There’s nothing like watching your dog run free along a beautiful beach. Responsible dog owners know that it makes all the difference letting your dog enjoy a stretch off the lead along the shoreline. For most dog owners, they are a life-long buddy and a member of the family, and it is unthinkable to leave them at home whilst you take a holiday. Not all beaches welcome dogs though, and it isn’t the landowners or regional councils being anti-dog. Some beaches have environment related reasons for not allowing hounds to play on their sands. Water quality, a wildlife issue or dune protection could be amongst the reasons. If it is a privately owned commercial beach, the owners may be looking after that percentage of us that don’t like or fear dogs and who would like to have an option where they don’t have to ‘make nice’ with a loose, curious dog. We wrote this blog for those who do love dogs though; we’ve compiled a short list of places that welcome your furry buddies either all year or off-season in and around Brixham. Just a side-note before we get going though, do remember that on particularly hot days to be mindful of hot shingle and sand on delicate paws.
Fishcombe Cove is dog friendly all year round. It’s also the ideal choice for escaping the crowds and letting the four-legged mad thing go loose. Found at the northern end of Brixham, Fishcombe Cove is a shingle beach surrounded on three sides by tall red sandstone cliffs. The sheltered location of the cove makes for calmer waters for your pooch to paddle in. Owners of small launches and yachts often anchor here for their own relaxation purposes, so those of you seeking complete seclusion will need to go further afield.
Shoalstone is a great beach for all the family. At low-tide there are rock pools for everybody, particularly children to explore. There is also ample opportunity to spot and note down sightings of rare sea life. For a safer swim, take a dip in the saltwater swimming pool, which is a good introduction for children who have never swum in sea water before. Napoleonic-era forts can be seen from the shore line. Access to Shoalstone Beach is good, with a ramp down to a level area of hardstanding next to the shingle beach. There are also steps down to the beach from the car park to both the pool and the beach. For refreshments and a spot of local culture, make your way to the café and the Geopark Visitor Centre near the beach.
St Mary’s Bay
Dog owners love St Mary’s Bay, another small sand and shingle beach close to Brixham Harbour. Let your buddy explore the rocks and run in the surf, or meet and sniff other dogs. There is an elevated viewpoint of the beach at Sharkham Point and the South West Coast Path. Take in the interesting rock formations and relax on the sands before a climb up the steep steps to the nearby Berry Head National Reserve (dogs on leads please!), where you’ll find the beach’s nearest WCs and café.
Recommended in the Good Beach Guide, Breakwater Beach has been awarded the Blue Flag in recognition of its all-round quality. To keep its status, dogs are welcome six months a year in the less busy months. Situated at the mouth of Brixham Harbour, Breakwater Beach is one of the ‘go-to’ beaches for beauty in the English Riviera. There are good facilities that include ample parking close by, disabled access and WCs, a café/restaurant, first aid room, deckchair hire as well as a choice of dive schools.
Dogs allowed between: 1 Oct – 30th April
A great spot for a quiet walk with your furry companion, Elberry Cove is a small pebble beach at an inlet a short way outside Brixham, well out of the way from the busier town beaches. The cove has some heritage and is characterised by wooded hillsides, and the waterside ruins of Lord Churston’s former bathhouse, a charming 18th century ruin. Elberry Cove has a literary pedigree having featured in Agatha Christie’s novel, The ABC Murders. It is on the local Agatha Christie Literary Trail because it was one of the late world-famous author’s favourite places for a quiet dip. Not that your dog would be interested in this fact.