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.
1st March 2023 - We are now fully booked on our coast path routes until the end of May but please send quote requests in for June onwards as there is availability for the rest of the year. If you do plan to walk between now and June then our inland routes, Coleridge Way, Mendip Way, Saints Way Dartmoor Way and Two Moors Way still have availability for most dates so please get in touch.
If you ask us for a quote we will include public transport or parking information to suit your walking holiday and for those booking we advise and assist in helping you to work out and book the best travel options for your walk.
This route is works best by public transport and if you can try to arrive by train and bus it will save you having to arrange parking and travel back to your car after walking.
Train Arrival - Fast direct trains run from London, the Midlands and the North to Taunton station taking between 1.5 and 2.5 hours depending on the service used. From Taunton regular buses straight to Minehead take one hour. As an interesting alternative you can use the superb West Somerset Steam Railway from just outside Taunton on a 1.5 hour journey to Minehead by steam train through some of the stunning countryside on route. Regular departures throughout the day ask us for deatails on including this as a perfect start to the holiday.
Train Departure - Regular buses from Westward Ho! take around 1 hour to reach Barnstaple Station from where you take the stunning North Devon branchline to Exeter to join the mainline trains to London and the East. We can advise on or arrnage transfers from Westward Ho! to the station at Barnstaple if you prefer. Time from Barnstaple to London is 3.5 to 4 hours on the train. The coast path route does pass through Barnstaple on its way to Westward Ho! so you can of course finish the walk here and depart directly by train - ask for options.
Car - Free car parking in the residential streets of Minehead is easy to find and we can advise on this. At Westward Ho! several of our accomodation options offer free or low charge long stay parking and again there are unrestricted parking options in the streets.
To get back to your car by public transport you cantake a bus (or transfer) to Barnstaple Station. Train via Exeter to Taunton and then a bus back to Minehead. This can take a good four hours though there are other options by bus via Tiverton so do ask for help.
We can quote for private transfers from door to door if you prefer which take around 1.5 hours. There is also the option to take the scenic Exmoor bus route back to Minehead in the summer months which follows the coast path route from Barnstaple via Ilfracombe to Minehead. This is a very pleasant way of getting back but there are generally only one or two options a day so you need to be flexible and allow the best part of the day to do this.
Coach Arrival - National Express Coaches run directly to Minehead from London with connections from other parts of the UK.
Coach Departure - National Express Coaches also run a limited servcie from Westward Ho! with more options from nearby Barnstaple ( 1 hour local bus to connect)
Arriving from Overseas - Those arriving from overseas will usually arrive in the UK at London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport from where you can catch direct trains Taunton (see the train information above). Those arriving at London Heathrow will usually take a 1/2 hour underground train / overland train service into London Paddington to catch the fast inter city trains to Devon and Cornwall. Bristol and Exeter airports are very close to the walk and also have a number of international flights
Internal Flights - The regional airport at Exeter is very useful if flights fit for you. From Exeter you can take the train to Taunton (around 40 mins) and then hourly bus (or steam train see above) to Minehead. On your return from Westward Ho! its an easy 1 hour bus ride to Barnstaple station and then the branch line into Exeter taking around 1 hour 20 mins.
Minehead can be reached from Bristol airport in around 3 hours via the train to Taunton and bus or Steam Railway to Minehead.
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