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.
Distance - 14.5 miles via Angle Point Headland or 11.5 miles from The Point House Inn and Angle Village
Summary - Easy grade with some short moderate sections. Low hills, marshy boardwalks, mudflats and ancient wooded drove ways skirting the modern refineries of the Haven. - what these grades mean
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path heads out this morning to circle the rocky Angle Headland with views out to the Alcatraz like offshore rock of Thorn Island with its 19th Century Napoleonic Fort.
Rich hedgerows and coastal gorse blend with sections of lush bluebell woodland as you round the remains of Chapel Bay Fort to enter the mature beech woods that cling onto the low cliffs.
The water views are now of the continual movements of the huge tankers, ferries and tugs that slide quietly by which is in itself quite entrancing.
A final descent through meadows rounds the Angle Point Headland to a new type of scenery with the mudflats, marshes and tranquillity of Angle Bay a birdwatchers paradise with flocks of migrating waders such as Redshank, Curlew and Grebe mixing with solitary fishing Heron, Egret and Oystercatcher.
Just past the remains of the old lifeboat station you enter this sheltered and timeless spot for a lazy drink at the 16th Century Point House Inn frequented by local boatmen and sheltering yachtsman gazing over the bay endlessly waiting for the next rising tide.
The Wales Coast Path now takes a wide arc around Angle bay on a delightful wander along the mud banks and foreshore passing the relics of old shipwrecks beyond Angle Hall.
The huge Rhoscrowther refinery dominates the back of the bay but apart from a short section on the access road it’s well hidden by woodlands and paths that pre-existed its less than welcome arrival.
The largest refinery in the Haven its huge chimneys are visible from as far north as Solva almost a week’s walk away but despite initial misgivings it’s hard not to get some fascination with the immense alien structure as it appears briefly and just utterly dwarfs the walker.
That said you will welcome its disappearance as you drop below it into some excellent sections of pastoral oak and beech woodland broken by regular views of the coastline and ivy covered ruins of limekilns and former hamlets abandoned when the refinery arrived.
At Fort Popton you find one of the sturdy 19th Century defensive estuary forts now taken over to house the Rhoscrowther Oil Companies Archives.
The coast path then disappears into wildflower meadows and gorse only reconnecting with the refinery briefly to pass below the huge fuelling pipelines that snake out into the estuary where you will glimpse some of the massive 20000 ton Super Tankers loading at very close quarters.
Today virtually no habitation remains in this area and the walk passes through the largely abandoned village of Pwllcrochan. Here fear of accidents at the nearby plant drove the residents out to leave a ghost village which sits at the head of the creek at St Martins Haven.
Once famous for its oysters and cockles as you pass through you will find its lonely square tower church and long closed school, the empty property boarded up and bought by the oil companies.
Yet, leaving the Pembrokeshire Coast Path here you can divert briefly into a superb boardwalk nature reserve below the lost Church a surreal spot where you will find a healthy Otter population, in a superb rich section of dragonfly marsh all existing in the shadow of those fuming towers.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path now heads into a lovely section of ancient track way through woodland with good views towards Pembroke Wide marshes emerge as you cross gentle farmland paths, small stream valleys and little copses broken up by boardwalks over tiny tidal Pills or creeks such as the one at Goldborough with the interesting remains of its huge square limekiln.
The lack of intensive farming here due to the industry actually means there are some excellent wild meadows here with impressive carpets of wildflowers and as many Butterflies and Buzzards in this forgotten corner as on any part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Turning to follow the Pembroke River inlet you pass one final creek head at Quoits Mill before heading into the first large habitation since Tenby as you reach Monkton passing the remains of its old Benedictine Priory which date back as far as the 11th Century.
Worth pausing to visit, the Church of St Nicholas and St John here houses part of the old Sanctuary and Choir from the original Abbey.
Beyond this you reach the historic town of Pembroke and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path delivers you straight in to its heart depositing you right below the iconic Keep Walls at the oldest Castle in West Wales and one of the largest fortresses in Britain.
Overnight Stays and information about the historic Castle Town of Pembroke on the Pembroke Coast Path.
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