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.
Across dramatic twisted Tors lying on moorland carpets of purple heather and yellow gorse, contrasted with timeless green rolling valleys in an unvisited mid Devon. Have no doubt the Two Moors Way is a national trail of incredible variety, inspiration, and quite simply magnificent beauty for any walker that steps up to the challenge. A perfect weeks walk on a route that links the only two National Parks in Southern England with the West Country’s most unspoilt rural backwaters, and blends this journey faithfully into a fascinating pilgrimage running from coast to coast.
Walking on wild, isolated Dartmoor National Park offers true freedom to roam where you see fit over its open access moorland in one of England’s last areas of sweeping wilderness. Yet this walk is so much more than heather and hills. Dartmoor has more Neolithic and Prehistoric sites than any other National Park in Europe and between the rocky Tors, a string of standing stones, abandoned Tin mines, lonely crosses and ancient stone clapper bridges line your route along with one of the region’s most important and impressive Bronze Age Village remains at dramatic Grimspound.
On Exmoor National Park in the land of Lorna Doone the Moorland literally tumbles into the sea, where dramatic hanging valleys and gushing gorges break up moorland climbs alive with wild ponies, red deer, buzzards, kites and curlew. Two very different days of walking separate these two moors through the hidden heart of Devon, walking a tunnel of enchanting woodlands, deep river valleys, green lanes and ancient drove roads bursting with wild flowers and wildlife.
You will find isolated farmsteads, medieval bridges and a string of unspoilt and rarely visited West Country Villages - real places, of thatched cob cottages, pretty square towered churches and traditional pubs with a warm rural welcome. Overnight stays where you will meet with real people leading real rural lives, an experience often impossible to find elsewhere in the cream tea fuelled tourist haunts of coastal South Devon.
For the walker the sheer variety of terrain on The Two Moors Way is worth every step of the journey and as for its highlights this is the one walk where we hardly ever get the same feedback from our walkers. One may predict the highlight to be the thundering Teign Gorge below fortified Castle Drogo, the ancient Tarr Steps Clapper Bridge alive with kingfishers on its riverside trail to Withypool, the thrill of stalking a herd of Deer at Exe Head or the splash of an otter in the River Dart. Yet it’s just as likely to be that hour chatting about the afternoons walk with the locals in front of a roaring fire in the Black Dog Inn or one of those pleasing days in between the moors wandering through rolling valleys and meadows, leaving a simple peaceful satisfaction within, that is so hard to find in this modern age. Why not walk it and see!
Route Direction - You can walk the Two Moors Way in either direction and we can provide luggage transfers to suit, however when there are prevailing winds these are normally from the South West so it’s best to have these behind you. In addition, the descent from Exmoor to the coast makes a superb last day walk so for these reasons we recommend walking the Two Moors Way from Ivybridge (or Plymouth) north to Lynmouth.
Walking the Moorland Sections - The majority of the Two Moors Way is easy to moderate walking grade much less severe in ascents and descents that the rollercoaster South West Coast Path and for that reason higher mileages on this route are the norm. The challenging sections on the Two Moors Way are the open moorland parts.
Thanks in part to Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles Dartmoor National Park and to a lesser extent, Exmoor National Park, retain a somewhat misleading image as eerie, dangerous and infamous places. Reality for the walker is that even on these sections in general the Two Moors Way route is not a difficult one but the open moorland is high level walking and you will see little or no habitation all day on the more remote sections –
Those walking the route over the moors therefore must be able to navigate easily and confidently with a map and should be able to turn to a compass if the mists do descend. You should also have enough walking experience to be able to assess conditions and make good judgements in bad weather about the Moorland Sections. If you are not sure of its suitability then call us and chat with one of our staff who has walked the route.
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