Northam Burrows Country Park: A Comprehensive Guide 2023

Northam Burrows Country Park is a vast, beautiful landscape of sand dunes, salt marshes, and grasslands located in North Devon, just a stone’s throw from the town of Bideford.

Stretching over 253 hectares, the park is a haven for wildlife, providing a range of habitats for plants and animals, including many rare and endangered species. Visitors can enjoy miles of sandy beaches, coastal walks, and stunning views of the Taw Torridge Estuary.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Northam Burrows Country Park, from dog walking to seasonal changes.

Key Takeaways
Northam Burrows Country Park is a vast landscape, stretching over 253 hectares, located in North Devon, offering a haven for wildlife and a range of habitats for plants and animals.
The park is an ideal destination for dog walkers with miles of wide, sandy beaches and vast expanses of grassland. Dogs are welcome throughout the year, but there are restrictions on certain parts of the park during summer.
The park’s attractions include two main beaches, Westward Ho! Beach, and Northam Burrows Beach, coastal walks, a range of wildlife, and seasonal changes.
The park has several facilities such as the Burrows Centre, Pebble Ridge Kitchen, and Sandymere Road Access Point, which provides ample parking spaces available.
Visitors can learn more about the wider Biosphere Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest through interpretive panels located throughout the park and at the Burrows Centre.

Dog Walking at Northam Burrows Country Park

Northam Burrows Country Park is an ideal destination for dog walkers, with miles of wide, sandy beaches and vast expanses of grassland to explore.

Dogs are welcome throughout the year, although there are some restrictions on certain parts of the park during the summer months.

During the period from 1st May to 30th September, dogs are not permitted on the beach between the slipway at Westward Ho! Beach and the sand dunes at Pebble Ridge, or on the adjacent grass areas.

You can view our specific guide for Westward Ho! dog walking here (includes a map).

However, dogs are still welcome on the rest of the beach and throughout the park, provided they are kept under control at all times (sheep and horses roam the land behind the ridge).

There are several dog waste bins located throughout the park, so be sure to pick up your dog and dispose of the waste responsibly. It’s also worth noting that there are occasional grazing animals in the park, so it’s important to keep your dog on a lead in these areas.

What to See and Do at Northam Burrows Country Park

Northam Burrows Country Park is a vast landscape with plenty to see and do, no matter your interests. Here are some of the highlights.


The beaches at Northam Burrows Country Park are some of the most beautiful and unspoilt in the region. The wide expanses of sand are perfect for walking, sunbathing, and building sandcastles.

The park has two main beaches, Westward Ho! Beach and Northam Burrows Beach. Westward Ho! The beach is the larger of the two, with a wide expanse of sand that stretches for over two miles.

It is popular with surfers and kiteboarders, and there are several local surf schools offering lessons and equipment hire. Northam Burrows Beach is a quieter, more secluded beach that’s ideal for picnics and relaxation.

Coastal Walks

The park offers a range of coastal walks that provide stunning views of the Taw Torridge Estuary and the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The South West Coast Path runs along the edge of the park, providing easy access to some of the most scenic stretches of the path. The park also has several waymarked trails, including the Tarka Trail, which follows the route of a disused railway line.


Northam Burrows Country Park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including many rare and endangered species. The park’s salt marshes provide a habitat for a variety of wading birds, including curlew, redshank, and lapwing.

The grasslands are home to a range of butterflies and moths, while the sand dunes are home to a range of specialist plants and insects. The park is also home to several grazing animals, including sheep, ponies, and cattle.

Seasonal Changes

Northam Burrows Country Park undergoes a range of seasonal changes, providing visitors with a different experience depending on the time of year.

In spring, the park is alive with the sound of birdsong, and the fields are filled with wildflowers.

Summer is the peak season for visitors, with warm weather and plenty of activities to enjoy.

In autumn, the park takes on a new character, with the leaves of the trees changing colour and the birds beginning to migrate.

And in winter, the park is quieter, but no less beautiful, with crisp, clear days and stunning sunsets.

Facilities at Northam Burrows Country Park

Burrows Centre

The Burrows Centre is the main visitor centre at Northam Burrows Country Park, providing essential information, maps, and guides to help you make the most of your visit.

The centre also offers a range of seasonal events, guided walks, and educational activities suitable for all ages. Be sure to stop by the Burrows Centre to pick up a map and learn about the park’s wildlife, history, and conservation efforts.

Pebble Ridge Kitchen

Located near the entrance to the park, Pebble Ridge Kitchen is a popular cafe that offers a range of hot and cold refreshments, light meals, and snacks.

With both indoor and outdoor seating, the cafe is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea or a bite to eat before setting off to explore the park. The cafe is open daily during the summer months and on weekends during the off-season.

Sandymere Road Access Point

Visitors can access Northam Burrows Country Park via Sandymere Road, which leads directly to the main car park. There are ample parking spaces available, including disabled parking bays. From the car park, visitors can easily access the

beaches, coastal paths, and park facilities. Parking fees apply during the peak season, with daily rates and season tickets available for purchase. Be sure to check the park’s website for the latest information on parking fees and regulations.

Guided Walks & Events

Throughout the year, Northam Burrows Country Park hosts a variety of guided walks and events designed to showcase the park’s unique landscape, wildlife, and history.

These activities may include wildlife walks, birdwatching events, and educational talks led by knowledgeable park rangers and local experts.

Many of these events are suitable for all ages, making them a great way to explore the park and learn more about the diverse range of flora and fauna that call it home. Be sure to check the park’s website or contact the Burrows Centre for a schedule of upcoming events.

Northam Burrows Country Park Reviews

Semi-wild landscape consisting of a grassy plane & marshes that are flooded at high tide.

Below are the latest reviews of Northam Burrows Country Park.

Based on 1363 reviews
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Opening Hours:
Monday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thursday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Address: The Burrows Centre, Sandymere Rd, Northam, Bideford EX39 1XS, UK

Sibyl Su avatarSibyl Su
6 months ago
Loved it. So wonderful to see the entire area looked after so well. Nature and modernisation go hand in hand, golfing with sheep and horses! The sea and the views were magnificent. Do bring a waterproof jacket that keeps the blustery wind out and water to wash your feet if you're planning to head to the beach for a stroll.
Andrew Cartwright avatarAndrew Cartwright
8 months ago
Great country park just North of Westward Ho! Free parking and also close to the beach (just got to tackle the large pebble barrier thing!)The country park also has a visitor centre in case you need to refresh, lots of options in terms of directions to walk off – just be careful of the golf balls!!
Stan Doyle avatarStan Doyle
a month ago
Such a magical place to walk and enjoy Devon at its best. Be sure to check the tide, as its best when it's going out. Be careful to keep an eye out as it returns 😃
rose hogan avatarrose hogan
in the last week
Lovely place but prices have gone up! £7 now, not even may yet. And you can't even use the whole car park as alot of deep puddles and big stones that won't do your car any good if you dont see them . Could of tidied it up before the price increase.
Sean Brown avatarSean Brown
6 months ago
Really nice place for a walk. Interesting landscape. Great visitor centre and very friendly and knowledgeable lady running it. Unfortunately for us it was raining.
See All Reviews

Exploring the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Northam Burrows Country Park is part of the wider UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which encompasses the entire Taw Torridge Estuary and its surrounding coastal and marine environments.

This prestigious designation recognizes the park’s unique ecological value and its contribution to global conservation efforts.

Visitors to Northam Burrows Country Park can learn more about the wider Biosphere Reserve through interpretive panels located throughout the park and at the Burrows Centre.

Discovering the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Northam Burrows Country Park is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), acknowledging its importance for the conservation of rare and endangered species, as well as its diverse range of habitats.

This protected status ensures that the park’s unique ecology is preserved for future generations to enjoy. As you explore the park, look out for the special features that make it an SSSI, such as the diverse range of bird species, rare plants, and unique geological formations.

South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path, one of the UK’s most iconic long-distance walking trails, passes through Northam Burrows Country Park, offering walkers a fantastic opportunity to explore the stunning coastal scenery of the Taw Torridge Estuary.

The trail extends for over 630 miles, running from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, and provides a challenging and rewarding walking experience for both experienced hikers and casual walkers.

Whether you’re planning a short stroll or a multi-day hiking adventure, the South West Coast Path offers breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences.

And Finally…

Northam Burrows Country Park is a beautiful and unique landscape that provides visitors with a range of activities and experiences throughout the year.

From dog walking to coastal walks, wildlife spotting to beachcombing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to the area, be sure to take the time to explore this stunning natural wonder, part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Frequently Asked Questions About Northam Burrows Country Park

Here are the top question about Northam Burrows Country Park answered for you.

Q: Do you have to pay at Northam Burrows?
A: While Northam Burrows Country Park is open to pedestrians at all times for free, there are fees for vehicles. During the summer season, evening car/motorcycle entry costs £2.50, minibuses/cars with trailers cost £8.50, and daily coach/minibus with trailers costs £12.00.

Q: Are dogs allowed at Northam Burrows?
A: Yes, dogs are welcome at Northam Burrows Country Park. However, please be considerate of other visitors, avoid disturbing wildlife, and watch out for grazing animals.

Q: What time does Northam Burrows car park close?
A: The car park at Northam Burrows is open from 7 am to 10 pm from March to October and 7 am to 6 pm from November to February.

Q: Who owns Northam Burrows?
A: Northam Town Council is the trustee of the Northam Burrows Charity, which gained charitable status on July 1st, 2021.

Q: Are there any facilities for visitors at Northam Burrows?
A: Yes, the Burrows Visitor Centre offers toilets and a café, which are open year-round for visitors’ convenience.

Q: Is Northam Burrows suitable for family outings?
A: Absolutely! Northam Burrows Country Park offers a variety of activities and experiences for all ages, making it an ideal destination for family outings.

Q: Are there any guided walks or events at Northam Burrows?
A: Yes, the park often hosts guided walks and events, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the park’s unique landscapes, wildlife, and history.

Q: How can I access Northam Burrows via public transport?
A: To access Northam Burrows Country Park using public transport, you can take a bus to Westward Ho! from Bideford or Barnstaple.

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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