Which beaches in Devon are best for a winter walking tour?

11 June 2024

As the chilling winds of winter approach, the beautiful land of Devon transforms into a picturesque winter wonderland. The alluring beaches, traditionally sought-after for warm summers, now lure the adventurous souls who revel in the tranquility of the season. You can enjoy the breathtaking views of the sea, feel the frosty sands under your feet, and soak in the beauty of the region. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best beaches in Devon for your winter walking tour.

1. Bantham Beach

Welcome to the spectacular Bantham Beach, located in South Devon. This beach is not only known for its expansive sandy coast but also for its stunning views of Bigbury Bay. It's the perfect place to start your winter walking tour.

During the off-season, the beach is relatively desolate, providing a peaceful walk interspersed with the rhythmic sounds of crashing waves. The dunes also offer a unique path to walk, lined with tufts of grass peeking through the sandy mounds. From the beach, you can take a 3-mile walking route around the Avon Estuary, leading you through quiet paths and offering panoramic views of the bay.

2. Woolacombe Beach

Moving towards North Devon, you may visit Woolacombe Beach, a three-mile long stretch of golden sands. This award-winning beach is one of the finest in the region, and even in winter, it offers an unforgettable experience.

The coastal path running parallel to the beach is part of the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This makes it an ideal location for a winter walk, as you can enjoy the beauty of the beach and the surrounding landscapes. As you walk along, you'll see the dramatic cliffs rising above the sea, carpeted with frost-kissed grass, an image that's sure to be etched in your memory.

3. Hope Cove Beach

Hope Cove Beach, nestled in South Devon, is a charming, dual-sectioned beach comprising of Inner and Outer Hope. It's a splendid spot for a winter walking tour when the usual summer crowds have retreated.

The South West Coast Path crosses the beach, providing an excellent walking route with picturesque views of the sea and cliffs. A highlight of this location is the quaint village nearby, where you can warm up with a cup of hot cocoa or a hearty meal at the local cafes and restaurants. The sandy paths, quiet ambiance, and stunning sea views make Hope Cove Beach a perfect spot for a winter beach walk.

4. Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands is another jewel in North Devon that you cannot afford to miss. This beach is a vast expanse of sandy flatland, backed by the impressive Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

A winter walking tour here offers a unique combination of beach and nature reserve. You can stroll along the water's edge, watch the winter birds, and marvel at the dunes, all at once. The South West Coast Path runs through here as well, offering a diverse range of views and landscapes. The paths are well marked, and the sandy terrain is easy to walk on, making this beach suitable for all ages and abilities.

5. Blackpool Sands

Situated in South Devon, Blackpool Sands is a sheltered bay surrounded by evergreens and pines, making it an idyllic winter beach. Contrary to its name, the beach is not sandy but has fine shingle.

The South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty blesses the beach with stunning sea views and landscapes, which look even more mesmerizing in the winter. There's also a nature reserve nearby, allowing you to combine your beach walk with a woodland stroll. Whether you're walking along the beach or on the designated footpath, you can enjoy the tranquil beauty of this beach all to yourself in winter.

In conclusion, Devon, with its spectacular beaches, offers an array of options for winter walking tours. Whether you prefer to walk on sands, enjoy a peaceful stroll along tranquil paths, or explore biosphere reserves, Devon has something for everyone.

6. Bigbury-on-Sea Beach

If you're seeking a winter walk that combines a teeming wildlife scene with stunning seascapes, Bigbury-on-Sea Beach is your choice in South Devon. This beach is famous for its iconic art deco hotel located on Burgh Island, accessible by sea tractor during high tide.

Starting at the car park, a well-made path guides you along the grassy cliffs and down to the sandy bay. The walk offers unending views of the spectacular coastline, with the winter months adding a layer of frosty magic to the scenery. The beach is also dog friendly, making it an ideal spot for pet owners.

The South West Coast Path passes through here, and a leisurely stroll can be extended towards the Avon Estuary, where you might be lucky enough to spot a variety of winter birds. After your walk, you can take a warm break at the Bay Cafe and enjoy their delectable food & drink, while overlooking the beautiful beach.

7. Croyde Bay

Situated in North Devon, Croyde Bay is renowned for its fantastic surf and beautiful golden beach. However, it's not just the summer surfers who enjoy this beach; winter walkers will find the crisp air and rolling waves equally captivating.

The coastal path that starts from the beach winds its way up onto the headland, revealing panoramic views of the bay and the wider Devon coast. This beach is close to the Devon Cornwall border, allowing you to explore more regions during your visit to Devon. During the winter months, the path is less crowded, further enhancing the peaceful ambiance.

Croyde Bay is also close to Braunton Burrows, the largest sand dune system in the UK. A detour here offers a diverse landscape and a refreshing change from the beach. For a warm treat after a chilly walk, pop into the nearby restaurants for a hot drink and hearty, locally-sourced meal.


Devon's beaches are a haven for winter walks. From the serene sands of Bantham Beach to the rugged beauty of Croyde Bay, each beach offers a unique experience that can be enjoyed year round. Combine these walks with a visit to a local cafe or restaurant, and you have the perfect recipe for a memorable winter day out.

These are just a few of the best beaches in Devon for a winter walk, but there are many more waiting to be discovered. Whether you're a local or a visitor, a solo traveller or a family, Devon's beaches are sure to offer an unforgettable winter walking experience. So, grab your coat and boots, embrace the chill, and set out to explore the tranquil beauty of Devon's coastlines this winter.

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