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.
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Would you choose Encounter Walking Holidays for future holidays? Yes
Would you recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to others? Yes
Would you recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to others? No
I just wanted to say thank you once again for the superb organisation of our walk this week from Wembury to Morchard Road. All went without a hitch apart from my navigation skills on a couple of occasions when I failed to pick up the Two Moors Way, following other footpath signs instead - but soon corrected. Most importantly my teenage son enjoyed the walk (it can difficult to get teenagers to admit they might enjoy anything that doesn't involve computer games and the internet!) and the fact that we now have completed the Two Moors Way having done the northern half two years ago - again thanks to you.
We will have to think what walking we might do next.
Would you choose Encounter Walking Holidays for future holidays? No
On the second day my husband was having extreme foot pain so we attempted to hire a taxi from Shipham to Cheddar. None of the local services were helpful, and staff at the Penscot Inn explained to us that this is normal - the private taxis do not like to come at short notice for short trips. Eventually we found our way on foot to a 126 bus stop near Winscombe and took the bus to Cheddar. If our experience was typical, then it would be useful to include information about local buses - perhaps draw the bus route on the map in addition to or instead of information about taxis.
All's well that ends well, and we had a great time. Thanks for your help.
Hi All - thanks for your help in planning this walk. A few notes about the route... In several areas it is very poorly marked and quite honestly, someone should go out with an arrow and set the markings right. A good example is the turning on the Lanlivery to Fowey stretch. Just beyond the Woodgate Wood. You do warn walkers to be careful here but had you told us in the notes that the turning is at what appear to be someone's private driveway with a gate, we would not have missed it. It's okay - we found our way, but were surprised that this sort of thing happens repeatedly. We just feel that EWH's should do each walk every year with a Shaprie in hand to mark the trail a bit better.
AND, your ratings! My walk was a first one and at 70 years, I was happy to see the "moderate to easy" rating. It was very difficult in spots and had I not spent some time training for this, it would have been impossible. My husband is EXTREMELY fit and he said he was having a hard time in various places. We spoke with several people who have done this walk and we all agree that a rating of "moderate with some difficult stretches" would be more appropriate
Overall, very positive experience and would highly recommend your company .
Cannot get the I am not a robot link to click in so will be sure to monitor that feedback to get it to you when we have better internet service.
A quick thank you for developing and supporting our recent walk.
I must compliment you & your team on your responsiveness and thoughtfulness of response prior to the walk.
You offered wise counsel which, I think, we partly ignored with regard to the intensity of some of the early sections and length of the walk. I wonder, in retrospect, whether we slightly overestimated our capability for five continuous days of this nature although you did suggest a day off in mid walk (and we didn’t take up the option of course !!). The weather was very kind to us and that certainly made several parts of the trip easier.
The accommodation was fine if somewhat eccentric at times (Cape Cornwall Golf Club, Seaview House), but that all forms part of the journey.
Next time I will take less luggage (... & yes, you warned me about that too).
I got home to a busy week, but just wanted to say thanks so much for the organising you did for our walk in Cornwall. It was efficient and included all the info we needed and everything went very smoothly.
We so loved all the variety of beautiful scenery and also meeting many people along the way, and enjoying the different hosts at our accommodation. One of the things we were all convicted of was that we'd do a max of 10km a day if we did a similar walk one day!!! We didn't want it to be a route march/ rushed, so we though we'd given ourselves plenty of time, but we would've appreciated even more time to stop at places along the path, and also enjoy more time at some of the places we stopped at. Guess one can't always fit in everything one would like!!!
For the most part the signs were great, but just wanted to say we struggled a bit around Porthoustock to Porthallow. Apparently some signs are missing, so you may just want to feed that back to the appropriate SWCP people, so they can check.
Just before Lizzard, one of our group fell (on flat ground!!) and broke her wrist , so we had some adventures as we coped, but we felt v blessed as people helped, and Carol was still able to go by taxi/bus to each overnight stop and meet us there.
I thought that your office was probably not too far from where I was at Epiphany House in Truro (fantastic accommodation in case you could use it sometime!) the week prior to our walk, but there was just no spare time on our program, so I'm sorry I couldn't meet you, but thank you again and many blessings as you continue to help people have wonderful experiences!!
We both spent our youth in West Somerset and know the area covered by the Minehead - Woolacombe stages of the SWCP extremely well. We have walked the first two stages previously. We have also walked in many wonderful places around the world.
We were both agreed that these first four stages of the SWCP (going Westward) taken together rank among the the most scenically beautiful and dramatic walks we have done anywhere.
Anyone who is considering which stages to tackle should seriously consider this stretch. But they should be aware that they are in for some hard walking and should prepare accordingly.
Many thanks for organising our recent walk Westward Ho! to Porthcurno 09th - 23rd June.
We did state a preference for pubs or hotels with baths and wherever possible you didn't let us down. Our accommodation was in the main very good, especially The Hartland Quay Hotel (cottage), the New Inn Hotel, Clovelly, and The Old School Hotel, Port Isaac, which were all excellent. Your efforts very much appreciated. Well done! Neil and I had a good twin room at the Portreath Arms Hotel that was spoilt by a very small cupboard size en-suite toilet and shower with an opaque sliding glass door that gave little privacy and left nothing to the imagination when one of us was on the toilet. We were unlucky as the en-suite twin room allocated to George and Ed was perfectly acceptable. Also the owners of the Portreath Arms Hotel were very friendly and helpful and gave an excellent breakfast.
We were greeted with a tray of tea and biscuits on arrival at both The Surf Haven Guest House, Bude, and ST Johns House, Pendeen, which was a very nice thing to do and although we prefer pubs/hotels both guest houses looked after us very well and we enjoyed our stay.
If all goes to plan I'll contact you in November or December with regard to the 2020 stage of our SWCP walk, commencing Porthcurno.
Until then, Many Thanks,
Dear Prue and Team
I‘d just like to Thankyou for an fantastic Holiday. All the Bed and Breakfasts were lovely, helpful and friendly. Our luggage was transferred without any problems. We had truly a great time. I‘ll recommend this Company without a doubt. I‘ll be Booking with you again.
Thankyou for all your hard work!
Good morning. Steve and I were very impressed with your organisation of this walking holiday. Our trip notes, B&Bs/Inns and luggage transfers were first class. We enjoyed our walk, meeting some lovely people (and their dogs) along the way. The scenery is spectacular and we were blessed with fantastic weather.
Also, special thanks to Bernie from our Crantock B&B for rescuing our forgotten shampoo. He and his wife were not well yet Bernie cooked the most wonderful breakfast. Speedy recovery to them both. Also, special thanks to Bernie from our Crantock B&B for rescuing our forgotten shampoo. He and his wife were not well yet Bernie cooked the most wonderful breakfast. Speedy recovery to them both.
Catherine and Steven
Something that I really wanted to feed back on was the excellent vegan offerings at these restaurant and BnBs.
It was totally unexpected.
I really felt that the owners had gone above and beyond and really created some wonderful dishes for me.
The Locanda even had a whole plant based menu selection, Instow Barton created an exception vegan dish and everywhere was super accommodating.
(I had hoped to trim down and tone up a little on this active holiday.....hmm, I think I ate rather too well!)
Sorry for the delay in responding, just getting back to the real world!
We had a fabulous holiday, loved the walk and all the stops offs, the accommodation was all great, and no problems with any of the transfers. So no complaints from us!
In fact we enjoyed it all so much we would like to go back and do another section as soon as possible so will be in touch after the Bank Holiday!
We had a lovely walking holiday. It was well organized and we had no unpleasant surprises. Encounter did an excellent job and I would recommend your company to anyone. We have used one of your major competitors and you are by far superior.
The diversion at Coverack is over and the coastal path follows the original route. It is however newly opened and very rough. We may have been one of the first to use the trail. One could also take the alternate footpath into Coverack but it would be nowhere as exciting!
I (mostly) solo walked this over 14 days, with a couple of rest days in Penzance, finishing on 31 October.
From an organisation perspective, everything went like clockwork, and I appreciated all the maps and walking notes (not to mention the luggage transfer!). TIP: The digital version of the OS Map on my phone was wonderful, as it included GPS, which helped decide which path to take at times. I also used the Maps.Me app, with the Cornwall maps downloaded. Having GPS navigation that you can use offline is very handy in the back blocks of Cornwall where coverage is not great!
The accommodation was fine, even if my single room was small at times. Although I sometimes had a shared bathroom, I was invariably the only one using it this late in the season. On a couple of occasions, though, I was too tired/footsore to walk anywhere for dinner and went without. Next time on booking, I would pay more attention to how far away my B&B is from dinner (or take up the option to prearrange to have it cooked in-house). Also, I might pay more attention to which B&Bs provide a bath -- a nice bonus when it happened.
The section from St Ives to Mousehole is stunning, but even at the relaxed pace (5 days) I was desperately thankful for my scheduled rest days -- especially as I also walked an extra day on the moors. During the second half (Marazion to Falmouth), the daily distances were further and I made other arrangements for the 4th leg (Cadgwith to Porthallow) to give myself a break. I could probably have quite happily have called it a day once I reached Cadgwith, having rounded the Lizard. But I did have quite a sense of achievement arriving in Falmouth, even taking a few shortcuts (and buses) here and there.
I'm glad I scraped in before the end of October, because many of the services (including the vital Helford ferry) were about to close for the season. Although I had planned to take packed lunches, in the end I ate in many of the cafes along the path. So I definitely wouldn't walk after October.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience, albeit more taxing than I expected. It was not so much the difficulty of a single section, but all the days stacked together and accumulated fatigue. Encounter was awesome with tailoring my itinerary as per my direction, with days before and after, as well as the rest days in the middle. Next time, I would probably schedule some extra rest days or very short days to better meet my physical fitness/ability. But I completely loved the walk, even if people thought I was a bit mad walking on my own. I chatted with a lot of people along the way, while embracing the peace and beauty of the wild and rugged coast. I would love to do another section, or another walk somewhere else, in time -- either solo or with friends.
Thank you, Encounter Walking Holidays, for organising everything so all I needed to do was turn up.
Our first family walk with our boys aged 12 and 14. Luckily the wild autumn storms cleared on the first morning giving us 5 glorious days walking the Cornish coast. Being off-season we had the track mostly to ourselves (except at Lands End and on the final day coming into Penzance,) which added to the beauty of the walk. The accommodation was all excellent, with champion breakfasts for hungry boys. The bag transfer service worked brilliantly. We were the only people in the pub in Porthcurno, but the walk to the next village for dinner was not going to happen with the kids in tow. Well planned, great notes to get us places and something we will definitely do again with the kids. Thank you for organising it.
Walked with dog from Willington, via Luxborough, Porlock and Brendon Cross to Lynmouth. Incredible driving winds and rain on Friday 12th meant we curtailed the 13 mile walk to Porlock (the second part over Exmoor) as 'waterproofs' were in no way 'proofs' against this appalling weather. We were truly drenched through and through. The pub called 'The Rest and Be Thankful' in Wheddon Cross lived up to its name.....And it was great to have the taxi numbers. All accommodation and arrangements were great. And the walk is (would be!) spectacular. Thank you so much.
This was a fantastic walking trip for my wife and I and a friend (in our 70s). The scenery was even more gorgeous than anticipated. The accommodations were all great, but our favorite was the Merrymoor Inn in Mawgan Porth. The luggage transfer went smoothly, and the trail descriptions and map were excellent. We only got slightly disoriented once, in Newquay. I highly recommend this trip!
Well it wasn’t what we expected in general - that was my fault for not researching the path. There are better sections so we were told.
Sea Tang was a great start.
Brixham is nice but Torquay is not. Personal opinion, Paignton- oh dear oh dear. Exmouth -Lyme Regis - Beer- Abbotsbury excellent - Weymouth harbour and the beach are good but not a nice place on a Saturday evening.
The way markers and maps are not brilliant - thank you google maps- and we weren’t expecting the markers in the ground when we were inTorquay.
Going out fromTorquay towards the B and B we went down and up through an uninteresting area with little views to come up about 50 yds further up the road - there were a few of these on our route, not worth the effort.
We have not used your company before and this was our first walk along the route. Very efficient on all points, maybe a question mark on accommodation standard. For instance always finish the holiday on a high not a low.
The accommodation varied from brilliant to ok to well why here?
Our last stop in Weymouth for instance - I will send a different email - Beds /showers and pillows were questionable at some stops.
Storm Callum - stopped raining when we walked - Portland the weather at the Bill was dry warm with dramatic seas. The wind was very difficult the day before but no lashing rain. Good to receive the email warning.
Ferries Teignmouth was great -walked straight onboard -nice people - the one to Exmouth was cancelled and by the sounds of it unreliable.
Luggage transfers - this was excellent - the soya milk was lost in transit but the people were all very helpful. First class.
Well organised as usual. Instructions about each section of the walk and where to eat were excellent as was the OS map of our route. A lovely part of the SW Coast path and well signposted- we only got lost once which was around Caerhays castle where the signposting is poor. Accommodation in Coverack and Falmouth brilliant. B&B in Portloe tired but I guess there isn't much choice there. Luggage transfer excellent too. Well done Encounter Walking
We all enjoyed this walk.
Just a few comments: Baggage transfer: No problems at all, our bags were at the B&Bs when we arrived.
Accommodation: All good, although breakfast was best at the Penscot, Shipham.
Day 1: Weston to Shipham: All our GPSs showed a mile further than on the guide. Highlight was the extensive views from Crook Peak.
Day 2: Shipham to Wells: Again a mile further on GPSs. Disappointed with Cheddar Gorge as we expected to see more stunning scenery, but the tree cover was dense. Went slightly wrong, but soon sorted. Saw slow worm, ponies and the feral goats. As time was getting on, we made a slight diversion near Wookey Hole. Arrived in Wells to see the Cathedral bathed in brilliant evening sunshine.
Day 3: Pilgrim Walk: Wells to Glastonbury Tor. Lovely views from the Tor. One section of the path from East Street farm was overgrown, but no other problems. Caught the bus back to Wells.
Day 4: Wells to Frome: We knew this would be a long day, so left Wells at 8.30am. A bit drizzly to start with, but weather improved as day progressed. A few navigational problems around Shepton Mallet. The only muddy section was in Asham Wood, but the boots had dried off by the time we arrived at The George in Frome at 5.30pm, giving time to soak in the bath before going downstairs for a meal. (Again, a mile further than expected)
An enjoyable walk and many thanks to the Encounter team. The only gripe is with GWR who for some reason changed the rail timetable from Frome to Gloucester. When tickets booked, there was a direct train, but we had to change at Bristol, and then the train went via Newport to Gloucester. As we had booked seats from Gloucester, we had to leave Frome 2 hours earlier than anticipated to get our connection. The George did provide us with bacon butties to take with us, as we had to leave before breakfast.
We very much enjoyed the walk and your arrangements were splendid. Wonderful clifftop scenery and coastal harbours. Baggage transferred seamlessly, lodgings were excellent. We would recommend you without reservation.
Weather sunny every day – almost too good because a few degrees cooler would have been a little more comfortable. However, if there had been three days of rain, we might have a different response.
We brought trekking poles and they were useful, particularly on the strenuous portions of the walk.
Very difficult driving into Mevagissey because the streets were so narrow and crowded with pedestrians and the turns were so tight. We might have been better off just parking in the carpark and rolling our luggage to Buckingham House.
Only place we had any trouble with the trail was in Par, where we were walking on village streets after we skirted the China Clay factory. We did not see any trail marker or sign for the right turn onto the A3082 and – expecting a trail marker – we went wrong for about 1/4 mile. Better map reading on our part would probably have avoided the problem.
The final day was too ambitious, at least for walkers of our age and fitness. The seven or so miles from Fowey to Polperro (although strenuous) was fine but with a fairly leisurely stop at Lansallos Beach and then another stop for tea in Polperro, it was after 3 pm. We decided we were a little too tired and we would arrive in Looe too late to keep walking. However, it was easy enough to take a taxi and very helpful to have your listings .And extraordinarily nice to arrive at Commonwood Manor, where they took very good care of us.
Had excellent meals at Wreckers in Charlestown and Smuggler's Cott in Looe.
Thanks for all your assistance.
Thank you and the walk was amazing! The scenery is stunning and the walk was challenging and very very fun! And everything went so smoothly....... Wales is certainly a hidden jewel.... thank you for your coordination. I know you will send us a survey for us to complete too...
What a glorious walk. I was very lucky with the weather - splendid sunny skies, cool temperatures, perfect for walking. Only a sprinkling of rain on the very last kilometre!
The landscape is stunning. Massive rocky folds curve around secluded coves; broad, dramatic headlands jut into the sea. Almost every day I saw seals basking on rocky beaches, and on one unforgettable afternoon, dolphins cavorting in a cove!
If you're reasonably fit, the 'strenuous' grades are manageable. I took my time on the steepest inclines and descents, pausing every 50 steps or so to catch my breath and take in the views. Walking poles were very helpful. I was a bit apprehensive about the last day from Newport to St. Dogmael's after reading that these 26 kms were "the toughest section of the entire walk." It was strenuous, but not as bad as I expected - in fact, it was exhilarating.
At the impressive "Witch's Cauldron" I stopped for a break, enjoying the lone seal who was swimming languidly in the inner cove's turquoise water. I had planned on 9-10 hours of walking, but cruised into Poppit Sands after 7 hours.
Damon and crew were terrific: I appreciated their responsiveness and flexibility. Guidebook and map were excellent; route notes detailed and accurate. I typically get lost in a shoebox, and so a) was thankful that the trail is well marked and always by the coast; b) found that I had to read the route notes very carefully to get to the accommodation from the trail. When in doubt, I asked people for directions; they were all kind and helpful. As a solo walker, I always felt safe.
Accommodations varied from modest to luxurious; they were all clean and comfortable. Excellent food, in both the pubs and in some very fine restaurants. Recommendation:
If you fly into London, as I did, count on a long day of travel out to Wales, and DO book a train to Wales that leaves before noon in order to make connections. I took the 13:05 from Paddington, and it lost time along the way, with the result that I missed the connection at Cardiff for Haverfordwest and no later trains were available.
Luckily, an angel named Ruth helped me re-route (Cardiff to Swansea to Fishguard) and my taxi driver in Haverfordwest was able to meet me in Fishguard and drive me to the starting point of St. Davids.
All in all, a very satisfying and memorable walk.
We walked from Penzance to Falmouth during the last week of September 2018 and enjoyed it immensely. We were extremely lucky with the weather - sunny and mild most days. We were often walking in short sleeves and shorts, and we only needed the rain jackets while walking around Falmouth on the last day.
We loved the range of scenery, from wild to cultivated, from clifftop to beach, and urban to rural. The transportation, luggage, and lodging accommodations all worked perfectly. So nice to find your luggage waiting at the end of the day, and wonderful to start the day with a full breakfast.
For details and photos of our trip, check out the blog I wrote for friends and family at: spruceknobtravel.wordpress.com We found most days to be well-balanced in terms of distance and difficulty. However, the two 15-mile days were less enjoyable (mainly at the end of the day). It may not look like much extra on paper, but when you have to walk extra miles to get to the inn, they add up. Detours and diversions also add to the day's fatigue, as do the number of ups and downs from cliff to cove and back. Also, depending on location, you may have to walk another mile or two round trip to get dinner at the end of the day. Be cautious when planning the trip. A shorter mileage means more time to stop and enjoy along the way. It was hard to know in advance how difficult the walking would be. We are newly retired and quite fit. In preparation, along with our normal activities we took weekly hikes. Being in Vermont, this typically meant three miles up a mountain and then three miles down! So the altitude changes on the coastal path were not alarming to us, but the long days did wear out our legs and feet. (We are glad to report no blisters!) Overall, we would have called the "moderate" parts easy, and the "strenuous" parts manageable.
It was very important to have both the guidebook and the map. But we were especially grateful to also have a good hiking app on the mobile phone, which saved us from taking the wrong trail many times. The coastal path is well-signed in some places and not in others. There were multiple times when it was easy to lose the trail or follow the wrong trail. They could use some simple blazes at key places! However, dangerous areas were always well-marked.
FYI, a particularly unwelcome diversion from the expected trail was at Gillan, where you have to go a long ways up and then a long ways down simply to avoid a short bit of eroded harbourside trail.
We look forward to more walking holidays in the future!
Our route was from Milford Haven to St. Dogmaels at the end of September/Beginning of October. This is my first visit to Wales and I found the scenery of the country to be stunning, the people so warm and welcoming, and unbelievably we had amazing weather for ten days.
First the trip was impeccably organized. We carried the maps, detailed itinerary and guide book with us daily and found all three informative and for us, and necessary. My friend and I both like to look at maps and know where we are and so appreciated the materials. We also wanted to make sure we saw the highlights so having the materials was helpful. We also followed the advice of making reservations where noted which proved to be important. Everyone we worked with at Encounter Walking was extremely helpful and responsive. You asked about our date choice and warned us about the weather and lack of some transport services which was appreciated. Lucky for us the weather was fantastic and we enjoyed having the path mainly to ourselves... The luggage transfer worked without any issues... and our only comment was we overpacked and would lighten our load the next time. We took a rest day in St. Davids based on your recommendation and it was well needed and enjoyed... we ended up attending an evening Songs and lessons service at the Cathedral that evening, which was beautiful and so enjoyable in the stunning Cathedral. HIghly recommend doing it... We also always did the suggested add-ons/detours and appreciated these options. Sometimes we both did them or just one of us but it gave us exacting instructions.
A shout out to the owner of the Hampton House B&B... my friend’s feet needed a rest and as we were off season there were not taxis available. I hiked the entire route but the B&B owner drove my friend up to the hostel on the coast... cutting her walking time in half. This was incredibly generous.
Highlights of the trip included:
Obviously the seals and seal pups.... we loved watching them in the coves, one afternoon we encountered a mom teaching her pup how to swim.
The scenery became more dramatic and “untamed” each day as we went farther from Milford Haven. We even appreciated the industrial look of Milford Haven as the refineries are a part of the economy of Wales. We also liked the direction we were walking as each day seemed to get progressively harder. We felt prepared for it each day and a walk of 8 to 10 miles became easy!
Some of the hidden gems we ate at... Obviously the Griffin Inn was incredible... we followed your recommendation for reservations and were so glad that we did.. The Clock House bed and breakfast in Marloes had the best breakfast and coffee! Also they packed a great lunch...... This was one of our favorite accommodations. We also enjoyed the sunset bed and breakfast in Broad Haven - as we each had our own spacious room and the accommodation was lovely... In Solva in the harbor is a great coffee shop/cafe called Thirty Five. We did not get lunch from our accommodation but rather from this shop before heading out to walk. They opened at 8am and we were there waiting at the door. Highly recommend their lunch to go... In Goodwick we recommend the Rose and Crown for dinner... modern version of a pub, excellent food!
Fantastic last accommodation the Bethsaida B&B... the owner was great and it was such an unique lodging..... we were the only guests and she went out of her way to make sure we had everything we needed and again, this was also a great breakfast. A great place to finish at!
We can not thank you enough for this amazing trip..... your attention to detail and knowledge of the area is to be highly commended. I am from the United States and my girlfriend from London...... and we both would highly recommend your company to walkers.. All of our questions and concerns were answered prior to departing and changes we asked for our itinerary were made where possible. As my first walking tour vacation I am excited and look forward to doing another one! THank you again....
I am grateful to the team at Encounter who managed the whole schedule and logistics so professionally and yet with a personal friendly approach. Thank you Damon for all your advice and guidance, and assistance with further bookings and travel arrangements beyond the walk.
This was a most memorable "slack-packing" hike, made so much easier and enjoyable having confidence that the best accommodation to our liking was all arranged ahead of us and we were sure to find our luggage waiting for us in our rooms. The rooms were mostly very comfortable with the exception of the size of some of the rooms that did not leave much space to move around in. All of them laid on excellent breakfast preparing us for the day's walk.
The recommended restaurants and pubs for our evening meals were always good. The cool Ale at the end of the day was well earned and particularly refreshing!
The coastal path is well laid out and mostly very clear signage. We seldom lost the path, but the Trailblazer guide book and the OS maps were very helpful in keeping us on the straight or helping us find the correct path when we erred.
The weather? Wow!! is that also arranged by Encounter? Because it was awesome. The previous week having been wet and stormy, we had the perfect one. This meant the views and scenery were spectacular, and there was always a cool breeze to keep the temperature at a steady 20 dogs C.
Our gratitude to Encounter Walking. We will certainly recommend you, and look forward to the next time we book.
Encounterwalking's planning and arrangements were all first class. They were able to tailor our requirements to allow for our age and level of fitness. Baggage transfers were always on time and a taxi was waiting for us at the end of our holiday. Accommodation was good especially Kota Restaurant in Porthleven and The Top House in Lizard Town. I would have no hesitation in recommending Encounterwalking to my friends in South Africa. Well done.
We are a healthy and relatively fit couple in our early 50’s with minimal walking experience. The Saints Way walk was exactly right for us. It was a taste of a walking holiday that we were able to fit into a schedule of travel and other destinations from Australia.
Padstow accommodation at Symply Padstow was a great starting point. We had a lovely room and wonderful hosts. We spent part of the day before our official walk ‘practising’ a quick walk along the Camel Trail from Padstow to Wadebridge. This is a popular trail for pushbike riding also.
We had a challenging first day walking from Padstow to Hustyns due to very inclement weather. We were lucky that the hotel was able to lend us a heater overnight to help dry out our clothing and especially our shoes.
The weather, thankfully, cleared up beautifully for the final two days of our walk. The Crown Inn at Lanlivery was a terrific place to spend the second night of our walk. The room was very comfortable and the food in the Pub was delicious.
We would recommend a detour on day three to Lostwithiel. This town is a little off the walking route and it extends the walk by about an hour, depending how long you spend in the town.
The immediate scenery coming into Fowey is gorgeous. It was such a beautiful place to finish our journey. Our lovely hosts and accommodation in the historic “Well House” were a fitting end to walking the ancient Saints Way.
We would highly recommend Encounter Walking Tours. The thorough planning, baggage transfers and the general support received from them was fantastic. They gave us the confidence to enjoy our three days of amazing experiences through the beautiful Cornish countryside. Please pass on our appreciation to all involved. (Especially Mike - the transfer driver from Padstow to Lanlivery).
We enjoyed the walk enormously. The combination of the Coleridge way and a few days back along the coast path to Minehead gave us a great view of Somerset and Devon. We particularly enjoyed the woodlands. The accomodation was generally good to excellent, and we had some great food. Once again the advice from you guys and the arrangements were excellent. I made a point of asking some of the accommodation providers what they thought of Encounter and they were all full of praise.
To all the Encounters Walking Team,
My great thanks to you all for the planning of Garnets and my walking trip along the Cornish Coast. I just loved this experience in your beautiful country, and the Cornish Coastline is so spectacular !! And none of it is flat ! So, the walks were certainly a challenge, some more than others, but we quickly recovered with a beer/cider at our destinations.
The accommodation was really good, we liked some more than others, namely, Lerryn Hotel in Falmouth, Plume of Feathers in Portscatho, and Rashleigh Arms in Charlestown. But, all in all, the people running the accommodation venues were charming, the breakfasts were delicious and we were warm and comfortable. Our luggage was always waiting for us and the planning was excellent.
It was a real pleasure to briefly meet you, Damon , at the station in Plymouth, sorry we couldn’t spend longer chatting! You seemed concerned that the weather may have put us off, but we actually enjoyed the cool and we were lucky that we had little rain. The one day of torrential rain arrived at a good time for us, the walk from Fowey to Polperro. We took the day off, caught a taxi and had great fun playing backgammon and enjoying the happy vibe at The Blue Peter. Our legs appreciated the rest . We did get very mildly lost a couple of times along the way, but soon realised we were wrong and quickly recovered our route. Actually, we were usually the ones at fault for not reading the directions properly or missing the odd signpost, but it was never an issue.
If I were to do this trip again, I think I would like to take the odd day off, not because the walking was too difficult, but because the beautiful little coastal towns needed more time for us to explore. We have several friends in Cape Town who have been interested in our trip, and I will certainly recommend your company to them.
If you are ever in Cape Town, please look us up. We would love to show off our own beautiful city.
Best wishes to you all, and thank you for the experience.
It was nice to briefly meet you when Christine and I got our luggage at Plymouth station
Just to tell you,the walks you organised were great,and generally our accommodation and breakfasts were totally acceptable.The Plume and Rashleigh were really nice places to stay at-because they had baths??
A few points-the walk I found to be quite taxing,especially the longer days,but we were very lucky to have stormy and overcast days-it would be quite hard if hot—I feel the distances we were able to cope with,even if we missed the odd path or two??Our best meal,and cider/beer was in Polperro at the Blue Peter,lovely atmosphere on a very wet and squally day.
Certainly you are a business I will tell me friends about
Thank you and we are happy to give you our feedback, because we had an absolutely amazing time. We can’t say enough great things about your service, our accommodations, the landscape, and all the incredibly friendly people we encountered. I personally especially loved the old Inns we stayed in - something about that history. But then even the B&B guest houses were cozy, charming and welcoming. We want to let you know that we had especially exceptional service at the Golden Lion Inn in Padstow our last night. One staff persona in particular, I her name was Natalie, went above and beyond to help us arrange a very early departure to catch an early flight out the next morning.
Regarding the walk, we are very happy we made the decision to do the slightly more relaxed itinerary between Heartland and Padstow for two reasons - 1. There were lots of things to see which we might have missed if we had to spend more hours walking.
2. Because we ended up having 4 extra strenuous days of high winds. 2 of those were particularly testing with sustained 30-40 mile hour head wind and even higher gusts. Was I thankful that one of those was our 5 mile day!
We only had one day where we got a bit disoriented on the trail and the guide book was not very helpful. Due to steady rain (and concerns about safety on the really steep sections), we chose to do the shortcut in the first 3 miles of the route from Port Isaac to Padstow. This is a bypass through farmland rather than staying coastal. We found the cut-off ok, but from there, we had trouble staying with the route. We got quite lost in the fields and finally decided to backtrack and get to the coastal path. By chance we ran into our bypass so thankfully didn’t have to start back at the beginning. In this one instance, we didn’t have clear directions and we found the guide book lacking detail. But otherwise, for the main route, we found the guidebook incredibly detailed and helpful.
We absolutely would love to go back and do more of the path some day. Again, we were very very happy with your service. Very responsive and professional. Thank you!
We enjoyed our 6 day walk immensely. The scenery was of constantly changing beauty and all the accommodation was excellent. We would have preferred however more quill direction especially around the half-way mark.
We settled into buying sandwiches and fruit at the beginning of each day and picnicked since we never seemed to pass by pubs or through villages when they were serving food. A served meal would also have held us up and we had the night meal to look forward to.
Woodadvent Farm was the highlight for accommodation but we had trouble finding it - an old one mile sign post to the farm led us to being surrounded by 5 gates with no quill.
Would definitely recommend the walk.
We were very pleased with the service provided by the team at Encounter Walking. All the administration prior to the holiday was handled with efficiency and simplicity. All the accommodation selected by Encounter was excellent as was the material/tips provided by them prior to the walk. The walk was strenuous, particularly the first four days but the views and experience made it all worthwhile. When we next walk part of the South West Coastal Path we will certainly use Encounter Walking.
Apologies for the delay, but I would very much like to provide you with some feedback from our recent walking break, expertly organised by Encounter.
Minehead to Lynmouth
19th- 22nd September.
We had a lovely time. Both my sister and I (and Smith, the dog) thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Second day was definitely tougher than Day 1, but completely manageable. We finished, happily tired but not completely exhausted. We opted to walk out to the Lighthouse at Foreland Point and around The Foreland headland. The guidebook was right to provide a mild warning. The path was a bit exposed but we found it to be stable and not quite as scary as we thought it might be. Overall, the itinerary, maps & information provided by Encounter were detailed (far more so than I expected!) and provided all the information we needed.
The accommodation recommended and booked for us met our needs exactly and was delightful. Was exactly what I ordered!
Staff at the Top Ship, Porlock could not have been more helpful and welcoming – nothing too much trouble. Extremely dog friendly too. Their “home cooked” style menu was excellent, so that we ate in their restaurant both nights of our stay. Good breakfast and pack lunch too. Excellent value.
Accommodation for our final night, was a little more “up market”. A different atmosphere from The Top Ship – but nonetheless very welcoming, very well appointed and we enjoyed a superb meal in their restaurant in the evening – more pricey, but was a real treat and perfectly met my request, which had been for a “special meal to celebrate my sister’s birthday” .
The taxi transfer back to Porlock was on time and our lady driver was very friendly and courteous.
All in all a perfect mini break. I would have no hesitation in using Encounter again (and indeed hope to)– have already recommended you to some of my other walking buddies.
Thank you for all your help and assistance.
Our eight-day hike along the South West Coast Path from Padstow to St. Ives featured icons of Cornwall's rich geography, history, industry and the arts, an astounding portfolio we enjoyed on foot and in mostly good weather (but please don't forget your rain gear).
For the most part we found the path obvious and easy to follow, except in urban areas such as Newquay, where the way-finding Acorn markers were hard to find, and along the sand dunes between St. Agnes and Hayle, where the way-finding markers change from yellow Acorns on wooden poles to hard-to-see Acorns engraved in huge chunks of slate that have been set in the sand like tombstones.
The scenery was absolutely spectacular every step of the way, and far more heart-stopping than we had ever imagined in terms of hiking just feet from cliffs that dropped straight down into the roiling sea hundreds of feet below! Sometimes you just have to look straight ahead at the path and not at the scenery. It was a privilege to find ourselves on beaches and coves of white sand and azure water that were inaccessible except by the trail.
We met friendly walkers along the way, who were always willing to stop for a hello or a call for help (are we still on the right path?)
Our accommodations were easy to find and clean and comfortable with no problems checking in or out. All our hosts were knowledgeable about the path, walkers and our walking company.
Luggage arrived on one day and was picked up the next without a hitch. The breakfasts were fantastic and all we needed for a long day on the path, though we always stopped for tea in places where Encounter suggested we do so. Most places Encounter booked had pubs for dinner or were close to one.
Our weather was accommodating except for two days of rain at the end (prompting us to take a bus from Hayle to St. Ives) and during one day that we were extremely exposed (north of Wheal Coates) and the wind was blowing 35 knots. We consulted with the Coast Guard station above the path and chose to walk off the path and join it a mile or so later, where it was not as treacherous. We would advise rain gear in your day packs, a first aid kit (we had some blisters) and lots of layers, power bars and water, though because the weather was cooler (around 60-63F) we didn't drink that much.
Encounter's written itinerary was excellent, including taxi numbers (which we did use). Highlights of our trip aside from the scenery and walking through Poldark Country while they were filming (though we did not actually see any of the scenes or actors) included: the discovery that Cornwall has a thriving surf culture; our lucky arrival on the last day of the Gannel River Fern Pit ferry's operations (a big rowboat with a motor, captain in bare feet and sleeping dog at the boat's bow); seeing up close along the trail the lighthouse at Godrevy Point made famous by Virginia Woolf; and the huge hot tub -- more like a pond than a tub -- at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel in Mawgan Porth.
Thank you Encounter for a spectacular and memorable trip!
What an excellent walk! Beautiful varied scenery in such an unspoilt area. Sufficiently challenging to be tired and ready for our R&R at the end of each day. On the second day we didn't see anyone else all day!
Signposting is excellent, better than most and route description and notes helped if we were unsure. Diversions to see sights can add to distance and time so factor that in.
Accommodation along the way was friendly and welcoming, sometimes pointing out points of interest for the next day. Couldn't fault any of them and breakfasts without exception lovely. Notley Arms menu in the evening while superb fine dining, may not be quite what you would want at the end of a long walk, but we coped and the Black Rat Perry was a compensation.
We made use of community shops where we could to pick up food supplies to help support them.
We had a "rest day" in Porlock and caught the bus to Minehead and walked back along the Coast Path which is a good day walk option. We also did the last day of the Two Moors Way from Simonsbath to Lynmouth. It was very misty on the moor and the signposting to Exe Head is somewhat misleading. Best to take a compass bearing and walk to that. Also be aware that what is marked on the map as a fence line may be just the remains of an earth bank on the ground. Otherwise we enjoyed the last day especially the views on the different approach to Lynmouth.
Transport information to and from the walk's start and finish were very helpful and also the taxi numbers. Might be worth mentioning that buses from Lynmouth to Barnstaple are quite limited, but there are a few more options leaving from Lynton. However the funicular to take you up the steep hill doesn't start running until 10.00, so plan accordingly. If planning to use public transport back to Barnstaple it may be an option to stay in Lynton instead.
Overall we had a marvellous time and would recommend this walk to anyone. Also without hesitation would recommend Encounter to anyone considering a walking holiday in this part of England. Where to next??
Great service. We much appreciated the efficiency in which you organized the walk without any of the worries booking B&Bs etc etc.
During the last years we booked several holidays through Encounter Walking and once again: everything was perfectly organized. The accomodation were very nice and the additional information given were very helpful. Damon & Team: thanks a lot ! To avoid a loooong walk on tarmac (Tarka Trail from Braunton) we hired a bicycle to cover the stretch from Braunton to Westward Ho! in one day. This gave us also some additional time to visit Barnstaple and enjoy a wonderful cream tea in Fremington. Your hint to use "Biketrail" was perfect, as they deliver and collect the bikes to/from different places. We will certainly come back !
We had a wonderful time- hike went well but be aware that it is not flat walk ( multiple ups and down; total ascension was > 600 metres on 2 different days). It was great to receive info before the trip. So a BIG THANK YOU to Encounter Walking organizers!
Luggage: transfers were done without any problem.
Weather: 40 min of rain during the 4 days- with gorgeous sunshine and wonderful panorama. Not busy and very peaceful walk!
Directions on the ground: not always easy to follow- yes it can be frustrating but thankfully the directions in the book were excellent (maps were not difficult to read). Be prepared to walk a little bit longer distance than mentioned.
Accommodations: no issue- but we liked especially the one in Zennor (Tinner Arms).
Food: just one thing- not that much to eat properly at Porthcurno (supper) (however going to see a play at the outside Theatre was worth it). By the way, little cafe in Zennor served excellent soup.
Overall: a very pleasant walking trip!
First I’d like to say a big thank you.
My planning, your help, your itineraries, documents and especially the customised map, the taxi service, luggage transfers and both places we stayed were just as described and there were no hiccoughs so we had a terrific holiday.
I know I can’t blame you for the mist,drizzle that we had the first day but actually I was really glad it wasn’t very hot. We were very lucky to see some Exmoor wild ponies which more than I had expected.
Feedback on the routes
On the first day near Mansley Coombe (no 95) we ended up on the wrong hill as we followed the main path but actually we needed the other bridleway to the left to go to Dunkers Errish. It might be a good idea to clarify that in the write up.
On the second day at Oare (145). There is now a weather station beyond the small conifer plantation so your instructions should tell people to keep to the left of the conifers alongside the fence to get to a stile that takes you to the path described in 146.
The rest of your instructions were very clear and worked well for us.
Feedback on stopping places
We had a lovely break at Webber’s Post (105) with convenient tree stumps and Day 2 we found some convenient rocks near Broomstreet Farm (142) with a lovely view We recommend the National trust cafe at watersmeet for excellent loos and coffees!
The Ship Inn was fine - adequate beds/breakfast but busy at supper time. Booking a table is advised.
The Millslade Country Hotel was superb. Very comfy rooms, delicious breakfasts, warm welcome and great homemade packed lunches.
Hope this helps - I will certainly recommend you to anyone/everyone.
Brilliant. once again, thank you so much for sorting out such excellent night stops and baggage transfers. I couldn’t find fault with any of them.
I probably could have done some slightly longer days as I was usually finished by 1 or 2 pm, but that was my fault.
The Erme nightmare was easy.. get up at 4..start walking at 4.37 with a ‘Paddington’ breakfast.(.marmalade sandwiches) provided by the farmer’s wife..pitch black..cloud on the deck..could just make out telegraph posts for idea of direction..made it interesting..but got to the Erme at 0615 (low tide 0724)..just light enough to see the causeway on the other side..waded across and away again at 0644 to the dodgy ferry at Bantham..but one wave at ten o’clock and he was there, and I was across and at the pub by 1013..to find my bag was already there!
Not quite so efficiently handled when Mrs G arrived to pick up and drop off (two hours late at the first rendezvous!) but good to walk with the dog..I reached the Exe yesterday (24th). Good weather other than last Saturday when I got soaked to my toes doing 17 miles..but the other days were lovely.
Once again..many many thanks..I would/will recommend you to anyone
Many thanks to Prue, Damon and all the encounter team for another outstanding organisation of our second swc part. We challenged them with an unpredictable 3-day-off and they helped us through by even saving money. Once more their walking informations, the trailblazer and the map helped a lot to plan the tour. Whilst offline app maps me helped for navigation and Komoot for tracking the tours. 13 days of great hiking landscapes and accommodations. First of all Lugger Inn/Portloe: staff, room, shower(!), place, diner(!!!). Also remarkable: Wintara B&B/Bottallack, Houselbay Hotel/Lizard, Lerryn/Falmouth and St. Bernards/Newquay. Most impressive part around Kynance Cove, Bottallack to Porthcurno and around Gillian and Helford River. Several unattended sunburnts prouved: Hiking in september is a good choice.
Only remark in this area: the accommodations and pubs ruled by St. Austell Brewery where a bit disappointing. The places and rooms are perfect, but food (especially diners) quality is worth to look for alternatives.
We’re looking forward 2019 swc with encounter. Thank you ???? “
Once again Damon and the folks at Encounter came through with outstanding service! Our accommodations were lovely (especially the Bayards Cove Inn in Dartmouth) and all went very smoothly.
These three days of walking were listed as strenuous, and I would have to agree - some of the ups and downs were pretty long and very steep, but oh, are they worth it! The scenery was truly stunning. It seemed as though every time we came over a rise or around a corner a new breathtaking vista appeared. Some of the little picturesque coves with their rock pools were so lovely we hated to move on! But move on we did - the walks were quite demanding and on the two longer days we didn't have much time to squander on beachcombing and rest.
I would recommend walking poles for this stretch - we did the first two days without them and then bought some in Dartmouth for the last day, and we were very glad we did. Our weather started out a bit shaky on the first day with a short rain shower as soon as we set out on the Salcombe ferry, but it was soon over, and the rest of the way we were treated to sunny skies and very pleasant temperatures. It was almost hot!
We ended up in Brixham tired but happy, and celebrated with an excellent meal at Beamer's. Get the shellfish platter for two - it is heavenly!! We will definitely be back for the next phase of the path next year - thanks Damon and crew!!
A short note to tell you that the organization was perfect. I had just to enjoy the walk without bothering with practical problems.
Regarding the B&B, they were all satisfying but those I appreciated the most were Zennor chapel guest house and Wellmore end cottage at Portheleven (room, food and welcoming).
Regarding the walk, not surprisingly the first part between St Ives and Mousehole was stunning; the part between Mousehole and Marazion not very exciting and then again I had a quite pleasant walk from Marazion to Poldu Cove. Your advice to stroll through the Loe pool was an excellent one.
I will probably do another stretch of the cornwall coast path next year.
Thank you for your help.
Just wanted you to know: We finished Minehead to Padstow today. We loved it...and we were delighted by your choices for accommodations. Excellent...and all near or on the South West Coast Path. All baggage transfer worked. Thank you.
My wife and I (both mid-60's and experienced long distance walkers) hiked the Coast Path from Exmouth to Lulworth Cove in 10 days, with a rest day in Lyme Regis. We also opted for the circuit of the Isle of Portland. Afterwards, we transferred to Bovey Tracey and four days of walking the Dartmoor Way, which I will review elsewhere.
We couldn't have been more pleased with the pre-trip service provided by the Encounter team. I appreciated their ability to listen to our needs, to provide advice and alternative route options to consider, to offer accommodations at a variety of price points/comfort levels, and to do so promptly and efficiently. We will use them again and will recommend them to friends.
Some highlights...the daily routine of walking to a new destination, of experiencing incredible scenery, of navigating the trails, of finding a new pub upon arrival and sampling the local ales, the diversity of lodgings (small B&B's, small hotels, pubs, etc.), and meeting some tremendous B&B and hotel owners/staff.
We had no trouble navigating the route...the Trailblazer Guide was excellent and the on-ground trail signage made it difficult to get lost...and the OS maps only served as a little-needed backup for us.
Some comments/suggestions: We arrived in Exmouth a day early to help recover from jet lag, but found ourselves wanting to get out and walk. The suggested free day walk that Encounter provided in the notes -- the walk along the River Exe to Starcross and then the ferry back to Exmouth -- was a great way to stretch our legs. We shortened the suggested walk a bit by taking the #57 bus from Exmouth to Countess Wear roundabout, and accessed the trail just over the two bridges nearby. We cut out some of the less interesting bits near Exeter and had a great lunch at Turf Lock along the Exe canal.
After arriving at the Dukes Hotel in Sidmouth without a dinner reservation and having to wait until 8:45pm to eat, we thereafter called ahead to make dinner bookings at a pub or restaurant. This saved a lot of needless worry. Many restaurants in Lyme Regis are closed Monday and Tuesday, so plan accordingly. We loved the free day in Lyme Regis, and had a great tour of the old flour mill in town. Highly recommend!
While walking around the Isle of Portland, we left the path and climbed to the Portland Museum, which is a gem...lots of cultural, geological, and political history here. Lots of info about the quarrying of stone, which we found fascinating. In fact, we spent so much time there that instead of continuing on with the coast path, we caught the bus back down to Chiswell.
The Cove House Inn in Chiswell on Portland is not to be missed for dinner....enjoy a drink overlooking the sea and then feast on their delicious food. If you walked to Portland as we did, don't waste your time walking back across the causeway...take the bus to Ferrybridge, get off and rejoin the path. And do take the penny ferry across the river in Weymouth...saves 20 minutes and it's a fun boat ride.
Loved the West Bay Inn! Great location on the beach, friendly staff, large room, and delicious specials on the board. Some of the lodging choices have very small rooms, low ceilings and door clearances, and footboards on the beds...I'm 6'5" and had a little trouble at Peach's B&B in Abbotsbury and Tewkesbury Cottage in Lulworth. That said, I wouldn't have missed either of them...the owners' personalities and conversation made a little physical discomfort worth tolerating.
My wife and I walked 10 days of the Southwest Coast Path and then transferred to Bovey Tracey for 4 days on the Dartmoor Way -- from Bovey Tracey to Okehampton. We are both experienced long distance walkers in our mid-60's.
We couldn't have been more pleased with the pre-trip service provided by the Encounter team. I appreciated their ability to listen to our needs, to provide advice and alternative route options to consider, to offer accommodations at a variety of price points/comfort levels, and to do so promptly and efficiently.
We were especially grateful for their suggestion that we reconsider the Two Moors walk, given our limited experience with navigating in low visibility conditions, and for suggesting this walk as an alternative. We will use them again and will recommend them to friends.
While a beautiful walk in many places, this segment of the Dartmoor Way is not a moors walk, and we were somewhat disappointed by not having more time on the moor. The High Tors Walk day gave us some flavor of the moors, but due to weather conditions, we were unable to take the higher walk option above Okehampton. So most of our walking was through rolling farmland, woods paths, trust property, etc. Some highlights...
The Southern High Tors Walk out of Bovey Tracey...a beautiful introduction to the moor, with great views, interesting tors and flora, and the amazing granite railway that was used to transport the quarried rock to the canal and then to the coast.
The notes provided by Encounter and the OS map made navigation relatively easy...but care is still required.
The wonderful little village of North Bovey and the warm and welcoming Ring of Bells Inn. Great food and drink...and we were upgraded to a huge room above the dining area. The Inn at Fingle Bridge for lunch...sitting at a table along the river with a beer watching the river flow past was perfection. The river walk after Fingle Bridge to the intersection with the Two Moors Way was one of the most delightful walks of the trip. Easy, but always under trees with the river close by on your right.
A not to be missed lunch stop at the Oxenham Arms pub in Zeal...a monastery before becoming an inn, this is where Dickens wrote much of his Pickwick Papers. We stopped in sopping wet after walking 3 hours in a downpour and were welcomed warmly. The coal fire dried us out, and we enjoyed the best pub lunch of the trip there.
Comments/Suggestions Unlike the coast path, where you practically could walk on auto-pilot most times, the Dartmoor Way requires ongoing attention to the trail notes and following the route carefully on the OS map. The Dartmoor Way is not a signed route...it is a route cobbled together from existing permissive paths, conservation trust lands, etc. The 1:50,000 map included in the Dartmoor Way guide is pretty much useless for on the ground navigation. Our routine each night before the next day's walk was to look at the 1:50,000 map to get a general sense of the route, read through the Dartmoor Way Guide trail description and any supplementary notes provided by Encounter, and then mark up the 1:25,000 AZ Dartmoor map using a highlighter pen. This helped us familiarize ourselves with the place names and route before we set off and made navigating on the ground much quicker and easier...particularly in the wet conditions we encountered at the end of the trip. It also reduced the number of arguments between us while on the trail. :) Take the waymarks that are mentioned in the Dartmoor Way guide with a grain of salt...I don't know when the guide was last updated, but stiles were often gates, gates were often stiles, fingerpost signs were missing, etc. The distances cited in the descriptions are also often incorrect. Here again, following along with the OS map was invaluable, even to paying attention to the field boundary walls and hedge markings to help determine position. Several times, we used our compass to help us determine the general direction of travel. For some reason, cardinal directions (N, S, E,W) are never used in either the guides or Encounter's notes...it would be helpful at times if they were.
There is a trail deviation on the High Tors walk that is worth mentioning. On the Templer Way, just before Lower Down (AZ Dartmoor Map, p. 50 B1), the trail no longer continues east before bearing south to the road; instead the trail now follows the green bridleway bearing southwest and then intersects the road. This means a longer road walk...extreme care should be exercised here, as the road is narrow with encroaching hedgerows and the speed of the traffic is fast. Walk single file facing traffic and be prepared for speeding vehicles.
Leaving Haytor, the Templer Way soon is no longer recognizable by the granite rails as it devolves into an overgrown, unmarked footpath in places. Shortly after Haytor village, we erroneously took a wide path to the left too soon and needed to backtrack down toward the road, where we followed a much narrower path that turned out to be the correct one. Our advice is to stay on the paths closest to the road, ignoring any path to the left...after the quarry (disused) the Templer Way signs will soon reappear, along with remnants of the granite rails.
The only place we ever had great difficulty was a segment of the Water to Moretonhamstead section just beyond Horsham (AZ Dartmoor map, p. 37, D3). After the cottages mentioned in the guidebook, p.6 first paragraph, we followed the concrete track uphill but could not find where we were to bear right "over the waymarked stile" or where to "follow the fence to another stile into woodland." After conferring with the map and then encountering a local woman who provided us excellent advice, we were able to get back on track. My advice for this section is: "Continue uphill on the concrete track until you reach a cattle grid. To your right, hidden among the trees, you will see a weathered sign reading "Path" and pointing diagonally across the field to your right and heading downhill. Follow that path across the field, pass through a gate and after about 20 meters, pass through another gate. Continue downhill and then through another gate into the woods, bearing downhill the entire way." Soon you will see the fingerpost sign "Lane to Foxworthy." This route is very clear on the AZ OS map, and we should have trusted it rather than the guide description.
Our greatest disappointment with the Bovey Tracey to Okehampton section of the Dartmoor Way was the amount of road walking involved in places. While the paved lanes were often quiet and restful, the hard surfaces were tough on the feet. But still...a great walk!
Thank You so much for once again arranging a great SWCP itinerary, accommodations, and schedule. As in my previous two SWCP sections, your arrangements for the Falmouth to Salcombe section were nearly flawless.
Your day-to-day distances and scheduling were fine and your knowledge and expertise in negotiating the various ferry crossings (particularly the "double-whammy" day between Noss Mayo and Bantham) was invaluable. Even with walking the extra 2-1/2 mile "long way" to the Worswell Barton Farmhouse at Noss Mayo to shorten the distance to Bantham, I still had to rush all of the next day to get the last ferry across to Bantham. Without your guidance, I would have been literally "up-the-creek".
All of the accommodations were fine. Most were very, very welcoming and hospitable and all of the locations were interesting, some fascinating, nice and historic locations. (only one, the Honeycombe House in Mevagissey, had a private bathroom that was separate and down the hall from the bedroom which was inconvenient for me - otherwise, the Honeycombe House was a great place with a great location and a great view and charming, welcoming hosts). The Worswell Barton farmhouse at Noss Mayo was a considerable distance off the SWCP but was a fascinating, very interesting and historic location that made the extra distance well worthwhile (in addition to the very limited number of beds available in the area). As nice as they were, it did seem that the two "pub" locations (Pier House in Charlestown and Sloop Inn at Bantham) while historic, quaint, and interesting, had management and staffs that might have been slightly more interested in their Pub customers than their overnight residents. Still each and every location was fine by me and I was glad to reach each at the end of the day.
I had a few thoughts and comments to share from my day-to-day journey on this SWCP section:
Day 1 at Falmouth - After arriving in Falmouth I decided to eat at the nearby beach restaurant fairly close to the Lerryn Hotel. I was very surprised to find that there was at least an 1-1/2 hour wait for a table at 7:30 PM on a September Thursday night. I walked all the way across Falmouth, had my choice of places to eat and be seated immediately and was on my way back to the hotel - all before an hour and a half had passed. I wouldn't recommend the Beach restaurant.
Day 2 - Falmouth to Portloe -
In September, Monday to Friday, the first ferry from Prince of Wales Pier was 09:15 AM. There is a combination fare for SWCP hikers of 9 Pounds for both the Falmouth to St. Mawes ferry and the St. Mawes to Place Creek ferry, which was available at the Custom House Quay.
The Hidden Hut outside Portscatho at Porthcurnick Beach was very crowded when I reached there. There appeared to be 100's of people at the small place and a sizeable line at the ordering/serving window. Too many people for me, so I passed by and found a quieter, nearly empty place further down the path.
The Ship Inn at Portloe was also very crowded at dinner time and all the tables were reserved. I did manage to wheedle a table from them, a tiny round table (barely large enough for a plate to sit on) wedged next to the brochures rack and directly opposite the hostess stand. It was almost impossible to get my knees under the table, because of the legs and small size. Ordering was done at the bar after a long delay trying to get noticed. It was not my favorite meal or restaurant/pub of the trip.
Day 3 - Gorran Haven -
The Coast Path Cafe was the first building passed upon entering Gorran haven. It is on the left side just as you enter the town and has indoor and outdoor seating. It is a town cooperative (formerly a town reading room) which has a good assortment of cakes, sandwiches, and drinks. Not much of a menu for a big meal but just fine for my needs. It was not included in the notes or guides.
Day 4 - Mevagissey to Charlestown -
The Route Diversion at Porthpean - I did not see or notice. Perhaps it is now so old that it appeared to be just part of the normal SWCP route.
Porthpean Beach - There is very little shade anywhere around and almost none at the refreshment kiosk.
Room #18 at the Pier House Hotel, otherwise a nice single room, but the window overlooks the back of the kitchen scullery area and the ice machine. Lots of cooking smell during the day and evening and noise and clatter and talking from the kitchen staff all through the evening and starting again very early in the morning.
Day 5 - Charlestown to Fowey -
The SWCP route from St. Catherine's Castle to Fowey is not well marked. There is one sign post with confusing and wrong yellow arrows (but no acorn) just past the castle that should mark the route to the Fowey esplanade, but mislead me into walking all the way up to Lawnyre - over a mile out of the way.
Day 6 - Fowey to Looe -
The Fowey Ferry is now 2.20 Pounds for an adult ticket and departs from the Town Quay up until 09:30 AM, and thence from the Whitehouse Quay.
The Diversion approaching Talland Bay after Polperro, starts off well enough, but in the middle, at a little road at the inland end of a field, a sign is posted reading: "Follow Arrows" and there are no arrows posted after that.
The sign for the Fieldhead Hotel (which seemed a lot further up the road than 100 meters) is white with a green border (and not all green).
Day 9 Plymouth to Noss Mayo -
The lock gate bridge over Sutton Harbor in Plymouth was still under repair in September; but was open for one hour a day, starting at 12:30 PM - too late for a SWCP walker to leave from Plymouth. Because the lock gate bridge was open for the one hour a day, the temporary ferry was not operating at all, requiring the extra mile diversion from Mayflower Steps to the Aquarium. This made for a long day. When you added the 1 mile around Sutton Harbor to the approx. 1 mile from the Sea Breezes Guest House to the Mayflower Steps, and the approx. 5 miles from the Aquarium to Mount Batten, you have spent a good part of the day walking about 7 miles without really progressing toward Noss Mayo. If the "Official" SWCP route in other places (Fowey, Padstow, etc.) encompasses a ferry crossing, I would think that the SWCP Authority could include the Mount Batten Ferry in the "Official" route and eliminate (or make an alternative route) the long, dull, uninteresting trek through the industrial area and suburbs of Plymouth.
The Swan Inn at Noss Mayo is now closed and no more, leaving The Ship Inn as the only place for dinner in Noss Mayo.
Route beyond Gara Point to Noss Mayo: I didn't see the "Hunting Gate" as I walked to Noss Mayo.
Day 12 - Salcombe to London -
I called "One to One Taxis", which seems to be now operating as "Mike's Taxis" and arranged for Mike to take me from the Waverley B&B to the Totnes train station. Mike did a fine job, just as he had promised and got me to the station in good time and good order. I will use his services when I return to Salcombe next May to finish the SWCP.
So that's all of the comments that I thought of to add to your already fine and inclusive route notes. I hope that they are of some value to you and/or other Coast path walkers.
Thanks, once again for all your invaluable help and assistance in planning my hike(s). I've really enjoyed all three sections of the SWCP that you have implemented for me; and I'm looking forward to my final section and your help in completing the entire SWCP
Minehead to Padstow was as great as our previous experiences and when we returned to where we had started in 2016 felt sad that we had finished. You did an excellent job of organising it all for us.
We are not visiting UK this year but starting to think about 2020 and where we will go......maybe back to beautiful Cornwall?
Wishing you all the best for 2019 and continue the good work of keeping your clients fit, healthy and happy! We have some fabulous memories and loved every step!!
Many thanks for the perfect organisation of our walk. Everything - apart from my legs occasionally - worked magnificently. We are looking forward to doing our next walk in 2019.
Many thanks to Damon and team for ensuring that our first walking holiday in Cornwall was wonderful. Communication from the beginning was prompt, responsive to our needs and well advised. The organization, detailed itinerary, guidebook & map provided a secure framework so that we could fully embrace the adventure before us.
We appreciated the different accommodations with friendly hosts, comforts at the end of the day and delicious breakfasts: The St.Agnes hotel with its history and charm, The Copperhouse luxury B&B in Portreath with a hostess who truly pampered us, and the Nanterrow farm in Gwithian where we felt like part of the family. Each luggage transfer was perfect!
Whether we enjoyed a Cornish pasty (like Grandmother used to make) or a locally prepared meal in a pub, we felt right at home and not like a tourist. Our walk from place to place was described well on the itinerary and in the Trailblazer Coast Path guidebook.
However, nothing could have prepared us for the beautiful scenery along the cliffs, the quiet punctuated by the sound of the surf, wind, seabirds, and the friendliness of people we met along the way. The moderate sections were just right. The sections of strenuous grade with steep ups & downs challenged our middle aged joints, but we made it!
A cup of tea followed by a pint or glass of wine with dinner contributed to our satisfaction of accomplishing something very special indeed. We have two highlights to share, among many. One was the rest day we spent in Portreath so that we could visit a nearby village where a great grandmother lived with her family before they emigrated to America. Another was watching the tide come in at Newquay harbor with all the happy activity of people & dogs enjoying the annual seafood festival.
We have already recommended EWH to others and hope to arrange another tour in the future!
A really enjoyable walk, diverse scenery, (mainly) fine weather, and remarkably few people around. Route well marked and planning and organisation by Encounter first-rate.
Absolutely perfect experience from start to finish! The planning process was fun, and the advice and guidance invaluable. I began my holiday knowing exactly what to expect and with the assurance that every detail had been thought of and arranged.
Additionally, throughout my holiday I had the peace of mind knowing there was a team of good people standing by to help me if anything went wrong. As a not very brave solo hiker on my first long distance walking holiday in the UK or anywhere, those two things were what gave me the courage to go do this, rather than just dream about it.
During my holiday everything (luggage transfers, reservations, finding public transportation, etc) went smoothly and I truly was free to just walk and enjoy myself. My route, though quite unconventional, gave me precisely what I was looking for, and the scenery was varied and glorious the entire time. (Endless gratitude to Encounter for living up to their promise of “your walk, your way” and helping me figure out how to accomplish it!) I loved the contrast between the cliffs in Devon and Cornwall, and the Cornish countryside as I crossed coast to coast.
Every place I stayed was clean and comfortable, the hosts were exceedingly kind, and the food was plentiful and delicious. There were even quite a few sea views despite having “budget” rooms! I wholeheartedly recommend all of the places I stayed, but extra recognition to the Bosayne Guesthouse in Tintagel for my very favorite breakfast and packed lunch (tough competition!), and to Blair Lodge in Combe Martin, The Imperial in Woolacombe, Symply Padstow in Padstow, St. Benets Abbey in Lanivet and Safe Harbor in Fowey for above and beyond service.
I found the difficulty level, mileage, and route descriptions were all very accurate (although on the coastal sections I personally needed to add far more time than I expected for stopping so I could look up from my boots to enjoy the view.) Even the (initially intimidating) section graded as “severe” was very manageable and left me with plenty of energy to explore the village at the end of the day.
I found the paths to be in excellent condition, and well signposted for the most part- the itinerary notes filled in the gaps where it wasn’t. Every highlight and diversion in the guidebooks and the itinerary from Encounter was worthwhile and wonderful- many of the suggestions in the itinerary were for places that I hadn’t seen mentioned in guidebooks! Each step was steeped in fascinating history- it was wonderful to slow down and take it in.
Far too many highlights and favorite moments to list even a fraction of them, but here are a few:
Minehead to Woolacombe: Dunster castle and village, a herd of galloping wild Exmoor ponies, a rainy picnic watching the waves on completely deserted and magnificent Heddons Mouth Beach, the hills and cliffs covered in purple heather (just starting to bloom) and yellow gorse, the WWII memorials for American soldiers near Porlock and at Woolacombe-very moving and humbling for this American!
Tintagel to Padstow: The whole route, really- expansive views up and down the beautiful coast and rewarding walking! Tintagel castle and it’s wind-whipped views and gorgeous little beach, sunny breakfast picnic at Trebarwith Strand, Port Isaac, especially once the day trippers left, walking along the sandy beaches in route to Padstow .
Saints Way- Padstow to Fowey Countryside views every bit as pretty as the coast in a different way, getting up close to ancient history at the St Breock Longstone and Helmans Tor (and the view from each!), following the Celtic crosses and stopping in churches, Restormel castle- well worth the detour!, strolling around Fowey, Lost Gardens of Heligan and the ferry ride to and from them.
It was excellent and all went very smoothly - no problems whatsoever. Loved walking in autumn in contrast to July mainly because of the rich supply of blackberries this year along a lot of the walk., But the haws and deadly nightshade and changing colours of the trees were also fantastic.
Found a café at Porthgarrow on route that did good cream teas but weather was good so it was picnic tables outside of quite a small basic shed. Gift of Cornish mead on arrival at Sea View House - very warming. First day it was good to get to see a performance at the Minack Theatre - strongly recommend the boxed hot food to take in on sale at the entrance - very tasty and impressive. Pity the performance itself was not good. Someone else in the B&B left at half time. Handy short cut from B&B to theatre that saved walking on road but didn't risk it in the dark at end of evening.
Treryn good to find time to go out and see - views good. Paynter's Cove - missed path up from boulders at back of beach and ended up having a bit of a scrabble - I was obviously not the first person to do this. Penzance - found Admiral Benbow fascinating as a pub of character and staff interested to share its history and nautical artefacts.
Round Treweras Head spend ages with others watching a hobby raptor hunting - so much more graceful than the everyday kestrel that were seen daily.
Artist Loft accommodation was lovely but breakfast voucher limited by fact in September none of the cafes you could use it at opened till 9am at the earliest which is quite late for a full walking day. It would be good if it was useable at the place that seemed to open at 7.30pm-8pm where you could get basic stuff - can't remember its name but very close to the accom.
Porthleven and Loe Bar new route opened couple of days before I got there - and they were opening the bridle way that day which was great. Worth visiting the church of the storms.
Found the Lizard quite barren to walk around although the Lighthouse was interesting. Perhaps the dry summer made it seem more so. The Caerthillian is an impressive house of interesting character.
Devils Frying Pan was a wow! Just thinking I had missed it when turned through a hedge and there it was with a sailing ship framed in it. Terence Coventry Sculpture park at Coverak amazing - seems to be in the middle of nowhere but with some interesting sculptures. Diversion took you through it - and it was worth it. The Lighthouse fish and chip restaurant / shop was excellent.
Arrived at Gillan Creek at low tide and used the stepping stones but they were very slippy - most people simply waded across.
Boatman on the Helford - Helford Passage ferry was great and took us at request on an extra tour down to Frenchman's Creek included in the price simply because a couple of people asked.
Long haul up to Budock Vean Hotel - there is a footpath up river along beach for 50 years and up steps, then across a cross roads and up to gate, across golf course to hotel. It would have been much pleasanter but probably less easy to find. Came back down that way. There hot tub in the open overlooking the river is wonderful along with their pool etc. Not much range of food except their set hotel 3 course meal.
Got to Falmouth early and had the afternoon at Pendennis Castle - strongly recommend - it was fascinating. Walk round by docks interesting too and I found somewhere to eat overlooking them.
Hidden Hut back of Porthcurnick beach really worth waiting for - enjoyed the haddock chowder immensely. Carradale B&B - I found the directions not as clear as they might have been . Yes it is the second drive on the right a few hundred yards after the Ship Inn but the steep route up comes off on the right between the pub and the drives - it seemed like a fork in the road to me - so I started up it before realising I needed to go straight on. But I am not good at that kind of thing.
Caerhays Castle estate - I found the signage over their land very lacking. Both on arrival around the look out the route was not clear and leaving the cove the route was not easy to pick up either.
Mevagissey museum certainly worth a visit if you like social history. Honeycombe House - I had amazing sea views, Recommend Roory's Restaurant - decided to eat more up market than normal and it was good.
Hallane cove is easy to miss. It looked like access to it was through a private house so I didn't go. But could see the waterfall from the top as I came up to Drennick. Lots of good views on the walk but Black Head back to Mevagissey was excellent.
Pod of dolphin off Porth Pean beach near Ropehaven Cliff - people in café generously lent me binoculars as I was not carrying extras. Charleston was interesting because Georgian clay port rather than older fishing port - so a very different feel. Good to see Poldark boat. It was hot and the room I had at Pier House the windows were over kitchen extractor fans - so not the best. But pleasant to sit out on the front and have a drink.
Golf course coming out of Charleston was busy - one did need to take care. Not my favourite stretch of the walk around industrial china clay units - Parr Sands gave some relief. Walk around Gribbin Head and down into Fowey much better. Worth stopping off at St Catherine's Castle - fascinating to see the history of defence of rivers and ports down through the ages layered on one another in this stage of the walk. Well House is an amazing place to stay - couldn't get over the bottom of the bed being on 4" blocks because of the unevenness of the floor. Low ceilings and odd shaped nooks and crannies - a real delight to be in the oldest house in Fowey dating back to 1430. And very central too.
Fowey to Polperro was beautiful Lansallos Cove was good to stop off at and have a paddle. Natural rock arch at Blackybale was interesting as have been many of the rock formations. Diversion along road down into Porthallow Beach was not pleasant - the sooner they can redirect the path nearer the coast the better .Little Harbour Guest House very friendly. But I was not that impressed with Looe as a place - perhaps because it was spread out down both sides of the river. Felt like a working town and less touristy which might have been attractive but I did not find it as welcoming as other places. Perhaps a personal prejudice.
Millendrath holiday village could hardly be said to be a beautiful sight and it was shame to have to walk all the way round the back of it. Too much road walking today. But did have a couple of hours at monkey sanctuary which was really good. Carpark café not open in September so no provision till 11am when the sanctuary opens. Did the sea wall round Seaton rather than following the path which was good. Inn on the Shore was changing hands and therefore was closing for a week so provision there probably not as good as usual but it was fine. You could only have what was left in stock as they were closing that night for stock take and take over by new management over the coming week. Enjoyed the walk into Prothwinkle / Crafthole.
Whitsand Bay hotel felt like a place that should be a setting for a murder weekend. Rebuilt brick by brick on the cliffs from a venue elsewhere. Beautiful views. But it was shabby and run down rather than shabby chic - especially the room I happened to be in - only 50% of the lights had working bulbs, and there was no toilet roll holder. Food and service in restaurant was good. And lounge was very comfortable and good to have a swimming pool all to oneself.
Tregantle Fort was not what I was expecting having seen so many iron age forts and castles - to suddenly be faced with a working fort that looks like a prison of a huge size was quite a surprise. Didn't like the amount of road walking but the erosion of the cliffs and the way that the cabins are positioned made one think about who might choose to live there - I think I would find it quite scary. Went to the Cliff Top Café and it seemed full of locals and was really busy even though I thought I arrived at opening time - worth a visit.
The route through the estate down into the ferry for Plymouth was beautiful as the autumn colours were very rich and the trees beautiful. A ferry was due as I arrived so didn't manage to have tea in the Orangery which would have been good. At Devils Point as your come around the marina it would be good to be told that the flight of stairs up is part of the SW coast path - there is a notice at the top saying who it is in memory of but nothing at the bottom and it is not clear whether it is for public access - it doesn't say no entry but it doesn't say anything about where it leads either. Recommend The Harbour fish and chip restaurant on the front near the Mayflower steps monument - range of fish and chips and as many chips as you can eat. Great for me who doesn't like batter so had grilled fish but double chips. They also have daily specials depending on the catch.
Enjoyed the cliff walking, found the amount of road (due to diversion mainly) and the amount of walking on a path between high dense hedgerows that you couldn't see above less interesting and it felt that this stretch had a higher proportion of that kind of walking. But the variety and scenery, wildlife and weather, plus autumn colours were all stunning. Look forward to next year and the next stages and hopefully completing.
Thank you to Damon and the team for a great trip. Everything ran smoothly and even the weather cooperated. The only very minor hiccup was at the Smugglers Inn (Osmington Mills) where they suggested we should pay for our accommodation. However, when I pointed out that Encounter had made the booking and gave them your telephone number I think they realised their mistake.
Luggage Transfer was excellent with no problems at all.
Accommodation was very good. On some of the longer days it would have been useful to have breakfast earlier than 8:30 am but we always made our destination in time.
A few specific comments:
The Old Vicarage at Mullion was good but, given it was a short day, a 4:00 pm check in was a nuisance. Possibly the Mullion Cove Hotel might be a better option especially given it is on the path.
Given that we arrived in Porthallow on a Saturday we needed to be advised that we should have booked for dinner either at the Guest House or the Five Pilchards Pub. As it was we made do with very indifferent pizzas in the pub’s courtyard.
Durham House in Beer was unusual in that we never saw or met the host. The breakfast hamper was okay but possibly not best suited to walkers.
The walking note, guides, and maps were good although some of the on the ground signs were confusing. Ironically there were often signs when there was only one possible path but none when there were options! Given the acorn does not always uniquely identify the SW Coast Path it might be useful to mark the path with a different colour. Several times we had to double check the maps and GPS on the phone to verify where we were going – and assist others who were going the wrong way.
The diversion at Durgan (Porthallow to Mawnan Smith) is still in place. Unfortunately the sign taking one back to the coast path merely indicates it is the path to the beach and not part of the diversion. We finished up walking along the road for a while before getting on the paths by the fields.
We walked along the beach from Lyme Regis to West Bay and missed any diversion notices. We walked along the path on the cliff and met many locals doing the same. It seemed quite safe but, if you are concerned, you might need to cover the situation where walkers approach West Bay from the beach in your notes.
The path after the holiday camp near Tidmoor Cove (Abbotsbury to Portland) was very overgrown – almost to the extent that we wondered whether we were on the correct path. Not a problem but a bit disconcerting at the time.
Given the wind we walked the Portland Circle anti-clockwise. The path branches left just past Yeolands Quarry with a sign pointing to The Grove (I think) with no indication the main path eventually comes to a dead end at a fence. Looking at the map afterwards it was relatively obvious but an easy mistake to make.
We would also suggest that walking poles are essential for the more mature walker on some of the slopes – we certainly found them useful!
All in all an excellent walk that was well organised. We would happily recommend encounterwalking to any other walker. (I guess the fact that this is our second walk with you speaks for itself)
Another wonderful walk arranged through Encounter. We walked from Padstow to St Ives over 6 days. All hotels arranged were great, suitcases delivered every time. All information given was right, very enjoyable and thinking of booking another for next year!
We could not have had a more pleasurable introduction to Cornwall than provided by our hike on the spectacular South Coast Path planned and executed with the superb assistance and advice of the Encounter Walking team. Our accommodations were wonderful, ranging from the funky to the luxurious, and the luggage logistics were managed without a hitch. The food was good and plentiful and complemented by the pints we looked forward to at the end of our daily treks. Our rain gear was only required on the last hour of our last day of hiking, so the weather fully cooperated as well. We fell in love with this special part of England.
Thank you for organizing this great trip! Everything was as we agreed and your suggestions made our trip perfect.
I have been home in Canada for a few days now. I wanted to email to let you know that I really enjoyed the holiday you planned for us. The scenery was so beautiful it was a pleasure to go out and walk. We were a little disappointed that we did not complete the last day by the cliff path instead we walked in land, as it was we got soaked. We did not feel it would be safe for us to be out on the cliffs because the paths become quite slippery.
Our luggage transfer was seamless and our bags were always at our next stop. I found it quite refreshing to stay in one place for two nights, it gave us a chance to get to know our hosts a little better. Generally the accommodation was good. However there was one place we did not like and that was in Fishguard. We did feel some empathy with the lady who appeared to be running the place on her own trying to make a living. However the place was really untidy, with papers etc. everywhere. The main desk was a mess.The lounge area smelt of dogs and cats, and we could smell cigarette smoke. The whole place was dingy and depressing. To be fair the rooms were clean.
One of our favourite places was Vienne and Chris's Hampton B&B in Trefin. The food was lovely much of it produced by them, free range eggs and home grown tomatoes and they were so friendly and helpful. It was just like being at home.
Just wanted to say a big thankyou for organising a great week of walking in Cornwall. Everything went to plan and the weather was good too!
Sue & Bill
First let me say the trip was marvelous. The itinerary worked well for us, the tips included in the notes were spot-on and the distances were just enough to leave us tired but happy each night. The weather was mostly really good, the first day probably the worst, especially after we had reached Zennor when we added a sidetrip to Zennor Quoit in zero-vis fog.
GPS on the phone was a huge plus everywhere but especially that afternoon. BTW we used the Galileo App on the iPhone, which uses the Open Source map data so doesn’t need cell service.
The Coast Path is clearly shown in the map data and between the Trailblazer Guide and Galileo we were never lost. Also, the luggage transfers were flawless so kudos to them. The path diversions were always well-marked. We were very happy with the folks at Treventon GH in Penzance (we spent a total of four nights there) and Bridget at Boak House in Coverack was wonderfully welcoming.
Thank you for making our trip worry-free.
We enjoyed our holiday, no rain all week which helped, luggage transfers perfect.
You Do need to be able to navigate on the moors. We did enjoy going to Widecombe, adds more miles but worth it.
We did find The Sportmans basic but appreciate there is little accommodation in Ivybridge with long term parking.
When we arrived at Withypool the pub was shut due to staff holidays! Luckily we arrived before 5 and the tea room was open so they heated a pasty for us which we ate at our accommodation. The ladies in the tea room and shop said the pub was becoming unreliable.
Had a taxi to Barnstaple then train to Ivybridge, lovely train ride along the coast.
Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your company.
Carol and Paul
All of our arrangements were satisfactory to fantastic thanks! The accommodation all worked out well and there were some real gems in there. The only comment I recall on the instructions that could be improved was getting from the train to the Minehead bus at Taunton - the Minehead bus has a covered stop immediately adjacent to the train platform where the Paddington train arrives. This is much closer than the one in the instructions which is the originating point for the bus (and we appreciated the cover as we were there for nearly an hour in heavy rain :-) ). Otherwise all good...
Just a quick note to say 'thank-you' again for the Smugglers' Way notes.
My son and I stayed at the Jamaica Inn for three nights from last Thursday to Sunday, and we walked the route in two days, Friday and Saturday. We booked a taxi (Dans Cabs from Launceston) from the Inn to Looe on Friday morning and walked back to the Inn, and then on Saturday we walked to Boscastle and had a taxi back to the Inn. Your notes were perfect and, coupled with the three OS maps and a compass, we had no problems whatsoever. On Saturday the weather over Brown WIlly and Rough Tor was ideal; I guess we could see for 30 miles or more.
So, thanks again. The whole weekend worked like a dream!
Thank you very much for a perfect walking holiday.
It was the third time, we walked a part of the coast path - and it was marvellous again.
Unfortunately my English is not good enough to anwer officially and online. But I'll try to give a feedback via your website.
We enjoyed everything, especially the red cliffs on our first day, the Undercliffs Nattional Nature Reserve and the cliffs between Weymouth and Lulworth. We just missed the blooming heather and gorse of North Devon and Cornwall. But all the impressive views more than compensated for it.
The B&Bs, hotels, pubs were clean and nice (Weymouth a bit shabby, but clean) and everyone (!) was friendly and helpful.
And the weather was almost ideal as well.
The Path was perfectly signed.
We just want to suggest one alteration:
In our opinion it's so much nicer to walk the Inland Route from West Brexington to Abbotsbury than the Beach Route. The Path is beautifull there and the view from Wears Hill down to the village is quaint. If nothing else, one spares (is this the right word?) to walk on the long pebble beach.
Thank you very much again. I hope, we'll be back soon.
All the best
Hi, my feedback on this years walk from St Ives to Falmouth is below -
Firstly all went well and I completed it. Due to the bad weather I managed to combine days 1 &2 on the first day i.e. St Ives to Zennor and then onto St. Just. Although this was a very sunny day the distance slightly impacted my time to stop and enjoy the walk but it was still very good. The cost of a taxi back to Zennor was more than I expected but meant I could complete the full distance. I caught the bus back to St Just the next day.
The Tinners arms at Zennor were slightly confused over my booking but it was sorted out in the end. The second day was a wash out but gave me time to recover. Land's End was quite a short walk on the third day with little to do once arrived. By contrast the Land's End to Penzance walk was very long and partly really hard work over all the boulders before Mousehole.
It was foggy/raining for the walk past the quarries and for much of the Helford Passage day although the diversion in the quary appears to be removed now. It is rather odd that the path diverts so far inland here but given the rain I was quite grateful.
There is one new diversion just beyond Marazion to avoid a small cliff fall (very small). it is not clearly marked and in fact I did not follow it as a local out for a walk showed me the quickest route.
The long detour near the Loe Bar can be partly avoided on a higher path according to my map but I went the long way round which actually was quite nice along the lake. It is likely to be removed soon as the new path is clearly in progress.
I might have missed the guidance but the Helford crossing does not run for about an hour either side of low tide.
Accomodation was all good - the fruit for breakfast in Porthleven a welcome change. I caught the train back rather than stay in Falmouth as I was fairly early and have stayed there before. Normally I would not do that as I like a day to relax at the end but it meant a return to work on the Monday which was helpful.
I can't remember getting lost although walking through the tin mines near St Just was quite confusing as to which path to follow and I couple of times the signs for the path were not there when you needed them.
What I enjoyed the most was the variety of the coast on the walk - cliffs / remote Atlantic / small harbours /beaches / sudden moments of too many people then none.
I suspect having got this far I will have to walk the whole SW path now. I will be probably look to part of North Devon down to Boscastle (where I have been before) next year.
We have returned now to Switzerland after an excellent holiday in Cornwall.
We would like to thank you very much for the itinery that you set up for us for our Lands End walking tour.
Everything was perfect, from your excellent instructions to the quality of all our over night stays. We thoroughly enjoyed all the stages which apart from the Penzance to St Ives walk, where it rained most of the day, were ideal conditions for walking.
All the b&b’s were excellent but a special mention for the Gurnard’s Head which we found exceptional.
A big thank you for your contribution to our holiday and we look forward to your helping us again for a furure walking holiday.
It is my pleasure to give you feedback since our walk has been a great experience to both of us!
We were highly impressed by the standard of organization. Books and Maps and the day to day itinerary arrived on time just sufficiently to adjust our preparations. The accommodations were all organized and the hosts well informed and the luggage was always there on time! Also the walk was tailored specifically to our needs and the communication for planing it went perfectly well!
The walk itself:
We were very lucky as far as the weather was concerned. Only one day during our walk it was raining occasionally. The scenery is really spectacular and divers. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The path is very well signposted. After the second day we decided not to take the Bus from Bosherton to Freshwater West as suggested, but to explore the area around Bosherton itself (The Lily Ponds, Broad Haven St. Gowan's Chapel and the village itself) since we felt that we wanted to take it a bit easier this day. We discovered a lovely cafe just next to st. Govan's Inn The Old World cafe which is obviously just a converted living-room with kitchen (see attached Photo) and with the homely atmosphere of a private host.
Only on the last day there were some confusing parts as you had written in the itinerary, but to be honest, your descriptions were even more confusing concerning the part along the fence of the refinery. Also we did not manage to find the church of Pwllcrochan. We only discovered afterwards that we must have past it a while ago. This last day we found more tiring than the days before, although there weren't very strenuous parts. But - maybe because we had failed the right way - there were long stretches along roads. But even so there are also very beautiful paths through woods and across farmland partly with beautiful views.
As for the length of the every day's walks we found that we always needed more time (not including breaks!).
By far the best was Angle Bay Bed and Breakfast! A very friendly and welcoming atmosphere, a very nice newly refurbished room, home made scones and tea to welcome us and a genuinely friendly hosts! They even booked us in the Hibernia Inn for Dinner in advance foreseeing that it was going to be very busy. We would have quite liked to stay at this merry place longer! (see attachment)
The second best on our way was in Manorbier the Castlemead Hotel, which also has a very friendly and personal atmosphere and we had a very good meal there.
But all the other places were good too some with little deficiencies: The Esplanade Hotel in Tenby could be better maintained and the St. Govan's Inn in Bosherton for all it's original rural atmosphere the cleanliness in the bath left something to be wished for.
Generally the whole walk was a great experience and I am pretty sure that I will do another part of the walk or another walk altogether some time.
Thank you for organizing it so well given the fact that we made up our minds so late and in high season!
Well what can I say but a very big thank you. Just returned from our walking trip to lynmouth and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The rising Sun was excellent accommodation and superb food. We walked the gorge walk the first day then taxi to combe Martin on Saturday and walked back into lynmouth. Completed in 6 hours. The weather was pretty kind to us. Showers most of the morning then the sun came out in the afternoon but a nice breeze to keep us cool. My friend had a fancy watch on that tells us how far we walked and the steps. 14 miles on the Saturday. Sunday we took a taxi to Porlock weir and walked back to lynmouth. Your notes state 12 miles but there are a lot of landslides along this stretch with a lot of diversions so my friends fancy watch actually recorded us walking 14.5 miles. Still we completed in just under 6 hours as was a more moderate walk. The heathers were all in flower so beautiful surroundings. We had aching legs the next morning but really enjoyed it. Trying to plan our next trip....any suggestions?
We just wanted to say thank you again for all your efforts and information. It was a pity not having more time – days to explore the regions.
We had an incredible good time walking with a lovely Moorland Guide who still lives with Dartmoor ponies at home….in the different regions of Dartmoor and one day near Padstow Harlyne Bay.
The Mitchelcroft BB was just perfect to us. It is such a lived mindful philosophy and you can’t expect more in any case. The BB Lee Byre in Coryton was very different - also nice and remote situated what we like.
The Pony ChampionShip Show as well as the agricultural Show in Okehampton were a superb experience - we very very much enjoyed it.
Ja we really understand why people have some kind of obsession about Dartmoor….Devon Coast usw. ….my English husband is finally thinking about moving back somewhere on the countryside….
Hope to be back and walk a little bit more the coast with your agency.
All the best Judith
Again, a wonderful walking holiday thanks to Encounterwalkingholidays.
We are impressed and thankful for all the useful information and great tips we got ahead of our walk.
We stayed in Padstow, Harlyn Bay, Mawgan Porth, St. Agnes, Portreath, Crantock, Gwithian and St. Ives. We had a few extra overnight stays and took a bicycle ride along the Camel Estuary, we walked up to St. Agnes Beacon, and we walked the St. Michael’s Way from Marazion to St. Ives.
We brought rainclothes, but didn’t need to use them during our 12 days. The weather was very good for walking.
Accomodations: All of them were lovely. Quite different in styles but all were clean and comfortable, and the B&B / pub / inn / hotel hosts are nice, polite and welcoming and make very nice breakfasts. Good size rooms everywhere. We had twin rooms. It is impossible to say what was best, for we liked all of them.
We used Strava and Viewranger to track our walks, and most of them were measured a bit longer then what had been told us. But that may be caused by varying GPS signal. Difficulty was as described. We used the Trailblazer maps a lot, and they are very helpful.
The signposting around Perran Beach – Perranporth were partly missing, so it was not easy to find our way through the sand dunes just following the acorns. But luckily, I had downloaded OS-maps app on my phone, for use off-line. And we were able to follow the path there – as we can also see where we are in real time on the app. You only need GPS signal for this. I recommend everyone to download that app if they have a smartphone. But mostly we found the signposting to be good.
We are a bit concerned about walking among cattle, but this year we had no scary incidents along the path. Along St. Michael’s Way we chose to abandon the path for a small distance and walk another way and had to climb a farm gate to avoid a big herd of cows obstructing the path. But in general, cattle were mostly behind fences.
We brought some energy bars, but we also had a few meals along the walks. Pasty is a very good and tasty energy provider during a walk, and we will recommend: Chouch Bakery, Porthcothan Bay Stores The Watering Hole, Perranporth
We had a brilliant walking holiday and can hardly wait to start planning the next leg from St. Ives to Penzance. And we will of course use Encounterwalkingholidays’ expertise again then :-) Their knowledge and service is brilliant.
The coastpath starting from Amroth is just as beautiful as the path in Cornwall.
Tenby is a lovely place to stay for one or two nights, plenty to do. We found the walk from Tenby to Manorbier one of the most beautiful parts of the trail with spectacular views on the sea and we recommend the Castlemead hotel in Manorbier. They have a lovely garden to relax in after a day's walk and they serve a nice dinner.
Arriving in Bosherton the next day, the last part of the walk is especially lovely, passing the fairy tale like Lilly Ponds. St. Govans Country Inn is a nice place to stay.
Freshwater West to Angle Bay was by far the most beautiful walking day of our week and we highly recommend the Angle Bay B&B (Kilnback). Very nice and fresh room and a delicious packed lunch for the next day (the host bakes his own bread).
Arriving in Pembroke the next day, the trail passes a huge industrial zone which is quite impressive to see actually.
We spent a weekend in Cardiff which is worth it, seeing the Castle, great shopping at the two huge shoppingmalls and we recommend the restaurant The Alchemist.
Overall a great walking holiday, clear signs and blackberries (!) all along the path. Thanks again Encounter Walking for your personal service and we will be back next year! Kaisa and Bram, The Netherlands
Sorry for our late feedback! We were on holiday until the beginning of September and then school and work started, so we were a little bit busy.
Our walk was fantastic, we had good weather, perfect conditions for hiking.
Everything worked perfectly, the B&Bs were mainly very good. Best places were Zennon Guesthouse (delicious breakfast!), Sunny Bankhouse (very good supper, nice rooms, the only problem near the main road) and The old coastguard hotel. The North Inn was clean, but not our favorite B&B.
The walking distances worked well.
Thank you for your help organizing our trip.
Next time, we want to go to Wales.
We just wanted to thank you for organising our amazing walking holiday along the Colchester Way. It was fantastic, with everything running like clockwork. We couldn’t have asked for more and are left with special memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you for all your hard work in ensuring this was perfect for us. The accommodation was clean and comfortable with friendly, helpful hosts and great food, the walking notes and maps clear and detailed, the luggage transfer reliable and the taxi ride home, with such a lovely taxi driver, the perfect end to our time in this stunning place.
Sure, I'd be glad to give you feedback about the walk.
First of all, we had a great holiday, the Two Moors Way was an awesome experience and I would like to thank everyone involved at Encounter Walking Holidays for the excellent planning. Generally it was a good idea to take the relaxed route especially since we were carrying our own luggage. After the muscle soreness was gone after the first three days it really was a relaxed walk. The accomodations were well chosen and all of good quality even though we would have preferred more smaller B&Bs. But that was probably because we booked late and there were no other options left. Often the packed lunch felt a bit overpriced when paying 5 Pound per person for just one sandwich each, but that is just a minor concern. Let me go through the days just to leave some comments:
Day 2: We took the longe route at the coast and it was worth the effort. The weather was fine and we took a bath at Wembury Beach. What a great day! Very nice rooms at the Rose & Crown Inn.
Day 3: Good walk, nothing special to mention.
Day 4: We were a bit unlucky with the weather in the open moorland, from 11pm it has been raining all day. Even though we had rainwear we got soaked to the bone. No waymarking at all once you enter the open moorland and without GPS we definetly would have ran into problems. It was quite a demanding day and I would recommend every walker not to underestimate the area. But we had a pleasant meal in Scorriton.
Day 5: The weather cleared up and we had a beautiful day. The Manor Cottage was lovely and the host was very kind and helpful.
Day 6: Perfect weather in the Open Moorland, absolutely beautiful day! We took the detour to The Warren House Inn and had a little concert by a piano player that was in the pub. The Drewe Arms is a fine place to stay and it would probably have been the best place for a rest day. We had dinner in Chagford, but not at the Three Crowns but at the Ring o' Bells, which was surprisingly good.
Day 7: A pleasant walk, I liked the Devonshire Dumpling, even though it was a bit noisy, located directly to a main road. But we joined the pub quiz and had a good time. Gordon was an excellent host.
Day 8: Exeter is worth a visit, expecially the Quayside and the Cathedral
Day 9: The Mitre Inn was a nice place to stay.
Day 10: Even though I was sceptical before the Mason Arms turned out to be an excellent place to have dinner. Especially because it is a countryside pub and everything is just relaxed and casual and not as formal and posh as in most restaurants of such a category.
Day 11: The Royal Oak Inn turned out to be booked out for evening meal, so maybe other walkers should be aware of that. But Julian and Polly from Westerclose House Cottages were so sweet to go by car with us to the next village to a pub. We had such a nice time having dinner with them! And there is a lovely little tearoom in Whitypool which I would recommend.
Day 12: Nothing special to mention.
Day 13: We had a blast walking to Lynmouth. The descent to the village is just breathtaking with the mountains and the sea.
Day 14: Lynmouth/Lynton is a good place for another rest day. We decided not to walk and did a boat trip and had some cream tea.
What I didn't know before was, that you could get seals of the Two Moors Way into a book to document the different places. We discovered that at the end and only got the one in Lynmouth at the National Park Centre. It doesn't really matter, but maybe that is interesting for other walkers.
Thank you for reading I hope this is helpful for you.
It was an incredibly beautiful walk with stunning scenery and lovely people. The accomodiatons were great!!! Cosy and with wonderful food. We truly can recommend all of them. Arranged luggage transfer and taxi back to the car was perfect too. Thank you Encounter Walking Team for the Organisation!
Thank you for organizing a wonderful trip. We were very happy with the accommodation, transport of luggage, description of trail, estimated walking time etc. We would love to do it again!
Two small comments;
Thanks for this Rich (if I may). We're just back from our holiday, which was very enjoyable in the main. The accommodation was all good, though we caught the Harbour Inn in Porthleven on a Saturday and the noise levels were quite high. There were no problems with the luggage. We managed some sections of the path but not others, the main issue not being the difficulty but the length. I suspect you're used to dealing with fitter hikers!
The only real issue I'd like to flag up is dogs. The path was pretty much awash with dogs, from start to finish, and given that my partner is scared of dogs this presented a massive problem. Dogs 'under control' clearly means different things to different people, and while most dog owners we encountered put their dogs back on the lead when asked, a couple were reluctant to do so and one owner insulted us. I like dogs myself (sometimes more than people!) but would strongly suggest that walking holidays on the South West Coast Path not be sold to anyone who doesn't like dogs, still less to anyone who is afraid of them. It's a sad but true fact that most dog owners simply don't understand that there are people who don't like dogs, and we saw little if any respect for recommendations and rules, including a few dogs running free on supposedly dog-free beaches and plenty running free on narrow clifftop trails.
Other than that, the holiday was good, as were the weather and the scenery. I would recommend your agency to other walkers, but with the caveats above.
we enjoyed our walk and all arrangements worked well. we took a few diversions such as walking over Quantocks (superb) suggest including possible alternatives for non purists
We were perfectly happy with the communication beforehand, detailed walking notes, maps, lovely accommodation, great host and perfect luggage transfer. The trail has lots of interesting sites to visit and is a peaceful and quiet walking route even in August.
Everything went ok from booking till the walk itself: flexible booking, good accomodations, good information on the walk.
We walked from Minehead to Padstow during the first 2 weeks in August. All arrangements ran very smoothly. Despite initial scepticism, Encounter's advice to leave our car on a specific street in Minehead proved to be both accurate and free!
All accommodation was close to the trail and adequate or good. The stand out accommodation for us was Surf Haven in Bude where the hosts really went the extra mile to make us welcome and well-provided for.
The trail is very easy to follow and the couple of mistakes we made were a result of our lack of concentration rather than fauts in signage. Due to cliff collapse, there is a lengthy diversion inland to Morwenstow half way between Hartland Quay and Bude which traverses farm fields and a muddy river bank. I was glad we had split this stage into 2 days - the Bush Inn at Morwenstow is an excellent stay and it would have been a shame to have not had sufficient time to enjoy this lovely section of the walk.
after another week in Glastobury and Bristol we ware back home now. So here is some more detailed and blunt feedback on the walk on West Mendip Way. We had a wonderful time. It was was all so well organized and worked out smoothly, so we will definitely book with you again.
super, especially great food
Great pool Noisy until 1am because of a wedding with band. Felt awkward in hiking clothes between dressed up and drunk wedding guests. Maybe for Saturdays another accommodation works better for hikers.
Great vegan food and big effort by the owner including nice chat. Room was suitable for our needs.
Luxury indeed very welcoming hosts and catered very well for vegan needs.
Old-fashioned and rustic. Owner left a welcoming note and everything with the keys worked really well.
Breakfast was OK and very basic.
Located perfectly central. Room, especially the floor could have been cleaner. Good breakfast. Unfortunately trouble when checking out, because the receptionist in charge didn't believe that the night was already paid by you.
Before Shipham: Fallen signpost > should have checked the map but stupidly we didn't and missed a turn
At T-junction before Owley House we couldn't find a sign or fitting description but managed ????
All in all:
Perfect organisation of the trip! Thank you
A great thank you for a wonderful walk and the excellent organization, everything went smoothly. The accommodation facilities were well chosen. In particular we enjoyed the homelike B&Bs and the pubs associated to or located close to the accommodation.
It has been a fantastic walking holiday. Everything was very fine: the accomodations, the luggage transport, the walkings, the difficulties of the walking, etc. etc.
We had a fantastic holiday! Everything was well-planned, and the accommodation was excellent. However, good navigation skills are required as some sections of the route are not very well marked. Don't forget to bring the route comments provided by Encounter Walking Holidays - they are essential! I highly recommend to include The Southern Tors option if possible - it is a quite spectacular walk.
Good walk only spoiled by heavy mist on days 4 and 5. The organisation, information and guidance were good. The walking is not hard; the occasional sharp uphill stretch got the pulse going. All the accommodation was good or better. We ate well everywhere except in Marloes where the Lobster Pot Inn provided a poor meal in dirty surroundings. In contrast, the Griffin Inn at Dale, the Cambrian Inn at Solva, and Cwtch at St Davids were very good.
We were happy with all arrangements made by Encounter . We made our Enquires very late and they worked hard to accomodate us.
Sorry to be slow in responding but be assured that we enjoyed our 8 day Mendip walk. All the accomodation was good and Hannam Manor in Cheddar was outstanding. The walking notes were also good with only one occasion where they led us astray. This was on the last day out of Shepton Mallet when the notes said to go straight ahead after the Poachers Pocket Inn. In fact the directions matched the road that turned hard left after the Inn. We also found the blue Mendip Way signs on this road. However, it turned out when we came to the field that we were supposed to cross that the farmer had obliterated the footpath by planting maize. The map showed a road alternative that allowed us to rejoin the MW after a mile or so.
My only other comment is that there were hardly any other walkers and that some sections are overgrown with brambles. Not a major problem if you are wearing long trousers and sleeves.
In short a very pleasant walk and we are grateful to Encounter for the care you put into its organisation.
We were very happy with your preparation and organisation of our walking trip. Super!!! You did your best trying to find another place to put us up when the boiler broke down at St. Govans Inn. But as it was peak season, there was no chance. At St. Govans Inn we got the 20 pounds refund and had a nice main meal every evening for free. The room there was newly done but it had "paper walls". We could listen to the TV programme of the people next door. What we liked best was the Castlemead Hotel in Manorbier. Everything was great there: the room, the food and very friendly and helpful staff. And nearly as good as the hotel was the B&B in Angle Bay : Nice room, friendly hosts.
We liked the coastal path very much, especially the first part From Amroth to Bosherston.My favourites : Bosherston with the waterlily lagoons, Broad Haven and Barafundle Bay. The next part wasn't that attractive, because the army range was shut and we had to walk along the "fence" and a lot of meadows or fields. No way to get to the interesting parts of the coast here. The part from Freshwater West to Angle Bay was strenuous but very beautiful. When we walked around the Angle Headland we had a"wonderful view" of the huge Oil refinery and decided to skip the last bit of our walking trip, take the bus to Pembroke and have a look round the town.
We loved it! Thank you, Encounter, for excellent organization and attention to details.
Mostly, we did not have trouble following the path. At some points there were many additional side trails , especially from Sennen Cove to Porthcurno, where we lost the path, but eventually made our way.
The Coast Path book was very helpful, although Lamorna did not have toilets, as is shown in the Coast Path book -- unless they were closed and sign removed.
We would agree with other comments, that the walking times given are a bit tight. We did take longer, I think rest stops should be encouraged and enjoyed. There is no hurry. Once we did reach our destination each day, we found friendly accommodations, and good seafood.
Two especially good meals were: Mote in Port Isaac, and The Old Coast Guard (we also stayed here) in Mousehole. Stein's Fish and Chips in Padstow was a ho hum meal with a massive crowd. While exploring the coastal villages, we were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of bookstores.
Overall, we had an outstanding walk on the SW Coast Path.
We did a bit of a "mix and match" walk, and I was very impressed by how helpful the people at Encounter were in putting the holiday together for us, and how patiently they answered all our questions. I loved the detailed notes we got for each day, this way we could really just arrive and get started.
All went very smoothly, from accomodation to luggage transfer to finding places to eat! In terms of the walks, my favourite bit was the Coleridge Way Walk - the scenery is really varied, including fields and wonderful old woodland and a taste of open moorland, some rivers, some hills with a view, and finally the sea at Lynmouth. The way takes you through small villages, and while we were cordially received in all the accomodations, many of the hosts on the Coleridge Way provided an especially warm welcome - much needed since it did rain much more on this section than on the coast and in the Mendips!
We felt that average walking times were calculated quite tightly, and even though we're reasonably fit we ended up taking longer almost every day. Finding the way was easy on the Coleridge Way Walk, even easier on the Coast Path, but at times a bit tricky on the West Mendip Way. We were alerted by Encounter of a recent rerouting of the trail, and this was sort of signposted on the ground, but there were quite a few gaps. With the notes and the OS maps, we didn't get lost, but had to stand around and wonder for a while several times. On a related note, I liked that the OS maps include the option to download the paper maps onto your mobile device - the combination of the paper map for the larger overview and the OS app with its GPS location function makes it really hard to get lost.
All in all we had a lovely holiday and I'm sure we'll be back for more in the future!
Thank you so much for a really well organised break! The maps, handbook, tide table etc were all really useful and the extra notes on the itinerary for exactly directions to our accommodation was all really thorough.
All the accommodation was good but Nanterrow Farm in Gwithian was just gorgeous and the breakfast was amazing and in Crantock, the couple who have Carden Cottage were such nice people and the atmosphere was just so welcoming.
Obviously, walking section from Padstow to St Ives,the views were amazing, the weather was mainly dry and really lovely in places. It's just a beautiful part of the world and even in July/ August once you get a mile away from any town, you've got the whole place to yourself. I should also say how very helpful the luggage company were and everything arrived well on time.
Many thanks for a really lovely holiday!
We thought our trip was all quite perfect for us. Working with Encounter Walking was easy. You asked us the right questions so that you could plan a trip for us that fit our fitness and comfort needs. We walked for 3 days with lovely places to swim and eat along the way. The coastal path is so beautiful. The written information you sent ahead of time was very useful and we used the guide and maps along the way. The accommodations were all very different and that was a pleasant surprise. We look forward to working with Encounter Walking in the future.
Got back on the weekend from walking the latest stage of the SW Coastal Path (Westward Ho to Padstow). Everything ran to clockwork and all of the B&B's were excellent (private homes & small Pubs/Hotels) so a big thank you to you both for organising such a great trip. Best regards, Roger
Thank you to Encounter Walking for organising our walk. We could not fault it. It was well organised in terms of longer walking when the terrain was flatter and shorter where it was very hilly. The book and map were good and the itinerary perfect. The B & Bs / hotels were excellent and the staff helpful. We were upgraded to sea view rooms if there was room. The Albany B & B was particularly good in Lime Regis. We thoroughly enjoyed the walking, beautiful scenery of the Jurassic Coast and the villages/towns we stayed in each night.
This was my fourth leg of the Southwest Coastal Path, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I thought Encounter Walking's preparations were really excellent.
All the b&b's & inns you had arranged were very welcoming and comfortable. And everything else, like the bag pick-up service, went like clockwork.
Your suggestions on what to look out for on the trail were very helpful. I noticed for instance that the Bronze Age stone inscriptions in Rocky Valley on Day 6 that you mentioned in your notes were not in the Trailblazer Guide, and as they (as well as the mill) were a wonderful thing to see, I was very glad for that.
I don't think I have anything to suggest, really. No major problems in terms of navigation.
I did think Tintagel was pretty dreary, for instance in terms of dinner options. Sadly, the pubs feel as if they are geared for coach parties, with food and service to match. But the hosts at the Bosayne b&b (and the room they'd given me) were lovely.
And I suppose the distances are such that it doesn't make sense to break the walk for the night either before or after that. Oh, and I can report that at least two weeks ago the diversion on Day 4 at Henna Cliff was still in place.
Otherwise, this was a summer holiday to remember. Very memorably, I was accompanied by kestrels and peregrine falcons much of the way. And of course, I was very fortunate with the weather.
Finally, a special word of thanks to Damon - I was really impressed by all your personal attention and care. I think I have four more legs of the SWCP to go, and will definitely be returning to Encounter for your help to do them! Warm regards, Carl
Dear Encounter Team,
my friend Britta and I enjoyed our walk from Penzance to Falmouth hugely and are thoroughly enchanted! The path, the people, the great views, the accommodations...everything was simply lovely. We lost the way only once, just behind Praa Sands (map 76), where we couldn't find the sign "Rinsey 2 miles". Otherwise we had no problems on the trail.
I am very sure that this was only the first of many visits for me and that I'll be back requesting another quote quite soon. Thanks for everything so far!
P.S. we even saw basking sharks on the way, what luck!????
Dear staff at Encounter Walking,
First off: we (mother mid-sixties and daughter mid-twenties) loved the trip and everything went well. The B&Bs and hotels were all very good. Luggage transfer went without a hitch. Finding the way was no problem with the materials you supplied (for one slight exception see below). All that plus the fact that you were always very responsive and have an informative website means that we will use Encounter Walking again for our next walking trip in the UK.
High points of the walk on this gorgeous trail: - Lindsway Bay near St. Ishmael's, a beautiful sandy cove all to ourselves - From Dale to Marloes Sands across the neck of the Dale peninsula - From St Justinian to White Sands Bay - Strumblehead area - A lovely forested footpath we discovered between the road to Moylgrove and the Pwll y Wrach caves on the Coast Path. The driver of the Poppit Rocket coast bus knew what we meant and dropped us at exactly the right place. - Seeing Welsh mountain ponies on the trail
High points of food and accommodation: - it was great that some of the B&Bs had reserved us tables at local pubs, which were often quite full - our favorite B&Bs were Cranog in Trefin and Fern Villa in Goodwick - best breakfast at Ramsey House in St Davids - best food was at the Rose and Crown in Goodwick, the Golden Lion Inn in Newport, and the Griffin Inn in Dale - there were vegetarian options everywhere, sometimes also vegan options
Problems (not many!): - The weather was more Mediterranean than Welsh this July. That in itself was of course wonderful, but it was very hot and mostly no shade, so we slightly regretted having chosen the "challenging" version of the walk, meaning long hot walks every day and no time to stop at the wonderful coves and beaches. We ended up using the various bus services to shorten some of the days, and that worked out fine. It was fun taking the Celtic Coaster, Strumble Shuttle, and Poppit Rocket! Anyone considering using these services should pick up the handy Pembrokeshire Coastal Bus Services timetable available at many B&Bs and do some planning, as the buses don't run very often. The B&B hosts were also a good source of information on the buses. - The tides were against us leaving Milford Haven, meaning we had to walk around the Sandy Haven estuary, which was very unpleasant. Mostly on the road, with a fair amount of traffic. We should have taken your advice and used a taxi to get around it. To make matters worse, we got lost trying to follow what looked like a footpath outside of Herbrandston and spent about an hour stumbling around in brambles trying to get back to the road. The signage in Herbrandston was sub-par, we thought.
We highly recommend the trail and the organization through Encounter Walking.
Hello Damon and team, thank you so much for managing this taylored walking holiday for us! Everything worked well, we had no problems at all!
All of our hosts were wonderful (possibly our favourites were Rosebank House in Porlock and Mellstock House in Combe Martin) and all transfers of us and our luggage were perfect and in time!
We enjoyed the combination of Coleridge way and coast path with the one daytour on 2-moors way and can recommend this to other walkers! We wondered why Coleridge way is not so well known even to local people and noticed that it is not too well marked and tends to be overgrown! This path is in our opinion worth to be in the first choice of long distance walkers, especially because of the unusual many parts heading through old and very beautiful forests and unspoilt rural countryside!
Thanks to encounter for the advice to detour to Dunkery beacon! On good weather conditions it is well worth - we didn't understand that this is not an official alternative route of Coleridge way!
We hope to come to UK again and book another walking tour with you!
I had booked a week of hiking on the South Coast Trail with Damian for my mother and 8 year old son. They absolutely loved the trip and are already talking about coming back. They were so taken by it that they convinced my sister to do the same trip this August, and Damian organized this at very short notice, too. I would truly like to express my gratitude for everything being so superbly organized: the car transfers from Bristol airport to St Ives and back from Penzance, the thoughtful choice of hotels and B&Bs, the seamless luggage transport. The guide and day-by-day program proved extremely helpful. My mother and son loved every minute of their week, and we will surely be back! Thank you again for all your effort and organizational skill! Best wishes. Judith
The walk was very good particularly the western section and the places visited en-route including Wells , Glastonbury, Cheddar, Frome added a historic dimension. The accommodation was as always very varied but very good and it was always fairly easy to find a place to eat on an evening. Luggage transfers went smoothly. It got a bit hot towards the end of the walk but that was true of most places in the UK but at least there was quite a bit of woodland shade. Thanks again Encounter for another well organised trip.
Our walk was splendid and everything was organised perfectly. With all our documentation we didn't have any bigger problems in finding our path. Walking time indicated in the booklet is rather short. We are good walkers but wouldn't like this speed to go. The way from Ferrybridge to Portland Island is tiresome. On the way back after the circle of portland Island we took the bus Nr. 1 into Wymouth The B&B in Fortuneswell called '77' is fantastic but not indicated from outside as a B&B. It took us some time to understand that 77 is just the number of the house.
This is a spectacular section of the SW path. Next time, we will start more slowly. Doing 6 hours on day 1 and 2 was a bit much, given the hot weather and humidity. The hotels and b&bs were all good, except for the New Inn in Clovelly. It's not very new.... And Clovelly becomes a bit of a ghost town in the evening. The Bush Inn in Morwenstow was our favourite. Lovely staff, nice food - not bad for an inn that dates back to the 13th century. The Hartland Quay Hotel was also nice and the location amazing, of course. Thanks for everything, we will be back!
Coleridge Way This is a really lovely walk through handsome English countryside. Encounter were very helpful with planning the walk and their suggested pace, completing the Way in four days, was just right for us. We walked from about 9.30 to 17.30 each day at a steady pace with plenty of time to admire the landscape and have swift pint if we passed and open pub in the afternoon.
We arrived in villages too late for lunch a couple of times but survived on snacks. Each day had its own character and very little time was spent on paved roads. The network of paths and bridleways , often through ancient woods, speaks of the very long farming history in this area. The last half day's walk into Lynmouth along the wooded banks of the river is the equal of any walk I know and could only be improved by arriving at the Staghunters Inn in time for lunch.
We took a rest day at the end of the Way then walked the last day of the Two Moors Way into Lynmouth. This a really lovely walk on open moorland followed by a wooded descent back to the town.
Our accommodation was often excellent and never less than adequate. Our first night in at the Old Cider House Nether Stowey was hoisted by the author of the guide to the Coleridge Way. The guesthouse was fine but the hospitality was a little underwhelming.
The Bridleside B&B in Monksilver was tricky to find but well worth the effort. We enjoyed a very warm welcome and a breakfast good enough for two days. The only restaurant in the village was closed that night and the hostess was kind enough to lend us her car to drive a few miles down the road to the next inn - exceptional.
Exmoor House in Wheddon Cross is a newly refurbished guesthouse that deserves to do very well. Our room was finished to a very high standard and the bath, with Epsom salts, was welcome after the typically "difficult second day". There is a pub directly across the road and Exmoor House has a large comfortable living room for guests to relax in. Genuinely warm hospitality from the owners and an excellent breakfast maintained the very high standard.
The Bottom Ship in Porlock Weir is a lively inn with a decent menu. The bedroom was dated and a little tired but acceptable homely overall.
We finished up at the Bath Hotel in Lynmouth which again was little old-fashioned but cosy and very friendly.
An excellent week's walking, seamlessly organised by Encounter. If you want to walk in the Southwest I can think of no reason not to go with them.
I highly recommend Encounter and their walking holidays.
* The route: the South West Coast Path is a wonderfully signposted path with lots of breathtaking views. It has quite a lot of ups and downs, because you have to cross river valleys and then climb back up again, but it is totally worth it. I have never taken so many photos on a vacation before! I loved all the nature, being so close to the sea, all the cliffs, and the very British countryside in between. I really recommend a cream tea at Bossington, near the end of the first stage from Minehead. A picnic on Great Hangman was the highlight of another day.
* The organization Encounter organized the walk meticulously. When we said that we had a child walk with us, they figured out not only a route with shorter walking days, but also managed to get us family rooms for a lot of our stays. They were very helpful in figuring out which trip to take and where to end our trip to make it easiest to get to London afterwards!
* The book and the plan They sent us a great book from Trailblazer about the walk, which I loved, because it has very detailed maps about the walk. The very detailed document about where our accommodations were and whether to get a packed lunch etc. was also immensely helpful. We really loved the tip about the tunnel baths at Ilfracombe.
* The luggage transport That went off without a hitch. I was a bit anxious the first few days, but even when we arrived pretty early, it was always all there!
* The customer service They were very friendly, helpful and detail-oriented. If I wasn't a tiny bit worried about Brexit, I would book our holiday next year with them :D
Wow, what a trip! We had a fantastic week from start to finish. Consulting both book and map, the route discribed for every day was easy to follow, and we only took a couple of small detours not worth mentioning. An extra bonus was the tides being out during walking hours, so we made use of walking along the long beautiful beaches. Thank you, EncounterWalking for organising through and through and providing all info for anything one could wish for. We sampled many Cream Teas and Fish & Chips along the way and just have to recommend one of each which were totally outstanding: Olives Cafe in St Ives for the best ever Cream Tea (don't get caught in the tourist jungle until you get there) and Sanders Fish and Chips in Hayle (even better than Rick Stein..). We are looking into another section of the path for our next holiday :)
Annemiek asked me to give your organisation feedback on our beautiful walk in Somerset.
I am glad te be able to do that.
All 3 we enjoyed the walks a lot: very differing landscapse, nice villages and almost no other walkers.
The first day walk was a bit too long for us,
In Bicknoller we discoverded a very nice detour through the fields to our B&B in Williton.
May be thats something worth mentioning in the special form you make for every walk.
Most of the time it was easy to find our way with map and the good description.
The only time we really struggled was on our way to the B&B in Woodadvent Farm.
The route to this farm is marked in a way that was very puzzling for us. Maybe there is some improvement possible.
But these are very small things in a further beautiful and very good arranged route.
We felt really taken care of by you andthe 3 of us like to thank you for that from the bottom of our hearts.
We will recommend your organisation to friends and other people who are interested in walking.
Good luck with your work
Bonjour, Nous avons parcouru durant 6 jours cette randonnée côtière sous un beau soleil ce qui ne gâte rien ! En tout 1h 30 en deux fois de petite pluie pour nous rappeler que cela existe. Tout c'est déroulé comme prévue et nos n'avons eu aucune surprise, plutôt que des bonnes, sur les hébergements proposés suivant nos demandes et les petits déjeuner toujours excellents par le coté copieux et par leurs choix. Concernant l'itinéraire parcouru il n'y avait pour nous, plutôt bon marcheur alpin, aucune difficulté. Sentier bien tracé avec la possibilité de sans échapper parfois pour des visites insolites grâce aux ouvrages fournies : carte et topo. Topo qui donne envie de revenir d’ailleurs. En ce qui concerne les transport en commun il faut savoir que les trains du matin sont réserver aux gens qui se rendent au travail avec une tarification pour les touristes très onéreuse ! Prendre un billet touristique qui permet de voyager avec le train et le bus toute une journée , utile pour ce rendre ou revenir de son point de départ ou d'arrivé. Nous ne pouvons que recommander ! Salutation de deux Français qui n'en ont jamais croisé sur le sentier ni dans les hébergements, nous étions dans un autre monde !
Thank you for your e-mail and sorry for my late reply, I got caught by work after coming home.
We had 10 wonderful hiking days, everything worked out perfectly and we were more than lucky with the weather. The hike was sometimes challenging, in particular the section from Hartland Quay to Bude, but we never had serious difficulties and enjoyed every single mile of it. Also the luggage transportation worked smoothly.
A few comments about the accomodations (I currently don't have the itinerary with me, so I can only refer to the names of the villages). The place in Westward Ho! was ok but we didn't feel overly welcome. Although the place was not fully booked we didn't get a room with a view to the sea (which unfortunately also happened in some other places, it seems that hikers usually get the rooms with a view to the backyard). Clovelly was lovely, of course, and also Hartland Quay was really charming. All other accomodations were fine, I would say that the BB in Porthcothan has somewhat small rooms (although the owners were extremely friendly) and the final hotel in Newquay was not really our cup of tea.
Once again thank you for your organization, we really enjoyed our vacations and hope that we will be able to continue our hike around Devon and Cornwall in the near future !!
Very good organisation, the way was signed very good, the accommodations were easy to find and not far away from the path. Just in Crackington Heaven at the Combe Barton Inn the rooms were very noisy. They were situated above the bar and we heard everything until they closed at 11 pm.
Thanks for the e-mail and apologies for the late reply due to other holiday commitments - no hardship!
The walk was a great success and everything ran very smoothly.
There were a few things that may be of interest to other walkers:
Combe Martin to Woolacombe - the alternative route at Mortehoe (just north of Wollacombe) has been replaced by a permanent inland route up and over Sharp Rock. It adds approximately 0.5 mile and a good climb at the end of a long day, but the views - particularly north, back towards More Point - are spectacular. Most of the signage was in form of permanent posts but there were some on bits of paper! I presume that in the meantime these have now been replaced with permanent signs. I suspect we may have been some of the earliest to pass by on this new route.
Braunton to Instow -
i. this route is almost entirely shared with the Tarka trail and whilst we were prepared for meeting a number of cyclists we were not expecting quite so many, presumably because it was a Saturday. Most were as accommodating as we were in making good space on the trail. A few were not! We would suggest avoiding this section of the trail at week-ends.
ii. because the trail is so flat it is easily possible to make Instow in time for lunch, where shortly before entering the village, behind the dunes, there is a fantastic beach shack - The Glorious Oyster - which does fantastic food. Well worth passing some of the busier places and pressing on to get here for your lunch stop and spending the afternoon in the beautiful village of Instow.
3. Instow Barton farmhouse B&B - this B&B is rather special and whilst Encounter did mention in the itinerary that evening meals were available in a small restaurant, which could become busy and booked up, we ourselves did not book as we were not aware of what to expect in terms of the standard. Had we known the quality of the B&B and that the hosts were both formerly private chefs, we would most certainly have done so. As it was the restaurant was indeed fully booked for our stay and we missed out. It would be worth raising the profile of the B&B and in particular the restaurant/chefs so that other walkers won’t make the same mistake!
Other than that just a big thanks for everything. We shall be in touch shortly to arrange our next leg for 2019.
We enjoyed our week of walking the South West Coast Path. The views were spectacular, our accommodations were lovely, and our luggage was transferred smoothly. We were lucky with the weather and had no rain whatsoever. I think the Coast Path would be scary if wet. The path goes frighteningly near in places to the edges of cliffs. My only real complaint is that I could have used more help navigating the very confusing Great Western Railroad website. I inadvertently bought twice as many train tickets as I needed and am now struggling to file a refund claim. Also, I did not know that Penzance is the end of the line and that a spur connects St. Ives to the main-line at St. Erth.
Encounter Walking: Sorry to hear about GWR (the train operators) they have been having some troubles with their website this summer. We are always happy to try and advise on travel if you ask us. For future reference a good overview of the train, air and ferry routes and options can be seen on this link We also provide details on the quotes on how to get to the start and from the end of your walk.
We had a lovely time. It was all very well organised and weather was glorious and we swam everyday. High points stackpole estate and allenbrooks in dale. Lower points crown hotel in pembroke thank you.
Dear Organizers of encounter Walking Holidays,
Thank you so much for planning our walking holiday! My husband and I had a wonderful trip - It was much better than expected.
The waether was wonderful, maybe its little too warm and also unusual for England.
The hike became more beautiful from day to day.
Also the accommodations.
Just for your future hints on hikes, I would like to give you also the few not quite optimal things.
We drove from London to Totness by train. From there is only the possibility to reach Ivybridge by taxi (start of the hike).
As is well known by the German Railway in hot weather, that the air conditioning fails, so it was also on the train to Totness. But the British railway immediately offered us free water.
At the train station in Totness there is unfortunately no taxi on site, but you can request a taxi by the telephone number you provided in the itinerary plan.
The accommodation in the Sportsman's Inn still has a lot of potential.
During the hike through Dartmoor to Scorriton we lost our way. The signage is very poor and you have to be very careful. Here our Garmin was very helpful.
The accommodation "The Tradesmans Arms" and the meals there were wonderful. Thanks a lot to Kevin und Suzy.
The hike from there to Widecombe in the moor was fantastic.
Lots of green, shadows and beautiful streams.
The accommodation was very clean. The landlady had served us a very nicely prepared breakfast.
The village is very nice to look at and there are very nice cafes and restaurants and a very nice restaurant with garden to relax.
Also the next hike to Drewsteignton through Celtic settlements was very nice, but very long, so that we stopped in Chagford.
A very nice village.
The accommodation "Drewe Arms" has been already extraordinary; a very old house and proper.
That evening, England played against Croatia and we watched TV together with the villagers and hoped soooo much that England would win.....
The hike to Morchard Road was very strenuous as there was a lot to go on asphalt. Also, the lead in West Ford was not to be found.
We were rewarded with a comfort accommodation in "The Dewonshire Dumpling" and a very nice breakfast there. We tried for the first time black pudding, because we had a friendly chef from Scotland. Black Pudding is Delicious!
Followed a really easy tour to Witheridge.
A nice little old hotel "The Mitre Inn"with a friendly landlady, good dinner and Super good breakfast.
On the occasion, there were at most accommodations also gluten-free breakfast.
Also the next tour to Knowstone was not long but strenuous because of the long sections on asphalt.
For us "Rosemary Cottage"' was the best B&B on the tour. It was really all perfect.
And what a surprise in such a small village, a restaurant with Michelin star.
We enjoyed it so much! Unforgettable.
Due to the effect of my broken toe, I couldn' t walk the long way. So the luggage driver was so kind to take a piece of the car with us, so we could shorten the rather long route. I was so happy about it. And we could enjoy Tarr Steps.
Julian and Polly awaited us in Withypool "Westerclose House Cottage". They gave us an apartment so we had a nicer view of the landscape. Everything was perfect. The only restaurant in the place was very rustic.
The way to Simonsbath was pretty nice.
"Exmoor Forest Inn" was a very comfortable hotel. The food there did not correspond to this elegant hotel.
The next day we went with respect to the last long stage.
To our astonishment the track was very entertaining and varied.
The steep climb to the cliffs and the descent to Lynmouth was simply a great conclusion to the hike.
Nice hotel with a small room but with very good restaurant and very good breakfast.
The return to the airport by taxi, local bus and coach takes a long time but works very well.
Finally, we would like to emphasize again how beautiful we felt the hikes and how many beautiful impressions we have gained from the land and the people.
We can recommend the Two Moors Way to everyone.
Thank you very much.
Ursula und Gerhard
First of all I thank you very much for the good organisation.
Everything worked very well.
We had excellent weather. In the 18 walking days we had no rain!
The accommodations were mostly very good. The cricket in in Besands was excellent. In Dartmouth the room was good and big but the breakfast room and the breakfast kitchen was a bit dingy. In Salcombe we had a room in the cellar without a window, which was smelling a bit cause of the humidity.
We would like to start earlier with the walk, but breakfast is not available before 8.30..9.00. But this is in England a fact, which cannot be changed.
As we go for breakfast with other clothes than we walk, we need to change after breakfast. This means that the suitcase is not ready for pick up before 9….9.30 am. In Besands the taxi driver was too early, but he gave us enough time.
Finding the path on the coastal path is no problem together wirth the map you delivered. On the two moors way in the Dartmoor I had twice a problem. With the map and the gps on the handy I could finaly find the way. Whre the sheeps go through in groups it seems to be a path but is not the right way. A bit more Indicaters, such as poles in the field is not very expensive but very helpful in places where you have on the map just white fields.
The day by day description of the whole walk was very helpful. Especially the indications for refreshments, check in, distance and grade of walk and dinner were very helpful.
It was a wonderful walk, well organized. If we come again to the coast path then we book again over encounterwalkingholidays.
With my best regards
Wonderful walk along the Cornish Coast. Great combination of scenic beauty, interesting villages and fun pubs each night. Some of the days did get a bit long, but that was primarily due to hot and sunny weather that was unusual for the area. The organization of the trip was superb and it was very nice to have the bags transferred each day. The day to day text prepared by Encounter Walking Tours was very helpful. The book and detailed maps they provided were essential to making decisions from time to time. Don't be afraid to try the local ales, lagers, bitters and ciders in the pubs, they were a wonderful highlight each night. Food in this region is unique and very good ranging from simple fare to sophisticated and the people we met were very welcoming and fun. We both look forward to hiking in Cornwall in the future and look forward to working with Encounter Walking Holidays again.
We completed our hike , all went well, thank you.
We now have completed the SWCP & feel a great sense of accomplishment
We also quickly reached the conclusion that we dont do hills so well anymore! At 74 & 68yrs.
We found this stretch of coast far harder than the rest of Cornwall. The cliffs & hills were enormous & a bit much for us at times so we became familiar with the excellent bus system on the harder bits!
So maybe for older folk like us it may be useful to warn them how steep some of the paths are & maybe not so much fun.
Overrall it was most spectacular but those last couple of miiiiiiiles seemed to stretch forever.
Thankyou for your organisation & we certainly will be walking again but a bit flatter!
Pip & Chris
Hi Damon A great big thank you to you and the whole team of Encounter Walking Holidays. We had a great walk, the weather was fantastic with sunshine and blue skies every day (who would have thought that our warm jumpers would stay in the suitcase!).
Our accommodations were great too all the way through: The Cambrian Inn in Solva, Ramsey House in St. Davids (2 nights), Cranog in Trefin (2 nights) and Manor Town House in Fishguard (my personal favourite), Teifi Netpool Inn in St Dogmaels. They made us all feel very welcome and at home and provided us with excellent breakfasts so that we were fit to tackle the next stage of our walk. Each one of them was great in a different way and had something special.
Your instructions on the itinerary were faultless. Luckily we didn't need any buses or taxis but it was all there should we have needed it. We mainly used the OS map and the small booklet for the towns. Your instructions to get to the B&Bs were excellent as well.
I personally would have preferred just a small print out of the map with the accommodation marked on it, but that is just me. I prefer maps to reading instructions while walking : )
As to food we were well catered for everywhere: The Cambrian Inn in Solva, The Bishop's at St Davids, The Golden Lion Inn in Newport and the Teifi Netpool Inn in St. Dogmaels to name a few (inspite of me being the difficult one on a vegan diet).
The path was well marked in most places. Just in towns we needed to make sure to consult the map or the booklet before walking off in the wrong direction. The path was well maintained apart from some remote areas ie between Pwell Deri and Fishguard, Fishguard and Newport,Newport and St Dogmaels where we had to walk through high vegetation up to our chests sometimes where the path was barely visible. We had clear skies but I imagine with poor visibility that could become a problem.
All in all we had a fantastic walk. It will be a walking holiday to remember for good that I can only recommend especially if you like to walk in remoter areas with fewer people. We were glad that Damon recommended to split Trefin - Fishguard. It would have been too much especially followed by a 16 miles walk on the last day. Thanks again.
We [John, Erica, Hannah] walked the Saints Way 3rd to 5th July with a night in Padstow on the 2nd and a night in Fowey on the 5th to return home on 6th. We walked with our dog Samson. It was hot which did diminish things a little and slowed us down.
There was no problems with baggage transfers. Using the map supplied ensures the route is easy to follow - in places the way marking is absent but only in one place mentioned below did we have a slight problem.
Public transport to and from Padstow and Fowey proved easy - we used the train to and from Devon. The bus journey from Bodmin Parkway to Padstow is an hour and enjoyable in itself. It is a short bus journey from Fowey to Par station - be aware the bus stop is not obviously the station stop.
As we were travelling with our dog one measure was how dog friendly places were. We stayed in the Ship Inn in Padstow which was very dog friendly as is the town in general. The evening meal was good. Although the Inn supplied us with a packed lunch we were told they did not normally do this though we had been advised they did on a pre walk information.
The route from Padstow to Hustyns Country Park was fairly easy to follow. The longstone on St Breock Down is worth the slight detour. There is a sense in places that the footpaths are just about tolerated by some landowners with crops right to edge of fields and liquid muck spreading right to field edge but in general the way marking is clear. We were aware that Hustyns was a trial as it has newly opened. The positives is that we swam in the pool and it was air conditioned. However the reception struggled to answer our questions at times probably because they had not been asked them before. It was dog tolerant but, for example, there are no bins in the grounds. At breakfast we were allowed the dog with us. We were not offered anything cooked though there was continental style buffet. We were very clearly told they do not do packed lunches though we had been advised they did on our pre walk information.. The restaurant is not open as yet. Encounter Holidays organised a taxi to take us to Ring of Bells in St Issey. Mike from Ocean Taxi's was great - dead on time, friendly and helpful. The pub was good - it was the night of England vs Columbia and there was a good atmosphere, prompt service and we enjoyed the meal [home made puddings excellent]
We were warned by Encounters of the slight problems with the route across the fields after Hustyns, This is because the stile over the field boundary in one place is not where the map locates it - however as you cannot cross where the route goes on the map you end up at the field gate where the stile is anyway and then head across the next field for the wind turbine. The church in Withiel is worth a visit. Lanivet has a shop and toilets. Unfortunately after Reperry Cross [do not miss the old waysigns and cross] there is a bit of unpleasant road walking to St Ingunger Farm. The road is busy with cars driving fast and you have to swap sides several times to ensure cars see you.
We enjoyed Helman Tor though the path afterwards was hot and fly infested but would have been pleasant at other times. The paths around the nature reserves are signposted but seemed overgrown when we diverted to see the Longhouse. We stayed at Lanlivery - another church to visit - and the pub was dog friendly with good food and they supplied a basic packed lunch.
The third day was very hot but we enjoyed most of the walk. Golant is an absolute must to stop in and the church was wonderful. The last bit into Fowey along the B3269 was again unpleasant due to traffic. We enjoyed Fowey. We stayed in The Well House which was probably the pick of the accommodation. Very dog friendly and the cafe is excellent. We did the short Hall Walk before leaving on the 6th and this is certainly worth it if you have time.
We just got back from a great week on the SWCP. Thanks for organising it all for us.
We especially liked the Driftwood Spars, Tinners Arms in Zennor and Cornerways in St Ives. I have to say the rooms at the Mad Hatter in Hayle and Honeydew in Penzance were a little "snug" for two adults, never mind the dog! The Esplanade in Newquay was "dog tolerant" rather than dog friendly I'd say and a bit coach party oriented for our taste.
Steve & Sue (& Ziggy)
Thank you very much for organizing such a wonderful walking holiday. The routes were exactly described, the accommodations just perfect selected; and the weather was more than fine, nearly too hot for walking, we appreciated a little drizzle in between. Quite strenuous for us were the diversion between Porthleven and Lizard (1,5 h extra). But that is probably owed to our condition. We came back yesterday, having spent some extra days in London and with relatives, and we are already looking forward to the next part of the walk (Lizard to ...). Thanks again!!!
We had a wonderful 8 days walk. Everything went smoothly and all accommodation clean and comfortable. Fantastic stop at Woolacombe Bay Hotel with nice restaurant and also 'old school'charm at the Commodore in Instow. Dinner B&B well worth it and great view from restaurant. Weather was beautiful and we had no problems with the route and came across no issues. Lovely beaches to paddle before climbing the cliffs again. Quite long days on this section. Trailblazers guide books excellent as always. Thanks for organising once again and three more sections left to complete the SWCP.
I just wanted to say thank you as the organisation was excellent, accommodation and breakfasts were very good, the hosts were always very welcoming and friendly, the rooms were clean and comfortable, fresh linen, and generally a good choice of breakfasts on offer. Luggage transfers went well, the luggage was always waiting on time and transferred in good condition.
The walks are challenging and enjoyable and the views speak for themselves,
The walk toward Rock and especially the view of the estuary approaching Padstow was spectacular it must be one of the standout views on this section of the costal path.
An unexpected surprise was the fern pit ferry crossing, a pleasant walk down the hillside toward the ferry, to see wonderful views of the estuary and then once crossed onto mountainous sand dunes.
So overall it was a very good challenging, enjoyable walk from our point of view, which we intend to continue in the coming years.
It was very well organised by yourselves, prompt patient customer service from the initial enquiry through to confirming everything had been booked, communication was spot on.
Our walk progressed very smoothly with accommodation spot on and luggage transfers extremely efficient. Encounter informed all our accommodation of special dietary requirements which were successfully met at each overnight stop. The itinerary and the books provided were really helpful. It’s worth noting that the coast path signposting in this area is a bit variable. Although all accommodation was clean and suitable, top marks go to Sea Tang guest house in Brixham, Dukes in Sidmouth and the Albany Guest House in Lyme Regis. This is our second holiday organised by Encounter and we’ve been delighted with the service received.
Just wanted to write a quick email to thank you and the rest of the team at Encounter for organising a wonderful trip, we ended up with exactly what we had hoped for, everything ran perfectly, we didn’t have to give any thought to anything aside from enjoying the trip.
I would thoroughly recommend you to anyone that is interested at organising a trip. Thanks again.
Regarding the walk as a whole, we were more impressed with the West Mendip Way than the East. We loved Wells and Cheddar Gorge and gave Wookey Hole a wide berth due to the "hundreds" of small children running around!
We had fabulous weather, a bit too hot for walking, but not complaining.
Accommodation was pretty good and hosts friendly and helpful. Special mention to the Penscot Inn who put us in their coolest room, which was much appreciated.
Regarding walk notes, there is an error in the West Mendip script. At Loxton the notes say "on reaching the road turn right...." actually you need to turn left. There is no waymark on the junction to help either.
Coming out of Wells for about a mile all the waymarks have been broken off. You can see little bits of plastic where they should be. Presumably this is vandalism, but we found the way after a short diversion. Route was very overgrown in places particularly the first couple of miles after Shepton Mallet. A number of fields in this area have had the footpaths ploughed over and planted out, so very heavy going.
Our highlights were the lovely City of Wells and walking from Crook Peak to Wavering Down. The views are wonderful.
Thanks for all your arrangements, everything worked like clockwork as usual
Maggie and Pat
I find it easier to write our feedback in an email....feel free to quote any of it on your website.
We did manage to get lost a few times. Sometimes this was due to our stupidity, sometimes a lack of markers and sometimes we just misread the instructions.
Below are a few points that I can remember....
Went wrong between Numbers 20 and 21 due to a lack of signposts and high vegetation. Could not match up instructions and resorted to compass bearings.
Number 55 Instruction is confusing - says take the path straight across field to gate in corner opposite. There is no path. Should say keep to the right of the field and look for the gate in corner.
Number 71 Could not see footpath into field on our right and the field was full of cows and lively young calves so went on yellow road to lower court farm.
Signpost at number 143 is broken
All our accommodation was good..... have put a comment against each one
Old Cider House - Comfortable B&B
The Masons Arms - Good pub and restaurant with well appointed and quiet rooms in annexe attached to pub.
The Valliant Soldier - Characterful pub with restaurant right on the Coleridge Way. Large room and bathroom.
The Rest and be Thankful - Inn with popular local restaurant and carvery. Very good food.
Locanda on the Weir - Loved our room with a view and the fabulous shower room. Beautifully decorated lounge and bar area. Hosts could not have been friendlier.
Staghunters Inn - Traditional Inn beside the river. Very good food in bar and breakfast in the dining room overlooking the garden.
Rising Sun Hotel - Row of old buildings above harbour housing the Hotel, bar and restaurant. Fish and Chips excellent. Our room was a wee bit small with no room to open out our cases and stuff but the shower room was well appointed.
Taxi arrived dead on time and it was great to get a lot of local info from the driver on our way back to Nether Stowey.
Highlights of our trip definitely the pubs / restaurants which were consistently good - no bad experiences at all. I drank Thatchers Cider Gold and Peter had the local Ale at every pub visited.
My favourite was the Lorna Doone Inn at Malmsmead. We were very hot and tired at this point so the Crabbies Ginger Beer suggested was just fantastic. The food is also excellent.
The only problem we had was that we were walking in a heatwave and there is nothing Encounter could do about that. On Sunday we walked in the heat in the morning and then got soaked in the afternoon so arrived at the Rest and be Thankful like a couple of drowned rats. At least the heat meant everything was dried out by the morning.
The path is very overgrown in parts. The bracken is really tall and the last couple of days the horse flies were a real pain.
The views are really good.... you just have to remember to look back after you get to the top of the hill..... the heat haze meant we did not see Wales clearly the first couple of days which is obviously a bit unusual.
We got our certificate at Lynmouth and saw a video of the walk. You need to tell people to ask for the video. We really enjoyed it.
Hope this has been helpful.
Quick note to let you know everything went well. transfers and accommodations were all very good. Marcia at Peaches and folks here at Gloucester House were especially nice.
Lulworth was worth the extra effort.
Doug and Mary Ellen
This was our 2nd walk with Encounterwalking. Again perfect organisation, good information, good communication. The route was tailor made to our wishes. Good to very good accomodation. Blue sky throughout the whole week. As it got warmer and warmer and as we could not escape the sun we came to our limits and called a taxi on two occasions. Thank you for providing "telephone numbers for tired walkers"
The following tip may be helpful: the recommendation was to use the car park in Pensance. As we started in Marazion, we asked the parking attandents of St. Michael´s Mount parking. They allowed us to use the car park close to the village. It was even cheaper.
Rather annoying was that the path was in parts overgrown with grass, fern and other plants up the the breast and even higher (especially between Marazion and Porthleven and between Mawnan Smith and Helford Passage). These parts were very difficult and strenous to walk, especially as it was so hot, and one could hardly see the ground. Maybe Encounterwalking can use its influence and experience so that the cutting back of vegetation is done earlier (I have read the information on the coast path website but I think they can do better).
To sum it up: walking on the coast path is an unforgettable and wonderful experience (it was our 4th walk) especially when it is perfectly organised. Thank you, Damon!
Max and I completed the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path yesterday and want to say a huge thank you to you guys for all the organising you did making the holiday so easy and enjoyable. There were no hiccups and we really loved it all, the weather has been fantastic and all the different accommodation was interesting. So thanks once again
We're back and wanted to let you know that we had a great time and everything worked very well. We were so glad we'd planned for more days and shorter walks as it meant that despite the heat we actually coped remarkably well, usually arriving between 2-3pm leaving us plenty of time to cool down and relax every day. And there was always a breeze plus lots of sections in the shade.
All the accommodation was a very good standard and our hosts often went out of their way to make us welcome even when we arrived early desperate for shade and a drink! We were lucky enough to get a table at the Mason's Arms in Knowstone which was a first Michelin star experience for us and really wonderful. The ploughman's supper at Drewsteignton was epic and it was one of our favourite stops! And there was no problem checking in later at West Bowden Farm - we arrived in Knowstone by (late) lunchtime and spent the afternoon in the Mason's Arms and village.
And our two luggage transporters - Robert and Jim were lovely - so friendly and helpful. The route was mostly very well signed and a joy to walk (even the boggy bits were firm and dry!); although in the central section there were two padlocked gates and a few missing signs.
So thank you for all your arrangements - it made this sort of walking holiday possible (even luxurious) for two sixty something year olds!
Sheila and Tony
The only slight hitch on our reverse and first day walk of the Saints Way was finding the signs on the other side of everything and most overgrown with plants due to the warm summer !We battled a bit crossing fields looking for signs but all in all the contour maps helped a lot. Had to remember we were in the northern hemisphere and not the south!!!!
Thanks for your advice. I have used Contour before (West Highland Way) but just wanted to say I thought you guys were the best and nothing was left to chance!!!!
Thank you again for a wonderful trip and will def recommend you!!!!Maybe even do another walk in Cornwall !
Dartmoor is a wonderful place to enjoy the countryside and get some fresh air. We had terrible misty, foggy weather in June, but still loved it.
We had a lovely time! We even managed to find pubs where we could watch most of the WC-games. All accommodations were very nice and we felt very welcome every where. The views at St Agnes was astonishing (although I am a bit afraid of heights). We will surely recommend this route to other Swedes, and of course arranged by Encounter Walking!
Route: The Coleridge Way
Names: Richard and Tangea
Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable, if challenging, experience. In terms of the smooth organisation of accommodation and luggage transfers (recommended), supplying maps, route notes, taxi numbers (very helpful!) and answering all questions without delay, Encounter were great. We mislaid our route notes and were impressed by the speed with which the link was emailed to our accommodation before breakfast one morning.
Accommodation: Generally very good. We found several hosts particularly helpful: Ian and Lynne at the Old Cider House, Mike at the Valiant Soldier and Stephen and Margaret at the Sundial all went out of their way to help us.
Suggestions: At times, a compass would have been very helpful. Some indication of how long a stretch from one marker to the next (i.e. a hundred yards or a mile) would also take the stress out of some situations.
Weather: Sublime -- in the main between 25 -27. Came back to a cold and rainy Perth, WA, with a suntan!
We will definitely recommend your company to any friends considering a walk in southern England.
Hello everyone at encounter!
It just occurred to me that we have been enjoying our walking vacation but have not even told you that! Or thanked you for putting it all together for us.
Thank you! It’s all worked seamlessly so far with no reason to believe that our last four days will be any different.
We truly appreciate your work and are also extremely appreciative of the weather you’ve arranged for us! AMAZING!
Cynthia & all
Better late than never! So here comes our feedback.
Again, we had a wonderful time on the SWCP back in June and the weather really was good to us. Apart from the bit from Babbacombe to Exmouth, where we were caught in a thunderstorm and heavy rain, we had almost always dry conditions on the path and the temperature was perfect for hiking. We also managed the walk from Cape Cornwall to Porthcurno and Penzance to Marazion, on which we missed out on our first time on the SWCP. So, by now we have covered the whole part of the SWCP from Minehead to Exmouth.
The luggage transfer was impeccable and we always found our heavy bags already in our room, when we arrived at the accommodation, no matter which floor.
All accommodations were of appropriate and good quality and we got on very well with our hosts. We just want to point out some of them, because we simply felt especially lucky to have been there.
The BRIDGESIDE GUESTHOUSE – to be honest, the house itself from outside doesn’t look very inviting, mainly due to the run down semi-detached building on the right. BUT the Guesthouse itself was immaculate as was our room and we felt very welcomed and perfectly well looked after.
Our stay at the WHITSAND BAY HOTEL clearly was an extraordinary one, because it reflects exactly that typical English atmosphere, very often shown in Hitchcock movies or Rosamunde Pilcher television films mainly set in Cornwall, which are, unfortunately, not very well-known in England itself.
The walk through Plymouth was a tough one and we were very happy to finally arrive at the IMPERIAL to find ourselves staying in a huge room with a separate entrance – it was a very welcomed treat.
We’d have loved to prolong our stay at the WORSWELL BARTON FARMHOUSE – it couldn’t have been more different to our stay in Plymouth, but it was exactly what we needed back then. The scenery was spectacular, lots of animals and Jackie spoilt us with the most delicious breakfast *yummy*.
The THURLESTONE HOTEL was without doubt the most luxury treat of our whole hiking holiday and we enjoyed every single minute. We were amazed to see all those luxury cars in the hotel car park. When we were asked to state the registration number of our car at the check-in, we told the receptionist, that we’ve come all the way from Fowey on foot – she was quite amazed too.
Beesands was delightful and not only due to the fact that there was more or less no possibility for refreshments all day long. We had the most gorgeous room at THE CRICKET INN, overlooking the pebble beach and the sea and we could watch it from our bed. The food was excellent and it’s certainly worthwhile to visit again just to enjoy a wonderful meal.
Brixham was another wonderful place we’d have loved to spend more time. The SEA TANG GUEST HOUSE is very much recommended, we really loved it there, we got on so well with Chris and Claire and again we were spoilt with hospitality.
Last but not least we had a wonderful stay at the WARWICK HOUSE in Penzance. The breakfast, prepared by the ‘chef’ Chris, was just delicious. We even got an early bird breakfast on the day of our departure.
Please, don’t get me wrong, all the accommodations were perfectly fine and everything was ok, but those mentioned above are just standing out, at least to us.
We managed several river crossings without missing any ferries.
All in all we had a wonderful time and we enjoyed every single day. We had lots of encounters with wildlife as foxes, rabbits, birds of prey as well as sea birds and my husband was attacked twice by a seagull - the second one even managed to steal his muesli bar *lol*.
THANK YOU ALL for your help and the accurate work you do, preparing and organizing our hiking holidays.
We still have a few miles left to cover until we reach Poole Harbour and we’ll be in touch again.
a fantastic walk and all went according to plan. some noteable accommodations - Brynteg B & B in Manorbier, Clock House in Marloes and Anchor Guest House in Broad Haven. We visited Skomer, not on the intended day due to winds. (we walked to Broad Haven ...and back instead!) Yes you do need to get to the booking office very early (6ish). The Clock house supply excellent packed breakfasts to make this possible). Their packed lunches are amazing too. They don't do evening food as suggested in the notes but the lobster pot was superb! All in all a great holiday and we'll be back next year (hopefully) to complete the whole walk. thank you Encounter for yet another fabulous holiday (5th)!
A wonderful experience!
The staff at Encounter Walking were truly excellent. They arranged a great trip for us with relatively little notice (about 2 months, during the high season).
We were satisfied with all of the BnBs they recommended, and the luggage transfers were totally seamless.
My husband and I are relatively young and fit, but we're not terribly experienced walkers, and we found the trip from St. Ives to Penzance (spread over 5 days) challenging in just the right way. The terrain was always varied, with gorgeous clifftop views, fascinating old mining buildings, and some fun scrambles over boulders. I'm not good with heights, but I never had any problems; the trail is usually quite far from the cliff edge. Zennor was a particular highlight: it's absolutely beautiful, quiet, and isolated.
No cell signal, but the accommodation was wonderful and had great wi-fi. Excellent food too! We also loved getting a cream tea at Porthgwarra. We weren't expecting such a lovely little teahouse tucked away in the valley!
For people wondering about the level of professional equipment and fitness necessary, I did the trip in trainers/running shoes. Although it was fine, when things were damp I was really wishing that I had proper hiking boots with better grip and ankle support. Poles might also have been helpful, although not necessary.
We also brought a good store of snacks, since places to restock provisions and water and/or to have lunch weren't always readily available. In one case we did not make dinner reservations in time and missed the chance to get a full meal, but peanut butter and crackers did the job! You also have to be somewhat savvy: there were a few points on the trail that weren't super well marked (especially in the old mines right near Pendeen, when you can get off course), and at another point we had to barge through a herd of cows that were blocking the path.
Confidence, judgement, and a generally good level of fitness and agility are important. Thanks to Encounter Walking Holidays, I'm already dreaming of my next trip to Cornwall!
My wife and I went hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path from Solva to Cardigan. Usually organizing our biking and walking holidays on our own, this time we decided to choose the service of an travel agency. Encounterwalkingholidays was a superb choice. Communication via e-mail was ever so easy. The recommended accomodation were excellent; Cranog B&B in Trefin, Manor Town House in Fishguard and the Old Vicarage in Moylegrove are most outstanding. As the weather was unexpectedly very good almost without any rain, the Hiking experience in Wales was one of the most relaxind vacations for the last couple of years.
Wonderful walk, sublime weather, perfect organisation. Accomodation (B&B, pub, hotel ..)very good Route notes by Encounter Walking of St Michaels way are perfect. Thank you very much , we had a beautiful walking holiday
Greetings — I cannot say enough about how much we loved our hike — we have worked with two other companies in the UK — and Encounter, far and away, is our favorite.
The walking instructions were fantastic. And the good news is we discovered Pimms at one of the oceanside restaurants — the bar attendant convinced one of us that a jug was cheaper than two glasses — my husband made it up the next hill, Pimms powered!
This was a truly remarkable hike – one of our best in the UK. Working with the team at Encounter was simply a delight [DE-M was lead trip planner this time]. My sense is that you research and know the innkeepers well – and it is evident.
One general comment from us. In five inns, one or both of our rooms were on the third floor. We annotate below. This prompted us to think about our next trip and inquiring about first or second floor rooms and the differential cost – if reasonable, we are willing to upgrade.
The notes associated with our hike were wonderful and very explicit. We appreciated the highlights and found delicious Pimms and beer for mid-day breaks. Thanks. Luggage transfers were perfect.
Toby and Nikki were delightful and excellent hosts. The back yard of the Inn was most enjoyable. Breakfast delicious and great location to the harbor. Would stay again in a heartbeat.
Eypes Mouth Country Hotel
A little less personal than the other B and Bs on our route. Rooms were moderate but absolutely clean. Nice pub at hotel and very good food. The opportunity to watch the fox hunt rabbits on the hillside across the road from the hotel was great.
Fun B&B. One of our rooms was on the 3rd floor. This would have been a good one to swap for a second floor room. Breakfast was excellent. Jonathan was charming and had a good sense of humor.
77a Fortuneswell - Portland
Mark and Jo were awesome. They even set the dining room table so we could bring in dinner. Excellent location. We had a third floor room here that was perfectly acceptable. Wide stairs ascending, lots of windows, just lovely.
Upon reflection, here is where we could have stayed two nights in lieu of staying Weymouth. We hiked around the Is. of Portland and could have easily gone back to 77a Fortuneswell. Yes, the hike from Portland to Lulworth the next day would have been longer, but we stayed in Lulworth for two nights so we could recover. The walk from Portland to Weymouth is flat.
Cunard Guest House - Weymouth
Sam greeted us warmly and was efficient in helping us get settled. The third floor rooms were meticulous – but I worried about quickly leaving if necessary. Here we would have swapped for 2nd floor rooms, if possible. We had a lovely dinner in Weymouth and breakfast was fine (ranked lowest among our B&Bs).
Cove House in Lulworth
I must admit, we compared every inn to this one! Justin and Mandy set the highest standard and achieve it! I remember Damen remarking about the Cove House when we were planning the trip. We had two third floor rooms here that were perfectly acceptable. Enjoyed two nights. On a side note, one of us had to leave early due to a death in his immediate family, and Justin and Mandy were most helpful in arranging his transport to Windsor. We really enjoyed the local pub – food was delicious.
Mariners Guest House in Poole
Poole is a big town! After we got off the ferry we took a bus the Mariners Guest House. Yvonne was special. One of our rooms was up the steep stair case – and hauling the luggage down was challenging. She was having problems with one of the showers in a room, so we figured out an alternative room arrangement. She served breakfast early to accommodate our travel plans. When the taxi did not arrive on schedule, Yvonne drove me to the train station.
All warm wishes to you and everyone with whom we interacted — we look forward to next year’s hike.
I received an excellent service all round from Encounter Walking: they were so helpful, gave good advice and were accommodating of my specific requests through the entire planning and booking stages.
I'm something of a novice walker over long distances so wanted to take it easy, and I'd say this route is not too strenuous and doesn't require more than an average level of fitness.
The luggage transfers worked like a dream.
Encounter's notes on diversions were detailed and saved me from getting lost; it's really worth following them closely in conjunction with the OS map. The Dean Quarry diversion after Coverack would be tricky without such good notes to help (I met a French lady - not walking with Encounter's help - who'd ended up in St Keverne and had had to be given a lift to Porthallow by a helpful local resident). I did find the route around Gillan Creek a bit difficult: coast path signs are few and far between and often not easy to spot.
The Trailblazer map helped a little but didn't always resemble what I saw on the ground. I did get the sense that farmers didn't go out of their way to make it easy for walkers. I didn't expect to St Michael's Mount to be anything other than touristy but it is a wonderful place (not least because the St Aubyn family have kept the excesses of the NT in check), and I happily spent a whole day there. Also unexpected were the gardens at Trebah, and again I spent the whole day here: the beach can't be reached from the coast path, so if the weather is good, take swimming stuff: it is truly beautiful. It's certainly worth planning rest days with things like this in mind.
Best tea and ice cream and cake stop? The Fat Apples Cafe on the approach to Porthallow. The best beer? The Ship Inn Porthleven. Best G&T? Curio Rock Samphire Gin at the Polurrian Bay Hotel. Best kept secret? Rinsey Cove. Quirkiest place to stay? The Artists' Residence, Penzance. By complete chance, I ended up in Falmouth over the 2018 Sea Shanty Festival: fantastic (free) live music all over the town. What an atmosphere, and what a great way to end a great trip.
Dear everyone at Encounter Walking,
I just wanted to thank you for helping with the organisation of my retirement celebration walk along the Cornish coast. Everything worked extremely well, and the whole experience did just what I wanted it to do. The luggage transfers went smoothly, the accommodation was great, and all the info and notes you gave me with my itinerary were invaluable.
This was particularly true of the diversions. I met a couple of walkers who had got lost on those inland diversions either side of Coverack, and while I can't say that I didn't put a foot wrong, your pointers helped enormously and I (barely!) strayed from the path - all useful map reading practice anyway!
All of the diversions in my itinerary are still in place as you have described. The one near Loe Bar is a tad frustrating as judging by the OS map, the NT could make this a much shorter diversion if they so wished, but there is no indication that they plan to do this. That said, the diversion is well signposted and a beautiful walk in itself. The sign at the start of the diversion says that work will begin on the repair to the path at the beginning of July (with no indication of how long it is likely to take).
Encounter Walking: Glad to say the diversion here was removed on Sept 1st after a new section of trail was built to deal with the cliff fall. Walkers are now back on the original route with no detour !
Thanks once again. This walk has certainly inspired me in so many ways, and I have lost count of the number of people who have expressed a desire to do something similar.
Very best wishes,
You asked for any feedback on our accommodation on the Coleridge Way and our 2 days coastal walk from Lynmouth to Minehead.
The CW was very quiet - we only met one other person doing the trail (and they were only scouting out a one-day section prior to bringing a group later in the year), and one rider (there is a slightly different route for those on horseback). We loved the solitude.
The route is lovely, and passes through a variety of types of landscape: crop-growing areas, livestock farms, mixed woodland, beautiful rivers and streams. We did the CW over 4 days without any difficulty (we are both nearly 70). The coastal path was busier, mainly with people doing short sections with their dogs - but still by no means crowded. Again, we found it very manageable.
A few other comments: We were both pleased not to be walking alone, as there were a number of points where two heads were needed to figure out the correct route. At times, the OS map, way markers and walking notes were all at odds with each other. Even so, we did go wrong a couple of times. Also, the distances noted on the way-markers can be quite confusing, and dispiriting, as they sometimes increase rather than decreasing! We had a wonderful week, ate lots of wonderful seafood, and found nearly all the B&Bs very welcoming and friendly.
One final comment: I'm sure that we are not the only walkers who like to get out on the path relatively early - but many places only start breakfast at 8.30am and some even later. Perhaps this could be discussed with them?
We hope that these comments are useful. Overall, we had an absolutely wonderful week, and are extremely grateful to Encounter for all your help.
We really enjoyed our walk. We were incredibly lucky with the weather on the Coleridge Way, and only had one torrential downpour on the Coastal Path.
Rich and Damon
Many thanks for your excellent organisation of a great trip for us.
All went very well.
The walk from West Bay to Abbotsbury encounters some very unpleasant walking in the last mile or so before West Bexington. Having to walk on the pebble paths is very uncomfortable walking and there was no alternative. I think that you should highlight this pebble walking more as it was very difficult for those of us with uncertain knees. It made us review things and we cut inland at West Bexington to the West Dorset Ridge walk but, happily, this was a blessing in disguise, as this section of the route to Abbotsbury was one of the highlights of the trip.
I hope that this will be helpful.
Many thanks again.
Great experience, beautiful landscape, no rain, infact most of us got sun burned.
Organisation was perfect, all accommodations were good to excellent, as was luggage transfer. No loss, no failure.
Navigation was easy even in the dunes of Upton Towans and following places.
Best accomodation was St.Georg