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Home | Things to do | Snap up North Devon – A photographers Guide

Snap up North Devon – A Photographer’s Guide

With its dramatic scenery rolling across moorland and cascading down rugged cliffs into turbulent Atlantic seas, North Devon provides the picture-perfect location for amateur and professional photographers alike.  So whether it’s for the ‘likes’ or for your portfolio, there really is no better location to explore!

With two national parks within the county borders and 65% of its coastline recognized as heritage coast, North Devon’s sparsely populated, varied scenery provides the perfect landscape for your camera roll.

It is a hard task to list just a few of the many unspoilt beauty spots worthy of capturing but as seasoned locals we have put together a snapshot guide to some of our favourite photography spots across North Devon (although we are sure you will find more!)

Discover the Best North Devon Photography locations

Woolacombe Dunes

5 Minute walk from byron

Watch the dune grasses sway amongst the fresh sea breeze as waves from the Bristol channel crash in the distance.

Woolacombe beach offers some fantastic opportunities for photographers fresh for the snap!

Watch surfers catch some impressive waves all throughout the year, find perfect reflections within unusual rockpools and look out for some of the rare wildlife and crustaceans hanging to the jagged rocks along the shoreline.  

Our favourite photo spot for Woolacombe bay is up in the dunes, particularly stunning at sunset. We recommend the best sunsets can be found during autumn/winter when the air is clearer allowing for a ‘full bloom’ of colour to cast upon the sky and sea.

The mixed seagrass gives a great foreground for any sunset landscape, and we love how the colours complement each other so naturally.

During high summer no trip to the seaside would be complete without a snap or two of the iconic Woolacombe beach huts sitting proudly along beach’s edge, always sure to conjure a sense of nostalgia.

If you walk around the beach and head towards Mortehoe you will come across some smaller beaches including Barricane, Combesgate and Grunta. These are fantastic little rocky coves that can offer beautiful photographs especially when the weather calls for something a little more sheltered!

Watersmouth Harbor

22 Minute Drive from byron

This secluded natural harbour is an absolute gem of a find nestled between the rugged cliffs covering almost 15 acres and providing a safe and secure anchorage for 120 boats.

A popular converted rescue boat café runs from the harbour side ‘Storm in a Tea Cup’ serves wonderful breakfasts, lunch and cream teas throughout the day – worth a visit, particularly joyful on a windy rainy day!

Photo opportunities are not hard to find along this beautiful harbor, walk towards the historic round tower out on the right-hand side to find some gorgeous shots looking back across toward Watermouth Castle and out towards the sea. If you are lucky on a clear day looking out to sea, look towards a rippled patch where a strong current flows often you will see a family of porpoises feeding on shoals of fish within the current.

Another jaw-dropping photo opportunity can be found if you head left of the harbour following the southwest coast path up towards Ilfracombe, you will see some gorgeous Llamas along this path and also many wonderful viewpoints nestled between the shrubbery. For the show-stopper head to the top of the stairs and look back towards the harbour, no need for anything else but to grab your camera and snap up this gorgeous landscape!

Holdstone down

24 Minute drive from byron

A wonderous destination based near the village of Combe Martin.

This beautiful remote location based within the Exmoor national park offers superb views of wilderness across to the Bristol channel. We recommend walking this patch in late summer and autumn when the bracken is tinged with autumnal hues and interspersed with breaks of striking purple heather. You can capture the abundant display of butterflies found amongst the flowers and enjoy the sound of the pollinators as you walk looking out to the blue waters of the Atlantic to your side.

You will also come across the remains of ancient settlements and for those who are extremely lucky you may even capture a glimpse of some extra-terrestrial activity! Yes, we are talking UFOs!

Many UFO encounters have been claimed to have taken place along Holdstone down and in 1958 Master of Western Yoga Dr George King visited the site naming it a ‘Holy mountain’ claiming a cosmic avatar had sent streams of spiritual power through him and deep into the mountain itself making it forever holy. We will leave this up to you to decide on, but the proof is in the photo – if you can get one!

There is a stone on the summit inscribed with Dr King’s initials to mark the occasion.

Crow Point

32 Minute Drive from byron

Looking for a stretched of long sandy beach, dunes and the remains of old shipwrecks scattered along the estuary bed? Then this is the spot for you.

Crow point has a deserted feel at any time of year which transcends you back to another era, the private toll bridge and historic working lighthouse all add to the effect.

For a great shot, we recommend heading to the southern end of the Braunton Burrows Nature Reserve where the sand curves around the sea and estuary and creates a sand split ‘point’ where the Taw and Torridge rivers meet.

Explore the many steep sand dunes transporting you to a different world. Watch families enjoy sandboarding down their high slopes!

Walk into the nature reserve and spot the varied wildlife, this is a fantastic opportunity to be creative with your photography!

The wreckage is always a popular subject for photographers, capturing the dunes at sunset across the estuary is also a particularly good opportunity!

Valley of the rocks

39 Minute Drive from byron

‘Where valley meets the sea’ – If you are looking for a dramatic valley landscape, rare wildlife, unusual rock formations or an elevated sunset seascape then this is the one-click wonder you have been looking for!

Close to the beautiful town of Lynmouth – also well worth a visit to snap the beautiful alleyways and famous cliff-top railway, the valley of the rocks runs parallel to the Atlantic coast and offers middle-earth-like scenery likened to Lord of The Rings.

We recommend walking the coast path along the cliff, this is a safe path but has no barrier. Take in the distant views of Start Point lighthouse to your right and across to Woody and Lee Bay to your right.

Look out for the resident wild goats, they are friendly and often put on a good balancing act for you along the rocky cliff edge, another great shot!

Walk down the coast path towards Lee Abbey Bay to find more spectacular scenery taking in more of the valley bed formed by the former route of the East Lyn River which now meets the sea at Lynmouth.

Lee Abbey Bay itself is worth a visit but we recommend checking tide times as this bay opens out rather spectacularly at low tide! – there is also some limited parking at Lee-bay.

Bucks Mill

55 Minute Drive from byron

This picturesque location oozes history and adventure. Dating back to the 21st century when the Spanish galleon took refuge and settled along the cliff top. It is said that local women married the survivors of the shipwreck forming a small but tight community and living in natural isolation.

Romance is certainly in the air, the whole area is enveloped within green woodland spilling downwards towards the edge of the sea. Walk the many path lands within the woodland owned by the national trust and enjoy frames of ancient oaks, and beams of light dancing through gaps within the dense canopies above you.

As you head towards the village you can enjoy gorgeous views of the charming whitewash cottages and panoramic views across to Clovelly, Peppercombe and Lundy Island.

Before heading onto the beach you will come across a small building once home to two artists, Judith Ackland and Mary Stella Edwards. The contents of their home remain and now the building remains a rented studio for current artists to use and showcase their works.

The beach is a fantastic area to shoot at low-level light, with the long stretches of open sands and jagged rocks jutting out skywards you can create some very dramatic landscapes.

And no photographer’s wish list is complete without a beachside waterfall, right?

Dunkery Beacon

57 Minute Drive from byron

Exmoors highest point at 1,705ft offering spectacular panoramic views overlooking Devon Somerset and across to Wales. This Bronze age landscape is managed and owned by the Nations Trust.

The summits are capped with impressive barrows and cairns which complement the surrounding moorland landscape perfectly, get your camera ready.

Our favourite part about this location is that it is truly stunning at any time of year. The flora and fauna will never be the same, the light and weather can change within minutes and the effect on your capture is dramatic.

The wildlife here is, wild! We have seen a herd of wild Exmoor ponies, sheep and Red Deer simultaneously canter across our path and experience sunshine, hail and snowfall within the same walk to the Beacon. I wouldn’t recommend a ‘best spot’ along this magnificent landscape, but simply amble up one of the many winding paths towards the beacon and keep your eyes scanning for the changing weather fronts and wildlife around you, the cairns do make a lovely focal point against the naturally wild Exmoor backdrop


60 Minute Drive from byron

Whitewash coastal cottages stacked along cobbled streets tumbling down towards an ancient working harbour – yes, this village really is as dreamy as it sounds!

When it comes to ticking all the boxes Clovelly is a great option, with a small community of locals renting their properties from the Giffard Family who own the entire village ensuring Clovelly village maintains its old worldly feel, including the famous wooden sleigh carriage method for luggage and deliveries around the village.

Best viewpoints for a snap include standing at the top of the cobbled village alley and waiting for a moment when the crowds clear (we recommend visiting outside of school holidays to capture the clear view down the street as if time stood still.

Another favourite is heading out along the harbour towards the end of the pier where you can capture some beautiful shots looking up towards the village capturing the rugged cliffs behind, on a misty day this is even more atmospheric!

Plan your photography trip to North Devon

Now your camera is packed, and you are ready to snap up the abundance of beautiful North Devon locations just waiting for you to explore its time to find somewhere to stay!

Byron offers somewhere close to all these wonderful locations and with a range of pet-friendly properties, no one walks alone!

Check out some of our guest’s wonderful photographs from in and around Woolacombe! Woolacombe Memories

Byron’s luxury self-catering apartments!

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