The small tourist hotspot that is Woolacombe is visited every year by thousands of tourists, but not everyone takes the time to read up on the history of the area. As well as Woolacombe, the surrounding areas of Mortehoe, Georgeham and Croyde all have an interesting maritime history.

Woolacombe itself sits within a very steep valley that has Baggy Point on one side and Morte Point on the other. Around the valley is a large amount of moorland that belongs to the National Trust. At the bottom of the valley sits the village of Woolacombe and the award winning 3 mile beach.

The history of Woolacombe has been dated back to the Stone Age as artefacts and relics have been found in the nearby area. If you visited Woolacombe centuries ago, you probably wouldn’t even recognise it as it was largely covered in forest and home to large packs of Wolves. The name itself comes from Wolmecoma which means Wolves Valley.

As more and more humans started to inhabit the area of Woolacombe, it became a hamlet that was home to fishers. Soon after farms were set up and local land owners decided that they could turn the area into a holiday resort as visiting the seaside was becoming more popular. Some of the accommodation that was built when the resort was first opened is still around today.

War buffs will be interested to know that Woolacombe beach was actually used to plan the D-day landings as it was so similar to the beach of Normandy that the soldiers were going to attack in France. The soldiers ended up setting up camp in the Woolacombe Bay hotel.

Mortehoe is a nearby village that overlooks Woolacombe from the hills and is part of the ancient parish of Mortehoe along with Woolacombe. In the village, there is a church that dates back to the 13th Century and was mentioned in the Domesday book.

The village of Croyde dates to pre-Saxon times and is named after a Norse Raider called Crydda who visited the area. Many tourists stay in Croyde as it also has excellent surfing conditions.

If you would like to find out more while on your holiday, then you should visit the Mortehoe Heritage Centre.

By yanam49

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