The Seaside Village of Combe Martin, Devon

Combe Martin

Combe Martin is a quaint village and civil parish located on the North Devon coast, about 4 miles east of Ilfracombe.

It’s a popular small seaside resort nestled in a sheltered cove on the northwest edge of Exmoor National Park. With its history, beautiful scenery, and exciting attractions, Combe Martin is a frequent destination for tourists looking for a peaceful getaway.

Beaches and Wildlife

The main attraction of Combe Martin is its beautiful beach.

The sheltered cove offers a safe and enjoyable environment for various activities. The beach is pebbly at high tide and transforms into a sandy paradise at low tide. It is famous for its amazing rock pools, perfect for exploring and discovering marine life.

Visitors can hire kayaks and paddleboards to explore the bay’s calm waters. During the summer months, lucky tourists may spot seals, dolphins, and porpoises swimming in the area.

However, please note that dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 1st to September 30th.

Dog-friendly beaches at Combe Martin

Combe Martin is home to two beautiful beaches that are perfect for dogs and their owners to enjoy. The main harbour beach boasts a combination of sand and stones, while Newberry Beach is mostly stony. Both beaches are teeming with excellent rock pools, providing ample opportunity for exploration and discovery.

It’s worth noting that while dogs are welcome on the main beach from 1st October to 30th April, they are not allowed between 1st May and 30th September.

However, Newberry Beach is dog-friendly all year round and is just a short walk away from the village. At low tide, the two beaches merge into a wide, sandy expanse below the weir, offering even more space to roam and play.

History and Landmarks

Combe Martin has a rich history, dating back to the Iron Age, with the nearby Newberry Castle fort as evidence.

The village was once known for its silver mines, which provided silver for the Crown Jewels and funded the war expenses of Edward III and Henry V.

The parish church, St Peter ad Vincula, has a unique dedication derived from the ancient Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. Another interesting landmark is the Pack o’ Cards, a public house built around 1700 by George Ley. Its peculiar design was inspired by a pack of cards, featuring 52 windows, 13 rooms, and four floors.

Activities and Events

Combe Martin hosts several annual events, such as the Carnival, which takes place in the first week of August.

The Carnival includes a parade with floats, as well as a wheelbarrow race along the village’s long street.

The Hunting of the Earl of Rone is another unique event, held during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. The procession features a rare hobby horse, the Earl of Rone character, a Fool, “Grenadiers”, drummers, a donkey, and festive dancers.

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Combe Martin Video

See the video below for an overview of Combe Martin, its beaches and scenery.

Outdoor activities beyond the beach

Aside from the beach, Combe Martin and its surroundings offer numerous outdoor activities for visitors to engage in.

Hiking and cycling are popular pastimes in Exmoor National Park, which provides stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and well-marked trails.

Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck in nearby rivers or take part in organized fishing trips.

For a unique perspective of the coastline, visitors can embark on boat trips that showcase the dramatic cliffs, and hidden coves, and possibly even catch a glimpse of the local marine life.

Combe Martin Webcamera

See the web cam feed below for Combe Martin beach.

Nearby Attractions

Just east of Combe Martin Bay is the Hangman Hills, which consist of Little Hangman and Great Hangman.

The Great Hangman has the highest cliff in southern Britain, and visitors can reach it by following the South West Coast Path, which runs through the village.

The Wildlife and Dinosaur Park is another popular attraction, featuring animals like wallabies, wolves, and lions, as well as models and animatronic dinosaurs. The park offers a variety of shows and exhibits, such as sea lion and wolf shows, a train ride, and a mock Egyptian tomb.

The National Trust-owned Arlington Court is a beautiful estate with a historic house, gardens, and a carriage museum.

The Victorian seaside town of Ilfracombe boasts charming architecture, a beautiful harbour, and the famous Verity statue by Damien Hirst. Additionally, the scenic villages of Lynton and Lynmouth are connected by a unique cliff railway and offer stunning coastal and river views, as well as access to Exmoor National Park.

Staying in Combe Martin

Combe Martin offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences.

Visitors can choose from hotels and bed and breakfasts for a comfortable stay with all amenities provided.

For those who want more independence, self-catering holiday cottages are available in the area.

And for nature lovers and those seeking a more rustic experience, there are several campsites nearby where visitors can pitch tents or park caravans such as Newberry Valley Touring and Camping Park or Watermouth Valley Camping Park to the East. Both campsites are below, with reviews.

And Finally…

A seaside village with a rich history and plenty of attractions for visitors of all ages.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the beautiful beaches and rock pools, learning about the village’s past, or participating in local events, there’s something for everyone in Combe Martin.

Frequently Asked Questions About Combe Martin

Q: Is Combe Martin worth visiting?
A: Yes, Combe Martin is definitely worth visiting. Its beautiful bay offers a safe environment for various activities suitable for all ages. The main beach features some of the best rock pools in the area, providing ample opportunities for exploration. Additionally, visitors can rent kayaks and paddleboards in the village to enjoy the calm waters of the bay.

Q: Why is Combe Martin famous?
A: Combe Martin is famous for holding the Guinness world record for the world’s longest street party. This achievement is sometimes confused with having the longest village street or high street. The unique measurement of Combe Martin is taken from one “you are entering Combe Martin” sign to the other.

Q: Does Combe Martin have a beach?
A: Yes, Combe Martin has a lovely sheltered beach that features pebbles at high tide and transforms into a sandy beach at low tide. The beach is well-known for its impressive rock pools found in the rocky outcrops on one side. Facilities such as a large car park, toilets, and shops are conveniently located near the beach.

Q: Are there dolphins in Combe Martin?
A: During the summer, visitors to Combe Martin might be fortunate enough to spot seals, dolphins, and porpoises in the area. Keep an eye out for these marine creatures while enjoying the beach and bay.

Q: Can dogs go on Combe Martin Beach?
A: Dogs are not permitted on Combe Martin Beach from May 1st to September 30th. However, they are allowed on the beach during the winter months.

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.

Do you want to see your favourite Bideford attraction, place to stay, event or activity listed here? Contact Us!