Secret Beaches: Ness Cove Beach, Shaldon

Ness Cove, Shaldon

We only have two requirements when it comes to beaches – pooch friendly all day long and decent coffee nearby. Ness Cove wins on both counts. Even better, it has a whopping great car park and the loos are always immaculate (no, YOU’RE middle aged).

Trying to avoid the sun seeking masses, we only discovered Ness Cove this Summer, it has fast become our favourite place for the Sunday morning dog walk/breakfast date. It probably isn’t that much of a secret but it’s beautiful, secluded and dog friendly all year round.

The Ness, Shaldon
The Ness, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon

You’ll find Ness Cove at the end of Smugglers Tunnel for those who like a bit of spooky adventure to their summer days out. It’s not a legit Poldark tunnel, it was carved by the residents of a nearby country pile to provide access to the beach but the kids (and husbands) don’t need to know that.

The tunnel slopes gently, opening out onto a spectacular view with steps marking the final descent to the beach. The tunnel and steps render Ness Cove a bit inaccessible but if you do follow in the footsteps of the smugglers, it is a beautiful spot to while away a summers’ day.

Ness Cove, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon

Ness Cove, Shaldon

Tumbled piles of rocks flank each end of the beach (ideal for adventuring little ones or yoga toting big ones) and each time we’ve ventured down here the sea has been crystal clear. Freezing because, Britain, but clear.

The beach is surrounded by those famous towering red Devon cliffs, which makes it super safe and enclosed BUT the sun does dip behind them at about tea time, signalling the moment to haul your butts back up to civilization.

Ness Cove,, Shaldon
Ness Cove,, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon
Ness Cove: What to Eat and Drink

Cafe Ode, at the top of the car park has served up the top three of my best sausage baps of all time list (toasted brioche, caramelised onions – yes). The coffee is phenomenal and they live and breathe sustainability and local produce.

Just around the corner into Shaldon, The Clipper is another cracking breakfast spot with a completely unrivaled view. Also great coffee.

If you happen to be around at lunchtime, I have it on good authority that The Ness does a decent roast.

All three are dog friendly.Ness Cove, Shaldon

Ness Cove: The Small Print
  • The loos are at the entrance to the tunnel which might be too far a walk for the tiniest of bladders
  • There is nowhere to get a drink on the actual beach, take it with you (and don’t forget to take your rubbish away afterwards)
  • Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round which may be your idea of heaven…or hell. If it’s the latter, walk away and we’ll never speak of this again.

You and beaches? Got a favourite? A fan of The Ness? Let me know.


More of our favourite Devonish secrets here. 

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Secret Beaches: Wonwell, Devon

Wonwell Beach

Whilst knee deep in our mini-break I thought I’d introduce husband face to one of my favourite Devonish secrets. FYI marriage should be secret free but sometimes we like to hermit, hard, and I haven’t had a chance to show him yet.

Lovely Sarah of Escape to the Westcountry fame introduced me to Wonwell Beach at the mouth of the Erme Estuary sometime last year. My visits so far have been plagued by me rocking up late, me going the wrong way and me ending up on the wrong side of the estuary. It’s tidal, it was a problem. Oh and me reversing about three miles up a teeny tiny track laughing hysterically and shrugging whilst the hardened country folk glared at me. That was fun.

But on this gloriously sunny May day, husband and I found it with minimal domestic blame game and maximum time for smooching on the beach. Holiday smooching, we’ve still got it.

Wonwell is dog friendly all year long, parking is a bugger so it’s not overrun with people and Sarah told me some film or other was shot around here. Maybe more than one, it’s ridiculously beautiful.

I took the posh camera and set the hounds and the husband free.

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The South West Coast Path runs off to either side of the Estuary – I think it goes to Bigbury in one direction and Bantham in the other, both amazing beaches neither of which I’ve ever seen as deserted and peaceful. I’m doing well at the adventuring lately, within the safe and warm confines of my county.

This post isn’t particularly funny or clever, although he and I did exchange shitty jokes and had a good giggle whilst exploring the beach, it’s just lovely and if you find yourself near by I’d thoroughly recommend detouring. Just check the tide times first, don’t be me.

Got any secrets? Sandy or otherwise.

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