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Six Great Devon Photography Locations to Explore

Devon Photography location Guide - Wembury beach devon

Devon's Top Photography Locations to Explore with your Camera

The dramatic and rugged Devon Coastline with its vast Sandy Beaches, Magnificent Blue Watered Bays and the Wonderful Tor Covered Dartmoor National Park make it a fantastic location to visit for capturing an exciting array of Photography.

Devon provides opportunities to experience enchanting views of the dramatic scenes of this rural county while exploring the beautiful wildlife and natural world that Devon is known for.

Devon offers a diverse range of landscapes to satisfy any landscape photographer thirst for capture inspiring images of the counties seaside and moorland landscapes.

Being born in Devon and having spent a good part of my life exploring its landscapes and vast views across the Dartmoor national park and the counties South West Coast Path, I'm always looking for new places to explore with my camera.

With that in mind I hope this articles helps you with some ideas on where to explore the wonderful Devon landscape your Camera. 

See the Best 6 Devon Photography Locations for Visiting with your Camera. 

1: Start Point Lighthouse – Great Panoramic Views 

Start Point Lighthouse - Devon photo guideSunrise at Start point lighthouse

Devon's Start Point lighthouse is a great place to capture an iconic picture of the counties dramatic seascapes, the landscape at Start Point is full of slopes, divots and rocks which provides a great supply of foreground and midground interest in the scene.

You can find many vantage points at Start Point, which offer many great compositions, be sure to do your planning here as the sun can affect the scene quite dramatically as it shines across the slopes and rocks creating dappled light along the way. 

Best time to Photograph Start Point Lighthouse

If you want to capture the sun behind the Start Point lighthouse your going to want to visit during sunrise, the sun will rise to the left of the lighthouse during the Summer months and to the right of the start point lighthouse in the Winter months.

There isn't much wildflower interest from the main locations at start point so your best visiting anytime of the year to capture your image.

Sunset photography can work at start point and to get the best light on the lighthouse and right side of the land, you will want to visit in December 

Interesting tales from Start Point Lighthouse

Just around the corner from Start Point lies The remains of Hallsands Village.

Hallsands village was populated since the 1600's but rose to its highest population of 159 people in the late 1800's, the village included 37 houses, a public house with stables, a bakery, a greengrocer.

Hallsands village in 1885Hallsands in 1885

The area was then substantially dredged to acquire new aggregate for expanding the Plymouth Dockyards against the villages agreement.

650,000 tonnes of shingle were removed altogether from the beach, which also meant hallsands village (which was predominantly a fishing village) had no beach left to launch its boats from.

The removed beach resulted in the tide coming further inland and during a large storm in 1917 the village was dramatically lost to the sea.

The day after the storm the Kingsbridge Gazette led with the headline ‘The beach went to Devonport and the cottages went to the sea’. 

Hallsands in 2017Hallsands today showing the only one surviving house 

The full story on Hallsands disaster is very interesting to read, check out https://maritimearchaeologytrust.org/3407-2/ for the full information and find out what happened in the end.

Opportunities when photographing the area 

Being a coastal location the compositions are going to be semi-limited, but you essentially have three options here, photographing it along the coast to the left, shooting it down from the top of the ridge and you guessed it shooting it from the coast to the right.

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Natural England by Philip Stocks CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The time of the year is likely to influence which one you are going to photograph so be sure to check out where the sun is going to set or rise.

The best composition in my opinion is on top of the ridge looking down upon the lighthouse 

Recommended lens to use at Start Point Lighthouse

Start Point doesn't lend its-self to much foreground interest, think instead of using a wide angle to capture wide vistas out to the sea and create some powerful panoramic shots.

Start Point Lighthouse Devon Photo GuildStart point lighthouse under a soft pink sky

Your best taking an array of lenses to Start Point and depending on your shooting location anything from a Ultra wide to a telephoto should give you the focal length you require.

Getting to Start Point Lighthouse

Start Point Lighthouse has a carpark right for it, you can then either walk along the ridgeway (take about 10mins) to get behind the lighthouse of walk to the left or right depending on the composition you want. 

 

  

2: Wembury Beach – Great for a strong subject 

Devon Photography location Guide - Wembury beach devonThe Great Mew Stone rock at Wembury Beach

Wembury beach in South Devon, is a great place for dramatic seascape pictures, the area contains a sandy beach interlaced with rock formation sticking up through the sand.

These rock formations create lots of tiny rock pools which can add a lot of extra interest to your foreground whilst the Great Mew Stone rock adds a great focal point to the image. 

Wembury church sit just behind the beach so once you have photographed at the beach be sure to capture some image of the very photogenic church.

Best time to Photograph Wembury and the Mew Stone Rock  

The area can be photographed anytime of the year, but if you want the sun setting behind the mewstone rock your going to have to visit during sunset in the winter months.

That being said the are will do just as well during sunrise if you fancy some softer hues in the sky above the Great Mewstone rock   

Wembury church looking out to seaWembury church looking out to sea

Interesting tales from Wembury

The Great Mewstone is now a nature reserve, home to a range of seabirds, but did you know that people once lived there?

"In 1744, a local man found guilty of a minor crime was sentenced to stay on the island for seven years. He had the last laugh since he decided to stay on the island for the rest of his life, not once returning to the mainland. His daughter, known as ‘Black Joan’, remained on the island. She married and raised three children.

By the early 1800s a new family had moved in. Samuel Wakeham and his wife, Ann set up home on the island when Sam was due to be transported to Australia, instead negotiating to live his years of exile on the Mewstone. They enlarged an existing house, the odd turret-shaped building that remains today, and cleared a garden to grow food and keep some animals." - Read the full story at The National Trusts Website at nationaltrust.org.uk

 

The mewstone rock homeThe odd turret-shaped building

 

Opportunities when photographing the area

Wembury beach gives several locations to photograph and you can wonder the beach to find these, you can photograph at the rocks which appear on lower tide to the left and if the tide is higher you can head around the headland slightly to the right.

You can also make use of the beach and the water or include the church from higher up the coast. 

Recommended lens to use at Wembury Beach

Your going to be trying to included, interest from closeup foreground such as rocks, the rock pools, the sand etc, so your going to want to utilise an ultra wide angle, although anything around 24mm should be fine so your kit lens should be fine at Wembury. 

Wembury Beach Devon photography guide number 2Wembury Beach Seascape Photography

Getting to Wembury Beach

Wembury beach has a rather large carpark behind the church and is right next to the beach. You can find out more about parking on the National Trust's Website or by having a look at the following map

 
 

3: The Daymark – Kingswear's Tower

The Daymark, Devon Photography GuideCook24v - Paul Cook - Flickr - CC BY-ND 2.0

The Daymark Navigation aid is a great location to visit for Landscape Photography and views across the bay toward Start Bay.

The Daymark can be a little tricky to photograph it lies in a private field that is farmed, the land is arable so there are no farm animals to worry about, but you do need to be careful of when and where you go.

The Daymark does have a dedicated public footpath going to it across the field so try and stay on this as best as you can and be respectful to the land. The footpath was temporary closed in the past around Covid due to people damaging the land, so be sure to check its open before your visit. 

Best time to Photograph The Daymark

The Daymark does well all year round but contrary to the difficulties of it being in an arable its also one of its greatest features, the crops grown here (mainly barley) create some great foreground interest.

Try and plan you shots to make the best use of the sunrise / set position. 

The Daymark Devon Photo GuideKingswear Daymark Navigational Aid

All about the Daymark

The Daymark which is a octagonal tower was built of limestone in 1863 and rises to 80ft (24m) high on arched legs. It was designed as a guide to show mariners the position of the Dartmouth estuary's entrance when they were many miles out to sea.

The tower can be seen standing tall above Dartmouth harbour, and can be seen from miles around the coastline.

It was built by Charles Seale Hayne, who led an initiative to improve access and facilities to Dartmouth harbour. 

Opportunities when photographing the area  

The Daymark can be photographed from many different positions around the 360 degree view of it, just make sure not to damage the crop in the field, your probably going to want to photograph it down towards the coast and Start Bay.

Different times of the year create different images at the daymark due to the stage of the crop in the ground.

A good time to visit can be at night for astrophotography

Astrophotography at Kingswears daymarkAstrophotography of Kingswears Daymark

Recommended lens to use at The Daymark 

Any focal length can be utilised at the daymark, so your focal length can vary, that being said if your looking to capture the milk way or the foreground interest your going to want to utilise a wide angle lens.

Comet Neowise at the Kingswear DaymarkComet Neowise at the Devon's Daymark

Getting to The Daymark 

The Daymark can be accessed by parking at the small carpark at the begging of the private path/road that head down towards the Coast Guard Lookout Point.

Once parked just follow the road by foot and you will see the Daymark after a 15min walk

You can see the car park location on the map 

 

   

4: Westcombe Beach - Dramatic Headlands

Westcombe Bay, Devon Photography Location GuideDevon's Westcombe bay during sunset

Westcombe bay also known as Wyscombe beach by the locals, is a little known but rather picturesque beach around the headland from the more popular Ayrmer Cove, in-fact pictures taken at Westcombe often end up being labelled as Ayrmer Cove instead.

The small cove at Wyscombe has a rather impressive headland either side with the left side encompassing a range of jagged rocks that come up through the sea and the right hand side having a rather dramatic headland formation.

This allows great picture with both foreground interest and a main subject in the scene. 

Best time to Photograph Wyscombe bay

There isn't really a best time to photograph Westcombe but bear in mind that you will need to visit during low tide to capture the rock formation that appear through the sand.

If your looking to capture the sun setting out to sea your going to have to visit in the winter months as well and I would say this gives the best photographs of the area. 

Opportunities when photographing the area 

You can get some really unique image down at Wyscome, use the natural rock formations and utilise the imposing headland to capture some interesting images.

The area also has a small stream that runs down the beach creating a snaking path that can be utilised in pictures.

Westcombe bay devon photo guideWestcombe beach and the stream

 

Another opportunity that only comes around for a few days of the year is to capture the sun setting the headland which can create some very dramatic images.

Recommend lens to use at Westcombe bay

Your going to want to go wide angle to ultra wide at the beach to get the correct focal lengths to capture both foreground and midground interest.

Another thing to bear in mind is when your capturing the sunsetting your going to want to utilise a narrow aperture to capture the best sunstars, a high aperture bladed lens also helps with the starring.

The below image was captured using a Canon 16-35mm F4

Westcombe beach location guide Devon's wycombe beach photographed during sunset

Getting to Westcombe Cove 

The best way to get to Westcombe beach is to head to the national trust carpark for Ayrmer cove and then walk over the South West Coast path up and over the headland to the right 

Have a look at the map for it location

 

  

5: Black Church Rock - Great for Perspective 

Black church rock devon photography location guidelovestruck. - Flickr - CC BY-NC 2.0

 

There’s something so frightfully enchanting and powerful about North Devon's Black Church Rock, the natural double arch is rather large and imposing when your up next to it.

Black Church Rocks double arch creates an array of interesting shots and it is an area full of interest. The only issue here is that it can be hard to keep the perspective in your image due to the vast size of the arch. 

A good tip and something that many photographers do, is to stand or have someone else stand in the arch to give the scene some perspective. 

Best time to Photograph Black Church Rock 

You will want to visit Black Church Rock during low tide so you can get out close enough to the arch, during higher tide you will get cut of and not be able to see through the arch.

If your wanting to capture the sun through the arch its best to visit in the Early Summer months during Sunrise.

All the foreground interest comes from the rocky sea-bed so visiting anytime of the year will work. BE VERY CAREFULL the rocks here are mega slippy and hard to transverse. 

Black church rock devon photography guideBlack church rock during sunrise

 

Opportunities when photographing the area  

The landscape that surrounds black church rock, is very rocky, which makes for some great foreground interest from both the rocks and the rock pools between them.

They are hard to transverse and setting up your tripod will take time, be sure to utilise yourself or a friend for perspective by getting them to stand in the archway. 

Recommended lens to use at Black Church Rock

Your going to be utilising a lot of foreground interest and shooting quite a large subject so you will want to utilise a wide focal length at the location.

Try and take the minimum equipment needed to make it easier to move about, consider taking things like a polarizer to cut the glare out of the rock pools.   

Black church rock image in black and whiteBlack Church Rock Black and White Picture

Getting to Black Church Rock 

Black church rock is quite easy to find but does require a some a decent walk to get to it of around 30 mins their is ample parking at Brownsham National Trust Carpark at https://goo.gl/maps/QpYkGSUfYjQNDa2V8

Once you are parked you can head straight out of the carpark and follow the footpath down through the forest and to the arch.

You have to head towards the farm house and turn right down past it onto the footpath, there is another footpath which involves going left and through the farmyard and gates but this is a slower and steeper route.

See the map for more info on getting to Black Church Rock

 

 

6: The Dartmoor Moor National Park

Brentor Church DartmoorBrentor Church on the Dartmoor National Park

 

The final location isn't a single location at all in facts its the whole of the stunning and dramatic Dartmoor National Park.

The wonderful heather covered moorlands and deep wooded valleys of South West England's Dartmoor National Park, provides opportunities to acquire breath-taking views and dramatic landscape photography while exploring the beautiful wildlife and natural scenes that Dartmoor has to offer. 

Dartmoor offers a perfect backdrop to any photographer wishing to capture inspiring images of the countries rural landscapes. 

I would love to go ahead and list all the amazing locations on Dartmoor in this guide but a place as diverse as Dartmoor requires its own guide, Hence I have created one below.

See our guide on the best Six Dartmoor Photography Locations

Dartmoor Photography Location Guide

See Dartmoor in the following map

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With its Stunning Dartmoor National Park, Beautiful Rolling Hills, and Sweeping Never Ending Coastline Devon makes for some truly beautiful locations to explore.

 

See our range of wall art for sale at Sebastien Coell Photography


 


  

Meet the Author:

I am a Dartmoor photographer, who enjoys travel, hiking, rugby and photographing the beautiful world in which we live in, I see photography as a creative expression upon visiting beautiful places. Each picture often tells a story.

Thank you for reading this article, please feel to share it with your friends and please check out all my photography - Cornish Seascape Prints and our Devon wall art for Sale 

Thanks

Sebastien Coell Photography

  

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