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........
This is one of the easiest walks to get to and from using public transport with fast trains running from London to St Ives and Penzance and regular and quick buses on to the more remote locations.
If you ask us for a quote we will include public transport or parking information to suit your walking holiday and for those booking we advise and assist in helping you to work out and book the best travel options for your walk. With excellent train connections this is one of the easiest section of the South West Coast Path to walk without a car
Train Arrival - Fast direct trains run from London, The Midlands and the North to St Ives in Cornwall taking around 5 hours for the fastest trains from London. You change just before Penzance for a short but stunning 10 minute branch line train journey into St Ives arriving high above the cliffs and beaches by train. There is also an overnight sleeper service direct to Penzance.
From Penzance you can reach St Ives, St Just, Pendeen, Sennen and Porthcurno by bus in less than an hour or we can arrange a transfer.
Train Departure - From Penzance station direct trains return to London and connect to other parts of the country.
Car - Long stay parking is available in the council run car parks in both St Ives and Penzance and we advise on the options with all our itineraries and quotes. We also have some accommodation options with unrestricted street parking outside in Penzance where you can leave your car for the duration of the walk.
Getting back to your car by public transport is easy and involves taking the train or bus from Sennen to St Ives - via Penzance - we can also advise on taxi or private transfers back to your car. Clearly the nicest way to return to your car is to talk the extended option to walk The St Michaels Way option at the end of the South West Coast Path from Penzance back to St Ives and return on foot adding one extra days walking.
Coach Arrival - National Express Coaches from London run to St Ives and Penzance with connections from other parts of the UK.
Coach Departure - National Express Coaches run from St Ives and Penzance to London with connections from other parts of the UK. Generally Coach travel is cheaper but much longer and less comfortable than the train service.
St Just, Pendeen, Sennen, Zennor and Porthcurno are also served by local bus services that connect to the mainline trains should you wish to end your walk at a midway location. Ask for options.
Arriving from Overseas - Those arriving from overseas will usually arrive in the UK at London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport from where you can catch direct trains to Penzance or St Ives. Those arriving at London Heathrow will usually take a 1/2 hour underground train / overland train service into London Paddington to catch the fast inter city trains to Devon and Cornwall.
Internal Flights - Newquay airport in North Cornwall allows access to the trails by train from Newquay Station to Penzance or St Ives. Private transfers taking around one hour can also be arranged to and from the airport.
There are also regional airports at Exeter and Bristol that take international flights and connect by train to Penzance and St Ives. These will be quicker than flying via London if you can find international flights arriving at these airports.
Remember do ask us for help, advice, timetables and options covering how to arrive and depart as quickly and cheaply as possible.
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