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
To reach the walking regions of the South West and Wales we recommend the train as the fastest, most reliable and most enjoyable way to start and finish your walking holiday. Arrive by train and you miss the holiday traffic jams, save on the parking charges all in the knowledge that by using rail you are helping to protect the very environment you are about to start walking through. With the tips and information you will find on our pages it can also be the cheapest option to get to and from your walking holiday.
For detailed information on how to get to your chosen walking route use the 'Travel' button which you will find on the top right hand side on all our individual walk description pages. This gives detailed options for getting to and from your chosen walking route from mainline coach and bus stations as well as giving parking information for those arriving by car. For those booking holidays with us we will always help with further advice on how to get to and from your walk.
With our mainline railway running via Somerset along the very backbone of Devon and Cornwall, the train gives a range of easy access points for walkers all along the South West Coast Path and Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks.
Great Western Railway run quick and regular services throughout the South West and South Wales linking the key walking regions to London, the rest of the UK and the international airports see www.gwr.com
For those heading to Wales, the stations at Tenby, Milford Haven, Fishguard and Pembroke allow you to step straight off the train and straight onto the world class Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
The North Wales Coast Path has an excellent rail service with direct trains from Birmingham New Street to Machynlleth where you can access both the Meirionydd and Ceredigion sections of the Wales Coast Path.
From Machynlleth Trains then split to give further access to the North and the Snowdonia National Park area via stations at Barmouth and Porthmadog OR to the South access further along the Ceredigion Coast Path at Borth and Aberystwyth.
Arriva Trains runs these services throughout Wales see www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk.
We run special 'Rail to Trail' walking holidays in both Wales and the South West of England where you can arrive in one location by train before walking on to depart from another by rail. No transfers and no fuss. Click here to view some of the options.
Traveline South West & Traveline Cymru (Wales) provide further detailed information and timetables about travelling by both bus and train in the regions.
National Express also run regular long distance coach services to the South West and Wales and as ever we can advise on these options. This can be a cheaper option if you are on a very tight budget but it will be usually be much slower and less comfortable and convinient than the trains. In the first instance if you can get cheap advance purchase train tickets this is the quickest and often the best value travel in the UK.
For those considering using a car you will find more information on the individual walk pages under 'Travel'. Our final itineraries cover the parking options in full and we can help advise about options on how to return to collect your car at the end of your walk. This is usually either by public transport or a private transfer which we can arrange if you wish. Just remember that with restricted parking in many of the coastal towns and hefty daily parking charges its well worth investigating the train and other public transport options as a cheaper and more stress free alternative first.
However you plan to arrive, if you need more info just ask – we are always happy to help with advice on the best options to get to and from your walk.
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