Braunton Burrows

About this route

Lying at the entrance to the Taw-Torridge Estuary, Braunton Burrows is one of the most important sand dune systems in Britain and forms the core of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

This extensive site extends 5km from north to south and is up to 1½ km wide. It supports a wide variety of habitats including flooded dune slacks, flower-rich grassland and scrub. In turn, these are home to a huge number of plants and animals. For example, the Burrows supports over 400 flowering plants, including rarities such as sea stock (see photo below) and water germander, and 33 species of butterflies have been recorded. The site is also of interest for its birds, including wintering waterfowl and an assemblage of breeding birds that include wheatear, skylark and meadow pipit.

Photo of sea stock a rare British coastal plant found in Devon

Sea Stock by Peter Wakely, Natural England

The nearby Northam Burrows Country Park (across the estuary at SS445308) hosts a range of coastal habitats including saltmarsh, a cobble ridge and a system of dunes rich in plants.

Getting Around

On foot: The South West Coast Path runs just inland of the dunes and links with the Tarka Trail (and then to Braunton and Barnstaple).

By bus and train: There are bus links to Barnstaple and nearby Braunton. Barnstaple has a train station.

By bike: The Tarka Trail provides a good cycle route from Barnstaple to Braunton along the Taw-Torridge Estuary.

By Car: A number of small roads lead to the Burrows from nearby Braunton. Car parking is available off Sandy Lane.

Saunton has car parking, toilets, refreshments and shops. Some areas of Braunton Burrows subject to closure for military training and management.
Sand dunes and footpaths.

Interesting information

Braunton Burrows is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a very important part of the Northern Devon Biosphere Reserve.

Photo across a dune slack to sand dunes in the background
Braunton Burrows Copyright Dietmar Rabich via Wikimedia Commons

You can explore more in this area

Photo of the top of a waymarking post for the Coast Path and Tarka Trail