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Braunton & Braunton Burrows

  • About:

    Braunton, one of the largest villages in England, is situated approximately 6 miles from Ilfracombe. Through the centre runs the Caen Stream, a tributary of the Taw and the village is home to the nearby Braunton Great Field and Braunton Burrows, a nature reserve of world importance. The area is very popular amongst surfers with the beaches of Croyde and Saunton Sands close by.

    The Bakehouse Centre was specially converted from a former bakehouse and two cottages to house today's Museum & Tourist Information. Close by is the Braunton Countryside Centre run by the North Devon Environmental Trust. It's mission is to increase the understanding, awareness and enjoyment of the coastal and farmed landscapes surrounding Braunton.

    The Museum of British Surfing is the national Registered Charity established to preserve our surfing heritage and is situated in The Yard, Caen Street.

    Braunton Burrows

    Braunton Burrows is the largest sand dune system in the UK. The sand dunes are stabilized and held in place by the root systems of a variety of creeping plants. Marram Grass, in particular, is one of the pioneer species which colonize and stabilize the sand hills piled up by the wind. It hosts an extraordinarily diverse plant community, with over 400 recorded species of plant. Its uniqueness and biodiversity is recognised in its designation as both a National Nature Reserve and as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
    Its name is derived from the large numbers of rabbit burrows to be found in the area. The many rabbits have a profound effect on the vegetation of the dunes through their grazing, in many places creating a short, cropped turf of herbs and grasses. The valleys between the dunes, which are known as slacks, are wet and marshy in the winter and host a variety of marsh herbs and low creeping shrubs. Because of the continual cropping by the rabbits, many of the plants are short and stunted and have an entirely different growth form to their normal one. Braunton Burrows is a particularly spectacular place to visit in early July when the majority of the turf plants are flowering.
    Braunton Burrows is a perfect place to go for a long walk with (or without!) your dog but please have consideration for wildlife, farm animals and the environment. In particular the ground nesting birds are extremely vulnerable to disturbance. Dogs should be under control at all times and please pick up after them.


  • Directions:


    Where: SS 450352

    Foot: the South West Coast Path runs just inland of the dunes and links with the Tarka Trail (and then to Braunton and Barnstaple). 

    Bus and train: there are bus links to Barnstaple and nearby Braunton. Barnstaple has a main line train station.

    Cycle: the Tarka Trail provides a good cycle route from Barnstaple to Braunton along the Taw-Torridge Estuary.

    Road: a number of small roads lead to the Burrows from nearby Braunton. Car parking is available off Sandy Lane.