The North Devon Coast was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in September 1959. This is a coastal area of southwest England, known for its dramatic cliffs, wild seas and sandy beaches at Woolacombe, Saunton Sands and Croyde Bay. Natural features range from biodiverse sand dunes at Braunton Burrows to rocky coves along the South West Coast Path, which spans the coastline. The Tarka Trail footpath and cycleway passes the riverfront, medieval town of Barnstaple.
Things to do and see
After your horse riding there is plenty to do and for non-riders in the group, there are lots of coastal related activities
- Woolacombe Beach - There’s a good reason Woolacombe was voted Britain’s best beach in 2015 and 2016, as this 3 mile long stretch of sand offers great surfing for beginners through to experts. Woolacombe will work at all points of tide and the long lined up sets are popular with longboarders. If you are new to surfing you’ll find an array of surf schools ready to get you up and riding your first wave. Water-sports equipment to hire & lifeguards on duty. Woolacombe EX34 7DL
- Nick Thorn Surf Coaching - The team at Nick Thorn Surf School have helped hundreds of people get into the water and experience the thrill of surfing their first wave. Nana Farm, 59 Putsborough Rd, Croyde, Braunton EX33 1LB tel: 01271 871337
- Baggy Point – National Trust site on the impressive headland at Croyde with crashing waves and dramatic cliffs – perfect for walking or cycling. From short family trails to something more challenging, there are fascinating circular walks and cycle trails around Baggy Point to suit everybody.
- Tarka Trail - The Tarka Trail is named after Henry Williamson’s famous novel “Tarka the Otter”. The story was based around many of the locations along the Trail, which follows the route of a disused railway line between Braunton and Meeth. With up to 21 miles of safe, level and traffic-free riding on offer, a bike is the perfect way of exploring the area. Hire a bike to explore the trail from Tarka Cycle Hire, The Railway Station,Barnstaple,Devon EX31 2A tel: 01271 324202
- The Ilfracombe Aquarium - Quaint aquarium offering local fish exhibits & feeding demonstrations along with a gift shop & cafe. The Quay, Ilfracombe EX34 9EQ tel:01271 864533
- Exmoor Zoo - contact orientated zoo with pumas, marmosets and lemurs, for handling experiences and daily talks. Bratton Fleming, Barnstaple EX31 4SG tel:01598 763352
- Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park - Zoo set in gardens with theme park train ride, fossil museum and life-size animatronic dinosaurs. Combe Martin, Ilfracombe, North Devon EX34 0NG tel: 01271 882486
Where to eat and drink
- Red Barn – Family-friendly surfer bar-grill for all-day comfort food and real ales, plus live music on Fridays. Barton Rd, Woolacombe EX34 7DF tel: 01271 870264
- Captain Jack’s - Woolacombe's oldest buildings and the last standing traditional pub in this town. Nautically themed free house pub and restaurant with unique character and great atmosphere. Lovely beer garden, great food, cool tunes and fine selection of rums. Barton Road, Woolacombe EX34 7BA tel: 01271 870648
- The Kings Arms - Candlelit bar with a dining area, fireplace and sofas, plus a quieter restaurant and large balcony. Chapel St, Georgeham, Braunton EX33 1JJ tel: 01271 890240
- Espresso Seafood Bar and Grill – Fresh seafood restaurant also serving coffees, light lunches, all-day grazing meals and dinner. 1 St James Pl, Ilfracombe EX34 9BH tel: 01271 855485
- Noel Corston – is one of the county's most exciting hidden gems. Booking essential at this very small award winning fine dining restaurant. South St, Woolacombe EX34 7BB tel: 01271 871187
How to get there
Riding and accommodation are in separate locations so a car is advisable. However, if you enjoy walking it is possible to manage on foot, as they are roughly a 20 minute walk away.
From the East and North of England use the M4 and M5 to access Devon. Leave the M5 at junction 27 heading towards Barnstable and Tiverton on the A361 to Barnstable. More specific directions and postcodes will be given at time of booking.
Use the GWR service to Exeter or Tiverton and then change for Barnstable. Then take a taxi to your accommodation.
There is a bus service that takes you from Barnstable to within walking distance of the stables
Beachrunner taxi 07825 163284
Ezee Cabs 07966 548303
Woolacombe taxis 01271 871444
Woolacombe beach is iamong the top rated beaches in Europe
Surf board lessons and other watersports hire are available on the beaches
National Trust Headland Baggy Point
Use the Tarka Trail to discover stunning Devon Countryside
The Ilfracombe Aquarium
The Exmoor Zoo
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park