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.
South West Coast Path
The Coleridge Way
Go Walking in Wales
Cornwall Coast Path
Exmoor National Park
Jurassic Coast Path
Walking in Somerset
"Rail to Trail" Walks
Dartmoor National Park
The largest walking site for the SW & Wales
Run BY walkers...FOR walkers
300 pages of Interactive Maps, route profiles, FAQ's, videos & trail reviews
Find the answers to ALL your walking queries from the region's most comprehensive walking website
We don't do "STANDARD" walking holidays
Benefit from individual advice and tailor made itineraries to create the walk YOU want
Work with walking advisors who KNOW the trails & can plan the right route, accommodation & support for you - from the moment you enquire until the end of your adventure
We are the regions premier Walking Experts
Use our interactive map to research your ideal walk ...
Contact a walking expert for route ideas, accommodation options and walk planning
630 miles of coastal drama along the UK's premier long distance trail
Majestic castles, isolated beaches, dramatic cliffs and off-shore islands
Iconic harbours, smuggler's coves, wild moors & ancient stones - uniquely Cornwall
Including the Two Moors Way, Dartmoor Way and Coleridge Way routes
We are offering a great deal on some of our walking routes for those of you looking for an autumn getaway. These deals apply if you book a walk with us on one of these routes.
Read more here.....
"Simone Stanbrook-Byrne revels in her surroundings as a newly re-launched route takes her through some of the most dramatic and varied terrain in the country."
Simone Stanbrook-Byrne's excellent review of the Mendip way is available as a downloadable PDF by clicking here or you can read it online by visiting Somerset Life's website and reading the magazine article by clicking here.
We are proud to be support YoungMinds. With the growth in mental health difficulties (3 children in every classroom have a mental health problem), YoungMinds are leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. Please visit their website for more useful information (click on the logo below).
Promoting good mental health is now more important than ever, YoungMinds is reaching more children and young people than ever before and they are working to champion the voices of young people and parents to influence mental health policy and practice.
We supported Grant Morffew who walked the Dartmoor Way route in May. Grant raised £6500 which is great news, congratulations to Grant on completing the walk and the amount raised. You can continue to support Grant by visiting his Just Giving page and consider supporting Young Minds directly. See more here
The money raised will go towards their excellent work. To give you an idea of how the money can be spent:
£5 funds a stigma busting pack for teachers and kids in schools; £15 ensures a Helpline Volunteer is on the end of the phone to provide information and support to distressed parents; £30 supports the training of a Young Minds Activist giving them the skills and confidence to speak out about mental health issues; £45 gives a parent or carer an hour with a mental health professional who can provide clinical guidance.
Anyone who wants to know more about YoungMinds or needs the support they can offer, can visit their support page by clicking this link.
We are currently taking enquiries and bookings for all months on all walks - New routes arriving soon include Ceredigion and Snowdonia Coast Path in Wales, St Austell Brewery Ale Trails in South and West Cornwall and the three day Exmoor Adventure on a circular route out of Porlock - CLICK HERE to send in a quote enquiry
The Mendip Way offers 50 miles of top quality walking through an area of outstanding natural beauty along the Mendip Plateau in beautiful Somerset, through an ancient landscape of hidden caverns and gorges. Visit places replete with myths and legends including King Arthur's Vale of Avalon, the cathedral city of Wells and the iconic Glastonbury Tor. Read more about The Mendip Way. Contact us for more information and to request a quote.
We are providing all our walkers with copies of this excellent guide to help answer questions about our walking holidays. Those booking onto them receive booklets with their maps and guidebooks but if you have general questions about how our holidays work day to day its work looking at it online for more info. There is lots of useful information if you have not walked in the UK or not been on a walking holiday before.
Click here or click on the image to view The Walkers Information Booklet now
We also have a section of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) - Click here and of course you are welcome to just contact us directly with any specific questions if you can't find the answers you need.
To subscribe to future Newsletters with updates on new walks and offers (2 or 3 times a year) to to the very bottom right of this page to find the sign up box
Would you choose Encounter Walking Holidays for future holidays? Yes
Would you recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to others? Yes
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path lived up to all our expectations. What a stunning route, very varied terrain, unspoilt, very few other people on it, felt very remote at times.
We used National Express coaches to Swansea - have "wrinkly" coach cards so it's very cheap travel. Travelodge for 1 night. Train to Kilgetty, this is a "request" stop only, then short walk - made slightly longer by route finding errors, not a good start! - in heavy drizzle to Amroth. Walked to the official start of the path to save time the next day. Had a pint in the Amroth Arms, they do Doom Bar!, and booked a table for the evening meal.
Started walking properly on Thursday 12th September, again in drizzle. Very windy at times too but what wonderful scenery. This is going to be good! Really pleased to have Choughs for company as we did every day except one. It was always a lovely moment to hear and see the Choughs for the first time each day. Towards the end of the route there were seals and their beautiful white pups in virtually every cove, could only hear them sometimes when the edge of the cliff was too dodgy to get too close.
Having never done any of the route before it was quite exciting starting out each morning wondering what we would see. We were never disappointed! Even the "industrial" sections were good. The Valero oil refinery is very well hidden although you can hear the "flare" for miles. There was an environmental protest there a couple of days after we passed with people chained to concrete blocks and tankers being directed across fields.
We were amused when passing the LPG refinery to see the "no fires or barbecues" signs as we passed under the huge pipelines. Had no trouble following the route once we started. There was a notice before The Gan crossing saying the bridge had been destroyed and it was only possible to wade at low spring tide. It's actually only the middle section gone, this is a shingle bank, so with a bit of stone rearranging we crossed with dry feet.
We were SO lucky with the weather, the heatwave was okay for us as it was also very windy. Only one very wet day from Trefin to Goodwick and it improved again after with some showers, forecast was always far worse than the actual weather luckily. As we travelled home again having completed the route the weather deteriorated seriously, Don't think we would have been able to do the last day safely as it was so windy.
As with the SWCP last year our accommodation providers all spoke very highly of you, you have a very good name, well done! Accommodation was, as last year, varied. We liked some more than others but they all provided what we required in the right place, you must have to do a lot of research.
The stand out ones were Jim Lowe at Manorbier, but unfortunately he is moving so that will be a great loss to you. The truly delightful Elizabeth and John (a Cornishman!) with their beautiful house and garden at Dale, Anchor Guest House at Broad Haven and their lovely Italian food and Cranog at Trefin.
We took no camera with us again, pictures in heads quite adequate. We did - again like last year - keep a daily diary which will jog our memories in the future.
Basically we had a wonderful holiday again, many thanks to you for organising it so efficiently again.
Best wishes, David & Anne
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