Investigation into the impact of tourism on Croyde and Newquay

Category: Surfing, Tourism
Last Updated: 03 Mar 2020
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In this Coursework I have decided to compare and contrast Croyde and Newquay as they both have similar tourist attractions and geographical features. They also differ in some ways and I aim to find out how, why and what has caused this. I went down to Newquay on the 6th of august when both the Ripcurl board masters and the Newquay music beach sessions were on so this was a prime time to get some useful results. I went down to Croyde on two occasions, 11th august when nothing spectacular was on and then again on the 7th September when the Jesus surf classic competition is on so this was also a prime time to get some useful results.

I have always loved the outdoors and taking part in extreme sports that use geographical features to their advantages so I guess this is why Geography has been something that has always interested me mainly because I have wanted to know why natural anomalies occur such as waves. I have decided to study the impacts of tourism on two similar areas; Croyde and Newquay are both holiday destinations that I have visited and that I am familiar with which has influenced my choice to use them in my coursework. Even though they are 86 miles apart they share similar characteristics such as popular surf locations because they share the same sea.

I went to Croyde and Newquay within the same week to get some fair tests. Obviously there were certain factors that still made this test unfair. I went to Newquay on the 6th, which was in the middle of the very popular Ripcurl Boardmasters and the music week beach sessions. So there will obviously be more tourists in Newquay.

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I am trying to find out what and how tourism effects these two holiday destinations. I would have preferred to take some results a few years ago and see how Newquay or Croyde have developed because of tourism but this was not possible so instead I will compare the two. Here are two maps showing the places I have studied.

My objective in order to help me find out what I need to find are as follow:

* To find out how many tourists visit for what reason.

* How far and how people travel to visit these areas.

* What accommodation tourists stay in when they visit these areas.

* How much litter pollution tourist's cause. LITTER COUNT AND CAMP SITE SURVEY

* How much the local economy is supported by tourist business.

Background knowledge


Croyde Bay in Devon is a village on the west-facing coastline of North Devon. It is rare but to some surfers the village is known as 'The Place of Legends' or 'The Place of Kings' due to the way that the village is almost perfect and so is the beach. It is a favourite destination for families and surfers alike. The name Croyde is believed to have derived from an Anglo-Saxon settlement in the area. Croyde village is a charming little hamlet of thatched cottages with many places to eat, buy gifts and hire beach equipment - including surfboards. It has many popular spots neighbouring such as Watersmeet in lyton/lynmouth, Golf in Saunton and Walking areas that make this area worth staying both on a holiday and as a day trip.

During the 20th century Croyde's development was based on traditional 'seaside' tourism. Before this the village was based on the local agriculture. The past 30 years has seen large increases in younger-age visitors develop around surfing. It is home to several small campsites, a small retail area in the centre of the village, and a large holiday park, Ruda Holiday Park, operated by Parkdean Holidays. Walking is also a very popular attraction for tourists with the South West Coast Path giving access to the spectacular Baggy Point, which is owned by the National Trust.

Croyde has three pubs in the village: The Manor, Billy Budds", and The Thatched Barn Inn. As far as education goes the children in croyde share the Georgeham Primary School with many of the neighbouring villages. For secondary education they have to go to braunton for either the Community College or Braunton School. Croyde beach is placed in a sheltered bay measuring at 0.8km long.

The shallow slope of the beach means that the high and low water marks are 500m apart making this beach safe for children. Surfing is another popular attraction in croyde. Although the rides are generally pretty short on the beach though, the waves tend to pitch up and break fast making it attractive to shortboarders. The beach forms the middle section of a trio of sandy beaches north of the Taw estuary. 6 km long Saunton Sands is 1 km to the south, 3km long Woolacombe Sands, divided into Putsborough and Woolacombe beaches, 1.5 km to the north.

There were several drownings on the beacj in the 1950's causing the local authoritites to introduce some lifeguards. There is a break some 3/4 mile offshore that breaks when the beach of Croyde is closed out by large swells. The population is split neatly into two polarized but quietly coexisting groups: half the locals are bungalow-inhabiting retirees, the other half are the surfers (almost all of whom are under 30). Surfing is a religion there.


The first signs of settlement in Newquay consist of a late Iron Age hill fort/industrial centre which exploited the nearby abundant resources and the superior natural defences provided by Trevelgue HeadNewquay was originally the fishing port of Towan Blistra before the 'new quay' was built in the fifteenth century. The quay was used for the import of coal and the export of mined ore. For many years, the main industry was pilchard fishing and salting. These days Newquay is the resort with all the nightlife but not so much of the original culture. Newquay is famous for the surfing championships, held at Fistral Beach, which attract competitors from all over the world.

The main town beaches are Towan, Great Western, Lusty Glaze and Tolcarne, all of which are reasonably sheltered and safe for swimming and sun worshipping. Newquay has two secondary schools, Newquay Tretherras School is a state-funded specialist technology college and Newquay Treviglas which is a specialist business college. Surfing is also a very large part of newquays tourist attraction holding numerous surfing international and local competitions the latest being the ripcurl boardmasters. Fistral bay has very clean wave sucsetions that make it ideal for surfing. Being 0.75km in length it is a resonable size. It is often very crowded in the summer both on the beach and in the water. The cribbar, named after the reef which stretches half a mile from the beach, is a legendary wave that only breaks at Fistral Beach around once every 2 years. This incedible swell can reach heights of around 40 feet.

It was first surfed in 1967 by Jack Lydgate, Bob Head and Rod Sumpter. The recent explosion in interest in surfing large waves has spured many international surfers both pro and ameteur to come and visit newquay to tr out the waves and the community of newquay. Newquay is well known for its lively nightlife. Nightclubs such as Berties, Tall Trees and Sailor's attract well known international DJs. Newquay has been a popular destination for hen and stag nights as the town now has a lap-dancing club and the explosive nightlife attracts people to hold them here.

The town has a permenant population of around 19,423 but this can increase to 100,000 or more in the summer because Newquay has a large stock of holiday accommodation. Which is not surprise when you think that it was home to the author of Lord of the Flies and The Beatles filmed part of the Magical Mystery Tour film in Newquay. Scenes were filmed at the Atlantic Hotel and Towan Beach.

As we know travel all over the world has become cheaper and cheaper with more methods of travel and more people being able to travel. Flights have become very cheap compared to how they used to be making tourism from England go abroad so places like newquay and croyde have been forced to make their own efforts to attract tourism back to Cornwall. They have risen to the challenge by using their advantage of the Atlantic coast and focused on surfing.

From the tourism they received from tourism certain places in newquay and croyde decided to get benefit from this and so extended ways that they could make money out of tourism and so increasing the attractions for tourism. Newquay had introduced many nightclubs and bars whereas croyde introduced a young person's arcade directly implying that they get more families with young people then older couples. Both of the towns have had to increases accommodation and have done this by opening campsites and converting houses into hotels and other forms of accommodation.


During this I will be stating what data I want to find out, how and why I am going to be collecting the certain parts of data.

Why do tourists visit these destinations?

In order to do this I need to include this as part of my questionnaire. To find out who comes to these destinations and why they come here. A questionnaire is the best way to find out sufficient results for this question as I can ask questions that are to the point and get exact answers from the people who affect the areas of coast both humanly and environmentally. On the day I am going to stand in the streets of Croyde and Newquay asking people if they wouldn't mind spending a little time to fill out my questionnaire. Once I have done this I will collect the data and group in a format I can easily read and relate to, I gave out 30 questionnaires in both Croyde and Newquay because I thought 30 wasn't too low i.e.

I could still get sufficient data from this amount and it wasn't too many as I didn't have as much time as I would have liked. I stood in similar spots in both Newquay and Croyde to make it even - The main beach entrance, the beach car park and the main shopping area (central town). I did this as I could gather the information quicker, as they are the busiest spots, and I could also go about other tasks whilst they're such as a tax disc survey. With the questionnaire I simply asked every other person who walked pass me. This is because I am then asking a wider range of people as if I ask ever person I see then some may be related whereas if I leave it every other one there is a stronger likely hood that they are not together therefore getting no repeats.

How far and how people travel to these locations.

In order to do this I will be asking how people have travelled and how many with in a questionnaire as I can get the precise information I desire but I can take a tax disc survey to find out how far, this will be a lot quicker therefore enabling me to get more results. I will carry out the tax disc survey in a car park and look on car's tax discs and where they have been stamped, this may not be very accurate as people may travel a fair way to get there tax discs as post offices are closing down. The more results I get the higher the precision of my work is. This is important as the further people travel to these locations makes me think that the change in tourism has been spread wider and heard more further away possibly making the change larger and more attractive to the majority of people looking to travel in England. On the day I will hand out my questionnaire and ask people to take part in my coursework and with the tax disc survey I will go into two or three car parks collecting the locations that people have travelled to reach this destination. Once I have done this I will group all my data into workable format. With the tax disc survey I will work out the carbon footprint of the data I feel applicable. I have done this so I can work out how far the attraction of the effect of tourism has spread.

What accommodation tourists stay in when they visit these areas?

In the questionnaire I have included the request of information on the tourist's accommodation. This will help me again as the more people who use hotels will suggest the more hotels there are and therefore the demand for them is greater. This will help me because I will be able to know whether the most popular forms of accommodation require more or less litter pollution to the area or whether the owner takes the litter under their responsibility. I will do this again by using the format of my questionnaire, as this will be a strong and effective source.

How much litter pollution tourist's cause?

In order to get the results I want to answer this objective I will take a litter count by recording the amount of litter I see in a 2m� then I repeat this every 20m and I will also include an Environmental Perception Grid in my questionnaire assuring I get both raw data and people's opinions on the amount of litter in the area. Once I have done this I can then result in concluding what I have established following-onto linking it back to the main aim of this coursework and whether the tourism impact on the two different places was positive or negative.

How much the local economy is supported by tourist business?

I will do this entirely based on a land use classification sheet that I have done. I did this by walking through the main street of the two towns marking what shops were what and concluding what they were used for and who they were there for. Hopefully I will find a great difference in the two places here resulting in my conclusion saying how tourism has affected these two places in different ways. I will have to talk about how and why the area has let tourism effect it in this way in comparison to the way the other place has let is change it.

Results with Analysis.

For this part I will be putting my data for both Croyde and Newquay into appropriate charts so I can directly compare the data against each other then writing what the data tells me before relating what I have found out directly back to my main objective. To do this I will work through each method accordingly slowly producing my main conclusion to this piece of coursework taking into account applicable pieces of data and using these to back up my opinion on my investigation and how tourism has effected both then I will give my opinion on whether it's a positive or a negative effect.

Why do tourists visit these destinations?

I have put the data from my questionnaire in two bar charts that I can compare directly. The reasons for visit in both places in very similar but the duration of the visit are very different. Croyde has 20 more people visiting for a week and Newquay has 20 more people visiting for 3 days. I think this is strongly representative of the way they have both differed in changing as 3 day trips tend to be made by younger people who have gone down for a specific reason. However week + holidays is often family orientated as they have gone down to spend some time away. I took this data in the summer holidays which backs my point up. I have also taken the ages and put them in a graph as I think it will help me conclude the way I think tourism has changed either place as the reasons, I feel, will be more pronounced with a given age group.

The age of people asked was very similar showing me no evidence that the change in tourism has made the ages visiting any different.

As the young age group is the largest I think this was their main aim as I think this would be the largest market. I think Newquay and Croyde have changed in different ways but they have still managed to attract the same main target market. The age group in Croyde was more evenly spread than Newquay so maybe Croyde has changed more appropriately for all age groups. In order for me to differentiate the ways they have changed and whether this difference in change was good or bad I will need to look else were as the reason and length of visit has given me no reason to believe the reasons for visit are any different.

How far and how people travel to these locations.

All people questioned in Croyde either got their on a bike, by foot or by a car, however, people who were questioned in Newquay only arrived on motorized vehicles 7% even arriving on a plane. Newquay has this choice as it has its own airport and train station as well as very frequent public services running till 3am at night to the surrounding areas, this has enabled newquay to have tourists from France whereas croyde isn't as main-stream as Newquay making it not as widely known mainly because of its lack of public transport, this is mostly dues to its lack of size, roads and economy couldn't support such methods of transport certainly as the village stands. In Fig. 7 you can easily see that there are more places than in Fig. 8.

This is mainly a result of what I have just explained in order to back up further my point I have worked out the distance between Croyde and Newquay and were their tourists travelled from creating a circle of influence that I can directly compare. This will help me as part of my conclusion will be on whether the difference, if any, in the way tourism has developed is a good thing on the area and although this may be a good thing that they are attracting people on the area obviously the further away people travel the longer they are driving and therefore the larger their carbon footprint. Fig. 9 clearly shows that newquay has a much larger circle of influence obviously this is very good for the locals so far as tourism means money for workers there however environmentally this is a negative.

What accommodation tourists stay in when they visit these areas?

This is hugely dependant on the land the area has and how available the area lends itself to things such as hotels. To do this I have put a question in my questionnaire about accommodation then I will be, again, plotting both Newquay's and Croyde's data against each other just to make the difference as well as numerical making it visual as this will be easier to remember and makes it easier to remember as numbers or percentage can often be to close and therefore rounded distorting the comparison.

As we can see in Fig. 10 93% of people who visited croyde either camped or stayed in bed and breakfasts. They also rented houses (holiday homes - Self catered) however Newquay's largest majority with 40% was people who stayed in hotels. There are so many hotels in Newquay making this such an available option for tourists. Croyde has few hotels as such however they have many bed and breakfasts and self service accommodation options. Camping and holiday homes are popular as many prefer to save money and cater for themselves I think this is because most of the tourists in Croyde are families as apposed to Newquay's being in their late teens - early 20s. Newquay's demand for hotels is so big people are renovating rows of houses into series of hotels. There has been so much of this over the last few years because of Newquay's growth.

How much litter pollution tourist's cause?

Now that we have established what accommodation tourists use when visiting these two destinations I want to see what effects this has on the two towns so far as litter is concerned.

This clearly shows that newquay has a higher litter concentration than Croyde which surprises me on the fact that 50% of Croyde accommodation is camping which I though would create terrible litter problems however newquay is considerably larger than croyde making the tourist capacity larger so I have decided to repeat this test in the exact same places but with people instead of litter. I have done this by counting every person that passes my left and right leaving ahead and behind, then like the litter count I will walk 20m before I take my next count.

This shows that both of the beaches were the busiest places however Newquay does have more people but there isn't such the significant difference that there is compared to litter. In the questionnaire I have asked people what they think of the area in terms of the factors that tourism could have affected.

How much the local economy is supported by tourist business?

A vast majority of the local services in Newquay and Croyde are run by local people making tourism a highly important part of their lives as it is tourists who would be mainly targeted in two popular tourist destinations. I have drawn up and filled out a land-use classification table to help me with this also using the questionnaire to find out who actually uses the facilities that these two areas have to offer.

Obviously being holiday destinations alone answers my question alone as they obviously do rely on tourism to keep their jobs going. Fig. 15 shows that both Croyde and Newquay have facilities for all their tourists. I can s a majority of the 30 people asked have used nearly every facility. So as they rely on tourism they have made the Facilities well as evidently tourist use them. Fig. 14 shows that a lot more of how the two towns have let tourism change them in different ways. Newquay has concentrated on the entertainment market whereas (Fig. 15) Croyde has concentrated on the outdoors sports such as beach activities and waling. I can tell this as a larger percentage of people asked had used the entertainment facilities in Newquay where most people in croyde had used the beach, walked or the sports equipment hire.


Researching two similar holiday destinations in depth has clearly painted a picture for me so far as how they differ in the way they attract tourists and what the tourists do, where they stay and how they travel to their destination be it Newquay or Croyde. I think I have been fairly successful so far as achieving my main aim however there are things I have learnt on the way that I would have done differently had I been given more time and facilities. The main reason I think Newquay has changed from Croyde yet their aims are the same is that Newquay is a lot bigger than Croyde making it easier to build on and sustainable as Croyde has narrow roads and a small population which would be directly effected if the town were to expand outwards.

Newquay however has lent itself to this very well having fairly flat and available land. Newquay has changed this way as there is far more money in the long run for large amounts of tourists and throughout the winter they will still get tourists as they have many hotels 50% of people asked camped in Croyde and few people will want to do this in the winter. I think overall I have tried hard and succeeded in comparing Newquay and Croyde. They differ in many ways and couldn't be more similar in others making them attractive for different reasons.


Had I been given the chance to do this again I would put in deeper research into the area and mainly extending my questionnaire and asking 100 people as the more people questioned the more reliable my result however this would not need to be a necessity as I effectively took a random sample of many as I randomly asked every other person (that was the only reason I chose them) making them as reliable as possible.

I went to croyde when I Ripcurl board masters was on but I firstly went to croyde when nothing was happening so I decided to make this fair by going back to croyde when a surf festival was on. There were many tests I took that had no help to my main aim making them completely invalid and therefore wasting some of my time that I could have spent else where. Hopefully these downfalls in my research haven't affected my outcome too much. I would repeat my results and do them all round the year as in summer obviously I would have more results than the winter I would like to see how the change of year/weather change my results and see whether the public prefer this change and therefore prefer these areas in winter.

Cite this Page

Investigation into the impact of tourism on Croyde and Newquay. (2017, Dec 10). Retrieved from

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