Here’s a day out for rain or shine. If it’s sunny, then all the better, but if it rains, well you’ll be wet anyway so it won’t matter. Right on the edge of Westward Ho!’s gigantic North Devon beach you’ll find the North Devon Surf School. They run lessons twice a day and rent out boards too (£10 for 2 hours). A two hour lesson costs £30 and a full day surf course (2 sessions) costs £55 (2018 prices). Bear in mind a bigger block of lessons is cheaper. It’s a great place to learn as it’s sandy and the water is shallow. There are lots of lovely beginners’ waves to catch. Anyone aged 8 up can have a go – you’ll be in good hands.
Lesson times vary with the tide, so ring to book what suits. You’ll need to be there 30 mins before the lesson to get suited up. Ring 01237 474 663 or see them online.
If you book a lesson, all your equipment is included, so there’s nothing to carry. And they’ll drive you to the best part of the beach for that day’s waves (and your ability).
You can get there by car or bus. Yes, it’s much easier by car, but if part of your group wants to go off on their own for an adventure, you could try the bus. If you want to use public transport check up to date time tables. You’ll need an all day ticket on Stagecoach North Devon buses. Catch the 5B to Bideford from Winkleigh (it’s about 1.5 miles from the accommodation at Wheatland Farm). From Bideford you’ll need to get the 21A to Westward Ho!, Golf Links Road. Ask the driver to put you down at the stop nearest the surf school. There’s one close by.
By car, drive through Bideford and straight across the roundabout joining the A39. Keep following the signs to Westward Ho! and when you get there head down the the sea. The surf school is down a lane leading from the road closest to the sea. You can’t miss it – it’s well signed.
If you want to go further along the beach and park behind the pebble ridge you’ll be entering Northam Burrows country park and will usually be charged (£4.50 for the day). If you’re just going to the surf school there’s often space in the nearby streets for free.
But actually, if you’re hiring a board and doing your own thing, the parking charge isn’t bad value for the chance to leave the car that close to the sea, and there’s a boardwalk over the pebble ridge from the main car park, which sure makes lugging lunch and gear easier. It puts you right by the lifeguard station too.
If not everyone is active or likes swimming, then there’s the beach to enjoy or maybe a cliff walk – part of the coast path going from Horn’s Cross to Westward Ho is suitable for town shoes, buggies or wheel chairs. It’s the Westward Ho end, and there’s a small car park at that end of the town that makes a good starting point.