Thurlestone beach

Thurlestone Beaches

There’s no getting away from it, South Devon is perfect for a seaside holiday and the beaches around Thurlestone are some of the best! Think gently shelving crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking and water sports and you’re on the right track.  

Thurlestone has two beautiful, sheltered beaches; Leas Foot is the smaller cove of the two, whilst Thurlestone Sands blends into South Milton Sands. A beautiful expanse of beach, which, although off the beaten track, is popular with both locals and visitors and not as busy as the neighbouring Bantham and Bigbury beaches. 

Leas Foot Beach

Easy access to the beach makes it great for families. Located just off the coastal path with views towards Bigbury Bay, this lovely beach rarely gets crowded and with a good water rating it’s a lovely safe and clean beach for swimming and water sports. Parking is available just alongside the golf course, so you don’t have to struggle too far with the beach kit! During the summer months a coffee and ice cream cart sets up just above the beach, arrive early and you may be in time for a croissant too! This is a lovely spot and a hit with the Finest time for an evening swim. 


  • Leas Foot beach is dog friendly all year round
  • Parking is available near the golf club – be sure to drive through the first car park and on into the field where there’s designated parking for the beach. Pay and display. Mobile signal isn’t great so it’s worth taking a pocketful of pound coins for the meter.
  • Public toilets across the road.


  • It’s a short five-minute walk along a sandy path (around the edge of the golf course) to the beach. Not easy access if you have a buggy or pram.  

We love – to swim in the crystal-clear waters followed by a picnic at sunset.

Thurlestone Beach – South Milton Sands

To the south lies Thurlestone Beach, this beautiful wide stretch of sand is dog friendly and lifeguarded so it’s perfect for a day on the sands with the kids. The water quality is rated as excellent and is gently shelving so it’s the perfect spot for a dip. Confident swimmers may like to swim to Thurlestone Rock; you can’t miss the giant structure about 100m from the shore, so pull on the wetsuit for a wild swimming adventure. Alternatively try a paddle round the rock on a board or kayak. If you’re looking for a secluded spot to relax on the beach you really can’t beat Thurlestone.  


  • Beach cafe and loos at South Milton Sands (the far end of Thurlestone Beach)
  • Seasonal lifeguards
  • Parking available – drive past the golf club and turn right into a designated pay and display car park which is just above the beach. Alternatively drive to South Milton and park in the National Trust car park alongside South Milton Sands.


  • Just a short walk from the carpark in Thurlestone then down a slope to the beach
  • from the National Trust car park in South Milton, it’s just across the road and you’re at the far end of the beach. 

We Love – scrambling over the rocks in search of marine life at low tide. 

South Milton Ley

The Ley is a unique area just behind South Milton Sands which is a protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The wetlands form the second-largest reed bed in Devon and is designated as an area of Special Scientific Interest. This RSPB nature reserve is a haven for wildlife with migratory birds and rare butterflies. 

Rock pooling on South Milton Sands

The simple pleasures in life are often the best and who doesn’t love rock pooling! Whatever the weather, whether you’re wearing wellies, flip flops or simply barefoot, raincoat or cossie, South Milton Sands is our go to spot for scrambling over rocks with a net and bucket as the tide falls. Look out for the limpets clinging to the rocks and the scurrying crabs, sea anemones and starfish in the pools. Hours of endless fun for children and adults! 

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