‘Lee Abbey Beach’ or ‘Lee Bay’ is a stunning and secluded cove located on the Exmoor coast in North Devon. A narrow lane leads from the Valley of the Rocks, or you can approach from the west via Woody Bay. Either way, you will feel like an intrepid explorer en route to your prize; a hidden gem, nestled between dramatic cliffs and surrounded by lush woodland.
What is Lee Abbey Beach like?
Flanked by rocks, the beach is a mixture of sand and stone, with more sand exposed at low tide. Kids have plenty of spots for rock pooling and exploring. Well, not just the kids I might add – I don’t know about you, but I love admiring the tiny sea snails crustaceans and other little sea beasties in their tiny oases.
You’ll find spots for picnicking, taking a dip or sunbathing (go no English weather, you can do it!). Swimming works best at high or low tides (times here) – beware strong currents a little further out.
There’s also a small waterfall to admire – cascading down the cliffs onto the beach, more impressively so after heavy rain.
What about directions, parking and access?
The easiest approach is via Lynton and then through the The Valley of the Rocks, following on along the toll road through the Lee Abbey Estate (a small charge applies). You can also approach on narrow lanes from the west, via the small hamlet Woody Bay.
There is a grassy car park just up from the beach, again a small fee for leaving the car here. From here, the beach is just a couple of minutes walk down the remaining (tarmac) lane.
During the summer months, the Lee Abbey Tea Cottage is not far from the beach. Pop in for an ice cream, drink, light lunch or cream tea. Orders are taken 11-4:30 from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
There’s a public toilet just next to the parking area.
Is the beach dog friendly?
During the off-season, dogs are allowed a good run around on the beach (1st November until Easter). For the summer months, head off to nearby footpaths (see below).
Walking from Lee Abbey Beach.
For those who fancy exploring the coastline, miles of rugged coastal paths and woodland trails are ready for a good stomp. The South West Coast Path hugs the cliffs to the west of the bay – head out to Crock Point for views.up and down the coastline. There are also some great circular routes through the woodlands and hills of the vicinity.
Of course, there’s the Valley of the Rocks for some epic vistas and rocky scambles too; be your own best version of the local mountain goats and bee-line to a high point across the landscape… Or follow our 3.5 mile circular walk inland and back round.
More to explore…
Well there you have it, a little bit to get you started for visiting Lee Abbey Beach. There are so many other rural wonders across Exmoor. If authentic, rugged natural wonders (/walking/exploring/rural communities etc) are your thing, make sure you stay a few days and get to know the place.
See below for more inspiration of spots to head to across Exmoor and beautiful places to stay.