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.
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Where - Two world class days of walking to cross the wildest and most remote parts of Bodmin Moor climbing Ten Tors, including Cornwall’s two highest peaks, on your way to the North Cornwall coast at mysterious Boscastle – Full Distance 31.2 miles
Options - Extend the walk using The Smugglers Way to give a 41 mile, three day coast to coast route crossing of Cornwall. Expand to a week or more of walking by adding in sections of The South West Coast Path along the North or South Cornish Coastline.
Walking Grade Note - A Ten mile section of this route takes you over wild open moorland and tors – there are no signposts, no shelter and no paths, underfoot the ground can be rocky, marshy and unforgiving – which for many is part of the appeal and the challenge.
The area is remote and you are unlikely to meet other walkers once leaving Minions Village.
It's a superb route but suitable only for experienced walkers – those who are able to be self sufficient, have good map reading skills and can use a compass / GPS with confidence if they get caught in the mist.
The reward for those who take the challenge is a unique route in relatively untrodden wilderness but for those without the experience you should look instead to the easier crossing of southern Bodmin Moor using The Smugglers Way route or for the inexperienced consider The Saints Way from Padstow to Fowey which also crosses Cornwall coast to coast BUT which is suitable for everyone.
Bodmin Moor is one of the UK’s secret walking destinations. A close neighbour of nearby Dartmoor National Park, what makes this wilderness so appealing to experienced walkers is its location in the wilds of Cornwall (Dartmoor sits in Devon) and the fact that it is hardly ever visited and is for the most part well off the tourist trail, unlike its popular neighbour. Bodmin Moor has the twisted rocky Tors, the old mines, the wilderness areas and the forests and offers the walker after a challenge all this in Cornwall’s most remote and inspiring area.
If you want solitude, big skies and 360 degree panoramas you will get them up here ....and in the most remote parts of the moor we can guarantee you won’t be sharing them.
Highlights include scaling ten tors on your crossing each unique and many rarely visited including ascents of Rough Tor and Brown Willy Cornwall’s two highest peaks with the best views in the County from the summits. The chance to overnight on the high moor at the infamous Jamaica Inn of Daphne du Maurier fame, visit The iconic Cheesewring formation, discover stone circles, Neolithic burial Chambers and disused mines and tramways from the moors abandoned past.
On each side of the high ground you will ascend or descend through steep forested river valleys following moorland watercourses that become moss covered lush river gorges as they gather pace and charge off the moor on their short journey to reach the sea.
The Bizarre is there as well – wander over an abandoned WW2 airfield where the only things you will find in the control tower is a herd of sheltering sheep, at Boscastle you will end up at the Museum of Witchcraft and on the high moor the ever present piles of picked clean animal bones will leave you walking with the ever present suspicion that perhaps the infamous beast of Bodmin really is out there...somewhere !
For those walking a 3 day coast to coast route you get your taste of the coast as well, starting in the fishing port of Looe and ending up in the tiny harbour at time warped Boscastle. Once there if you still have energy to burn you can turn left or right to join some of the most dramatic sections of The South West Coast Path to Padstow or Bude
For experienced walkers there is easy access to the route from the mainline station at Liskeard and you can exit from Boscastle by bus to return to the mainline at Padstow or Exeter. All in all a challenging but unforgettable 2 or 3 day expedition that we welcome all those serious and determined about their walking to experience.
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