This walk starts from the Gallery Lodges. Cross the main road, walk up West Meadow Road, turn right at the top and look for the alley on the left. Left at the top of the alley and you are on the path. Free maps at the Gallery Lodges so you don’t get lost.
Views looking back to Braunton, the estuary and Great Field as you climb the lane.
Views from the hill top over the other side to Croyde, Putsborough and Woolacombe.
Views over Croyde Bay and Lovely descent through the woods into Croyde
Head down into Croyde through the lanes. Stop off in the village for refreshment.
Easy option catch the bus back, or begin by catching the bus to Croyde and do the walk backwards.
Mid option. Retrace your way back using a slightly different walk for the Croyde side.
Long Option – Walk through the central path to the beach and back round the headland to Saunton Sands Hotel and back along the beach, through the dunes and back down sandy Lane and Moor Lane to the Gallery Lodges. This can also be done by parking at Saunton below Saunton Sands Hotel or on the lay-bys and starting the walk from there making for a mid size walk.
Take a short trip to the Braunton Burrows when you stay at The Gallery Lodges.
We have free maps of this area in the lodges so you can explore it all.
One of the largest sand dune areas in Europe and a Unesco Biosphere reserve, its really worth a visit.
You can walk, cycle or drive to the start where there is a reasonably priced car park, about 1.5 miles away.
Take a walk from the car park and walk to a deserted stretch of saunton sands beach or do a loop to Crow Point. On the way – wild flowers, water slacks, WW2 relics from the DDay landings and the odd real life army excersize.
The area is home to a large number of resident and migratory birds along with the estuary. It is a superb place to bird-spot and hear the plethora of bird song. Throughout the seasons you will see all the different migratory birds as they pass through. Many of the birds you can also see at The Gallery Lodges as they feed in the meadows marshland and woodland which surround the lodges which encompasses 2 SSSI reserves. As if this wasn’t enough of Birds and wild flowers there is also the Braunton Marshes wetland system which adjoins the estuary and inlet to Braunton. More, there is more still, but that’s another blogg page.
At Last the beach and you can see there is no one here usually. Cycle to Saunton Sands Hotel from here for coffee and then back to The Gallery Lodges along the road.Go the other way round Crow point, but the sand gets a bit hard going. Possible but hard work…..could be worth it though!
Looking out to sea from the Dunes on the way back to the car park or walk up to Saunton Sands Hotel and catch the bus back to The Gallery Lodges .
Cycling is really beautiful in the area around the lodges at Braunton near to Saunton. If you come to visit then do bring your bike. We have maps at the lodges for all the cycle routes in the area, produced by http://croydecycle.co.uk/ . From level rides to the estuary or a challenging route to Woolacombe there is a satisfying collection of routes to keep you out and about.
You can ride on the Tarka Trail from Braunton near The Gallery Lodges; cycle to the beach; or head out into the rolling, rural lanes of North Devon and challenge yourself on National Cycle route 27.
Here we describe a level 20 minute route through the back lanes to join the Tarka Trail in Braunton:
The Tarka trail proper starts 1.4 miles from the Lodges but a beautiful stretch of country lanes link you to the trail at Vellator Quay in Braunton.
From the gates to the entrance of Pete Caswell’s Art studio and The Gallery Lodges, turn right and cycle down Moor Lane where you approach the dunes through quiet country lanes, with wheat and potato fields surrounding. Before you have even turned a pedal you pass on the right two SSSI reserves of ancient woodland and a special wetland habitat, Swan Pool Marsh.
To your left is Braunton Great Field, a medieval field system underlies this open area which is a bountiful vegetable field. You will skirt the edge of the great field all the way to the Tarka Trail.
Asparagus and market gardening dot the landscape and the sea air is bright and fresh. Dave the local farmer, opposite the Lodge’s entrance farms the asparagus and much of the amazing crops you see growing, including the swede for our Devon pasties.
At the end of Moor Lane turn a left onto Sandy Lane and head along more fields of asparagus and cauliflower with views of the dunes to the right. Depending on the time of year you might get treated to poppies and wild flowers in the fields or daffodils which line the hedges from when this area was a major daffodil growing land before the war.
The Braunton Burrows biosphere through which you cycle is a very special area of rare dune habitats and wet lands, profuse with wild flowers, orchids and many migrating wild birds. So on the way to the Tarka trail you might just want to stop off here. See extension notes below.
If you’re not detouring to Sandy Lane car park and the American Road, look out for the next left turn where the scenery begins to change again into wetlands and marshes which is Braunton Marshes. Swans, rare birds and yellow irises can often be seen here.
Keep going along this road. Look out to the right and you will see the toll road off to Crow point, another cycle ride for later on ( keep going straight on for the Tarka Trail).
At the end of the road you come to a roundabout. To your right you will see the Tarka Trail which will take you to Barnstaple past the pub on the estuary and a lovely garden centre. Please see our other Tarka Trail blog for more on this.
If you wish to return to the Lodges from here follow the cycle path by the pedestrian crossing lights back to the village car park and then join Saunton Road to return to The Gallery Lodges.
Extending your bike ride on The American Road:
To make a longer route, about an extra 30 minutes, and explore the area more, continue on Sandy Lane to the car park at the end.
Here you need to cycle straight on through to ‘The American Road’, so you will need to pass 2 big gates, often locked to stop cars. To do this turn left in the car park and cycle down the length of the car park next to the track, you will see that at the end you can go over a raised bank and nip back on the American Road (at the left hand corner.) A long straight stretch of un-surfaced, but level track leads you on towards Crow Point.
On this extended route you will cycle with the North Devon Biosphere sand dunes on your right, which are Europe’s biggest sand dune reserve. The fields of the Marshes are to your right. Look out for butterflies and bees – there are some rare finds to be had here.
Crow point and the estuary meet you at the end of the lane, with views towards Appledore and Instow and the Torridge Estuary. A few boats are moored here waiting for the tides to come in.
After admiring the views you need to find your way back to the track which will lead you to a car park and paved road. With your back to the estuary you need to cycle inland back the way you came, just a little (100m) and then look out for a right turn. There is also a white house at the start of the paved road, so aim for that.
Now you follow the road, coast path and the sea defences on a beautiful single track toll road back towards Braunton and Vellator Quay. It’s worth popping up onto the path here to look at the new Wetland area, which was farmland until recent sea breaches washed away the sluice gate. Don’t walk into this wetland though, it is tidal and unsafe.
At the end of the toll road take a right and you will pass Vellator Quay and arrive at a roundabout. This is the point you can join the Tarka Trail or head home. See above.
Bikes can be hired in Braunton & Barnstaple. We have free maps in the Lodges of the Tarka Trail and the local area for cycling, walking and exploring.
Saunton beach is 1.8 miles by car from the Lodges at Braunton. There is an amazing view of this beach from the main road to Croyde. Nearby is Saunton Sands Hotel and Saunton sands Gof Club.
Try out Pete Caswell’s Luxury Lodges at Braunton which you can stay in near to Saunton Sands Beach. These Lodges are beautiful and more like a luxury Hotel suite teleported into a wild flower meadow than anything else. Check them out The Gallery Lodges
Its a stunning beach with big vistas and big skies. Its great for a cycle ride. There are many great bike rides here, bring your bikes for coastal cycling.
Backed by the largest dune system in Europe, The Braunton UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Walks along the beach, through the dunes and to the estuary.
Amazing reflections on the sand
Great long boarders beach of world class standard with a mellow peeling wave. Bring a board or hire one at Saunton Sands.
Gig racing at the popular Saunton Sands beach.
See Pete Caswell’s paintings of Saunton Sands beach on his website