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Croyde is a village on the west-facing coastline of North Devon, England. The village lies on the South West Coast Path near to Baggy Point, which is owned by the National Trust. It lies within the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Croyde village and its beach faces the Atlantic Ocean near the western limit of the Bristol Channel.
Croyde Stream runs through the village, eventually leading to the beach. The centre of the village is roughly at the intersection of Hobbes' Hill, Jones' Hill and St. Mary's Road. At this spot, Croyde Bridge carries the road over the stream.
Public services are provided by the North Devon District Council (NDDC) based in Barnstaple. The village is in the civil parish of Georgeham, and for ecclesiastical purposes within the Diocese of Exeter.
The village has several small campsites, a small retail area and two large holiday parks; Croyde Bay Holiday Resort (operated by UNISON) and Ruda Holiday Park, operated by Parkdean Resorts.
The past 30 years has seen large increases in younger-age visitors develop around surfing. The impact of tourism on the village has been varied. Some local landowners have benefited from the increased property prices. Tourism has helped to create jobs that were lost in agriculture. Local farming has declined, with former farmland converted into caravan sites and fields for seasonal camping. Like many seaside villages, the phenomenon of second homes has pushed house prices beyond the reach of most local people. There is little year-round employment, because tourism is seasonal, and most businesses are closed out of season.
Croyde has also benefitted from the 'street food revolution,' being the hometown of Lola's Wings who have a pitch there, and other visiting street food trucks and trailers.
During the summer season, there is an outdoor market each Tuesday which is held in a field off Moor Lane past Ruda Holiday Park heading towards Baggy Point.
Croyde supposedly takes its Celtic name from the Viking raider Crydda. However, others have speculated that as the word is similar to the Cornish word 'Curd' that describes the geographical position of the village resting amongst a cradle of hills, it could also have taken its name from this. There is evidence of a settlement that dates before the Saxon Period though, so the correct name is unclear.
Croyde is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Crideholde / Crideholda: Erchenbald from Robert, Count of Mortain. 11 cattle and 100 sheep were recorded in the Domesday Book at Crideholde / Crideholda (Croyde) in 1086.
In the Medieval Period, there was a market sited at Croyde, most likely near the centre of the village where Jones' Hill, Hobbs' Hill, and St Mary's Road meet.
During World War 2, in 1943, the hamlet was commandeered by American soldiers who practised manoeuvres for the D-day landings. Most training took place on Saunton Sands/Braunton Burrows. After the war, Croyde returned to being a predominantly holiday resort.
In the 60s, about 150M south east of Withywell Lane, a Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker was constructed due to rising tensions with the Soviet Union and the need to watch the skies all over the UK for Soviet planes and or nuclear bombs / missiles. The bunker was disbanded in the 90s after the end of the Cold War and now sits in disrepair.
Ferry services operate between Ilfracombe, roughly around 10–20 miles away, and Lundy Island.
Croyde has no education resources in the village. Children have access to Georgeham Primary School; secondary education is provided by Braunton School and Community College.
The sandy 875-yard (800 m) beach, which lost its Blue Flag status in 2012 due to water quality issues, lies at the back of the sheltered Croyde Bay. A large dune system has formed past the high-tide mark. Sand underlies the land surface between the beach and the centre of Croyde village, 600 yards (550 m) to the east. The beach forms the middle section of a trio of sandy beaches north of the Taw Estuary. Three-and-three-quarter-mile-long (6.0 km) Saunton Sands is 2⁄3 mile (1.1 km) to the south, and 1.8-mile-long (2.9 km) Woolacombe Sands, divided into Putsborough and Woolacombe beaches, is 0.93 miles (1.50 km) to the north. Barbecues and contained fires are not permitted on Croyde beach.
Croyde is used for surfing; the rides are generally short as the waves tend to pitch up and break quickly. There is a point break off Down End. There is a reef break at the northern (Baggy Point) end of the beach that works for about 60 minutes during some high tides. The shape of the bay funnels waves towards the beach. The beach is also steeper than either Woolacombe, Putsborough or Saunton Sands. Due to this, rip currents are extremely strong especially near the rocks at either end of the beach and at low tide, even when there is only a small swell. These currents present danger to the strongest of swimmers. Any bathing should be done within the lifeguard-patrolled area. The break is very compact at low tide, resulting in many injuries.
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