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NEW app helps users find the best beaches without the crowds

Westward Ho! panorama with new visitor centre

Beach Check UK is an innovative new app which allows visitors to check the status of a beach before visiting in order to avoid congested beaches and to encourage them to discover nearby beaches that are quieter and less crowded. The free-of-charge app has just launched in Somerset and West Taunton, and Torridge in Devon as well as various other destinations around the UK.

Working on a traffic light system that uses sophisticated technology and on-the-ground authorised users who assign a colour code to beaches according to the number of visitors at the location and number of car park spaces, the app aims to reduce overcrowding at popular coastal areas.

The app is free of charge and simple to use, downloadable from Google Play and the Apple App store (with no in-app purchases), allowing users to check individual beaches or to see a map showing red (crowded), amber (less congested) and green (uncongested) beaches.

Locally the app will allow staycationers and day-trippers to check the status of Westward Ho! near Bideford and Minehead in Somerset with more beaches to be added as they come on-stream.

Piloted by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council in summer 2020, the app was developed to help manage overcrowding of the area's beaches following easing of the first national lockdown. In its first phase, it had around 40,000 downloads. Following its successful introduction, the app was awarded further funding by the government's Local Digital Collaboration Unit at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for a national roll-out

Torridge District Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin - Lead Member for Community, Culture and Leisure said:

"The Beach Check app will be a great way for people to plan their trip to Westward Ho! during quieter times and avoid the potential for longer queuing and congestion. It also highlights many of the facilities at this award-winning Blue Flag beach that make it such a special place to visit. Safe and clean bathing waters, as well as direct access from the beach to Northam Burrows Country Park, make this a must-see for tourists and locals alike. We look forward to a safe and enjoyable summer and recommend people use the app to plan ahead."

07 July 2021