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Croyde

Croyde, a small, quaint village in North Devon, is a surfer's paradise. Its cool, blue waters and sandy beaches are near fun shops and welcoming restaurants that cater to their interests. During the peak season, many tourists flock to Croyde; however, in the low season, many businesses have to close, impacting the job security of the local population.

Croyde

Croyde is a village in North Devon, South West England (figures 1 and 2), and it lies within the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It covers an area of around 20 mi². Both Croyde village and its beach/bay face the Atlantic Ocean.

Croyde, Regenerating Places Location of Croyde on UK map, StudySmarterFigure 1: Location of Croyde on UK map - Google Earth (2022)

Croye, Regenerating Places Close-up map of Croyde, StudySmarterFigure 2: Close-up map of Croyde - Google Earth (2022)

History of Croyde

There is evidence of a settlement in this area that dates before the Anglo-Saxon period. This period lasted from the 5th century, with the end of Roman Britain, to the 11th century, with the Norman conquest in 1066 by William the Conquerer. The first mention of Croyde was in 1086, in the Domesday Book. It was then named Crideholde/Chrideholda.

The Domesday Book is the most complete survey of a pre-industrial society anywhere in the world, and it covers the majority of England and Wales. The book contains the results of a massive survey of land and landholding. It was commissioned by William I (also known as William the Conquerer) in 1085.

There is some mystery as to where the name comes from. Some state that it takes its Celtic name from Crydda, a Viking raider, while others have stated that the word is similar to the Cornish word ‘Curd’. The latter describes the geographical position of the village resting among a cradle of hills, which gives Croyde its current name. There is no general consensus on where the name came from, so it is open for speculation.

During the Medieval period, there was a market site in Croyde. This site was most likely near the centre of the village (figures 3 and 4).

Croyde, Regenerating Places Approximate location of the Medieval market site, StudySmarterFigure 3: Approximate location of the Medieval market site - Google Maps (2022)

Croyde, Regenerating Places Approximate location of Medieval market site, wide view, StudySmarterFigure 4: Approximate location of Medieval market site, wide view - Google Earth (2022)

In 1943, during World War II, nearby Saunton Sands, Braunton Burrows and Baggy Point (figure 5) were used by American soldiers to practise for the D-day landings. After the war, Croyde became mainly a holiday resort again, just as it was before.

Croyde, Regenerating Places Locations of Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows, StudySmarterFigure 5: Locations of Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows - Google Earth (2020)

In the 1960s, tensions rose with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, so a Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker was constructed southeast of Withywell Lane (figure 6). This bunker was responsible for observing the skies all over the UK for any Soviet planes and/or nuclear bombs/missiles. When the Cold War ended in 1991, the bunker was disbanded.

Croyde, Regenerating Places Approximate location of ROC bunker, StudySmarterFigure 6: Approximate location of ROC bunker - OS Maps (2022)

Transport

With Croyde being such a small village, public transport is limited. The best option is to take a car to Croyde. If you leave the M5 Motorway (leading to Exeter) at A361, it will take you all the way to Croyde, a distance of about 46 miles (74km).

The limited public transport is a disadvantage as it will bring more cars into the area, as people take their own car (or a hired car). This can negatively affect the environment (pollution), traffic (jams), and the availability of parking spaces.

Education

Croyde does not have any schools in the area. Children will need to go to Georgeham Primary School (about 1,5mi/2,5km from Croyde by car), and for secondary education, they will need to go to Braunton Academy (about 5,2mi/8,4km from Croyde by car).

Croyde weather

Croyde has an oceanic climate. In general, an oceanic climate has mild summers, cool but not cold winters, and a relatively narrow annual temperature range.

The average annual temperature for Croyde is 13°C, and the yearly rainfall is approximately 530mm. There are about 119 dry days a year, although, like all of the UK, there is rainfall during all months.

From June to October, the temperature is nice, and there is limited rainfall.

Average weather conditions for Croyde

The table below (table 1) will show you the annual average weather conditions for Croyde. The figures are based on data from the past 30 years.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day temp. (°C)881012141718181715119
Night temp. (°C)55579121414121187
Precipitation (mm)643946242834404031466770
Days with rain211516141515191916172021
Days with snow-----------1
Dry days10131516161512121414109
Sun (hours a day)446988887544
Table 1 - Annual average weather conditions for Croyde

Croyde bay

Croyde Bay is a place with lots to do, places to stay and eat. Since Croyde bay is situated between two headlands, it is somewhat protected from the wind, making it a nice spot to relax, sunbathe, and have children play.

Headlands = these are formed when the sea hits a section of cost with alternating bands of hard and soft rock. Soft bands, such as clay and sand, erode more quickly than hard bands, such as chalk. This leaves a section of land protruding into the sea, called a headland. The areas that have eroded next to the headland are called bays.

Croyde beach

Croyde beach is renowned for its waves and is, therefore, one of the best spots in the UK to surf. It is, however, not well suited for beginners. That said, there are surf schools available for those who want to learn to surf.

As for swimming, people are always advised to swim between the flags. The lifeguards set up these flags and mark the safest spot to swim. It is never recommended to swim outside of these flags, especially since the rips at the beach can be very strong.

The RNLI Lifeguard service is available from May to September, throughout the Easter weekend and all October weekends and October Half Term, from 10am to 6pm. This means that lifeguards patrol the beach during these times to keep people safe.

In 2012, Croyde beach lost its Blue Flag status but regained it again in 2019. A Blue Flag is awarded when all the criteria are met for cleanliness, water quality, and facilities.

In 2022, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) added Croyde beach to their recommended beaches. The MCS is a charity organisation concerned with protecting the sea and its wildlife. Once a beach has met all its criteria, they are awarded such a recommendation.

If you want to explore the beach with your dog, this is allowed between 1 October and 30 April.

Croyde accommodation

When you visit Croyde, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from.

Croyde camping

If you are adventurous, camping is a good choice, and it is also a very popular choice. There are no less than 14 campsites you can choose from, all within a mile of the beach.

Camping has always been popular with people as it is not only a way to be one with nature, but it is also a cheap option. Figure 7 gives an idea of the camping locations, indicated by the 'tent' icon. Some examples are:

  • Ruda Holiday Park
  • Freshwell Camping
  • Ocean Pitch Campsite
  • Cherry Tree Farm Campsite
  • Croyde Bay Campsite

The campsites (figure 7) receive quite good reviews, which is essential from a tourist standpoint. This means that Croyde invests in proper tourist accommodation.

Croyde, Croyde campsite locations, StudySmarterFigure 7: Croyde campsite locations - Google Maps (2022)

Other accommodation

If camping is not what you want, then there are plenty of other options:

  • Bed & Breakfast (B&B)
  • Holiday parks
  • Hotels
  • Holiday letting agencies
  • Self-catering/holiday lets

Things to do in Croyde

As mentioned, surfing is the number one thing to do in Croyde, proving one of the best surf spots in the UK. However, there is more to do than just surf, swim and sunbathe.

Some other activities that you can do in Croyde are:

  • Fishing
  • Kayaking/canoeing
  • Shopping
  • Eating and drinking
  • Horseback riding
  • Boat cruises
  • National Trust Baggy Point
  • Hiking/walking

You can venture a bit further out and explore the surrounding area, as it is an Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB).

Croyde festival

A major event in Croyde is the festival called GoldCoast OceanFest. This festival has been an annual event since 1999 (except for 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19), and it is always on the weekend closest to the summer solstice.

This festival is suited for all ages, as there is something to do for everyone. This festival has a lot to offer, from live music, sporting events, fair rides and morning yoga. This festival is a big event drawing in a lot of tourists, which is good for local businesses.

Summer solstice = on this day, the Sun travels the longest path through the sky. This day has the most daylight. In the Northern Hemisphere, this day always falls on either 20 or 21 June.

Is Croyde nice to live in?

Croyde is situated in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, with a lot to do, yet quiet and quaint. In that regard, Croyde is a very nice place to live, especially if you don't like places that are overly crowded all year round.

While the above sounds very appealing, it is crucial to keep a few things in mind:

  • Public transport in and to Croyde is very limited, meaning that a car is needed.
  • There are no schools in Croyde, meaning you have to go a little outside of Croyde for education. Once again, that requires a car.
  • Second homes have pushed house prices through the roof, as is often the case with seaside villages. This means that houses are unaffordable for many people.
  • There is little year-round employment. This is because the tourism that supports Croyde's business is seasonal, and therefore, most businesses close outside of the tourist season.

While it is certainly possible to live in Croyde regardless of age and family status, as happens most often with seaside villages, the majority of the people living there are retirees. The main reason for this is that these people are not dependent on jobs anymore. This means that Croyde is a nice place to live, but perhaps not suitable for everyone.

Regeneration

Croyde and North Devon, in general, are being evaluated for regeneration. Some of the things they are looking to do are:

  • Economic growth - the cost of living and low job prospects are recognised, and they are looking for ways to improve this1.
  • Supporting tourism growth and development in northern Devon - tourism is one of the most important sectors in North Devon, and they are looking to support tourism development2. A
  • Recovery of North Devon - the recovery plan is intended to help North Devon back on its feet after the impact of COVID-193.
  • Surfing beaches economic plan - surfing in North Devon is a significant environmental, economic and community asset. They are looking for ways to improve these places economically4.

While most of this regeneration is for the whole of North Devon, Croyde will benefit from this regeneration as well.

Croyde - Key takeaways

  • Croyde is a village in North Devon, South West England, in the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  • It is a small seaside village, covering around 20 mi², and the village and bay face the Atlantic Ocean.
  • In 1943, Saunton Sands, Braunton Burrows and Baggy Point were used by American soldiers to practise D-day landings.
  • In the 1960s, during the Cold War, a bunker was built to keep an eye on the sky for Soviet planes, bombs, and missiles.
  • Croyde has an oceanic climate, with mild summers and cool, but not cold, winters.
  • Croyde is a hotspot for surfers, having one of the best surfs in the UK.
  • The Croyde festival, GoldCoast OceanFest, is the biggest event in Croyde, happening every year.
  • While Croyde is a nice place to live, it is not suitable for everyone. House prices are through the roof, and since tourism is seasonal, there is job insecurity.
  • North Devon is being evaluated for regeneration.

1. https://www.northdevon.gov.uk/media/377225/nd-economic-strategy-2014-to-2020-electronic. pdf

2. https://www.northdevon.gov.uk/media/379003/northern-devon-tourism-strategy-final. pdf

3. https://northdevon.gov.uk/media/380996/northern-devon-recovery-plan-final-july-2021-accessible. pdf

4. https://www.northdevon.gov.uk/media/377733/n-devon-surfing-beaches-cct-economic-plan-final-230317. pdf

Frequently Asked Questions about Croyde

Croyde is a nice place to live, though not suitable for everyone. This is mainly due to the high housing prices and limited job security.

Yes. Croyde is a nice place; it is a quaint, small seaside village and it is located in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty.

Croyde is located in North Devon, South West England

Wondering what to do in Croyde? Croyde is most famous for its amazing surf options. Besides that, you can swim, walk/hike, shop, go horseback riding, eat/drink, fish, and much more!

Wondering where to stay in Croyde? There are several options:

  • Camping
  • Bed & Breakfast (B&B)
  • Holiday parks
  • Hotels
  • Holiday letting agencies
  • Self-catering/holiday lets


Final Croyde Quiz

Question

Where is Croyde located?

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Answer

in North Devon, South West England. It lies in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) and it faces the Atlantic Ocean

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Question

When and where was Croyde first mentioned under the names Crideholde/Chrideholda?

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Answer

In 1086 in the Domesday Book

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Question

What significant event happened in 1943?


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Answer

Nearby Saunton Sands, Braunton Burrows and Baggy Point were used by American soldiers to practise for the D-day landings.

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Question

What happened here in the 1960s?


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Answer

As tension with the Soviet Union rose during the Cold War, a Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker was erected to watch over the British skies for any Soviet planes, bombs or missiles

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Question

What is the public transport like in Croyde?


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Answer

Very limited. Closest train station is Barnstaple, 10mi/16km away. Only 1 bus an hour from Monday to Saturday, Only 1 bus every 2 hours on Sunday

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Question

Why is limited public transport a disadvantage?

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Answer

It will bring more cars into the area, as people take their own car (or a hired car). This can negatively affect the environment (pollution), traffic (jams), and the availability of parking spaces.

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Question

Are there any schools in Croyde?


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Answer

No

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Question

What type of climate does Croyde have and what does that mean?


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Answer

It has an oceanic climate, which means mild summers, cool but cold winter and a relatively narrow annual temperature range

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Question

What is the best time to visit Croyde and why?

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Answer

from June to October. During these months the temperature is nice, and there is limited rainfall

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Question

What is Croyde beach renowned for?

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Answer

It is one of the best spots in the UK to surf

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Question

What is important to remember when you go swimming at Croyde beach?


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Answer

Always swim between the flags as that is the safest spot

Show question

Question

When is the RNLI Lifeguard service available?

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Answer

From May to September, throughout the Easter weekend and all October weekends and October Half Term, from 10 am to 6 pm.

Show question

Question

When does a beach get a Blue Flag?

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Answer

When all the criteria are met for cleanliness, water quality, and facilities. A Blue Flag must be applied for first

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Question

What is the Marine Conservation Society (MCS)?


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Answer

A charity organisation concerned with protecting the sea and its wildlife

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Question

When did Croyde beach get awarded by the MCS?


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Answer

2022

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Question

When are dogs allowed on the beach?


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Answer

Between 1 October and 30 April

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Question

According to the official Croyde Bay guide, why should you camp at Croyde?


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Answer

  • Surfer's paradise
  • Picturesque village
  • Family-friendly seafront

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Question

What types of accommodation is available at Croyde?

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Answer

  • camping
  • Bed & Breakfast (B&B)
  • Holiday parks
  • Hotels
  • Holiday letting agencies
  • Self-catering/holiday lets

Show question

Question

What is the name of the annual festival at Croyde and when is it held?


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Answer

The festival is called GoldCoast OceanFest and it is held the weekend closest to the summer solstice

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Question

What 4 things are being evaluated for regeneration in North Devon?

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Answer

  1. Economic growth 
  2. Supporting tourism growth and development in northern Devon 
  3. Recovery of North Devon 
  4. Surfing beaches economic plan 

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