PUBLISHED: 12:54 16 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:06 30 August 2017
The town of Bude in Cornwall is characterised by sea, sand, surf and all the usual holiday trappings
Bude is it a town characterised by sea, sand and all the usual tourist trappings. And much, much more discovers HAYLEY SPURWAY...
Welcome to Bude. Still the kiss-me-quick holiday resort at heart, it’s a seaside town characterised by beach huts, wide sandy beaches and plenty of tourist trappings. But take a closer look and you’ll find that it’s also the home of a wild and beautiful coastline, a sea pool, and a canal and nature reserve thriving with wildlife, walkers and oarsmen.
Recently voted one of Britain’s top ten beach destinations by TripAdvisor, it’s not just Bude’s natural beauty and seaside charm that’s appealing: the accommodation and dining scene is rapidly undergoing a makeover too, swapping chintzy for chic, and budget for boutique.
'Walk along the coast path and you’ll come across some of the most dramatic coastline in the country; the cliffs above Strangles beach, just south of Crackington Haven, are steep to climb but definitely worth it for the view.'
Once a busy commercial port, Bude bloomed as a holiday destination in the 19th Century, when the tourists flocked here by train for a restorative dip in the Atlantic. So while you can still capture the nostalgia of a holiday resort, build sandcastles galore, or drift down the canal on a rowing boat, the experience now comes with contemporary trimmings and a dash ofluxury.
Amidst the beach huts, arcades, buckets and spades, there’s an array of surfside eateries, surf schools, cool bars and swanky hotels.What’s more, ifyou stray north or south from the hub, you’ll discover awe-inspiring scenery such as Crackington Haven and Duckpool, where dramatic cliffs collapse onto shingle and sand beaches beaten by the Atlantic.
Gareth Cann is Cormac Solutions Countryside Ranger for the Bude Area. “The Bude Nature Reserve is mainly reed bed, wet grassland and willow carr – the reed bed being the fourth largest in the country and providing habitat for breeding birds such as Sedge and Reed warblers, Moorhens, Coots and Reed Buntings. The Bude Canal – where duck species and otters can be spotted – runs alongside the reserve.
“As well as providing wildlife habitats and increasing bio-diversity, we hope to educate the general public and encourage young children to take an interest their natural surroundings. In the summer months I organise pond-dipping events and bug hunts for local schools. Visitors to the reserve can take a leisurely stroll along the canal towpath, or hire a rowing boat and enjoy an afternoon on the canal. There’s a cycle hire business next to the reserve at Pethericks Mill, from where visitors can cycle to Whalesborough using the trail alongside the canal.
“Part of my job is to ensure that sites, trails and footpaths are maintained to a high standard whilst also providing a habitat in which wildlife can thrive. There is never a dull moment in my work, which includes reed cutting, coppicing and hedge laying, or specifying works for contractors to carry out such as dredging or canal bank stabilisation. The worst thing about my job is getting called out on a wet and windy night in the middle of winter, to deal with flooding issues on the canal.
“Aside from the canal and nature reserve, Bude’s got loads to offer. Walk along the coast path and you’ll come across some of the most dramatic coastline in the country; the cliffs above Strangles beach, just south of Crackington Haven, are steep to climb but definitely worth it for the view."
Lee Robertson manages , a retro holiday cottage just north of Bude.“When the owner bought this place everything was in its original 1950s state. So it was great fun to completely renovate it while keeping the feel of that era. We sourced a lot of the vintage stuff from car boot sales. The English Rose kitchen cabinets were made using aluminium from WW2 aeroplanes and the lampshades came from a marine salvage yard.
“When I first moved down here, twenty years ago, I stayed with a friend living in a cottage made from an old shipwreck. It had an outside loo and he built an outside shower. It was pretty hard in the winter, but I loved Cornish life and ended up staying. Since then I’ve worked in music, journalism and been a chef. As well as running The Mill House Inn (in Trebarwith Strand) with my wife, we also used to own a pub with rooms – The Old Smithy Inn in Welcombe.
“This part of Bude is so special because it’s got great history and it’s wild and remote. You have to make an effort to find places up here; it’s a great place to womble around and search out some hidden gems. The countryside, moorland, cliffs and the beaches are exciting in any weather.
“We’ve also got a new, bigger property – Strawberry Water – all decked out in nautical style. It’s a bit further up the coast in Welcombe and sleeps up to 16, or can be split into three smaller units,” says Lee.
“The Atlantic isn’t the warmest of oceans, but we do operate all year round.We have indoor changing facilities and hot showers for afterwards. New technologies wetsuit design also mean you can now surf for longer. We also supply wetsuit boots, gloves and a hood so you can hardly feel the cold – I promise!
“When not surfing, I enjoy landscape and portrait photography, and have just started a business shooting . I also like taking long walks with my wife Emma and my dog Maggie. We often pack a rug, a radio and a disposable BBQ, and end up watching the sun setting over the sea. I’d suggest visitors to Bude either hire a bike and peddle along the canal and nature reserve, or hire a beach hut and go swimming in the open air sea pool,” says Scott Marshall of .
Eating and drinking
Book ahead for a table at the town’s most famous surfside eatery, , then head on to Bude’s coolest bars – and – both of which have undergone massive refurbishment to provide funky hangouts where stylish accommodation and killer cocktails are all part of the beachy lifestyle.
If it’s more of a family environment you’re looking for, visit and interactive wildlife centre
Bude & Stratton
Bude – a fun family day out
– now in its 26th year