North Cornwall's beaches are famous for their beauty and those in Bude are no exception. Vast expanses of clean, golden, sandy beaches are often backed by the rugged cliffs. With enormous differences between high and low tide, the beaches are constantly changing shape.
The water levels rise and fall dramatically within a couple of hours and the sea level will cover an area of 60 football pitches with up to 7 metres of water during high tide. It is this never-ending flow of the tides that gives you the opportunity to enjoy a 4 mile walk along the shoreline from the Bude beaches all the way up to Sandymouth when the tide is out.
With the prominent features of the breakwater, Barrel Rock, canal lock gates and the river Neet flowing into the sea here, it is probably Bude's most picturesque beach, inspiring painters, photographers and visitors alike. The little fishing boats banked on the sand whilst waiting to go out with the next high tide, add to that special charm and atmosphere.
Even at high tide there is a good stretch of sandy beach available and with the tide out Summerleaze is truly a joy to behold. The beach is an easy 5-minute walk from the Brendon Arms and also the nearest beach to the town centre. Popular with families, Summerleaze offers a car park close by, level access from several sides as well as a beach cafe and public toilets.
Lifeguard cover is provided from 1 May until 30 September. Another feature of Summerleaze is the Sea Bathing Pool which it's advisable to use when the tide is out or the sea is rough. It's said to be one of only two left in the UK. No dogs or horses are allowed on the beach between 1 May 30 September. Beach wheel chair hire, beach hut/deck chair/windbreak hire are all from the beach office.
Although a little pebbly and rocky at the top, Crooklets Beach offers a huge expanse of golden sand once the tide is out. It is very popular with surfers and also home to the Bude Surf Life Saving Clubhouse.
The Bude SLSC holds surf lifesaving demonstrations on Crooklets Beach every Tuesday evening (6:30pm) during the summer and they are well worth a visit.
Lifeguard cover is provided from 17 May to 21 September.
A beach of haunting beauty. Although quite pebbly at the top, it offers a huge expanse of sandy beach with the tide out. With towering cliffs on both sides, it has a bit of a cove feel to it.
Children will be very happy playing on the fine sand, in the many rock pools and in the stream running down through the beach. Owned by the National Trust, it has a little car park halfway down the hill.
Although there aren't any facilities such as public toilets, there is a lovely tea garden just up the private road which is open during the summer months. Lifeguard cover is provided from 5 July until 31 August.
Again, this is a National Trust owned beach. The car park, also owned by the National Trust, is situated at the top of the cliff and the walk down to the beach leads you through quite a steep ravine, which is not recommended for the less mobile.
Once there, you'll be rewarded by a lovely quiet beach with its own waterfall.
There is a cafe with public toilets, which are open during the main summer season. Lifeguard cover is provided from 17 May until 21 September.
A wild and romantic cove, which is appreciated most for its rugged setting. Dominated by the spectacular peak of Steeple Point Cliff, it is favoured by many as a quiet retreat away from it all.
Swimming is not recommended as the currents are extremely dangerous and razor-sharp rocks add to the hazards. No lifeguard cover is provided.
Widemouth Bay is very popular with bathers and surfers alike. Although it looks like one huge beach, stretching across almost 1.5 miles, it is actually divided into the North Beach and South Beach (also called Black Rock) by a natural barrier of rock.
Widemouth offers fantastic conditions to learn surfing or body-boarding, which is why many of the local surf schools have their base there.
A big car park, public toilets and beach cafe are available. Lifeguard cover is provided from 1 May until 30 September (North Beach). Cover on Black Rock is from 17 May until 21 September.
Another beach of haunting beauty, yet not the perfect one for those looking for sand and surf. Covered with thousands of pebbles, it is more of a retreat for those wishing to observe wildlife such as seals and dolphins as well as birds of prey and waders.
Millook is also of huge geological interest with its famous zig-zag cliff, towering high above the shore. No lifeguard cover is provided.