Last week we packed our bags and headed to the north coast of Devon for a few days. It was a very last minute decision which almost made it even more exciting! As expected, the places to chose from to stay at were very limited, but that wasn’t a problem as we knew we’d be out most of the day exploring anyway. We ended up staying in a single roomed self-catering cottage that, whilst first impressions weren’t great because the room was quite dark and small, it actually ended up being very cosy! The room was connected to a bed & breakfast nestled in the valley just a few miles away from Saunton Sands, a beautiful 3 mile beach open to dogs all year round.
Our journey was 5 hours including several stops along the way. Travelling through the rolling hills of Exmoor, we spotted an ice cream van situated on a cliff that overlooked the sea, we just had to stop to take in the view… and treat ourselves of course! As soon as Max spotted the sea his eyes were locked on it, he was so excited to be by the coast again! After convincing him that we’d go to the sea later (without a cliff drop in our way!) we continued our journey.
Upon arrival we unpacked the car, dropped off our bags and made our way to Saunton Sands. I have so many fond memories there as a child with little Oscar. In his youth he’d spend hours digging in the sand and chasing his ball, Max is following in his paw prints which is so lovely to see. Now Oscar ambles along at a steady pace whilst Max charges across the beach in typical Spaniel fashion: ears flying, paws in the air and sand in his soggy fur! He was too fast for me to capture a decent photo!
Max and Oscar were so happy to feel the sand in their paws again. Despite Oscar’s illness, he was so lively, I couldn’t stop smiling. He’s so young at heart as he always tries to chase after Max and, whilst he is unsuccessful it’s the effort that counts! Leaving us behind, Max darted across the sand towards the sea, ready to play in the wet sand. The waves are still quite daunting for him but when he’s feeling brave enough he loves to jump over them, which I can’t help but laugh at because my sister and I used to do the exact same thing as a child.
After a few hours walking along the beach and snapping a few photos we all, apart from Max, decided it was time to leave and search for a place for dinner. I’m sure Max could’ve spent all night there if he was allowed! I looked up online for dog friendly pubs near us and a beautifully presented pub called ‘The Thatch’ immediately caught my eye. The Thatch is a, you guessed it, thatched pub situated in the pretty seaside town of Croyde. The outside seating area had splashes of colour everywhere, with vibrant flowers hanging happily and multicoloured fairy lights proudly aligned across the wall. It was just gorgeous and the food certainly didn’t disappoint either, not to mention the impressively quick service. Our waitress adored Maximus and was very friendly.
With our taste buds satisfied and our stomachs full we headed back to our little room to unwind.
The following morning we woke up at 7am and got ready for our day of adventures, Max was so excited and couldn’t stop wiggling! Once we were all ready we set off to a beautiful seaside town called Instow, when we arrived the tide was out which created little pools in the rolling sands. Maximus was really in his element! It was also ideal for Oscar to have a cool off in shallow water as he panics when it’s too deep.
After a walk along the beach we had built up our appetites so we headed to a beachfront bar & restaurant called The Boathouse for lunch. The exterior and interior had a classic coastal, beachside vibe, home to a mix of cobble stone features, oak wood finishing and white walls which also gave it a touch of modernism. Overall, the whole place was stunningly presented and would catch the eye of any passers-by. We chose to sit on the rooftop to take in the gorgeous seaside view while nibbling on some chips, it was very pleasant and the atmosphere was lovely.
After lunch, we then went on another walk along the beach before heading off on our next adventure.
Whenever we’re by the coast we like to make the most of it because it’s quite a distance from home so after speaking to the kind lady who ran the bed & breakfast adjacent to our room, we decided to do a beach walk that starts at Crows Point and takes you all the way to Saunton Sands. This walk isn’t very well known which was perfect for Max because it was nice and quiet. This took us 2 and a half hours and was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon.
Once we arrived at Saunton, we sat on the beach for a while taking in the lively yet relaxing atmosphere of children playing and laughing, dogs splashing about in the sea and surfers tackling the crashing waves. It was very pleasant.
As dinner time rolled around we decided to make our way to the seafront restaurant ‘Beachside Grill’, situated beside the beach car park. It has a outside seating area on a balcony that overlooks the sea, it was idyllic.
By the time we finished, our tiredness truly hit us so we headed back to rest up for another busy day of exploring awaiting us. That night I decided to research some valley walks to do and ‘Heddon Valley’ immediately caught my eye as it ticked all my boxes. This stunning National Trust walk is located in the west coast of Exmoor hidden away in the deep wooded valley with steep cliffs towering over its contents. The valley follows a rocky stream that leads to a secluded rock beach nestled amongst the headlands.
To no surprise, Maximus spent most of his time in the stream barking at us to throw stones in for him to chase… when water’s around he turns into a bit of a diva! There’s something about stones splashing and sinking that he’s utterly fascinated by. Oscar, on the other hand, enjoys simply having a peaceful little paddle now and again.
After following the woodland path for a while the trees became more sparse and the open valley greeted us. We continued to follow the trail until we reached the sea, from here you can continue the walk up the steep cliffs for the full 6 mile walk. With Oscar’s best interest in mind, we opted for the shorter route where you simply turn back on yourselves once you’ve reached the beach. Therefore, after a while taking in the breathtaking views we headed back. Oscar did exceptionally well on this walk, ever since his setback he seems to have a new lease of life! It’s almost like he knew he wasn’t ready to leave yet, he still has some adventures left in him that need to be fulfilled.
Once we arrived back at the National Trust car park we began our long journey home with two very content, tired, soggy dogs! On the way we stopped off at the gorgeous seaside town of Lynmouth for some fish and chips. Like I mentioned in last years Devon blog post, they’re the best I’ve ever had. It was a very pleasant way to end such a lovely, fun-filled few days. Adventures are so much better with dogs, I can’t imagine ever leaving them behind.
I hope you enjoyed reading about everything we got up to. Do you have any adventures in the diary? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading,
Charlotte & Maximus x