The year is nearly over and if you’re anything like us, you’re already planning for your well deserved escapes to North Devon. If you’re heading to North Devon and Exmoor in 2022, here are ten suggestions of great places to visit.
The Valley of Rocks
Located near Lynton and Lynmouth on Exmoor, Valley of Rocks is one of the most beautiful natural scenes in the region. It inspired lots of England’s great romantic poets and it isn’t hard to see why. Plus, it is home to a herd of feral goats, so there’s always something to look at!
Ok, so North Devon is full of gorgeous beaches, but one with incredible views and a little off the beaten track is Broadsands Beach, which is only accessible via the South West Coast Path. The walk is a little steep, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out if you’re wary of the walk, if you follow the path past the signpost, you can find a view point above the beach which is pretty spectacular.
As we’re on the subject of beautiful natural scenery, we can’t not mention Blackchurch Rock. The site is managed by the National Trust, with its own carpark, so you can easily visit whatever the weather. This is a spot that demands to be photographed and you can get an entirely different picture depending on the weather or the time of day, popular times to visit are sunrise and sunset when the light shows through and around the rock like a halo.
Exmoor National Park
Yes, we could narrow this down but honestly, you have to visit Exmoor and explore as much of it as possible! Full of amazing scenery, coastlines, countryside, hills and valleys, as well as those famous ponies, Exmoor is a must visit for 2022.
Accessible by boat or helicopter depending on the season, Lundy Island is just off the North Devon coast and on a clear day you can even see it from the mainland. Lundy means Puffin Island – which is apt considering one of the largest populations of puffins in the UK nests there every year. The island is a designated conservation area and there are plenty of adventure activities to take part in while there – just make sure to book them in with the Island manager before you go.
The Tarka Trail
If you want to see more of the countryside and have a little fun on foot or two wheels, make sure to explore the Tarka Trail. The whole thing is 180 miles long and being mostly level is easily accessible for those with less mobility or little legs. It is also a figure of eight, so even if you do want to spend all day out there, it is very difficult to get lost! The path takes you through unspoiled countryside and has views of beaches, cliffs, rivers and lots of wildlife.
If you’re into watersports, you are going to want to visit Croyde Bay and the neighbouring Saunton Sands and Woolacombe beaches – these are the places to go for surfing, paddleboarding and more! North Devon is known for its excellent watersport conditions and these are some of the most popular beaches to get out on the waves. Croyde has much more to offer than just the award winning beach though, the village is beautiful and features traditional thatched buildings and some amazing National Trust managed walking routes.
This little harbour town is quickly becoming a popular destination for foodies and if you love fresh, seasonal local produce, make sure to visit the quayside or Fore Street and stop off at the many independent establishments selling everything from local seafood to Exmoor reared meat and locally grown vegetables. The town is also home to the controversial Verity statue by Damien Hirst which can be seen in the harbour.
A visitor attraction in its own right, a visit to this privately owned village is like stepping back in time. There are no cars on the roads and the residents use a herd of rescue donkeys to transport goods around, the streets are cobbled and the rooves are thatched, making it a wonderful nostalgic day out.
For a destination with a difference, head to Tunnels Beaches, a series of hand carved tunnels created in the 1820s, leading to a lovely secluded beach. One of the most unique places in the UK, the tunnels were created to guide visitors to a men’s and a women’s beach, as thanks to Victorian sensibilities, there was no mixing allowed!