Devon Food, Drink and Local Information - Blog
Best Picnic Spots in Devon - Top 20 July 16, 2015 21:46
Picnic's are a great British tradition and in Devon we're blessed with wonderful beaches, beautiful river valleys and lakes, as well as stunning moorland, all perfect for enjoying a picnic. As we sell picnic hampers using local Devonshire foods we've put together this list of 20 of the best picnic spots in Devon, along with a map showing each location.
Picnic Spots in North Devon
1. Watermouth Bay, near Ilfracombe, North Devon
Location - Small car park near the harbour, postcode EX34 9SL.
Watermouth Cove offers a very sheltered harbour, shielded by the natural breakwater of Sexton's Burrows, as well as picture-perfect views. This has created an ecosystem for lots of rare marine species attracting many boats to moor at the harbour. It’s the perfect sheltered location for a Devon picnic.
2. Instow Beach, near Barnstaple, North Devon
Location - There’s free short stay parking along the seafront and two car parks at either end of the beach for longer stays, postcode EX39 4JA.
Set just back from the Atlantic coast in the mouth of the River Taw and Torridge Estuary, Instow Beach is slightly more sheltered than most of North Devon’s beaches. It’s also one of the best places to view the sunset in North Devon, so why not set up a romantic picnic at dusk and watch the glorious colours emblazoned across a scene of bobbing boats at the mouth of the estuary. Hocking’s ice cream is worth considering for dessert.
3. Wistlandpound Reservoir, South Molton, North Devon
Location - Pay and display car park next to the lake, postcode EX31 4SL.
The tranquil lake is surrounded by conifers, and makes a great spot for a peaceful picnic in the heart of North Devon. Wander around the still lake and find a nice location to sit down and take in the view over some sandwiches.
4. Mouth Mill, North Devon
Location - Brownsham National Trust car park, postcode EX39 6AN.
From the car park head towards the coast and you’ll soon reach the beautiful beach of Mouth Mill, a stunning location to picnic and unwind as a family. It’s also possible to walk along the coast to the famous thatched-and-cobbled village of Clovelly, where donkeys are still the main form of transport up the steep village street and residents carry their shopping on sleds.
5. Eggesford Forest, off A377, North Devon
Location - Parking at Hilltown Wood, postcode EX18 7LD.
Eggesford Forest is a great place to visit. It has a network of trails and paths that link the different woodlands and also connect to the Tarka rail line at Eggesford Station. Hilltown Wood carpark has toilet facilities and a nice picnic area, where you can eat your lunch amid the trees, and enjoy their cooling shade.
Picnic Spots in Exeter & East Devon
6. Grand Western Canal, Halberton, Tiverton, Devon
Location - Small free car park, postcode EX16 7AE.
Dating back to 1796, the Grand Western Canal runs between Taunton in Somerset and Tiverton in Devon. Just down from the car park is a nice peaceful patch of grassland with a few picnic benches overlooking the canal. Before picnicking why not stop off at Halberton Court Farm Shop to pick your own strawberries.
7. Beer Head, East Devon
Location - Pay and display car park on a field by Beer Head Caravan Park, postcode EX12 3AQ.
Beer to Branscombe is a popular walk amongst locals due to its stunning coastal views from the cliff tops. The walk does contain some steep sections but for those who can make it to Branscombe, the pebble beach makes for a good picnic spot. Alternatively, make use of the large amount of open grassland that covers the coastal path between Beer and Branscombe.
8. Budleigh Salterton, nr Exeter, East Devon
Location - Postcode EX9 6JD. Large pay and display car park next to the beach and River Otter.
Budleigh Salterton is situated towards the western start of the majestic World Heritage Jurassic Coast, in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The picturesque town has a 2 mile pebble beach ideal for picnicking without sand getting in your sandwiches.
Picnic Spots on Dartmoor
9. Hennock Reservoirs, North East Dartmoor
Location - Pay and display car park to the south of Trenchford Reservoir, nearest postcode TQ13 9NX.
Consisting of three reservoirs, Trenchford, Tottiford & Kennick, all joined by a small stream, Hennock Reservoirs are as peaceful place as you can imagine. There are plenty of picnic benches overlooking the Trenchford reservoir by the car park. Alternatively, there are lots of secluded spots with rocks for seating around the outside of the reservoirs. For walkers, a path circles all three reservoirs with tracks also leading off into nearby fields and woods.
10. Spitchwick, River Dart, South East Dartmoor
Location - Free parking at Newbridge or alongside the narrow lane that runs past Spitchwick common, nearest postcode TQ13 7NT.
Spitchwick, set on the banks of the beautiful River Dart, is a popular spot for picnics and barbeques. It’s great for families wanting to combine a picnic or BBQ with swimming in the cold deep water of the River Dart. A picnic can also be followed by a pleasant afternoon walk along the footpath that runs next to the river in either direction.
11. Haytor, East Dartmoor
Location - Medium size car parks at the top and bottom of the tor - postcode TQ13 9XT.
With relatively easy access from Torquay and Exeter, Haytor is probably Dartmoor’s most popular tor. There are lots of rocks for seating and short grass surrounding the tor, along with superb views of the South Devon coastline, making it a lovely place to enjoy a picnic. Those with more energy can clamber up the tor or take a walk to nearby Hound Tor.
12. Postbridge, Central Dartmoor
Location - Pay and Display in the National Park visitors car park or over the road in Bellever Woods – postcode - PL20 6SY.
On the bank of the East River Dart, Postbridge has lots of short grass surrounded by woodland making it perfect for picnics. It’s best known for its ancient clapper bridge, believed to have been built in the 13th century to enable pack horses to cross the river. The location, in the middle of Dartmoor, is a great choice for walkers who are spoilt for choice with walks through Bellever Woods, along the river or up to Bellever Tor. Postbridge is also good for families as kids can play on the rocks dotted along the river using them as stepping stones.
13. Burrator Reservoir, Dartmoor
Location – Nearest postcode PL20 6PE. Parking is possible at various locations around the lake including the Quarry car park, Norsworthy Bridge and the Dam.
Undisturbed Burrator is surrounded by mixed woodland which sharply contrasts with the open moor and rugged Dartmoor tors not far from Plymouth. The reservoir is popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders due to its wealth of footpaths and bridleways. The 3.5mile circular walk which follows the lanes around the water is ideal for families as it is easy going and flat. It’s possible to venture inside of the road to find your perfect picnic spot next to the water’s edge.
14. Roadford Lake, West Devon
Location - Plenty of pay and display parking, postcode PL16 0JL.
Set on the northern edge of Dartmoor, not far from the A30 between Okehampton and Launceston, Roadford Lake is the largest area of fresh water in Southwest England. Not only is it a peaceful picnic location, it also offers plenty of activities to keep families entertained including, cycling, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing, walking and much more.
Picnic Spots in Torbay, Plymouth & South Devon
15. Cockington, Torquay, South Devon
Location - There’s a couple of medium size pay and display car parks in Cockington village, postcode TQ2 6XB.
The truly picturesque village of Cockington, near Torquay, is a charming place, lined with thatched cottages it boasts a water mill, a forge and even the cricket pitch was once a medieval deer park. At the heart of the village is Cockington Court, a manor house often visited by Agatha Christie that is surrounded by hundreds of acres of gorgeous country park, perfect for a picnic. Today, Cockington Court is a hub for art where you can even watch glassblowers and blacksmiths in action.
16. Berry Head Hill Fort, nr Brixham, English Riviera
Location - Park at the Berry Head Visitor Centre, postcode TQ5 9AP.
Berry Head National Nature Reserve is Torbay's most important wildlife site, with many rare plants dependent upon the thin soils, mild climate and exposed conditions of the headland. Enjoy a picnic on the cliffs of Berry Head and walk to the Berry Head Lighthouse, which is reputedly the shortest lighthouse in Great Britain, but also one of the highest, being only 5 metres (16 ft) tall, but 58 metres (190 ft) above mean sea level (wikipedia).
17. Little Dartmouth, South Devon
Location - National trust car park, postcode TQ6 0JP.
From the National Trust car park pick up the Southwest coast path towards Dartmouth and find a nice picnic spot on the cliff top at the opening for the beautiful River Dart estuary. Also, consider venturing as far as Dartmouth Castle, the English Heritage site that has guarded the estuary for over 600 years.
18. Mill Bay, South Hams
Location - Large car park next to the beach although this can become full if you are late arriving on popular days, postcode TQ8 8PU.
Mill Bay is a lovely sheltered cove with golden sand located on the banks of the Salcombe Estuary in the far south of Devon. Children love to build dams across the stream that trickles down the beach giving parents the opportunity to tuck into a picnic in peace. By taking a short walk up the estuary you can catch a ferry that runs to the popular seaside town of Salcombe.
19. Bigbury-on-Sea, nr Salcombe, South Devon
Location - Postcode TQ7 4AS, there’s a large pay and display car park located above the beach.
Bigbury-on-Sea is a popular destination for families wanting to enjoy the beautiful South Devon coast. It’s most well-known for its sea tractor resembling an open top bus on stilts that ferries visitors across the shallow waters to Burgh Island. Enjoy a picnic on the golden sand as kids play in the sea that can sometimes offer nice surf, especially over the estuary at Bantham.
20. Plymouth Hoe, Plymouth
Location - Two pay and display car parks nearby, postcode PL1 3BJ.
A short walk from the city centre of Devon’s largest city isn’t somewhere that you would necessarily expect to find a great picnic location, but Plymouth Hoe is a really good picnic spot. It also offers excellent marine life views across Plymouth Sound to Drake Island and has a large amount of open green space. The iconic Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse stands over the Hoe and is open to those that want to get a better vantage point to look out onto the Sound.
Our blog listing 50 of the best cream teas in Devon to be enjoyed on a day out
Our cream tea hampers by post to take with you or send to a friend who couldn't make it to Devon.