- Kitemare-Surf & Kite Shop
- Unit 3, Latitude 51 - Westward Ho!
- Devon. EX39 1GW - England
- (01237) 238350
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Westward Ho! is a unique and historic seaside village located on the north coast of Devon, England. Its name comes from Charles Kingsley's 1855 novel, "Westward Ho!," which was set in the nearby area and popularized the name. The village is known for its beautiful beach, stunning coastal views, and rich maritime heritage. Here's a brief overview of the history of Westward Ho!:
Early History: Before becoming a popular Victorian seaside resort, the area around Westward Ho! was primarily farmland and open countryside. The region has a long history dating back to ancient times, with evidence of prehistoric settlements and Roman influence in the vicinity.
Development as a Seaside Resort: The transformation of Westward Ho! into a seaside resort began in the mid-19th century when local entrepreneurs recognized its potential as a holiday destination due to its picturesque coastal location and sandy beach. The novel "Westward Ho!" by Charles Kingsley further enhanced its popularity, attracting visitors from across the country.
Royal North Devon Golf Club: Westward Ho! is home to the Royal North Devon Golf Club, which is the oldest golf club in England and one of the oldest in the world. Established in 1864, the club has a historic and prestigious reputation in the golfing community.
The Pier and Other Attractions: The village's development as a tourist destination led to the construction of a pier in 1865. The pier served as a docking point for pleasure steamers and offered various entertainments to visitors. While the original pier has been replaced and modified over the years, it remains an important landmark in the area.
Military Importance: During World War II, Westward Ho! played a crucial role in coastal defense due to its strategic location. The beach and surrounding areas were fortified to protect against potential enemy invasions.
Cultural Significance: The village has been a source of inspiration for various artists, writers, and poets over the years, drawn to its natural beauty and captivating scenery.
Conservation Efforts: Westward Ho! has seen development and changes over time, but there have been efforts to preserve its historical and natural heritage. Local authorities and conservation groups work to maintain the unique character of the village and protect its beautiful coastline.
Today, Westward Ho! continues to be a popular destination for tourists, offering a blend of history, natural beauty, and recreational activities. Visitors can enjoy the sandy beach, take scenic walks along the coastal paths, explore the charming village center, and learn about the area's fascinating history at local museums and heritage sites.
Top Tourist Attractions
Westward Ho! offers a range of delightful attractions that draw in tourists from near and far. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Westward Ho!:
- Westward Ho! Beach: The main attraction of the village is its expansive sandy beach, which stretches for about two miles. It's a perfect spot for sunbathing, beachcombing, building sandcastles, and enjoying water activities like surfing and swimming. The beach is backed by a pebble ridge, and the views of the coastline are simply stunning.
- Royal North Devon Golf Club: Established in 1864, this historic golf club is the oldest in England and offers a fantastic golfing experience amid breathtaking coastal scenery. Even if you're not a golfer, the clubhouse and grounds are worth a visit to soak in the history and take in the views.
- Northam Burrows Country Park: This beautiful nature reserve lies to the north of Westward Ho! and provides a diverse range of habitats, including salt marshes, sand dunes, grasslands, and wetlands. It's a fantastic place for birdwatching, walking, and picnicking while immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the area.
- Westward Ho! Promenade: Stroll along the scenic promenade that runs parallel to the beach, offering lovely views of the sea and the surrounding coastline. It's a perfect place for a leisurely walk or a sunset stroll.
- The Pier House: Located near the beach and overlooking Bideford Bay, The Pier House is a popular restaurant and bar known for its seafood and picturesque views. It's an excellent spot to enjoy a meal while gazing out over the ocean.
- Kipling Tor: A short walk from the village center, Kipling Tor offers panoramic views of Bideford Bay and the surrounding countryside. It's a relatively easy hike and rewards visitors with stunning vistas.
- North Devon Surf School: For those interested in surfing or trying out this thrilling water sport, the North Devon Surf School offers lessons and equipment rental for all levels of experience.
- Westward Ho! Village: Take a stroll through the charming village streets, where you'll find a mix of quaint shops, cafes, and traditional seaside amenities. The village has a unique character and a relaxed atmosphere that adds to its appeal.
- Appledore: Just a short distance from Westward Ho! is the picturesque fishing village of Appledore. It's worth a visit to explore its narrow streets, visit art galleries, and experience its maritime heritage.
- Tapeley Park: Situated a little further inland, Tapeley Park is a stunning estate with beautifully landscaped gardens, an impressive house, and a fascinating history. It's an excellent place for a leisurely day out.
These attractions, along with the natural beauty of the coastline and the relaxed seaside atmosphere, make Westward Ho! a delightful destination for tourists seeking a charming English coastal experience.
Westward Ho! experiences a maritime climate, which is typical of much of the United Kingdom's western coastal areas. The climate is influenced by the nearby Atlantic Ocean, which moderates temperature extremes and leads to relatively mild and wet conditions throughout the year. Here are some key characteristics of the climate in Westward Ho!:
- Mild Winters: Winters in Westward Ho! are generally mild, with average temperatures ranging from around 4°C to 9°C (39°F to 48°F). Frost and snow are rare occurrences due to the tempering effect of the ocean.
- Cool Summers: Summers are also quite mild compared to inland areas, with average temperatures ranging from approximately 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F). The cooling influence of the sea prevents excessively hot temperatures.
- Rainfall: Westward Ho! experiences a fair amount of rainfall throughout the year, with the wettest months typically being in autumn and winter. Rain showers can occur at any time of the year, so it's advisable to come prepared with suitable clothing.
- Sunshine: While Westward Ho! does receive some sunshine, the overall sunshine hours are relatively moderate compared to southern and eastern parts of the UK. However, the area can still provide beautiful sunny days, especially during the summer months.
- Wind: As a coastal location, Westward Ho! can be quite windy, particularly during the winter months when storms from the Atlantic can bring strong gusts.
- Microclimates: The village's location along the coast and its proximity to the estuary of the River Torridge can create microclimates in certain areas. For example, the north-facing slopes of the Burrows may be cooler and damper, while areas sheltered from prevailing winds can experience slightly warmer conditions.
The climate of Westward Ho! makes it an appealing destination for visitors looking to enjoy a mild and relatively temperate seaside experience. It's important to be prepared for changeable weather and bring appropriate clothing, as coastal areas can experience rapid weather shifts. Whether you visit in the summer for beach activities or explore during the cooler months for walks and sightseeing, Westward Ho! has its own unique charm throughout the year.
The village is situated on a narrow strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the estuary of the River Torridge. Here are some key geographical features of the area:
- Beach and Coastline: The village is renowned for its long, sandy beach, which stretches for approximately two miles (3.2 kilometers) along the coastline. The beach faces west, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and providing visitors with ample opportunities for beach activities, water sports, and relaxation.
- Northam Burrows: To the north of Westward Ho! lies the Northam Burrows Country Park, a significant coastal nature reserve. The Burrows consist of sand dunes, salt marshes, grasslands, and wetlands, providing a diverse range of habitats for wildlife and plants. The area is an important site for birdwatching and offers scenic walking trails.
- Pebble Ridge: The beach at Westward Ho! is backed by a natural feature known as the pebble ridge. The ridge is a combination of rocks, pebbles, and sand dunes that act as a natural barrier between the beach and the adjacent Northam Burrows.
- River Torridge Estuary: On the eastern side of Westward Ho! is the estuary of the River Torridge. The river flows into Bideford Bay and provides a scenic backdrop to the village. The estuary is an important habitat for various bird species and is used for water-based recreational activities.
- Coastal Cliffs: The coastline around Westward Ho! is characterized by cliffs and headlands, offering stunning views of the sea and the surrounding area. The South West Coast Path, a long-distance hiking trail that runs along the coastline of southwest England, passes through the village, providing opportunities for scenic walks.
- Bideford Bay: Westward Ho! is situated within Bideford Bay, a beautiful bay along the North Devon coast. The bay is known for its wide, sandy beaches and is a popular destination for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
- Hills and Slopes: The village is nestled between hills and slopes that add to its picturesque setting. Kipling Tor, located just outside the village, offers panoramic views of Bideford Bay and the countryside.
The geography of Westward Ho! contributes to its appeal as a tourist destination, providing a stunning natural backdrop for various outdoor activities, from beachcombing and surfing to hiking and birdwatching. The mix of coastal features, estuary, and nature reserves makes Westward Ho! an attractive location for those seeking a blend of seaside beauty and outdoor adventures.