North Devon Coast

National Landscape

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Broad Strand Beach

Often mistakenly referred to as Broad Sands, Broad Strand beach can be reached through woodland forming part of the National Trust’s Golden Cove property. A remote, iconic and picturesque location of the North Devon Coast AONB, be aware that the access path comprises over 200 steps and that there are no facilities on this beach. 

The area between Combe Martin and Watermouth cove is well worth exploring. Variations in soil conditions have  resulted in a mosaic of different woodland communities, each with its own selection of flora and fauna.

 In June and July parts of the steep, sloping grassland above the beach can be seen carpeted in common spotted orchids, betony and clumps of ling heather, interspersed with the scrambling, pale mauve flowers of wood vetch, one of our most beautiful native and scarce vetches. Later on flowers of lime-loving plants such as carline thistle and yellow-wort are visible under some small hanging, rare Whitebeam trees. The cliffs are home to a colony of nesting fulmars and these small members of the albatross  family can be seen flying in and out with their stiff wings held at 180 degrees.

At low tide it is possible to explore the wooded rocky islands, many of which are spectacularly covered by the ancient fossils of primitive crinoids. These little islands host stunted oak trees and last year a large patch of another scarce plant, the bastard balm, was discovered.


Care is needed – Broad Strand is not ideal for anyone with a poor level of health, fitness or for the faint hearted.

Access is from the Coast Path, with over 200 steep steps down to Broad Strand beach. Some areas are only accessible at very low tide or by kayak. Watch out for incoming tides! Check local tide times.