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.
106 miles - 19 miles Easy Grade, 47 miles Moderate and 40 miles strenuous - Ten Tors Option - what this means
The ultimate Cornish Adventure with two coast to coast crossings and the toughest sections of both the North and South Coast Path in Mid Cornwall. Climb Brown Willy and Rough Tor, Cornwall's highest peaks as you make a crossing of wild Bodmin Moor. Stay in the unspoilt harbours at Fowey and Port Isaac, indulge at Rick Steins in Padstow and avoid the ghosts at haunted Daphne du Mauriers Jamaica Inn. Linking the South West Coast Path with the Saints Way and Smugglers way this is a serious walk for those that want to get seriously into Cornwall and its very varied landscapes.
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68 miles - Moderate and Strenuous grade coastal walking throughout in remote areas with exposed coastal headlands ! - what this means
This is by far the most rugged, exposed and remote section of all 186 miles of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Walking days are long but the scenery and sense of isolation is superb with huge blow holes, wild headlands, dramatic cliffs and narrow ridge walks from the off. Prehistoric landscapes on the St Davids Headland reveal ancient burial chambers and the chance to climb small Volcanic Rock Peaks or the mysterious Preseli Hills on a route the continually pushes and yet rewards those looking for a true Welsh Walking Challenge.
79 miles - 3 miles Easy grade, 5 moderate and the rest....71 miles Strenuous ! - what this means
Included here as over the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path this is the most demanding and challenging section. Following the wild and remote Atlantic Coastline, this is world class walking throughout. A bounty of Wrecking and Smuggling History passing King Arthurs Cifftop Tintagel Castle, untouched fishing villages at Port Isaac, Boscastle and ending in Padstow with Rick Steins. Still suitable for less experienced walkers but with reduced daily distances - walk the standard 12 - 15 mile days on this route and you will be walking a breathtaking but challenging rollercoaster of remote cliffs and coves for nearly 80 miles.
31 miles - Moderate walking climbing to and from the Moor with very strenuous Open Moorland Walking - what this means
Highlights – Experienced and confident walkers only - this challenge takes you across Cornwall's iconic Bodmin Moor climbing Ten Tors over 2 or 3 days including Cornwall's highest points at Brown Willy and Rough Tor. In addition you will ascend to the stunning Cheesewring Tor sculpture, pass The Hurlers and Pipers stone circles, neothlic burial chambers and mile upon mile of wide open high moor with no trail to follow. Here your navigation is on your own route from Tor to Tor across this wilderness. Utterly breathtaking and inspiring in its remote sections where you won't see another human for hours !
89 miles - Moderate walking but with strenuous open moorland sections - what this means
A walk of very mixed challenges - moderate walking between the Two Moors but on our list of challenging options as both crossings of the National Parks at Exmoor and Dartmoor involve high level traverses on open moorland where good map reading skills and experience are key. The level of challenge very much depends on the itinerary chosen but those walking long days on the high moor will be pushed physically and navigationally in two of The South Wests most remote spots. You reward for the effort on this coast to coast route however is astounding scenery, wide skies, huge panorama's with isolated Tors, standing stones, castles, gorges and wildlife galore in the lands of Lorna Doone and Sherlock Holmes on what is the regions premier Coast to Coast Trail
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