Woolacombe wins beach award

After deciding not to apply for a Blue Flag this year, Woolacombe named ‘Best British Beach’ at annual Coast awards.

WOOLACOMBE has been crowned Best British Beach at the Coast Awards 2012.

Readers of Coast magazine voted it as their top choice with Gwithian in Cornwall was the runner up at the sixth annual instalment of the awards, held in association with Joules.

Woolacombe took over the accolade from 2011 winner Holkham beach in Norfolk, which had retained the title for three consecutive years.

The beach recently lost its Blue Flag status after owners Parkin Estates took the decision not to apply for one this year.

“We are delighted to have received the accolade, because Coast is quite a prestigious magazine,” said managing director Sue Black.

“The five finalists were not Blue Flag beaches, so I think it demonstrates there are other factors that determine whether people come to the beach or not.”

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Mrs Black said the decision on whether to seek a Blue Flag or not had been taken out of their hands when a water quality test had failed in September, but all subsequent tests had been fine.

She said they had no control over sea water quality, which could be affected by many factors. In East Devon, the district council has chosen not to seek Blue Flags for any of its beaches this year.

The Coast awards celebrate the people and places that represent all that is innovative, valuable and exciting around the British coastline, with the magazine receiving a record 40,000 votes from across the UK.

A panel of experts that included television presenter Ben Fogle, Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie and Joules managing director Tom Joule joined Coast editor Clare Gogerty to nominate those they thought had shone.

The winners and runners-up were presented with their prizes by celebrity chef Valentine Warner at an awards ceremony in London on Wednesday.

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