Braunton Burrows is a large area of undulating dunes behind Saunton Sands beach. It is a mile wide by several miles long, and is criss-crossed by a network of paths and tracks. We park at the aptly-named Sandy Lane car park, and the main track sets off broad and straight, to cope with the large number of summer visitors.
But soon it starts to split, with paths heading off in several directions, and the other couples and families we can see ahead and behind us all peel off, leaving us to enjoy the Burrows in peace.
This is the first ridge of high dunes, still quite some distance from the sea. At some point in the past, the wind has eroded the top of the dune enough to expose the sand, and over time the sand has blown inland in a massive swathe. The notice boards tell us that this is encouraged, as it prevents the central part of the Burrows from becoming too overgrown, and creates more varied habitats for the vast array of plants and insects which live here.
In the valleys between the ridges of high dunes the ground dips below the water table, creating shallow pools. These are apparently fantastic for dragonflies in summer, so I look forward to seeing that.
From the top of the next dune ridge, we get our first glimpse of the sea in the distance.
In the next valley, a large pond complex. It will be really interesting to come here through the seasons and see what we see. There is also a lovely view of our favourite little island, Lundy.
Finally we wend our way through the last ridge of dunes, and down onto the beach. Now where is my costume…
It is low tide, so there is quite a lot of beach…
The wind has blown the sand up against all the little protrusions from the flat beach, making interesting shapes round these shells.
This plank of well-rounded driftwood is irresistible, as it will make a great house name or garden sign-post, once it has dried out and been cleaned up a bit. Lets carry it home!
Soon it is time to head back inland and try and find our way back to the car.
The wind blows the sand on the tops of the dunes into fascinating shapes.
This central part of the Burrows is used for military manoeuvres – looks like the boys (and girls) have fun with their toys!
Looks like we are heading in the right direction – this is the seaward side of that blown-out dune ridge.
Last stretch of path through the sand before we reach the more mature, flatter land below, then soon we will be back at Sandy Lane. Then it’s home for lunch!
I hope you enjoyed the walk.