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.
Distance - 15 miles but this section of the Wales Coast Path can easily be split into two shorter days with an overnight stop at Tenby after 7 miles and the chance to stay in that stunning location.
Summary - Generally Moderate Grade Walking but with some strenuous climbs between Saundersfoot and Tenby and again around Skrinkle Haven - what these grades mean. Sheltered, scenic walking initially through rounded hills and wooded valleys to Tenby. Beyond Tenby you enter a more typical stage of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path with wilder limestone cliffs, sea caves and secluded coves.
Overnight stops and Information about Amroth at the start of The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
Two simple plaques, one English and one Welsh mark the start of this section of The Wales Coast Path and your 186 mile adventure begins by walking the strung out length of the quiet shingle and sand village at Amroth.
A climb through woods above the ocean brings you to the Celtic Cycleway track as it heads over cliff top meadows before descending to Wisemans Bridge at the foot of the appropriately named Pleasant Valley.
The Welsh Coast Path joins a disused mineral railway here on a section known as the Miners Walk. During the industrial revolution, coal was brought down to the estuary on this route from the inland mines at Kilgetty and you pass through a section of three dark and atmospheric sea level tunnels burrowed through the cliffs and lined by the gated remains of old mine shafts.
The old railway line ends at the tiny port of Saundersfoot. Here the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path heads around the back of a high walled harbourside built to handle the 100,000 tonnes of coal a year that left on ships here in its heyday.
Today you will still see the impressive industrial harbour now given over to a tranquil sailing marina and bucket and spade resort. With extensive golden sands and a laid back air it’s a great spot for morning refreshments on the route from Amroth.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path now climbs through some superb thick natural woodland ascending steeply through Rhode Wood where elusive Red Squirrels still reside before you break out at the narrow tree covered Monkstone Point Headland.
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Descend here to the hidden beach at Monkstone with enticing views ahead now beckoning you on towards the distant golden sands at Tenby.
The Wales Coast Path then descends steeply through beautifully shady and dense pines to cross a stream at the bottom of Lodge Valley and then again at Waterwynch Bay where a succession of little woodland bridges takes you inland.
A long but gentle descent follows into the picture postcard seaside resort of Tenby with its Medieval Streets, imposing City walls and welcoming golden sands.
For those walking to Manorbier today you can get to take lunch in these inspiring historical surroundings.
Overnight stops and information about Tenby - a medieval highlight on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path passes through the little beached boats in Tenby harbour and swings below the Castle ruins.
If the tide is low you can walk out via Castle Beach which lies between Tenby and its offshore island of St Catherine’s where an imposing Victorian Fort towers above you like a kind of Welsh Alcatraz.
After exploring this most charming of towns the Coast Path leaves Tenby via its old City Walls and Gateway along the grand Victorian Esplanade.
Now, over a mile of broad sands at South Beach stretch before you though if you prefer you can head into the huge grassy dune system known as The Burrows that lines the back of the beach.
Close to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path here the pleasant village of Penally provides an upmarket overnight option with its famous Abbey Hotel – those passing through however can still rest up to enjoy its little pub and pretty church crammed with Celtic crosses.
If the Army firing range at Penally is open to the public you can skip the village and take a short climb to Giltar Point where the old limestone quarries and cliff side boat loading platforms can still be seen backed with superb views of the holy monastic island of Caldey.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path abruptly thrusts the walker into big cliffs and deep coves as views open up of the perfect crescent shaped sands at Lydstep Haven Beach up ahead.
Whilst the back of Lydstep Bay itself has been lost to a caravan site the walker can avoid it dropping onto the sands to walk along the tide line taking a very steep climb out through coastal woodlands rich with wild garlic and bluebells to Lydstep Point .
Our itineraries suggest a short detour from The Pembrokeshire Coast Path route at this point to take in the dramatic Lydstep headland. Here, using a National Trust Circular Path you can travel high on rich meadows above huge limestone cliffs, stacks and pinnacles that are cut through with dramatic sea caves and blowholes. Views on a good day reveal the distant mass of Lundy Island and even the North Devon Coast many miles to the south.
This is a stunning area of grassy downs and a carpet of wild flowers in spring often including the rare green winged orchid. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path then dips through several deep ravines before presenting you with the iconic Church Doors at Skrinkle Haven.
An unforgettable spot where a huge limestone arch introduces an improbable knife edge ridge of cliff which thrusts out to sea neatly partitioning several tiny coves far below.
The breath-taking cliffs are riddled with sea caves and folded rocks which are the “Church Doors”. Entrance to heaven or not, the rock faces change at the Doors from hard grey limestone to the deep crumbling red Sandstone that frames the next walking section.
Clamber down the cliffs to the beach on an exhilarating metal staircase to see the huge natural arch here from beach level.
A brief inland diversion takes you around the first of several military areas at Manorbier Army Camp and those wanting to visit the Youth Hostel may well be amused to find it’s housed in a converted NATO storage Building. Returning faithfully to the coastline the Pembrokeshire Coast Path then traverses the isolated cove above Presipe Beach and with the path now clinging to purple, heather clad slopes you round the next wild headland at Priests Nose.
Suddenly the stunning empty sands of Manorbier Bay appear, its dramatic backdrop the fairy-tale castle presiding over the beach and you finish the section pausing at the impressive stone slab of the Kings Quoit. Here you will find a Neolithic Burial Chamber that hugs the cliff side and which for over 3000 years has been looking out to sea from this most stunning location – without doubt an outstanding place to be buried !
Overnight stops and information about Manorbier on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
Map of all
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