Cornwall and Devon’s Excellent Beaches, and Others That You Should Never Swim At



The Environment Agency has rated eight more of Cornwall and Devon’s beaches as ‘Excellent’, contributing to an all-time high number of bathing waters that pass the standards test in the region.

Torre Abbey, Paignton Preston and Broadsands have also seen their ratings rise from ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’, helping to swell the number of bathing waters in Devon and Cornwall with this top classification to 118.

26 bathing waters were classified as ‘Good’, with 4 earning ‘Sufficient’ and only 2 being rated as ‘Poor’. With this statistic, 98.7% of bathing waters in the region are of a sufficient or better standard.

The Environment Agency advises against swimming in three particular beaches;

  1. Wildersmouth Beach, Ilfracombe

This beach is rated as poor on the Environment website, and is accompanied by the statement: “At this site the risk of encountering reduced water quality increases after rainfall and typically returns to normal after 1-3 days. The Environment Agency makes daily pollution risk forecasts based on rainfall patterns and will issue a pollution risk warning if heavy rainfall occurs to enable bathers to avoid periods of increased risk.”

  1. Combe Martin beach

The agency issued 47 warnings advising against swimming at Combe Martin in 2017 due to short term pollution. These warnings were issued because of the effects of heavy rain on the water quality

  1. Instow

The Environment Agency said of Instow: “Instow is no longer designated as a bathing water under the Bathing Water Regulations 2013 because it is infeasible to meet the minimum, legally required bathing water quality standard at this location.”


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