More than half of the beaches in North Devon have been rated as excellent following the release of this years bathing water quality results. Eight beaches have the highest standard in the Environment Agencys 2017 classification. Combesgate Beach at Woolacombe, Hartland Quay, Ilfracombes Tunnels Beach, Lynmouth, Putsborough, Saunton Sands, Westward Ho! and Woolacombe Village are the beaches branded excellent. The EA calculates a bathing water classification annually, based on samples from the previous four years. The ratings range from poor to sufficient, good and excellent. Croyde Bay and Hele at Ilfracombe both remain good. But after being downgraded to sufficient last year, Combe Martin has this year been rated as poor, joining Instow and Ilfracombes Wildersmouth beach. North Devon Councils executive member for tourism, Councillor Pat Barker, said; Its great news for tourism that so many beaches in North Devon have been classified as having excellent or good bathing water quality. Now that more information is readily available online people are more inclined to check ratings before booking a holiday. Water sports is proving to be an increasingly popular attraction to the area for holiday makers as well as being enjoyed by our local residents throughout the year. A new and much tougher classification system was introduced three years ago under a scheme that covers all bathing waters in England. The water quality at designated bathing sites is assessed independently by the EA from May to September each year. The weekly assessments measure current water quality which feed into the annual rating, Torridge District Councils lead member for community, culture and leisure, Councillor Phil Pennington, said: This is the third time that water quality has been assessed against the new and much tougher EU standards but Torridges beaches have once again come through with flying colours achieving the very top grading. This is further proof, if any were needed, that Torridge really is a great place to come on holiday with some of the best and cleanest beaches and water in the Country. We hope this will continue to inspire visitors to spend more time along our beautiful coastline. For a more detailed look at how North Devons beaches got on, visit the Environment Agency website.