Northam Burrows Country Park

About this route

The Northern Burrows is a scientifically important area which juts out into the mouth of the estuary. It is a site of special scientific interest with a range of habitats including sand dunes, salt marsh, grassland and rocky shore. It’s no surprise to find the area is alive with wildlife – from the smallest plant and insect, to vivid lichen and birdlife.

Getting Around

There are three main entry points onto the Burrows: Sandymere Road via Northam Square, Pebbleridge Road via Westward Ho! and the Tip Road via Burrows Lane on the Appledore side. Vehicles are charged a toll upon entry.

Visitor centre (May to September) with refreshments, toilets and family activities and events. Fully accessible bird hide.
There is little hard surfacing but the short, grazed natural grasses provide a fairly substantial surface. People with prams pushchairs and wheelchairs may experience some difficulty in parts of the Burrows.
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OS Maps

Landranger (1:50,000): No. 180 Barnstaple and Ilfracombe.

Explorer (1:25,000): No. 139 Bideford, Ilfracombe and Barnstaple.

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Interesting information

Northam Burrows SSSI is found directly opposite Braunton Burrows, but has a very different character to its neighbour across the estuary. Stable ‘fixed-dune’ grassland covers much of the site, with a narrow fringe of more mobile dune along the sea front and saltmarsh in the estuary.

The dominant feature, the ridge of cobbles along the seafront, is quite unique in the UK. Despite the size and apparent solidity of the ridge, it is amazingly mobile and, until recently, was not even part of the sea front, but was a ridge within the sand dune system. The dynamics of the ridge itself and the sediment in Bideford Bay as a whole are just beginning to be teased out through careful study.

Photo of the shoreline on a pebble beach
Pebble Ridge Westward Ho! Northam Burrows

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