Woolacombe in Devon

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  5 minutes

© Adrian Pingstone

© Adrian Pingstone

Woolacombe is a seaside resort on the coast of North Devon, England, which lies at the mouth of a valley (or ‘combe’) in the parish of Mortehoe. The beach is 2 miles (3.2 km) long, sandy, gently sloping and faces the Atlantic Ocean near the western limit of the Bristol Channel. Woolacombe is a popular destination for surfing and family holidays and is part of the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The beach has been managed by Parkin Estates Ltd since the 1970s and has over the years been recognised as one of the best beaches in Europe. It won the title of Britain’s Best Beach in the “Coast Magazine Awards 2012” and was awarded the same prize of Britain’s Best Beach in 2015 by TripAdvisor, also ranking in their polls as 4th in Europe and 13th best in the world. The beach water quality is monitored regularly by the Environment Agency and was rated excellent from 2016 to 2020.

The winter population is around 1,000 but during the summer large numbers of people come to the village for their holidays, including for surfing. There are many hotels, holiday flats, holiday parks, campsites and bed and breakfast establishments, and most of the entertainment opportunities are aimed at tourists. The village is served by a local independent pharmacy and a satellite doctors surgery. There is a crazy golf course in the centre of the village, which formerly featured North Devon landmarks for the holes, with model buildings constructed from the types of stone found in the local area, and was rebuilt as a pirate-themed crazy golf course in 2010. The South West Coast Path runs through the village, with access to the North Devon coast, including the walk out to and around Morte Point. There are several establishments in the area that provide pony trekking, and riding along Woolacombe Sands.

© Nilfanion/cc-by-sa-4.0 Watersmeet Hotel © panoramio.com - Mark A Coleman/cc-by-3.0 © Adrian Pingstone © Adrian Pingstone A waffle shack © geograph.org.uk - Pauline Eccles/cc-by-sa-2.0 © geograph.org.uk - Tom Jolliffe/cc-by-sa-2.0
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A waffle shack © geograph.org.uk - Pauline Eccles/cc-by-sa-2.0
Like a number of British beaches, it is privately owned and until 1948 the beach and much of the surrounding land was owned by the Chichester family, who acquired it in 1133 during the reign of King Henry I. When Lady Rosalie Chichester, the last of the line, died in 1949 it had been in her family’s possession for over 800 years. On her death the Chichester’s land in Woolacombe and Mortehoe and the family estate at Arlington near Barnstaple had been willed to the National Trust. However, the beach and some surrounding land had previously been purchased by Stanley Parkin. Ray Parkin became chairman of Parkin Estates in 1995. During the Second World War, the U.S. Army Assault Training Centre was based at Woolacombe, where thousands of small boat crews and infantry practised amphibious landing assaults on the beach in preparation for the Invasion of Normandy, part of Operation Overlord. The long flat shape of the beach and the conditions of the hinterland were considered to closely resemble the Omaha Beach landing area. There is a stone memorial to the soldiers, dedicated in 1992, sited on the grassy headland at the northern end of the beach.

A bus service runs from the village to Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and Mortehoe. The village had a joint railway station with Mortehoe on the Ilfracombe Branch Line which closed in 1970. There also used to be a locally operated bus by one of the holiday park companies which ferries holidaymakers from their four caravan and camping parks to the beach which helps ease congestion at peak times, until one of the four was sold and the bus service stopped.

Read more on Woolacombe & Mortehoe Tourism, Woolacombe Bay Hotel and Wikipedia Woolacombe (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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