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Croyde Bay

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by AMANDA WESTGATE (subscribe)
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Published October 13th 2016

If you have even the vaguest interest in surfing, or you are a poet, photographer, painter or walker, then it's time to share a secret with you. Croyde Bay on the North Devon coast could well prove to be your slice of heaven.

Boasting breath-taking sunsets, golden sand and an unspoilt coastline, Croyde has a calm serenity on land but also a restless sea.

Standing within the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Croyde Bay faces the Atlantic Ocean near the western limit of the Bristol Channel.

The sheltered beach is definitely a big draw for surfers, and there is rarely a day without someone braving the waters.

During the summer, Croyde's beach has double lifeguard patrols, and a strict flag system; as the waters are not for the faint hearted or foolhardy. Swimming there has been likened to trying to go forwards in a washing machine cycle. However, the shape of the bay funnels the sea on to the beach and offers surfers steep waves that break quickly along a wide stretch.

The strong tides also leave the sand compacted for most of the day. This means family sandcastle building is not always easy, but the water weaves patterns on the beach that add to ever changing view.

Rock pooling is also superb at Croyde and the dunes are fun to explore for all ages.

The surfing dominance of the visitors reduces the average age of both residents and holiday makers. So the street food revolution has arrived there during the summer months, lending a party atmosphere to the beach approach and nearby roads. There are also some lively pubs and evening cafes.

Croyde village, a short walk from the beach, is charming with all the quaint shops , pubs and cafes you need. The thatched rooves will fascinate visitors from overseas.

Within easy travelling distance are other wonderful beaches for both surfers and those who appreciate seascape. Saunton Sands, Woolacombe and Putsborough each offer a varied view and surfing experience.

No visit to Croyde would be complete without a walk to Baggy Point, a magnificent headland owned by the National Trust. It has dramatic cliffs and excellent views across the bay.

Bird watching and coasteering are popular pursuits along the coast paths. There are whale bones and wreck posts for children to discover, and even the occasional fairy door in the dry stone walls. Wildflowers are abundant and there are easy access options for those who prefer to spend the bulk of their visit eating a Devon cream tea in the local cafes.
Look out too for the Urban art by global legend Mau Mau.

One thing not to be missed though, are those Croyde sunsets. Truly one of Mother Nature's greatest gifts.
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Where: Croyde Bay
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