With beaches, estuaries, and river valleys, you’re never far from water in this coastal AONB.
This 96-kilometre slice of Devonshire coastline is a waterfront oasis for explorers. Hike between rocky coves and windswept headlands along 320 km of trails, spot wildlife around the five estuaries, or take to the water to kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Camping in South Devon lets you get back to nature—pitch your tent amid patchwork farmlands or check into a quiet campsite by the beach. Summertime is peak season for campers, but the weather can still be unpredictable, so pack for chilly nights and showers. Winter bird-watching is a big draw out of season, and many caravan parks stay open year-round.
From the fishing port of Brixham to the bird-watching hotspot of Prawle Point, the east coast of the South Devon AONB has plenty to explore. Join summer beachgoers at Blackpool Sands, one of England’s most popular beaches, or cruise along the Dart Estuary between Dartmouth and Kingswear. For hikers, the South West Coast Path winds along the rocky shores with spectacular views across the English Channel.
Sandy beaches, seafood restaurants, and ocean views draw the crowds to Salcombe on the shores of the Kingsbridge Estuary. Sailing, surfing, and water sports are all popular activities, and campsites dot the waterfront. To the west, some of the area’s most beautiful beaches lie along Bigbury Bay, including the Blue Flag Bantham beach and Bigbury on Sea, a mecca for kitesurfers and windsurfers.
Kingsbridge is the gateway to the northern arm of the South Devon AONB. Discover the beaches of the Kingsbridge Estuary, then head north along the Avon River, where riverside walks and remote country campsites take you off the beaten track. Further north, the Dartmoor National Park is a hiker’s paradise with open moorlands, wildflower meadows, and ancient woodlands.
North of Brixham, the palm-fringed promenades and sandy beaches of the English Riviera are among the sunniest in the country. There are plenty of camping options around Torquay, Babbacombe, and Paignton, from where you can enjoy coastal walks, lounge on the beachside, or explore along the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast. Foodies will want to add the Riviera to their itinerary, too—this is where you’ll find some of the UK’s tastiest seafood.