The 2016 Blue Flag Beaches of Cornwall and Devon

Affirmative!  Cornwall and Devon now have the highest number of Blue Flag beaches of anywhere in the UK!  Well let’s be honest, it’s no big surprise to us that some of the West Country’s beaches are world-class, but to have it confirmed is always nice.  It’s not just about clean water – Blue Flags are only awarded to beaches with the highest standards of water quality, safety, and beach facilities.  There are plenty of cosy little coves with crystal clear water that will never get the flag, because they don’t have a beach shop for example.  However, Blue Flags are still a pretty good indicator of a great all-round experience, so which beaches in particular have made it onto the newly announced 2016 list?  Read more to find out!

Beautiful Widemouth Bay, our local Blue Flag beach

Firstly, please note that although the criteria to be a Blue Flag beach are very stringent, it also costs more than £800 to even apply.  This means that councils don’t always have the funds to enter every deserving beach into the Blue Flag scheme.  The moral is, just because it doesn’t have a Blue Flag, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with it!

Below are the Blue Flag beaches of 2016. To view the list for 2017, click here

Cornwall Blue Flag Beaches, 2016

Polzeath Beach, Polzeath, PL22 6TB
Just north of the Camel Estuary, Polzeath is a wide sandy beach at low tide – a haven for beginner surfers.  At high tide, the beach shrinks to a comfy little area just in front of the sleepy little village. 

Carbis Bay Beach, St Ives, TR26 2NP
This isn’t the first time Carbis Bay has one a Blue Flag.  It’s another sandy beach, but this one is the opposite to Polzeath – its gentle sheltered waters mean terrible surfing, but fantastic swimming, and a safe bathing spot for families with young children.  Surrounded by lush vegetation, it’s also a very pretty beach.

Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth, TR11 4NA
This pretty crescent shaped beach is just 10 minutes’ walk from Falmouth town centre.  Excellent accessibility along with plenty of facilities and a great beach cafe makes this one of Cornwall’s most popular beaches.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, TR26 2BN
Tucked under St. Ives, a minute’s walk from the Tate Art Gallery, this cosy little beach is a popular spot for families wanting a picnic or a rest from their exploration of the town.  A must-see if you’re ever in St. Ives.

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, TR26 2BN
Another beach for St. Ives, this pretty bay has stunning views over to Godrevy Lighthouse.  With a great cafe and even a little golf course, this beach has something for everyone.

Porthtowan Beach, Porthtowan, TR4 8AD
This huge sandy beach is another favourite among surfers, but families will love exploring the dunes, playing games on the flat expanses of sand, and visiting the playpark.  At low tide, you can walk to Chapel Porth.

Trevone Bay Beach, Padstow, TR8 4BU
With golden sand, rock pools, and cosy rocky alcoves, Trevone is a great North Cornwall beach to explore, and the excellent cliff-top walks give spectacular views over the bay.

Widemouth Bay Beach, Bude, EX23 0AW
Widemouth Bay, our closest sandy beach, is a mecca for families and surfers alike.  Wide, sandy, and easily accessible, Widemouth has finally gained the recognition it deserves!

Westward Ho! in North Devon

Devon Blue Flag Beaches, 2016

Blackpool Sands Beach, Stoke Fleming, Dartmouth, TQ6 0RG
This sheltered bay offers fine shingle rather than sand, but the surrounding pines and vegetation give it a tropical feel, and its safe waters and easy facilities make it popular with families.

Challaborough Beach, Bigbury, TQ7 4HZ
Challaborough is a popular horse-shoe shaped beach with fine sand and shingle.  At low tide, it’s great for rockpooling.

Dawlish Warren Beach, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren Beach, EX7 0NF
Located at the west side of the River Exe, this huge sandy beach stretches for 1.5 miles and is a haven for wildlife.  Its sandy dunes are great for exploring, and an itinerary of events through the summer months means there’s usually something to see.

Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, TQ1 2EL
A small but popular, Meadfoot is a shingle beach nestled underneath imposing cliffs just a mile from Torquay.  If you avoid the peak times, you can find some peace and quiet on this cosy little spot.

Oddicombe Beach, Torquay, TQ1 3LU
Oddiscombe is a shingle beach sheltered at the bottom of red sandstone cliffs.  The gentle shallow waters are great for paddling, and the steep cliff walk or cliff railway are an added attraction.

South Sands Beach, Salcombe, TQ8 8LH
A small but perfectly formed sandy beach on the Kingsbridge estuary, surrounded by quaint little villages.  There are beautiful beaches across the estuary too, serviced by a small ferry from South Sands.

Sandy Bay Beach, Exmouth, EX8 5BT
Sandy Bay is a sandy bay (no surprises), and though it feels cosy at high tide, when the waters retreat it stretches nearly 2 miles to Exmouth.  With great swimming and rock pools, it’s popular with families, and its accessibility from Exeter means it becomes very popular in peak season.

Breakwater Beach, Brixham, TQ5 9AF
Nestled next to Brixham’s pretty harbour and long breakwater, Breakwater’s shingle beach is very accessible and popular with day-trippers.  Watersports fans also come here, and in particular the scuba diving is supposed to be excellent.

Westward Ho! Beach, Bideford, EX39 1LL
Not only is this town proud of its exclamation mark, it can now boast of a Blue Flag.  Its 2 mile beach, a mixture of sand and shingle, is long enough to find your own spot of peace and quiet, and the local beach shops and cafes make it an accessible and convenient way to spend a sunny day.  This year, it’s the only beach on the North Devon coast to get its own Blue Flag.

So which is your favourite Blue Flag beach in the West Country?  Do you think another beach is deserving of the accolade next year?  Let us know in the comments below!

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