Saunton Sands, North Devon
Brief Intro: Just one big beautiful stretch of sand, Saunton is the most popular beach in the North Devon area. Real waves here, with huge swells “out the back” and a relatively smaller, mushy inside break on the beach. This is a good place to learn to wave sail, especially as there is no shore dump. At low tide it is still sailable but involves a half mile walk to the water's edge.
Please note: this is NOT a beach for beginners.
Beach faces: West
Best wind direction: South-west and North-west are cross shore. North-westerly winds are usually stronger than forecast.
Best direction for waves: North-west and South-west. South or South-east can give good cross off wave riding.
Not good: East. Southerly winds are usually weaker than forecast as cross offshore.
Tide: Low to mid tide is best for all levels. The push really builds the lines and widens the gaps. The ebb gives smaller waves but not much time between the sets. Forget spring high tide; you’ll get mullered.
What’s on the bottom: Sand
Any hazards?: Downend Point at the North end is rocky, so keep well away by walking well down the beach in a southerly. Zillions of surfers in the summer.
Other water users:
Surfers, dolphins, (muppets) puppets and meat trays.
Suitability/levels: Advanced only. Learner wave sailors can have fun bashing up and down on the inside.
It does get big so losing your kit is a distinct possibility, especially out the back in the breaking swells. It may take you a while but with no rocks or coral, all you will have to deal with is breaking waves on a sandy beach.
Instruction: None other than go as fast and as high as you can and don't fall off!
Yes, from www.atlantic-action.com.
Friendly factor: Plenty of room here as the beach is over 3 miles long. Watch out for the grumpy local sailors though!
No wind alternatives: Other than sandcastles? Farming used to be viable. I think there is a library?
Seriously though, the Exmoor National Park has over 700 miles of footpaths
and the Tarka Trail over 40 miles of cycle track. Should keep you busy!
||Yes, but an outside one.
www.atlantic-action.com, www.amped.co.uk in Braunton
||Snack bar & restaurant
||Summer costs £5 a time, in winter you can get away with it.
Over 14 to choose from in Croyde, Georgeham and Braunton. The White Lion in Braunton does a fantastic curry menu.
Accommodation:Try www.marsdens.co.uk or www.northdevon.com
Local hotshots: We don't like to brag.
Local knowledge/secrets: The real issue is where to sail in North Devon. There are many good locations close by and for the best break there are some clues at www.f-loop.net
Extra: Andy from Atlantic Action www.atlantic-action.com/ is offering a jeroboam of champagne for anyone who sails the three main buoys off the points (the Bar, Baggy and Morte) in one year (January-January). Ask him about his disclaimer and his aim to raise a lot of charity sponsorship first.
How to get there: Use of a car or similar mechanised transport is best. Drive it up the A361. When the traffic lights turn green in Braunton go left (B3231), and follow the signs to Saunton. It all takes about an hour from Junction 27 on the M5. Petrol costs more up here, so save a couple of quid and fill-up before you come. Donate the saving to the RNLI
www.f-loop.net & www.atlantic-action.com