BRAUNTON - DEVON
Map ref SX483
Braunton on Devon's north coast is thought to be the biggest village in England. Braunton has an old ruined chapel, overlooking the narrow streets of the original village.
The Welsh missionary, St. Brannoc founded a chapel at Braunton in the 6th century. The chapel's location was revealed to him in a dream, a place where he found a sow with a litter of piglets. This theme is reflected in the present church at Braunton. Though the building is mainly a 13th-century structure, there is a carving of a sow and her farrow on one of the churches carved roof bosses. The church itself is known for the 16th century carvings on the bench ends - some of the finest to be seen in the country.
Braunton Burrows and Saunton Sands
To the east of Braunton is a large sand dune system famous for its plant and animal life - one of the largest sand dune systems in the United Kingdom.
Behind the Marram grass covered sand dune system is the famous archaeological site of Braunton Great Field, an unusual relic of Medieval open-field cultivation.
Braunto Burrows is an internationally important area of sand dunesand has been declared Britain's first Unesco biosphere reserve - due to the diversity and abundance of rare flora and continuous human use over the centuries . The designation of 3,120 hectares of Braunton Burrows means it will now rank alongside Mount Vesuvius in Italy and the Danube Delta in eastern Europe, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The dunes contain about 500 species of flowering plants - it is one of only two UK sites for the water Germander, and has a wide range of rare orchids.
Saunton Sands is at the northern edge of the sand dune system. It is the start of a three mile (4.8km) crescent of fine golden sands, that stretch southwards between the sea and the Braunton Burrows towards Appledore and Bideford Bar.
At the northern end of Saunton Sands is a car park with a small shop, café and toilets. The beach is a very popular surfing centre. Bathing is safer at the northern end of the beach, with dangerous currents at the southern end.