little beach café too, the perfect place to grab a cup of tea and hunker down out of the tropical rain.
Leas Foot Sands
If you’re in the Thurlestone area at peak season and don’t fancy seeing your dog go crashing through the often-packed beach, take a little walk over to Leas Foot Sands, which tends to be much less busy and also less windy. For the bit of extra space you sacrifice facilities like proximity of parking and nearby toilets, but both can be found on the other side of the seafront golf course. Although there are no lifeguards on duty, swimming is reasonably safe and there’s some good snorkelling among the rocks at both ends of the beach. If you go a little further north you’ll hit Yarmer, another lovely, dog friendly beach where trickier access makes for space to run and chase.
Chris is our copywriter, who spins enticing articles out of rough notes and travel tales. Having grown up in rural Wiltshire with only cats, he defected to Team Dog and now roams the countryside with Porth, a gorgeous spaniel named after a Welsh town in what he considers to be a joke. They love disappearing into the hills and coming back hungry for a good pub meal, although Porth has not been convinced to follow Chris into vegetarianism.
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