Crow Point from Braunton Burrows

Crow Point

This is an easy walk to the beach at Crow Point from Braunton Burrows, the largest sand dune system in Britain and the first United Nations Unesco Biosphere Reserve in Britain. The burrows are rich in wildlife, especially insects and butterflies, and have an internationally recognized abundance of rare and in some cases unique flora and fauna. Lovers of wild flowers could not come to a better place. After crossing the unique burrows the walk reaches a satisfying beach walk round the fragile Crow Point headland that sits at the neck of the River Taw and River Torridge estuaries as they meet the Atlantic Ocean. This walk can also be done by those with off road mobility scooters like a Tramper. The walk can be extended to make a longer walk around the dunes or round the headland to Saunton Sands. The initial walk over the dunes is mostly on an easy wooden boardwalk. The beach walk is easy going but can sometimes be muddy with sinking sand by the water.

Route Directions

  1. The walk start from the large car park at the end of the toll road over Braunton Marsh. The toll shed is situated at the entrance to the road. I'm happy to say the fee is minimal. It is a great drive down the toll road as it is flanked by a marsh full of wildlife. The car park is at grid reference SS467327.
  2. To reach the toll road follow the A361 from Barnstaple to Braunton. When you reach the roundabout just after Wrafton turn left down Vellator Way to reach another roundabout. At this roundabout go straight ahead and down Caen View. A kilometre down this road turn left on to the toll road.
  3. From the car park head south west through a few old disused parking areas. At the far end you will see the wooden boardwalk heading off over the dunes. Here there is a wooden information board about the dunes well worth a read.
  4. Lookout for the wild flowers, head off path a few times and you may be surprised with what you find. On my first visit here I saw yellow Evening Primrose, white Marsh Orchids, purple Pyramid Orchids, purple Thyme, tiny pink Rest Harrow, fragrant Honeysuckle, trumpet like Sea Bindweed and many more.
  5. The boardwalk crosses the dunes for around a kilometre until it rises over the beach dunes and down on to the beach itself. It will bring you out at a point near the old wooden groynes.
  6. Head to the groynes for great views out to sea and an exploration of the old abandoned life boat look out station. Also a great place to shelter in bad weather.
  7. Looking across the water you will see the other side of the estuaries neck. The many pretty houses on the hill of Appledore on the left and the Northam Burrows Country Park to the right.
  8. After enjoying the atmosphere around the old wooden groynes and sea defenses head south east back down the beach. Following the soft warm sand is fun but nowhere near as much fun as combing the tide line where you will find beached fish, crabs and jellyfish amongst stunning shells and stones.
  9. You will eventually reach the light house beacon at Crow Point. Here follow the beach round the headland. The beach shelves quite steep near the water and the calmer waters are a sign that you are now on the side of a river and no longer open to the elements of the ocean.
  10. Follow the beach left still following the headland almost literally back on itself, in fact in high tides and severe storms this headland can sometimes become an island.
  11. The beach will swing the other way to the right now and as it does you will pass many boats including a stunning old wooden barge wreck. The barge is well worth exploring. It has many layers of varied colored paint stripping off and contrasting with its rusty and wooden structure pinned together with huge solid iron pins. It makes for a fantastic photo.
  12. Continue along the beach now heading north west for less than a kilometre until you reach the ramp from the beach to White House. Head up the ramp and turn left to follow the road back to the car park.
  13. The beautiful village of Braunton is well worth a visit if you haven't been here before and has numerous places to eat and drink. If you have a few hours, drive round the coast road passing Saunton to Croyde for the tastiest ice cream you will have ever experienced, then watch the sun go down from Saunton Sands.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer 139 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 180 Map Click to buy Pathfinder Guides Exmoor Click to buy Pathfinder Guides North Devon

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.