There is something about being able to drive onto the beach, isn’t there?
It’s partly the sheer practicality of having everything to hand without having to lug it all on a three-mile hike from the car-park, but also the fact that it feels a little bit daring and ever-so-slightly naughty – and forbidden fruits often taste the sweetest, don’t they?
It also gives those with limited mobility the opportunity to spend a day doing something that we all take for granted: feeling the sand between our toes and the warmth of the sun on our face as gulls call and wheel high above us.
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Here are five beaches you can legally drive onto, all of which will give you the thrill of driving on sand with none of the risk of prosecution or getting stuck as the tide rolls in…
Morfa Bychan, or Black Rock Sands, North Wales
Black Rock Sands might sound forbidding but the reality is mile after mile of beautiful sand, all of which can be driven on for a small fee.
Backed by the mountains of Snowdonia, Black Rock Sands is a wonderful place to spend a summer’s day before retiring to nearby Porthmadog for an evening meal.
Dogs: Allowed, although there is a dog-free zone.
Postcode: LL49 9YH
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Pendine Sands, South Wales
Pendine Sands has long been the site of motor racing, so it only seems appropriate that a recent ban on vehicles driving on the hallowed sands has been reversed.
The areas you can drive on are limited now, but if you are a petrolhead then Pendine Sands will hold a very special place in your heart.
Postcode: SA33 4NY
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Benone Strand, Northern Ireland
Benone Strand is one of Ireland’s longest beaches, stretching for more than seven miles. There is a wide variety of outdoor activities for you to indulge in, while few beaches enjoy better views, with Scotland being visible on a clear day!
Dogs: Allowed, although there is a dog-free zone from May to September.
Postcode: BT49 0LQ
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Ainsdale and Southport Beaches, Lancashire
Both Ainsdale and Southport beaches offer motorists the chance to park on them, although neither is open outside the main summer season. There are a range of facilities and activities, including nature reserves.
Designated access to the beach for people with restricted mobility is available from Lifeboat Road, Formby Point, L37 2EB.
Dogs: Allowed, although there is a dog-free zone on both beaches from May to September.
Postcode: Ainsdale (PR8 2QB) and Southport (PR9 1RX)
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Brean Beach, Somerset
Cars can park on the beach at Brean in designated areas, although there are warning notices about the dangers of the various muddy sections.
Otherwise, it’s a great place to spend a day, and both dogs and horses are welcome.
Postcode: TA8 2RS
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Salt water will corrode and rust your car faster than just about anything else, so it is well worth giving your car – including the underside – a thorough wash after driving on the beach.
Please do note that driving on any other beach could leave you open to prosecution, unless the owner has given you explicit permission to be there.
Also, please keep your speed down; driving at walking pace is more than fast enough when there are children and dogs running free.