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.
12th September 2023- We are sorry but we are now fully booked until October on all our routes - please contact us for Autumn and 2024 dates
Distance 11 miles Grade - An easy start becomming Moderate then Strenuous walking - what these grades mean
Highlights – Elegant Esplanades and Charm of Weymouth before a challenging cliff top rollercoaster past the iconic Durdle Door Rock Arch to the picture perfect Lulworth Cove.
Leaving Weymouth by the sea wall you head back to the countryside passing Lodmoor Country Park, an important RSPB salt marsh bird reserve, a network of intricate lagoons and reed beds holding the largest common tern colony in the South West. Just off the route are the remains of the 4thC Jordan Hill Roman Temple as well as old Earthworks at Black Head. Look inland here to spot King George 3rd as he departs Weymouth (literally on horseback) in mighty style as a huge chalk image carved on the hillside above you. The fact he was depicted riding out of the town upset many of the locals here in 1815.
At Osmington Mills you can pause for a drink at the rather iconic 13th Century Smugglers Inn where the infamous smuggler Pierre Latour or French Peter was caught by Customs men craftily hiding up the chimney! At this point those who took the inland DORSET RIDGEWAY option, rejoin the main South West Coast Path and head into the heart of The Jurassic Coast Path Heritage Site on the way to Durdle Dor and Lulworth.
Walking now through bushes and scrub to the cliff tops pass old pill boxes and machine gun points at Bran Point, the wreck of The Minx (1929) visible on the rocks below and on a calm day oil can be seen rising from the seabed here part of a natural rock seep. Impressive woodland takes you to the old mounds of Ringstead an abandoned Medieval village burnt and destroyed its said by bands of French Pirates though the arrival of the Black Death in Weymouth is a more likely cause. As you pass, the eerie mounds of the cottages and streets can still be made out.
The Dorset Coast Path now picks up in its challenges and geological wonders, passing the bizarre Burning Cliff, so called after the cliff literally combusted during the 19C becoming a major tourist attraction as it burnt for a year and smouldered for much longer, a reaction of the Iron Pyrites and the oil shale that forms here.
Pause at the tiny church of St Catherine’s by the sea barely much more than a wooden hut but according to Thomas Hardy its real purpose was a store for smuggled goods.
Finally you reach White Northe where the South West Coast Path route narrows to become even more dramatic along mighty sheer chalk cliffs some over 500ft deep.
Look out now for wild deer and rare butterflies attracted by the chalk lands. The roller coaster really takes hold now with three big ascents and descents from here to Lulworth Cove each one more stupendous than the last.
First, the isolated triangular spur of Bats Head which has is own less famous rock arch before an immediate toil back up to Swyre Head this climb bringing the rewards of the first views of the stunning rock arch at Durdle Door beyond your amusingly named descent into Scratchy Bottom.
Durdle Door (meaning Pierced opening) is one of the South West Coast Path's most memorable highlights, a breathtaking geological sea archway, 200ft high and the most iconic image of the Dorset Coastline. Descend steps to reach the beach as you can’t miss this location for a paddle or better still for the brave a once in a lifetime swim beneath this towering natural wonder. Ahead now the views open up to reveal legendry Lulworth Cove its perfect azure blue bay circled by chalk hillside to give a natural coliseum , a sheer sided auditorium. Just before you reach this rather heavenly spot is Stair Hole, here go to the viewing platform to take in the impressive collapsed cave systems and rock arches surrounded by cliffs of folded rock strata know here as the Lulworth Crumple.
Overnight stops at stunning Lulworth Cove on the South West Coast Path
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