Discover challenging and dramatic walking trails shaped by the footsteps of traders, smugglers, saints and pirates. Cornish walking trails will reveal ancient tin mines, clifftop castles, timeless fishing villages and wild moors as you travel through a landscape of huge cliffs and hidden coves that goes back to the depths of time itself. In between the coastal drama, iconic harbours such as St Ives and Padstow give walkers access to some of the UK‘s best restaurants and coastal hotels. A county encircled by the wild Atlantic ocean, there is over 330 miles of spectacular world class coast path here taking you around the farthest corners of England - put simply it feels like walking on the edge of the world.
Stretching from coast to coast across the southwest of England, Devon is a richly diverse county with rugged shores and cliffs in the north, and classic Victorian seaside resorts in the south. In between you'll find tranquil green pastures, wooded gorges and the two dramatic wild moors in the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Choose Devon for its walking variety, and you'll find that the popular image of cream teas and thatched cottages is true - but that Devon is so much more once you explore it on two feet. Coast to coast routes like the Two Moors Way will offer a journey through it all from the wild northern shores that inspired the Romantic poets to the maritime ports of the south coast.
Free your soul and clear your mind! Walking on the wild moors of these National Parks is a wonderful antidote to modern living. England's last true wilderness, Dartmoor offers 365 square miles of virtually uninhabited freedom with high moors and twisted dramatic granite tors a land of myths, ghosts and legends. Exmoor, its smaller and more gentle neighour, is 250 Square miles of near perfect and unique beauty, with high uplands swathed in heather and steep, wooded gorges and rushing streams. See Dartmoor ponies and Exmoor stags in these wildlife rich areas, home to 30 species of mammals and over 240 types of bird. The moors offer a unique opportunity for more challenging walking where the only human sound you will hear is the rhythm of your own breath.
Avoid the crowds and discover “Secret Somerset” missed by so many rushing headlong for the far South West. The 'land of the summer people' was named in a time when this area could only be visited in the summer months as the sea receded. Today its a rich, fertile and 'for real' landscape crowned by the fine walking ridges of the Mendip and Quantock Hills both protected areas of outstanding natural beauty. Rising up over King Arthur‘s Vale of Avalon along with the magical Tor at Glastonbury, walkers will find hidden gorges, wooded combes and the best inland panoramas of the South West. Also boasting its own Jurassic Coast Path, providing a gateway into the wilds of Exmoor National Park, Somerset offers walking routes without the crowds for those who want to find..... what the rest miss.
Dorset has a comfortable old world “English” feel to it and its walking routes traverse a rather more green and agricultural land of thatched cottages, cream teas.... and fossils ! Walkers here will find the more gentle rolling farmland, pretty villages and chalk ridges beloved by Thomas Hardy that sweep down to end abruptly at the World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Here, alongside the sea, those after more challenging routes can take a walking holiday through time itself amongst the dramatic chalk stacks, cliffs and arches of the Dorsetshire fossil coast. An area that can be very busy in high season but often suits walkers looking for more gentle and less exposed walking than the far west of the region.
Wales offers some of the best walking and outdoor activities to be had anywhere in the world. The 870-mile Welsh Coast Path was only fully opened in 2012 and is the world's first walk along the entire coast of a nation. The terrain is on an equally grand scale with towering cliffs, vast stretches of unspoilt golden sands, imposing castles, offshore islands and to the north there is the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park with its stunning mountains. Wales in general offers walkers great value for money compared to more popular areas like Cornwall with walking options to suit everyone, from those who want the cosmopolitan restaurants and facilities of towns like Tenby and St Davids, through to isolated and remote forests and coastal hills that sit on the very cusp of the Snowdonian Peaks. Bursting with confidence and pride in its “Welshness”, its Celtic history, language and culture there has never been a better time for walkers to enter Wales.
The South West Coast Path is the UK's longest National Trail and one of the top ten walking routes in the world. It snakes, dips and rises continuously on its way through a staggering 1014km (630 miles) of pristine coastline, 450 miles of which is through nationally protected areas. It's a challenge too; walking the entire South West Coast Path is the equivalent to scaling Mount Everest four times! From towering cliffs to hidden coves, ghostly tin mines to lush subtropical wooded creeks. One minute a dramatic rock theatre hewn out of the cliffs, the next a prehistoric fossilized forest or a 20thC Art Deco Island Hotel. What sets The South West Coast Path apart from other trails is that around almost every corner is yet another surprise as you retrace the footsteps and histories of the tin miners, fisherman, smugglers, wreckers and the customs men who chased them.
The Cornish Coastal Path – Choose a walking route from over 330 miles of adventure on the edges of the mighty Atlantic Ocean
Inland Cornwall Walks - Cross Cornwall on Coast to Coast routes including Bodmin Moor, the Saints Way & Smugglers Way Trails
Cornwall is quite simply unique. A land that has always felt itself to be a nation apart, Cornwall exists as an outstretched limb of land thrust accusingly away from “up country” England pointing straight into the depths of the wildest Atlantic seascape. For walkers Cornwall feels like, and indeed literally is, right at the end of the trail, a place where the land simply runs out and the sun sets on the end of our immediate world. Surrounded on three sides by so much ocean fury Cornwall is almost a geographic island and with its own Celtic heritage Cornwall has also been a social island which had its own language and even now displays its own unique culture, history and landscape - all of it waiting to be encountered on foot on a Cornwall Walking Holiday.
For those thinking of a Cornwall Walking Holiday, the obvious choice is to wander the zenith of the UK’s best loved (and longest) National Trail – the South West Coastal Path. The Cornish Coast Path section runs to around 330 miles, travelling along a rollercoaster trail through a harsh and wild land where ancient moorland peppered with prehistoric remains and ghostly tin mines abruptly butts up against the most dramatic, breathtaking and historically significant coastline in England.
This spine of mighty cliffs and coves starts near Hartland Quay on the Devon border before merging with the vast dunes and sandbanks of mighty river estuaries as it heads for the Lands End Trail at the most western point in the UK. Walking in Cornwall delivers mesmerising skylines of mining relics, stone circles, towering crags and hidden smugglers coves. Pitched against this, those enjoying a walking holiday in Cornwall benefit from tranquil overnight stays in a mix of hidden Cornish Hamlets, Mediterranean like harbours towns, and time warped fishing villages.
For sheer variety in a walking route the South West Coast Path sections have it all and whether your images of the Cornish Coast are rooted in the Famous Five or in Daphne du Maurier, it still holds and delivers that mystical, sea salted atmosphere that has inspired coast path writers from Rosamund Pilcher to Thomas Hardy. Whilst some things may have changed since they walked the Lands End Trail, one truth remains – the most complete way to lose the holiday crowds, uncover this unique land and engage with its rugged coastline is by leaving the car behind and walking the Cornish Coastal Path.
Click below for full walking descriptions and pictures of each coast path section
Section 1 The North Cornwall Coast Path - Hartland Quay to Padstow
Section 2 The Mid Cornwall Coast Path - Padstow to St Ives
Section 3 The Lands End Trail Coast Path - St Ives to Penzance and The Cornwall Mining World Heritage Walk - St Ives to Sennen
Section 4 The Lizard Coast Path - Penzance to Falmouth
Section 5 The South Cornwall Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
CLICK HERE to go to our interactive walking map which covers all these walks with short summaries and links to the route descriptions so you can choose the best route for you quickly.
Away from the sea three coast to coast footpaths provide options for those looking for some inland walking routes to complete a Cornish Walking Experience. Bracing, windswept and exhilarating.
Bodmin Moor provides a miniature and more accessible alternative to Dartmoor National Park. Feeling no less remote in places and no less inspiring with its wind chiselled Tors, wild ponies and its air is of both desolation... .and freedom ! Suitable for more experienced walkers The Smugglers Way crosses the moor coast to coast from Looe to Boscastle and includes ascents of the moorland peaks at Rough Tor and Brown Willy Cornwall’s highest point. The Ten Tors route links little visited summits in remote areas on open moorland navigating from Tor to Tor, with no visable trail - this is one for experienced walkers only.
CLICK HERE for The Smugglers Way Route and Bodmin Moor Walking Options
The Saints Way - For those looking for a more gentle walking holiday in Cornwall, the 30 mile Saints Way from Padstow to Fowey links two of the regions best loved harbours with an ancient route that carried earnest pilgrims and holy men from Ireland to mainland Europe. These early Christians left an impressive array of holy wells, churches and Celtic Crosses along the way, linked today by Green lanes, old droves and hidden estuary creeks.
CLICK HERE for the Saints Way Route – Padstow to Fowey linking pilgrim sites along the way
The St Michaels Way Walking Route - Finally whilst only taking a single day to cross from coast to coast, The St Michaels Way can be used to complete a Lands End Coast Path Circle and provides another pilgrim led inland route linking stunning St Michaels Mount with the cosmopolitan harbour of St Ives. Superb views, hidden valleys and boulder strewn Trencom Hill are just some of the highlights of a little walked trail that will get you into a less visited area of West Cornwall.
CLICK HERE for the St Michaels Way and Lands End Circle Walk
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