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 – 10 miles (16km) Grade - 1.5 miles Easy grade then Strenuous for 8.5 miles. High cliffs cut by coastal pasture & valleys
The 10 miles from Aberystwyth to Llanryhstud are the most isolated on the Ceredigion Path and you will pass virtually no habitation along the way. Much of the walking feels high in the heavens, with big cliffs and steep slopes which start almost as soon as you leave Aberystwyth. This whole section has excellent views both out to sea and inland, with gorse-covered hills rising on your left above you, leaving you to tread a somewhat precarious trail between the two.
It’s an enjoyable and easy start, through the marina and harbour at Aberystwyth, before crossing the mighty Afron Ystwyth River and finally leaving the town behind.
Tanybwlch beach stretches out towards the first climb of the day. It’s a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest and is overlooked by the imposing gorse clad hump of Penparcau Hill Fort, one of the greatest earth bank castles in all of Wales. This was the original settlement in the bay and today is topped with its huge memorial column to the Duke of Wellington.
The beach is a tranquil setting for a spot so close to town, with the river Ystwyth meandering to your left between beach and hill fort, with the occasional whistles of the Vale of Rheidol railway adding to the atmosphere. In the 1830’s the top of the shingle bank was flattened to create a horse drawn tramway, bringing rock from the cliff quarries above you to the harbour to construct its seawalls, and you can still clearly see the where the route was levelled. Ringed plovers’ nest on the beach here, despite its proximity to the town and yellow horned poppy and sea radish, campion and holly grow freely. It’s worthwhile keeping an eye on the banks of the Ystwyth for the blue flash of a kingfisher as you walk.
The easy stroll ends quickly, however, then it’s a monstrously steep climb up Alt Wen but the views are your reward as you toil upwards – some of the best yet. Looking over your shoulder, you can see the golden Dyfi Estuary and the start of the Ceredigion Coast Path whilst ahead of you, 2 days walk away, sits the harbour of New Quay and beyond is Cardigan Island – from here you have almost the entire path in view. Inland, the summit of the dark and brooding Plynlimon mountain gives an aspect not often seen on the coast path. It’s an exposed ridge scarred with 19th Century quarries and exposed rock faces, which add to the atmosphere.
Thereafter, it’s a breezy cliff top ramble until you eventually descend using a wide greenway, constructed to bring up lime from the kiln on the beach at Morfa Bychan. This place was once the location of the monastic manor houses of the inland Strata Florida Abbey, now it’s a small holiday park nestled in a break in the line of cliffs.
Another steep climb follows, taking you ½ mile inland into rich sweeping, hill-sheep territory with just an occasional farm. At Ffos-Las farm, you join a lovely ancient trackway where wiry bent double coastal trees form a long tunnel across the hillside, followed by an avenue of yellow gorse. It almost feels like the landscape is preparing to greet a royal visitor rather than a coastal walker.
Beyond, you drop to the lowest point since Aberystwyth, an area where coastal erosion is evident and large, recent collapses in the cliffs force you inland on several occasions. In past times this section was a flatter more fertile corridor, a natural break in the foreboding cliffs which allowed for some settlement here, linked to the inland monasteries and a rare place for them to grow wheat and barley.
Mynachdy’r Graig is the “Monk’s House on the Rock” harking back to the time when monks were sent here to establish farming and you can see remains of older buildings and stores from these days. At Twll Twrw (meaning ‘noise hole’), you pass ‘Monks Cave’, a large blow-hole in the cliffs below the path, which bursts into life at certain stages of the tide.
It’s a steady climb up now and the gentle former monastic lands are left behind for the final push through a section of steep and harsh coastal cliffs and peaks. Halfway, a deep narrow gorge crosses the route at the Pinderi Cliffs Nature Reserve, a unique place where ancient, twisted, wind-swept sessile oaks suddenly appear on the generally treeless coast path. The stunted and exposed trees hang off the side here, in the harshest of conditions, taking the full force of the salty gales. On the other side of the abyss sits Pen Glog, a rocky pyramid like a miniature mountain, which menaces from on high. Above the path, buzzards, kestrels, peregrines and kites are often seen as well as choughs, stonechats and wheatears.
Pinderi is now a Wales Wildlife Trust Reserve that clings to the cliff edge. There is a short walk through it for those with the nerve to get close to the drops. Despite its windblown spot it’s an excellent area for wildflowers with bluebells, campion, wood sage and ox-eye daisies and butterflies and there’s a good chance you’ll spot seals on the isolated rocks below.
You are now on a rollercoaster of exciting and sometimes narrow sections of path. The scenery is untouched; there’s not a house in sight as you climb and descend some punishing sections, traversing your way along the spine of the coastline. This is one of the most dramatic, isolated and windswept sections of the whole Ceredigion Coast Path and you will feel invigorated and very alive once you complete it!
There’s a final big climb to an exposed peak above the prominent rocky stack at Carreg Ti Pw. After that it’s with some relief that you make a long descent back to sea level, skirting a caravan park - the first sight of habitation, at Pengarreg.
Llanrhystud village is around ¾ mile inland from here but a pleasant walk on old tracks arriving by the bold looking 19th century church of St Rhystud. Despite the caravan site, it’s an unspoilt strip of nature - of the 26 species of butterfly in the UK, over half have been recorded in this immediate area.
Click Here for information on your overnight in Llanrhystud on The Ceredigion Coast Path
Map of all
for this walk
Go to top
Company Registered in England No: 8227323
VAT Registration No: 138 8656 68