Encounter Walking Holidays UK Logo

12th September 2023- We are sorry but we are now fully booked until October on all our routes - please contact us for Autumn and 2024 dates

About Us!

Encounter Walking Logo

We are very happy to answer any questions about Encounter Walking Holidays Ltd, so if you don't find what you need to know in the information below then please contact us directly and we will help.

Link to questions on:

| Who we are  |  Company History  |  Where we are   |  What we do  |  Our vision  |  Why trust us ?  |  

Who we are

Shelterbox Charity EventOur core team is currently a group of about 9 dedicated staff who are keen walkers and love being outdoors in Cornwall where we all live. Between us we have walked in most areas of the UK and indeed around many parts of the world - from Japan to the Himalaya, Peru to Portugal. We also receive occasional help from others in the walking community who do some freelance research, writing and photography for us in other areas of the UK and we work closely with other walking organisations and trail management groups, which you can read about under What we do.

Company History

Kayaking TripsThe company was set up in 2006 as a family business called Encounter Cornwall in the village of Lerryn, mid Cornwall and originally its main work was offering kayaking trips on the River Fowey which passes through the village.  We also started offering short walking breaks on our local section of the South West Coast Path initially between Mevagissey and Looe, what we now call the Classic Cornish Short Break route

Our initial aim was to fill a gap in the market by providing tailor-made walking trips where the walker had some control over building their walking itinerary and choosing where to stay - and so the concept of - "your walk.... your way" was born. With a staff group who were all keen walkers, several of us had already taken walking holidays with other companies and as a result we knew the shortcomings in what was currently on offer. We often ended up with poor accommodation, long walks off the trail to find our beds and a general lack of knowledge (or interest) about the walking routes from those providing it. So, left to work things out for ourselves we did just that - but we decided to learn from the poor service we experienced and instead start to offer a better walking holiday service with more suitable options for those who wanted to enjoy the trails we love.

Showry tor Bodmin MoorThe walking holidays quickly became very popular and we expanded to research options and then cover the full 630 miles of the South West Coast Path. We decided to concentrate all our efforts into our walking holidays and sold Encounter Cornwall who, we are pleased to report, continue kayaking on the River Fowey under that name and are well worth joining for a paddle if walking in South Cornwall.  On our side, we had long outgrown Cornwall's walking trails by that point and so became Encounter Walking Holidays and from that point on concentrated only on our walking holidays.

With a high number of loyal customers wanting more routes we added coast to coast routes such as The Two Moors Way and Saints Way. By 2011, keen to keep unearthing the best routes for our regulars, we worked with the Wales Coast Path which was instrumental in opening the first continuous walking route around an entire nation, a massive 870 miles of trail ... and we continue to expand along that route every year. 

The England Coast Path which is due to be completed by 2020 brings us new future route opportunities and meanwhile we are busy working in areas such as Somerset and Dartmoor which provide superb and comparatively unknown walking routes giving our walkers quality alternative options to areas like Cornwall and Devon which can suffer from a severe lack of available accommodation at peak times.

Pembrokeshire Coast Path We are often asked by our regular customers about walks in other regions such as the North, the Cotswolds and Scotland and about well- known routes like the Coast to Coast and Hadrian's Wall Path. However we are very careful about only providing walking holidays in areas we have researched in detail and have walked in full, often several times, so our expansion is steady and controlled from the South West routes through Wales. Whilst we do increase the portfolio of options every year, we won't offer to arrange a walk in an area in which we  do not feel we have expertise. As a result of this policy, in the South West and coastal Wales we have more options and more expertise than any other organisation and for several years now we have been the largest provider of self guided walking holidays in the region. It is an immense source of pride for those of us that work at Encounter Walking Holidays to state confidently that we know we are the most experienced operator at what we do.

We became a limited company around 4 years ago and have enjoyed hosting a big rise in overseas walkers in the last few years, particularly from areas such as Scandinavia, America and mainland Europe. 

Where we are

Our core staff are based in a small office right by the train station in Lostwithiel, Cornwall with others working from home as part of our flexible employer policy. 

All trains in and out of Cornwall pass us at Lostwithiel and its nice to see them fly by and know our walkers are on them heading to the trails in West Cornwall. Anyone who finds themselves in Lostwithiel is very welcome to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat!

What we do

It's probably clear by now that we provide Self Guided Walking Holidays (!) but for those who want to know more about what that means visit the About our Holidays page which explains this in full.

A young walker enjoying the coast path

We don't provide any other services but we do spend a lot of time providing general tourist information and will always give free help and advice to anyone who contacts us with questions about walking in the region... whether they book with us or not.  We are a group of walkers and as such we are always ready to help other walkers who are stuck and need our expertise.

As we have grown larger we have been able to allocate staff time to assist in supporting management of the walking routes and lobby work to represent the wider walking community. We currently have staff represented on, or supporting, the work of the following management and interest groups:

The Coleridge Way Steering Group for promotion and maintenance of The Coleridge Way

The Cornwall Countryside Access Forum protecting access for walkers across all paths in Cornwall

The South West Coast Path Association for promotion and maintenance of The South West Coast Path

Exmoor National Park and Exmoor Tourism Association for promotion of walking in Exmoor National Park

Working with the Mendip Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the relaunch of The Mendip Way

Working with Visit Britain, Visit Cornwall, Visit Devon, Visit Somerset and Visit Wales on promotion of those regions to walkers.

Our Vision

Its fairly simple !

  • - To provide high quality walking holidays across the South West and Wales with as much choice and flexibility in itineraries and accommodation as possible.
  • - To develop and support new walking routes particularly in areas which are economically and geographically disadvantaged.
  • - To provide sustainable holidays using and promoting public transport where possible.
  • - To use and work with local businesses, encouraging visitor payback schemes and responsible behaviour from our walkers.
  • - To work with other groups on existing trail management schemes and to lobby with them for wider improvements for walkers in the UK.
  • - To be a fully flexible employer which helps us retain our staff and benefit from the experience they have gained here for as long as possible.
  • - To pay all staff at levels above the Living Wage Assocation's "real" Living Wage - which is a higher rate than the current Government version. For more info click here .

Why trust us ? Four checks you can make about your walking holiday provider.

It's wise to ask a few questions and check that whoever you are booking with is not only reliable and professional but also that the money you send for your holiday is protected.

2  - Check our Experience and Legal Status

With over 10 years of providing walking holidays and as the largest operator on the trails we have built up more experience of the options and issues than anyone else. We specialise in providing solutions that work for difficult enquiries but we are also able to be very clear if we think your plans won't work. We won't take on work that we can't complete to our high operating standards. Instead, in those situations we will always try to make suggestions on how you can get as close to your ideal walk as possible.

  • We are a Company Registered in England No: 8227323  - you can check this at Companies House where we became a Ltd company in 2012.
  • We pay Government VAT on all holidays for you and our VAT Registration Number is: 138 8656 68 - you can check this with the HMRC VAT Helpline on 0300 200 3700

3 - Check Reviews from our Customers

Click here to read reviews from those who have already booked with us. We ask every walker to upload a review of their walk and experiences with us online and you can easily scan through them.  You will see if you read them that we don't change anything in the review and we upload all reviews, hundreds every year. 

4 - Check with our Suppliers

Jamaica Inn We work with over 600 accommodation providers and you are welcome at any point to contact them if you wish to get reassurance about us and our work with them.

Call or email any of the hotels and accommodation suggested by us in your quotes and ask them about us - we are sure you will get a very positive response

If you want to read more about the benefits of booking with us under Why Book with us?

Finally, we are here to help so if you still have any concerns contact us and we will try and reassure you and provide you with the information or answers you want.




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