Crow point in Braunton is a hidden delight

Crow Point is a peninsula that extends into the Taw & Torridge estuary and is part of the Braunton Burrows nature reserve.

It is a beautiful location with amazing views and home to many types of sea and estuary birds. It is not an easily accessible place, so is often quieter than some of the more accessible beaches of Saunton, Croyde and Woolacombe making it a hidden delight for locals and visitors.

View of Instow from Crow Point

The area is surrounded by beautiful beaches which work their way around to Saunton Sands beach, but towards the middle of the estuary are some soft mud banks which can be dangerous.

From one side there are clear views along the River Taw into Barnstaple, from the other you can see Instow and Appledore that sit either side of the River Torridge.

looking to Instow from Crow Point

There are not many places in the UK where two major rivers meet at a single estuary, but the meeting of the rivers creates unpredictable tides and high winds which have ravaged Crow Point meaning both the appearance and the coast line have changed dramatically over the years.

History

In the past Crow Point has played a part in the maritime and fishing history of the area and there once was a small village and chapel here. There is evidence on maps that they existed but nobody is quite sure where due to the regularly changing landscape. It is thought that some remnants of the chapel have ended up in local churches.

The Crow Point estuary was the gateway to the sea from Braunton, Barnstaple, Fremington, Instow, Appledore and Bideford making it a very busy bottleneck which became difficult to navigate at low tides, so in the early 19th century a lighthouse was built.

The lighthouse lasted for around 150 years,  but in the 1940s became unstable and had to be demolished. This was replaced by a modern, automated warning light, which was positioned further south than the original.

Along with the original lighthouse, a life boat station was built to aid sailors in trouble in the Bristol Channel that surrounds the area.

The lifeboat station was demolished too, but evidence of the original structure remains intact today.

structure at Crow Point

Access to Crow Point

Access to Crow Point car park is via a toll road at Velator, near Braunton. The road winds it’s way through Braunton Marsh and Horsey Island before arriving at the car park. The road is ideal for cycling to Crow Point, but cycles must pay toll too.

Alongside the road is a public footpath which starts at Velator Quay and follows the path of the River Caen until it exits into the estuary.

Dogs are required to be on leads along this footpath due to grazing sheep. There are also several boundary walls to negotiate which may be difficult for some people or dogs.

The third option to access Crow Point is via the Braunton Burrows. The most direct route is to take ‘The American Road’ – a vehicle track that was built by the American army during their stay back in World War 2. Vehicle access is restricted to land workers and military, but the route is a public bridleway and forms a section of the South West Coast Path, so walking or cycling is fine. The quality of the road reduces significantly towards Crow Point becoming uneven so some bikes may have difficulty.

The American Road Braunton Burrows

If you are on foot, you may choose to walk through the Burrows itself rather than take the American Road. There are no sign posts, or dedicated paths, so you may benefit from a map. compass or GPS device to find your way. You can begin from Sandy Lane Car Park in Zone 2 and wander south into Zone 3.

Once you arrive at crow point, you can access the beach directly, or you can choose to walk along the boardwalk. This is a wooden path that takes cuts through Crow Point to emerge out on the beach section where the lighthouse and lifeboat station once stood.

Crow Point sunset

Crow Point is listed on our walks around Braunton page.

Crow Point walk