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History

The village of Woolacombe shares its heritage with its sister village of Mortehoe with a history reaching back far beyond the recorded beginnings of our civilisation. However, whilst Mortehoe is still a charming, sleepy village almost untouched by time, Woolacombe with its magnificent stretch of golden sand is a thriving traditional village and holiday resort embracing the early traditions of the seaside family holiday. Combine this with up to date facilities and attractions, a variety of good hotels and excellent and wide ranging visitor accommodation and you have the perfect formula for a holiday by the sea.

Like a number of British beaches it is privately owned and until 1948 the beach and much of the surrounding land was owned by the Chichester family who acquired it in 1133 during the reign of King Henry 1st. In fact when Lady Rosalie Chichester, the last of the line, died in 1949 it had been in her family’s possession for over 800 years. On her passing the Chichesters' land in Woolacombe and Mortehoe and the family estate at Arlington near Barnstaple had been willed to the National Trust.  However, the beach and some surrounding land had previously been purchased by Stanley Parkin, a family friend.

Locally born Ray Parkin, the current chairman, has been closely involved with the development and management of the company since 1985 and took over as chairman on the death of his father in 1995.  Now under the name of Parkin Estates and in its 3rd generation of family ownership the company takes a responsible and conscientious attitude in the service it offers the public. Considerable ongoing investment is made to provide a high standard of well designed facilities and community aimed projects sympathetic to Woolacombe’s historical and architectural background. The company is proud that Woolacombe beach was the first in north Devon to gain the European Blue Flag. It is proud too that the beach is accepted as north Devon’s flagship in terms of its facilities and beach management which is under the direct control of the company’s managing director Sue Black.