‘Who’d have thought it?’: north Devon named UK’s first world surfing reserve

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Eighteen miles of coastline win formal protection, joining 11 sites globally including Malibu and Santa Cruz

When an Atlantic swell is up, staff at the Beach cafe at Downend, on the north Devon coast, prepare to be rushed off their feet. “Everyone heads in, no matter whether it’s rain or shine,” said the owner, Colette Brooks.

From the cafe, where they serve a warming Sri Lankan curry on weekend evenings, Brooks has a front-row view of Croyde beach, which at low tide can produce barrelling waves. “I love to watch the surfers out there,” she said. “It’s a brilliant spot.”

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