Saunton Sands beach at Saunton near Braunton is one of the finest beaches in the UK.

A flat expanse of over 3 miles of golden sand starting at Saunton in the north and ending at Crow Point in the south. It is perfect for families, surfers, horse riding and runners but beware there is no lifeguard service, though you need to wade out quite a distance before the water starts to get deep – which isn’t great for swimmers.

Saunton Sands beach looking south to Crow Point

Saunton backs on to the Braunton Burrows which lies at the heart of the North Devon Biosphere and which is protected by UNESCO for it’s flora and fauna.

The gentle roll of the land and the width of the bay generates small (2-3ft), regular waves which are ideal for those learning to surf and for the more experienced long-board surfer.

tide rolls in on saunton sands beach

The beach is privately owned but open to the public all year round with no restrictions on dogs (Other than needing to clean up their mess – bins are provided). Horses are welcome too, though access is from Crow Point.

The main car park is situated at Saunton on the B3231 road which runs between Braunton and Croyde. At the beach car park are toilet facilities, shop, cafe and accommodation. You can find more infomration on the Saunton Beach website Overlooking the car park is the impressive art-deco style Saunton Sands Hotel.

Saunton beach at sunset

You can also access the beach from Sandy Lane car park for the Braunton Burrows, but expect a 30 minute walk before you reach the sea. You can also access Saunton Sands beach from Crow Point car park, but there are no facilities at Crow Point.

History

Saunton Sands beach was used by American troops to train for D-Day when they were stationed in Braunton in the mid 1940s. The beach no longer has any evidence of this, but the remains of concrete bunkers and other training aids are still visible on the Braunton Burrows.

A ww2 tank waiting for the Saunton D-Day procession to start

A local historical group celebrate D-Day every June with a procession from Braunton Burrows to Saunton beach and re-enact a landing on the beach. Beware if you don’t like loud bands – there are. They make use of blank bullets and pyrotechnics to great effect. Saunton D-Day .

The beach is still used for training today with combined mock exercises between the RAF and Marine Commandos. This usually takes place down the Crow Point end and the beach may be closed to public.

Media location

Saunton Sands beach has been the perfect location for many films and pop videos over the years including:

A Matter of Life and Death starring David Niven : 1946
The Shout : 1978
Pink Floyd, The Wall : 1982
Pink Floyd – Photoshoot for the album cover to Momentary lapse of reason : 1987
Angels (Robbie Williams pop video) : 1997
Hand on Heart (Olly Murs pop video) : 2013
Edge of tomorrow with Tom Cruise : 2014
A very English Scandal : 2018

Pink Floyd Momentary lapse of reason