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.
17th May 2023 - We are open for enquiries for 2023 and 2024 dates on all routes
Welcome to one of the UK’s finest walking regions covering the ancient counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset, the wild National Parks of Exmoor and Dartmoor and over 1000 km of the UK’s most stunning coastline on our longest and best loved National Hiking Trail - The South West Coast Path.
Discover towering cliffs and hidden smugglers coves, wild moorland spaces and golden beaches as you wander through a fascinating History, from prehistoric stone circles to the lands of King Arthur. Rest every night in stunning unspoilt harbour towns and forgotten fishing villages all offering a warm welcome to overseas walkers where you can relax and sample “fresh off the boat” seafood and our locally produced ciders and beers in a range of walker friendly accommodation, from B&B’s, Pubs and Inns to Luxury Hotels.
Whilst you walk you will explore some of England’s most inspiring locations such as the ancient harbours of St Ives, Penzance, Padstow and Tintagel. In between them miles of stunning scenery and the option to walk into the regions best loved attractions including The Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Michaels Mount, Tintagel Castle and Lands End itself.
This is the landscape where the moors meet the ocean, a climax of natural beauty, drama and legend that inspired our great poets and writers, from Thomas Hardy to Rosamunde Pilcher, Daphne Du Maurier to Samuel Coleridge and as you walk through the locations and places they wrote about you will find your own freedom and inspiration enjoying the best walking climate and most varied and inspiring hiking trails available in the UK. All this is easily accessible for our American visitors in only a few hours of travel by using our regional airports or direct fast trains from London.
Encounter Walking Holidays is the largest and most experienced walking holiday company in the South West of England, the only company covering every one of the regions routes, coastal and inland. Based just off the South West Coast Path in mid Cornwall you can be sure we know our footpaths and trails better than anyone !
We organise walking holidays, short breaks, accommodation and luggage transfers along all 630 miles of the world famous South West Coastal Path and also have the largest selection of inland routes where you can walk coast to coast on hiking trails such as The Two Moors Way linking two of our mighty coastlines with the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor, two of the wildest most unspoilt walking areas left in England.
We help individual walkers, couples and groups of friends discover the area, using our expertise to find the best itinerary for each and every holiday. Its your walk....your way and with your luggage moved on every day you are free to spend your time encountering this fascinating region with nothing more complicated than your two feet
Encounter Walking take more overseas walkers than any other operator with many coming back to walk more routes year after year .. here’s why !
Overseas Planning and Support Service - We understand that not knowing the region you often need extra help to get your walk organised the way you want it. Work with a company that actively encourages American and Canadian walkers to the area and one there with you in support from your first enquiry to your last step. All our overseas walkers receive
Planning Help from their own personal walking advisor working with you by email or phone to find the right route for you, to make sure you get to see what you want, stay where you choose and get the experience you dreamt of from your walking in the South West.
Individual Support help and Advice for all your questions about travel in the region, information on booking transport here, on what to see, what to bring and what to expect on a walking holiday in the South West. We also include comprehensive factsheets for those new to travel in the UK covering all the information you need to know, from local customs and festivals to more practical help with things like money, mobile phones, tipping and safety.
Maps and Guidebooks for the trails, the latest editions and highest scale options, along with a personal day by day walking information itinerary – all delivered by airmail to the States straight after booking for your advance planning.
Easy Payment Options for American and Canadian customers to make it as simple as possible to pay securely for your holiday - We accept overseas Bank Transfers, Credit Cards, Paypal, Euro and Dollar Currency Cheques.
Reassurance that you are not only booking with the region experts but also a company that actively welcomes and then strives to look after its transatlantic visitors needs from your first enquiry to final walking step.
Visit our interactive Walking map of South West England to work out where our walks are and which areas of outstanding natural beauty they pass through
Or Read a brief overview of some of our recommended routes – the distances, grades and highlights and start to narrow down your choice
Still Not Sure Where to Start ?
Make use our expertise – it costs nothing to ask !
Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us
One of our walking advisors will come back with some route suggestions and links to more information to get your walking ideas underway.
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