Braunton is a thriving village with a diverse range of individual shops, not a chain store in sight! A healthy mix of small businesses, including gifts, clothing, health foods, delicatessen, opticians, beauticians, hairdressers, newsagents, post office, as well as two small supermarkets, butchers and greengrocers in the centre.
We are in the midst of a huge surfing fraternity, with access to the top beaches in Devon. Saunton, Croyde and Woolacombe are all nearby and attract many visitors as well as the local surfers. One of the most well known international surfers Andy Cotton lives in Braunton. Croyde and Woolacombe have excellent caravan and camping sites which all help the local economy, both with jobs and visitors.
Unique to Braunton is the Museum of British Surfing situated right next to the village car park, well worth a visit.
There are several pubs and restaurants, all catering for different tastes. Thai cuisine, Chinese takeaways, Indian, vegetarian and gluten free, carvery, as well as fine dining are all available. Coffee shops too, many open for breakfast, ideal for those early morning surfers! We have a famous award winning fish and chip shop, so popular that people travel from neighbouring towns to get them! They also have a large restaurant and when they are too busy the queue stretches along the street. A variety of food and drinks are available most of the day.
Several annual events take place in the village where you will meet many local residents. The Village Fair is held on the Bank Holiday Monday at the end of May each year. The Big Summer Bash, Wheels and others are held through the summer months, all in the Recreation Ground and are great fun for all ages. Love Braunton and Braunton Museum also help organise a Family Fun Day with a Teddy Parachute Jump usually in July, on the Village Green.
Started just a few years ago, there is a huge Christmas Market, attracting thousands of visitors, on the first weekend of December. This takes over the centre of Braunton including the large car park and village green. Craft stalls, food & drink, live music, and Santa, all create a magical atmosphere with all the area lit up with fairy lights. The shops all stay open late into the evening and an amazing time is had by all.
Braunton is also home to lots of talented musicians, with several small venues offering Open Mic nights as well as music nights on different evenings in different venues. There are regular Quiz nights too. One of the newer attractions, is a children’s indoor soft play area complete with separate café ideally situated next to the Tarka Trail.
The heritage of the village is based on farming, boats and the railway. What was once the main railway line between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe is now part of the South West Path, known as the Tarka Trail, running alongside the rivers Taw and Torridge through to Bideford and beyond, popular with walkers and cyclists alike.
Braunton Great Field is still farmed by the same farmers whose ancestors did many years ago. It is treasured as one of only two surviving medieval open strip field systems in England covering an area of 350 acres. There was also a massive Bulb farm with flowers being shipped all over from Velator Quay, which once housed the many ships and boats that travelled up from the River Taw. The Velator Marsh area is flat marshland leading to Crow Point via a Toll Road, a local secret beach! The Burrows here are still used by the forces for training sessions, having been used by the Americans during the war.
The Braunton Museum and The Countryside Centre, both next to the car park, hold lots of interesting information about Braunton’s past lives.
It’s safe to say there is plenty of life in Braunton!