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 August 2022 Update - Sorry but we are now full to capacity up to the end of September 22 on all routes. We have good availability for October - so please get in touch for some relaxing Autumn walking breaks. We are also now booking 2023 season walks - Click Here to send in a quote request and get your walking plans underway
From Lanivet The Saints Way takes an easy start on back lanes and tracks linking yet more old Celtic crosses that accompany the route back into the wilds at Helmans Tor and Redmoor. Just as the iconic summit of Helman's Tor starts to tower above you the route splits and you have a choice for the remainder of the journey to take the Western Leg via Luxulyan and the coast OR choose the stunning Fowey River valley on the Eastern Leg to Fowey.
Which route to take ? – both have their merits and are very different - if you want a taste of the sea take the Western option – for more peace and avoidance of the modern world the eastern leg down the Fowey estuary is the most remote. The clever solution is to take three days walking on the trail and walk both sections via Fowey to miss nothing - see the options section for how to build this into your Saints Way walk.
On the Western leg of the Saints Way your path continues through the almost mangrove swamp like nature reserves of Redmoor and Breeny Common on remote backlanes before heading into ancient sunken droves and greem lanes characterised by wonderful old granite block stiles alongside racing streams and marshes.
Luxulyan provides a brief respite from the remoteness, founded by a Celtic saint the cross in the churchyard is made of the same volcanic rock boulders that loom up to accompany you on this section of the walk. The village has a shop and a very pleasant pub (though for a drink you have to make a ¼ mile detour from the path). The Holy Well of St Cyor is passed as you leave the village.
Beyond Luxulyan you pass through more ancient woodland on trails passing the impressive Treffry Viaduct with its remains of an aqueduct before rising once more to Prideaux and an Iron Age hill fort.
Finally the sea is in sight and you drop down to the marshes of Par, in medieval times this was part of the sea and the setting for Daphne du Maurier's surreal House on the Strand novel.
You pass through the beautiful and unspoilt village of Tywardreath with St Andrews Church former site of the Benedictine Monastery that so fascinated Du Maurier before final sections of coastal pasture bring you down to the golden tracks of Par Sands and the sea.
The Saints Way route now heads inland passing more Celtic relics and crossing the old carriage drive of Menabilly (Du Maurier’s Mandalay) with easy walking across the pasturlands of the peninsular to Fowey. However many of our walkers opt to finish the trail from Par by leaving the Saints Way here and using the South West Coast Path for the final section instead.
The four miles from here to Fowey are superb and a really fitting end to the walk. Passing through Polkerris with its perfect golden horseshoe beach, the Rashleigh Inn makes a great afternoon stop before you climb the cliff tops to round dramatic Gribbin Head with its huge red and white Daymark Tower.
Beyond this as you head into towards Fowey you will pass Pridmouth Bay and one of Cornwall’s finest hidden beaches – the setting for Rebecca and the boat house is right beside the path which climbs and falls along former smuggling coves on its last mile into Fowey.
Whichever route you take you will end up at Readymoney Beach below Henry the Eighths St Catherine’s Castle and your pilgrimage ends as you follow the Fowey River away from the rocky sea inland to the centre of town and the Church of St Finn Barr.
Overnight stops in Fowey at the end of the Saints Way Route
Map of all
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