Last week I shared the ‘Top 5 Things to do in North Devon‘ and mentioned that in order to really appreciate North Devon, you need to discover a hidden gem. Luckily, I have a few favourites to share with you that are a real mixture of off the beaten track, coastlines and stunning scenic walks. These are also local secrets only, so you won’t find many grockles* here!
Possibly one of my favourites on the list, this place is only a 10-minute drive down the road for me and is a real hidden gem. Located past Bideford and on the way toward Clovelly, you’d miss the turning if you didn’t know what to look out for.
To get to it you’ll need to drive down a windy country lane, and park at the top of the village which you can walk down through, to get to the coast. Watch the tide times, as the sea can come up right to the slip way. You want to make sure the tide is out when you visit so you can wander along and pebbles, admire the waterfall and maybe even go rock pooling.
With so many great beaches on offer in North Devon, they can fill up fast. Locals tend to stay away, especially in peak season, and instead, seek out quieter spots.
Just past Ilfracombe, there is a little village called Hele that has the most incredible tea room (more on that another time!), and a small pebble beach scattered with rugged coastline. This place is particularly popular with dog walkers, so if you want somewhere off the beaten track and full with dogs, Hele is the place to be.
Abottsham Cliffs (Greencliff)
Now, I am incredibly lucky that this particular spot is only a 5 minute drive away from my house. I have been going here since I was a child, and is one of my favourite places to visit.
Abottsham is a small village located just past Bideford, and as you drive through the village you’ll notice a small sign pointing you in the direction of Greencliff. Head down the country lane, all the way down, and you’ll be able to park along the side of the lane. Follow the coast path all the way along and be met with glorious views that expand for miles. Take some matches and create a bonfire, or even have a BBQ – this place is the perfect setting for a magical evening.
Finally, we have Whistle&Pound, a spot so secret that some locals have never even heard of it! It’s probably because its quite far out, just near Exmoor Zoo, but if you are visiting Devon and have the time, it’s well worth a visit.
Whistle&Pound is a large reservoir, surrounded by acres of gorgeous woodland. Take a picnic, walk around and enjoy the nature. You could easily spend an entire afternoon here. My tip – visit in September just as the leaves are starting to change colour. It may be too cold to go for a dip, but the autumnal vibes would be worth it.
*In Devon we call tourists ‘grockles’ (pronounced how it’s spelt). So if you ever do visit and come across that word, you are now in the know!
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