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As one of England’s largest counties and almost entirely rural, Devon has enough incredible hiking spots to last you a lifetime. It’s easy to be captivated by the phenomenal beaches here but there are many other walks in North Devon that are well worth exploring too.
This is a region of staggering views. Exmoor National Park is a good place to begin, where you can meet its resident ponies and admire views across the Bristol Channel to Wales. This sprawling area also has plenty of valley trails, rich woodland and coastline rambles.
The coast to the west offers some of the most majestic hikes in North Devon with its jagged cliffs and views of Lundy island. The full force of the Atlantic has shaped this dramatic stretch of coastline. At its feet, you can often find vast golden beaches such as Woolacombe Beach and Saunton Sands, a welcome sight on a hot day.
North Devon has many routes and trails that are often overlooked compared to easier-to-reach hikes in South Devon. This allows for peaceful walks in beautiful areas with nothing but birdsong for company.
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You’d be hard pushed to find a single section of North Devon’s coastline that isn’t breathtakingly beautiful. It’s also very different from one end to the other and thanks to the rural nature of North Devon, the entire coast is littered with footpaths.
If you’re after crashing Atlantic waves and brutal granite cliffs, the Hartland Peninsula is the place to explore. This phenomenal area has the best hiking trails in North Devon for stunning cliffs, steep paths and sweeping grasslands.
Are you drawn to walks in North Devon for the chance to stop off at the beach? If so, ditch your walking boots on the sand and take a break on the fantastic Saunton Sands, Woolacombe and Westward Ho! beaches (yes, it really does have an exclamation mark in its name). Further east along the coast it’s easy to stop off at smaller beaches with steep cliffs and pretty harbours.
As Exmoor meets the sea, you can explore paths through coastal woodlands, valleys and along rivers. The River Heddon is a particularly wonderful place to walk along as it winds its merry way through woods to the Bristol Channel. Lynmouth near the Somerset border also has a labyrinth of paths.
The wildlife you can spot on hikes throughout North Devon is one of the reasons many visitors come back again and again. Even in the peak of summer you can find empty bays and peaceful trails, away from the beach crowds. This means you can focus all your attention on seeking out the area’s charming creatures.
Up on Exmoor’s open moorland, you’re sure to see the native Exmoor ponies with their small stature and fluffy coats. You can also spot red deer if you’re lucky and keep a sharp lookout for the slightest of movements in the trees.
The rivers Taw and Torridge both drain into the same estuary, creating a rich habitat for many intriguing birds. Curlews, oystercatchers, spoonbills and little egrets all loiter on the mudflats looking for tasty morsels.
Morte Point and the Hartland Peninsula are good places to spot seals mucking about in the water and sometimes you’ll catch them snoozing on deserted beaches. The best place in Devon to see them though is the island of Lundy, just off the coast. This magical place has a huge population of seals and puffins and hiking here is nothing short of unforgettable.
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