German Shepherd, Devon

Dog friendly beaches in Devon

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With two world-famous national parks and over 500 miles of coastline, Devon is a dog owner’s paradise with walks in abundance. Some of the best places to take your pooch in Devon are the beaches with safe, clean water for paddling and swimming and plenty of craggy cliffs, coves, and caves to explore together.

Not all beaches in the county are geared up for our four-legged friends during the summer months. That’s why we consulted our canine beach experts for their recommendations of the best dog friendly beaches in Devon. Seafaring dogs will love this southwestern county and whether you’re looking to takes yours for a swim on the south coast or a run on the north, we’ve got a dog friendly beach in Devon for every occasion.

Ness Cove Beach, Teignmouth

Ness Cove Beach, Teignmouth
Ness Cove: yesterday a smuggler's pleasure, today a visitor's paradise

Dogs allowed: all year round

Often overlooked by tourists due to its proximity to the ever-popular Teignmouth nearby, Ness Cove is firmly in the locals’ hearts! The beach is tucked away underneath the Jurassic cliffs of the Ness Headland which must be passed through via the intriguingly named Smuggler’s Tunnel.

It’s important to check the tide tables before your visit to Ness Cove beach as most of the sand is submerged at high tide. However, at low tide, a wonderful stretch of sand is revealed. There’s plenty of space for your dog to bound about on the fine red shingle and coarse sand and in addition, there is a designated dog-exercise area. There are no restrictions on dog-walkers other than the usual duty to clean up after your pet so you’re free to let them off the lead and have a swim together. Marker buoys prevent boats from getting too close to the designated swimming area in the absence of lifeguards. Nor are there any facilities on the actual beach, but toilets, cafes and a shop can be found at the cliff-top end of the tunnel.

Fairy Cove, Paignton

Fairy Cove, Paignton
Fairy Cove: a real life fairytale

Dogs allowed: all year round

This is one of the lesser-known beaches on the English Riviera, but a favourite of the dog-loving author of this article. Fairy Cove is tucked away just behind Paignton harbour wall, it comprises red sand and shingle with awe-inspiring red sandstone cliffs at the back. At low tide, the beach is separated from the sea by flat rocks which are dotted with rock pools that will fascinate your kids and pooches alike.

Nearby is the Burma Star Memorial Garden, remembering those who fought in Burma and Southeast Asia during the Second World War, this is in keeping with the peaceful theme of the well-sheltered beach which feels like a tranquil oasis of calm in this busy section of coastline. While Fairy Cove is a great beach for the family, there’s not a great deal in the way of facilities, but Paignton Harbour is close by with a range of cafes, shops and public toilets.

Lynmouth Beach, Lynmouth

Lynmouth Beach, Lynmouth
Lynmouth: a lovely little hideaway

Dogs allowed: all year round

Lynmouth is a shingle beach situated just below the village of Lynmouth on the northern border of Exmoor National Park, surrounded by spectacular high cliffs, hills and woodlands. There’s plenty of wildlife to be spotted in this area - watch out for deer amongst the trees and dolphins breaking the surf at this dog-friendly beach in Devon.

The beach here is about 500 meters wide and can provide a great place for your dog to let off steam during the summer. Lynmouth is also known as one of the best surf spots in Devon under the right conditions, as well as being a good spot for fishing and rock pooling when the tide goes out. As for facilities, there is ample parking, a gift shop, a fish bar and public toilets, whilst deckchairs are available for rental on the beach during the summer season. The Lynton Cliff Railway transports visitors up the side of a cliff into the town of Lynton and is well-worth the ride just for the view alone.

East Portlemouth, Salcombe

East Portlemouth, Salcombe
East Portlemouth: all the ingredients for a great day

Dogs allowed: all year round

In one of Devon’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and opposite the buzzing town of Salcombe is a long sandy stretch of beaches skirting round the coast from East Portlemouth almost to the open sea. This trio of beaches – Fisherman’s Cove, Smalls Cove and Mill Bay – are quieter than the Salcombe beaches over the water and so they are a wonderful place to relax, enjoy an ice cream, build sandcastles, and soak up the sun.

Dogs are welcome on the beach 365 days a year and the woodland backdrop and access to the South West Coast path make this an idyllic spot for a walk together. With clean shallow water this is also a great beach for kids and is popular with keen kayakers and paddle boarders. Access is from the village itself or by ferry from Salcombe.

Saunton Sands, Saunton

Saunton Sands, Saunton
Saunton Sands: where the estuaries become the sea

Dogs allowed: all year round

Home to one of the most unique and impressive dune systems in the country, Saunton Sands is bordered by the combined estuaries of the rivers Taw and Torridge. You’ll find three and a half miles of golden sand to run around on with your pooch and throw balls and sticks to your heart’s content.

Saunton Sands is a popular spot for dog walkers, families and longboarders, as well as the occasional celebrity. Known as one of the most dog-friendly beaches in Devon, Saunton Sands welcomes dogs 365 days a year so long as the owner removes all waste matter. Dog owners asked to turn left at the slipway and the simple zone system means that you only have to keep your dog on a lead for the opening five minutes, after that the beach and dunes are your oyster.

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