United Kingdom


The North Devon Surfing Reserve covers a world-class surf zone encompassing approximately 30 km of coastline. It contains a high density of outstanding surfing destinations, including iconic breaks such as Croyde, Saunton, Woolacombe and Lynmouth, among others.

Our core focus is looking after the quality of the waves themselves and preserving the ecosystems that produce them. Surf spots need to be celebrated, recognised and protected in the same way we protect and recognise beautiful national parks like Exmoor.

Adam Hall

Local surfer and Co-founder of the Surfing Reserve in North Devon

Why North Devon?

Whilst the UK has a history of protecting national parks and green areas, there is very little formal and active protection of the surf zone, the surfing experience and the fragile environment that creates the different types of unique waves in an area.

Establishing a recognised Surfing Reserve will give the surfing community and others a voice in decision-making processes that affect the coastline and some of the best beaches in the United Kingdom.   The aim of the reserve is to make sure they stay the best – for everyone from beginners to expert surfers.

A study in 2008 found that surfing was estimated to bring in more than £50 million to the area every year and supports around 1500 jobs. Yet surfing has a value far deeper to everyone who lives for riding its prefect waves. For many people in North Devon life revolves around the weather, tides, wind and favourite beaches to surf.

Whether you are a surfer or a wild swimmer, surf life saver, stand up paddle boarder or just enjoying a walk along the wild coastal path; this beautiful, raw and rugged coastline intertwined with world-class surfing and waves has something for everyone. 

Attributes of a World Surfing Reserve


Contact Information


Local Stewardship COuncil

Core Team:

Kevin ‘Cookie’ Cook
Adam Hall
Yvette Curtis
Ben Hewitt
Rob Whitney


Andrew Cotton

Environment Agency, National Trust, Surfers Against Sewage, Blue Marine Foundation

Exmoor National Park, North Devon Coast: Area of Outstanding Beauty, North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve, Plastic Free North Devon, Pickwell Foundation, Devon Local Nature Partnership, Exmoor National Park

Surfing England, RNLI, Museum of British Surfing, Surfdome, The Wave Project, Surf Life Saving GB

Croyde Surf Club, Wave Wahines, Hotdoggers Surf Club, North Devon Schools Surfing, Woolacombe Boardriders Surf Club, Woolacombe SLSC, The Point Magazine

University of Plymouth, The Ilfracombe Academy

Mortehoe Parish Council, Georgeham and Croyde Parish Council, Lynton and Lynmouth Parish Council, North Devon Council, Braunton Parish Council

Visit Devon, Visit North Devon and Exmoor, Croyde Beach / Ruda, Putsborough Beach, Downend Car Park / Croyde, Saunton Beach and Villas, Woolacombe Beach / Parkin Estates

Stewardship plan

Conceptual Model 

Stewardship Plan


Download PDF (includes English and Portuguese) 

Global News: World Surfing Reserves

Who Selects World Surfing Reserves? Meet The Vision Council 

When Save The Waves created the World Surfing Reserves program 15 years ago, the organization knew it was important to have a group of professionals in the surf and conservation space to help guide the program, establish the conditions and criteria for applications, and most importantly, deliberate on what surf ecosystem should be selected each

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On The Ground Update: North Devon World Surfing Reserve

The North Devon World Surfing Reserve has created a unique stewardship project that aims to tackle one of the key threats to the surf ecosystem, water quality. Climate models predict, with a high degree of certainty, that the South West of the UK will experience increased heavy rainfall in short periods. This will increase the

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On The Ground Update: Guarda do Embau World Surfing Reserve

In Brazil, the Guarda do Embau World Surfing Reserve continues to be laser-focused on its objective of protecting the Rio do Madre River, the lifeblood of the surf ecosystem. In their “Water for Life” stewardship project, they are focused on 3 major objectives; expanding their water quality testing program to identify problem areas for water

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On The Ground Update: Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve

Huanchaco WSR is building climate resilience by restoring totora ponds. Totora is a reed that grows in coastal ponds and has been used for thousands of years to make one of the earliest surf crafts called caballito de totora. The caballito de totora is known as one of the earliest surf crafts when coastal fishermen

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