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.
A stunning, circular walking holiday unearthing the very best of Dartmoor National Park with options for walking short breaks covering the highlights of the trail. 83 to 90 mile walk depending on route options.
Without doubt for those who want the most comprehensive and varied walking experience on Dartmoor you have to be walking The Dartmoor Way – Other walking routes may touch on it, some such as The Two Moors Way are bold enough to make a single crossing of it but only the Dartmoor Way covers the National Parks rich variety in full and in depth, from its tranquil river valleys and idyllic villages through to the dramatic twisted Tors, tumbling waterfalls and lonely moorland farmsteads.
For the walker, The Dartmoor Way uses an endlessly changing mix of ancient sunken lanes and drove ways, leafy forest trails, disused railway lines, open moorland and even the ancient “Corpse” Trails to take you on this 90 mile circular adventure
It’s a route for those who love breathtaking views which are with you at every step be it panoramas of iconic moorland Tors, hidden white water gorges, dark forests or rich wildflower pastures.
For those who still love their legends and relish walking headlong into the deep dark history of their surroundings, The Dartmoor Way delivers you enchanting castles, medieval Abbeys, stone slab clapper bridges and ancient moorland crosses.
If you grew up on Sherlock Holmes the Dartmoor Way will make it real once again with its abandoned plague villages, deadly mires and ghostly Tors the haunt of the phantom Hound of the Baskervilles.
From the prehistoric era you will encounter mystical stone circles, huge menhirs, mysterious stone rows and spooky burial chambers that litter the moor - evidence of its power to draw and inspire us mere humans since the dawn of time itself.
This is the land of the infamous Hound, of Evil Squires, outlaws, hardy quarrymen and escaping Convicts and you will return to their tales, legends and pass through their locations along your Dartmoor Way Journey
In a wilderness of this size wildlife is everywhere. In the moorland skies ravens, buzzard, Curlew kestrels and even Peregrine Falcon circle the highest Tors. As you descend to the gorges and wooded valleys kingfishers, woodpeckers, dippers and heron reveal themselves patiently watching the shoals of freshwater trout and salmon.
Moorland ponds literally buzz with azure blue Dragonflies and wonderful varieties of Butterflies and Damselflies.
Most famous of all are the herds of Wild Dartmoor Ponies, hardy beasts that will entertain and enchant you as they pass by on an endless migration across the moors to find better grazing. Needing more effort to spot, but there all the same, are the deer, otter, adders and foxes of the lower river valleys .....and then there is that hound !
Along the way you will rest in a steady procession of picture postcard thatched villages, bustling market towns and hardy moorland hamlets each unique in their history and location offering something new for the Dartmoor Pilgrim to explore and experience on each different overnight stop. Stay in pretty B&B Cottages or stone floor and oak beamed Inns that have stood since the 15th Century. Places where on arrival you will be welcomed in (as has always been the way with tired travellers from the moor), to sit down to Cream Teas, strong cloudy cider, fresh trout from the river or hearty roasts of local game.
The strength of this walk is its flexibility – on its standard route it's suitable for all abilities of walker to enjoy and because it follows the valleys and edges of the moor it’s not overly demanding or difficult –You will still cross the high moor on occasions but with The Dartmoor Way this is on easy to follow track ways where Tors are close by, simple to access and the length of walking day can be set to comfortably suit your level of walking.
With the option to build in side trips and rest days in inspiring locations, the Dartmoor Way is one route that fully engages with the moors variety, yet is open to all levels of walker.
However, for the adventurous there are lots of options to climb an endless parade of higher Tors, take remote open moorland alternatives and walk longer days on more demanding schedules it’s easy to adapt the route into a much more severe battle with Dartmoor for those that want a challenge.
We offer a range of options that link to the core Dartmoor Way Route, some easy, some demanding more experience. No need then to miss the climb of Brentor – where the improbable little Church clings to the top of a volcanic Tor, or the descent to the foot of the deepest gorge in the South West at Lydford.
You can look forward to short diversions off route to reach the Belstone Tor and The East Oakmount Waterfalls, the Merrivale Stone Rows and Circles or the iconic trio of rock sculptures at Bowermans Nose, Hounds Tor and Haytor Rocks.
So whether you want to keep the walking easy or pit yourself against the wilderness read on for full details on what each day on The Dartmoor Way can bring and then contact us for help to tailor this unique route into giving you ‘your walk........... your way’.
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