Visit Devon has added its support to a multi-million pound fundraising appeal by the National Trust to buy Bantham beach and the Avon estuary in south Devon.

The appeal, which was launched last week, needs to raise £2.6 million, after the National Trust committed £4 million from its Neptune Coastline Campaign.

Carolyn Custerson, Chair of Visit Devon, said: “The Avon estuary is one of the finest in South West England and Bantham beach the best surfing beach in south Devon. We wholeheartedly support this important initiative which will maintain the high-quality access that hundreds of thousands of visitors to Devon enjoy every year.”

"Thanks to areas such as this, Devon is one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the UK and offers outstanding visitor breaks and value for money. It is vital we preserve it for future generations. Tourism is one of the leading industries in Devon - and tourism jobs more critical to Devon than many other counties – so it is our duty to do everything we can to care for the county’s outstanding coastline, we cannot afford to lose it.”

Mark Harold, National Trust director for the South West, added: “This is a magical place, a true jewel on the South West coast. We now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to permanently secure and protect the landscape of one of the least spoilt coastal sites and secure its future for everyone to enjoy.”

“If we don’t raise the money then the future of Bantham beach and the Avon estuary is uncertain and this stretch of coastline might one day be disrupted by inappropriate management or development.”

The national Trust cares for 742 miles of coastline across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – including beaches, cliffs, islands, sand dunes and estuaries. Its most recent high profile acquisition was in 2012 when it raised money to buy a one-mile stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover.