My Favourite Beaches in Cornwall and Devon for Surf and Art Inspiration

Crackngton haven sunset on a placemat, neilsdesigns

I have been lucky enough to call North Cornwall my home for the last twenty-four years and nearly all of my designs and artistic endeavours are inspired by the stunning surf and beaches of the South West of England. I first fell in love with this area of the world as a child when my family would take holidays in North Devon, it was also at this time that I was introduced to my other great passion in life, other than art, surfing. For me the sheer joy of riding waves and spending time with my family as a youth has stayed with me and it’s little wonder that I ended up living, creating art and bringing up my children in this breathtaking part of the country. With all this in mind I thought it would be a nice idea to share with you, my lovely customers, some of my favourite spots in North Cornwall and Devon, so you can visit them, be inspired by them and enjoy them as much as I have over the years. Of course Conwall and Devon are both jam packed with beautiful bays, heavenly havens and splendid shorelines and i’ve picked just a few that are close to my heart, but i’d love to hear of your favourite family hangouts or your preferred places to make art or surf and perhaps they will end up being the next muse for a future Neilsdesigns creation.

Croyde Bay

Located in North Devon this beautiful seaside gem is one of the area’s most well regarded beaches. Nestled between two other great coastal beauties in Saunton and Woolacombe Sands, Croyde Bay is known to be the surf mecca of Devon and is the perfect place to start a surf journey. I speak from experience as this beach is the first place I ever rode a wave, which I did on a wooden belly board during a family holiday, for which I owe eternal gratitude to my brilliant parents. My dad was also the person who bought my first proper surfboard, a beautiful Shane Steadman single fin, which we purchased from an Australian lifeguard at Croyde. This board has always been special to me and has been a part of my life ever since, last year she was fully restored and now takes pride of place on our hallway wall. Between the belly-board and the Shane Steadman surfboard i had a few wave riding machines including a Flotina king which i tried to stand up on despite it being essentially an oversized bodyboard and an ex-surf hire board made by local surfboard shapers Chapter, who were based out of Braunton which is a village situated about 5 miles north of Croyde. These family holidays spent in the surf as a child certainly shaped me as an artist and a surfer and these memories still live in everything I make. One of my favourite designs is in fact that of Saunton, one of the beaches that flanks Croyde, and is available as gorgeous canvas prints which are available in a range of sizes and are a perfect addition to any coastal lover’s home.

Check Out My Saunton Canvas Prints Here>

Mounted Shane Steadman Surfboard

These family holidays spent in the surf as a child certainly shaped me as an artist and a surfer and these memories still live in everything I make

Cushion with graphic design of Widemouth bay

Widemouth Bay

I first moved to Cornwall in 1997 with my wonderful wife and lived in Launceston, a small Cornish town around 15 miles away from the coast. Due to the distance I was never really a local surfer at one beach but Widemouth certainly became our go to. With a vast expanse of sandy beach at low tide and surf to suit all abilities when there is swell this Cornish gem is great for families and surfers alike. Widemouth is probably the beach where I learnt the most about surfing. The combination of a friendly local crew and a good variety of waves to choose from helped me to improve massively over the first few years of us being based in Cornwall. I now live just a short drive away from Widemouth and when the waves are too small at my home break I still head there to surf. This breathtaking beach has also been a great source of inspiration for my art and design work and scenes from Widemouth have been the basis for a variety of my stunning designs. From coasters to cushions and cards to canvases, Widemouth and Neils designs are almost synonymous with one another.

Have A Look At All Of My Wonderful Widemouth Inspired Designs Here>

From coasters to cushions and cards to canvases, Widemouth and Neilsdesigns are almost synonymous with one another.

Crackington Haven

Home sweet home for eighteen years and counting, this small coastal village is somewhere I’m so proud to live. Packed full of great characters and home to the most fickle of surf conditions, this tiny haven is a heavenly place to live, surf and be inspired by. As i’m sure you can imagine this place has been the site of a plethora of great memories as well as the basis for many of my Neilsdesigns pieces. In 2014 just before the infamous Hercules swell, a massive storm in the North Atlantic that produced some huge waves, I lost my very precious wedding ring. In the days that followed almost every grain of sand was stripped from the beach creating a super shallow right hand reef break, which was affectionately known by the locals as “wedding ring reef”. This wave fired for about a month and made the loss of my ring a lot more bearable!  Many of my designs are inspired by this wonderful place and if you’ve had the pleasure of visiting here you would understand why. If you’d like to have a piece of this gorgeous bay and bring a bit of classy Cornwall to your home why not adorn your dinner table with some of my Crackington Haven placemats and coasters. These tremendous tablewares depict the vast carapace of the cliff Penkenna which flanks Crackington alongside some very surfable waves, all portrayed in the unique Neilsdesigns graphic style. 

Crackngton haven sunset on a placemat, neilsdesigns

Grab Some Classy Crackington Haven Placemats Here>

Complete Your Set With My Crackington Coasters>

With all these beautiful beaches and mouth watering waves I consider myself so lucky to be able to call North Cornwall home. If you have the time I cannot recommend highly enough these three beaches and the breathtaking surrounding scenery. And if you dont you can have a bit of the beach at home every day with Neilsdesigns.