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The North Devon Coast Achieves World Surfing Reserve Status

Our beautiful coastline achieved another level of protection in April when North Devon was formally announced as the 12th World Surfing Reserve alongside iconic surfing sites including Malibu in California and Australia’s Gold Coast. This covers our wonderful beaches from Saunton, Croyde, Putsborough & Woolacombe right along the coast to Exmoor and Lynmouth.

Why is this important?

Direct threats to waves include factors such as new coastal developments, dredging decisions and steps being taken to tackle coastal erosion. The indirect threats to the surfing ecosystem include poor water quality and pollution from sewage, agricultural runoff, plastic and fishing debris. So, what is good for waves and surfers is understandably good for the wider environment and all of us. Whether you are a surfer or a wild swimmer, surf life saver, stand up paddle boarder or just enjoying a walk along the wild coastal path; this beautiful, raw and rugged coastline intertwined with world-class surfing and waves has something for everyone and deserves to remain unspoilt.

The Reserve is the first of its kind in the UK, and only the second in Europe. It is also the first ever cold water World Surfing Reserve, with many of the best waves arriving on the North Devon shoreline in the winter season.

Located within a UNESCO Biosphere, many of the surf spots are also within an official Area of Outstanding Beauty and surf sports to the North are within Exmoor National Park.

The coastal ecosystem surrounding the surf spots includes Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Areas of Conservation, and a Marine Conservation Zone just offshore – surrounding Lundy Island – providing the UK’s strictest form of marine protection, a No Take Zone.

So, put simply, our stunning and unique slice of Devon is very special indeed and has many levels of protection in place to ensure it remains unspoilt and is maintained for future generations.

‘Our core focus is looking after the quality of the waves themselves and preserving the ecosystems that produce them. Surf spots need to be celebrated, recognised and protected in the same way we protect and recognise beautiful national parks like Exmoor.’

Adam Hall, Local surfer & Co-Founder of the Surfing Reserve in North Devon


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