Are Dogs Allowed on Westward Ho! Beach? (YES!) | 2023

Dog Friendly Westward Ho! Beach

Westward Ho! Beach is a popular destination for both beach lovers, surfers, sand castle builders and those with their four-legged friends.

Dogs are welcomed all year round, with some minor restrictions during the summer months.

In this article, we will explore the beach’s dog-friendly areas, seasonal rules, and nearby attractions to make your visit to Westward Ho! Beach is enjoyable for both you and your dog(s).

Dogs on Westward Ho! Beach During the “Off-Season”

Ultimately Westward Ho! is a Dog-friendly beach all year round.

If you’re visiting the beach during the “off-season”, which is classified as any time from the 1st of October through to April 30th, dogs are allowed free-range for the entire beach.

So that’s all the way from the slipway by the go-karts/Tesco at the south end, all the way up to Grey Sands and beyond.

Dogs On Westward Ho! Beach During the Summer

Westward Ho! beach has a backline of large pebbles that runs almost the entire length. This is split by one, very obvious feature, concrete railway blocks that make a path up over the top of them.

Dogs during the summer, which is from May 1st through to September 30th are not allowed South of this line.

Side Note: If you’ve been to Westward Ho! and ever wondered where all those pebbles have come from?

You really cannot miss this feature, we were recently having a surfing lesson there with James from Sandy Sup & Surf. The tide was on its way out, what felt like a mile away from the shoreline, but you could still clearly see the concrete slabs.

Anywhere to the North of this line is fair game to let your dog roam free from Westward Ho! dog restrictions. Because, dogs love beaches, the sea, the sand, and especially ice cream and have no concept of “human” beach rules or dog ban areas.


Westward Ho! is amazing for many reasons (including it being dog friendly of course), but to the North of the beach this is a designated “Wind Sports Zone”, so you must be especially careful with dogs that are off their leads.

When you arrive, do not be surprised to see people out with large kites and/or karts there, this is normal and they’re enjoying the beach as much as you will be, so make sure you act responsibly with your pet.

They’ll only be there on windy days, bonus!

Featured Places to Stay Near Bideford

Westward Ho! Map of the Dog Zones

To help you below is a screenshot from the Torridge Council guide for the beach and which can be downloaded for free here.

Map of the zones at Westward Ho
Westward Ho! Dog Beach Zones Map

Exploring the Surrounding Area

Apart from the beach at Westward Ho!, there are plenty of nearby attractions and activities for you and your dog to enjoy, we even recently compiled a list of the top pet friendly cottages to stay too.

Northam Burrows Country Park

Northam Burrows
Northam Burrows

Adjacent to Westward Ho! Beach, this Northam Burrows park offers miles of walking trails, breathtaking views, and diverse wildlife. Your dog will love exploring the open spaces and diverse landscapes, making it a perfect outing for an active day out.

During the spring months, expect to see sheep roaming around the golf course (this is the fields behind the rocky line at the back of the beach) if you see them on the fields, ensure your dog is on a lead or extremely well-behaved around farm animals.

South West Coast Path

Take your dog for a walk along the South West Coast Path, which stretches for over 600 miles along the coast of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, and Somerset.

You’ll find stunning coastal views, hidden coves, and dramatic cliffs, providing a beautiful backdrop for a walk with your four-legged friend.

Westward Ho! Village

Stroll through the charming village of Westward Ho!, where you can find dog-friendly cafes, pubs, and shops.

Stop by for a bite to eat or a drink with your four-legged companion by your side. These are all located at the South end of the beach.

Local Dog-Friendly Accommodation

Putsborough Garden Cottage
Putsborough Garden Cottage

If you’re planning a longer stay in the area, there are several dog-friendly accommodation options in and around Westward Ho!

From self-catering cottages to hotels and bed & breakfasts, you’re sure to find a comfortable place to stay with your dog.

You can find all of these in our “Where to Stay” directory.

Tips for a Fun and Safe Visit:

A couple of simple tips for your visit to Westward Ho! beach:

  1. Keep your dog on a lead when near the Wind Sports Zone to ensure their safety and the safety of others enjoying the beach (if they’re present)
  2. Always clean up after your dog to maintain the cleanliness of the beach and respect other visitors.
  3. Be mindful of the tide and weather conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for you and your dog.
  4. Observe and follow any signage or rules regarding dog-friendly areas and restricted zones on the beach.

And Finally…

Westward Ho! Beach is an ideal destination for dog lovers looking to enjoy a day at the beach with dog(s).

With a little planning and knowledge of the area’s seasonal restrictions, you and your dog can have a fantastic time exploring the beautiful coastline and surrounding attractions.

So pack your beach bag, grab your dog’s lead (and a poop bag), and head out for a memorable day at Westward Ho! Beach.

FAQs about Westward Ho! Beach

Q: Does Westward Ho! have a sandy beach?

A: Yes, Westward Ho! has a beautiful sandy beach that stretches for approximately 2 miles. The beach is perfect for sunbathing, building sandcastles, and various beach activities.

Q: Can I walk my dog on Westward Ho! beach?

A: Yes, you can walk your dog on Westward Ho! beach. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, with some restrictions during the summer months (May 1st to September 30th).

Q: Can you swim in the sea at Westward Ho!?

A: Yes, you can swim in the sea at Westward Ho!. The waters are generally safe for swimming, but always be cautious and follow safety guidelines, such as swimming near a lifeguard when possible and being aware of the tide and weather conditions.

Q: Is it worth visiting Westward Ho!?

A: Absolutely! Westward Ho! is a picturesque seaside destination with a stunning sandy beach, scenic coastal walks, and a charming village. It offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages, making it an enjoyable place to visit.

Is Westward Ho! Devon dog friendly?

A: Yes, Westward Ho! is a dog-friendly destination. The beach welcomes dogs all year round, and there are several nearby attractions, accommodations, and eateries that also cater to dog owners and their furry friends.

Q: When can dogs go on the beach at Westward Ho!?

A: Dogs are allowed on Westward Ho! beach throughout the year. During the off-season (October 1st to April 30th), dogs can roam the entire beach freely. However, from May 1st to September 30th, dogs are restricted to specific areas on the beach, mainly the northern part beyond the concrete railway blocks.

Author Matt Ogborne
Matt Ogborne
About the Author

Welcome to! I’m Matt, a seasoned explorer and avid fan of Bideford and the broader North Devon area. With over a decade of consistent family visits, virtually every weekend, I’ve immersed myself in the rich history and vibrant culture Bideford & North Devon.

On this site, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge amassed from my adventures here. From in-depth local guides to engaging blog posts about Bideford. Whether you’re looking for recommendations on things to do or guidance on where to stay we have you covered. Join me as we delve into the heart of Bideford, North Devon – a town that’s more than just a destination, but an experience waiting to be discovered.

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