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.
Encounter Walking Holidays Update
Holidays booked starting in April or May 2020
Holidays booked starting June 1st 2020 or later
Official Advice and Updates on travel to and within the UK
Update from Encounter Walking Holidays Ltd – 17.00pm 23rd March 2020
These are difficult times for everyone and we hope this message finds you and your communities fit and well.
We will only operate our walking holidays if your holiday will be safe, viable and within the UK Government guidelines for travel during this virus outbreak. We are in touch regularly with all the relevant authorities to try and safeguard the health of customers, staff and the local communities where we operate walks. When deciding if holidays can continue at this time these are not decisions we make lightly and we will try to keep booked holidays running whenever its possible whilst also being mindful of ensuring our business survives for staff and future walkers.
The situation in the UK has now changed to one where Government Guidance is asking everyone to avoid non-essential travel particularly to rural areas of Wales and the South West. This is to try and protect lives and slow the spread of the CoronaVirus. We understand how disappointing this is for those who have walking holidays booked and due to depart in the next few weeks but the situation on the trails is also that restaurants, cafes and bars are now closed and many of the Hotels and B&B’s are closing their doors to support efforts to slow the spread. The walking areas are effectively off limits to anyone who does not live there.
With this background we have today taken the difficult decision to cancel all walking holidays which were due to start in April and May with immediate effect.
We will review the status of holidays due to start on or after 1st June, at the end of April and will advise all customers on whether or not their holidays can operate, depending on the Government Advice and the practicalities of operating the holiday at that time. This reviewing process will continue for bookings later in the year meaning we will be in touch with you having reviewed your holiday around 5 weeks ahead of their anticipated start date to see if it can go ahead
As advised by the Government all our staff are now either self-isolating due to CoronaVirus or are working remotely to avoid any chance of spreading the virus to each other. We therefore are not able to staff the office phone line at this time but there are plenty of us working on emails and we will respond to any questions or issues that you email in to us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please continue to check back here for updates and also the South West Coast Path Association website which has a good summary of the current situation for those wanting to walk the path www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/newsapp/article/347/
Our priority at this time will always be health - yours, ours and those you interact with if walking in the UK. In the travel industry we are all waiting for a UK Government response to the trade bodies (ABTA and ABTOT) requests for help in this difficult situation
If you are due to start your holiday in April or May 2020
Sadly it will not be possible for your walk to go ahead due to the latest Government Policy on non essential travel and the closure of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Under the Package Travel Directive, now amended by the UK Government due to the Virus emergency, we have been instructed that for any holidays we are unable to provide we are required by law to provide a credit note to the value of all of your payments to date. This will be valid for the next 2 years to use against rebooking the same walking holiday or a different one.
Credit Notes - Credit Notes are non-transferable and will be emailed to the lead booker of your holiday along with confirmation that your holiday has been cancelled. If you want to rebook your holiday for later in the year or next season then you will able to do this with your credit note as soon as the restrictions are lifted and your holiday can be operated
We will aim to book the same accommodation and activities of your original holiday once you give us the new dates for your walk. Please note we cannot guarantee the same accommodation or rooms will be available but if not we will offer an alternative of the same standard and we will advise you of the change. If you choose a holiday cheaper than your current booking, no refunds can be given.
If you prefer to pursue a refund now then you should contact your Travel Insurance Company and ask to claim back your payments. This may be because you are unable to travel to your walking holiday where your country has banned overseas travel or if you have health issues that prevent you travelling. Make sure you ask to claim under Travel Disruption and / or Cancellation clauses as some insurers are wrongly advising that you have to have caught the virus to be eligible. We can provide a letter for your insurers confirming you have cancelled along with details of our Terms and Conditions and a summary of what you have paid.
If you are due to start your walking holiday on June 1st or later
We will not cancel your walking holiday bookings without telling you but we will assess whether or not your booking can go ahead 5 weeks before you are due to start your holiday and get in touch with you at that point. If trails, accommodation and cafes and restaurants are closed, there is a ban on all but essential travel or a ‘lockdown’ we will need to cancel your holiday. This may also happen if accommodation has closed during the crisis and is not reopening. We will however do our best to make your walking holiday work if its possible for you to travel here and walk under the latest Government advice and instructions
If you are due to pay your balance payment then we would advise you only do this if we have confirmed with you that your walking holiday will go ahead. If it is not possible for your walking holiday to continue we will instead issue a credit note for your deposit payment which can be used against any of our walking holidays in the future (see above for further info on credit notes and on help with claiming a refund from your insurance company)
If you decide to cancel your holiday earlier than the 5 weeks point then this will be a cancellation by you and will be subject to our usual terms and conditions. You will forefeit your deposit but may be able to claim it back from your insurance company but do check before cancelling.
Official Advice on Travel to the UK and where to get it
Keep an eye on the advice at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office or your Countries equivalent for up to date advice on any areas of the UK that have a travel exclusion or that your government is advising you to avoid. You will find the latest official advice from your Government on travel and staying healthy on these websites.
UK - www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan
USA - www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/UnitedKingdom.html
Australia - www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/united-kingdom
Currently many countries are advising against travel to Europe and the UK use the links above to find the latest position.
If you want more up to date information about what the UK Government is currently doing to deal with the Virus this can be found on this link. This is updated daily and is the official UK position - www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan
Once in the UK we advise walkers keep up to date with National News programmes and follow local advice. We will be ready to help you once you have started your holiday if any restrictions prevent your holiday running as planned
Finally all of us at Encounter Walking Holidays want to thank all those in the NHS and other organisations who selflessly put themselves in danger to look after the rest of us.
Latest Situation in the UK www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan
Terms and Conditions of Booking https://encounterwalkingholidays.com/booking_conditions
South West Coast Path Association information on Walking the Coast Path www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/newsapp/article/347/
Go to top
Company Registered in England No: 8227323
VAT Registration No: 138 8656 68