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.
Now taking bookings for all dates in 2023........
Distance 13 miles - Grade - Moderate - what these grades mean
Start today with a rare inland diversion around the Gabbro producing Dean Quarries however
At Rosenithon Village this allows you to take a short detour to see The Giants Quoits standing stones. Returning to the path after Lowland Point you encounter the remains of a second Century salt works at Trebarveth where Sea water was boiled in clay troughs leaving valuable salt which was packed into pots.
Look closely and you will still see pottery shards in the cliff edge More climbs and descents lead to Porthoustock with its gabbro pebble beach in a location that fished for pilchards by day and landed brandy by night, 218 barrels landed in just one night here in 1762.
At Porthallow you reach the official half way stage of the full 630 mile coast path and the chance to take refreshments at the excellent Five Pilchards Inn an atmospheric place stuffed with its relics of Old Porthallow.
Overnight stops at the tiny village of Porthallow on the South West Coast Path
In the afternoon great panoramas start opening up across Falmouth Bay. Through Nelly’s Cove with its occasional orchids, a good spot for butterflies and on to the aptly named Snails Creep and the white rock quartzite at Turwell Point.As you round Nare Head Crags with its MOD observation post on a clear day you will see Rame Head this side of Plymouth 70 odd miles and a good 8 days walking away for those following the Cornwall Coast Path. Then it all starts to change as you entering the Gillian Creek with its unusual mix of ancient woodland and Monterey Pines. Shelducks, egrets and Curlew appear along the mudflats and it its close to low tide you ford the creek on stepping stones or wade across the inlet. If it’s too deep use the longer route round the head of the creek. Either way you end up at the isolated and idyllic little church at St Anthony in Meneage, “meneeg” meaning land of the monks, this being one of Cornwall’s earliest Christian sites.
Dennis Head from the Cornish Dinas(castle) has always been a strategic spot with its Iron Age earthworks and Royalist fortification and yet another magnificent viewpoint. Finally today you now enter the Helford river area with its forested creeks and swampy inlets and pills including of course Daphne du Mauriers Frenchman’s creek which is just off the coast path here in an area renowned for being overrun with pirates.
In Helford Village don't miss the excellent cream teas at the Down by the Riverside Cafe - or if you do then I guess you should find your way into the Shipwrights Arms instead. Refuelled you cross over the Helford River to Helford Passage on a tiny ferry summoning the ferryman by swinging open a semicircular black board to make a brightly coloured circle for him to spot. This crossing has operated here since medieval times when traveller’s horses swam alongside the ferry. There is no accommodation on the other side of the river at Helford Passage which is sadly virtually all second homes and holiday lets. You therefore need to head around 1 mile inland to Mawnan Smith where there are good accommodation options for those walking the Lizard Coast Path.
Overnight stops in Mawnan Smith (Helford Passage Area) on the South West Coast Path
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