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.
Nestled on the Llyn Peninsula, Porthmadoc – known to the locals simply as ‘Porth’ – enjoys a wonderful location on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. To the west of the town, the majestic rocky outcrop of Moel-y-gest watches over the town, while to the north and east, the wide expanse of the Glaslyn estuary, a sanctuary for wildlife, stretches up towards the highest and most dramatic of Snowdon’s peaks.
There is lots to do here and it’s a great access point for day trips along the Llyn Peninsula, to visit iconic Portmeirion village only 2 miles away – a place everyone should see and which also has high end accommodation options.
Porthmadog is a great base to get out from and explore the Snowdonian Mountains by stream train and if you have time we strongly suggest booking an extra night here to take a “rest” day to really discover the area.
The ‘Madog’ of Porthmadog, (‘Madog’s Port’) was industrialist William A Madocks, whose legacy is the impressive mile-long sea wall known as the Cob which created a deep harbour for ships to transport slate mined at Blaenau Ffestiniog. In its heyday in the 1870s, over 1000 vessels a year used the harbour, carrying over 100,000 tons of the prized Blaenau slate which ended up in buildings around the world.
Local people are justifiably proud of their local industrial and maritime heritage. Located in the last remaining slate shed in the harbour, Porthmadog Maritime Museum traces the fascinating history of both harbour and town. Here you can learn about Porthmadog’s shipbuilding heritage and the important links to the inland slate mines.
Porthmadog is a magnet for railway enthusiasts with no less than three lines; the hoots and toots of steam engines accompany any visit to the town! The Ffestiniog Railway, founded in 1832, is the oldest independent railway company in the world. Take the 13 mile journey on historic steam engines, climbing over 700 feet as the train clings to the mountain, through magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, to Blaenau Festiniog, on one of the world’s great rail journeys. There are plenty of options to break the journey and take circular walks in the woods and mountain areas. Alternatively, ride Snowdonia’s newest railway, the Welsh Highland, on powerful steam locomotives on a 25 mile journey to the historic castle town of Caernarfon via the foothills of Mount Snowdon. The third railway is the tiny Welsh Highland Heritage Railway!
If you have time, those seeking a little bit of tranquillity can visit Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn wildlife centre at Prenteg where you can watch the only pair of breeding ospreys in Wales. Binoculars and high powered telescopes are provided and widescreen monitors broadcast live images from the osprey’s nest. Only a couple of miles from Porthmadog, Prenteg is a short bus or taxi ride away, or why not use the Welsh Highland Railway to get there – there is a station at Pont Croesor.
Porthmadog is one of the larger towns of Snowdonia and you’ll find plenty of restaurants, coffee shops and local craft shops to choose from. If you like a drop of ale then look out for beer from the Purple Moose Brewery - if you happen to be here on a Wednesday then you can also book on to a tour of the brewery.
A stroll on the ‘Picture Postcard Walk’ will take you on a route which takes in fine views of the mountains, before crossing Llyn Bach (Small Pool) and then along the route of the sea wall where you can see the many species of birds that take refuge in the grasslands of the flood plain including herons, curlews and swans. If you have time then extend the walk a mile to the small village of Borth-y-Gest with its historic harbour, hidden sandy coves and Victorian cottages where local pilots used to watch for incoming ships and take in the superlative views of mountains and sea.
Those wanting longer walking options on an extra day here can take the train out to the Criccieth – Visit the iconic coastal castle here and then walk the last section of the Llyn Peninsula Wales Coast Path returning to Porthmadog on a lovely 6 mile stretch that includes Borth-y-Gest harbour and the beautiful run of Black Rock Sands.
For a full on day expedition take the OLD Wales Coast Path route inland from Porthmadog to the former river crossing inland at Maentwrog. This is a superb day walking route, now no longer part of the standard path after the new estuary bridge over the Afon Dwyrwd was built. Following the steam railway line through deep forest with hidden lakes to take lunch in the inland hamlet of Maentwog before a strenuous return on the other side of the estuary climbing through low mountains past isolated tarns, forest and upland pastures. Talk to us for more details – options from 10 to 15 miles.
Return to the Stops Page
Map of all
for this walk
Go to top
Company Registered in England No: 8227323
VAT Registration No: 138 8656 68