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.
Dear Damon, we really enjoyed our trip!
The trail was beautiful, the weather more than pleasant and the accomodations oké.The luggage transfers where outstanding! Next time for me the accomodations can be a bit more upscale, with for exemple a spa.
But the reason for the walk, a boys trip away, was more than succesful!
Thank you very much for the arrangements and next time when we Will go walking I will definatelly book with your company again.
Dear Damon, Everything has worked out fine. The weather conditions were perfect. We pretty much enjoyed discovering south Cornwall. In every accommodation there was gluten free bread and the rooms were confortable. We both thank you very much for state of the art organisation of our Journey. Thanks again, Ariane and François
First of all I want to thank Damon and his team for organizing everything so quickly!! We booked the tour only 2 weeks in advance which was possible thanks to the flexibility of Encounter Walking. We had such a great time! The weather was perfect, the landscape was like a painting, the people we met were so kind, the food was great. We had a little bit of trouble in the beginning of the walk. We missed the sign for the Coastal Path when we walked from Mousehole to Lamorna. Instead of the Coastal Path, we walked through the country site which was also beautiful. We even saw a show at the Minnack theatre. What an exceptional place to build a theatre. We definitely want to come back to Cornwall to do other walks and of course we will book our trip with Encounter Walking next time.
We are so thankful we used Encounter Walking to book our trip and move our bags. There were so many hikers that had to take valuable time out of each day to look for a place to stay the next night. The B and B's that were suggested were perfect. The owners were lovely and so eager to please us. All the other suggestions that Encounter Walking made were helpful as well. Thanks so much!!
What a beautiful place. We had a great time walking from St Ives to Penzance. The landscape is absolutely stunning and we had perfect weather in September. Walking along the coast, not knowing what comes next and getting a warm welcome at our next B&B/Inn was lovely. Thank you for the the perfect organisation and all supporting mats, which include so many good tips. Our luggage was always delivered on time. We enjoyed the variety of accommodation. Zennor with it's Chapel Guesthouse and a pub with awesome food has been one of our highlights. We loved staying at the Treventon Guesthouse in Penzance, Steve and Diane did everything to bring us a memorable time with delicious breakfast and cosy rooms. We will definitely come back to Cornwall and/or discover other parts of the SW Coast Path. Visiting Cornwall was a great experience, even because of the people we met there. Thank you! Linda & Gero
Thank you Damon and company for putting together a wonderful walking holiday and especially thank you for the support you provided due to our delayed arrival caused by Hurricane Hermine. We hate that we missed the first leg of the journey from St Ives to Zennor, but once we got started the entire trip went like clockwork.
Our luggage was always waiting for us and the B&Bs / Pubs and such we stayed at were expecting us and had our rooms ready. You could not have done a better job. I especially liked that we were able to select and review our accommodations before hand and there were no surprise taxi rides to lodging out in the boonies like we have experienced with other tour operators. Should we walk in some area you don’t cover in the future I shall demand that they be as forthcoming with the accommodations before booking as you are.
Of course, when we walk in SW England again, Encounter Walking Holidays will be our choice. Regarding the trail, we have walked 2 other sections of the SW Coast Path and this was by far the most challenging but also the most stunning. Fortunately, we chose the relaxed walkers itinerary, so distances were fairly short, but strenuous as advertised. The boulder strewn paths were different than the other sort of sheep trail paths we had encountered on the SW Coast Path previously. All of this was as expected based on your detailed descriptions of each days hike and we had a great sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.
One suggestion I would make to other hikers walking this or any section of the Coast Path. Get a hiking app for you phone that will let you download a map and a track of the path. I used Back Country Navigator Pro on my Android phone as was able to download the OS map of the area we walked as well as a track of the Coast Path. Whenever we came to a confusing intersection, we could consult the phone and see which way to go. While the sketch maps in the book you provided were useful, seeing our position and heading on the phone worked better for us, especially since the path is not perfectly marked.
I might also mention that we had dinner at 2 restaurants that were as good as any we’ve ever had in New York or London. The Shore in Penzance and Kota in Porthleven. They were both culinary treats. Booking way in advance is highly recommended. Again, thank you for putting together a wonderful walking holiday for us. We can’t wait to walk with you again.
Overall, a GREAT walk. The first day (the hardest day) it rained the entire 3.5 hours. Luckily we were both in great spirits, and made it safely from St. Ives to Zennor. All the other days walks we had marvelous weather. Even got a bit sunburnt in September! All of the accommodations were lovely, the breakfasts delicious, and the luggage transfers were smooth. We highly recommend this walk and this company! The Cornish were extremely nice, and we will be returning to Cornwall for sure.
We walked 90 miles in eight days, plus two days in St. Ives at the start to recover from jet lag, and a second day in Marazion to have enough time to see St. Michael's Mount (highly recommended). We had a literal "baptism" the first day, walking from St. Ives to Zennor in a driving rain and fierce winds. But for the rest of the walk the weather was mild, sometimes sunny.
We have taken many long-distance walks in the UK and I would rate the SW Coastal Path among the top two (together with the Coast-to-Coast). It combines some challenging stretches with dramatic coastal scenery and a sense of walking through history from prehistoric barrows to the ruins of tin mining operations. We enjoyed all our accommodations, particularly the B&Bs where we spent two nights: Cornerways in St. Ives and St. Michaels in Marazion.
As a general comment, we noticed that the accommodations en route were not as well set up for walkers as places we have stayed in along the Offa's Dyke and Coast-to-Coast paths: no mud rooms for boots and wet clothes; the heated towel bars that we use for quick drying clothes were often turned off. I suspect that this is because most of their guests arrive by car. All the arrangements by Encounter Walking were terrific--the smooth baggage transfers, the detailed itinerary and maps. We had a terrific time and I highly recommend Encounter to anyone considering a long-distance walk.
This is our third holiday with Encounter and I really want to thank Damon and the team for their attention to detail, care and personal service and their enthusiasm! We did this walk in 6 days - with one of the days being a day at Sennen to go surfing. We had a taster lesson and really enjoyed it. Some of the days walking were shorter than the standard walkers itinerary, but this worked well for us as we could enjoy the beaches more - swimming or paddling is a great way to finish a day out on the coastal path. All the days seemed different - stunning coastal views, the atmospheric tin mines, the Minack theatre, Cape Cornwall and great beaches. We managed fine finding veggie options to eat even in the smaller places. There was also a great community feel among the walkers along the path - catching up with each other along the way and meeting people from all over the world. I'd highly recommend this walk.
First we say "thank you" to Damon and his team for making this walk possible last minute. Everything was well organized and we enjoyed every day; accommodation, recommended restaurants, even the weather was fine. The first day was quite a challenge , long and sometimes uncomfortable to walk (for beginners on the path), so the second day we took a bus for the first half of the way. No stress! But at the end we walked another extra stage (to Praa Sands). I loved the restaurant in Sennen Cove (The Old Success Inn) and the strong wind at Lands End. We had a great time and will come back.
I had a great trip from St. Ives to Penzance. Mostly gorgeous weather and stunning views. Just magical. All the information was perfect, bags always arrived well before I did and mostly the trail was well marked. I did feel that maybe the end of the St Just to Porthcurno route might have merited ‘strenuous’ as there seemed to be a LOT of climbing in and out of cloves in the last couple of hours, but it was the end of a long day so I might have been just tired.
The single room I had in Penzance was VERY small, although very pretty and very well appointed. Warwick House was the nicest place I stayed and overall it was fantastic—proper sized bathroom with a full sink, which was great for washing things out--but requesting a slightly bigger single if they have it might be useful for walkers. There wasn’t enough floor space to open my suitcase anywhere but the bed.
Everything else was really fantastic. The people who run the b&b in St Ives were especially great—I had a hard time getting there because of the St Erth fire, had to train to Penzance and then take a 2 hour bus ride in standstill traffic (apparently it usually takes half an hour??) from Penzance to St Ives, and they kept in close touch via phone to make sure I’d be able to get in when I did arrive and sat me down with a glass of prosecco to decompress!
Really really great breakfasts everywhere I stayed!
I’ve been telling everyone what a fantastic trip I had and have recommended your company to many. Ellie has been SO helpful about planning the trip with my parents, in particular. It’s so great to have a knowledgeable person to help figure out what walk will best suit and when.
We were very happy with our entire experience. Encounter Walking were excellent to work with. They did a great job helping us plan our hike. Everything worked like clockwork. Thank you, Damon! The website is well organized, and user friendly. It really helped us figure out where we wanted to walk. Damon, and his team were very responsive to questions, and helped us custom build an excellent itinerary.
The hike was spectacular. We were constantly in awe of the natural beauty of this area. Our chosen walk took us through all kinds of terrain. We found every day exhilarating. We were left feeling like we accomplished something every day. If you are planning on hiking this section of the path, try to catch a performance at the Minack Theatre. The venue is spectacular. You can bring in your own wine. And, there is a kiosk in the parking lot where you can purchase a meal to carry into the theatre. We were very satisfied with all of the accommodations we chose.
We stayed at Cornerways in St. Ives, which was very cozy. It's a little difficult to find, but worth the search. The next night was the Gurnard's Head Hotel, our favorite of the trip. They have an excellent chef. Dinner was outstanding, as was the service. The next night was the Old Manse in Pendeen. This is a very quiet little town, only two restaurants, I believe. The Old Manse was clean comfortable and quiet. A great place to dry out, and relax from the previous day's walk through a gale. (We thoroughly enjoyed walking through the gale too.). At Sennen Cove, we stayed at the Old Success Inn. It was fine, nothing fancy, but met our needs. In Porthcurno, we stayed at Rockridge House. It was very homey. We were very comfortable. Our room, in the front of the house, on the second floor, had a great view of the sea off in the distance. The last night, in Penzance, we stayed at Torwood House. Again, nothing fancy, but met our needs just fine.
We flew into, and out of Newquay. The only mistake we made was booking the 7:40 flight out of Newquay. It is an hour cab ride from Penzance, so we had to get up super-early. All in all it was a fantastic experience. I can highly recommend Encounter Walking. I will definitely work with them again in the future.
Hello! Thank you for all the detailed work you did to help us plan our walking holiday in Cornwall.
The trail was well marked almost everywhere, and your directions were really helpful. There was one place: Near Pendeen you pass a lighthouse and are on a road. It is not clear where to turn right to get back on the trail and off of the road. There's a trail marked "public pathway" and another marked mysteriously just "P". The correct trail is the one NOT with the P. The correct trail is directly across the road from a big white house with a blue gate and an address on the gate -- the address contains the word Enys. (I forget the number.) After you get onto this trail and off the road, pretty soon you see the acorn marker -- but there's no acorn marker at the road. At this location, the guidebook (not your instructions) said that Pendeen Farm offers cream teas in summer. We walked to Pendeen Farm and disturbed some holiday makers -- the farm no longer serves cream teas. There are signs on the road saying "Cream Tea two fields away," etc but the signs are incorrect. Otherwise the guidebook was very accurate and helpful.
Loved eating at The Loft in St Ives. The newer St Ives Brewery up by the high car park was pretty good and it got you out of those crowded, shoulder-to-shoulder streets. And there's a bus up and down to the car park from the waterfront, which we took down after having lunch up there. We did laundry in St Ives, up near the town hall, it was very convenient because we were able to drop off and pick it up later for nine pounds for one large load. This saved time for us.
The Red Lion in Newlyn was fun. We heard there's a little place in Newlyn, right by the bridge over the creek and next to a fish restaurant, with homemade ice cream that is supposed to be great! But we missed this. We saw the shop but didn't hear until later how great it is, and at that point we hadn't yet had lunch.
The telegraph museum in Porthcurno is fascinating.
Walking back across from Penzance to St Ives was really fun and beautiful, but of course we were really hungry near the end. So we thought Carbis Bay was closer and would have lots of places to eat. It turned out to be more of a posh suburb with limited options for food -- so we went to the fancy Carbis Bay Hotel for a cream tea. It was expensive but it felt good to sit in a beautiful place with a view and celebrate our walk. Then we walked on into St Ives and back to Cornerways.
Favorite thing or highlight:
I love England in general! I love how everything's made of stone. And my favorite thing(s) were the old parish churches and their graveyards, particularly in Zennor and in Ludgvan. We spent a lot of time in these graveyards and the churches were open to go in. It was really moving to see the care taken in the building and maintenance of these places, and in the epitaphs on the stones, and the handmade "everything" inside each one. I wish we could have gone into St Ives church, but it was closed, then open only for a funeral and another service. I also loved seeing some standing stones and some mysterious stone circles. I didn't like the mine area, but my husband would like to go back and take the mine tour!
We loved the Barbara Hepworth museum AND the indoor/outdoor "art tour" of St Ives, led by a Tate employee named Andrew. He gave us lots of cool facts about the art history of St Ives, including facts about the church. It seems they're doing this because the Tate is closed. It was about 90 minutes and very worthwhile for anyone who likes to walk around and look at things.
If we do this again, we will make more overnight stops, to shorten the walk each day so that we can linger more.
As far as accommodation goes, each one was unique and excellent. We were really happy with them all. It was especially fun chatting with Tim at Cornerways because we had a little more time there (our rest day).
I want to do this again next year! Realistically I am not sure that will happen. But we loved it. Thank you for everything. Feel free to use anything I've said. Photos are attached that you can use with or without attribution.
We would like to say how much we enjoyed our holiday and also thank you for your efforts in booking everything for us and organising our last-minute changes. We liked all of our accommodation especially The Tinners Arms and Cornerways B&B. We were very impressed with the luggage transfer, we had absolutely no problems whatsoever, luggage was in our next location before we were every day. The walk was great, our GPS told us it was a bit longer than your notes, but the views were fantastic and your notes on St Michaels Way were very helpful. Thanks again and we hope to be back next year to do another part of the Coastal path, fingers crossed for more great weather.
Scenery was spectacular. One sunny day with crashing waves and playful seals. One foggy day for atmosphere. Some mist. Hike was a work out. The outdoor Minnack Theater over the sea is a must stop. We watched part of a rehearsal for the Winter's Tale. Met some friendly hikers including a family staying at a family home in Porthcurno. They invited us to supper. Accommodations were very nice with one exception. Enjoyed particularly The Old Manse in Pendeen and the Ship's Inn in Mousehole.
We enjoyed this walk and it was interesting to walk st Michael's way and see both coastlines from Trencrom hill. We felt it was a bonus to return to our car via this circular walk. Our luggage was delivered every day before we arrived and everything went to plan. We would definitely use encounter walking again. The walk was quite strenuous at times, being very up and down but we had taken the easy option - more overnight stops, and often felt we could have walked further.
First of all, I would like to say a big THANK YOU for the excellent planning and assistance provided through your office yet again. Absolutely everything was perfect including the weather. We still cannot believe how lucky we were. We had sunshine throughout the walk except for the last morning. It was incredible. This actually was the best out of the three walks we did. I am not sure whether this is because we allowed more time this year, whether we were fitter or if it was because of the weather. I suppose it probably was a combination of all three. We knew what to expect, brought the right clothing and were rewarded accordingly.
From our point of view we would recommend you continue to use all of the locations we stayed at. They are all different and sometimes it is difficult to compare hotels with private BandBs. We like the mixture!
The information on the trail, the highlights mentioned and the directions given were outstanding and a big thank you for all the recommended places/sites to visit and hard work you put into the detailed preparation. We had no problem following the trail at all. The views are stunning (especially in the good weather we had). The daily distances were just about right. In order to be able to enjoy the location you walk to in the evening and not feel too exhausted, a distance of up to 20 km is well within our comfort zone. Anything above that, especially if the trail has a description of being severe and you walk for hours on very rocky ground, is outside of that comfort zone and we just feel too tired to wanting to explore the village / town you walk to. Which is a shame. Every place we have been to has its own charme and it is a pity not to take the time to explore it.
As you know, we stopped after the first five days of walking and went to the Scilly Islands for a short break. I would highly recommend this to anyone walking through Penzance and having the time to do so. We definitely enjoyed it. St Mary is wonderful to explore and we spent the Sunday walking around the Island. It is a walk of about 6 hours, moderate level and just as enjoyable as the SWCP.
A very big thank you also to the staff from the luggage transfer. Everything was perfect.
One recommendation for those who wish to visit the Minack Theater and perhaps enjoy a show there - the distance St Just to Porthcurno may just be a bit too long to arrive on time - unless you set of early enough in the morning, especially as there is lots to see on the way.
The ferry crossings at Gillan Creek are well worth an experience and I leave it to everyone to explore and enjoy!
Just finally, we have met a number of people on the path who have been talking very highly of encounter walking holidays, how well you are organised! This was confirmed by comments of BandB owners / hotel staff who obviously have the possibility of comparison. WELL DONE! And continue the good work.
I am proud of myself for completing the walk from St Ives to Penzance in late June as the weather was a challenge – just the one day without waterproofs! My favourite accommodation was the Old Success Inn in Sennen. It is modern with wonderful food. Sennen is such a beautiful place and after five hours walking there in very heavy wind and rain, the sun came out, dried me and I relaxed on the most beautiful beach. I preferred the Inns to the hotels as having a pint and dinner in the bar was more cozy and sociable.
We had plenty of time to walk through Padstow, which we (again) found one of the nicest places we have been in England. In Mawgan Porth, we had dinner in a restaurant named Catch, which was good and pleasant. To us Newquay seems a city not worth a long visit.
We didn’t pass the river Gannel near the ferry, but at the footbridge more upstreams (the tidal information we had got from you was very helpfull). We spent the evening in The Bowgie Inn at about 10 min walk, which was very pleasant, with good food.
Crantock to Perranporth - Unfortunateally this was a rainy/ misty day, with poor visibility. Until the dunes upon Perranporth Sands, the path was not very difficult to walk. But these dunes walked very unpleasant. Not only because they are very steep by time, but also because everything (sand and gras) ware very wet because of the rain. When we were at the Perranporth Sands, the tide was low, so we decided to walk on the beach, by which we could reach Perranporth.
Portreath - We had a nice dinner in The Waterfront Inn, which is quite close at Cliff House.
At Mutton Cove we saw several seals with youngsters. Very beautifull. Later this day we saw several seals again.
The walk across the Towans was nice and very well marked (the stoned used to mark the path, were very beautifull). Here we did not go across the beach, but passed through the dunes. They were much easier to walk as the dunes we passed through some day ago.
Didn’t like the walk across the holiday homes before entering Hayle. The quay before entering Hayle was nice and new indeed. But the walk through Hayle and from Hayle to Lelant was not very attractive.
St Ives to Zennor - Here and during the first few kilometers west of St. Ives, the walk went over an easy path.
Later on, the walk became more and more strenuous, over a difficult and very rocky path, which went up and down constantly.It was severe indeed ! Today the weather was nice, so that we had good views over the rough and beatifull landscapes we walked through. We also saw some seals today. The Tinners Arms is a nice place to sleep, with good food and a pleasant atmosphere. It made us think more or less at the manned huts wich you can find in the Alps.
Walking across the (remainings) of the buildings of the Geevor and the Lelant mines is a special opportunity. During the last few days it already had become clear to us, that , mining had been very important in this area. But is is also clear, that the people, who have had their job in the mines, had a hard and unhealty job.
Most of the day, the walk stayed special, because of the old mining buildings we passed. The stretch was not that difficult as the parts we walked yeasterday and the day before. The nature was beautifull and rough again.
Today we passed Land’s End. Because the distance from Sennen Cove to Lands End is not to big, we were there pretty early and it wasn’t yet to busy. It is in some way a remarcable place to visit and we spent here some time. We were so lucky again to have beautifull weather with fantastic views.Except for the views and some time in the little shop, with very pleasant people, Land’s End is not a place for a long stay.
Also this day, nature was rough and beautifull, with splendid rocks. Around the Minack Theatre is was quite crowded.
In Penzance we stayed in the Dolphin Tavern. Shortly before we started our holiday, we heard from friends that this is a nice place to be. We can say the same now: it is a very nice Inn.St Michael’s Mt is surely worth a visit. It is a beautiful castle. And because the weather was fine again, with very fine views. We had a nice day there.
We went by train from Penzance to London Paddington and with The Heathrow Express to London Heathrow.
From there we took the plane back to Holland.
This is a pretty long, but easy journey.
Some parts of this stretch were very busy, this were the places were there are beaches and where is a lot of surfing and other water sports. Other parts were remote and beatifull to walk.
What surprised us, is that we had seen very few cattle. Where we, on our other walks in England and the South West Coast Path, have seen thousands of sheeps and lots of cows, we now just saw of both just a few dozens.
Everything was arranged well again.
We enjoyed the contacts we had with Encounter Walking Holiday to compose our holiday.
The itinerary is clear and very complete. Erverything at the places we slept was ok. And we found our lugage with no problems at the places we stayed.
We have enjoyed England, the English food and the English hospitality very much again.
What to say - another brilliant walk thanks to the organization and help of the Encounter team. This was our 4th walk and most ambitious in terms of total length of trail tackled but not being marathon marchers we had it split up into most days being less than 10 miles. That allowed us leisurely starts in the morning and arrivals at next stop well before dinner and time to explore if we liked. Took us more days of course but well worth the time spent. Although truth be told exploring usually meant finding the nearest pint at the end of the walk. We realized this trip that we like these walks because they are just big long pub crawls for us.
Hardest day was St Ives to Gunnards Head only because it was our first day plus it rained all day long with some nice gusty winds when on the headlands. The Gunnards Head was a welcome end to the day to say the least and maybe because of that remained at the top of our list for our favorite spot out of all our stays - food is incredible and the atmosphere and rooms were just right. Biggest disappointment was our next day which was suppose to be The Ancient Stones moor walk from Gunnards Head - but we woke to dense fog - i.e. couldn't even see the other side of the road from the inn so we cancelled the walk (we are able to 'lose' our way on the moors on a sunny day so certainly wasn't going to risk fog) and just pottered around the Inn and once the fog lifted late afternoon strolled out to the head to try and puzzle out the promontory fort there.
All in all this section of the coast path was the easiest we've walked yet in terms of strenuous up and downs and longs slogs although there was scrambling amongst rock and boulder that tested our path picking skills - that was fun - when not raining. Trail was very muddy and slippery in places throughout our days and a few bruises ensued due to that; but nothing serious. Just take your time and have good shoes. Some highlights for us - Sennen Cove was a pleasant stop and we enjoyed watching the surfers. Porthleven was a great little harbor town.
Inadvertently arriving in Penzance during the Golowan Festival on Mazey Day which gave us a great little interlude as the pub we had found to escape the crowds from was invaded by the roving troop of musicians for a private concert of old cornish fiddle, flute and drum music as we were the only patrons in the pub. fun.
While Gunnards Head Inn topped the list of all our accommodations they all were good finds for us and we'd return to every single one of them. To be fair to the B&B stops; it's hard to compare a B&B to an Inn - so of the B&B St Michaels in Marazion was the top of the B&B stops. GoldMartin in Mawnan Smith was up there too for the warm welcome and great conversation.
Walking notes as always were spot on; the recommendations for refreshments along the way worked great during the day and we found places to stop on nearly every day with only a couple that we needed to take food with us. All diversions noted were easy to follow (Trebah diversion is still in force). We've not followed the advise in the past to book tables for dinner but did this time and were glad we did - places were pretty busy and we felt that we were in not quite high season yet. Even just popping into wherever you might want to eat as you hit town can be helpful but if you really have your heart set on a place call a day or two earlier.
Outstanding meals had at Gunnards Head as noted, 2 Fore Street in Mousehole. The Square at Porthleven. In Porthcurno do not be put off by having to walk across the fields to Logan Rock Inn - even at end of day the walk was easy, not tiring and the food/atmosphere well worth it. For something different in Falmouth there is a Jamaican restaurant, Cribbs, with pretty authentic and good food and good cocktails. So as always - a big thanks to Encounter for their organizational skills and in depth knowledge and of course as always - we'll be back for the next section (once you start its hard to turn your back on it til it's all done I've found).
now we are back and we had wonderful holiday, more than we expected.
The daily walks brought us to our limits but we did them!
Each of accomodation we had good time and enjoyed our stay.
All hosts have been very friendly, especially Tim of Cornerways (St. Ives) and Louise of Chy-an-Mor (Penzance).
Luggage transfer was perfect.
Your information and the guide-book are very helpful.
Following guide-book maps and description word by word and step by step you can’t go wrong.
Each day walk differs to the other. New sights and aspects every day.
Very hard for me was the part of the coast path from Minnack Theatre down to Porthcurno at the end of day 4 because I was tired from the day walk.
As I hurt my knee on Day 5 we couldn’t do the St. Michaels Way.
But we talked about next year holiday and - may be - we’ll come back and then we try it again.
bye-bye, perhaps until next year?
We had a lovely trip and were blessed with some amazing weather (almost too hot!). The scenery was amazing. We did find that our walking time was significantly longer than the estimate provided - although it was likely more due to the time spent gazing at the scenery. There were sections that were quite demanding but we were in pretty good shape and survived! We could have used an extra day (5 instead of 4 hiking the same route) to be able further explore some of the museums, tin mines, beaches. What we appreciated most was Encounter Walking making all the arrangements AND moving our bags each morning. there was never a problem and all of the bed and breakfasts were unique, clean and quite adequate (breakfasts were all amazing!)
The scenery was spectacular, exceeding our expectations, the flowers and color of the water are really amazing. The path between St. Ives and St. Just was more difficult than we expected, and we probably should have taken 3 days, rather than 2, or scheduled a rest day, which other walkers we met had done. Lands End could easily have been skipped, but the Lizard was truly beautiful, maybe the best spot of the entire stretch, although St. Ives to Gurnard's Head is also great, pretty hard to choose. The Coast Path was generally easy to follow, but going through the old mining areas before St. Just was very confusing, too many paths that wander off without markings. For those going that way, the Telegraph Museum and Minack Theater in Porthcurno were a real treat, and worth going out of your way to see if you have time. All the arrangements made by Encounter went like clockwork, we didn't have to think about anything except walking and taking photos, and what ale to try each evening!
We arrived home safely late on Monday evening after another superb holiday. The weather was very kind to us (again) with no rain at all this time. We thoroughly enjoyed this section of the walk - the accommodation was varied but as usual very good. We even met the Luggage Transfer guy one morning this time. There were no problems with the route at all because it was very dry underfoot. The flowers were absolutely superb with carpets of thrift , bluebells , campion etc. We think it was the best holiday for flowers that we have ever experienced even comparing it to the hay meadows in Switzerland. It was a lot more gentle section of coastline than the section from Bude to St Ives but the vegetation was luxuriant - as the chef Tom Kerridge would say - it was 'proper lush'. We also saw some choughs but no basking sharks even though they had been sighted off the coast at Porthcurno.
The only thing I would mention is that the museum in Zennor is now closed - the owner has retired and the exhibits have been moved to other museums in Cornwall. Thank you Doreen we have removed the info from the route notes (Encounter W). However we were lucky to fit in a tour around Levant mine, listened to a dress rehearsal of the musical South Pacific at the Minack Theatre and took a guided tour around Pendennis Castle in Falmouth. The extra day in St Ives was interesting particularly the Barbara Hepworth Garden ( the Tate is closed until next year but we knew that before we left).
Thank you Doreen we have removed the info from the route notes (Encounter W).
Thank you Doreen we have removed the info from the route notes (Encounter W).
All the places we stopped at were good but we particularly liked the Five Pilchards , the two St Austell pubs at Sennen Cove and Porthleven and the Mount Haven Hotel at Marazion. The food was very good in all the places we stayed and we love the local beers and cider!!! We went to the Cable Station Inn in Porthcurno and even though it is an unusual building the food was very good and the lads behind the bar were very friendly.
Thank you so much for organising the trip. We now have two sections left to walk which, health permitting, we hope to do next year so we will be in touch at the back end of the year to see what we can sort out.
We recommend your company to lots of people as we go along and we are always pleasantly surprised at the lovely places you find for accommodation which are generally close to the path itself which is a real bonus.
Thanks again for all your hard work in arranging these trips for us and feel free to use these comments on your web site.
We enjoied great weather, ideal for walking and admiring the beautiful landscape we walked through. The organisation of the accomodations was great, the transport of our luggage too, many thanks. Everybody was very welcoming in the acomodations. Some part of the path were little marked and we missed it twice the first 2 days. But we got used to it (in our country, Switzerland, they put much more marques with more informations). We liked it so much that we hope to be able to come again for another part of the path. Best regards, Liliane and Nathalie
Our walk went without any problems. All the rooms were booked and the luggage was always there. We really enjoyed the first three days of our walk, St. Ives to Sennon Cove. We would not do the Sennon Cove to Porthcurno section again. It was not as interesting and there were so many people. Porthcurno is also where we had the worst lodging and dinner. Porthcurno was only interesting to us for the telegraph museum, but then we are not into English theater. The Seaview B & B was the least pleasant accommodation on our trip, which included 11 different places. We supposedly had the largest room, which was a bed with a bit of space around it. Cramped is the theme here. I would arrange your walk so you do not stay in Porthcurno. We had a car and should have not started in St. Ives. Thanks to the instructions we got to the hotel, but it was a hassle. Parking the car in St. Ives was expensive. If we were to do this again with a car, we would start up the coast from St. Ives and end in Sennon Cove. My only concern was the cost of Encounter Walking. I could not find an itemized bill. I have no idea what the costs of the lodging were or the luggage forwarding costs. And of course was the maps and books and personalized directions which are hard to put a price on. Our bill was about $250 a day or 175 pounds a day. Arranging this would have been very difficult for us to do ourselves from the U.S. and we had this organization to back us up if something went wrong. So in the end, we would probably use this service again for our next walk which my wife says we might do in two years time. Once we paid our entire bill we did not hear from Encounter Walking again until they wanted our opinion on our holiday. We thought this was a bit odd. Perhaps an email or text to ask how it is going or if we had arrived?
Encounter Walking Holidays Response - Thanks for the feedback Patrick with some useful points for other walkers there - to clarify we don't plan to call walkers once you are on the trail and its not something we have been asked/expected to do up to now - BUT if anyone would like a call we are here right through your walk and so would be very happy to do so if you want a call.... so please just ask next time. We are always in contact after your final payment by sending on your final detailed itinerary and we ask anyone with any further questions to get in touch at that point - a lot do and we always respond if asked to. We are always happy to make as much or as little contact as you would like as long as you tell us. Price wise we do provide very clear individual quotes for every enquiry and we won't arrange any bookings for anyone until you have seen a quote, seen the price, what is included and decided you are happy with it. We are lucky to have a high number of returning walkers so it makes sense for us to provide the best value we can and that is how we price your walks. That said please be aware that we are always happy to give free advice if you prefer to try and arrange it yourselves so do email us and ask - and we never charge for advice.
We just loved our holiday. We received all the information needed, the luggage transfer worked at the perfection, the weathear was very kind with us. The path was feasible almost all the time, just a bit hard at some points, but the view worth it. We're looking forward to walk one more section.
Yes, the walk was a great success but unfortunately the weather did not play ball! Still, that can't be helped. All the accommodation you selected was first class and easy to find. Drinks and meals along the way were varied and plentiful and we met some very enjoyable company. If we do this type of thing again we'll definitely use you.
Many thanks, Craig
WE HAD AN AMAZING AND MARVELOUS WALK IN CORNWALL!! 1 000 THANKS FOR ARRANGING IT!
Everything worked perfectly. Coming from Sweden we expected at least train delays - not even that happened! The most outstanding B&B’s were Sennan Cove (Old Success Inn) - where we got the most beautiful room and almost hesitated to walk into it with our hiking boots on - and of course Chy-An-Mor Guest House - such a treat! The room was absolutely beautiful and I can still dream about the wonderful breakfasts we enjoyed in the mornings…
The luggage transfer worked perfectly and our suitcases were always waiting for us upon arrival.
The walks were beautiful and very enjoyable even if it was a bit more up-and-down than we expected. At one point we actually did go the wrong way, but out of nowhere a dog and his owner appeared and led us right back on the trail. He said he met people every day who made the same mistake as we had done and was going to make a signpost that day :). We should have used the map more than we did, I think, instead of only using the book. But this was the only time we missed a turn (at least that we know about).
Even the weather was nice! We had one rainy day but it was our resting day in Sennan Cove. In the morning we went to Land’s End and back again and that’s when the rain really hit us. It poured down all afternoon and we spent it reading and listening to the rainfall outside in our beautiful room.
A bonus was the nice people we met on the trail. Some of them we met multiple times as we had the same itinerary And, yes, we are telling every one that if they are going to Cornwall, they should contact Encounter Walking Holidays!
every thing was just perfect, even the weather ! Thank you for all. Kind regards, Hilda
Hi Damon - We got the most amazing weather last week – actually got a bit burned on a couple of the days.
You did a fantastic job looking after us – the feat of managing to book us a bath in every accommodation was quite something! Thanks for the tip to go and see Geevor mine, what a great museum, will never forget it
We will be back next year to start in Mullion and do the next section. You are very good at what you do!
Thank you so much, Damon! We had a fantastic time at the walk and would repeat it anytime!
Thank you for organising a wonderful weekend for us. You are right about the weather, it was so lovely we were walking in t-shirts a lot of the time. Very lucky for the last weekend in October!
We were happy with both B & B's and the hotel in Penzance, comfortable beds and great breakfasts in all of them. We had been a little concerned that we might be cold and had even brought a hot water bottle, but if anything we were a little too warm - not really something to complain about. We had very good evening meals at the Old Success in Sennen Cove and the Logan's Rock Inn when staying in Portcurno. Chris at the B & B gave us directions for a short cut across the fields so we had a bit of an adventure getting there in the dark.
The walking, especially from Portcurno to Mousehole was tough at times. We are both small so found some of the steep steps uphill from the coves en route quite a struggle - they were obviously built for tall people with long legs. And the sections into and out of Lamorna Cove were a bit of a challenge too, there was a lot of picking your way around, through and over rocks and boulders. It was not so bad in the fine and dry weather we had but I would not have wanted to do it in the wind and rain.
We will definitely do some more of the south-west coast walk another time, it was really beautiful. And we will definitely use your company again so once more thanks very much.
Our feedback is as follows: Reliable, dependable. Luggage moved perfectly. Hotels were great, especially the Commercial at St Just, and the Treventon was excellent.The walking guides were good. A suggestion would be to supply walking maps and notes of just the few pages of the actual walk. This means that the whole book does not have to be carried, and accessed. A few pages could be easily carried and be accessible easily especially in wind and rain.
The Telegraph museum at Pothcurno is fantastic and it would be worthwhile telling people about it and allowing a few hours for it in the walk.
For us, the walk from St Just to Porthcurno was very long (8 hours) and we were tired at the end when we reached the very steep descent at the Minack and then the walk back up,the hill again to the Sea View. It would be helpful to put in the notes that that there is the option to walk down the road to the Sea View if you are tired and want to avoid the steep sections.Thanks Damon. Your help with the train tickets and general advice was much appreciated. Also you turned on fabulous weather!
We very much enjoyed our walk on the Coastal Path from St Ives to Marazion and back overland. While it was not always sunny, almost all the rain fell overnight so we were lucky.
We have done several long distance walking holidays now and I was very impressed with the service given by Encounter. You were very helpful and knowledgeable and the quality of the guidance notes you provided was the best we have come across.
The way marking on the coastal path was not great – a bit tired – and we did take the wrong path once, but can’t remember where. The marking on St Michael’s Way was fine, and a lot of new gates have been installed on one stretch.
We were very impressed by the quality of the accommodation. Obviously a lot of money has been invested in Cornish hotels and B&Bs. The exception to this was the Seaview B&B in Portcurno which was not to the same high standard. The room we had (room 6 at the top), was very small and lacked a lot of the basic necessities such as bedside lights and toothmug. The sink was so small that it was impossible to fill the kettle and the bathroom light was controlled by an automatic sensor which meant it went off when I was in the shower and came on when I turned over in bed – very annoying. Although not high season, there were still lots of visitors around, so it was not always straightforward to find eating places. You could stress the advisability of booking in advance.
We loved the Cornish scenery and I’m sure we will return soon to try out another section of the path.
Dear Aidan, At last a few lines of feedback from us Norwegian ladies that you prepared so well for.
Encounter Walking Holidays (and you!) did not fail us once, we felt all the time that we were in good hands. The hotels and guesthouses you picked for us suited us perfectly, the transport of our suitcases went smoothly every day, and all your advice on things to see and do (or avoid) were carefully read and followed. We used the (excellent!) map and book you sent us beforehand all the time. Even the weather was good! The only rain we had was on the night before we left Cornwall.
You asked us to mention the highlights of our trip. They were many, but I’ll pick some: After our first day’s walk (15th Sept) we came to Zennor: a wonderful little place with lovely guesthouse rooms, a beautiful church and good food&atmosphere at the Tinner’s Arms Pub. The day after we had a long walk to St.Just, but took time to have a guided tour in the Geevor Tin & Copper Mine. Very interesting, and a good preparation for Poldark, which is now running on Norwegian TV… On the 18th we had tickets for Much Ado About Nothing at Minack Theatre. A fantastic theatre created by one devoted woman (we spent the morning there also) & a wonderful performance. Our last day in Cornwall was on Sunday in Penzance. We discovered quickly that all the museums and art galleries were closed there on Sundays (St Michael was available, but all of us had been in Mont St. Michele in Normandy before…). We therefore took the train back to charming St.Ives, where we spent the day in interesting museums & galleries and had a good meal.
We will not hesitate to contact you next time!
Best regards from
Four in Cornwall (by one of them)*
The planning advice and guidance notes were excellent and helped a lot with the trip. Best we have seen. The section we walked from St Ives to Porthleven was fabulous. We did it in short stages as we are slow walkers. In one or two places it looked to us as if there was a better accommodation option available, and we wondered why they were not identified to us at the planning stage. But with the exception of the accommodation at Porthcurno all the accommodation was fine, some excellent. The Sea View B&B at Porthcurno was poor - the bed was only OK, the bathroom had a curious motion sensing light that shone into the bedroom after the bathroom was used at night, the walls were not soundproof and the breakfast was basic. As a warning, if staying at The Old Coastguard Hotel at Mousehole, and you want dinner be sure to book well ahead. Even though we were staying two nights we could not get a table for dinner on Sunday night when we checked in on Saturday afternoon. Indeed they seemed reluctant to serve us lunch on Sunday without a prior booking. The booking service and luggage transfers went off without a hitch. We would have no hesitation in using Encounter again.
We had an excellent holiday enjoyed by us all (2 adults plus 2 teenagers). The range in the weather produced a wonderful variety of colours from the heather to the sea so each day had it's own beauty. The instructions from Encounter Walking holidays were informative and interesting and provided everything we needed to know. We followed their advice almost entirely although tagged Cape Cornwall onto the end of Day 2 instead of the start of Day 3. The route was mainly well marked except there were a number of paths from the Levant Mine on Day 2 (heading south) which were confusing. It should have been an excellent opportunity to chat to our children, but they were always 100 m ahead of us!
Excellent experience, very well organized and thoroughly enjoyable. A couple of tips: You may want to think about laundrettes along the way. There's one right next door to The Commercial Hotel in St Just, the hotel manager can explain it all to you. Very convenient. We faffed around in St Ives two nights earlier and wished we'd waited for St Just. If you stay in Zennor at the Chapel Guest House (which is lovely by the way) you should make reservations at the pub (Tinners Arms) -- we didn't realize it would be so busy and almost got no dinner. I hope we'll be back to hike the rest of the Cornish part of the path some day.
An enjoyable holiday where, despite the rain on a couple of the days, we had a great time. Muddy conditions at times but with this adding a fun extra challenge to what was a reasonably demanding walk. Whilst the path was described as 'severe' between Treen and St Ives we didn't find this to be too bad as long as you watched where you were going. Well organised, we enjoyed all the accommodation along the walk (6 nights) with a warm welcome wherever we stayed; all immaculately clean and comfortable. A particular mention however for the Gurnards Head Hotel in Treen which had excellent food - both evening meal and breakfast - and a really comfortable bed! All the instructions provided were clear with the only problem we encountered being on the St Michaels Way just outside of St Ives where, along a narrow very wet and muddy stretch of the path, we were faced with two large horses and riders coming the other way! Thanks to Damon and all the team at Encounter for making the holiday so enjoyable.
A lovely walk with great accommodation. Encounter's assessment of our route was fine e.g moderate, strenuous in parts. The A-Z map was good. The Trailblazer book is probably the best to use, but has some annoying/out of date inconsistencies e.g going through Hayle. Comments on the route: - Perranporth - St Georges Country Hotel - we agree that it is best not to approach it by road (dangerous), but still don't understand Encounter's instructions for approaching from the coast path. We met another walker who gave us instructions; - St Loys Cove - where the path runs at the back of the beach, as we were told there loads of boulders but they cover more than 50 metres. Once over the boulders, there is a scary climb up crumbling steps in the small cliff. The coast path sign indicates this route, but other walkers told us that they used a much better path immediately behind the beach. Anyway we had a great time and a very good service from Encounter.
Our walking holiday was very nice.We loved it!!!! You got a beautiful country
We had to take the Diversion in St Ives since we started walking on a Monday.
The weather was very nice exept for one day, and lucky for it was the short day to Sennen Cove
Take care, and thank you once again for helping us planning our holiday.
We arrived in St Ives with the sun shining and it shone the whole of our holiday. I suggest you come early to get a car parking space, as it can get very busy. We had trouble with the Ring Go as it wouldn't work for us at Trenwith Car Park, so we used Phone and Pay, downloaded the app. This worked very well. We had to use the diversion to walk out of St Ives, the notes from Damon where easy to follow and we had no problems.
The itinerary was good with enough information to support us along the way. We did prepare ourselves for the severe grades, they weren't that bad as we thought, we just took our time and stopped to take in the stunning scener, we did double the time it said on the itinerary, and loved every minute. The Trailblazer Guide was an essential item in the rucksack.
Accommodation was great throughout our travels, Debbie and Carl at the Seaforth B & B were lovely welcoming people and gave some useful information, breakfast was delicious. We would recommend The Ship Inn, Mousehole for evening meal, really nice atmosphere and great food.. Luggage transfers were no problem, it was there when we arrived at our accommodation every time. We saw stunning scenery, St Loys cove with the boulders was amazing. We also met some nice people on our travels as well. Big thankyou to Damon and fhe team at Encounter for making our holiday so special and enjoyable, we can't wait to plan the next one.
The Map was good, the trailblazer guidebook was not very helpfull and not necessary. The accomodation in Zennor Chapel at Zennor and Treventon Guest House in Penzance were great. Commercial hotel in St Just was OK. Sea View House in Porthcurno was the least off all accomodations. We did not walk st Michels way instead of that we walked our own route, this because we ended at our campingplace near St Ives and the michels way was to far from our destination. The total costs of the journey we found it to high for what we got. The correspondation through email and the organisation were very good. We had a nice trip. Greetings Eric
Our 4th walk with Encounter and another great holiday. We started the walk with a certain amount of trepidation as some stages were described as severe! However, because of the dry weather the boggy bits were not very wet, the rocky parts were not too difficult and the ups and downs not as punishing as we feared. The hardest and most frightening part was the path down by the side of the Minack theatre going to Porthcurno - an easier option is the road. In general signage was good although we did miss the path above Porthgwarra were the path split three ways and there was no marker. All the accommodation was very good and the luggage transfer worked very smoothly. Thank you Damon and crew for another excellent holiday.
We really enjoyed our walk from St Ives to Penzance. Warm enough, windy enough and not as difficult as we had anticipated.Baggage allways waiting for us at the places we stayed for the night. Good information and maps, before we started and even underway when things had changed (Path closed,with alternative route,Train strike). Selected B and B's / hotels were comfortable with good breakfasts. Will recomend you to any one thinking of doing the same as we did. Watch out for the seagulls in St Ives, they are quite adept at stealing food from People.
Now we are back, already one week from the south coast path in Cornwall.
We had a wunderful time. all was running so perfect, I almost can`t believe it. the very nice accomodations, the very nice people everywhere and the good food all over the places.
I thank you very much for the chooses of the accomodations. there were very different and very clean, well-kept and friendly poeple. And also good breakfast, what we are not used to eat. Also the places where the accomodation were situated was very practical.
And we did get nice lunches everywhere.
the laggage was always on the place. we never had to wait. perfect.
Path: I think we have chosen to long distances. I would rather choose shorter walks and have more time for watching the sea. the path was good, very variabel. We had to get used to the wind, the showers, lets say the very changing of the weather. but we got used to all that, it was a nice experiencing.
The only part we didn't walk, was from mousewhole to penzance and from penzance to the michael mont.
Taxi: we didnt had to take it. so there is nothing to say about.
Dear Damon, I thank you that you let us pass a very nice time in Cornwall. all the best.
Everything was perfect: transfers, accomodation, food from local pubs, and of course the walks. We enjoyed the diversity of the places where we stayed. In addition, I should like to give a special mentionto Encounter for the easy interactions and patience. We found a few things had changed (improved) since you wrote some details of the walk. Would you like a detailed feedback on this ? YES PLEASE CORINNE !
We had a wonderful week in cornwall and britain. Everything worked as organised. Even the wheather, which was not organised ;), was better than expected. Half a day rain is not much for a week, I guess...
The accomodations fitted very well. The chapel in zennor was wonderful quiet and large. (In contrast was the breakfast the smallest..) The Queens Hotel in St. Ives and the Commercial in St. Just were good places to be. In Porthcurno everyone on the way seemed to get packed in the Sea View Guest House. It was more a place to sleep than to be, but in the small village didn't look like having a lot of alternatives.
Map, guide book and itinerary were more than we expected and needed. But in case of a problem we were glad to have all informations available. We had them with us and consulted them on occasions. We wanted a week away from daily work, which would liberate the head and give the body something to do and a healthy tiredness. We got that all and a wonderful coast with flowers, coves, cottages, birds and good people.
Thank you very much!
Thank you, Damon and Encounter. We had a wonderful time on our walk. The lodgings where all fine with Chy an Albany, Guernads Head Hotel and Artist Residence as the best. We also really liked Rock Ridge B&B in Portcurno. The rooms where big and really clean, maybe it was a bit noisy. Chris who owns the B&B took care of us in the best way and the breakfast with fellow walkers was fun. At The North Inn everyone was extremely friendly and the Optic Broadband something extra but unfortunately the beds both narrow and much to short for my husband who is 1.87. He had to sleep diagonally in the bed to fit between the head- and footboard. It was sometimes hard to find the path, but mostly easy.
Going between Pendeen to Sennen Cove we once took the wrong way and got very close to the cliffs. As the wind was strong and galy it was scaring. One thing we thought is that the grading of the Path must be made from different people. Sometimes the Strenghous bits where quite easy, and sometimes the moderate ones really hard. The best day was between Pendeen and Sennen Cove, the old mines really interesting. The nature and Cape Cornwall also fantastic. Also Sennen Cove to Portcurno was nice. We had a rest day at Sennen Cove and stayed at the Old Sucess Inn. A very nice hotel but the food was so so. Somehow the last days walk was the toughest.
Hiking to Lamorna Cove was first fantastic with the lush forest and then to the beach with the boulders. But then it got tough, really really tough. It was as if the path was destroyed and we had to be very careful where we put our feet. Sometimes we had to jump to the next stone and the path was also meandering not only sideways but also up and down. Then we thought it would get easier going to Mousehole and I folded my walking sticks and put them in my backpack. After a few minutes I took them out again, as it could only be called easy if you think that walking up up up and over rocks is the normal way of walking. For us usually the last hour was tough and we where quite tirad when we came to our lodgings. The transfer of the luggage run perfectly, but in the beginning we didn´t know that the luggage should be ready 9.15, that is something you maybe should mention. The Trailblazer Guide was a must, we where very happy that we had it. All in all, we had the best time ever!
This is to thank you again for any organization you did for us. You did a great job. We loved the trail along the cliffs very much. Thanks also for the accommodation we enjoyed at any time (unrivalled Tim’s fruit for breakfast/Cornerways St Ives; Chris’ “Minnack-pack” to stay warm for the evening play in the theatre/Rockridge House, Porthcurno; the warmth and kindness of any host we stayed with). We can recommend your company and have already done so.
We had a most enjoyable trip in Cornwall. The walking is not difficult, very good paths, although for those who like to know exactly where you are at any time, use the most detailed map you can find :-). If you are used to mountain hiking, the coast path of Cornwall is an easy path, however, there are a lot of uphill and downhill,(usually with the luxury of steps!) so for persons with difficult knees it will be best if the walks are not longer than 4-5 hrs. Many beautiful views along the path and all the wild flowers made for a lot of photo-stops. Even on a foggy day the landscapes are really something to see. As for the best view...that is possibly Cape Cornwall, as this is mostly nature and not a shopping mall as on Lands End.... The detailed descriptions received just before the trip were very useful, as we had to use the taxi-option on the last day to reach our pick-up in time the last day of walking. We have met so many kind - and fun - persons during the trip, and we will surely recommend others to use the experience from Encounter Walking to plan future trips.
We really enjoyed our trip round Cornwall. We thought the accommodation was of a very high standard on the whole, but was least keen on the b&b in Porthcurno, which was comfortable, but not lovely.
The Garrck was very good -a high standard, welcoming and friendly. The food was good there too.
I think the signs on St Michael's Way are being improved as there seemed quite a few new ones.
Our only problem was when it went along a narrow road after Trencrom. We were passed by about a dozen vehicles, including a builders truck that did not give us time to move to a wider part of the road and passed us with very little clearance at a scary speed. That part of the route seemed dangerous in view of the combination of pedestrians on a very narrow road with inconsiderate driving. Perhaps a very low speed limit would help.
The rest of the walking was fantastic and we enjoyed the flowers and wildlife, including choughs.
This was our first experience of a walking holiday and we were impressed by the efficient service provided by Damon / Encounters Walking. Everything went smoothy and all 5 of the places we stayed at on the trip were of a good standard and the owners were friendly and helpful. We particularly liked Cornerways St Ives where Tim provided us with an excellent breakfast (the best of our trip!) and also the Treventon Penzance which was very tastefully decorated and a lovely building.
We probably 'bit off more than we could chew' with regard to the daily walk distances with the stretch from Zennor to St Just being particularly challenging for novice walkers such as ourselves given the pretty much constant ascents and decents. It is well worth adding a couple of hours onto the walking times shown in the guide book to allow for refreshments etc. The maps shown in the Trailblazers guide book are really useful and a good tip would be take photocopies of the relevant map pages with you on the walk rather than the whole book itself. The only places where the lack of signage for the Coast Path caused us slight problems were at Pendeen Watch near the lighthouse and near the Coast Watch tower between Lands End and Porthgwarra. Otherwise the signage was pretty clear and so long as you keep the sea to your right you cannot really go too far wrong - my brand new compass was not needed at all!
We would strongly recommend stopping off for a pasty and a well earned cup of tea at the lovely tiny cafe in Porthgwarra before you reach Porthcurno. Another nice spot for a break was Sennen as the tourist trap at Land End is best avoided! All in all we enjoyed a very beautiful (if a little tiring trip) but one we will allways remember! Piers & Claire
We have just completed our walk. It was a wonderful experience. Thank you for all the arrangements and suggestions. We are pleased to report that we had no rain. We had rather fine weather--sunny and bright on most of the north coast, overcast or sunny on the southern coast. One day of fascinating coastal fog which cleared off the next day. We enjoyed seeing the RAF helo flyover and a wonderful under the stars performance at the Minack.
Our walk was fantastic--absolutely fantastic! And you needn't apologize because of the weather--that's not something in your control, after all. It was indeed very windy on Tuesday and Wednesday, but we took it in stride. It added quite a lot to the wild beauty of the coast--tremendous waves crashing and foaming on the rocks, whitecaps out to the horizon, all very spectacular. Of course we had to brace ourselves and take extra care when coming around the more exposed headlands into the teeth of the gale, but it was exciting and kind of fun, actually. It helped that we both had very snug, compact backpacks--at Pendeen we met a woman who was camping and therefore had a very bulky backpack, and she'd had to abandon the trail that day because she felt endangered by the high winds; we were fine. I might also mention that despite the stormy conditions (and the weather forecasts calling for lots of rain), we encountered no more than a few minutes of drizzle in the whole three days--never had to pull out our serious rain gear at all. We'll take wind over rain anytime!
We were very happy with all the arrangements--the amount of walking each day was exactly right, the accommodations were all delightful and we found the Trailblazers guide book extremely helpful, especially in those occasional places where the signposts on the trail itself are not ideally clear. We found one point in the itinerary document you sent us a bit misleading, namely the mention of the need for special caution approaching and leaving Lamorna Cove. We were a bit on edge after reading that--how scary is it going to be?--but then found it was nothing special, no more (nor less) challenging than many other parts of the walk.
Hard to pick a highlight: we loved it all! Thanks and best wishes,
Another fabulous walk. We encountered some fierce winds at the start, but the Spring flowers were just stunning - a magnificent display all the way round.
Thank you for recommending such great accommodation; a good selection and absolutely no complaints. The Gurnards Head Hotel was the top of my list, friendly welcome, comfortable beds, amazing breakfast and what a wine list! A most enjoyable experience thanks for your local knowledge.
Two more sections to go!!!
A great experience and up to expectations. The highlight was the Pendeen area with the heritage mining sites and the museum. The coast was harsh and awesome and spectacularly beautiful.
We had a very good time and overall the weather was great -one of our number went swimming twice -yup in the sea at Sennen and St Ives!
We walked with the map and the itinerary sent by you choosing to leave the heavier Trailblazer book in our luggage. The itinerary largely let us to our own devices -though instructions to accommodation were detailed and we were warned e.g. of mine shafts and the boulders at Loy -we had a little trouble indemnifying Cape Cornwall and the route into St Just from there and from St Just. The St Michael's Way instructions were excellent for the most part. There was some variation around a farm before Trencom Hill, but that was highlighted as a possible. The route around the holiday park was different and that is where we got a bit confused. The mileage per day was about right -it was sometimes quite strenuous with the ups and downs but such spectacular scenery all the was along.
The Chy An Albany and The Commercial were perfectly fine and welcoming -good cream tea at the former- and The Tinners’ Arms and Treventon were both delightful with excellent dinner at the Tinners. However we would not recommend the Sea View House - 4 stars but down at heel and scruffy and not as clean as we would expect. Luggage transfers all went very smoothly.
ST IVES - Sea food Cafe and the Tea Rooms -both very good especially the Tea Rooms -not cheap
ZENNOR -Tinners -great meal
ST JUST -Commercial -was OK-some menu choices better than others -very good service
PORTHCURNO -Logan Inn -very welcoming and cosy but food not so good
PENZANCE -Navy Inn -very good fish here but is changing hands
The White Hart in Ludgvan -very friendly -good coffee
Beach Cafe at Sennen Cove -food was very good -service a bit haphazard
Lamorna Beach Cafe very cosy and welcoming -huge portions.
Ace did the station runs and restaurant pick ups on a rainy last night in St Ives and were friendly and prompt..
I thouroughly enjoyed the stunning scenery on this section of the SW coastal path. My luggage was moved each day and this worked perfectly. The route notes provided by Encounter for St Michaels Way (the section inland from Penzance to St Ives) were excellent and I had no route finding problems, although care needs to be taken as waymarks are not always obvious. On the SW coast path there are really no navigational problems, keep the sea on your right, although it sometimes does divert inland at times and occasionally markers dont exist where they would be useful. The section from St Ives to Pendeen is long (25km) and quite strenuous with lots of ups and downs. The section from Sennen Cove to Purthcurno is short and even with a visit to the Minak Theatre I arrived too early at the Seaview House to check in (they don't do check in until 4.00pm). As a solo traveller it's difficult to get single accommodation and you end up paying extra for single occupancy of a double room.
This was a wonderful experience for us. The route, accommodations, and luggage transfer were all good. The help Damon provided in planning was invaluable. The scenery was stunning, and even the weather cooperated.
I just did a 3 day walk as recommended by encounter walking. It was one of the BEST experiences of my life. It was challenging physically , which I totally enjoy. The views were breathtaking and I often found myself with a big smile of pure joy of the nature surrounding me. The rocks, cliffs, hidden beaches, lovely flora and the trail itself were all wonderful aspects that contributed to my thrill of this trek. The accommodation recommend was always just right. The reading material was very helpful and for the most part the trail was quite well marked. U can say I was pretty grateful to have my luggage in my room as I arrived at each destination as I thoroughly enjoyed a shower, clean clothes and a pint. I did not remember to bring a walking stick or a hat. While I managed, both would have been an asset.
We really enjoyed our walk along the Land’s End Trail and benefited from the strong input from Encounter. The itinerary was well organized and distances each day were manageable. In total we walked approximately 85km from St Ives to Penzance with an extra walk to St Michael's Mount, over 6 days. The Trailblazer guidebook supplied by Encounter was very informative and provided an excellent and accurate narrative as we walked. The luggage transfers worked well throughout.
Day 1 - Arrival at St Ives On arrival at our accommodation at the Cornerways B&B we were warmly greeted by the proprietor, Tim who was a very hospitable host. He showed us to what he described as our ‘petite’ room – a polite term for a very small room, and a particularly small bathroom. We were in the Jeanne room, although we had booked the Jamaica room (not sure if there was any difference) The room was a bit cramped really and not large enough for our luggage. It was also right next to the road, so not quiet. Despite these shortcomings, Tim and Shelley, were very friendly, helpful and hospitable hosts, and the breakfast was great.
Day 2 - St Ives to Zennor 10.6km The first day was an easy walk with lovely views and no rain. Our accommodation at the Tinners Arms was comfortable, a large double ensuite and breakfast options were good. However, unfortunately the walls were paper thin, and we were kept awake by a snorer in the bed on the other side of the wall.
Day 3 - Zennor to Pendeen, 17.8km The second day of our walk started at Zennor and soon joined the Cornwall Coast Path to go past Gurnards Head and other coastal features. This was a particularly spectacular day. We diverted to the Gurnards Head Inn for a coffee and also into Morvah where we had some afternoon 'cream tea'. These diversions changed what was supposed to be an 11km walk to a much longer day (nearly 18km). Accommodation at The North Inn was comfortable. The meals were very much in a pub atmosphere and the meals reasonable.
Day 4 - Pendeen to Sennen Cove, 13.5km We had showers, and cold and grey conditions during the morning of our third day of hiking. But the weather improved as the day progressed. We enjoyed stunning views of Cape Cornwall and also the many ruins associated with the tin mining for which the area is famous. The grey weather added to the eerie atmosphere of the area contrasted with lovely purple colour from the heather on the hills. Sennen Cove is a popular surfing and swimming spot and by the time we arrived the weather was hot enough to contemplate a swim (even if the water drove most to wet suits). The day finished with a lovely sunset from our room at the Old Success Inn. We enjoyed our upgrade to the Sunset Room, on the top floor with good views. The meal and location were good.
Day 5 - Sennen Cove to Porthcurno, 10.8km This was an easy day and included walking through Lands End, a (very) touristy spot that marks the western most point of England. Despite that blot on the landscape, the vistas were great and we had a very restful afternoon at the seaside town of Porthcurno. The accommodation at the Seaview House was another ‘petite’ room but breakfast was very good and the hosts friendly.
Day 6 - Porthcurno to Mousehole and Penzance, 18.3km The last day of our Cornwall hiking tour was a quite long day. First 8-9km was up and down along the coast to a small village, Lemorna where we had a well-earned coffee (not bad latte) and scones with clotted cream. Then a 3-4 kms to Mousehole (pronounced Mowzell). We didn't stop there but it seems a pleasant, if busy, town. The last 6km was flat and pretty plain along the road (or cycle path where possible) as we came through Newlyn to Penzance. The Artist Hotel was the best accommodation of our trip, a lovely room and great service.
Day 7 - Penzance to St Michael's Mount, 15.7km (rest day) Our 'rest day' we decided to do an easy and flat walk to St Michael's Mount that included a ferry ride to the island (due to the tide being in), an informative free walking tour of the buildings and a castle viewing. There was some rain and spectacular grey clouds in the morning over the Mount, but the weather cleared up for our return to Penzance. Thanks again Damon for arranging a great walk which was a highlight of our UK travels.
Just back from walking from St Ives to Penzance, and it was beautiful and exhilarating! In particular the stretch from Gurnards Head to Pendeen Watch, Cape Cornwall to Sennen, and the stretch from Lands End to Porthgwarra. I was very lucky with the weather, managing to find shelter twice under rocks when heavy rain came down on the first day, but warm and windy on days 2 and 3. Also found somewhere to swim on those days, Portheras Cove and Porthchapel - worth having the bikini in the backpack! Pretty miserable walking from Mousehole to Penzance in the pouring rain along the road, but by then the walk had become a challenge and I didn't want to get the bus! Walking times were spot on, maps in the book were very good. Got a bit lost approaching Botallack with all the mines to stop and look at, so was pretty knackered by the time I got to Cape Cornwall but hitched a lift into St Just, which was very welcome! Was walking alone, and therefore in tiny single rooms in the various places. If I did it again, it might be worth paying a bit more for a double, especially if the accommodation doesn't have a general area to sit and relax, otherwise you're stuck in a small box with nowhere to unwind after a long day, and baths seems to be few and far between to ease the aching muscles! Also I found that I didn't need a packed lunch, thanks to huge breakfasts, so I tended to just start early, take water and biscuits and then find a nice place for a cold cider or a cream tea when I got to my destination! A must - if you're planning a stop over in Porthcurno, book ahead and get tickets for the Minack. What an experience. The most amazing setting. Thanks to the guys at Encounter, for all the organisation and coordination. Bags always there at the next stop over, all the information I needed to hand, and no need to do anything except turn up and walk!
We walked the first week of August from St.Ives to Penzance. It was a good idea to take time to look around. Our restday in Pendeen was a great experience. We learned much about the hard work in the mines in past times. Worth to spend a whole day!
The weather was rather good except one day, when heavy storms were promised (Porthcurno to Penzance). So we and the other walkers – we met the days before – decided to take the bus. The next day with sunshine again we turned back to Lamorna cove by bus and walked the stretch.
What remains: a wonderful week with great experiences, many friendly encounters, good accommodations (sometimes with small rooms but always decorated very lovly, delicious english breakfasts, breathtaking landscape, no problems with our limited English skills and a hope to return soon!
Daman's help and advice were essential to making the trip as good as it was. Thank You Damon! We also suggest to read the available guides and maps before starting the walk.
Dear Damon and team, We are happy you enjoyed the biscuits and that we were able to thank you personally for our magnificent walking experience. All our accommodation was great – clean and comfortable just what what we needed after a long day of walking. The hosts were always welcoming and helpful ( some going above and beyond what we expected). The transfer of our luggage worked perfectly as well.
We found the walking/distance took longer that we expected, based on the indications of an average walker. Particularly the second day Zennor to St Just which was quite treacherous in parts due to the rain and difficult terrain. We had one lady pass us that day and then met her about an hour later with facial, hand and leg injuries after a fall. On average it took us 8 hours to do each section.
At times there was difficulty in navigating which was the correct coastal path until one of the other walkers explained to us that the yellow acorn AND the yellow arrow was the coastal path and not to follow the yellow arrow only – which was the public footpath. In one case it was difficult to see through heavy rain a definite path across a paddock containing cattle, rocks and slippery mud sections.
We enjoyed meeting up with walkers each night who were doing the same daily sections as ourselves ( the majority with Encounter Walking) and comparing notes and experiences – even if it was just confirming it was a very hard section that day ! Your advice regarding walking clothes and footwear was extremely useful and we found we had sufficient appropriate clothing without being overburdened. We did take collapsible walking sticks which we would recommend to anyone attempting this walk as they helped so much with balance and stability particularly on the steep rocky descents during rain. We can report an accident free walk !
It was a challenge and an experience we thoroughly enjoyed and we appreciate the organisation and effort which you put into planning these walks. We would certainly ask you to arrange another walk if we get a chance.
We fully appreciated our walking trip on the South West Coast Path. We had absolutely good luck with the weather. We enjoyed all the overnight bookings and very comletely satisfyed with the quality of the accomodations. In St.Ives we discovered a small Restaurant close to the fisher port which is called "Tea room". We can highly recommend it, as all the menues are prepared with fresh ingredients and dishes are really from outstandig quality.
Excellent walk. Varied scenery and interesting mines, ruins and rock formations. The route from St Ives to Zennor is really for mountain goats and I wish we had walked the fields here. The track was usually well marked but sometimes we found the signposts just a bit beyond track options which was sometimes confusing. Our accommodation was excellent everywhere and everyone was extremely helpful. We especially enjoyed The Old Success at Sennon Cove. The Encounter instructions were clear and detailed. The luggage moving was well done.
We had a wonderful week and all the arrangements worked splendidly. The weather was also with us. I would recommend Encounter Walking to everyone (and indeed have). Many thanks for such a good trip.
Hello Damon, we have finished the hiking tour in good condition and without any injuries. The organization was great, regarding that there is nothing to complain. We were told, that the weather in Britain is always bad, we don´t understand this announcement, we have had the best weather conditions you could imagine. On and off an appearing cloud, which disappears a few minutes later in order to give the sun space for shining. All accommodations were really recommendable, their staffs were friendly and in any case supportive. The hiking stages were sometimes exhausting, but the stunning landscape, the steep cliffs, the beautiful coves and the sea view were the compensation for the efforts. I have told you, that the German women are eager to look Rosamund Pilcher movies in TV, from now on I will accompany my wife during the broadcasting – so I/we will be remembered to a impressive week in Cornwall – a great place with friendly locals. All the best! Volker + Monika
Overall the walk was excellent and well marked, with good weather and hence brilliant views (the highlight of our walk) on 3 out of 4 days. Day 1 was the most challenging walking, not helped in the morning by the rather wet weather. We had to go quite a way off the path to Pendeen for lunch (not aware of better positioned opportunities), but it was worth the extra 15 minutes each way.The other days were reasonably straightforward - we even added some extra distance at the end right around Lizard, which will save us time on our next instalment along this part of the SWCP.
Comments on Accommodation & Eating Places:
- Seaforth in St. Ives was just as good as last time - Debbie & Carl even gave us the same room with its amazing view. We dined at Seagrass this time - another top notch place to add to the growing list here. The Vintage Store & Coffee Shop is very good for lovers of good coffee.
- Next day, we lunched at The North Inn in Pendeen - well worth the detour.
- The Old Success Inn at Sennen Cove was OK (I note the options here are limited) but nothing special - and I wish we had decided to eat elsewhere e.g. The Beach Restaurant, but we took the easy option after a rather tough day.
- We stopped next day at Logan Rock Inn at Treen for lunch - they served a superb crab sandwich.
- The Old Coastguard Hotel in Mousehole was very good with a great breakfast that made us almost wish we had dined there (we will do so on our next visit there). However we had managed to get a table at 2 Fore Street, which was excellent.
- Sandbar at Praa Sands was our next lunch choice - their seafood linguine was just as good as the guide book said.
- The Harbour Inn in Porthleven was another OK rather than very good place to stay, a little noisy as our room was over the bar. We dined well at Kota, although there are some very good alternatives in the town. The Brew House here serves amazing coffee - but beware that they close at 5pm!
- Delicious at Marazion is a must for their cakes - and the coffee is pretty good too!
- Porthmellin Cafe was another stopping point that day for a very good crab sandwich.
- The Top House Inn at Lizard was very good accommodation (they upgraded us to a 'seaview' room), and also served up good evening meals.
Beautyful and very well marked path with brilliant views, rather strenuous on the first and second day, so that we needed more time than expected. The weather was sunny and warm all the time. The organization was well done with luggage transfer, descriptions etc. We had some difficulties to find our path around Trembethow Farm and Trencom Hill on St Michaels Way, but finally discovered Bowl Rock and the path signs again. Very recreative and inspiring holidays for people who like walking. Good Eating Places for dinner: The Tinners Arms at Zennor The Kings Arms at St Just The Logan Rock Inn at Treen (Porthcurno) The Navy Inn at Penzance Porthminster Café at St Ives
First of all this was a great vacation. Spectacularly beautiful. We were lucky and had perfect sunny weather every day, temperatures in the low 70's (F). Damon was particularly helpful in suggesting an itinerary that matched our age (mid 60's) and level of fitness (reasonably fit). We were glad we followed his recommendation to spend a 2nd day in St. Ives recovering from a 6 hour plane ride followed by a 5 1/2 hr train ride. It was also helpful to spend a second day in Porthleven to rest a bit and wash our fetid clothes. As others have mentioned, the first 2 days out of St. Ives were quite strenuous. A lot of ups and downs, climbing over boulders, and sweating. Replenishing sun screen regularly is a must! There is no shade.
Some things we would do differently: wear hiking boots rather than sneakers mostly because of the mud; use a walking stick (or 2). It helps on the inclines and helps you to find stepping stones in the mud. Also, wear a wider brimmed hat to protect ears and neck. Favorite b&b's: Cornerways in St. Ives; Treventon Guest House in Penzance; Caerthillian Guest House in Lizard. All had warm, friendly, helpful hosts and outstanding breakfasts. Best meal on the trip was at the Porthminster Beach Cafe in St. Ives: right on the beach; interesting and delicious food. We enjoyed the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St. Ives and (surprisingly) the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. Who would have guessed that this little town would have been the center of world-wide communication in the early 1900's?
Kynance Cove is a must! Extraordinarily beautiful. We tore ourselves away after 2 hours. We wish we'd been able to see it at low tide and to walk around and explore the caves. In a few places it was hard to follow the path either because there were multiple options or markers were sparse. One of those was in the Praa Sands area. Usually we found people coming in the opposite direction whom we could ask To return from Lizard to Gatwick, we originally booked a train that went to Paddington Sta. We would have had to transfer ourselves and our luggage to Victoria Sta to get a bus to Gatwick. Only because of signal problems that stopped us midway did we discover that there is a train that goes directly from Camborne to Gatwick by way of Reading. Overall, a great vacation. We highly recommend Encounter Walking Holidays.
My husband and I recently got back from walking the St. Ives to Penzance route and it was spectacular! Damon did an excellent job setting everything up for us - the inns where we stayed were very nice and luggage transfers were seamless. We would highly recommend Encounter Walking to anyone! We absolutely loved St. Ives! Lots of nice art galleries, shops, restaurants, pubs and narrow little streets to explore!
The St. Ives to Zennor walk was quite strenuous, but the views made it more than worthwhile. Zennor is a charming hamlet and we especially loved our stay at the Tinners Arms. Lovely, historic inn and great pub in an idyllic setting. We soon realized that 11 miles a day was going to be too much for us, so we hopped the bus a couple times to shave a few miles off our hike on certain days. The bus route follows the trail, more or less, so it made it easy to customize our hiking experience each day. We actually enjoyed taking the bus, as we were able to see some of the farmland a bit inland from the path itself. As for the path, it was well marked in most places, but we did run into a couple issues. We didn't see any trail sign before Cape Cornwall (around Helen's Chapel) and it threw us off the trail for awhile.
There are also certain areas along the way where it is unclear which path is the official path, as there are so many little offshoot footpaths that often lead out into areas that are a little too close to the cliff edge for my liking. I am not a big fan of heights! If you can stay to the official path it doesn't get too scary. The one exception for me was a stretch between Lands End and Porthcurno - there's an extended stretch that runs very close to the cliff edge. I couldn't handle it, so we turned back to Land's End and took the bus to Porthcurno. The beach in Porthcurno is beautiful and the Minack Theatre is definitely worth a visit! All in all, this was one of the best trips we've been on in a very long time and I would recommend it to anyone. A big thanks to Damon and Encounter Walking for all their help and guidance. My husband and I look forward to returning someday to walk another section of the path.
We absolutely enjoyed our walking holidays in Cornwall. Thank you very much for your patience, your excellent advice and organization, the previous detailed information, the guidebooks and excellent walking maps. All that helped us a lot. We slightly changed the walking routes: We didn't do the St.Michaels way as my partner preferred walking along the sea, so we decided to drive to Porthcurno and walked to Lamorna and back. (lovely little cafe at Lamorna Cove…fresh crab sandwiches…) Before returning to Bristol we walked from Rosemergy to Pendeen because I wanted to see the mines and the steam engine - extremely interesting - definitely worth seeing! There are some extremely muddy patches there - I got stuck and had to 'wash' one my shoes in the sea…
The taxi driver who drove us to Looe was very friendly, even gave us a road map and showed us the best way to different places in Cornwall. He dropped us directly at the beginning of the walkway which we appreciated very much!
Our B&Bs were a good choice:
- Galleon Inn: loud on Friday evening, but we were tired enough not to mind…. a bit unpersonal due to lots of work in the pub, but nevertheless friendly. Moderate prices for excellent fresh fish and seafood. Excellent breakfast. Room was clean, good choice of tea, chocolate, biscuits in the room. The only sore point was the lack of parking space and the rather high costs for parking. In St.Ives we got a free parking card for the whole time - would be a good idea here, too!
Seaforth B&B St.Yves: Extremely friendly, made us feel welcome from the very first moment, lovely but rather small room, very clean and tidy - très chic! - excellent breakfast! An extra plus was the free parking card for the nearby parking space! Saved us a lot of money. Unfortunately, we had to look for a suitable ( not too expensive) restaurant every evening. Some of them had to be booked in advance. The prices here were considerably higher than in Fowey…
Both places, Fowey and St.Yves are definitely worth a stay.
We'll certainly walk with Encounter again! Saved us a lot of time and time consuming search for B&Bs, routes etc...Thank you very much for your excellent support.
Best wishes from Switzerland
All was wonderful with one exception-- Porthcurno is not a good place to overnight--the B&B and the town were exceptionally inhospitable compared to the friendliness we experienced almost everywhere else. And the town isn't much to see. Admittedly we were between shows at the Minack Theater and the Telegraph Museum was closed for renovations but, without a car, we would have been stuck without dinner if it wasn't for the Logan Rock pub owner, Peter, who graciously shuttled us back and forth to his pub and then gave us an insider's tour of area. In the future I'd recommend accommodations in Treen. All other accommodations and locations were wonderful. I particularly appreciated the opportunity to stay overnight in Pendeen and to tour the tin mine the next day. It provided a wonderful historical understanding for the area. Another wonderful stopping off point was Zenor although we could have used a map to find the neolithic sites as we wandered for a couple of hours down country roads and trails and never found the sites but all was beautiful and no complaints about that. And, finally, thank you for your exceptional help with bus routes and other advice to accommodate my health issues. We found the 300 bus to be a delight. Peter & Cathy
As I said earlier, we had a great walk. Some of the views from the path were incredible and the path itself was an interesting challenge. Below is some more specific feedback.
The path we found was generally in good condition and well maintained but very hard and quite risky in a few places. Your advice to only walk as far as Zennor on the first day was spot on. We would not have managed to go much further. The sign posting was confusing in a few places where the arrows appeared to point in all directions. We wandered off course two or three times and had to work hard to get back to the track.
There was a section where livestock had obviously used the path and caused a lot of damage especially where there were steps with wooden front. I think this was near to Porthleven but can't remember. The council had posted warnings at both ends of the section.
We picked a great time of year to walk as there were brilliant wild flowers all the way along the path making it really beautiful in some places. Another thing I found incredible was there was almost no litter anywhere along the path. I think I spied one plastic bottle and one plastic bag just off the path but that was it on the whole route. This says a lot about the walkers and the people who maintain it.
We thought the section just after Land's End had some of the most beautiful views on the route especially where the path was just above the cliffs. The section with the "beach" at St Loys Cove was really hazardous and we were a little worried about crossing it. An alternative or diversion here would be useful for the more fainthearted.
The section between Penzance and Porthleven was the least interesting and perhaps we should have avoided this by taking a bus ride before starting further along the path perhaps from Porthleven to finish at Lizard. The diversion at Trevean Cove is still in place but it only extends the path by a few hundred yard and not the half mile you suggested.
Everyone we met during the walk we was really friendly and, proving yet again that it is a small world, Alistair bumped into someone he had worked with many years ago.
We found your notes were excellent but the book not so useful. In the book the description of many of the sections was very brief and did not provide sufficient information to give you a good idea of what conditions to expect on the path. The maps were good and your directions to the accommodation were perfect. I think we visited most of the pubs you mentioned and had some great Cornwall ales.
There were no problems with this with everything getting picked up and delivered on time.
The quality of the accommodation was really surprising. We could not fault any of them in any way. All the rooms looked like they had just been refurbished and they were spotlessly clean. This combined with the friendly service, free internet and wonderful cooked breakfasts meant we were relaxed and suitably refreshed for the next day's walk. The only problem was at a few of the places we stayed the first thing we had to do after breakfast was climb a some steep hills which was not good for the digestion.
I am really glad we went with Encounter to book the holiday. Everyone I spoke to was very knowledgeable and helpful and the friendly informality in calls and email communication was refreshing and enjoyable. I would not hesitate recommending you to anyone considering a walking holiday in any of the areas you cover.
Overall the walk was a lot harder than we expected but the views etc were definitely worth the effort. Eric getting injured so early on put a little bit of a damper on the holiday but he did good work scouting out the various pubs, beers and restaurants in the next destination. Thanks again for all your help. Please pass on our thanks to the rest of the team at Encounter.
We thoroughly enjoyed the walk and consider it one of our most exciting vacations. We found all of the B&B/Inn accommodations good and the hosts quite friendly ....And the food was excellent. (despite all of our walking we may have gained a pound!)...and our weather was near perfect at 55 with only an occasional rain shower. Being over 70, we did find some days of lots of ups/downs trying and decided 6-7 hours of walking was our comfortable limit...so one day we took the bus for the last 3 miles and one day we got a ride about 2 miles up the trail. You guys did a great job pre-planning our trip. Please feel free to use our name as a reference....we will be glad to discuss our adventure with potential walkers.
We arrived in Falmouth yesterday after a wonderful walking adventure.... The walk, accommodations and pubs/restaurants were all very good. We are headed to London for a few days but I will send you more detailed comments when we get home next week.
Again, thanks for assistance in planning our excellent experience.
Our luggage transfers were seamless throughout, on each occasion already at every delightful B&B as we arrived weary but satisfied with the guidance and descriptions of the daily walks. Beautiful views and luck with the weather make this a memorable hiking holiday, added to with the obvious expertise of your company.
Great pre-walk organisation from Damon and team! We had a fab couple of days with more sun than we could have wished for. The walking and scenery was just fantastic! Our top 3 non-walking highlights: 1. Barbara Hepworth's Studio and gardens in St Ives 2. Dinner at the super friendly Cape Cornwall Golf and Leisure Club (the food and staff were exceptional!) 3. Visiting the Minack Theatre. We'll be back!
Terrific walking and great places to stay along the way. Particularly the Tinner's Arms in Zennor which has really, really good food which they call 'pub grub' and we rated as restaurant excellent. Lots of great advice from Damon and all really well organised, very flexible and lots of great advice.
A fantastic walk, quite difficult and tiring but well worth it. The section from Porthcorno to Mousehole was particularly good. Accommodation was very good especially the Gurnard's head at Treen, the B&B at Porthcorno was being renovated when we were there and still needs some work.
The holiday was a great success and your planning was almost faultless. The walking between St.Ives and Penzance was impressive, particularly when the weather was bright. Your comments about Lamorna Cove were such that I decided to go to Mousehole and do an easy walk into Penzance. I am not keen on steep cliffs and drops - I have no head for heights!
The baggage transfers all went well and I'm sure I exceeded the 20Kg limit. I certainly over packed. The accommodation was unfailingly good - indeed excellent. In Penzance I had an excellent meal at The Navy Inn which specialises in fresh fish dishes.
The accommodation at Pendeen was good and Moira provided a tasty home cooked meal as well as a cream tea when I arrived. The Geevor Mine was well worth the time I took (it was very misty in the morning) and I followed it up with a visit to the Penlee House Gallery in Penzance, which was exhibiting some Graham Sutherland works relevant to the tin mining industry.
I would certainly recommend your company and would use it again for walking The SW Coastal Path which is a treasure, and everyone I met was most helpful. Kind regards and thanks again
Encounter Walking did a great job of setting up the trip, and it was most enjoyable. Highly recommend Gurnard's Head Hotel as a place to stay and eat, as well as the Abbey Hotel and attached Slipway restaurant in Penzance. We took a day off in Penzance to visit St. Michael's Mount, and are very glad we did. Also, after arriving in Falmouth, took the ferry to St. Mawes to visit the castle and charming town, and that was delightful. Some of the 14-mile days were very long, given the number of descents and ascents around coves. We had a few days of rain and wind, and of course that made those long days more exhausting. I might limit the days to 10 miles or so if I were repeating the trip. But overall, a fantastic experience.
Lovely walk with well organised walking track, great accommodation, quality food and good weather. The scenery so beautiful we did miss a few of the signs but no real mishaps. Our first and last nights were stand outs at St Ives and Sennen Cove. Room 2 at the Old Success Inn (at Sennen Cove) was magical, overlooking the water with postcard views to enjoy. Would recommend Encounter, highly professional and efficient.
Dear Encounter-Team Excellent walk with plenty of interesting scenery, splendid weather. Pretty rooms in St Ives and Tinner Arms. Great support by all the hosts, also in St Just in the hotel. We found some routes a little bit to long, had no time to stay at the new place/village/museum. That was great, thank you, we will recommend your company to friends With kind regards Heinz & Mirna
We were very lucky with the weather of course. Everything was very well organized and we did not have any problems what so ever. The accommodation was well chosen, the walking very pleasant and the food in the evening always great. The provided maps and the guidebook were very helpful. Thank you for this perfect experience.
I had a really terrific walking holiday. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. I have only seen a couple of clouds and not a single drop of rain, had most of my dinners outside and enjoyed a terrific sunset each day. The path itself and the views are more than wonderful and quite spectecular. But also the itineary of the walk (in particular the distance of the walks each day), the accomodation (the location of each accomodation was particularly good and all hosts made me feel very welcome) and generally the organisation and information were very close to perfect. The weather made it possible to fully enjoy all the wonderful beaches along the walk and the Penzance Jubilee Swimming Pool.
Tate St Ives might be a little bit small, but the architecture and the views at the ocean are astonishing.
In St Ives I had dinner in restaurant Onshore, which was very nice.In Pendeen/Trewellard I had dinner at The Field House, which was lovely. They do not have a licence, so you have to bring wine yourself. However, you could get a glass or bottle of wine at the pub on the other side of the road and bring it to The Field House.
I loved the Geevor Tin Mine, including the Underground Tour. A visit of only two hours gives a very good impression of how mine-life must have been.
In Sennen Cove I would recommend the Beach Cafe for dinner. A wonderful place to spend some time.
Visiting the Minack Theatre is “a must see” even if there is no chance to see a show. I also enjoyed the Telegraph-museum, which gives a good impression of “the internet of the 19th century”.
I had some difficulty in finding my way from Sea View House in Porthcurno to The Logan Rock Inn at Treen. Maybe you could add to the itineary that the shortest way to get there is the first part along the coast path and then the public footpath through the fields and the camping-site (this is not very specific, but is the best I can do).
In Mousehole, I would like to suggest The Bake House (if I remember the name correctly) located at the harbour (with lovely views over the harbour) near the Bus Stop for the/coffee and wonderful homemade pastries.
I would certainly recommend the walking holiday to others, also if the weather would be somewhat less good then it was when I made the walk. Finally I would like to thank you for your very kind and swift assistance in putting together this holiday. That was part of the fun.
1 Any problems finding the route or areas you found confusing
There were no problems in finding the route.
We did however take alternative paths in and out of Lamorna Cove because my balance is far from perfect after a stroke, left the Coast Path somewhere near the Rosemodress Cliff. Found the footpath signs at Rosemodress Farm but no footpath to Lamorna. Not even the person living there had ever seen anything but the sign. We stuck to the roads.
The inward path out of Lamorna Cove to Penzance was nice.
2 Tips or useful information for other walkers, good rest stops, bad bits of trail, good places to eat
The dinner at The Gurnards Head Hotel was excellent. B&B likewise - Standard pub grub at The North Inn in Pendeen OK – Cosy pub “The Kings Arms” in St Just – Big hamburgers at Lamorna Cove - Cable Station Inn at Portcurno could be avoided - Turk’s Head in Penzance has a delicious fish pie – The Royal Inn at Par has tasty & healthy alternative food.
Excellent B&B at the Gurnards Head Hotel and at Warwick House in Penzance. All the others are good.
3 Comments about the organisation of the trip by Encounter Walking Holidays, good or bad
Could not be better. Thanks.
The Eden Project is amazing, overwhelming.
4 Would you recommend the walk to others
Yes – but tell them about the challenges.
5 And finally what was the best thing about your walk / holiday
First of all, we were very lucky that Damon was able to find accommodations for us given that we booked 8 days prior to our walk and there was the Golowan Festival happening in Penzance. Thanks Damon! As for our walk, we opted for a 5 day walk as our time was limited. This was our first time to do any hiking vacation and I must say that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The walk from St. I'ves to Zennor was 7miles long (11.2km) and was graded as severe, "4hrs avrg.walking time with no breaks". First of all, you need to stop and just take in the view and explore so don't feel bad if you don't finish that stretch within the suggested time. The scenery is simply stunning!! The walk itself hugs the coast and the view just takes your breath away. There is a lot of descending and ascending. The trail is well marked at this point. Zennor is a quaint little village. We visited the tea house and the church where you will find the 600 years old "mermaid chair." Zennor to Pendeen was an 8mile trek , (12.8km) and the walk was the same, stunning coastline but a bit more rugged in terms of the terrain with it's granite cliffs. There is a bit of a walk(on the road) from Pendeen Watch (lighthouse ) to where our accommodation was located, so I would suggest to take the shortcut that is indicated on the map.
We found the Pendeen Watch to Sennen Cove(9miles=14.4km) with a more steeper descends, It felt like you just reached the bottom then starts climbing back up again! Anyways we found this stretch to have more hills. Dinner at the Old Success Inn was fabulous. Sennen Cove to Porthcurno was a nice walk along the coast with a much gentler slopes. Before reaching Porthcurno, we had to scramble up some rocks (unless there was another route ) which I found slightly unnerving because it was very close to the edge of the cliff. One just has to be very careful with the footing. The Minarck Theatre in Porthcurno cannot be totally seen from the parking lot as it is blocked off by tall hedges. You need to enter the grounds in order to appreciate the beauty of this theatre. (entrance fee 4 GBP). Once inside, you will really see the magnificent view that everyone talks about! There is a set of stone stairs leading from outside the theatre to Porthcurno itself. These stairs are along the side of the hill but with no handrails. You really have to have steady legs to go down these steps so I would caution those who are a bit wobbly on their legs to take another route. The view from these stairs is just fabulous! We stayed at Rockridge House and our host was just such a pleasure!
Porthcurno to Penzance was 11.5 miles (18.4km) but it was the easiest walk for us. Gentle slopes and wooded shades which we needed on that last day as the sun was very hot! Had our lunch at Lamorna where there were people picnicking and there was a small beach there. From Lamorna, we walk to Mousehole,and Newlyn each having their own unique attractions. We remained in Penzance for 2 days and stayed at the Artist Residence and did some some-seeing. The Artist Residence is an amazing hotel and the breakfast choices are really fantastic! The luggage transfer was faultless. Our whole tour was very organized. I have to mention that some signage were missing along the path from Porthcurno to Penzance and some were not well marked. However, any diversions or any erosions are well marked along all the routes. Our accommodations were very good, although some were better than others. There are just so many highlights for us during this trip that I cannot begin to mention all of them. All I can say is that this has been a memorable trip for my husband and I. We thoroughly enjoyed everything, even when the climb seems to be endless! We loved the sceneries, enjoyed the food and enjoyed all the people we met along the way. On the whole, this whole trip went smoothly! We are planning to do another hike in the near future. Thanks for all your help Damon!
Any problems finding the route or areas you found confusing ?
No, very good description! Especially the pafges describing St. Michaels Way were extremely helpful for us. Without those we might have been lost.
Tips or useful information for other walkers, good rest stops, bad bits of trail, good places to eat
In Porthcurno we highly recommend not to eat in the local pub, but to walk 15 Minutes over the field to the village Treen to visit the wonderful “the logan rock” Inn.
Comments about the organisation of the trip by Encounter Walking Holidays, good or bad
Organisation was great, thank you!
Would you recommend the walk to others
And finally what was the best thing about your walk / holiday
Nature was great! Stunning Views!
We did experience all kinds of weather - from unbelievably good during to first half of our holiday to not so nice during the second half. However, on the whole we had a really good holiday.
We had no problems whatsoever in finding our route. The coast path is so well signposted that we hardly ever had to refer to map or guidebook. Finding the way to and from accomodation off the path was also easy thanks to the detailed additional information you had provided. The only thing that did bother us a bit was that the path was very badly overgrown for longer sections both before and after Porthcurno and on the section between Porthallow and Gillen. I can also tell you that the Coast Path diversion at Porthchapel Cove near Porthcurno was still existing on 8th June.
In Pendeen / Trewellard we found Heather´s Coffee Shop (not mentioned in the guide book) a very good place for afternoon tea and for getting a packed lunch in the morning.
Near Porthallow we found the Fat Apples Cafe particularly nice - you really should stop there on your way.
Otherwise there were lots of good places to eat, all mentioned in the guide book.
Your organisation of the trip was perfect. I cannot think of anything that might be improved. The luggage transfer was very reliable. All the accomodation was more or less like we had expected it to be. All the documents you had provided proved very useful.
It is hard to decide on any one best thing, but I would put the Cornish people at the top of my list. We met so many friendly people as hosts, in the pubs, in shops or on the path - it really was a great pleasure! The coastal scenery is a very close second on my list.
The route, plans, information, stops, baggage transfers were all spot on and well done. My ego was badly bruised by older ladies and plump teenage girls breezing by me between St. Ives and Zennor. Otherwise, all was bliss. A bonus was the wonderful British seafood and cooking each evening at each stop on our hike. Who knew? I was underwhelmed by the Maritime Museum in Falmouth. I thought it was quite limited and overpriced. Not much to it. The main thing is the overwhelming beauty of the scenery all along the Path. Well worth the effort.
I'm now back at my loom in Boston after a wonderful walk on the Cornwall Coast Path that you set up for my wife Terry and me.
It was a great experience and I have only compliments for Encounter Walking. The path was muddy where you predicted and hard to follow in only a few places - most notably crossing pastures where the cows and cowboys have left various tracks - around Gurnard's Head.
All the hotels were good: clean, well-organized and convenient to the path.
The breakfasts were good. They gave me a fairly nasty local cider (they warned me that it is "grumpy") at Gurnard's Head but I washed that away with a bottle of plonk and all ended well.
We followed the daily walking stages that you recommended and these worked well for us although the first day was tiring. This was our first long walk in several years. Although the ladies in our party might disagree, I greatly enjoyed our visit to the Telegraph Museum at Porthcurno. Our best day was wandering around the uplands at Zennor among the magic stones and quoits.
We extended your recommended walk with a loop south to Chun Castle and Chun Quoit which I recommend that you recommend to others. It's worth the extra 2 or 3 miles of easy walking. When I arrived at work this morning, I fairly floated up the 3 flights of stairs that have been getting steeper over the years. Quite a remarkable change for only 1 week of walking!
We're back home and had an excellent holiday. Everything you planned for us was delightful - lovely B&Bs with very accommodating owners, carefree luggage transfers, general information. Thank you most sincerely for all these services !
You couldn't plan the weather, of course, and we had a little of everything ! The first walking day from St Ives to Treen was extremely windy, happily blowing inland rather than out to sea ! That was my (68th) birthday, and my birthday wish when I blew out my candles at breakfast in St Ives was to reach our destination at the end of the day. And we did ! The next two days we had brillant sunshine, making our photos of the coast at Land's End gorgeous. The final day was, as you note, pretty horrible : wind and rain. Well, not to worry : we opted not to walk that day and took the bus instead ! That enabled us to visit Minack Theatre in detail, and then with the help of the bus driver, to have lunch in Mousehole before reboarding for Penzance. We think we made the sensible decision: we were afraid that the wet, gusting weather might make the area around Lamorna Cove a bit dangerous. We wanted to come home with no sprained ankles (or worse).
A few comments as they come :-
So many beautiful flowers, so many nice people who were happy to chat and give info. We conclude that Cornish people are more optimistic and out-going than the average person here in France !
In Penzance, there is a beautiful art show open all summer at Penlee House related to the Lamorna painters.
All the accommodation was tip-top. Tim at Cornerway's made us right at home....Gunnard's Head Hotel was in an especially beautiful site....Kate at Bosavern House was welcoming and efficient; the walk there over fields from St Just is lovely.... And for my special favorite, I would vote for Chris at Porthcornu who has a big round table for breakfast where all the guests sit together which made for fine ... Encounters ! (Hotel Penzance was of course very comfortable, and I think we would have found the Union Hotel charming, too. Next time !)
We all found the length of the walking day a challenge. Once you put in some stops for picture-taking, chatting, resting, snacking, the day begins to stretch out. In general, we were all ready to call it a day about an hour before reaching our B&B ! But we made it, each one of us, and we all looked haler and hardier at the end of the holiday.
Am tacking on a picture or two. I hope we'll be back on the SWCP again in the future. In any case, the trip you planned for us gave us great pleasure.
Home again after our great English holiday.
The route not too hard to find, we had some problem finding B and B’s/Hotels especially Land’s End Hotel and if I remember rightly Gunnards Head Also we hadn’t thought about the extra bit of walking that we had to tack onto our mileage for the day to get to the accommodation
We went for taxis a couple of times and not as easy to get them as we had anticipated.
Soooo glad the weather was good especially for the St Ives to Zennor
You were very helpful throughout the planning for the walk, and I would recommend the walk and your company
The best part, of course the wonderful views, but the wild flowers were spectacular!!! if the weather holds, as it did for us, spring must be the best time of the year for the walk. All the accommodation was fine
Thanks I enjoyed the time immensely
A great walk with magnificent scenery for the most part. We were lucky with the weather which made the 4 days even better. We found the Encounter time estimates reasonable, but those in the Trailblazer guide book were for fitness fanatics much younger than us! Logistics arrangements made by Encounter were first class with overall very good accomodation; excellent meal (and beer) at Gurnards Head.
The section from St Ives to Zennor is quite rightly graded as severe. We undertook this section when there had been torrential rains the night before and as such much of the path was flooded. That said any competent walker with decent boots can undertake it. It does involve clambering quite a lot. We stayed at simply the most fantastic hotel - The Gurnards Head. Looks totally unprepossing from the outside but inside, almost like going through the wall into Diagon alley in the first Harry Potter film, one is transported into a wonderful hotel, incredibly comfortable and the most delicious food and wine. The room was very comfortable and clean. The Queens Hotel in St Ives is absolutely fine and we had a nice supper there. You have to park there, unload your luggage and then park the car at the station car park and walk the few hundred yards back to the hotel. in St Just where we stopped the third night, The Commercial hotel sounds just as it is, it is rather like a hotel that travelling sales men might stay in. I would not recommend eating there but go across the square to the Kings Arms, recently changed hands and the food was just what one would want after a long walk. The new owners obviously source their food well. The St Ives to Minnack Theatre walk is a hearty walk, you would need a degree of fitness to do it. I suspect this is one of the more challenging sections of the Cornish Coastal path, but worth the effort. We had a wonderful taxi driver called Phillip from Prowse taxis who had been a deep sea fisherman and so very kindly mended a flat tyre for us when we arrived back at the car park in St Ives. A true gentleman.
Generally everything went pretty well. Areas for improvement:
- I was juggling guides from 3 sources sent….it would have been good to have 1 definitive book if that were possible
- Generally found the tracks ok but could get confused when multiple options were available. I would have liked to have a full size map with details on the tracks that I could go to.
- Walk time guidance was generally ok apart for day 3 from St Just to Porthcurno where your advice said 11 miles and 5 hours….for us it was at least a couple of miles more and we walked for close to 7 hours.
- No complaints about the accommodation…pretty good.
- Some of the potential stop and rest places were closed as it was getting toward end of season….but can't be helped.
- Perhaps it would have been nice to know of any other groups that were walking at the same time….bit of community building…though you do run into them at the B&Bs
But overall this was our first experience of this type of walking and we would definitely do it again. It was always a relief to arrive at the B&B and find our luggage safely present in our room.
All of the walks were great, but obviously best when the sun was shining. Zennor to St Just maybe just edged it. Walked quite a lot slower. Partly our age, but some slippery parts underfoot...... Really good food at the Tinners Arms in Zennor and the Turks Head and Taj Mahal in Penzance. Plus Jelberts ice cream in Newlyn...... Warwick House in Penzance was very nice, with excellent breakfasts – the best of a good bunch...... Just the timings on the walks were misleading- but that may have been us......Baggage pick-ups were seemless...... We had a great holiday-thanks for organising it.
We loved the trip, the first day was challenging but every day was great. I loved every day as each one was different....... Let people know that they can change the route at any time. Loved Phillip and Mark, Mark treated us like a valued friend....... Damon was so helpful and always was responsive to our questions and all the information was great and we relied on it. A great trip thank you so much.
We had a bit of trouble finding the paths from town in St. Ives and St. Just? The trail was a bit less well marked than we would have thought. But we just asked the hotel folks how to start and people on the trail how to go so, no problem. The first two days were quite difficult as you said but quite exciting for scenery. The last day was scheduled to be 11.5 miles and no one wanted to do that so I had the taxi drop us off at Lamorna Cove and we walked all the way to Penzance, maybe 6 miles. The first part was very beautiful and think everyone was satisfied about being able to walk into Penzance for the completion of the walk. St Ives, -- very charming, Tim was great. Mary and I got in early and looked around and got our feet wet on the more gradual beach with the surfers. We were very glad to have extra time as the town was quite interesting. Nice breakfast. Zennor -fabulous meal, nice people, good rooms, fun to watch cows walk by under the window. St Just - Very nice people, good rooms, good food. The son at the hotel said we missed the best part of trail because we short cut around Cape Cornwall, so Mark took us back to do that section. Artist Residence Penzance-very fun, whimsical and charming. Mel ? at the front desk, and all over, was very helpful and perky. Damon, I really appreciate the quick responses to my questions, you’ve been very helpful. Mary and I found the trip really enjoyable- the hike, the people, the food (am I really saying this about England- I’ve had to change my opinion) and the towns.
The walking was straightforward. We never lost the path. The SW Coast Path Association descriptions were informative and usually accurate. The maps in the descriptions to Porthcurno and to Penzance could usefully be brought up to the standard of others....... Each day was different, which makes the whole route interesting. But perhaps Penzance to Porthleven, once on the path beyond Marazion. There were no bad days, but after the drama of Land’s End, the route from Helford to Falmouth is rather tame. The mileage and time estimates were correct...... We had a good evening meals at Amelies in Porthleven, The Lightboat House in Coverak and the Italian Resturant in Mawnan Smith. Just before the Five Pilchards in Portallow a new cafe just opened on the route called the Fat Apple. They are trying really hard and we hope they succeed. The Gillian Creek ferry is worth trying. Opening the sign did not work did not work, but they answered the phone and came straightway. One of the few places we had mobile reception. Good value at £3 per person (min £5). Warwick House was excellent, and we were happy to take a day off in such comfortable surroundings. We walked to St. Michaels Mount, which meant we could cheat the following day and use the 9.45 bus to Marazion. Porthleven was a surprise. Again the Inn provided good accommodation, but we were not expecting such a range of eating options in the evening. Spoilt for choice. We did not find a single inaccuracy, what you provided was very comprehensive. The whole thing was very efficiently organised, and there were no hitched. We were met by Philip for the drive to Sennen, and the luggage was moved with precision....... More than one inn or B&B owner said that Encounter Walking was good to work with. That you were reliable, efficient, and paid in advance! We hope to be able to book with you again, moving on from Falmouth towards Plymouth.
We had marvellous time and the weather didn’t stop us at all- indeed we ended up doing the Pendeen to St. Just and St. Just to Sennen Cove on one day (Sunday) and Sennen Cove to Porthcurno on Monday and Newyln Bridge to Portcurno yesterday. Everyone had a brilliant time and the walking was exceptional. It did pour on Monday and we all got soaking wet but the coastline was gorgeous (our youngest describing the sea as being like milk) and we enjoyed it- the Old Success Inn were also lovely to us even though we turned up looking very wet...... We walked a little faster but we really liked the easy start to the trip which effectively gave us a half day in St Ives on Friday and meant we could really take it slowly on the Saturday where the path was rough and had lots of interesting things to see (including lots of seals)......All places were excellent and we were generally impressed with the quality of the food. In Zennor we went to the Tinners Arms which was excellent and on our last night we went to OT the beach restaurant in Sennen which was fabulous. All positive-Tregaint House in Zennor was particularly friendly but they were all super. And Prowse taxis were lovely...... We really did have a fabulous time and the weather was not much of a problem-we prepared and all the places we stayed welcomed us even though we were covered in mud! Your planning was wonderful.
2nd Day was amazing-scenery/tin mines...... Walking about the same-maybe a tad slower but we are avid photographer and did not intend to break any speed records!!.... Fantastic food at the Gurnards Head. Lovely lady at Penzance and very helpful at St Ives....... Distances each day were fine, luggage always arrives, scenery was spectacular and the weather was fantastic... what more could we have wanted!!
Didn’t really get lost anywhere, the instructions were very clear. There were just a few sections where the route split in two and we suspect we ended up on the more adventurous path! Best day was Pendeen to Sennan Cove-really enjoyed the variety of scenery and the tin mine ruins. The worst day was Sennen Cove to Porthcurno-mainly due to the rain and strong winds. We walked slower, mainly due to the heat on some days and strong winds on others. We really liked the seafood Cafe in St. Ives and The Bake house in Penzance...... The Seaforth in St. Ives and The Warwick in Penzance were particularly good...... The instruction said we should have our luggage ready for 9am every morning. This was a bit of a struggle but we worked out the company called the accommodation the evening before to confirm a time so we started to check this with the owners as it gave us a bit more breathing space.
So, here we are, back home, after a fantastic week. We would like to congratulate and thank you for the organisation. Everything went smoothly and you made it very easy......The sign post aren’t always well placed. They sometimes stand in the middle of the very obvious path, whereas there are places where we don’t know which way to go...... Once or twice we hesitated as to which way to go as the signs for the coastal path were not perfectly clear. However, we made it fine...... The best days was Porthcurno because of the Minack Theater, but all were brilliant and just the right the right mix of up and down. The worst days were the rainy ones...Also Lands End was too crowded. The accommodation was mostly very good, Sennen Cove was probably the nicest Inn and the nicest staff, though most others were great too...... Parking number info, as you picked up already would be useful...... The organisation couldn’t be better!!! Excellent assistance before, during and after, thank you Damon for everything! Phil Prowse was perfect, and all of Cornish people we met or were served by extremely kind. An awesome experience, I have already recommended it to friends!
No problems finding the route but as my husband said, some pieced of info were more poetry than description. Best walk was the last day to Lizard very sunny and wonderful, the first days with wonderful landscapes too...... The interesting issue, the first three days, we were slower, as was one couple walking in parallel. As this is the first time, we had the impression that the times were given taking into account the length of the journey and not the climbing for which the usual ratio is one hour for 300 meters. If we had had this, it would have been ok...... The best accommodations were Gunnards head, Sophia in Penzance and Jenny at the Lizard.
The directions were good on the St. Michaels Way, signage not so much...... fantastic scenery..... no worst day really. Some harder than others. Wouldn’t want to attempt St. Ives south in the rain...... Taxi back from St Ives: information said be there by 5:30. They thought it meant don’t book until 5:30 and got all in a flap when we arrived at 4:30...... Encounter was very good! Polite, friendly, efficient and very well organized. Baggage transfers were very slick.
Notes on the route: In some places the markers were difficult to find
....... All the accommodation was excellent and the St. Just hosts provided a nice touch by offering to dry out boots- very much appreciated...... The information was fine, I would strongly advise to purchase the waterproof documentation/maps. The organization and customer service was most impressive and I will have no problem recommending your team.
Kenwynne and I had a great time and walked every day with Trevor who we met up with on the first day and who was an excellent map reader so no probs getting lost...... our luggage was always waiting for us on arrival...... We would definitely use Encounter Walking again, and thanks for all your help.
2nd day was the best day. Wonderful landscape......we were walking slower. We are not as fit as we thought we were. We also misjudged the distances because here where we live 15Km are no problem at all but along the coast is completely different story...... We went to Miners Cafe but we got there in the afternoon. We didn’t see anywhere in between to buy drinks. Otherwise it would have been very long walk without drinks. Maybe you could advise your clients to buy drinks from their accommodation before they head off to St. Just.......All of our accommodations were lovely. We were surprised (in a good way) what basic accommodation in Cornwall meant...... The little hotel in St. Just was a really nice surprise. We loved it there and would have stayed there longer. The farmhouse in Lands End was superb. Such a lovely lady! Huge bedroom. Huge bathroom, huge house. This is also a superb place where you would like to hang around...... Absolutely no problems. We definitely do it again and recommend you.
We had some problems with the “Ancient Stones” walk – perhaps a few more landmarks in the directions.
Best days walk and why
• St Ives to Zennor – spectacular scenery (didn’t hurt that the weather was outstanding and it was our first day)
• St Michael’s Way is recommended for both variety and scenery (directions were excellent). I would highly recommend starting in Marazion rather than Penzance.
Worst days walk and why
• St Just to Porthcurno. This was a really long, hard day. Much harder walking over rocks and on rocky paths than going up and down on dirt/mud paths up north. And we walked on the road from the Minnack. It would have been much harder had we gone down to the beach and then into town.
Were you walking faster or slower than the estimated times
• Somewhat slower, but hard to say as the estimated times don’t include lunch/snack breaks or photo opportunities. On the days when we didn’t stop much due to inclement weather, the estimated times were pretty accurate.
• When booking people at the Gurnards Head (highly recommended), I would suggest that they make dinner reservations at the same time. The kitchen is not large and we found ourselves with a later-than-desired dinner time.
• If booking people at the Commercial Hotel (St Just) I would confirm if they have room fans, as the windows do not open. The location was good for dining and food shopping.
• In Crackington Haven at the Coombe Barton, I would suggest people upgrade (if possible) to the room with the balcony – it has an outstanding view of the harbor.
• I would also recommend upgrading to the larger room at the Seaforth in St Ives if staying for longer than 1 night. The Seaforth proprietors provided us with recommendations for sights and restaurants from St Ives to Penzance – very helpful!
• We were very pleased with the detailed information provided, the organization of the trip and the transfers.
We’re back home with wonderful memories of our walking holiday. Thank-you so much for tailoring the trip to our needs. We enjoyed the Seaforth Inn and the hosts were helpful. The Ordnance Map was indispensable- thanks for marking it so clearly. We walked the easy hike for our day in St. Ives so that we would have the afternoon to explore the town. Wished we could have had another day there. Loved Gurnard’s Head for the location and the food. We walked the ‘difficult’ route for our two days there and had no trouble. Thought they were some of the most beautiful hikes we had ever taken. Our car service also turned out well- they were prompt and accommodating. Wish we could come back next year and do Devon and Dorset. Thanks again for such as thoughtful and clearly organized plan.
Our holiday was very impressive and relaxing. Everything was organised prefect, none issue anytime. Yes, the weather was with us. No rain drop during the walks. Everything worked out quite well. People in Cornwall are impressive friendly. We got a bicycle from David, Porthleven Cycle Hire 01326 561101 & 07980016487 www.porthlevencyclehire.co.uk. David offered a perfect service with delivering and picking up an excellent bike from our accommodations. I can recommend David anytime. Pricing was good too......We had a great holiday and experienced lovely hospitality
BEST DAY'S WALK : 23rd May to 24th May, Porthcurno to St. Just. Perfect weather, lovely beaches...... Most time slower, watching things took time....... A tiny passage between Zennor and St. Ives is very rocky. You have to take big steps and watch for the track. But this section is very short...... All accommodations were very good. Lovely and charming...... The Tregeraint House was especially pretty nice and lovely...... I think tiny maps showing the situation of the accommodations would be useful...... We hadn’t any problems. Our daily experience with services in Germany is far away of what you offered to us. Thankyou again.
Major issue on the last day walking back from Penzance to St. Ives. This path is NOT always easy to find, and we were off the track on at least three occasions......
Best days walk were the 2 days which followed the Lands End day - fabulous scenery, the area around the Minack Theater and Porthcurno. Some very, very lovely beaches. Cliffs were fantastic...... estimated times were good......More information about local history would be much appreciated. You could charge for it, but it would make the walking more interesting and the history more accessible. Hard to get stuff about Cornwall history in Canada....... It all went very smoothly.
Really enjoyed the walk, had four lovely sunny days with only one rainy day which fortunately was during the shortest day’s walk. The accommodation were all good, specially the food at the Gurnards Head Hotel. I would not say the path was marked well but it is easy to follow. Thankyou for arranging to have my walking poles picked up and delivered...... Didn’t get lost but a couple of places went towards the sea when we should have gone inland.....Best day, St. Ives to Treen, start of the walk so we were fresh......All accommodation good, some didn’t have a clock and bar soap in the rooms......Very well organized, prompt reply to all queries......Suggest you ask the South West Coast Path Officer to check the exsisting signs and see where new ones are required. One sign was loose and would turn according to the direction of the wind.......Damon did an outstanding job and answered all questions and gave some very helpful information. A fine man to work with.
Worst Day's Walk : The first, simply because it was more up and down trail than I had expected. There were places on the trail that were extremely wet and muddy and require much deviation to avoid. Boots should be watertight.
The Penzance guest house was the best. Hosts were outstanding, breakfast the best, and just a nice place to end the trek. ..When older persons take this trek they must be in excellent physical condition. I am and so enjoyed it, but this should be emphasised.
I had a great time in spite of the weather! Thanks for organising everything. It was totally hassle free-good accommodation, bag always waiting on my arrival, no problems with the route. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Encounter Walking to friends.
We had a wonderful walking journey. Especially the weather conditions were good. The places we stayed in were excellent. Very kind and helpful people. Your advice to walk from St. Ives to Penzance was very good. We experienced that we started with a severe route. And finished with a moderate to light route. We ended up by taking the bus in Mousehole to Penzance. And then we took the bus from Penzance to St. Ives. We noticed also that for the future we will not carry our luggage anymore. Take less or we would like to bring it ahead. Greetings and thanks for help and all you have done with us. We really appreciate all your work. We have seen the sea lions and the dolphins. Very special. All the time you are close to nature. Birds around you and singing and colouring flowers, it was for me personally a great message how great our Creator is......We got not lost, but found the signs around certain famous mine area not that good......All days were good to walk......maybe we come back to you in the future if we want to make another tour.
As you will know I was extremely lucky with the weather on this walk, which included one jewel of a day that was almost too warm! This was a superb experience, though I must confess that I cut off parts of the walk by taking a bus-not as fit as I was! I had an hour’s rain on the first day of the walk just before Zennor (and up the hill to the Chy An Albany the day before), but otherwise it was very nice indeed......The accommodations you booked were superb, for which thanks ever so much. I particularly loved the Tinners Arms, with its excellent food (and the best shower on the whole trip). As it happened no one was in the other single room, so the shared bath ended up as a ‘private facility’ for me. Many thanks again it was beautiful.
We spent a fabulous few days in Cornwall. Thanks to Encounter for making it all so easy. No problems and Julie at Warwick House was particularly helpful in getting our things dried out......Thanks again, I think we will be returning!......we found the route ok, a combination of your sw coast path notes and signs......We liked the scenery best between Cape Cornwall and Porthcurno but the variety was such that it was all great!......Both the pub at Sennen Cove and the cafe at Lamorna were excellent lunch stops......There were several slippery parts of the trail between Penberth and St Loy which could be hazardous......all accommodation as expected-very good......Warwick House at Penzance was particularly nice and helpful, the bed at Sea View in Porthcurno was the most comfortable......We were novices on the sw coast path so maybe as a warning to other novices about the fact that 12 miles flat is very different from 12 miles up and down, the first day we were pretty tired but the second we knew what to expect and it was better. I found the book of the whole path at Warwick House and it might be a good recommended read......you were very informative and prompt.
Best Days Walk? - No real favourites - they were all fantastic - I think you could easily spend 2 days on the Zennor to Bosavern section because there is so much to stop and look at, especially between Pendeen and Bosavern.
Useful Tips? - Schedule to be in Zennor at The Tinners Arms on Thursday night - music night !
Organisation? - faultless. Taxis were punctual and flexible. Accommodations were all a real treat and we were particularly impressed to discover you were calling to see how we were progressing ! (The weather was very windy and grey for the first couple of days but we had almost no rain during daylight hours).
Accommodation? - absolutely first class - all of them. Bosavern House was a real gem, with great breakfasts, lovely hosts, great common room etc.
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