If you love the beach but can’t stand the summer crowds, check out our guide and head off the beaten track to seven of North Devon’s lesser-known beaches. #LocalsRule

Northam Burrows. Picture: Stephen RingNortham Burrows. Picture: Stephen Ring

1) Barricane

Not so much a secret spot anymore due to the recent runaway success of the Barricane Beach Café’s delicious Sri Lankan curries. It’s still worth a mention though – if you can find a better spot to chow down on a superb plate of curry, please let us know. Time it right and this seashell-encrusted sliver of a beach acts as a perfect sheltered sundowner that rivals anywhere on the planet.

2) Northam Burrows

Head to Appledore but hang a left down Broad Lane and onto the Burrows toll road. Park up, grab your beach mats and dodge the grazing sheep as you head to sand dunes on the banks of the Torridge Estuary. The sand is soft, the views take in Baggy Point, Appledore and Instow – and if you’re really lucky, the dunes will act as a natural wind break.

Rockham Beach, near Mortehoe. Picture: Topher JacobsRockham Beach, near Mortehoe. Picture: Topher Jacobs

3) Rockham Beach

For a secluded spot on a sunny day, head for Mortehoe and follow the signs to North Morte Farm campsite and the South West Coast Path. New steps to this pebbly gem of a beach were only installed in April this year after the old ones were washed away in the February 2014 storms. Feel smug in the fact that you’re one of the few so far to descend them.

4) Woody Bay

Many have heard about Woody Bay (you’ve driven past the signs on the way to Lynton), few have sampled its ends-of-the-earth charms. Next time you’re heading that way, take a leap of faith and a hard left off the A39. The road will soon drop into a beautiful wooded valley where you can park the car and descend to the beach on foot. Check the tide before you go as much of the beach is swallowed up at high tide. Enjoy the peace and feel the weight of the world lift from your shoulders.

Woody Bay. Picture: Andy KeebleWoody Bay. Picture: Andy Keeble

5) Crow Point

While out-of-towners jostle for the best spots on the beaches just a mile-or-so up the coast, those in the know take a left at Braunton and head out for the solitude of the sand dunes at Crow Point. Park up, follow one of the many sandy – and often duckboarded – paths through the dunes and pick your spot. Pack a picnic, stay for the day and head back to the car park with the low sun on your shoulders.

6) Middle Beach (Woolacombe)

There’s a flipside to being crowned Britain’s best beach by TripAdvisor. The main beach will be packed in the summer but to get your fix of sand dunes and salty air, head to Marine Drive and keep driving until you see crowd-free sands. Take one of the tracks down through the dunes and pick your perfect spot – take a full cool box and you’ll be set for the day.

Middle Beach (Woolacombe). Picture: Andy KeebleMiddle Beach (Woolacombe). Picture: Andy Keeble

7) Broadsands

Only those in the know are likely to discover this picturesque beach nestled between Watermouth Valley and Napps camp sites. The 200-step descent drops off the South West Coast path and rewards adventurous beach-goers with the run of a super sheltered cove. Explore the nooks and crannies of the coast or simply lie back and listen to shallow turquoise sea gently lapping against the pebbles.

Have we missed any? Email your suggestions and pictures to newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk

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