Northam, Devon

Northam (/ˈnɔːrðəm/) is a small town, civil parish and electoral ward in Devon, England, lying north of Bideford. The civil parish also includes the villages of Westward Ho!, Appledore, West Appledore, Diddywell, Buckleigh and Silford, and the residential areas of Orchard Hill and Raleigh Estate. The population at the 2011 census was 5,427.[2]


Northam Church
Location within Devon
Population7,489 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSS450290
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtEX39
Dialling code01237
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
FireDevon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament


Northam is thought to have been the site of an Anglo-Saxon castle, and the area between Northam and Appledore is said to have been where the Danish Viking Ubba (or Hubba) was repelled (perhaps by Alfred the Great or by the Earl of Devon). This is commemorated in local place names like Bloody Corner and Hubba's Rock (or Hubbleston), which is supposed to be the site where Ubba was killed.[3] St Margaret's church is the Anglican parish church for the town and has been a Grade I listed building since 1951.[4]

In 1832 a meeting was held in Northam to protest an attempt by Augustus Saltren-Willett, lord of the manor, to take ownership of the commons of Northam Burrows.[5]

Royal North Devon Golf Club was formed at Northam Burrows in 1864; its course is the oldest on its original site in England.[6]

Between 1901 and 1917, the town and golf course were served by Northam railway station.

Northam Burrows

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),[7] Northam Burrows is a saltmarsh and dune landscape, adjacent to the Torridge Estuary.

It is part of the North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and sits within North Devon's Biosphere Reserve.

It is also home to the oldest golf course in England, the Royal North Devon Golf Club.

Sport and recreation

Northam has a King George's Field as a memorial to King George V.

Torridge Pool, off Churchill Way, has lane and learner pools but despite the name, it has a wider role as a leisure centre with gym and sauna.


Northam has a public library. This burned down in 2005 destroying the building and 90% of the books, in a fire believed to have been caused by the action of a hands-free magnifier on a pile of leaflets.[8] The public library was threatened with closure in 2014 due to cuts in the County's budget.[9]


The Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway (B,WH&A,R) was most unusual amongst British railways in that although it was built as a standard gauge line it was not joined to the rest of the railway network, despite the London and South Western Railway having a station at Bideford, East-the-Water, meaning on the other side of the River Torridge from the main town.

The line was wholly situated on the peninsula made up of Westward Ho!, Northam and Appledore with extensive sand dunes the Torridge and Taw estuary. Northam station and the line closed in 1917 having been requisitioned by the War Office, and is now used as part of the Tarka Trail cycle route which forms part of the South West Coast Path.

Bus services

  • Stagecoach 21= ilfracombe to Westward Ho!
  • Stagecoach 21A= ilfracombe to


  • stagecoach 16 = bideford - westward ho! - appledore

W.Ho! Buses serve the Square, Sandymere Rd and Atlantic Way. Appledore buses serve Lenards Rd and Churchill Way. 16 bus service serves morwenna park road, sea view road, Windsor road and JH taylor drive

Notable residents


  1. "Bideford & Northam profile" (PDF). Devon County Council. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  2. "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  3. Prince, John, (1643–1723) The Worthies of Devon, 1810 edition, London, pp.564-5, biography of Lethbridge, Christopher, p.565
  4. Church of St Margaret: A Grade I Listed Building in Northam, Devon - Historic England database
  5. "North Devon Chronology (1824-1999)". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  6. Dowell, Phil, The English Golf Coast, Melrose Books, 2006, ISBN 1-905226-43-8.
  7. Northam Burrows SSSI
  8. "Missing title". The Times. 17 July 2005.
  10. "Serial killer's tortured Northam childhood - North Devon Journal". 10 December 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2018.


Stuckey, Douglas (1962). The Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway 1901-1917. Pub. West Country Publications.

Media related to Northam at Wikimedia Commons

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