Eight beaches in Devon have been awarded the coveted Blue Flag award – including two in the South Hams.

The independently assessed seal of approval is awarded to beaches which achieve very high quality standards excellent cleanliness, safe access and appropriate signage.

The awards reassure visitors that they can look forward to enjoying the best-loved beaches and can have confidence their visit will be enjoyable with all beaches maintaining high standards of management, cleanliness and safety.

The eight beaches that have been awarded the Blue Flag are Sandy Bay, Challaborough Bay, Blackpool Sands, Westward Ho!, Oddicombe beach, Meadfoot beach, Breakwater beach and Dawlish Warren beach.

In total, 26 beaches in the south west were awarded a Blue Flag, the highest amount in the UK. A further 19 beaches in Devon were given a Seaside Award by leading environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, including Teignmouth Town Beach, Dawlish Main Beach, Coryton Cove at Dawlish and Shaldon’s Ness Cove.

Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said:  “The success of the 148 beaches across the UK in reaching the very high standards demanded by both awards is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches – from beach managers and volunteers to local people and businesses.

“When you enjoy a trip to a beach flying an international Blue Flag or Seaside Award, you know you are on one of the safest, cleanest and very best in the country.”