Ness Cove Beach

Shaldon, South Devon

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 236 reviews236 reviews

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Ness Cove Beach angled image of the seafront
  • Ness Cove Beach angled image of the seafront
  • Ness Cove Beach seafront
  • Ness Cove Tunnel

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Nestled amidst sheltering cliffs, Ness Cove stands out as one of our most secluded and scenic beaches. Accessing the beach is particularly unique, it can be reached through the original Smugglers Tunnel, which features a sloping path and steps. The beach is located in the popular village of Shaldon; it's easily accessible from nearby towns like Teignmouth and Torquay, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists. 

Primarily composed of shingle, the beach gently slopes towards the sea, providing an excellent swimming area. One of the defining characteristics of Ness Cove Beach is its seclusion. Enclosed by towering cliffs and accessible via the historic Smugglers Tunnel, the beach offers visitors a sense of tranquillity and privacy.  

Ness Cove Beach offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. From swimming and sunbathing on the sandy shores to exploring the rock pools teeming with marine life, there's something for everyone to experience. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck casting off the shore or exploring the rocky coastline. Yellow marker buoys delineate the area where boats are prohibited to ensure safe swimming. Access to the beach is facilitated by a marked lane on beach maps. 

Steeped in history, Ness Beach has ties to smugglers of the past. The tunnel, now known as Smugglers Tunnel, is believed by some to have been constructed by smugglers, while others speculate it was built by the owners of Ness House in the 1800s for beach access. Regardless of its origins, the tunnel offers a captivating journey with its dark entrance and winding path through the cliff, culminating in a splendid view of the beach upon exit. 

Dogs are welcome year-round, and responsible owners are encouraged to clean up after their pets. Please note that the Shaldon Tourist Information Centre near Ness Cove Beach operates seasonally, so visitors should check for opening dates and times. 

While the beach offers natural beauty and seclusion, it's important to note that access may be challenging for some visitors. The steep steps at the beach end make it difficult for disabled individuals to access the shore, and visitors should take this into consideration when planning their trip. 

Overall, Ness Cove Beach is a hidden gem along the Devon coastline, offering visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Whether you're looking to relax on the beach, explore the rugged coastline, or soak in the area's rich history, Ness Cove Beach is sure to captivate and inspire all who visit. 



  • Easy access from main roads/good public transport links

Attraction Facilities

  • Tourist Information (may be seasonal)

Establishment Features

  • Toilets

Parking & Transport

  • Parking On Site



Map & Directions

Road Directions

From Exeter take the A38 west and then turn onto the A380 (signposted to Teignmouth). Continue on the A380 south and then turn left onto the B3192 and continue to Teignmouth.

Follow the B3192 into Teignmouth and then at a junction turn right onto the A379 to Shaldon. Continue on this road out of Teignmouth and then turn left, continuing on the A379 to take the road bridge over the River Teign to Shaldon. Follow the A379 through Shaldon and continue on the A379 out of Shaldon and then turn left where signposted for the Shaldon car park.



Public Transport Directions

Train: The closest train station is in Teignmouth.

Bus: The Stagecoach 22 Bus stops in Shaldon.





TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

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    Recent Reviews:

    • Quenastoise
      Cornwall, United Kingdom
      Trip Type:
      Winter beach
      5 of 5 stars
      28th Jan 2024
      It took us awhile to find the tunnels to access the cove but really they were hiding in plain sight behind the car park’s toilet. There were a lot of steps on the way down (and back up!) but well... Read full review
    • sharronp616
      Wanborough, United Kingdom
      Lovely quiet beach
      5 of 5 stars
      10th June 2024
      Amazing beach my favourite, lovely walk through old tunnels kids love them. Peaceful beach with great rock pools and veiws Read full review
    • banok2014
      Birmingham, United Kingdom
      A hidden gem
      5 of 5 stars
      7th July 2024
      The access to the cove is through a tunnel. I was a bit apprehensive togo there but it was well lit and easy enough although we were a bit out of breath climbing up about 86 steps Once you come out... Read full review

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