Braunton Burrows, Devon

Sandunes leading to the sea

Braunton Burrows is one of the largest sand dune systems in the British Isles. It lies at the heart of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a UNESCO designated Biosphere reserve. It is home to an abundance of flowers, plants and wildlife.

Braunton Burrows is owned and managed by Christie Devon Estates in conjunction with Natural England.  Both work closely with key stakeholders (including the North Devon Coast and the UNESCO North Devon Biosphere Reserve) to manage and conserve this range of stunning dune habitats. 

Sandy path through the sandunes

Recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Braunton Burrows is a wild expanse, approximately 1,000 hectares in size. It is located to the north of the Taw and Torridge estuary and flanked by Saunton Sands, a stretch of sandy beach.

Braunton Burrows played an important role in the Second World War and continues to be used by the military for a range of activities. The landscape provides realistic desert driving conditions and a challenging environment to navigate through. The coast also allows for beach landing rehearsals as well as the occasional air craft landing.

Sign with story about US Assault Training Centre

While the presence of vehicles may appear counter intuitive on a site of ecological interest, controlled use to churn up pathways and brush can make a positive contribution by clearing space for rarer flowers and plants to grow.

The walks

The dunes at Braunton Burrows are deceptively extensive. The Braunton Burrows guide will help you navigate around the site. It provides an aerial view, as well as two walks across the dunes, set within lots of site information. Both walks take about an hour and a half and show off the history, ecology and all-round beauty of the site. 

The history walk, located to the south of the site, highlighted in blue on the aerial view, can be enhanced with this audio tour.

Be aware and take care

  • When you’re walking around Braunton Burrows you may come across military vehicles driving through the dunes.  They won’t always use defined tracks and may drive over the dunes.
  • Don’t touch or pick up any military debris. No matter how small or insignificant it looks it could explode! If you find something take a photo and show it to the nearest warden or call the Police on 101.
  • Occasionally large military aircraft may want to land on the beach. If you hear or see aircraft approaching the beach, please avoid the area.
  • If you’re out and about with your dog, please pick up after it and take particular care where cattle and young livestock are grazing. Read the Braunton Burrows dog walking guide and the MOD dog walking guide for more information and check the Braunton Burrows Facebook page for the most up to date grazing information.