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.
Click here to view a short video with footage of the coast path around The Lizard
Welcome to The Lizard Peninsula - Cornwall’s wild and imposing outpost. This rocky, battered headland has an untamed, end of the world feel to it. It’s an area that sometimes feels like its largely forgotten and walking the South West Coast Path draws you through an isolated and dramatic landscape that provides some of the best walking and coastline, as well as the rarest flora and geology to be found in Cornwall and indeed the South West.
The Cornwall Coast Path route is challenging at times but rewarding - On the Lizards battered west side, you climb lonely windswept uplands that break into breathtaking cliffs, pass ghostly ruins of tin mines, hidden smugglers coves and some of the most captivating cliffs & beaches in the UK. Then, as you reach the more sheltered eastern side of the Lizard everything changes as the coast path enters stunning valleys and rounded coombe's that turn into secretive, wooded and mysterious creeks hiding lush sub tropical, gardens en route to the Helford and Fal river estuaries.
You will wander through a rich history of lives always shaped by the churning ocean that stalks you.
Of lifeboat men risking all for others, of infamous local smugglers, pirates and the Revenue Men who patrolled the Cornish Coast Path to try and apprehend them.
With over 400 ships wrecked in these perilous waters you will encounter the misfortunes of the Shipwrecked Mariners as well as follow in the footsteps of the Victorian painters, poets and romantics.
A botanists paradise, on the Lizard itself the trail is often a carpet of wild flowers with some 15 of the Uk’s rarest plants growing here in amongst the Cornish heath, gorse and heather.
Lining the South West Coast Path you will discover craggy towers and stacks of the remarkable Serpentine rock so called as its colours resemble a reddish snakeskin when wet, along with beaches of huge “dinosaur egg” pebbles or fine sands made up of nothing more than crushed shells.
Keep your eyes out to sea as you climb and descend the trail to look for grey seals basking on the rocks and in the caves, dolphins in the larger bays and at the right time of year huge basking sharks, an incredible 500 visited during May in 1998. The Cornish national bird The Chough which died out here for 30 years reappeared in 2001 at Lizard Point, now the only place you are likely to hear or see them, along with Fulmar, Kittiwake and a host of other coastal birds.
The good news for any walkers searching for secluded and unspoilt trail is that tourism is still low key here with the lizard tending to attract visitors who want to get away from it all and explore a unique and spectacular terrain without the crowds. A designated Area of Outstanding Natural beauty and a site of special scientific interest, walk the Lizard Adventure and be immersed into an exhilarating, bracing and drama strewn walking trail that never ceases to surprise and captivate throughout its 61 miles.
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Enjoy a short video of the Lizard and Lands End sections of the Cornish Coast Path
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