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.
We are all walkers here at Encounter Walking Holidays and several of us are dog owners so you are talking to people that understand that if you go on a walking holiday, you want your faithful friend alongside you sharing the experience, not left at home in a kennel. Trails like the South West Coast Path and The Dartmoor Way can be ideal for walking holidays with dogs having virtually no road at all, just mile after mile of scenic doggy heaven as you wander and your dog will relish the variety of beach, woods and moor as much as you will.
The key issue if you want to walk with your dog is finding the right dog friendly accommodation. With much of the South West Coast Path running through popular holiday areas, many of the B&B’s just won’t offer 'dogs allowed' accommodation – and if you have tried to organise things yourself you will know that finding a route with dog friendly accommodation night after night can be a frustrating affair in these areas.
However, with years of experience organising walking holidays with dogs for our customers, we’ve been through all the options many times before. We are therefore able to offer several routes where using a mix of dog-friendly B&B’s, small hotels and inns we can provide anything from a short break to a two-week walking expedition.
The following options are tried and tested holidays with good dog friendly accommodation based along the some of the regions' main trails. Read the route descriptions to see which you find most inspiring and send in a quote request. Please just advise us what size of dog you will have with you.
Four days walking along one of the most inspiring and challenging sections for two-legged and four-legged walkers. The best route if you want to take more luxury dogs-allowed accommodation options, with a good mix of welcoming small hotels, B&B’s and a couple of luxury options if desired in places like Padstow and Port Isaac. Extensions also possible to allow dog-walking all the way from Westward Ho! to Padstow with one transfer which we can arrange required in the Hartland Area. More details.....
Up to 7 days walking with your dog using a mix of B&B’s, small hotels and Inns along a stunning section of The South West Coastal Path. Passing through the edge of Exmoor National Park, the sands and dunes at Woolacombe and the dramatic coastal cliffs of Lynmouth, this is the best option for those looking for both value for money, a longer dog walking holiday and a wide variety of scenery. More details.....
Pefect walking holiday in partnership with your dog circling the National Park over mysterious Dartmoor with its Hound of the Baskervilles connections! Wild open moorland mixes with hidden gorges and dense woodland and forest. Options for side trips to climb the mighty tors on the way with cosy overnight stays mainly in moorland village inns where the locals are all dog owners and there is a warm welcome for four legged visitors. More details.....
Walk this superb route over 5 days with an average of around 10 miles a day and stay in pubs, hotels and B&B's with your dog all the way. On route pass through the Quantock Hills, climb Dunkerry Beacon highest point in Exmoor National Park and traverse the remote Lorna Doone Valley at Brendon. Great mix of woodland, moorland, coastal views and gorges and with virtually no road walking at all your dog will be in heaven! More details......
Six days walking along the North Coast beach path route to St Ives staying in small hotels, B&B's and Inn's with your dog. Bedruthan Steps, the Gannel Estuary and Perran Sand Dunes are all highlights on this walk between two of Cornwall's premier good food harbours. Popular during high season so book early if you want to look at walking this route with your dog. More details.....
The most challenging section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path starting from stunning St Davids, the spiritual home of the Welsh, before taking off along a run of remote headlands, coastal peaks, hidden beaches and deep estuaries on route to St Dogmaels and Ceredigion. Wild, remote and no dog bans on the isolated beaches up here! More details.....
If the route you want to walk is not listed above then it's likely that it's not dog friendly all the way along the route. Contact one of our Walking Staff who will advise where the problem is on that route and we can then give you realistic and reliable advice on how you might be able to get around the problem and the likely effect on the costs.
Other routes have dog friendly options in many of the overnight locations but in a few key places there are gaps, so they are not options that can work in the usual way. If you are desperate to walk a route that is not on the dog friendly list then it will involve transfers to and from the trail at the sections where there is no dog friendly lodgings. That will mean 2 night stays in the previous or following location and depending on the route you want to do this may happen more than once.
Sometimes those journeys to and from the trail are possible using a local bus but more often it's something we need to set up for you with private transfers. This does mean more flexibility and costs at your end but if you are ok with this then we will establish the options, advise on how and at what cost you can do the route and if you go ahead we will be able to organise it for you by working out the logistics. You will need to be flexible but at least you won't miss out any of the trail and can get to walk the route in full with your four-legged friend.
You won’t normally find us trying to push books onto you via any page of this website - but this is a rather special read for those about to go dog-walking through the South West. Anyone going to walk the Coast Path route on a holiday with dogs, should try and read 'Travels with Boogie - 500 Mile Walkies'. A very amusing story from the mid 1980’s of a totally unsuited pair - a London-based non-walking adult who borrows a streetwise mongrel from Stockwell as a companion to a summer escape on the South West Coast Path.
On a diet of Kennomeat and pasties, the two navigate the whole path on a series of humorous adventures and interactions with the region's rather bemused locals. The book takes you faithfully through all the locations on route, along with the author's trials and tribulations as he passed by. Full of humour, it is an inspiring pre-walk read.... and we laughed a lot at it!
You can order '500 Mile Walkies' through most High Street stores and on Amazon.
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