11 Most loved picnic spots in Devon

Plymouth Hoe

Plymouth Hoe - Credit: Archant

Alex Hurley packs her picnic hamper and takes to the great outdoors to reveal 11 of Devon’s most loved spots to enjoy al fresco dining

Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast - Credit: Archant

If there’s one thing Devon can do well, its play host to a picnic. With an abundance of hidden areas and beautiful locations, Devon screams out to be explored. There comes a certain satisfaction in finding the perfect picnic spot, and once you’ve spread out your picnic blanket and relaxed to the sounds of the trickling stream, you’ll wonder why you can’t dine alfresco every day. Taking lunch outdoors is a natural mood booster so fill that hamper with foodie goodies and try out some of the places mentioned here.

1. Plymouth Hoe

Despite being a bustling city, Plymouth is also home to one of the most natural harbours in the world offering impressively green spaces and breathtaking views across Plymouth Sound. The perfect picnic spot for seascape-lovers, Devil’s Point is one of the best places to take in this wonderful panoramic view. Make a day of it and hang around till sunset – a sight not to be missed.

2. Burrator Reservoir, nr Yelverton

Mill Bay Beach, Salcombe

Mill Bay Beach, Salcombe - Credit: Explosures

The undisturbed woodland at Burrator Reservoir provides an ideal location for an explorer’s picnic. A wealth of footpaths and bridleways offer a foray of hidden picnic spots just waiting to be discovered. The circular walk looping around the water encourages a gentle stroll, perfect for working up an appetite or walking off a heavy lunch. There’s also the promise of an ice cream van providing a sweet end to an idyllic afternoon.

3. Spitchwick Common, Dartmoor

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If you desire a picnic space with plenty of room for activities then head to Spitchwick Common. A large grassy area with plenty of room for ball games is ideally placed next to a bathing and jumping river spot – perfect for an active afternoon in the sunshine. The river pools consist of both deep and shallow water, as well as a natural water shoot to splash under.

Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay - Credit: Neville Stannikk

4. Fingle Bridge, Drewsteignton

A picnic location that promises to be a favourite with your four-legged friends can be found at Fingle Bridge. Using the Fingle Bridge Inn as your base, explore the weaving woodland tracks running parallel to the River Teign on foot. On either side of the river there are plenty of leafy clearings and gradual declines into the water ideal for pit stops and a paddle. On returning to base, the Fingle Bridge Inn offers delicious refreshments and a wonderful outdoor seating area right on the river bank.

5. Exmoor National Park

Whether it is action or relaxation you are looking for, Exmoor National Park has something for everyone. Inland there are excellent opportunities for open moorland walking as well as ancient wooded valleys and the stunning Heritage Coast. The coasts of Lynton and Lynmouth can be accessed through wooded combes beside the East Lyn River providing panoramic views. To the east is the dramatic Foreland Point; to the west The Valley of Rocks, and north looks across the Bristol Channel to Wales. So pack up your picnic and delve in.

Fingle Bridge, nr Drewsteignton

Fingle Bridge, nr Drewsteignton - Credit: Archant

6. Exeter Quay

A fascinating mix of historic and contemporary design, Exeter’s Quayside combines history, attractive architecture and lively cafes, pubs and restaurants. Watch artists at work in the old bonded warehouses-turned-craft workshops as they transform wood, glass and metal into artistic gems. Moving away from the hustle and bustle of the Quay, cycle or walk through the Exeter Riverside Valley Park along miles of towpath for a riverside picnic. When the weathers warm the quay is alive with action and the wonderful atmosphere is infectious.

7. Mill Bay Beach, Salcombe

Okehampton Castle

Okehampton Castle - Credit: Archant

The gentle lapping of waves provides a wonderful soundtrack to an alfresco lunch on the sheltered sands of Mill Bay Beach. Situated just below East Portlemouth village, the privately owned beach takes pride in being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. At low tide there is a wealth of rock pools to explore, perfect for little ones hoping to catch the first sight of a crab. Parking is limited but there’s always the option to catch the ferry across from Salcombe. Dogs are welcome all year round.

8. Beer, Jurassic Coast

The picturesque fishing village of Beer is situated along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and is in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Boasting a harbour in the form of a natural cove, a shingle beach, white chalk cliffs and Quarry caves open to the public, there are plenty of sights to feast your eyes upon. The Peco Millennium garden plays host to a wonderful picnic area amongst scented walkways, themed gardens, an aviary and a lake.

9. Croyde Bay

Croyde Devon England UK

Croyde Devon England UK - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pack the car with surf boards, body boards and beach towels and spend the day riding the waves at Croyde Bay. The big waves and warm waters are admired by surfers and body boarders alike, and with the addition of surf schools around the bay, the area is continuing to grow in popularity. Refuel with a picnic on the sand or venture along the beach through the dunes and out to Baggy Point.

10. Hartland Quay

Follow the winding road from Hartland Town, past Hartland Abbey and onwards through the small hamlet of Stoke before arriving at Hartland Quay. The steep tarmac road can be driven down for easy access to the beach or, if you prefer, take a leisurely stroll looking out for views of Bideford Bay and Hartland Rock Formations as you descend. There is a grassy picnic area half way down or, if the tide is out, spread out your picnic blanket in the sheltered cove on the beach.

The Arboretum, Burrator Reservoir

The Arboretum, Burrator Reservoir - Credit: Archant

11. Okehampton Castle

If you are looking for an undisturbed, quiet spot, Okehampton Castle offers an oasis of natural beauty just waiting to be enjoyed. Set on a wooden spur above the River Okement, the castle is perfectly situated for riverside picnics and beautiful woodland walks. Bird lovers can enjoy the regular visiting species, and in early summer a variety of seasonal wild flowers adorn the meadow, woodland and motte.

Exeter Quayside

Exeter Quayside - Credit: Archant

Spitchwick Common

Spitchwick Common - Credit: Richard Knights