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.
Now taking bookings for all dates in 2023........
Todays Walking Detail - Today you continue along the cliffs and coves of the wild Atlantic coast path heading for the lighthouse at Pendeen.
CLICK HERE to read the route description Zennor to Pendeen
Todays Mining Heritage Highlights – Your first remains of old mines and chimneys appear at imposing Gurnards Head (Treen Cove Mine) followed shortly by the impressive ruined mine complex at Carn Glaver Mine which consists of two atmospheric engine houses and the remains of a Tin Mill in a stunning and wild location sitting below the heights of Penwith Moor. The former Mine Count House here having been converted into the Bosigran Climbing Clubs bunkhouse and you will likely spot the climbers out on the vertical cliffs that drop straight into the sea here.
At Porthmoina Valley you will pick your way through the preserved remains of 19C stamping mills and find the remains of the long silenced Morvah Consol Mines above the cliffs at Rabbit Carn.
Your overnight stay sees you heading inland from the isolated Lighthouse at Pendeen Watch to Pendeen itself the first true mining town (and a very different feel to St Ives and Zennor) A town where most of the residents had connections to Geevor TinMine and a place that still has its own Silver Marching Band as that legacy along with its terraced miners cottages, community centre and Methodist chapels . Stay at The North Inn the haunt of the nearby Geevor Miners where the pub still dispays its miners wagon outside in respect.
Overnight stops in Pendeen on the South West Coast Path
Moorland Option - Penwith Moor, Ding Dong Mine and the Ancient Stones. For those looking for a variety in their walking scenery today you can explore the inland moors on the way to Pendeen.
High above the South West Coast Path is the exposed and expansive plateau of Penwith Moor where you can roam through blankets of heather and gorse under big skies of circling buzzards and ravens . Its a wild place with a real sense of freedom and alone, right in the middle are the impressive remains of Ding Dong Mine and its miners cottages, frozen in utter isolation and with the most incredible views over the area and out to sea. The desolate creeper strung pumping engine houses are simple but immense.
Around 250 men and boys climbed up here in its heyday. Dotted around it you can include in the route a fascinating visit to the areas ancient stone circles, the Men a Tol stone, nine maidens stone circle and the mini Stonehenge like Quoit at Lanyan.
With an early start you can visit Ding Dong Mine, circle the ancient Stones and continue onto Pendeen in a walk of 13 miles. If you prefer shorter walking days take an extra day in Zennor to allow a full day for this moorland visit.
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