My summer break on a budget this year resulted in a tour of North Devon, 3 days of which we decided to stay in Croyde. Preparation for the trip included searching for a reasonably priced B&B. My internet search brought up most B&B's charging between £80-£120 a night per person, but I eventually found the Chapel Farm B&B and booked a room for 2 nights for £120 in total. With that booked our adventures began.
Driving into Croyde we travelled from Honiton in Devon and headed for Barnstable. The trip from Barnstable to the picturesque village of Croyde brought about stunning sights and views as we passed smaller villages all situated along the coastline.
On entering Croyde it was apparent that this small village was a very popular place. With excellent surfing facilities I was expecting the village to be heavily populated with tourists but was quite surprised to see that whilst busy it wasn't heaving.
The roads are very narrow through the village and often frequented by large lorries, thankfully the B&B offered parking, albeit limited. Once parked our first trip was to the pub to catch up with friends. The Thatch based in the heart of Croyde is famous for its live music and community spirit. We sat in the sunshine; though the pub offers plenty of indoor seating should you wish to sit indoors.
In addition to The Thatch, there is also The Manor; both pubs do excellent food, though if I had to choose one I would definitely recommend The Manor for a great meal. Both pubs were bustling despite being end of season. The staff were all very friendly and accommodating and the service excellent. Both pubs were genuine family environments, which offered a more social atmosphere in the evening.
There are a few shops and a cafe in the centre of Croyde, all the basics are there but thankfully it isn't overrun with shops. For those who travelled specifically for the surf, as we did, there is a range of places offering surfboard and wetsuit hire. I would recommend walking towards the beach and then hiring your equipment en route or you could have a 10/15minute walk with a heavy board on your back.
There were four of us making our way to the beach for a surf session and we each hired a wet suit, 2 of us had boots, then 3 body boards and 1 surf board. We paid approximately £60 for the lot.
Croyde Bay is beautiful, well worth the visit just for the sea and sand. There are reasonable facilities, surf school, car park and toilets where the road opens down to the beach, and there was a good presence of lifeguards on hand to monitor those in the water.
We spent a few hours in the sea with our boards and it is amazing how time flies, so much so that when we returned to our stuff, the man next to us said how he had moved it back 3 times otherwise it would have been swept away with the tide! We didn't even realise how quickly it had come in. We were very grateful to that very nice man.
The beach was busy but not over crowded, we went in mid-September so to avoid the kids holidays, despite this there was a healthy atmosphere in the area.
To the right of the beach are a series of rocks, creating their own little rock-pools ready to explore. This is a favourite of mine and I could spend hours engrossed in looking for wildlife amongst the rocks. However a word of warning these rocks are covered in small seas nails and shells. The rest are slippery so unless you are happy getting your feet wet you need to be very careful.
Croyde offers a range of accommodation. There are the B&B's which line the road entering the village, rooms at The Thatch and also adequate camping and caravan sites. Our friends camped at the Ruda Holiday Park. On visiting them I was very impressed by the size of the park, the facilities there and also the washroom/toilet/shower block. Unlike a lot of campsites, these were a good size, solid fixed facilities and not your average portaloos. The reason I don't camp is because I dislike the lack of good facilities on campsites, but I would happily camp at Ruda.
Ruda is right next to the beach but a 10minute walk into the heart of Croyde.
Staying in Croyde was an absolute joy and I wouldn't hesitate to return. This beautiful village unfortunately is not untouched by tourists but in the off peak season is a delightful place to spend a few days exploring.
If you feel you want to explore further afield, Croyde is right by Putsborough Sands (though they charge £5 to park the car before you can get to the beach) and also Woolacombe. Because parking in general in the area is so expensive, we chose not to stop at either of these destinations, instead we made our way to Ilfracombe which isn't too far away. Ilfracombe offers a beautiful harbour town with various things to do and see but that is for a different review.
I have just returned from a long weekend in Croyde and the Goldcoast Oceanfest that was being held there.
The past two summers I have visited Newquay with friends to get away, try a bit of surfing and have a few nights out. I had thought it was a great place but croyde but it to shame in my opinion.
The prices for things like surf hire were more competitive than in Newquay which was a pleasant surprise and we enjoyed many hours in the sea on Croyde bay and the scenery was simply stunning.
A friend who I went with is a big climber and he took me out for my first ever attempt at rock climbing at baggy point and while I was petrified I was so glad he did, the views of the bay and Lundy were spectacular and I was rather pleased with myself for completing what was probably a very easy climb. He said it is one of his favourite places to come for climbing ever and he has climbed all over the country and further afield so I think that speaks for itself.
Obviously compared to a place like Newquay, Croyde is much smaller and has only a few pubs, while we were there there was a festival on with live music and surfing, beach sports and other entertainment so we really were treated. The weather was also amazing which does help.
There are plenty of places to camp and we found somewhere even at a busy time like the festival without booking ahead.
There are some lovely cafe's and other little shops in the village and I liked the fact there wasn't too much there, made it seem a much more relaxed place. I would love to live there!
Croyde is one of the many little gems in North Devon.
It can be found a few miles from Barnstaple on the coast.
Croyde is well known for its long sandy beaches and is a very popular surfing spot.
All though Croyde is small there are still plenty of things to do, apart from being on the beach or playing in the water, there are also cliff walks to Baggy point and wonderful views over to Lundy island.
There are plenty of surf schools that can teach you the basics to get you out in the water and there is cascades tropical and water indoor pool, this is actually based on Ruda holiday park but they do allow member of the public to use this facility for a small fee.
You can take a walk around the charming and quaint viallage of croyde, the shops include surf shops, a lovely fudge pantry, a post office and a little cafe . There is also a little side street near the top of croyde that has a few craft shops- that is how small croyde is.
There are a couple of decent pubs that serve good food, my favorite is the Thatch! A lovely thatched building that serves home made food, there is a small restaurant area, a bar area and some out door seating. This is also very popular with the locals.
Another pub is Billy Buds, this is next door to the Thatch, serves food also, not a very big menu but what they serve is good.
They also have live music there some nights of the week.
There is also the Manor, a little more out of the way, also good food, pub and live music at the weekends.
Croyde is in a good location to also go and visit Woolacome, Illfracome and of course Barnstaple.
If you are in the area on holiday, then Croyde is a place you just must visit.
Croyde lies on the North Devon coast, a few miles from Barnstaple to the South East and Ilfracombe to the North East. Most well known for its beach and stunning bay, its one of those sleepy little time-warp villages that get overrun in the summer by hoards of visitors. Guilty as charged, I have been visiting regularly over the last twenty years.
If you are coming by car, you need to take the A361 off junction 27 of the M5 (about 50 miles). The Barnstaple by pass opened in 2007, easing congestion to make this a much quicker journey than previously perhaps this will increase Croydes popularity, as the last stretch after a long drive used to be a real pain! It is also possible to connect by bus on the hourly service from Barnstaple.
---Who goes there---
Several different types of people visit Croyde, although nearly all of them are drawn by the outdoor activities on offer. I go to climb at nearby Baggy Point, projecting into the sea at the North end of the bay. The stunning scenery along the cliffs draws walkers of all ages and the safe, clean sandy beach attracts families for bucket and spade breaks. It also, increasingly, interests the young surfing crowd.
The village itself is quite attractive, with lots of quaint whitewashed cottages, some with thatched roofs. The oldest properties apparently date back to the fourteenth century. Unsurprisingly, tourism is the main industry in the region (replacing former agriculture) so there is plenty of accommodation on offer to the visitor.
I actually recently considered moving here, having grown up in the South West and wanting to bring my own children up in the region. However, the dependence on tourism means that most employment is highly seasonal; this, coupled with the formerly poor road links to the main employment centres which are still not brilliant meant that the prospect of securing a decent job was small. In addition, the area is a hotspot for second homeowners, pushing house prices up to high earning multiples. All of this meant that we decided to settle in South Devon instead, but of course we can now drop by more often.
Each time that I have visited Croyde, I have stayed under canvas. There are several small campsites around the village, as well as a huge caravan and camping park called Ruda Holiday Park. Entering the village from Barnstaple, you will find yourself on Hobbs Hill, and the village is centred on the junction of this road with St Marys Road (to the right) and Joness Hill (ahead to the left). A short distance up Joness Hill there is a left turn onto Moor Lane; this is the route out to Baggy Point, and where Ruda is situated. I tend to stay on a small site called Myrtle Meadow, which is on the corner of Moor Lane and Joness Hill and therefore only two minutes walk to the pubs and shop in the village centre. The site is only open at weekends from May to September, and its essential to book, as its very popular. As its within the residential confines of the village, surrounded by houses, its also the site favoured by the older end of the outdoor enthusiast spectrum, as the owners are very strict about noise levels after 11pm. If you want sex, drugs and rock and roll with your camping, Id suggest trying one of the sites further out. Myrtles sister site, Mitchums Meadow, is next to the beach, further along Moor Lane past Ruda, and popular with surfers. Ruda itself is aimed at the family market, although it also runs a separate camping section in the sand dunes called, appropriately enough, Surfers Paradise.
There are also plenty of guesthouses and B&Bs available, although I cant comment on the quality or prices, as Ive never used any of them. However, you can find more information on Croydes website, http://www.croydedevon.co.uk.
---Eating and drinking---
Within the village there are three pubs, all serving standard pub fare at a reasonable to good standard, although the prices are high and they are always very busy. Theres also a couple of restaurants, plus a bakery and a village shop for supplies.
The beach at Croyde sits in its own glorious, sweeping bay about half a mile wide. It is sandy, with proper dunes, and shallow, sloping very gently into the sea; this makes it relatively safe for children, and is enhanced by the presence of lifeguards on the beach. Its also very clean and has won the following awards:
GOLD David Bellamy Award
ENCAMS Seaside Award
BLUE FLAG CAMPAIGN Award
All of this makes it an ideal spot for a family holiday. The beach also attracts surfers due to the good surf once you make it all the long way out into the sea! There is a surf school situated on the beach as well as several wetsuit/board hire shops in Croyde.
If you should get bored of Croyde beach, two other good beaches are also very close: Putsborough Sands to the North, towards Woolacombe, and Saunton Beach to the South. Both are long and sandy, and have dedicated car parks. Unfortunately, the car parks are expensive.
---Climbing and walking---
However, as I mentioned, the main reason that I visit is Baggy Point. This is the headland at the North end of Croyde Bay. The climbing area is about a twenty-minute walk from the National Trust car park at the end of Moor Lane. Im a member of the National Trust, so parking is free, but if I remember correctly the charge for non-members is about £3. The car park is manned and usually busy so get there early to guarantee a space.
As you walk up to the crag you pass a couple of houses including the well-known and architecturally renowned Baggy House, built in 1994 by Hudson architects. Its well worth pausing and giving this Modernist place your attention. Full of quirky angles, the living area includes two glass walls that can be sunk into the floor to open the house to the outdoors. As you can probably tell, I covet this house! One day I will make an offer for it.
Baggy has several big slabs jutting out into the sea, with steeper areas of cliff between them. There is some confusion as to the names of the various slabs, as several guidebooks have got it wrong in the past. This is not useful if you get into difficulty and call the slab a different name to the one that the coastguard uses, so for this reason I recommend you check the latest Climbing Club guide, which has the correct names.
The first big slab you reach is called the Promontory, which is also the most popular as the areas further north are subject to peregrine nesting restrictions during the breeding season. You can walk down from the coastal path along the top of this slab relatively easily, although the trails down to some of the others are more treacherous, and given the big drop either side, you may want to consider taking an extra abseil rope with you. The tops are all grassed, loose and slippery. There are stakes immediately below the cliff path to use.
The climbing itself is great. The rock is a mix of hard sandstone (good friction) with layers of shale (loose horrible stuff that only masochists truly love). Remember to place plenty of gear before the rock peters out to loose soil and grass, and wear a helmet!
The Promontory is split in two by a narrow zawn towards the furthest end, and the routes at that end can be accessed at any time. The starts of the routes further in are tidal, and accessible for about two hours either side of high tide by scrambling down the left hand side (looking out to sea). If you are a mid-range climber you will enjoy this slab. I have to recommend Kinky Boots (VS 4c) which starts on a ledge next to the zawn and has a unique start: raise your arms and fall forward! You should catch the other side and try to ignore the waves crashing in and out of the inlet below you! Scary stuff, and committing, but great fun. You might want to note, that some guide books continue to mention in situ pegs on this route but they are no longer there, so take plenty of small nuts.
For the walkers among you, Baggy Point has various paths with scenic views on both sides and on a clear day you can see across to Wales. The South West coastal path runs round the peninsula and there is an extensive network of paths covering the surrounding area. You can get a local guide from the hut in the NT car park. Birdwatchers should enjoy the peregrine colony too.
One weekend when it was too wet to climb, I discovered that horse riding is available in Croyde, which was very enjoyable. Croyde is also well placed to tour the surrounding area from: pretty Woolacombe, Ilfracombe and Combe Martin are all within easy reach, and the attractions of Exmoor just a little further. From Ilfracombe you can get a boat across to Lundy Island, which lies just offshore and is well worth a visit, especially for climbers (about half an hour crossing).
Overall, I think Croyde has a lot to offer to a diverse range of visitors. Unfortunately, because of this, it does get very crowded. However, the village has managed to resist the tackier side of development (no seaside arcades, for example) and retain its charm. I would recommend you visit to see for yourself.
Croyde bay is one of the most popular surfing sites in the country and for this reason attracts all those who already surf and those who want to learn in addition to the rest who just want to relax on the great beach.
Situtated on the north- west coast of devon, around ten miles from Barnstaple, Croyde is a small but pretty village with a few pubs and shops and an array of small camping sites as well as the big Ruda holiday park. The holiday park usually plays host to families and the camping sites generally house the younger campers and surfers. Myrtle and Mitchums meadows are great campsites if you fall into the latter category. Myrtle is open throughout July and is right in the centre of the village and at the start of august Mitchums opens(practically on the beach).The pitches are cheap and the facilities are basic(shower and toilet blocks) but clean and the camp crew are always on hand if you need them as well as being a pretty good laugh! They also accept same sex groups under 25, hard to find! I'd definitely suggest that families go for a b&b or the Ruda holiday park which boasts it's own indoor pool and leisure facilities, also right near the beach.
As for the nightlife, there isn't really any unless you like the pub. Billy Budds is a favourite with a great chilled atmosphere and the thatch caters for the slightly older crowd. Be sure to visit the thatch for a dirt cheap full english breakfast with unlimited tea and toast! Also make sure you visit the ice cream shop...it's fab and opens until pretty late. The nearest club is over in Woolacombe but you'll need your own transport to get there.
The point in going to Croyde is for the beach and/or the surf. If you're new to the whole watersports thing, Croyde has it's own surf school and you can always see groups of people practicing their stance in large groups on the beach.You can also hire your own surfboard and wetsuit and teach yourself. The beach has a certain area flagged off for surfers which the lifeguards enforce so if you're a swimmer then there's no need to worry about passing surfboards!
Croyde offers shops enough to cater for your eating requirements but if you need cash the nearest cashpoint is 10 miles away in Barnstaple so you'll need a car to get to it. Apart from this all you need is a laid- back attitude and your swimming gear to have a great time in croyde, whatever the weather!
Croyde is a small village on the north-west coast of Devon about 9 miles north-west of Barnstaple and 7 miles south-west of Ilfracombe. It has it's own little bay on the edge of Barnstaple or Bideford Bay and the road from Barnstaple curves right round the coast of one end of the bay, giving the most spectacular views. Very popular with surfers and families, Croyde is full of life in the summer months, even on days with miserable weather. The village has plenty of Bed and Breakfast establishments, the Billy Budd pub being of special note. Everything in Croyde is geared towards families and surfers. Overlooking Croyde Bay is the RUDA holiday park, with its apartments, lodges and caravans aimed at all price ranges. The beach in Croyde Bay is maintained by the RUDA holiday park and was a Blue flag winner in 1998 and in 2000 won a Tidy Britain Group Seaside Award. As with other popular Devon towns and villages, tea shops are abundant and to keep the surfers happy, there are multiple surfwear shops and hire centres in Croyde and nearby Braunton. Croyde is not a place to go without a car however. There is a bi-hourly bus service into the larger towns, but as the nearest cash machine is 3 - 4 miles away in Braunton you would definately need the use of a car for the trip out of bus-service hours. I'd definately recommend a visit to Croyde for anyone who wanted to get away from a hectic job, but at the same time, don't go if you want peace and quiet as there are surfers and children everywhere and the beach on warm days can get very busy. Croyde - a beautiful little touristy village with some gorgeous views and scenery.