Northam Burrows

North Devon


At 253 hectares, the Northam Burrows reserve is a vast, wildlife-rich expanse of grassy plains, sand dunes, sandy shoreline and salt marshes grazed by sheep and horses. Birdwatchers should look out for wheatear, linnet, pied wagtail, stonechat, curlew and little egret. A pebble ridge sits between the burrows and 2-mile-long Westward Ho! beach, forming a natural sea defence.

This pebble barrier gets pushed back incrementally by high tides, and the stones used to be thrown back in gloriously eccentric English style by potwallopers (historically those locals who had two fires and a pot) at a wild, annual village bun-fight. These days the pebble management is done more prosaically by bulldozers.


Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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