Posted 2 months ago ago
Goodrington (Photo: Caroline Abbott)
by Caroline Abbott
Whether you prefer sand or pebbles beneath your feet, whether you like beaches with buzz or coves away from crowds, Torbay has the perfect spot for you and your pooch to enjoy some quality time together.
The region in South Devon that’s also known as the English Riviera, thanks to its (usually) warm climate and famous palm trees, is made up of the coastal towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.
From the beginning of May until the end of September, dogs are banned from 10 of Torbay’s beaches – but the good news is there are 16 beaches which are dog-friendly all year round. Here’s a guide to our five favourite ones:
1. Goodrington North Sands, Paignton
Goodrington is arguably Torbay’s most popular spot, with lovely sandy beaches and lots of amenities. It’s divided into two: North Sands (the end closest to the council’s pay-and-display car park) which is dog-friendly all year round, and South Sands, which has a dog ban in the summer months. There’s nothing to separate them, so be careful not to let your dog wander out of bounds.
The downside of Goodrington North Sands is that at high tide, it’s completely under water, so be sure to check the tide times before you visit.
There’s a wide variety of places to get food and drink, from ice creams to full meals. Youngs Park, between the car park and the beach, has a boating lake, crazy golf course and green open space. Splashdown Quaywest waterpark also attracts lots of visitors. You can hire a kayak or stand up paddle board on the seafront.
Elberry (Photo: Caroline Abbott)
2. Elberry Cove, between Paignton and Brixham
If sand isn’t your thing, the shingle beach Elberry Cove is your best bet. It’s relatively quiet as it can only be accessed on foot. If you park at Broadsands beach – which is a fabulous, sandy, family-friendly beach but has a dog ban in summer – you’ll enjoy some wonderful views as you walk about half a mile around the coast to Elberry, which is dog-friendly all year round. There are no facilities at Elberry so if you need refreshments or the toilet, bear this in mind before you leave Broadsands.
Elberry Cove is surrounded by woodland, the water is beautifully clear and the 18th century ruins of Lord Churston’s bath house are located at the end, adding a point of interest. If you plan to swim, note that it is a popular spot for jet skiing. This was one of novelist Agatha Christie’s favourite bathing spots.
St Mary's (Photo: Caroline Abbott)
3. St Mary’s Bay, Brixham
This is Brixham’s largest beach and it’s dog-friendly all year round, but even people of average to good fitness will probably pause for breath on the long set of steps leading up and down to the beach. It’s worth the effort.
This beach is mostly sandy with some shingle and rocks. You can park at Sharkham Point. It’s a great place for walking, with some stunning views, but there aren’t any facilities here. Keep your eyes peeled for seals and other wildlife.
Torre Abbey Sands (Photo: Caroline Abbott)
4. Torre Abbey Sands, Torquay
Torquay’s main beach has a dog ban in the summer but it can still be enjoyed from the promenade, especially at sunset. The beach has relatively compact sand and it disappears completely at high tide.
There are plenty of places to get food and drink nearby. The attractive Rock Walk, opposite the pier, is worth exploring from street level or from higher up if you don’t mind the steps – perhaps en route to the harbour, returning via Princess Gardens – and over the road from the beach, the well-maintained Torre Abbey Gardens are a colourful way to round off a walk. The closest Torbay Council car park is Shedden Hill.
Anstey's Cove (Photo: Caroline Abbott)
5. Anstey’s Cove, Torquay
This is a tiny, shingle beach near the Babbacombe area of Torquay, and it’s dog-friendly all year round. It’s a popular spot to start a swim or kayak, but in the winter there’s a good chance you’ll have the beach all to yourself. There’s a small café overlooking the beach, open in the summer months only. Anstey’s Cove Car Park, at the top of the steep hill down to the beach, is run by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust.
Here’s the complete list of Torbay beaches:
Dogs are allowed on the following beaches all year round:
1. Anstey’s Cove
2. Babbacombe Beach
3. Beacon Cove
4. Churston Cove
5. Elberry Cove
6. Fairy Cove
7. Fishcombe Cove
8. Goodrington Sands – North Sands
9. Livermead Sands
10. Maidencombe Beach
11. Meadfoot Beach – north eastern section
12. Oyster Cove
13. Peaked Tor Cove
14. Saltern Cove
15. Shoalstone Beach
16. St Mary’s Bay
Dogs are not allowed on the following beaches between 1st May and 30th September:
1. Breakwater Beach
2. Broadsands Beach
3. Corbyn Sands
4. Goodrington Sands – South Sands
5. Hollicombe Beach
6. Meadfoot Beach – south western section
7. Oddicombe Beach
8. Paignton Sands
9. Preston Sands
10. Torre Abbey Sands
Sadly, Watcombe Beach, in Torquay, closed to the public in February 2020. The path and steps to the beach became unsafe due to land movement and erosion.