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.
9 Sections of around 1 week cover the full 630 miles of this the nations favourite long distance path
87 miles - 33 miles Easy Grade, 41 Moderate and 3 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - The Wild Moors of Exmoor and the Golden Sands and surf of North Devon. Great Hangman (highest Point of the Coast Path), The Uk’s Largest Sand Dune Biosphere, The Taw and Torridge Estuaries, Tarka Trail, Porlock Wier, Lynmouth and Ilfracombe harbours
Options – Lundy Island, Surfing, Cycling on the Tarka Trail, link to crossing Devon on the Two Moors Way
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79 miles - 3 miles Easy Grade, 5 Moderate and 71 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - Stunning wild and remote Coastline, challenging Walking in places, Wrecking and Smuggling History, King Arthurs Cifftop Tintagel Castle, untouched fishing villages at Port Isaac, Boscastle and end in Padstow with Rick Steins.
Options – Surfing in Bude, Cycling on the Camel Trail in Padstow, Link to Crossing Cornwall on the Saints or Smugglers Way
66 miles - 14 miles Easy grade, 48 Moderate and 4 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - Cornwall’s longest run of golden beaches and cliffs. Bedrthun Steps Rock Formation, Old Tin Mines, Cornwall’s premier surfing waves, eat at Rick Steins and Jamie Olivers en route to the stunning harbour at St Ives.
Options – Surfing at locations right along the coast, Cycling on the Camel Trail from Padstow, Coasteering and Coastal Adventure sports in Newquay, link to the Saints Way and the St Michaels Way cross Cornwall footpaths.
41 miles - 2 miles Easy grade, 16 Moderate and 23 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - St Ives and the Tate Gallery, The World Heritage Tin Mines Coast, Ancient Standing Stones and Quoits, Cornwall’s best loved beach at Sennen with Porthcurno beach as a bonus, The Minack Rock Theatre, Zennor the village lost in the past. The Atlantic Ocean round Lands End, as clear and clean as you can get.
Options – Surfing at St Ives and Sennen, Rest Days to visit ancient stone circles and villages, performances overlooking the sea at the Minack Theatre. Circular walk option using the St Michaels Way cross Cornwall path.
61 miles - 3 miles Easy grade, 51 Moderate and 7 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - Unique flora and geology of the Lizard Peninsula, remote and less visited trails and villages. Frenchmans Creek (Daphne du Maurier), Tropical Gardens at Trebah and Glendurgan, Kynance Cove Cornwall’s most atmospheric and best loved Cove. St Michaels Mount, Helford Passage Creeks, The National Maritime Museum unspoilt villages at Cadgwith, Coverack and Mullion.
Options – Rest Day at St Michaels Mount in Marazion, windsurfing and surf kayaking at Coverack, river kayaking in Helford, links to the St Michaels Way Cross Cornwall Path
77 miles - 14 Easy grade, 31 Moderate and 32 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - Maritime history in Falmouth and Plymouth, stunning fishing harbours and film locations at Mevagissey, Fowey and Polperro all with excellent restaurants. The untouched Roseland Peninsula, Daphne du Maurier’s novel locations, more gentle walking than the North and West but equally varied.
Options – Walk to the Eden Project, visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Canoeing on the River Fowey, links to the Saints Way Cornwall Coast to Coast inland Path.
76 miles - 15 miles Easy Grade, 16 Moderate and 45 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - Historical ports of Plymouth, Dartmouth, Salcombe and Brixham. Sculpture and Art along the award winning Plymouth Waterfront Walkway. Navigate crossings of 3 stunning and timeless estuaries in South Devon, Napoleonic Forts, Seals and Falcons, Lost Villages, Shingle Bars, Salt Marsh High Cliffs and Wild Headlands. Agatha Christies Burgh Island, The Thurlestone Rock Arch, Slapton Ley Nature Reserve and much more.
Options – Rest days with fine facilities in Dartmouth and Salcombe. Inland walks up the Dart Valley Trail, canoe, sail or boats up the River Dart, Surfing in Bigbury, take a sea tractor to Burgh Island !
57 miles - 8 miles Easy Grade, 22 Moderate and 27 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - Huge variety in scenery and walking terrain a faithful microcosm of the full 630 mile path in 5 days. From the entertaining Regency resorts and beaches of Torbay, Teignmouth and Dawlish through to strenuous cliffs and cove walking on the South Devon stretch of the Jurassic Coast Heritage Site. Impressive geological formations, stunning estuaries at Exmouth and Axemouth, some of the best overnight accommodation and facilities along the entire coast path and the unique jungle like undercliff path between Seaton and Lyme Regis.
86 miles - 12 Easy Grade, 47 Moderate and 27 Strenuous - what this means
Highlights - Superb Geology along the entire path - a walk through time. Fossil hunting, lost villages, Chesil Beach, the mysterious Isle of Portland, scaling the highest climb on the South Coast Path at Golden Cap, perfect Lulworth Cove and Durdle Dor Arch. Overnights at some great locations such as Lulworth and Abbotsbury villages.
Options - Downlands Undercliff Path Section at Lyme Regis. Inland South Dorset Ridgeway Path. Watersports of all kinds at Weymouth and Poole. Guided Fossil Hunting and Butterfly Walks in the chalklands.
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