Why North Devon has become a mecca for surfers

North Devon has long been a favourite location for British surfers, due to its wide variety of waves that break along the famous golden beaches. However, in April it gained international recognition as a surfing hotspot when it was granted the status of a World Surfing Reserve, one of just 12 in the world. It now ranks alongside other surfing hubs such as Malibu in California and Australia’s Gold Coast. It will now become a mecca for surfers, both from Britain and abroad.

To help you on your surfing pilgrimage to the sun soaked sands of north Devon, here are five of our favourite surfing spots that we would recommend you check out.


Famous for its Holiday parks in North Devon, Woolacombe is also a firm favourite of surfers at all levels. Surrounded by wild dunes and rolling hills, Woolacombe bay consists of a two-mile stretch of sand that has been named ​​one of the best beaches in the world by Tripadvisor among many others.

If you don’t already have all the kit you need for surfing, then you can hire a board and wetsuit from Woolacombe Surf Centre for prices that start at £16 for three hours. You can also pay for surfing lessons from here, for £35 for three hours.


Characterised by its barrelling waves, Croyde is a popular location for experienced surfers at low tide. 

With waves reaching heights of over six feet, the possibility of a board snapping is not out of the question. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart on a stormy day, but beginners can hit the waves on a gentler day. But there are better locations on here for those starting out with the sport. 

Saunton Sands

Loved by longboarders in the UK, Saunton sands are graced by long and slow waves which peel off its headland.

Even if you aren’t a longboarder, you can watch as local pros gracefully weave across the waves and appreciate their talent.

If you are a novice surfer, the gentle waves make it a great place to learn with group lessons available from £40 for two hours, and boards for hire at £15 for three hours; both sources from the Walking on Waves Surf School.

Word of warning, whilst it may provide an affordable day of adrenaline filled fun, the carpark is extortionate. It costs £8.50 for four hours. If you are holidaying nearby you should try and join the dawn surfers who hit the beach before 8am when parking is free.


Just south of Woolacombe Beach, there is an equally popular surf spot at Putsborough. Protected from strong south-westerly winds, the beach can provide clean waves even when everywhere else is too stormy. During the summer, it is a family-friendly bonanza due to smooth waves and smaller peaks than other surf spots.


Nicknamed ‘little Switzerland’ by some famous poets in the 19th century, Lynmouth is known to most because of its iconic railway and brilliant views. The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway is the UK’s only fully water powered railway and a marvel of British engineering.

So why is it on a surfing list? There are rarely any waves here, but when a big south-westerly swell rolls in, surfers will travel hundreds of miles to ride one of the largest point breaks in the country.

This is recommended for only the most advanced surfers with lots of experience, as there are no lifeguard services here.

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