England’s first natural World Heritage site, and named the Jurassic Coast, the coastline from Exmouth in East Devon to Swanage in Dorset has a wonderful variety of south facing beaches, from the two miles of golden sands at Exmouth to the red sandstone of Sidmouth, the white cliffs of Beer, and the wonderful collection of fossils at Lyme Regis. There is a beach to suit all ages and tastes, and the details below can help you make your choice.
Two miles of flat sandy beach, overlooking the estuary. Very popular with families. No bathing between red flags – dangerous currents. Zoned swimming area. Voluntary beach rescue service on duty on weekends and Bank Holidays. Car parking at Foxholes and along the seafront. Eating facilities nearby. Windsurfing, model railway, sea angling, boat trips, sailing, children’s swings and roundabout, family amusement park, beach hut hire, telescopes, refreshments, deckchair and windbreak hire. Disabled access. Dog ban between Maer Rocks and Octagon kiosk, May 1 to September 30 (except dogs in the charge of a registered blind person). Public toilets nearby. Water quality monitored by the Environment Agency (EA). Results posted on seafront.
2. Exmouth, Sandy Bay
Half-mile sheltered cove, sandy beach. Car parking above beach. Eating facilities nearby, also Devon Cliffs holiday park with licensed bar and lots of entertainment facilities. No disabled access. Dog ban mid June to mid September. Public toilets nearby. Water quality monitored by the Environment Agency.
3. Budleigh Salterton
Two-mile-long bay, large pebbled flat beach flanked by red sandstone cliffs. Quiet and uncrowded. Zoned from powered craft. Parking at Lime Kiln car park at eastern end of promenade and in the nearby town. Eating facilities by the beach and in the town. Pubs and accommodation in the town. Beach hut hire. *AONB. Disabled access. Dog ban between the Outfall opposite South Parade and Lime Kiln car park from May 1 to September 30 (except dogs in the charge of a registered blind person). There are public toilets nearby. Wide esplanade with generous seating provision. Water quality monitored by the Environment Agency and results posted on seafront.
4. Otterton, Ladram Bay
Small sheltered cove, approached through caravan park, shingle beach. Car parking at caravan park. Eating facilities nearby, pub/café at top of slipway. Rowing boats, motorboats, canoes, deckchairs for hire. *AONB. Disabled access. Dog ban April 1 to September 30. Public toilets nearby. Water quality monitored by the Environment Agency.
5. Sidmouth, Jacob's Ladder Beach
Sheltered bay approx one mile long. Can be accessed from town via stretch of beach and cliffside walkway. Best approached from clifftop access about half a mile out of town. Backdrop of red sandstone cliffs. Popular for families. Sand/pebbles, large expanses of sand and rock pools when tide recedes. Voluntary inshore rescue service operates weekends/Bank Holidays. Parking at Manor Road car park two minutes from clifftop gardens. Eating facilities on side of cliff and clifftop gardens. Hotels/ accommodation near car park and town. Beach hut and deckchair hire. *AONB. Disabled access. Dogs banned from beach opposite promenade area May 1 to Sept 30. Public toilets in clifftop gardens. Water quality monitored by the Environment Agency. Results posted on seafront.
6. Sidmouth, Town Beach
Approximately a mile long, fairly sheltered. Mainly pebbles, occasionally sandy when tide recedes. Zoned from craft. Voluntary inshore rescue service at weekends/Bank Holidays. Car parking at Ham Lane behind Sailing Club at eastern end of town, and Bedford Lawn (bottom of Station Road). Eating facilities on Esplanade and in nearby town. Hotels, accommodation, pubs on seafront. Angling/sailing clubs, pleasure boat trips, deckchair hire. *AONB. Disabled access. Dog ban May 1 to Sept 30. Public toilets nearby. Water quality monitored by the Environment Agency. Results posted on seafront.
7. Salcombe Regis, Salcombe Mouth
Partly owned by National Trust. Very quiet ‘away-from-it-all’ sloping pebbly beach. Approached by footpath through fields from Salcombe Regis village (one mile), or along beach from Sidmouth. Parking in church car park at Salcombe Regis. No facilities. *AONB. No disabled access. No dog restrictions.
8. Weston Mouth
Very quiet, sloping pebbly beach, cliff back-drop. Pebbles can shelve under water. Partly owned by the National Trust. Access by footpath down steep hillside from hamlet of Weston (approx 1 mile). Small car park at Weston. *AONB. No facilities. No dog restrictions.
Owned by the National Trust. About two miles of long, gently sloping pebble beach. Uncommercialised and uncrowded, popular with families. Car parking adjacent to beach. Eating facilities in beachside restaurant/café and village (tearoom and two pubs). Motor boat hire, fishing trips for parties. *AONB. Disabled access. Dog ban on beach in front of café from May 1 to September 30. Public toilets nearby. Water quality monitored by the Environment Agency.
Sheltered cove backed by limestone cliffs. Sloping pebbly beach. Take care bathing, beach shelves under water. Working fishermen activity. Parking in village behind the Dolphin or at Beer Head, at the top of Common Lane. Eating facilities in nearby town and on beach. Pubs and accommodation nearby. Boat trips, deckchair hire, fishing trips, beach hut hire, boat hire. *AONB. Disabled access. Dog ban on western part of beach May 1 to September 30. Public toilets nearby. Water monitored by the Environment Agency. Results posted near beach.
Approximately one-mile-long bay. Spacious, gently sloping pebbly beach. Zoned from powered craft. Car parking in Harbour Road. Eating facilities, pubs and accommodation along seafront and in nearby town. Children’s amusements. *AONB. Beach huts, deckchair hire. Disabled access. Dog ban between Castle Hill and River Axe, May 1 to Sept 30. Public toilets nearby. Water quality monitored by the Environment Agency. Results posted on seafront.
Note: the future of some of the sea front toilets is uncertain as many were due to close because of funding difficulties this year.
Be sea smart at the seaside
Going to the seaside is one of our oldest and favourite pastimes. Every year more than 26 million holidays and 110 million day trips are taken at the British seaside.
Seaside holidays are all about having fun but every year there are hundreds of accidents that could easily be prevented by following some basic safety rules. We hope you find that this seaside safety information helps you enjoy your holiday on the East Devon coast by making you aware of some of the things to avoid doing and some of the things you can do to make your holiday in the sun trouble free. Dial 999 and ask for coastguard if you see someone in trouble.
When you’re at the beach:
- Always tie inflatables to the shore and make sure children are within easy reach at all times – rubber rings, inflatable toys and boats can easily drift miles out to sea with just a light breeze.
- Keep clear of any cliff edges as they can be slippery when they get wet – some of the cliffs around Devon are very high and can give way under foot.
- Always swim close to the beach in line with the shore.
- Don’t drink and drown – eating and drinking before swimming may give you cramps while you’re in the water.
- Always check the weather and tides before you leave home.
- Check the beach when you arrive and beware of rocks and breakwaters.
- Look out for warning signs and flags – red flag means it’s dangerous to swim, a red and yellow flag means lifeguards are on patrol and you should swim in the area between flags, a black and white flag means it’s an area used by surfers only and is not suitable for swimming.
- Avoid rip tides and strong under surface currents which can carry you out to sea – calmer waters between areas of surf usually means dangerous rip currents.
When you’re at sea:
- Plan your trip carefully – remember to leave your trip details with friends or family ashore if you’re then overdue there is someone to alert the Coastguard.
- Triple check the weather, safety equipment and your boat before you set sail – make sure you have a correct lifejacket an board for each person and that each person wears the life jacket at all times.
- Always carry spare fuel or a paddle, water and food – just in case you are caught short.
- Sail within your limits and ability.
- Make sure everyone on board knows how to use the boat’s safety equipment.
- Ensure you have an appropriate means of communication should the worst happen and you find you need to contact the coastguard.
- For safety and weather advice before you head out to sea, remember you can contact the local coastguard. They will be able to tell you both the short and long-term weather forecasts and advise you on the tide times for the area.
- National directory enquiries have the telephone numbers for all the local coastguard stations around the UK. The local paper for the area should also print daily tide time tables.
Most importantly be safe: enjoy your time on the East Devon coast.