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.
Grade - Easy to Moderate walking with some short strenuous Grade climbs - what these grades mean
See the "Options" above for info on shorter walking days for those wanting more relaxed Two Moors Itineraries
A peaceful tree lined river meadow trail tracks the Teign this morning as it gurgles away from the high ground, look carefully for sculpture island just before Dogmarsh Bridge Weir but it’s not only art you may spot, this whole section alive with the kingfishers, dippers, and if you are very lucky perhaps a playful otter.
Suddenly the hillsides start to rapidly thrust up around you and you find yourself dwarfed in the Castle Drogo Gorge. One of the Two Moors Way highlights this superb section runs right below the imposing granite walls of Castle Drogo (A National Trust award winning attraction accessible from the path, Drogo was the last castle built in the UK). From the “Fishermans Path” beside the churning Teign gorge you loop up to higher ground on the aptly named Hunters Path through thickly wooded slopes punctured with outcrops of white stone. You continue to climb to the impressive and well named Sharp Tor, a spiky topped outcrop commanding breathtaking views over the deep forest of the gorge to the precipitous castle defences beyond. The rather amusingly named Piddledown Common is then crossed before continuing into Drewsteignton Village, well served by the Drewe Arms, or if time is on your side you can detour via the Fingle Bridge beauty spot set in the shadow of the hilltop Prestonbury Castle to take some well earned refreshments from the Fingle Bridge Inn in a truly tranquil riverside spot.
Overnight stops in Drewsteignton on the Two Moors Way
Gentler walking now into classic mid Devon farmlands passing rough old cob houses and farmsteads and tiny Hittisleigh, birthplace of the infamous pirate Black Sam and worth a pause to view its lonely Wagon Roof Truss church. As you approach Helmoors Down, you take an earthy sunken track where the trees meet above forming a living natural tunnel. Shortly after this is Preston’s Junction and a short diversion off the Two Moors Way takes you to the pretty village of Colebrooke with accommodation and facilities for overnights stay options.
Overnight stops in Colebrooke on the Two Moors Way
Psychologically you have now left the challenges of Dartmoor National Park behind to replace the walking with a new undulating agricultural land in hidden mid Devon where the modern world suddenly seems a long way away. An utterly peaceful and rewarding route through rolling hills presents a run of rich pastures, isolated farmsteads, wooded glades and green lanes broken up by the secret and unspoilt villages of mid Devon.
Highlights include the tall towering trees of Horwell wood, the fine 16C Devon Manorhouse at Whelmstone Barton and the run of tranquil fish Ponds at Coombe. At tiny Clannaborough, the church is dedicated to the not so distant Cornish Patron Saint of Tin Miners, St Petroc, set in a wonderful location on the Two Moors Path and in the grounds of the 18th Century Clannaborough House.
Some sense of the wider world returns to your senses as you meet the branch railway line and main road at Morchard Road but the offerings of the very traditional Devonshire Dumpling Inn more than make up for this intrusion. Those on short breaks arriving for the Exmoor section or departing after Dartmoor will use the bus stop and train station here.
Overnight stops at Morchard Road and Morchard Bishop
Map of all
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