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 - Strenuous Grade walking in normal conditions - this would become severe if attempted in poor weather - what these grades mean
Ivybridge on the southern slopes of Dartmoor National Park is the official start of the Two Moors Way. For information on extending the walk by a day to a the Full Devon Coast to Coast Walk see the option on the tabs above.
Overnight stays in Ivybridge before starting your Two Moors Way walk.
Your climb this morning above Ivybridge Town thrusts you immediately onto the desolate and wild southern face of Dartmoor ascending the old cattle grazers drove road passing below the first of many rocky Tors at Western Beacon. Here you join the high level moorland route of the stunning Redlake Tramway 700ft above the town, an industrial masterpiece constructed in 1910 to reach the Redlake China Clay works far into the interior. Littered with hut circles, standing stones, twisted rock formations and ancient cairns you encounter Dartmoor National Parks mining country where the relics and remains of china clay production and hardy tin miners’ lives loom out of the bracken and heather en route. This is open access land so walkers can either stay with the navigational security of the Tramway or strike out wild and free, walking over the cairns and Tors of Butterdon and Three Barrows following your nose and the skyline if you prefer.
Either way the views right along this ridge are superb stretching back over the glistening Erme Valley to the South Hams coastline in South Devon and then far beyond to the jagged Roseland Peninsular in Cornwall. Break to admire the eerie, twisted and contorted rock stack formation at Iconic Hangershell Rocks a series of flat Tor slabs balanced precariously in this splendid isolation. The Two Moors Way route here guides you through thousands of years of man’s activities, as it reveals old hut circles and enclosures, ancient Hobajohns Cross and then the longest boundary stone row on the moor where your walk is flanked by over 550 standing stones stretching out over 2 miles including the medieval Spurrells cross. Over a flank of brown heather you reach the azure blue waters of old flooded clay mining pits and older abandoned tin workings emerging from the heather from a long lost time when this area was Europe’s premier source of the precious metal. You link briefly with the Abbots Way an ancient trail used by monks and hardy packhorses that connected Buckfast Abbey and Tavistock Abbey now only the preserve of wild ponies and red deer, grazing peacefully below the buzzards and ravens.
Heading east off the central moor you will encounter the 19th Century Pillow Mounds of Huntington Warren a former rabbit farm and a well guarded source of fur and food for the long gone miners, any modern offspring now no doubt supporting the moors many foxes ! Then feeling miles from anywhere one of Dartmoor’s iconic old stone clapper bridges appears to take you over the gurgling Avon stream and past the spooky Huntington Cross Boundary Marker which has stood here in ghostly solitude for over 500 years. A day to remember ends by descending to the wooden footbridge at Chalk Ford before reaching habitation at last at the Villages of Scorriton and Holne along a vivid flower lined green bridleway.
Overnight stops in Scorriton and Holne on the Two Moors Way
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