Discover challenging and dramatic walking trails shaped by the footsteps of traders, smugglers, saints and pirates. Cornish walking trails will reveal ancient tin mines, clifftop castles, timeless fishing villages and wild moors as you travel through a landscape of huge cliffs and hidden coves that goes back to the depths of time itself. In between the coastal drama, iconic harbours such as St Ives and Padstow give walkers access to some of the UK‘s best restaurants and coastal hotels. A county encircled by the wild Atlantic ocean, there is over 330 miles of spectacular world class coast path here taking you around the farthest corners of England - put simply it feels like walking on the edge of the world.
Stretching from coast to coast across the southwest of England, Devon is a richly diverse county with rugged shores and cliffs in the north, and classic Victorian seaside resorts in the south. In between you'll find tranquil green pastures, wooded gorges and the two dramatic wild moors in the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Choose Devon for its walking variety, and you'll find that the popular image of cream teas and thatched cottages is true - but that Devon is so much more once you explore it on two feet. Coast to coast routes like the Two Moors Way will offer a journey through it all from the wild northern shores that inspired the Romantic poets to the maritime ports of the south coast.
Free your soul and clear your mind! Walking on the wild moors of these National Parks is a wonderful antidote to modern living. England's last true wilderness, Dartmoor offers 365 square miles of virtually uninhabited freedom with high moors and twisted dramatic granite tors a land of myths, ghosts and legends. Exmoor, its smaller and more gentle neighour, is 250 Square miles of near perfect and unique beauty, with high uplands swathed in heather and steep, wooded gorges and rushing streams. See Dartmoor ponies and Exmoor stags in these wildlife rich areas, home to 30 species of mammals and over 240 types of bird. The moors offer a unique opportunity for more challenging walking where the only human sound you will hear is the rhythm of your own breath.
Avoid the crowds and discover “Secret Somerset” missed by so many rushing headlong for the far South West. The 'land of the summer people' was named in a time when this area could only be visited in the summer months as the sea receded. Today its a rich, fertile and 'for real' landscape crowned by the fine walking ridges of the Mendip and Quantock Hills both protected areas of outstanding natural beauty. Rising up over King Arthur‘s Vale of Avalon along with the magical Tor at Glastonbury, walkers will find hidden gorges, wooded combes and the best inland panoramas of the South West. Also boasting its own Jurassic Coast Path, providing a gateway into the wilds of Exmoor National Park, Somerset offers walking routes without the crowds for those who want to find..... what the rest miss.
Dorset has a comfortable old world “English” feel to it and its walking routes traverse a rather more green and agricultural land of thatched cottages, cream teas.... and fossils ! Walkers here will find the more gentle rolling farmland, pretty villages and chalk ridges beloved by Thomas Hardy that sweep down to end abruptly at the World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Here, alongside the sea, those after more challenging routes can take a walking holiday through time itself amongst the dramatic chalk stacks, cliffs and arches of the Dorsetshire fossil coast. An area that can be very busy in high season but often suits walkers looking for more gentle and less exposed walking than the far west of the region.
Wales offers some of the best walking and outdoor activities to be had anywhere in the world. The 870-mile Welsh Coast Path was only fully opened in 2012 and is the world's first walk along the entire coast of a nation. The terrain is on an equally grand scale with towering cliffs, vast stretches of unspoilt golden sands, imposing castles, offshore islands and to the north there is the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park with its stunning mountains. Wales in general offers walkers great value for money compared to more popular areas like Cornwall with walking options to suit everyone, from those who want the cosmopolitan restaurants and facilities of towns like Tenby and St Davids, through to isolated and remote forests and coastal hills that sit on the very cusp of the Snowdonian Peaks. Bursting with confidence and pride in its “Welshness”, its Celtic history, language and culture there has never been a better time for walkers to enter Wales.
The South West Coast Path is the UK's longest National Trail and one of the top ten walking routes in the world. It snakes, dips and rises continuously on its way through a staggering 1014km (630 miles) of pristine coastline, 450 miles of which is through nationally protected areas. It's a challenge too; walking the entire South West Coast Path is the equivalent to scaling Mount Everest four times! From towering cliffs to hidden coves, ghostly tin mines to lush subtropical wooded creeks. One minute a dramatic rock theatre hewn out of the cliffs, the next a prehistoric fossilized forest or a 20thC Art Deco Island Hotel. What sets The South West Coast Path apart from other trails is that around almost every corner is yet another surprise as you retrace the footsteps and histories of the tin miners, fisherman, smugglers, wreckers and the customs men who chased them.
Distance 71 miles (114 km) linking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path at Cardigan to the Meirionydd Coast Path at Machynlleth in mid-Wales.
Grade Mostly strenuous grade with occasional but short moderate/easy sections - What this means
Is this for you? A challenging section of the Wales Coast Path with multiple climbs and descents along dramatic cliffs linking pretty fishing harbours. Suitable for fit and experienced walkers who can deal with remote sections and some more basic overnight stays.
Highlights Spotting dolphins and porpoise as you walk the isolated conical peak and sailors chapel at Mwnt. Plunging cliffs and rock formations around Llangrannog. Pretty fishing harbours including Dylan Thomas' New Quay. Huge sands at Borth and a sniff of the mountains from Foel Fawr as you head inland.
Terrain Stays close to the coast on extensive and sometimes exposed cliff and cove trails before diverting inland on footpaths over saltmarsh and wooded hillsides to Machynlleth.
Towering sea cliffs, dramatic coves, deep wooded ravines and isolated headlands – welcome to Ceredigion and 60 miles of world class coastal walking. Take a challenging and inspiring journey from the top to bottom of one of the ancient coastal princedoms of Wales, established way back in the 6th century by the Celtic leader, Ceredig.
This is one of the tougher sections of the 870 miles of the Wales Coast Path but, as with its cousin, the South West Coast Path, it’s the sections with the biggest climbs and descents that deliver the most dramatic scenery. On the trail, the views are ever changing, from high cliff-top trails, fertile coastal plains and isolated shingle beaches to mighty glacial valleys and ancient wooded ravines. Coming from the interior at Machynlleth, you will then pass through low mountain areas on your way to the coast and there is even the great Bog of Borth to navigate…which is a lot more enticing than it sounds!
Included in just 60 miles of trail, there are no less than four sections of protected Heritage Coastline areas – established to preserve the incredible marine wildlife in the area. This is one of only two places in the UK that has a resident population of bottlenose dolphins with around 400 resident along the coast and there is no better place to spot them, together with the seals that visit here, than from clifftops high above the ocean. Take a boat trip from New Quay to travel farther off shore to look for humpback and minke whales. Pause at Bird Rock, one of the most significant breeding colonies of seabirds on the Welsh mainland and in the unique dune ecosystem at Ynslas look for rare butterflies, moths, orchids and fungi.
For the walker, facilities are well spaced out on this route, with a steady run of attractive coastal towns, harbours and villages, each quite different from the last and there is also the opportunity to explore the cultural capital of Aberystwyth. At New Quay you stay in the realm of Dylan Thomas and his village of Llareggub from Under Milk Wood (read it backwards!). History travels with you, from castle ruins at Cardigan and Aberystwyth to ancient medieval fish traps, from isolated hill forts to Georgian harbours, reminders of the rich history of a coastline that has attracted invaders, monks and pilgrims for centuries.
This is a fiercely proud part of Wales for those who want to really experience this country. Over 50% of the population here speak Welsh and with the University and National Library on the coast at Aberystwyth, Ceredigion sees itself very much as the cultural capital of Wales.
There are trains to Machynlleth, Borth and Aberystwyth from Birmingham so you can reach the route through mid-Wales by rail and depart from Cardigan, by bus to Carmarthen and through southern Wales on the train via Cardiff – both great train journeys in their own right.
Those who love climbs, cliffs and coves and the challenges of dramatic coastline will be at home here – this coast is very much like Cornwall, but without the pasty shops, Rick Stein restaurants and holiday crowds.
Ceredigion is real Wales and is unique, very different to its neighbour, the gentler Meirionnydd which is characterised by wide estuaries, salt marshes and long beaches. In contrast, here everything is more intense, action-packed and ever-changing. Flowing streams and gushing rivers rush across the route from inland Ceredigion to the sea, leaving a deeply carved and rugged landscape which offers the walker a new highlight at every turn of the path. It is difficult to think of any other 60-mile section of path in Wales or the South West of England that delivers so much drama, challenge and variety in such a relatively short distance.
This makes the route a great week’s walking holiday or the perfect launch-pad for a longer coastal journey south on into Pembrokeshire or north along the Meirionnydd coastal plain to the mountains of Snowdonia.
Short video showing a taste of the Coastline through Ceredigion:
Map of all
for this walk
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