Naturist / Nudist Beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland

Saunton Sands

Devon (north coast)


Enourmous, long, flat, wide sandy beach backed by dunes, near Ilfracomb

The beach at Saunton Sands lies 7 miles west of the north Devon town of Barnstaple and is a splendid expanse of sand backed by an extensive area of dunes and marsh known as Braunton Burrows.

The area, which has been designated a 'biosphere reserve' by UNESCO, is in large part owned by Christie Estates.

Getting There

Satnav: EX33 2NU (car park behind beach), EX33 1LG (Saunton Sands Hotel car park), O.S. Map Ref: SS445345

By Car

Barnstaple may be reached by road via the A361 from the westbound M5, the A377 from Exeter,or the A39 from the direction of north Cornwall. Train services run from the main line at Exeter.

From the town take the A361 to Braunton and then left on to the B3231 to reach Saunton where a (paying) car park is available near the Saunton Sands Hotel. From there, strike out southwards on foot to reach area used by naturists - may be up to two miles at high season. Reports suggest that this car park may get full at busy times.

Some visitors prefer an alternative route via a minor road and private toll road south from Braunton village. A short walk across the burrows from this road leads to Crow Point at the southern tip of Saunton Sands - adjacent to the Taw Estuary - from where the naturist-frequented area lies to the north.

"The Crow Point car park is very easy to get to, it's free and it's just around the corner."

By Public Transport

Barnstaple is the terminus of the railway line from Exeter. The Saunton area is served by Stagecoach 308 bus service between Barnstaple, Croyde and Georgeham.


Saunton Sands is a three mile long expanse of sandy beach (what else!) facing due west and cut off to the south by the combined estuaries of the rivers Taw and Torridge. Behind the beach is a large area of sand dunes - Braunton Burrows - which are home to a golf course, a nature reserve and Ministry of Defence training areas ( marked "Danger Area" on O.S.maps). The last of these features are unlikely to be a problem at holiday times - but further information my be available from the car park attendant at Saunton. The training area is only used a few times a year, when the beach is closed for military exercides so a Hercules military transport plane can practise landing and taking off from the beach!

The beach is reported to be clean and the sea unpolluted. When the tide, wind and sea combine in the correct proportion Saunton can produce excellent surfing conditions - at such times swimmers should exercise proper caution. The exact part of the beach used by naturists may well vary according to the number of textile visitors - arriving early and setting the trend my well encourage others to join you.

Some years ago work took place on upgrading the beach car park and kiosk area, including installing a new toilet and shower block. That coincided with some high profile reporting in the local paper of women and children being 'surprised' to encounter nude men in the dunes area. Perhaps as a result there was some police activity in the Braunton Burrows area but this is thought to have been discontinued. Patrolling is now done by spare beach car park attendants in estate uniforms.

At times Marines from the nearby RMB Chivenor may use the beach and dunes for exercises.

As at all beaches, naturist visitors to Saunton Sands should behave with consideration for other beach users.

Facilities : None on the beach, the usual facilities are to be found in Saunton, or little further away at either Croyde (to the north) or in Braunton.



Please leave a comment via the email address below. (Facebook comments no longer work in Europe, incl. the UK)


Tag and share your photos to the UK Naturist Beaches group on Flickr.

Photos should be of the beach, or show the way to it. They should NOT have people in them.