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Surfing is a popular sport in the South West with beautiful beaches from North Devon to South Cornwall. Here are our top picks for surf locations around the region:
Polzeath beach has it all for families. A gentle surf breaking on the forgiving sand (in case you end up wiping out) and good parking and surf shops. Property wise, this part of Cornwall is pricey thanks to the premium paid to live near holiday hotspots such as Padstow and Rock, but if you go a short drive inland along the River Camel you can find more affordable places such as Wadebridge, where the average house price is considerably lower.
Tregardock is a hidden beach near Trebarwith Strand on the north coast of Cornwall. It is a scramble to get to and only accessible at low tide – in fact you have to scrabble down the last bit of the cliff hanging on to a rope. But once you get there, the surf is amazing and you’ll more or less have the beach to yourself. A great place for a family day, picking mussels and enjoying the peace and quiet.
If you live on the south coast of the peninsula, don’t despair. You can surf at Bantham Bay in south Devon, which is a short drive from Kingsbridge and Salcombe if you fancy a change from sailing. It’s a big shallow bay making it safe for families but it picks up the surf well as - despite being on the south coast of Devon – it faces more or less due west. You could easily live in Plymouth or even Exeter and surf here regularly. Here’s a tip for beginner surfers – check out the surf reports for your chosen beach on the Magic Seaweed website (www.magicseaweed.com) so you know what to expect before you load up your boards, wetsuits and drive to the coast.
Surfing around the west Cornwall village of St Agnes is wonderful, blessed with several beaches all within a few minutes’ drive of each other but with very different surf conditions. The main village beach, Trevaunance Cove, is where the village’s Surf Life Saving Club is based. It is sheltered, with good surf but still usually very safe and not too off-putting for beginners. Nearby, Chapel Porth beach faces almost due north and hence picks up the surf better than anywhere on the Cornish coast. This means that if it is flat elsewhere, you have a chance of a wave here. And if you’re looking for high adrenaline, big waves, then when there is a good swell this is the place to try. Also well worth a visit are nearby Porthtowan and Perranporth, both with long stretches of golden sand, good surf, shops and parking, and a real surfing vibe. The property on the coast here is very desirable but if you’re on a budget you could factor in a short drive (say 4-5 miles) inland where the prices are considerably lower. All you need is that roof rack for your boards and you’ll be good to go.
We couldn't complete this round up without name-checking Putsborough in north Devon. If you’re in this neck of the woods, this long sandy beach a great place to go for reliable Atlantic swell. Nearby Croyde, Woolacombe and Saunton Sands are also top surf spots but Putsborough has an away-from-it-all atmosphere which makes it a favourite with locals. Braunton, the local town, has a real surf mecca feel and is a fun place to live, with a good community year-round and some great property to be found, too.