Encounter Walking Holidays UK Logo


Walking Feedback and Reviews -

Submit your own UK walking route review or scroll down this page to read other reviews

Click here to submit your own review!


Read Reviews

Walk Reviews and Customer Feedback

Route: South West Coast Path: Salcombe-Brixham
Name: Hilary and Emily
When: 07 September 2018

USA flagOnce 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!!

Route: South West Coast Path from St Ives to Porthleven
Name: Jacques
When: 07 September 2018

French FlagA 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.

Route: Saints Way - Padstow to Fowey South West Coast Path - Fowey to Mevagissey
Name: Sue and Bill
When: 30 August 2018

UK FlagJust 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!

Best regards

Sue & Bill

Route: South West Coast Path - St Ives to Falmouth
Name: Sean
When: 30 August 2018

USA FlagFolks,

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.

Route: Two Moors Way - Wembury to Lynmouth
Name: Carol
When: 29 August 2018

UK FlagWe 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.

Regards

Carol and Paul

Route: The Smugglers Way
Name: Nigel
When: 24 August 2018

UK FlagJust 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!

Kindest regards,

Nigel

Route: South West Coast Path - Exmouth to Lulworth Cove
Name: Petra
When: 24 August 2018

German FlagThank 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

Petra

Route: SW Coast Path - St Ives to Penzance + St Michaels Way
Name: Paul and Françoise
When: 21 August 2018

Swiss FlagWe 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.

Route: Dartmoor
Name: Judith
When: 16 August 2018

UK FlagWe 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

Route: South West Coast Path - St Ives to Mousehole
Name: Ines
When: 11 August 2018

German FlagSorry 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.

Route: Coleridge Way from Nether Stowey to Porlock Weir and South West Coast Path
Name: Eva, Anne and dachsund Alma
When: 07 August 2018

German FlagIt 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!

Route: South West Coast Path - Charlestown to Looe
Name: Siri
When: 06 August 2018

Swiss FlagThank 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;

  1. some of the "Highlights today" referred to was not obvious to find as they were not always marked out on the maps (in the Costal path book) e.g. Lansallos Cave (smugglers beach)
  2. Some of the trial parts are pretty step (down to the sea) - perhaps a little waring should be made for those who are not too comfortable with heights?

 

Route: Coleridge Way - Nether Stowey to Lynmouth
Name: John Martin
When: 03 August 2018

UK Flagwe 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

Route: The Dartmoor Way
Name: Anne
When: 30 July 2018

Danish FlagWe 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.

Route: South West Coast Path, Padstow-St Ives
Name: McKee
When: 25 July 2018

UK FlagThank 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!

Route: South West Coast Path from Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Roger
When: 21 July 2018

UK FlagGot 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

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Milford Haven to St Dogmaels
Name: Barbara and Margo
When: 17 July 2018

German FlagDear 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.

Route: Coleridge Way & Coast Path - Nether Stowey to Braunton
Name: Sabine & Reinhard
When: 17 July 2018

German FlagHello 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!

Route: Mendip Way - Weston Super Mare to Frome
Name: Doreen
When: 16 July 2018

UK FlagThe 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Weymouth
Name: Brigitte
When: 16 July 2018

Swiss FlagOur 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to Tintagel
Name: Julie
When: 16 July 2018

UK FlagThis 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!

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Barnstaple
Name: Britta
When: 14 July 2018

German FlagI 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

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to Newquay
Name: Ulrich
When: 10 July 2018

Austrian FlagThank 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 !!

Cheers
Ulrich

Route: South West Coast Path - Marazion to St Ives (reverse direction)
Name: Robin
When: 08 July 2018

USA FlagWe 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.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Tenby to Marloes
Name: Teresa
When: 08 July 2018

Australian FlagWe 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.

 

Route: Two Moors Way
Name: Ursula
When: 08 July 2018

German FlagDear 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.

Kind regards

Ursula und Gerhard

Route: SW Coast Path & Two Moors Way - Brixham to Lynmouth
Name: Kurt
When: 06 July 2018

Swiss FlagDear all

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.

Conclusion:

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

Kurt

Route: South West Coast Path - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Brian
When: 05 July 2018

USA FlagWonderful 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Looe
Name: Charles Carodenuto
When: 04 July 2018

USA FlagWe completed our hike , all went well, thank you.

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Pip and Chris
When: 04 July 2018

Australian FlagHi Rich

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!

Regards

Pip & Chris

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Solva to St Dogmaels
Name: Brigitta & Caroline
When: 03 July 2018

UK FlagHi 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to Penzance
Name: Steve
When: 01 July 2018

UK FlagWe 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.

Thanks again

Steve & Sue (& Ziggy)

Route: SW Coast Path - St Agnes to Lizard
Name: Petra
When: 30 June 2018

German FlagThank 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!!!

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Westward Ho!
Name: Stephen & Christine
When: 30 June 2018

UK FlagWe 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.

Route: South West Coast Path: Port Isaac-Portreath
Name: Philip
When: 30 June 2018

UK FlagHello,

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.

Kind regards

Philip

Route: South West Coast Path - Brixham to Lyme Regis
Name: Martin
When: 29 June 2018

UK FlagOur 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - Heddons Gate to Woolacombe
Name: Craig H
When: 29 June 2018

UK FlagJust 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.

Route: Mendip Way - Weston Super Mare to Frome
Name: Maggie
When: 28 June 2018

UK FlagHi there,

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

Best Wishes

Maggie and Pat

Route: The Coleridge Way: Nether Stowey-Lynmouth
Name: Janet
When: 28 June 2018

UK FlagI 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.

Janet

Route: South West Coast Path: Lyme Regis-Weymouth
Name: Doug
When: 24 June 2018

USA FlagQuick 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. 

Thanks again

Doug and Mary Ellen

Route: Lizard Coast Path - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Hans-Detlev, Barbara and friends
When: 20 June 2018

German FlagThis 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!

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path Full Route - Amroth to St Dogmaels
Name: Carmel McDermid
When: 20 June 2018

New Zealand FlagMax 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 

Route: Two Moors Way- slower route
Name: Sheila
When: 20 June 2018

UK FlagWe'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!

king regards

Sheila and Tony

Route: Dartmoor Way - Okehampton to Princetown
Name: victoria
When: 17 June 2018

UK FlagDartmoor 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - Newquay to St Ives
Name: Stig
When: 16 June 2018

Swedish FlagWe 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: Coleridge Way from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth
Name: Tangea
When: 16 June 2018

Australian FlagRoute: 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: Cynthia
When: 16 June 2018

USA FlagHello 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

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Amroth to Broad Haven
Name: maggie
When: 15 June 2018

UK Flaga 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)!

Route: South West Coast Path from St Ives to Penzance
Name: Caroline
When: 15 June 2018

Canadian FlagA 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!

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Solva to Cardigan
Name: Andreas
When: 14 June 2018

German FlagMy 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: Diane
When: 11 June 2018

USA FlagDear Rich,

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!

Comments overall:

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.

Albany Guesthouse

Lyme Regis

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.

Abbey House

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.

Diane

Route: Lizard Coast Path - Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Sue
When: 10 June 2018

UK FlagI 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.

Route: Lizard Coast Path - Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Sue
When: 10 June 2018

UK FlagDear 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,

Sue

Route: Nether Stowey to Minehead Coleridge Way and SW Coast Path
Name: Clare
When: 10 June 2018

UK FlagYou 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.

Route: South West Coast Path - West Bay to Lulworth Cove
Name: William
When: 10 June 2018

Irish FlagRich 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.

Regards

William

Route: South West Coast Path - Newquay to St Ives
Name: Ferdinand Muehlbacher (Brigitta Brown Group)
When: 10 June 2018

Austrain FlagGreat 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.Georges's country house in Perranport: Ulrica is very creative, so is the whole house, great design..

Description of the way to St. George's could be improved: Go directly to Cligga Head, which you cannot miss: then go back to the Hotel, there is a direct way -street the the hotel.

The "resting day" after arrival is an excellent idea. Wait, until the soul arrives! We used the day for the suggested walk from Mawgan Port, which was very different to the following sections of the path. Very cultivated fences and madows with sheep on them..

The description of the last section, backwards from Zennor to St Ives was aggravated too much: People in our group got afraid of walking this section. Yes, summary of ups and downs was about 500 meters, not more than in any other day.

Finally: Encounterwalking could be more assisting in travel arrangement: I spent days in finding out efficient ways to go through London, and I did not find the best ones. Inexpensive airlines with luggage allowance and in particular transfers on the last day back to the airport of train station. But in summary, it was an excellent experience and perfect organisation Thank you

Encounter Walking - Thanks Ferdinand - we are happy to try and help with advice on travel within the UK at any point so do just ask for help. We don't get involved with international flights as its not an area we have experience in but getting from your airport in the UK to the walking route - yes do ask and we can assist with pointing you in the right direction for advice and bookings

Route: South West Coast Path - St Ives to Penzance
Name: Shari and Walter
When: 09 June 2018

Austrian FlagApologies for the late response but we always tag on some weeks after our walking trip to visit family. 

We would like to thank the Encounter Walking Team for organizing a really fantastic walking tour for us.  The weather was glorious and the walks wonderful, the views exhilarating, the people friendly and we had a really lovely time.  A big thank you to everyone who made this walking tour so memorable for us and our friends who joined us and were experiencing walking part of the Cornish coastal path for the first time.

There were so many lovely places but a few will really stay in a memories a long time.  Porthgwarra is an absolute hit and worth visiting - a lovely little cove with the most fantastic little cafe.  Sennen Cove is a beautiful place to spend more time enjoying one of the many Cornish beaches.  Lamorna cove was also special in welcoming us with refreshments after a strenuous boulder-climbing tour.  Accommodations were mainly very good, especially good though were The Gurnards Head Hotel near Zennor, The Old Success Inn in Sennen Cove was our absolute favorite, and the Honeydew Guesthouse in Penzance which we would recommend to everyone, extremely friendly and welcoming.

Our very best wishes,

Shari and Walter

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Jacqueline
When: 09 June 2018

Canadian FlagLoved the walk but it was more difficult than I had anticipated. Would choose an easier walk for a first walk next time.

Wear or take something bright or neon in colour, like a jacket or flag you can wave in case you need assistance.

Some walks are well populated and others are really remote. Take pictures of the co-ordinates posted from time to time, or landmarks, so that if you need assistance you can tell the emergency services where you are.

 

Route: Lizard Coast Path - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Christian
When: 09 June 2018

German FlagAltogether, my six-day self-guided walking tour was a asuccess. I got good information material beforehand, the baggage transport worked well, and the accommodations including the breakfast were o.k. Some items, though, in the description of the way have to be improved.

In the day-by-day itinerary the text how to find the path from Porth Saxon to Mawnan Smith is misleading: when you come from Durgan and enter the beach of Porth Saxon, the boat shed is not at the end of the beach, but at the very beginning of the beach! Therefore I passed the branch-off and walked further on on the coast path. The description should tell, that the branch-off to Mawnan Smith begins at the gate where there is the round sign "Carwinion" of the National Trust!

The trailblazer handbook is very good, but it should be updated in the following regards: p221 Porthleven:The Top Chippy fish and chips is closed on sundays. Roland's Happy Plaice does no more exist , there is only a take-away of fish and chips. p.228 Mullion: the post office does no more exist. The Galleon fish and chips is closed on sundays and mondays. p.234 Cadgwith: The "Old Cellars" were closed when I came there on a tuesday's afternoon. p.255 Falmouth: The entry to Pendennis Castle costs 9.50 pounds, not 7.50. Map 100 is wrong, when you want to find the entry to Pendennis Castle. The acces is from the south, and not from the north! So I made a detour of 30 minutes. p.259: The price for fish and chips in "Harbour Lights" ist 10 pounds, not 5.

Encounter Walking  - Thanks Christian - just to note on the Trailblazer Guidebooks these come out every 2-3 years and are updated with things like prices and eating options as of course these things change constantly - good news is that a new 6th Edition of the Guide being revised right now will be out in April 2019 and will be as up to date as it can be at that point

A hint for walkers that walk from Coverack to Porthoustock: The description in the Trailblazer handbook ist very useful. You have to ignore the big signs saying that the path along Dean Quarry is closed. Behind the quarry you don't find signs for the continuation of the coast path; you have to look for the wooden bridge off the beach.

The highlight with respect to human encounters was the warm-hearted reception by Bridget in the Wellmore End Cottage in Porthleven.

The highlight with respect to landscape was the walk around Lizard Point from Kynance Cove to Cadgwith.

A strange thing was the booking of the railway tickets from London Paddington to Penzance by internet WWW.GWR.COM . 10 weeks before the date of travel I wanted to buy a ticket and reserve a seat. It was not possible to reserve a seat, so it seemed that all the seats were booked out. In reality, when I enterd the train, there were many vacant seats, and after Reading the train was almost empty. The software of GWR is obviously faulty.

Encounter Walking - Train travel is complicated in the UK so do ask us for help if you are not sure.  The train companies only release a pre set number of seats for advance purchase usually around 12 weeks before travel date.  A lot are not passed over for advance booking to allow for people who just turn up on the day to get a seat - GWR have had issues with their online bookings this year which I am told they have now dealt with but you are very welcome to check with us for updates if you are struggling to use it and we will try to help

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Michael & Andrea
When: 08 June 2018

UK FlagWell organised route with plenty of maps provided by Encounter. We were blessed with glorious weather which made the pub at the end of the day all the more fabulous. Our luggage was waiting for us at each accommodation and each of our hosts could not do enough for us. A very warm welcome from everybody . Our only complaint would be that the path had not been trimmed between Mevagissey and Par and the grasses were actually taller than us! The team were on the path though , they just hadn't got to that section.

Route: South West Coast Path, Minehead - Combe Martin (relaxed route)
Name: Virgina
When: 08 June 2018

Australian FlagThanks encounter for a wonderful walk. Of course you had a lot of help with the weather! 

Really wonderful  accommodation especially the choice to break the trip in Heddons Gate at the Hotel . Very friendly and  gracious accommodation!

The food at Locanda at the Weir was exceptional especially the gratuitous limoncello but the meal was exceptional as was the location and decor . Hardly surprising as the owners are so dedicated growing their own vegetables in adjacent garden and all .

All in all a wonderful trip extremely well organised.

Many thanks

Virginia 

Route: 100 mile Challenge Route - Looe to Fowey
Name: Nico
When: 08 June 2018

Dutch FlagHello,

we had a wonderful walk in very nice weather. Walking over the Moor, along the coast and through the fields gave a nice change in scenery so we could enjoyed al the beauty of Cornwall in one walk. Most enjoyable was looking over Cornwall from the top of Brown Willy  and Helman Tor and the nice harbour villages as Looe, Boscastle and Port Isaac. All hotels, inns and B&B where very nice to stay, easy to find and close to the route, pubs and restaurants.
So thank you for organizing this perfectly.

I tracked all our walking using WikiLoc, so you can refer other walkers to the links so they can follow in our foot steps us using the WikiLoc app:
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/smugglers-way-looe-liskeard-25619262
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/smugglers-way-liskeard-jamaica-inn-25661676
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/smugglers-way-jamaica-inn-boscastle-25695030
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/swcp-boscastle-port-isaac-25717866
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/swcp-port-isaac-padstow-25739135
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/saints-way-padstow-lanivet-25762256
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/saints-way-lanivet-fowey-25787006

The Smugglers Way was easy to find using the OS Map and the OS Maps App on which I plotted the route you marked on the maps. We had wonderful weather all week so that makes navigating also very easy. We only had problem finding our way in a field next Halwill Barton, but using gps and the OS Maps App this was solved. And we could escape the bull protecting his girls and his field against us.

The flooded road between Withiel and Retire was no problem (see photo) thanks to the weather.

I will advise all friends who want to go walking in Cornwall to use your services and walk this route.

Thanks,

Nico

Route: South West Coast Path - St Ives to Plymouth
Name: John
When: 07 June 2018

UK FlagAccommodation: All as expected and all of a very high standard.

The one which stood out with all the elements (staff, room, service, food, etc) being exceptional was the Pier House Hotel at Charlestown. It was also very nice to have double room facility, as a single walker it just gives a little more 'elbow room'. This was really appreciated when I had to make do with single room and private bathroom (but that was only on one occasion not bad for 16 walking days).

Walking Times: I feel are a little on the tight side (especially for an oldie like me). An extra 30 minutes added to each leg would make oldies feel better and younger walker feel exceptional as they would be beating the times cited.

Degree of Difficulty: Accurately described. Although there was times when I could have (and did) use stronger adjectives to describe the strenuous sections.

Directions in the Guide Book: Pretty good and all accurate.

Directions on the Ground: At times ruddy frustrating. Warning to future walkers that signage can be:-

1) the acorn (carved into a way post or a badge nailed onto a way post);
2) the acorn with or without a yellow arrow;
3) a yellow arrow only;
4) a metal sign (plate) positioned about 6 inches off the ground in the most non-obvious position;
5) a sticky backed plastic sign with an arrow and SWCP stuck to any metal pole;
6) the position of signage can be anywhere between 6 inches off the ground to 2 metres above ground level.

The longer diversions during my walk did not lead you back automatically onto the SWCP. So that meant you had to employ the OS maps for SWCP. No real hardship but not easy if you don't know how to read a map.

The Path: In some places (quite a few) very overgrown. Most of the overgrowth was up to knee height, so I recommend walkers do not walk in shorts as hidden brambles could cause real problems scratching unprotected legs. I really suggest investing in a pair of good quality garters. In some places, thankfully not many, the overgrowth was upto and past head height. It made for a refreshing shower in the rain!!!!

The Weather: This year, as opposed to last, the weather was exceptional. Well done Encounter Walking for organizing that.

On the SWCP I still have to complete the Plymouth to Poole section. So all being well see you next year.

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to St Ives
Name: Christine Taylor
When: 07 June 2018

Minehead to St Ives: 21 days of brilliant walking

UK FlagThe activity notes provided by Encounter are really useful, particularly for alerting you to highlights to look out for each day, and for clear directions to your accommodation.

The Path

Easy to follow and generally well signposted.  The only times we got slightly lost were coming out of towns or villages where there are properties immediately on the coast, and there are not always clear signs as to how you walk round them.  However, you know that you have to aim for the sea, so not possible to get very lost.

The only couple of hours of walking we didn’t like was round Braunton Burrows between Saunton and Braunton.  Had we paid more attention it is probably possible to find a way through the nature reserve that is part of the military area, and would have been more interesting.  Compensation was we did see an adder!

The path from Saunton to Westward Ho! is flat estuary walking, with Braunton to Biddeford being a fairly busy cycle path. We quite liked the contrast, but if this is not to your taste skip that bit.

Accommodation

We stayed in 21 different places, a mixture of B&B, pubs and hotels.  Best were:

Locanda on the Weir, Porlock Weir. Fabulous Italian evening meal, and best breakfast of the holiday

Red Lion, Clovelly

Cornerways, St Ives

Also extra brownie points to Jules at Holmsleigh B&B Braunton, who proactively offered to do a washing machine load for us, took the dirty washing away, washed it and hung it on the line.

Only negative comment is evening meal at  Perranporth is grossly overpriced for what is provided.

Eating Out

If accommodation provided evening meals (which most of the pubs do) we tended to eat there (see above).

As a general point if you don’t want to eat at a carvery then it’s a challenge to find an alternative in small villages on a Sunday but can be done.

Suggestions from Encounter very helpful.  In addition would recommend:

The Riverside, Braunton

S & P Fish Shop, Ilfracombe   (crab sandwiches for lunch)

Café in car park at Godrevy for lunch

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Bude to St Ives
Name: Sharon
When: 05 June 2018

UK FlagHi Rich

Thank you for your email asking for feedback on our walking holiday on the South West Coast Path from Bude – St Ives.

We had a great time, helped by gorgeous weather, everything went to plan with the luggage transfers and our accommodations were all great and in some really lovely spots, we were glad to have taken the relaxed option with the lesser mileage as it gave us the time to really enjoy the scenery and actually be able to stop off at some great beach cafes for coffee and cake breaks!

The only negative part we found was having to walk through Newquay after having had several days on the Coast Path enjoying the peace and quiet and wildness of the cliffs, it came as a bit of a shock to the system and we were very glad to put it behind us and get back on the path proper again.

We were very happy with all the help we had been given prior to our holiday and will definitely be booking with you again in the future when we tackle the next section!

Thanks again

Kind regard

Kevin & Sharon

Route: South West Coast Path - Dartmouth to Abbotsbury
Name: Ulrike
When: 05 June 2018

German FlagHello Damon, good evening, just a quick note to let you know we have arrived in Abbotsbury. Time went far too quickly and we felt we could have walked on forever;-) Everything was perfect again!!! I will write in more detail when we get home.

Thanks for organizing it, it was first class!!! As always!!

Best wishes,

Ulrike

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Anna Barbara and Rudolf
When: 04 June 2018

Swiss FlagFirst of all I would like to thank all the "encounterwalking people" for their perfect planning of our walk. Nearly everything which was important for us was mentioned there!

The Luggage Transfers Ltd did a great job, too. Thanks a lot.

We were in many ways very lucky: The biggest gift was that during our 12 days walking we had no rain at all! :)) Sometimes it was sunny, sometimes cloudy and thus very nice to walk along the South West Coast Path! The view of The Channel and its Bays was spectacular. Of course we enjoyed being in the middle of nature with its flowers and animals.

Meeting other walkers from England or even from the United States was very pleasant.

As you mentioned in your Itinerary, some of the stages were strenuous and some parts of the Path were overgrown by plants and stitching nettles which made walking even more strenuous:( I walked with walking poles and found them very helpful.

Another gift was that we never lost our way or only a bit because we always had somebody who helped us spontaneously. The walking times indicated by you were too short - at least for us.

The accommodations were very different but all in all good and we were well looked after. Thanks to everybody!

What would we do differently next time? - We would take a GPS with us. - Both of us would walk with walking poles. - We would would like to walk shorter distances for having much more time to enjoy our surroundings. Once again, we had wonderful walking holidays in Cornwall. Thank you and bye-bye. Anna Barbara

Route: South West Coast Path - Newquay to St Ives
Name: Leslie
When: 03 June 2018

USA FlagThank you, Encounter Walking, for preparing and supporting us very well. The Coast Path Guidebook and your final itinerary were superb references as we made our way south.

The accommodations were all easy to find. Of special note are the Driftwood Spars which was a welcome sight right at the end of the trail, the Cliff House, and the Cornerways B&B. (Ask for the Jamaica room with its animal print decor.) Our bags were always waiting for us.

Yes, we did get slightly off path in the dunes approaching Hayle, but the literature warned us that might happen and it was easy to get reoriented.

Our weather was amazingly good, an unexpected pleasure. We are all reasonably fast walkers but it took us a little longer than the average walking times, perhaps because we really had to slow down on the up/down steps, where we used hiking poles to preserve our knees.

I would recommend Encounter Walking in a heartbeat. From the first communication, the planning was first rate.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Amroth to Pembroke
Name: Arthur
When: 03 June 2018

Swedish FlagThank you so much for planning our walking holiday! My father and I had a wonderful trip - it was exactly what we hoped it would be.

One small note, the bag handling company, Walk A Long Way, advised us that the limit was 18kg. We planned carefully for 20 and were a bit surprised at the ask for additional money to transfer. In the end they did not charge us, but I want to let you know so that you can set expectations with future walkers.  Encounter Walking -  Thanks Arthur - we checked wtih Walk a long way and sorry but the driver had it wrong !  So just to confirm it is 20kg that is allowed on the Wales Trail and so you were fine with your packing.

Thanks!

Arthur 

Route: SW Coast Path - Newquay to St Ives
Name: Liliane Boeckle
When: 02 June 2018

French FlagHello - We got a great walking holiday, thank for your great organisation!

Highlights were: the B&B in Portreath, very nice welcome, lovely room and gorgeous breakfast - the lovely restaurant Birdies (picture) after the horrid walk along the road from Hayly to the other side of the estuary (WE missed the diversion). Very nice food, choice also for dairy free and nice sirtuation near the water if high tide. But Hayle plans a bridge over the estuary... would be great but we would miss the Birdies...

  • the Regent hotel is fabulous, especially the room downstairs, just a very narrow and steep stair to go down but the Landlady carried our suitcases ! Her husband is older and we heard that they want to sell it...

After the highlights, we just got one problem but nothing to do with you...

GWR changed the time of our train, pretending that they had another timetable for Saturday and we missed the last connection in Par.

Strangely, their official paper timetable in Paddington showed the time we got on internet, booking for a Saturday.

So we booked a taxi to drive us to Newquay (48 pounds...)

And then, we discovered Newquay airport! Could it be a possibility to fly there?

Manny thanks for your very good service and best regards,

Liliane and Nathalie

Route: Mendip Way - Weston-Super-Mare to Frome
Name: Robert
When: 02 June 2018

UK FlagDear Damon,

We enjoyed our holiday.

I offer you some brief notes that may be of help to you and to future walkers.

The baggage transfer was first class.

Your notes
Absolutely first class. Told us everything we wanted to know. However some of the distances were under estimated.

West Mendip Way notes
Generaly good but some misprints. One mistake. At point 4, first paragraph, the instruction after the reference to "the old school house" to "turn right and walk along until you shortly take a right turn down Church Lane" should read "turn left and walk along until you shortly take a right turn down Church Lane".

Glastonbury Pilgrimage Way
Again the notes were generally good but after leaving the route of the Monarch Way some of the paths were very neglected and overgrown. Moreover, some of the paths on the ground were not on the correct line according to the OS. (We had three GPS devices, two with the OS 1:25,000 and one with the OS 1:50,000 so could be quite sure of this.)

East Mendip Way notes
Again some misprints ("filed" for "field" being the most common). Generally good but not up to the standard of the West Mendip notes.

Refreshments on the route
You may like to know that the Penscot Inn at Shipham was closed. This notwithstanding that their website and a board outside both said that it was open. We used Lenny's Cafe instead which we would heartily recommend. The other pubs we used on our walk were excellent. We would particularly recommend The Queen Victoria Inn at Priddy and The Red Lion at West Pennard.

As I said at the outset, we enjoyed the holiday. Thank you for all your work to make it work for us.

Kind regards,

Robert

Route: SW Coast Path - Newquay to St Ives
Name: Liliane
When: 02 June 2018

Swiss FlagHello ????????

We got a great walking holiday, thank for your great organisation !

Highlights were :
- the B&B in Portreath, very nice welcome, lovely room and gorgeous breakfast
- the lovely restaurant Birdies after the horrid walk along the road from Hayly to the other side of the estuary (WE missed the diversion). Very nice food, choice also for dairy free and nice sirtuation near the water if high tide. But Hayle plans a bridge over the estuary... would be great but we would miss the Birdies...
- the Regent hotel is fabulous, especially the room downstairs, just a very narrow and steep stair to go down but the Landlady carried our suitcases !

After the highlights, we just got one problem but nothing to do with you...

GWR changed the time of our train, pretending that they had another timetable for Saturday and we missed the last connection in Par. Strangely, their official paper timetable in Paddington showed the time we got on internet, booking for a Saturday.

So we booked a taxi to drive us to Newquay (48 pounds...)And then, we discovered Newquay airport ! Could it be a possibility to fly there ? Manny thanks for your very good service and best regards,

Liliane and Nathalie

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to St Ives
Name: Sally
When: 02 June 2018

UK FlagWe were very lucky with our week of walking as we didn’t have a drop of rain. Most days there was a nice breeze and cloud cover but occasionally it got quite hot and it was much harder to walk in the heat.

Everything went very smoothly. We left by 9.00am each morning and would recommend not going later than this. We had to wait till 10.00am to cross The Gannel on one morning but this was a shorter walking day so was fine.

The accommodation at Symply Padstow was delightful and we highly recommend it. The other places we stayed at were fine and we particularly enjoyed the folk evening at Seiners in Perranporth.

We didn’t like Newquay as a place and would recommend avoiding it in your plans if you are able to. The accommodation was also very disappointing and not good value for money.

We hardly used our maps as the coastal path route was well signed. We usually took the time suggested by Encounter to complete each walking day or sometimes a bit less.

We found Perranporth to Portreath our most challenging day but it was all doable for an average walker.

We really enjoyed our holiday and loved the accommodation for our last day in St Ives right on the beach. It felt great to have completed the 66 miles challenge and the views and the beaches were amazing.

The taxi drivers were lovely and always on time.

A perfect week away with thanks to Encounter Walking

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to St Ives
Name: Fiona
When: 01 June 2018

Swiss FlagWe had a wonderful week! It was so good to be outdoors all day, fresh air and always seeing the sea. We walked for 5 days and had no rain at all. We saw seals in Navax point and St. Ives. Everything was perfectly organized by encounter walking holidays. We are already dreaming about the next walk maybe next year. We will definitely book with encounter walking holidays again. Thank you guys for all your effort! Cheers, Fiona.

Route: South West Coast Path - Clovelly to Falmouth
Name: Bz
When: 28 May 2018

Germany FlagWe are just back at home. We spent some outstanding days in Cornwall. Everything worked well.

Thank you very much for the great organisation, including the weather! No rain in 2,5 weeks

Route: Dartmoor Way - Circular walk from Buckfastleigh
Name: Mila
When: 23 May 2018

UK FlagWhat a wonderful walk! Helped by good weather, dry and often sunny, except for one rainy morning, we enjoyed the wide variety of terrain: woods, river valleys, ancient trackways, country lanes, wild moorland as well as the plethora of wild flowers and bird song. We heard cuckoos, supposedly getting rarer, on at least 4 days.

The accommodation was all of a very good standard and we especially liked the ancient inns. The bags were waiting for us on arrival each time. The food was always good. If you fancy going slightly upmarket (though still very reasonable) we can heartily recommend the food at the Cornish Arms in Tavistock - top notch gastro pub fare - and recommend avoiding The Queens Head, a Wetherspoons in Tavistock where the staff were rude to us.

The maps, guide book and additional itinerary notes provided by Encounter were all very helpful. We found the Guide's approach to distance eccentric, however, as often no indication of whether a mile or a metre to the next turning but occasionally it would tell you the distance in yards and feet! Some of the info was out of date but navigable with the help of maps and common sense.

However, we got lost on 3 occasions and thought this was mostly due to confused directions in the Guide.

1 Coming out of Buckastleigh, the directions to and from the church did not make sense. For example you cannot turn left at the war memorial unless you go back on your route. We found our way by asking someone but it did not match the Guide book instructions.

2 Along the river from Sticklepath, an instruction to go right uphill took us up a tricky path way off our route. The instruction should have told us to take furthest right path beside the river.

3 This is the one we are saddest about. After the steep ascent from Dartmeet to the car park, then short and steep descent right, the instructions to navigate the valley around Sharp Tor bore no relation to where we found ourselves. The relevant paths were just not there. After a few false starts and pouring over maps, as it was getting late and we didn't want to be lost miles from anywhere we climbed back to the car park and got ourselves collected, thereby missing what may have been a lovely few miles. We still don't understand what happened but may be someone else needs to go there with the Guide book and check it out.

Finally, just to say we are seasoned walkers in our late 60s and found a couple of the ascents challenging but overall we found the walk fairly easily manageable in 8 days. Some sections would be very muddy in worse weather and unavoidable, but we found very little mud. So overall, a fabulous walk and great support from Encounter. Thank you.

Encounter Walking - Thanks Mila and we will take a look at the direction points you highlight and incorporate them into our itinerary notes for others. The official guidebook is well due an overhaul - the route is currently part of a funding bid for full resigning by The Ramblers and Dartmoor National Park and we are part of the team trying to secure enough money for that as the route is superb. We are hopeful we may all see a big improvement on signage and a new official guidebook / route notes for 2019 but anyone who wants to know more check back with us and we can update on the latest situation !

Route: Lizard Coast Path - Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Alan Macdonald
When: 22 May 2018

German FlagI'm originally from Scotland and have lived in Germany for over 30 years. Some German friends wanted to do part of the South West Coastal Path and would I, being the native speaker organise it. So I searched the web compared prices, itineraries, etc and decided on Encounter Walking, not the cheapest so a difficult decision for a Scotsman but I struck gold!!!! They are professional, well organised and very customer oriented. They even managed to get us good weather. Without exception we all had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If you're thinking about doing one of these walking holidays and aren't really sure about who to go with, you've now found the right site.

Route: Two Moors Way - Ivybridge to Lynmouth
Name: John
When: 22 May 2018

Australian FlagWent with my brother in law Bryan Tudor. Had a great time but it was quite hard we are both 66 but fit. The accomadation at Ivybridge and Widecombe we’re poor but the rest ok. We expected to see other walkers on the route and perhaps some advice at Ivybridge. But nothing perhaps our expectations were wrong. Two Moors way markings in South Devon very poor but excellent in the North including Somerset. We heard about people in wet April getting horribly lost. You need good visibility on the moor to see the landmarks. Scenery was sensational so this walk could if signed and marketed correctly be very popular. JR

Encounter Walking - Good advice John as its not a walk for a first time walking holiday and you need to be good with maps for the open moorland sections. Just to clarify it was none of our walkers that got lost but yes it does happen. We provide a good bit of extra material on the open moor sections to try to prevent this. The Two Moors Way Association of which we are members is having some granite boulder markers installed on Dartmoor in the most remote locations to help with navigation for 2019 season onwards.

Route: South West Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Portland
Name: Joy Taylor
When: 21 May 2018

UK FlagRecent walk from Lyme Regis to Portland over 3 days.

Allowed to park the car in the Heights Hotel in Portland (saved on parking fees - thank you Heights Hotel) and got a taxi with Lyme Regis recommended cab firm to Lyme Started from the Albany B&B. Lovely place, nice walk along the new path into town. Very welcoming hosts. Superb toiletries and apparently you can have massages etc if you have time (runs a clinic from home).

Day 1 - Lyme Regis to West Bay - included the Golden Cap. Fantastic views when you get to the top, but don't think the hard work is over after that - other peaks are almost as high! We had gorgeous weather so were extra lucky. Retired people everywhere beating us up the Cap but we didn't feel so bad when we realised that they all park in the car park half way up, while we'd already walked miles before we got there! If you plan a stop at Seatown, the only pub is the Anchor - very expensive for a lunch and quite slow service, so best bring some food with you. Couldn't find any other shops etc. Lovely night's stay in the West Bay Hotel - superb position right opposite the beach. Gorgeous rooms - food in the bar a bit expensive.

Day 2 - West Bay to Abbotsbury - Hands and knees climb (my slight fear of heights!) up to the cliff leaving West Bay but otherwise fine. More hills than I'd realised, but we managed. Hardest walk was across the shingle towards West Bexington - nightmare - so hard on the legs. A man in the restaurant there told us it goes on all the way to Portland! Had enough of that so went up onto the Ridgeway and walked in to Abbotsbury that way. Slightly longer but fantastic views of Chesil Beach and a lovely rural walk. Stayed at Peaches B&B. Lovely quaint little cottage. Smallish rooms, but very welcoming hosts and lovely breakfast. We were the only guests that night.

Day 3 - Slight cheat here and caught a bus to Chickerell then back on to the Coastal path. Much easier walking, but not as interesting. Walked around the Army range/premises - mmm... not attractive but not far. Walked into Portland - the Heights Hotel - and sense of achievement once we got right up there as Portland is very steep in places. Typical corporate hotel but very nice and with excellent staff.

Luggage transfers were all faultless - still find it amazing that you leave your case in one place and it appears in the next. Thanks to everyone at Encounter for another superb holiday. Have recommended you to friends who are thinking of similar holiday

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Dale to St Davids
Name: Susann
When: 21 May 2018

German FlagWe had booked a seven-day walk, everything was organised perfectly by encounterwalking, from our first tentative contact we received very helpful information. All our questions were promptly answered, useful suggestions were made and the price was better than expected for such a high-quality service.

Everything worked without any problems during our trip, the accomodation was always good or better, luggage transport excellent. We never had any problems finding our way because of the very good map and guide book that were provided and included in the price. The weather was very good, only 40 minutes of rain (thank you for that, encounterwalking !!), we enjoyed our walk very much. Although there were really few tourists the bus service was very helpful to shorten the daily distance for tired walkers.

Thank you very much again for the very good organisation of our trip, we have already recommended you to friends and colleagues. Regards Barbara, Christa and Susann

Route: South West Coast Path - Hartland Quay to Padstow
Name: John
When: 18 May 2018

UK FlagWalk from Hartland Quay to Padstow over six days was blessed by lovely weather. Everything worked out perfectly and we were well prepared for the strenuous bits!! Accommodation was good on all occasions but we think at Tintagel if weather had been poor, then rooms would have been too small. Travel arrangements back to Hartland Quay from Padstow worked out well. Thank you for arranging a great walking holiday for us.

Route: Saints Way
Name: Richard Harris
When: 17 May 2018

UK FlagMy colleges and myself thoroughly enjoyed this holiday.

The planned walk over four days of Padstow to Fowey was complicated by doing the Eastern and Western legs.

We also managed to fit in a cycle down the Camel Trail, The Hall Walk and a self-drive motor boat cruise around Fowey Harbour, all to be recommended.

I certainly challenged Encounter Walking by changing arrangements at the last minute but they booked good accommodation and ensured our luggage was always in the correct place.

Even when our legs finally gave up short of our destination their car rescued us and returned us to Padstow.

We were so lucky with perfect weather which enhances the walk with vivid colours and great vistas. Now where to go next year?

 

Route: South West Coast Path: St Ives - Penzance
Name: Peta
When: 16 May 2018

USA FlagHello,

Now that we are back home, I just wanted to thank you for planning our walking holiday from St Ives to Penzance. We loved every minute of it. Everything was perfectly organized and went off without a single problem. Here are a few thoughts in no particular order.

1. We especially loved staying at the Tinners Arms in Zennor. Really nice people, good food and a very comfortable room. And what a beautiful church. 

2. For the most part, the trail was well marked but there were a few sections which were not. In those instances, the ordinance survey map was crucial. 

3. We decided to eat at the Cable Station Inn in Porthcurno because we were tired and didn't want to take a taxi anywhere. Although it is a slightly strange atmosphere due to its size, the people who worked there were lovely and the food was very good.

4. Moira at St. John's House in Pendeen was so welcoming. She made us a much-needed cup of tea with biscuits when we arrived!

5. The Cottage at Artist Residence was the perfect place to end our walk. So comfortable.

6. I am so glad we chose this time of year to do this walk because the wildflowers, especially the bluebells, were spectacular. 

7. The distances we walked seemed to be longer than those noted on the itinerary. We had a couple of devices that recorded distances walked and they indicated longer distances than what was noted on the itinerary also.

I thought that this walk would be memorable but I had no idea how beautiful it would be. I was completely surprised by the turquoise color of the sea, for example.

Thank you again for planning our memorable holiday. I will certainly recommend your company to anyone I meet who is planning a walk in Cornwall.

Best wishes,

Peta

Route: Boscastle to Polzeath
Name: Muriel
When: 16 May 2018

It was an all around magical experience. Encounter Walking Holidays provided us with a detailed itinerary which covered everything we needed to know for a 3-day walk, from Boscastle to Polzeath, starting May 17.

Our luggage always reached its destination, and waited for us in impeccable and comfortable inns. Our hosts were very friendly and attentive, and sent us off every morning with a hearty breakfast and a wave. The first leg of our trip took us from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand, a splendid and gentle walk through fields of flowers and green pastures. We saluted Arthur in Tintangel, had a cappuccino at the small restaurant at the base of the ruins, and went on for a quiet walk down to Trebarwith Strand.

The following day, we headed to Port Isaac. We traversed five (or six) wide, undulating valleys. Our pace quickly took on the rhythm of the hills and dales along a succession of breathtaking sceneries. We took our time, stopped often to take in the landscape, and had a long lunch and a nap near a stream. We were out in the path for 5 1/2 hours.

Our last day involved a walk from Port Isaac to Polzeath. We were greeted by light ups and downs for the first 3 miles to Port Quin, where the terrain becomes nearly flat all the way to Polzeath. We walked along several cattle farms, and pastures filled with flowers. The views were stunning and brought us close to tears. We walked for 5 hours.

In Polzeath, our driver was waiting for us and drove us to Padstow for a night of celebration and a bit of Harry and Meghan voyeurism. And yes, I forgot to mention that we had 3 sunny days, with temps around 65-70 F. Our 3-day trek was a magnificent, invigorating, at times a spiritual experience. We will be back, Cornwall. Encounter Walking Holidays, I will be calling you soon. Thank you!

Route: Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: David & Danielle
When: 16 May 2018

UK FlagDamon & team

So we finally finished the 630 miles today although I rather suspect we might have covered over 650 miles in total! Many thanks to you all for all your hard work in making it so special for us.

All the best

David & Danielle

Route: South West Coast Path - Boscastle to Padstow
Name: Muriel and Gillian
When: 16 May 2018

USA FlagDear Damon and EWH team,

Tanned, happy, and very proud of ourselves, we are writing from the London-bound train to thank you for the splendid organization of our Cornwall coastal path trip.

Your mighty detailed itinerary, very comfortable accommodations, and punctual transportation, all contributed to the success of an unforgettable adventure along the magnificent Cornish coastline.

Our hosts were kind and attentive, and every morning set us off to the trailhead with a hearty breakfast (in our bellies) and an encouraging wave.

The Cornwall guidebook and its handwritten maps and notes quickly became our ultimate reference at every turn and new scenery along the path.

We will most certainly recommend EWH to our friends and family, and I will contact you for a future trip along the Cornwall coast and beyond.

A heartfelt thank you.

Muriel and Gillian

 

Route: Coleridge way
Name: Harriet Mitchison
When: 14 May 2018

UK FlagThe walk was superb - we had three out of four sunny days and the countryside was lovely - much more varied and interesting than I had expected. A great walk.

Encounter’s organisation was very good. I’ve done a number of self-guided walks before and none were as well organised as this - with good quality information provided in advance. Everything went smoothly.

However, I think that the official Coleridge way walking instructions were not as clear as I would have expected. Your guidance notes picked up some but not all of these. In particular, we had an excellent walk over Dunkery beacon - but it was unintended: despite reading the official walk notes carefully, we took the wrong route!

The accommodation was generally very good (especially the Locanda) though the Bath hotel in Lynmouth both had to be shown your note about all bills already settled (ie inefficient) and seemed as if dated from the 1970s.

The community shop in Bicknoller is to be recommended: a table outside for us to eat our lunch, coffee available, free water, and access to the loos in the village hall.

An alternative, to get from Porlock Weir to the church at Culbone and then on to the Coleridge way, is to walk on the Coastal route to the church. This reduces the total climb.

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to St Ives
Name: Barb and Roy
When: 13 May 2018

Canada FlagDear Damon, Rich, Ellie and everyone else we dealt with.

We can’t say enough about how thrilled we are that we decided to work with your company. We have used walking tour companies in the past but we have never had the service we received from Encounter. It was wonderful to have so much input as to where we wanted to walk, how far to walk each day, what type of accommodation we wanted etc.

When we arrived in Padstow we headed up to the monument to take a look at where our walk would begin. We were blown away with the views and knew right then we were in for a stunning holiday.  I must say Padstow was a great starting point as not only is it a beautiful place but it has lots of amenities (for those forgotten items) and some stunning little stores (and great pasties for the next day’s hike).

The views on the Coastal path are absolutely breathtaking.  I have to admit the first day we were a little unsure about being so close to the cliff edge but we soon got used to that and were able to soak up the beauty.  We had amazing weather but I know we would have loved the hike anyway.  A few places we had a little difficulty finding the trails (Harlyn Bay – it was high tide so the beach path wasn’t a possibility) The path is not marked on the street but the locals were very friendly and very willing to help.

Your notes with taxi numbers, bus information, places to stop for a snack or a bite were all such a huge help. 

I must put a big shoutout to the Merrymoor Inn in Mawgan Porth. A great place to stay, very friendly staff and delicious food.

The St. George Country House was another wonderful place to stay.  The owners made us feel at home and their home cooked meal was delicious.

Near the end of our hike we ran into some airline trouble (a pending strike) and had to head back to Canada a few days early.  We called your office and you saved our day – you quickly managed to take care of everything for us – even emailing us after hours to let us know it was all sorted. I would also like to acknowledge the great help we received in booking our train tickets from the Esplanade Hotel in Fistral Beach.

Thank you so very much for an incredible holiday.  We will be in touch when we plan our next walking tour.

Cheers

Barb and Roy

Route: Weston Super Mare to Frome - Mendip Way
Name: Frank Sanford
When: 12 May 2018

USA FlagThis is a very pleasant easy walking tour of Somerset, England. Lots of history here and some beautiful architecture. Accommodations were perfect and like always the reliability of luggage delivery was spot on.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Milford Haven to St Davids
Name: Ann
When: 12 May 2018

South African FlagDue to ill health, we were unable to do the first day's walk from Milford Haven to Dale, so started on Monday 14 th from Dale, but in hindsite, I think we made the right decision, as we really enjoyed the additional walking around St Davids.

Dale was charming and the food at the Griffin was really excellent - highly recommended. The walk round to Marloes was very pleasant and the accomodation (The Clock House) was adequate - we had a minute room with only 1 plug to run the kettle, hairdrier and recharge cameras and cell phones! The one and only pub served reasonable food! We spent 2 nights at Marloes. Once again, the walking was excellent. They did provide us with a lunch pack.

From Marloes we walked to Little Haven - a really charming village. Accomodation was good, and the breakfast the next morning was amazing. Ken and Rose were excellent hosts. We ate at St Brides Inn, which was humming, and we nearly didn't get in! Worth booking! Collected lunch at the shop at Broadhaven.

The walk from Little Haven to Solva went smoothly, and the boring Newgale section was eventually completed! The walk although long, was not too strenuous, and the route was charming. Many beautiful flowers out, accompanied by amazing scenery made the longer walk pass quickly. There was an amazing bluebell meadow just before we went into Solva. Our room at the Cambrian was lovely - good amenities and food at the Inn. We had a non- walking free day there, which we spent very happily exploring the charming village. There was a delightful little forest walk next to the Inn, and the bluebell display there was the best we have ever seen! We enjoyed a great crab sandwich at The Old Pharmacy Tearoom, and they very kindly agreed to open early the next day for us to collect our lunch sandwich for the day's walking. We really enjoyed our 2 days in Solva.

From Solva we had such a good day's walking that we somehow by-passed the turn-off to St Nons! A fellow walker suggested we walk on to St Justinians and catch the bus from there into St Davids, which we did, and thoroughly enjoyed the longer route into St Davids. We spent 3 nights in St Davids, at the Oasis B&B, which we can highly recommend, but they are not interested in overnight stays.

We caught the bus to Whitesands Bay, walked to St Davids Head and back to St Justinians to do a boat trip around Ramsey Island. The boat trip was really worthwhile doing, we did it with Falcon Boats, met the owner Ffion Rees, who has written a very informative little book called Ramsey Island and Beyond. The route was very well signposted all the way, and how we missed St Nons is still a mystery to us!

Sadly, all good things come to an end, and whether my account above helps you in any way with regard to advice/information for other travellers will be for you to decide! In closing, we must sincerely thank Damon and Encounter Walking for the excellent service we have received. Your very detailed daily schedule was great, and the information supplied was all that we needed and very helpful. Our thanks to the team for all the organisation - everything ran smoothly, and no glitches, and our cases did find us in St Davids!

Thanks too to Walkalong Luggage Transfers for their services. We have highly recommended Encounter Walking to our fellow walkers here. We were indeed very fortunate to have had marvellous weather, all the wet gear remained untouched! We couldn't have been more blessed! And to be able to see the scenery in sunshine makes such a difference!

Our sincere thanks again for enabling us to have a wonderful week's holiday walking a very small part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path... so very different to our walking here!

With very best wishes Ann and Jenny

Route: South West Coast Path - Mousehole to Falmouth
Name: Leslee W
When: 11 May 2018

Canada FlagI haven't told you how wonderful my trip was in May on the Southwest Coast path with my husband.  The weather was magnificent, as well as the flowers, accommodation and all the people we met along the trail.  Also, I want to let you know that the folks who did the luggage transfers were great.  Never a slip up.

I did manage to gain four pounds in two weeks, even with all that walking!

I'm now looking forward to my trip with girlfriends in September on Dartmoor Way.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend.  It is our "Canada Day" here.  We are celebrating 151 years since confederation.  So young we are.

 

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Amroth to St Dogmaels
Name: Ingeborg
When: 11 May 2018

Austrian FlagHi Rich, 

We did have a great time and we have been spoiled with dry and mostly sunny weather.

The B&B have been really nice and friendly.

The food was excellent and we always had a great choice of vegetarians meals.

The path is in general marked well and we just got lost in Tenby, but everybody was very helpful so it was no big deal.

The highlight for us have been the seals we spotted and the countyside is amazing. 

I hope the feedback will help you.

Regards Inge  

Route: Porlock Weir to Woolacombe on the South West Coast Path
Name: Graham M
When: 10 May 2018

Flag of the United KingdomRich  - Just a quick email to say a huge thanks for organising the above trip for us. We will definite tell our friends and other walkers

All worked like clockwork, great accommodation, food and pick up service including taxi back from Woolacombe to Porlock Weir.

Think you may even have sorted out the weather, so sunny and warm

Speak soon

Graham

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to Falmouth
Name: Bill
When: 09 May 2018

USA FlagThank You for putting together another good hike for me in May.

Just like last year, everything was put together very well and it was all laid out very smoothly, completely, and concisely.

The daily distances worked out well - although the 18 miles from Portreath to St. Ives was a loooong, hot day. I had not stopped for a break until I reached Hayle (12 miles) and from there on to St. Ives, although the path was nice and not difficult or strenuous, it just dragged on. All of the other daily distances seemed just right.

The Lodgings were all top notch and very nice. All were very comfortable, welcoming,  and hospitable. It's hard to note any negatives about any of them. The Trelawne Hotel at Mawnan Smith was a bit off of the path and would have been very difficult to find if walking straight from the Helford Ferry

The SWCP was generally well marked from Padstow to Falmouth. I had some difficulty in spots during the first week finding the SWCP out of town in several places. A couple of times I found myself walking up a town road heading south on the pavement, when I should have taken a quick right turn after crossing a bridge and going on down to the beach. In two places, I lost the official marked path completely and just had to head in the general direction keeping the cliff or beach on my right.

The first of these areas was in the Gwithian Towans. After finding the path beyond the Godrevy Beach Cafe and Red Rivere, I was initially able to find and follow the large slate path markers; but then I lost them and for about the last two miles of dunes before Hayle, I was just finding my own path, keeping just generally southward until eventually I spied an acorn marker just outside of Hayle.

The other area where I was unable to find and stay on the "official' path was the area between Poldhu Point to Lizard Point. As noted in the guidebook, the trail there is indistinct. I found so many paths in that area, that it was impossible to find the "real" SWCP. I just continued on heading south (and towards the Lizard Light that I had seen from over an hour away.) and eventually re-connected with an acorn marker.

The diversions during the first week of my hike were all well marked and well-established. One or two of the newer ones were marked with orange plastic fencing. No problems in that area. However that wasn't always the case with the diversions during the second week of my hike, which were perhaps newer.

Diversion #1 near Loe Bar was well marked (except for one field vs road choice on the far eastern end of the diversion); but this diversion seemed MUCH longer than it needed to be. It seems that a much shorter detour/diversion could be had by cutting across the western edge of the first field above the diversion. If I understood correctly, that field and land is also owned by the National Trust and could be made available to hikers(?).

Between Porthleven and the Lizard:

Diversion #2 near Gunwalloe is not well marked. The initial diversion is marked alright, but there is no visible/obvious marking to show where to return to the SWCP above the diversion. I walked back and forth twice, along with a couple of other hikers, trying to find where to return to the trail. Eventually we walked uphill and well inland following the gravel road into the towns of Gunwalloe and Chyanvounder before I could regain the SWCP. It was very frustrating because I knew the trail should be somewhere below and seaward of me, but I just couldn't find the proper turnoff after the diversion. I was really tempted to just bushwack across a planted field to find the path where I felt sure it would be, but I didn't. I wasted well over a half hour and, maybe, a couple of extra miles of walking.

Between the Lizard and Coverack:

Diversion #1 (Devils Frying Pan to Cadgwith) is still there but is well marked and fenced with no problems.

Diversion #2 (west side of Coverack Village) is also still there but the markings are confusing, and the exact route of the path through the diversion is unclear, but in that area "all roads lead to Coverack", so you don't get lost although, you might not actually be on the official route.

Between Coverack and Helford Passage:

Diversion #1 by Dean Quarry is still there and well marked at the start and well inland. There is one spot just past Tregallast Barton where the path cuts diagonally across a field to shortcut to the 4-corner intersection that was not shown in your notes. After reaching well inland, in the fields, there are a couple of places where the diversion route isn't marked at road turns and/or intersections.

Between Helford Passage to Falmouth:

If I remember correctly there was an additional diversion after Durgan where the path was closed and diverted due to a crack in the ground in the path. The starting point of the diversion was well marked with the path leading up into the pasture fields. However, this was another instance where I was unable to find the "end" of the diversion. After going uphill through the fields, and attempting several small tracks to get back to the SWCP (each of which turned out to be cow paths through the bushes ending in impenetrable patches of briars and brambles) I never could find a path back to the SWCP.

Eventually, I backtracked back to the start of the diversion and walked past the closed gate blocking the path. I found "the crack" which was about 3 feet long under a rock along the trail.(Hmphh! it was hardly longer than the cracks that develop in our yards here during summer dry spells - and hardly worth a diversion at all.)

Between Hayle and St. Ives:

There is a route change near Carbis Bay, where the path does not cross over the railway where the guidebook map shows. Instead the path continues down the road to the hotel, crosses in front of the hotel, and then up and through the hotel's fenced and gated pool area, and out the back side before continuing on towards St. Ives.

The distance and time suggestions in the Trailblazer guide are not very realistic. As an example from Helford Passage to Falmouth (pg #250) it says: "The 10 miles (16km, 2-2-3/4 hours) to Falmouth......" I don't think many hikers - certainly not us mature, seasoned hikers - are going to be walking 4 to 5 mph! I think the time estimates in your notes are probably more comfortably accurate estimates and suggestions.

I noticed that  "The Unicorn" in Porthowan is closed and the building is for sale.

It's interesting to note that on the night after I passed the Marconi Center at Poldhu Point, where Marconi did his thing with the radio in 1901,  I couldn't get a cell-phone signal from Lizard Village in 2018!

And so that is what I can remember, offhand and with a few notes (I don't generally take notes during the day's hike, but wait until in the evening in my room so many things get forgotten.) I hope some of what I remember might be of use and value to you and other SWCP hikers.

Thanks, again, for a great trip.

Bill

Route: South West Coast Path - Brixham to Lyme Regis
Name: M S L
When: 08 May 2018

UK FlagDear Damon - A note to thank you and your colleagues for another thoroughly enjoyable trip on the SW Coast Path.  Everything worked out well, even the weather - apart from the first walking day when it was cold and damp traipsing from swathes of beach huts to more swathes of beach huts, and part of the third when Aurelio and I waited on a soggy, windswept jetty for the crossing to Exmouth.  

Love the diversity of landscape, sea/delta-scape, empty beaches and hidden coves; also the cultural bits, from run down pavilions to smart suburban mansions to wild forests where druids may still be found. And then there were those epic-scale caravan parks, with their crowded cavernous drinking den stuck in a perpetual twilight zone, blighting the entire sunny hill side.  These were "compensated" for by the magical semi-jungle on the 7.5 mile approach to Lyme Regis, where there was virtually no trace of civilisation on the narrow path wedged between the white cliffs and a tidal wave of shimmering green foliage rising up to meet the sky. 

Sections of the path from Torquay to Teignmouth were refreshingly demanding, and happily shunned by all - so I had the endless steep slopes to myself, plus the bluebells carpeting many of them.

The accomodation was all well chosen. Each had character in its idiosyncratic way, especially considering the owners. At Sea Tang, my breakfast was cooked by a former Special Branch officer; at the palatial Marston resplendent with object d' art and a grand piano, the charming host was a former banker hailed from my local area;  the staff at Mariners treated me like an old friend and the hotel now boasts an imaginative restaurant well on its way to gain a Michelin Star IMHO.  

The most "conventional" accommodation experience turned out to be that in Teignmouth, but then the old town quarters including the quirky Ship Inn more than made up for it.

Aurelio very much enjoyed his shorter version of the trip too. 

So thank you again. Next objective: Charlestown to Brixham. I will be back and will be in touch.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Exmouth
Name: Thomas, Sabine, Anning
When: 05 May 2018

Flag of the GermanyDear Damon and team, here is the feedback about our SWCP walking tour from Falmouth to Exeter in May 2018:

Thomas, Sabine, Anning

We (66, 64, 33 years) were traveling on coastal paths in England and Wales for the fourth time - always in May for two to three weeks each - and are still excited about this holiday concept:

Hiking on the (mostly) narrow, optimally marked path with rare, but often very friendly encounters and conversations with hikers and locals, on the one hand (almost) always free view of the sea and rocky coast, on the other side greener country with ever-changing views, daily about 6 to 8 hours (including breaks) for 15 to 25 km of strenuous walking and climbing (the constant ups and downs are really challenging), extensive breakfasts in the B & B; between 12 and 15 o'clock - depending on availability - coffee or cream tea break on the way; after arrival at the B & B coffee / tea / chocolate / biscuits in the room, in the evening small walk and dinner according to the local conditions, dead-like night sleep in mostly modern beds (recommendation: better twin- than double!).

Organization, selection of B & B, luggage transport, responding to our requests - this year through Encounterwalkingholidays - absolutely perfect and recommended! Further recommendations: OS maps in the mobile phone for emergencies and doubts, well-walked hiking boots, rain cape, sun hat, after about 5-6 hiking days a rest day.

May seems to be the optimal hiking time in terms of weather: only a short rain this year.

Thanks to Damon and his efficient and friendly Encounterwalkingholidays team! And: Dear UK, remain in the EU!

Best wishes   Thomas

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Cardigan to Herbrandston
Name: Christine
When: 03 May 2018

Swiss FlagI can recommend the PCT for "older" people, like us (70 and 74) who cannot carry all luggage themselves anymore (like on the "kungsleden" in Sweden), but want to do a long-hike although . The trail for us was challenging, without beeing too difficult. I would recommend some walking training before the start. The trail goes upp and down a lot. The scenery is fantastic and the trail is good marked and the flowers are beautiful. But be cautious ,when you have to walk on roads. They are narrow and the cardrivers don`t slow down for walkers.

Many thanks to the Encounter team. We could choose the accommodations and they transported the luggage even to Pwll Deri Youth Hostel, which we have booked ourself. ( The Hostel has a fantastic view!) The luggage always arrived and the accommodations have been from o.k. to very good. Only the "Fishguard Bay Hotel " I would not reccommend. You cannot drink the water there , the food is not good and the staff is not friendly. A good alternativ is "Manor Town House" where I stayed before I started the walk. "Hampton House" in Trefin , the "Cambrian Inn" in Solva and the "Fields Lodge" in Herbrandston I liked best.

St. Davids is a good place for a rest day. (restaurants, shops and a beautiful cathedral) The day to day information papers you get of Encounter are very good, also the book. I would book with Encounter again. Greetings from Switzerland.

Route: Padstow to Penzance St Michaels Way - Penzance to St Ive
Name: Denny
When: 03 May 2018

USA FlagGreetings to all at Encounter Walking Holidays.

Please do not construe the tardiness of this e-mail as any indication other than I found myself so far behind at the office that it took a full two weeks to sort through issues and get caught-up. That occurred mid-day on Friday and since that time I have had a feeling of satisfaction and contentment.

My walking trip along the Southwest Coastal Path was excellent. From the time of my initial inquiry all communications were timely, informative, friendly and completely helpful. Your suggested tweaks to the walking plan and suggestion of lodging options allowed for my active participation in the process resulting in a much more “custom” trip than just the buying into a package. The resulting Encounter Itinerary Document then became the primary source of information for the entire adventure. A review each evening gave me the opportunity to prepare for the next day by reading the Itinerary Document, Trailblazer guide and related maps. As you had provided website links to all of the lodging during the trip planning phase, I also had that information at hand along with specific mapping at hand to amplify your instructions.

My sincere thanks to all at Encounter Walking Holidays.

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Westward Ho!
Name: Ralph & Kathy
When: 02 May 2018

Flag of the United StatesOur experience with Encounter Walking was fantastic.

Website answered many of our questions and others received quick e-mail replies.

Accomodations were just what we wanted (small B&Bs/guest houses with en suite rooms) and delightfully varied.

Information on getting to Minehead from London and from Westward Ho! to London were spot on (the bus stop in Taunton is now in a shelter right outside the station).

For two 60+ year olds in reasonably good shape, we did great!

We found the maps, narratives and signage lacking at some points ...... leaving Burgandy Chapel and finding the path to Bossington in particular. Would have liked mileage between points in the narrative and maps -- loved the schematic maps, but not always accurate or adequate info. The GPS points weren't really useful to us.

Rating the sections as easy, moderate and strenuous was a great aid in planning our days (departure time and diversions).

Early luggage pick up on days with later breakfasts could have been a problem, but it certainly was wonderful having that service.

If your goal in walking the SWCP is to enjoy the area, we recommend scheduling two nights in some of the villages --- not only to rest but also to explore. I've not used a walking stick on hikes, but wish I had one for this .... would have been great in fording the many little waterfall streams and on the stairs.

Cream tea stops at Kitners and at Fremington Quay were heavenly. We enjoyed the Quay Inn in Instow, the Rising Sun in Lynmouth, the Hunters Inn in Barnstable and Grampus in Lee Bay (the tea shop here is under renovations so don't plan on that), although we only had one less than satisfacory meal the whole way.

Being a fan of gins, I was very happy to be in pubs and restaurants where there were scores of choices --- too many gins too little time, sigh.

Highlights were many ..... rounding a corner to see promontories ahead with breath taking views over the Bristol Channel, verdant green sheep dotted hillsides (we saw far more sheep than people), hedgerows alive with birds, and immersing ourselves in the culture and history of the villages. To get quite specific and personal, my highlight was sitting in the sun, with an adult beverage in the front garden of the Springfield House in Instow, overlooking the Taw River.

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Westward Ho!
Name: Ralph C
When: 02 May 2018

Flag of the United StatesThis has been such a wonderful experience! Thank you!

Route: Southwest Cornwall Path
Name: Nancy Mason
When: 01 May 2018

USA FlagThis is an unusual review, as I wasn’t able to go on the walk due to a health crisis. Fortunately, I do have Travel Insurance. Through the whole process of planning this trip, the communication was quick, knowledgeable and friendly. Now, I find the company supportive and very efficient in providing me the documentation needed to complete my insurance claim. I look forward to using Encounter Walking for a trip very soon.

Route: Perranporth to Landsend
Name: Pat Hough
When: 01 May 2018

England flagHi Damon,

We just wanted to thank you for your support at the start of planning our walk from Perranporth to Landsend. We had a wonderful time.

Staying in one B and B and using taxis to and from our walks worked very well.

Just in case it helps you:-

I want to recommend The Mustard Tree B and B on St Ives Road, Carbis Bay.

It has very welcoming owners who only took over in December '17

Everything is clean and well equipped. Breakfasts very good.

As we did not have a drop of rain during our week, I have no idea what their dryng facilities are like.

There are excellent places to eat within easy walking distance.

I also recommend A1 Cars St Ives Ltd., who did us a very good deal for our day to day taxis and were very reliable, helpful and friendly.

Thank you for everything,

Pat and the usual gang

 

Route: Two Moors Way - Ivybridge to Lynmouth
Name: Madalyn Hughes
When: 01 May 2018

England flagDamon

We returned yesterday and had an excellent trip - thank you.

I know that you were not responsible for the excellent weather (!), but for everything else which worked like clockwork, thank you. We will consider using Encounter again, and will recommend you to friends.

We enjoyed all the walk, a bit muddy in places, and we were slightly surprised by the lack of waymarking in some places on both Dartmoor and Exmoor. By comparison, we are used to seeing a few more finger posts on the North York Moors or in the Yorkshire Dales. Anyway, no navigation problems and the notes were useful re anticipation of challenging spots and anticipation or not of refreshment stops.

The only other comments - a field of very frisky bullocks just after we had crossed the A30 (walking poles helpfully kept them at a distance), Lynmouth closed down very early each evening and the challenge re accommodation in Porlock Weir. We were very comfortable at Locanda (thank you for the upgrade), but felt the evening menu did not hit the spot re substantial walker's food. (We ate at the Bottom Ship which was excellent).

A great way to get a taster of what Devon has to offer, with fantastic wild flowers

Regards

Madalyn

Route: The Saints Way
Name: Sandra
When: 29 April 2018

UK FlagHi Damon,

I just wanted to drop you a line and thank you for organising our trip this week.  It was really excellent - and thanks for laying on some decent weather too!

The drivers were friendly and accommodating.  Nothing was a problem - Richard offered straight off to come later on the Withiel pickup as he’d seen my original request on the board.  In the end we arrived in Withiel at 5.30pm, having set off from Padstow at 10.45am with a couple of short breaks.  Your father -in-law was great too.

The accommodation was all fine, the route instructions really helpful - and I loved the Yellow Publications map. - I think I’ll pick my routes by the availability of those maps in future! And the Saints Way signs covered the trail well - there were only a couple of points where they could have been more in evidence, but your notes compensated for those.

Just to let you know  - The churches were well geared up for the Saint’s Way Passports.  The church at Padstow had stocks of card passports for people to pick up and take, and each church had a stamp.  So that’s definitely something you can tell other walkers about.

Thanks for all your care and attention to make sure we had the trip we wanted. We were certainly 8 happy walkers!

kind regards

Sandra 

Route: South West Coast Path and Devon Coast-to-Coast
Name: Andrew
When: 29 April 2018

Flag of the United KingdomHi Damon, It really was a magical experience. The only thing that you have much control over that could use improvement at your end is that your baggage tags could be a bit more robust. You're doing a great job and I wish you all the best.

Andrew

Route: Coleridge Way
Name: Rade
When: 28 April 2018

Switzerland flagThank you! The walk was perfectly organized! The accomodations (and the food) were excellent. I strongly reccomend Encounter Walking!

 

 

Route: SWCP Minehead to Barnstaple & Two Moors Way Simonsbath to Lynmouth
Name: Wilfried
When: 28 April 2018

Flag of the GermanyWe were a bit late with our decision to go hiking again in England. But Encounter Walking made us a great plan and route with all the bookins in short time.

It is our third time we walked with Encounter Walking and we're always pleased how effctivly things are done.

We've been so lucky with the weather as the forcast was cold, windy and rainy but developed to sunny and dry. Very comfortable hiking conditions.

Our trip started with a nice arrival with the Somerset Steam Railway in Minehead. A two night stay in Lynmouth allowed us to experience a day walk in the Exmoor on the Two Moors way. We had a bit problems there with finding the way, especially as we had strong winds and some rain which made reading the map difficult. We found out later, that the OS Maps can be downloaded to use them offline on a smartphone. This works excellent and I can highly recommend this tool. It makes finding your way very easy.

It is funny to see the differences to climb a hill. The english way is directisima, straight and steep, in the South of Germany we have more zigzags.

We had a great time, improved our taste for Cider and met some great people on the trip. Great job Encounter Walking.

Route: South West Coast Path - Bude to Plymouth
Name: Amy T
When: 23 April 2018

USA FlagAs I had to hike solo, as my friend couldn’t come with me, it was a bit lonely at times, but there always seemed to be people to talk with along the way.

This section Bude to Padstow was a little more difficult than I had expected, with all the steps going straight up and down hillsides. But it was all so beautiful, even in windy conditions. And during the almost month long hike, it only rained twice!! 

There were some way markers down and some not in a location that would readily be seen, so I only got off the trail once. 

After visiting Heligan Gardens, I developed a back pain - don’t know if it had to do with a couple minor falls or walking downhill without poles. But I continued walking from Mevagissey to Looe in pain. Even with a rest day in Fowey, it still and still does bother me.  I decided at that point that I didn’t need to be walking anymore, especially since there were some severe sections after Looe. I was fortunate enough that, Barry, from Luggage Transfers, was willing to transport me and my luggage to Portwrinkle, Kingsand and Plymouth.  

I did, however, have a most wonderful trip. I was fortunate to meet up with a “cousin “ as well as Lucy Daniel, an administrator of one of the SWCP Facebook sites!

Encounter Walking does a terrific job of scheduling wonderful B&B’s, updating any changes and offering the best pre-walk advice.  I will definitely use you again as I still have some sections of the Cornwall path to fill in and I would like to do the North and South Devon trails. All in all, job well done!!

 

Route: Mendip Way
Name: Janet and Clive
When: 23 April 2018

UK FlagFirstly, we really enjoyed the walk; we had not walked in this area before and found the scenery beautiful and the route very varied from the spectacular section around Cheddar Gorge to the lovely woodlands.  The accommodation was also fine but we do have the following comments, which I hope will prove helpful for future walkers.

We found the distances given for each day slightly deceptive.  I think we covered at least one extra mile per day than that stated on the itinerary. 

On the whole the route is very well signposted and the accompanying route notes were generally very clear and easy to follow apart from a minor blip on the West Mendip Way shortly after leaving Wookey Hole.  In line 4 of paragraph 18 there seems to be an extra two sentences beginning "Turn right in the field  .... keep straight ahead until you come to the road." In actual fact you only need the last line "Turn right down the road until the junction at the bottom."

We did, however, encounter very misleading instructions towards the end of paragraph 12, 4th line down on page 8 of the East Mendip Way notes.  This reads "At the road junction go left along the road and at the next junction turn right until you come to a footpath sign on your left." We tried to follow these instructions and they took us a long way in the wrong direction.  There was also no way marker at this point.  All the notes need to say is "Turn right at the road until you come to a footpath sign on your left."

On the final section, Shepton Mallet to Frome the itinerary warns that the path can be quite muddy.  In actual fact it proved to be extremely muddy and several of the paths through the woodlands were obstructed by fallen trees.

Otherwise all the arrangements went well and we would thoroughly recommend this walk.

kind regards

Janet

Route: St. Ives to Penzance
Name: Clare Fischer-Davies
When: 22 April 2018

USA flagThanks to Damon and everyone else at Encounter for a truly splendid walk. My daughter and I felt so supported and well-advised before and during our journey. Our questions were always answered promptly and patiently. Overall, everything went extremely smoothly.

Our accommodations were always lovely, breakfasts plentiful, luggage transfers easy, and no problems with maps and route finding.

The walking was challenging - mostly because of mud and slippery rocks - but oh, the views and the blooming gorse and the history...

Our first night was in St. Ives at the Cornerways Guest House - linked to Daphne Dumaurier (we stayed in the Rebecca room). Tim gave us a warm welcome and we had a little time to explore St. Ives and get our walking gear ready.

Day 1 - St. Ives to Treen - this was supposed to be the most challenging walking day (more on this later). We were ready for rain, per the forecast, but our day was gorgeous with reasonable winds and moderate temperatures. There were some steep bits, and a scramble over rocks toward the end of the day, but not too hard. We did encounter a lot of boggy bits. This was also the day we saw the most other walkers - some just out for the day and some on a long distance journey.

We stayed at the Gunards Head Hotel, which has lovely, comfy rooms and incredible food. I could live for the rest of my days on the smoked salmon scrambled eggs.

Day 2 - we went inland over the moor to explore ancient stone formations, starting with Lanyon Quoit. This was our only really rainy, misty cold day - and I was a little skeptical about heading out, but my daughter was keen so we pulled on our waterproof gear and actually had a wonderful experience. No one else was about, so we had these ancient rocks to ourselves with mist swirling around and lots of atmosphere. You really could believe you were in Neolithic Britain. Plus we got to have another night at Gunards Head.

Day 3 - Treen to St. Just - This may have been my favourite day - another beautiful day with incredible views, Iron Age fortifications, and hours walking through the remnants of Cornwall's tin mining history. We did a LOOONG steep pull up to the Geevor Mine to try their cafe for lunch - but didn't have time to explore the mine further. We stayed that night at the Commercial Hotel, which gave us a warm welcome, comfy beds, and good food. Nothing fancy, but nicely done.

Day 4 - St. Just to Porthcorno - This was some of my favorite walking - lots of it on the cliff top without so many ups and downs and more splendid views. This day took us around Lands End, which is very forgettable, although we did take the obligatory photo in front of the sign post. This was also crowded with day walkers, especially around Lands End. We stayed at Rockridge Guest House - very pleasant. We ended up going for dinner to the Cable Station Inn, which is just down the road because it was starting to rain and my feet hurt - nobody recommended it, but actually we loved it. We were very warmly welcomed, they had great draft Cornish cider and a fire, and although their printed menu is nothing extraordinary, they had a couple of specials that were delicious and carefully prepared - way better than standard pub grub. In some ways my favorite of all our dinner spots because of the friendly, comfortable atmosphere.

Day 5 - Porthcorno to Mousehole (yes - we bailed!) - this was, for us, by far the hardest day. We started out in rain, which made the path even muddier/boggier/more slippery. Although the weather cleared, the going continued rough for us - with lots of scrambling, navigating deep muddy spots, and negotiating exposed cliff edges. It was certainly physically challenging, but it was also psychologically very fatiguing and sometimes stressful. I wanted to kiss the ground when we finally got to Mousehole and I didn't have the energy to do more than call a taxi once we got to a pub. We spent the night at the Honeydew Guest House in Penzance (lovely) and had a wonderful meal at Averne restaurant. The Guest House is literally right across the street from the train station which made our departure easy.

A few things I would recommend: Trekking poles!!! I had never used them and was pretty dismissive, but decided my more-than-middle-aged knees would be grateful. They were a huge help - with both ascents and descents, steadying over rocks and pulling me out of bogs.

The OS map which is included in the Encounter package. The downloaded version, which can be accessed offline, was a lifesaver - it worked with GPS to show us exactly where we were, so when paths got confusing we knew what to choose.

Distance and Time: we were very slow walkers - not sure if that is just because of our short legs, my cautious pace, or our desire to take in the scenery around us, but everyday took us much longer than the guide suggested. We never got to any destination early enough to explore and had to keep pushing forward. We took breaks for water/snacks/picnic/photos, etc - but pretty much kept up a steady pace and it STILL seemed to take us all day.

If I were doing this again, I would opt for shorter distances or do some taxi hops to allow us time to enjoy ourselves a little more.

Thank you Damon and the rest of the Encounter team for helping us plan a perfect last mother-daughter journey before my daughter graduates from med school and starts residency. It was just what we wanted and I will enthusiastically recommend Encounter.

 

Route: St Ives to Falmouth
Name: Ian
When: 21 April 2018

UK FlagDear all at Encounterwalking,

Sorry I didn’t tell you how I got on as soon as I got home but the grass here was about a foot high and it take 3 hours to do even if only a normal trim.. so I was out doing it most of yesterday to beat today's rain.

I’ve been back through my walking notes, because, off hand, I cannot remember any problems with the route or navigation. It all went extremely smoothly. I walked the full diversion at The Loe..and then climbed up to see if a shorter version was possible. I can’t help thinking that all the new fencing and path grading that has got on, a quick diversion through the fields just behind the fall would suffice. I loved the warning notice which said THIS IS NOT A PLAYGROUND!

Your selection of B&Bs was absolutely spot-on. They were all very comfortable, they all did good breakfasts and they all had WiFi. All the landladies spoke very highly of Encounter..they appreciated your efficiency and prompt payments. They..and I, were also impressed with Luggage Transfers Southwest, who the B&B operators found helpful with pre-pick up telephone calls and general trustworthiness..to the point that many had left keys for the Transfer people to get in. Your whole team seems very competent. The briefings I received were excellent..including tide tables etc.

I was very lucky with the weather..rain on two days..but otherwise cool,but sunny.

All in all a very good walk..and I look forward to the next section in September.

Thank you and best wishes

Ian Gurney

Route: Padstow to St Ives
Name: Killen
When: 20 April 2018

Switzerland flagThank you for all your help and advice. Of course we liked some of the stops better than others but I can only say the walk fulfilled our expectations from beginning to end.

Route: Saints Way - Padstow to Fowey
Name: katrina
When: 15 April 2018

UK FlagAs you will already know, the trail was curtailed due to the dire weather on the second day.  We made it to Luxulyan by midday day, but soaked and the winds were really strong to extra touch walking.  We mostly kept to the roads, but finally gave up and taxi back to Fowey.  We will return to complete the missing sections next year under our own steam.

Feedback for you, which I hope will be useful to you and future travellers along the way..

1.  Accomodation all very good, welcoming and transport all fine.

2. At Little Petherick a couple more yards of duck board would have taken us out of the quadmire!

3. Mill House and Journey Man are both sometimes open and were a welcome coffee stop (I am sure they would like more passing walkers!).

4. Flooded section still a big problem..

5. In terms of overall trail description, we would perhaps question the easy to moderate. 15 miles in one day did have a lot of up and downs involved which made it feel quite strenuous, compared to the 13 on the Eastern route we did a week before.

A good trail all the same and would do it again.

Thank you

Katrina

Route: Two Moors Way
Name: Andy and Julie
When: 12 April 2018

UK FlagThe first thing to say is that, not surprisingly, after such a wet winter the paths were EXTREMELY muddy and impassable in places. However, all the fords were passable with no problems. We had to use 'yellow' roads instead of the paths in places and used the low level route between Scoriton and Chagford, however even that was difficult going in places because of mud. The mud slowed us down a lot and on this day we 'copped out' at Jurston and took 'yellow' roads and permissive paths immediately east of Meldon Common to enter Chagford from the south.

Gordon at The Devonshire Dumpling recommended taking the Two Moors Path to Morchard Bishop then walk to Washford Pynes along the road to rejoin the path which we did.

Word of warning that the public toilets in Witheridge are being refurbished and were closed.

Regarding accommodation, several places didn't start breakfast until 8.30 which is a problem when a) you have a long way to go and b) your bags are being picked up at 9.

Twice the luggage transfer arrived before 9, although the driver was ok about us not being ready.

The Langdon Court at Wembury was lovely, very welcoming, great room and excellent food. The cafe in Market Street in Yealmpton is closed. The Volunteer (pub) does good food including chiabattas. We bought sandwiches etc from Tesco Express in Ivybridge before starting out that morning.

The Tradesman's Arms like a week's notice for packed lunches as they have to order their bread several days in advance. Lovely room, excellent food and very welcoming.

The Globe in Chagford had a lovely big room, food 6-9 in the evening but breakfast starts at 8.30am. They don't do packed lunches but directed us to a bakery and Spar shop in the Square.

At the Devonshire Dumpling we received a very warm welcome. The room was good and pub food excellent. Breakfast normally at 9 but will do it at 8 for those going to Knowstone.

If you leave Morchard Road by 9 you should be in Knowstone before 5, useful to know as if eating at West Bowden Farm the meal is at 6.30pm. See also earlier comments about route from Morchard Road.

Our hosts at Westerclose House were brilliant. Very friendly and although they are predominantly self-catering and so weren't expecting to be asked if they could provide a packed lunch they very kindly provided us with the best picnic of the week. For our evening meal we ate at the village pub and would recommend booking a table even midweek as the pub is small and very popular.

We used the route via Pickedstone Farm past Cow Castle on the route between Withypool and Lynmouth which was good and well-marked. Two things of note - Prayway Head north of Simonsbath was difficult to cross as it was extremely boggy and it was tricky to find Exe Head - we initially went slightly too far east and joined the Macmillan Way just east of where it crosses Two Moors but were easily able to follow the boundary back to Exe Head.

This last day was a long one especially with the ups and downs through The Cleaves in misty conditions, however The Rising Sun was a fitting end to the walk. Our room was beautiful and the evening meal in the restaurant, while not cheap, was worth every penny.

 

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Amroth to Pembroke
Name: Rita Allard
When: 10 April 2018

Flag of the United KingdomI have been meaning to contact you with feed back for a while but have been incredibly busy, sorry.

Robin and I had a wonderful holiday, thank you. The accommodations which Encounter picked for us we’re all excellent, our top pick being Brynteg in Manorbier which was exceptional in every way. Jim’s hospitality was superb and our room bright, spacious and most relaxing. Only wish is that we could have stayed longer.

Another favourite is Kilnback in Angle which was lovely and Mellieha in Amroth also, Julia being very helpful and offered loads of useful information to us.

The itinerary supplied by yourselves along with the trailblazers guide worked well and guided us through the tracks well. The last day walking between Angle and Pembroke we realised just how useful. Having chatted to and been passed by other speedier walkers on the track, we were surprised to find them arriving at the tea room in Pembroke after us. It transpired that they had missed the path after Lambeeth farm that’s tucked beside a static caravan. Luckily for us this had been noted well in the trailblazers and itinerary. 

Our bag transfer worked seamlessly and Rob the taxi driver arrived punctually both days.

For coffee stops, we found a community Cafe in Castlemartin when walking up from Freshwater West to Bosherston which did cakes, coffee, snacks and sandwiches, possibly quite new as not mentioned in your itinerary. Very good and dog friendly for those walking with pooches. Another place to get coffee cakes etc is Chapel bay fort and museum on the track along the north side of Angle.

Robin also enjoyed a guided tour of the fort and museum while we were there, well worth a visit, interesting read on all the forts along that piece of coast.

Highlights of the walk for me, Elegug Stacks through to St Govan’s Chapel via the cliffs as MOD range open, superb scenery, also watching climbers on the cliffs at Stackpole Head, Huntsman leap etc. Beautiful scenery between Tenby and Manorbier.

Problems on walk were Saunderfoot to Tenby exceedingly muddy therefore quite slippery on the steep bits. Julia did pre warn us about this! 

Wavecrest cafe in Angle bay west an absolute delight to find when it started raining heavily. Us like many other people took shelter in there. I would recommend a lunch there, regardless of the weather as it was very nice.

Really great walk which we hope to continue with next year, all people we met were really friendly.

Thank you Encounter.

Regards,

Rita

Route: Coleridge Way
Name: Jon Mugel
When: 05 April 2018

USA FlagDamon.  

Just wanted to touch base and thank you for another wonderful visit. Weather was relatively good (given forecast and recent events).  

Loved the whole walk, as did Sarah. Of course Ian and Lynne at the Old Cider House were great, as were Simon and Caroline.

It is so nice to have friendly, welcoming hosts after a long day of travel, on the Whedon Cross-the Exmoor House is great.  What a lovely couple that took it over. The love, pride, attention to detail and hospitality were self-evident.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  

Locanda on the Weir was also great.  I know we paid extra but it was well worth it. Cindi and Pio went overboard. Wonderful room and sitting room. Pio's homemade dinner was exquisite, as was breakfast. 

In sum, the new owners in Porlock Weir and Whedon Cross should, in our view, be highly recommended (same for Notley Arms and Old Cider).  

Of course, the Rising Sun was just as good-but they seem to be a well established long standing operation.  

Hope to make it back some day, maybe for the two moors Way. Thanks again. Cheers.

Jon. 

Route: South West Coast Path Falmouth to Penzance
Name: Paula Borthwick
When: 03 April 2018

Flag of the South AfricaMy daughter and I took six days to do our walk and loved every step of the way.

We expected rain but had beautiful weather. The paths, however, were extremely muddy and it was often difficult to get through with thick thorny bush each side. Some of the detours were poorly marked but it didn’t matter if we took more time as we so enjoyed the process.

Apart from one night all the accommodation booked for us was quite pleasant. We really enjoyed staying at Chelsea House in Falmouth. Our hosts were charming.

Route: Coleridge Way
Name: Elsbeth Frischknecht
When: 02 April 2018

Switzerland FlagHello

We enjoyed our walking holiday on the Coleridge Way !

It was all very well organised. Just perfect.

We met a lot of kind and helpful people wherever we were.

But it was very muddy in places. Sometimes it was just not possible to continue on the signed way ….. ???? Never mind, we had proper shoes and didn’t bother about dirty clothes. (I will send you some  pictures.)

Thank you very much for all.

Regards,

Elsbeth and Maja

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to St Ives
Name: Eileen Valdez Woods
When: 25 March 2018

Scotland flagOur 8 day walking holiday with Encounter was very enjoyable!

Encounter researched and recommended very nice guest houses that accommodated our canine companion just fine.

The scenery was spectacular and the weather, forcasted to rain almost every day, only rained one day for a short couple of hours.

The materials sent by Encounter were very useful as well as informational. We had a few diversions but nothing major.

The biggest drawback was the mud which slowed us down, adding an hour or more to our daily walk and making that part of the path difficult and tedious. Trekking poles would be helpful with the mud.

Guest house bookings and luggage transfers were perfect and it was comforting to know that we could contact Encounter for any problems if needed.

 

Route: Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: Raffael
When: 25 March 2018

Switzerland FlagDear Damon

Please excuse my late reply/feedback—after returning from my trip, I had a bad case of the flu and also had to move house.

First of all, I would like to thank you for the brilliant organisation of my holiday. Everything worked out perfectly. Additionally, several of my hosts talked positively about you, which I wanted to pass on. The only negative for me is that the milages you gave me were often too short—Abbotsbury to Portland ended up being 16 miles rather than 13, and my long day Osmington to Worth Matravers was 20 miles rather than 17. I'd be happy to send you the exact milage my phone tracked.

Regarding signage along the trail: I found this less than ideal. We Swiss are spoilt with trail signs wherever the slightest doubt can arise, so I'm hardly objective in this aspect, but I got lost several times even after looking at the map, most notably out of West Bay (where I ended up taking the undiverted route over east cliff unknowingly) and in the marsh right before Osmington (where I lost the path completely and went over the meadows).

Food-wise, I really enjoyed Riverside in West Bay, the Hive Beach Café and Moonfleet Manor. Of the accomodations, Seventy Seven Portland really stood out while Haddon House was a bit of a letdown.

My highlights were the Undercliff path, the army range section between Osmington and Worth Matravers, and my extended lunch on Hive beach.

Please feel free to use any of this on your website, and again thank you very much!

Best:

Raffael

Route: East Devon and Jurassic Coast Path - Exmouth to Weymouth
Name: Solveigh
When: 23 March 2018

German FlagHallo Damon,

First I want say, that we enjoyed our walk really- it was great and a wonderful experience- though weather was sometimes not fine and the path was extremely muddy and slippery!

At the end of our walking days we felt like dirty but happy pigs!

Second: You chose nice accommodation, nearly each of the hotels was perfect, and we would recommend it.

There is only one exception: The B& B in Weymouth was nice and perfectly situated near the station, very friendly hosts -but it was rather noisy:

People in the streets who made noise nearly the whole night and another really disturbing rumour in the house itself which we could not identify.

The best place among all the others (I liked very much the Mariners in Lyme Regis, also because of the excellent diner!) was the Abbey Hotel in Abbotsbury.

Also the luggage-transport worked very well!

So I want to emphasize that we were really glad with Your preparation of our walk und we want to say: Thanks a lot!

We hope that we will be able to continue our walk on the Coast Path maybe next year. In that case we would again like to hire you.

Last but not least: I want to mention that I liked the way You reacted immediately when there were any questions or concerns: Friendly and understanding.

With warm regards from me and the whole group!

Solveigh

Route: St Michael's Way & SW Coast - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Kevin Grant
When: 20 March 2018

Australian FlagComing from Australia as the end of a nine week overseas trip, our every interaction with Encounter Walking (EW) was very positive and helpful, from the initial planning and modification of plans, to the quoting and payment, through early sending of maps and books for us and the flawless arrangements. Damon was consistently prompt, helpful and well-informed.

The choices of B&B were excellent and Rob who did the luggage transfers was quick and reliable. The only problems we had were with the state of the track and our feet - well beyond EW's control! The walk itself was a highlight of our trip. We drove to Falmouth (through melting snow drifts right into Cornwall which we were told repeatedly was the first snow in 40 years), left the hire car in a longstay carpark and took the train to St Ives, then Ace Cars to the B&B in the old town - EW's instructions were really useful!

We walked St. Michael's Way the next day. The OS map (both paper and on phone) were useful, but the instructions on britishpilgimage.org were so vague as to be useless. We then followed the SW Coast Path around the Lizard to Falmouth. Overall the hike was a good experience.

However a few issues:

1. We struggled with the mud. Being used to wide, sun-hardened paths, the narrow, deep and braided tracks took a while to get used to. It may be the time of year we walked the path but there were lots of muddy patches. Slogging through glutinous mud itself is not a problem - we don't mind getting dirty! - but it slowed us down considerably making walking distances difficult and the constant sliding sideways made my knees swollen and painful.

2. The moors on the cliffs between Mullion and Kynance were not just muddy, they were to all intents a vast bog, mostly under water with sticky clay underneath (reducing us at times to hopping from tussock to tussock even though our boots were soaked and we had long given up trying to keep our feet dry) so following the path is difficult. Admittedly it was raining quite hard at the time, but as that section is largely devoid of any signage, it was not surprising we lost our way! The descent into Gew-graze gorge is far from obvious in poor visibility and quite tricky stepping from one wet rock to another.

3. Due to the combination of the slow going, losing our way and the fact that there was a 2 1/2 mile diversion away from a cliff collapse before the Loe Bar, we did not complete the walk from Porthleven to the Lizard, taking a shortcut from Kynance Cove to Lizard village along the road despite walking 32km (20 miles) according to my Fitbit!

I'm highlighting these points only as a help for other walkers. Overall it was a great experience. The scenery was magnificent, I loved the bird and their calls and the positioning of the track so close to the sea is inspiring. The B&Bs were great - clean, well-equipped and with wonderful hosts. Special mention for Linda of Caerthillian who warmly welcomed two drowned rats on her doorstep, dried them (and their clothes and boots) and ensured they were okay and her husband, Austin, who gave great advice and a lift to the next B&B. Despite the difficulties we had, this walk is one would recommend. If doing it definitely go with Encounter Walking.

Route: West Mendip Way - in the Snow !
Name: Kelly Hodge
When: 17 March 2018

UK FlagI chose to walk the West Mendip Way on the same weekend that the Beast from the East 2.0 decided to pay Somerset a visit. I arrived at Bristol Temple Meads station and purchased my ticket to Weston Super Mare with a quip from the ticket attendant that ‘it’s cold down there and I hope you brought some thermals with you’. I had not. Once I arrived in Weston I decided to walk the first two miles to Uphill along the beach before following the route into Bleadon. The first part of the walk into Compton Bishop was glorious, I had warmed up nicely and the occasional snow flurries made everything look particularly pretty, I passed group of walkers walking in the opposite direction with a cheery hello (walkers are a very friendly bunch) before pausing to eat a chocolate bar under a WMW sign so that I could take an obligatory selfie. Some words of advice- Lion bars are not the best choice when it is freezing cold, there is a real danger of chipping a tooth.

I reached Shute Shelf in good time and started my ascent up to Crook Peak. This part of the route is steep but the climb was worth it for the views alone. It was at Crook Peak that I started to notice how cold it was, my hands were a weird colour and I had to put on another layer. As I was applauding myself for the climb and putting on my fleece whilst jumping up and down to try to stop my legs going numb, I watched in awe as a young guy ran past me in shorts. I very quickly felt less smug.

The next section of the walk was my favourite, I passed moorland ponies as I descended through Cross Plain into Kings Wood. I admit I mostly enjoyed it as it was all downhill but I do have a soft spot for ponies and woodland. Once I reached the main road I made a quick stop at the petrol station for supplies before continuing up the wooded Winscombe Drove and along a public footpath. It was at this point that I left the Way to walk the last few miles to my campsite for the night. With numb hands I made a rough job of pitching my tent for the night before putting on all of my clothes and ordering a well-deserved pizza which was delivered directly to my tent by a very nice delivery man who called me crazy. The next morning I woke to the sight of several inches of snow and a very concerned campsite owner who ushered me inside her house to warm up by the Aga with a cup of coffee. After checking that bus services were still running and that I wasn’t completely stranded I walked back down a now snow covered Winscombe Drove in fairy tale like surroundings with a short stop to make a snow angel before catching the bus back to Weston.

Overall I would highly recommend walking the Mendip Way. The scenery is varied and the views are beautiful, especially from the top of Crook Peak. There are also plenty of towns and villages to visit along the Way and quaint pubs for that much deserved pint of ale at the end of a hard days walk.  I will definitely be walking it again so that I can complete the whole route into Frome, but probably in warmer weather next time!

Route: South West Coastal Path - Padstow to Helford
Name: Andrew Barrington
When: 06 November 2017

UK FlagWe were very pleased with Encounter. Everything was organised efficiently and our trip ran flawlessly. We were really impressed that Encounter contacted us to advise us in St Ives against walking on a specific day as this shows they were tracking our walk and watching out for our safety. The accommodation was excellent, even given the time of year and the bag transfer and taxi connections all went smoothly. We would particularly like to recommend the following accommodation; Gurnards Head Inn, Gurnards Head, the Lion in Padstow, the Lerryn in Falmouth, the Caerthillian in Lizard and Cornerways in St Ives. Well done Encounter Walking!

Route: Padstow to Helford
Name: Roma Hogsflesh
When: 05 November 2017

UK FlagWe thoroughly enjoyed our walking holiday with our Australian friends. The accommodation we chose was very good and some were excellent. We were lucky with the weather considering it was November. Encounter were looking out for our safety along the way, even to the extent of advising us of impending bad weather.

The coast path itself is amazing, we had done various sections before but never linked them together. In most parts the path was good or very good, but it would be worth mentioning to the authorities of a few sections where it is becoming impassable:

1. Out of St Ives towards Zennor - there is one patch that is just a large bog from the water run off from farmers fields and is very slippery where people have tried to go round the edges. Needs some big stepping stones to make it safe. Or a wooden walkway like the one placed on another section of this area of the path.

2. Beyond Coverack the paths are poor and exceedingly muddy.

3. The path diversion around the quarries near Porthoustock seem to be unnessary as the locals all use the coast path and say the diversion is not legal anyway. Diversions due to erosion were fine.

4. Because of the tide times we were not able to cross Gillan Creek so had to head inland. There is a short section of field walking here which was awful, the farmer obviously has no respect for the upkeep of paths on his land. There were several other odd bits where the path had fallen away, but unfortunately I did not keep a note of where they were, sorry. Overall it was an amazing experience.

Route: SWCP Newquay to Portreath
Name: Mari
When: 04 October 2017

USA FlagI joined up with Don on Weds, Oct 4th - at the Carnmarth Hotel. I did not participate in the walking part of tour, but enjoyed the variety of hotels and inns along the way.

Beyond question, I enjoyed St Agnes Inn the most - the setting and innkeeper and food and location were wonderful.  The local pasties shop was lovely - great pasties‎ and gifts by local artists.

And Carla's Cars handled two of our transports - and Carla was wonderful. Full of good local information and helpful and kind.

Watergate Bay Hotel is really something - BUT I would suggest that guests make sure they get good room locations - ours overlooked the parking and driveway and did not have the "front views" that perhaps cost a bit more. Their food and service is excellent - but beward that their check in time was later than everywhere else at 3pm. That said, you can use their facilities ahead of time - and I noticed many were there early to use the spa and pool before they checked in. Hope this is helpful.

Route: SWCP Par to Plymouth
Name: Chris Dunbar
When: 03 October 2017

UK FlagAs always Encounter Walking rose grandly to the challenge of a short walking holiday with around a weeks notice. to book it. The weather was amazing and we almost finished our bottle of sun lotion. Having completed the North Devon and a fair amount of the North Cornwall coast path the South Cornwall coast was quite different. More gentle in both the walking ,the scenery and the climate although still very challenging given that October has less daylight hours to walk in!. We particularly liked the Whitsandbay hotel with its incredible beach and the pool/ sauna that were a definite plus. Thanks again to the Encounter team and we will be back with another challenge next year..

Route: St Just-Sennen Cove-Porthcurno-Penzance
Name: Robert
When: 02 October 2017

UK FlagTook three days to complete this walk, so no need to rush. Encounters booking service was extremely useful as finding accommodation for three walkers with less than a month's notice can be difficult. Accommodation fine for one night stays: clean, warm and good food all with friendly and helpful hosts. The Old Success Inn at Sennen Cove was really good. We had the benefit of three days of reasonably good autumn weather, only a short spell of rain on the morning of the last day.

Best pasty was from McFaddens(?) butchers in St Just. Best cream tea was from the café at Porthgwarra. Plenty of pubs in Penzance for the first and last night. The path between Porthcurno and Lamorna was a good, tough walk and took longer than anticipated. Spectacular views all along the route but especially so from Cape Cornwall to Sennen. Excellent documentation from Encounter for the trip and information about the route.

Route: Exmouth to Weymouth
Name: Sue and Stuart
When: 29 September 2017

UK FlagHi - Just a short feedback this time: We thoroughly enjoyed walking this stretch and as we allowed more time we could enjoy the views.  All except one day the weather was good despite the forecast (they always get it wrong!).

The paths were all in good condition and even the slight detours were well marked.  We loved the Undercliff section, Beer to Lyme, (very very muddy) but it was good the next day to do Golden Cap in glorious sunshine after being under the shade hidden from all to see the previous day.

Anyway the accommodation worked out well although we must ask you to upgrade on the next section when the rooms are small.  It adds an extra pressure with kit all over the place and no time to unpack when rooms are small.

Of particular note:

Dukes in Sidmouth - fantastic room overlooking the sea with lovely bay window

Eype's Mouth Country Hotel - great after the Golden Cap

Abbey House in Abbotsbury where we were upgraded to a very grand room overlooking theTythe Barn

77 Portland where we were greeted with a G and T - so much better than a cup of tea!! 

A great few days, thank you.  Hopefully we will go back and complete the section between Plymouth and Exmouth next Easter so until then Happy walking

Route: Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Frank Sanford
When: 28 September 2017

USA FlagWhat a marvelous well planned adventure! Although American, I'll use the expression "spot-on!" Maps were on target, accommodations perfect, and the weather was very autumnal. Most of the rain came from a North American source - Maria.

A few minor suggestions: the first three days were very muddy and a bit of a challenge for my aging body, so trekking poles are a good idea. I managed to "borrow" a fine hiking staff after the first day and left it at the ferry at Cremelly.

Second - either the directions into Par were unclear or I was negligent in reading them.

Third - the leg from Portwrinkle to Plymouth has quite a few miles of boring road, although you mentioned it, you might emphasize this fact. For the most part signage was good, but in a few places signs were knocked down and not clear - example - on the last leg toward the ferry to Plymouth you walk on the Camilla Nature Trail with no indication that it is the Coastal Path.

Overall these are minor adjustments and already contemplating what portion of the Coastal Path I should hike in the future!

Route: Lands End Circle
Name: LN - Australia
When: 26 September 2017

Australian FlagThanks for the superb organisation of this holiday. The choice of accommodation was excellent (staff were so friendly) and it was great to know that each day my bags would be ready waiting for me at my next stop. Generally the trails were really well marked and it was easy to find my way - even in quite thick fog at one point!

I found the Trailblazer guide a godsend for highlighting things like toilets and cafes as well as the path. Didn't need much else really. The trail was tougher than I expected in places (particularly around Lamorna) but nothing I couldn't manage without care. The only downside of the holiday really was the wet weather which definitely made the walking hardgoing at times, with slippery and boggy paths to contend with. But I guess you have to expect that could happen with a British summer! And thankfully the spectacular scenery more than made up for the mud and grime.

I will never forget trudging all day in the rain for the sun to finally come out at around 4pm just as I arrived at Kynance Cove. Absolutely beautiful! In summary I had a great holiday and it has definitely whetted my appetite to explore the coastal path further.... although hopefully next time with less "wet"!

Route: The Coleridge Way - Nether Stowey to Lynmouth
Name: Vikki
When: 24 September 2017

UK FlagThanks to all the team at Encounter for organizing our Coleridge Way walk. I think we were a little out of the ordinary as Hubby and I were walking with our 2 dogs, but luckily Encounter managed to find accommodation that was happy to have us all.

We walked this over five days which made the mileage manageable for the dogs, and thankfully we had dry weather most of the time so could admire the wonderful views. It was a lovely varied route through woodland, farmland, fields, country lanes, moorland. We had fun crossing streams and the finish was perfect following alongside the river from Oare to Lynmouth. We would happily to do it all again.

We opted to do an inland route rather than coastal as I suffer from vertigo and I am happy to say I had no problems with this route. The maps and written instructions were generally clear and the route well signposted. There were a couple of points were we hesitated and we went wrong once but we were corrected by a friendly farmer. We are both reasonably fit and fifty and managed this quite comfortably although we needed to take a few short stops to admire the views on some of the longer ascents. We would definitely use Encounter again. Many Thanks, Vikki, Giovanni, Fizzy and Chase.

Route: Bude to Padstow
Name: Joy Taylor
When: 23 September 2017

UK FlagFirst time walkers and this was a tough one to start with. We're quite fit and active 50 somethings, legs were fine but aerobic fitness needed to be better. All information from Encounter was excellent. Used a taxi they recommended - LT taxis - from Padstow to Bude and he was spot on time and great conversationalist (very informative and helpful).

Stayed at the Surf Haven in Bude. Lovely and clean, good service, nice position in town. First day was Bude to Crackington Haven in the rain. Stopped at Widemouth Bay for coffee - a very welcome break. Hard to get going again though. Paths got rather slippy so we came onto the road for the last hill. Next day included Boscatle to Tintagel which is a beautiful walk - Rocky Valley is tough but worth it. The Avalon in Tintagel was very pretty, near the town and spotlessly clean with excellent breakfast. Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand walk is lovely and quite gentle. Later, we did cheat sometimes and walked on the road when it was the really tough stretches and would have helped to have a standard ordnance survey map (the coast one stopped just too soon sometimes). The road walks are very scenic though.

Port Isaac is lovely. Stayed at the Terrace Tea Rooms - excellent B&B and quaint. The Angry Anchovy for dinner- pizza and pasta - was just across the road and was great. After two days of sun, last day was raining again so we walked some and taxi-ed the last bit down to Rock. Hard to try two or three places to get a taxi, should have investigated buses really as paid £20 for about 6 miles, but it was worth it to not be so wet. Local old people's home made us very welcome while we waited (offered toilet and hot chocolate).

Final stop in Padstow at the Old Customer House - really worth paying the extra for sea view. On the walks/Coastal path I had been worried about the drops/height/edges but it was OK - but the ups and downs were tough [(particularly the very steep bits) and I needed to be more areobically fitter. Hoping to walk Dorset next year so will be visitng the gym beforehand!

Route: Jurassic Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: Pete G
When: 23 September 2017

UK FlagA great walk, with very varied scenery, terrain - and weather, of course. The accommodation was very nice, and the luggage transfers worked perfectly. The Undercliff section west of Lyme Regis is well worth including, as is the circuit of the Isle of Portland.

Route: SWCP Bude to Padstow
Name: Joy T
When: 23 September 2017

UK FlagJust wanted to say thank you very much for arranging our walking holiday from Bude to Padstow recently.  Our first walking holiday, it was far tougher than we imagined, but we managed (cheated occasionally!) and came home with a fantastic sense of achievement and we have now caught the bug - I have messaged you for a quote for next year.

The overnight stays were lovely - all of the places were great although all very different, and the B&B owners could not have been nicer/more helpful. We had a fantastic time.  Thank you again

 

Route: Penzance to St Ives and St Michael's Way
Name: Doug & Mary Ellen
When: 21 September 2017

USA FlagGreat trip! Luggage transfers went perfectly. B&Bs were all good. Tinner's Arms, Old Success Inn, and Cornerway's were all excellent. We walked in reverse so we met a lot of people. Very easy to engage people on the path. People in Cornwall were always pleasant and helpful. We did get off the path several times. Walk with the map accessible and folded to the section you are walking. We detoured to St. Just for lunch on the Sennen Cove-Pendeen. We also took the field path for part of Zennor- St. Just. Both were good decisions for us.

St Michael's way detailed instructions were invaluable. Lot's of mud. High top waterproof shoes are recommended. Take the trail ratings seriously severe trails are pretty tough. Scrambling over rocks, very uneven and rocky path and our Fitbit usually showed over 100 flights of stairs so a lot of up and down. All that being said we had a great time and strongly recommend it. Ran into crews filming Poldark twice. Locals say it happens all the time.

Route: Coleridge Way Lynmouth to Nether Stowey
Name: AMP
When: 21 September 2017

UK FlagEnjoyed the walk very much, especially not having to use the waterproofs over the 4 days.  The only part of the trail we did not care for was following the A39 from the pub at marker 25 to marker 20 - the traffic noise was very unpleasant.  If we do this walk again (which is possible, doing it from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth this time), we would prefer to walk over the Beacon Hill/Longstone Hill area to get better views and avoid the racket.

In every other respect, the Coleridge Way was a great success, all the arrangements were good and all the B & Bs excellent.

Route: Lands End Way in Reverse Penzance to St Ives
Name: Doug P
When: 21 September 2017

USA FlagWe knew almost nothing about Cornwall We worked with Elle at Encounter and she put together a nice package for us. Everything went as we expected. Take the cautions about the paths seriously. Good selection of B&Bs. The luggage transfer went great.

Route: St Michael's Way and the Lands End Coast Path
Name: Helena & Geoff
When: 19 September 2017

UK FlagA big thank you to Ellie and Damon for organising another great holiday for us. As usual baggage and taxi transfers worked smoothly, accommodation was good and we had some very enjoyable meals. Best meals were at Ben's Cornish Kitchen in Marazion on our first evening and at the Old Lifeboat House in Penzance on our last night. Prize for the most surprisingly good meal went to the Cable House Inn at Porthcurno where we had some excellent lamb and the young staff were very friendly and helpful.

Highlights of our week were: St Michael’s Way. In spite of the weather (pouring rain and very low cloud all the way) we really enjoyed this cross country walk. It was a shame that we missed all the views – we couldn’t see Trencrom Hill even when walking around its base so we didn’t bother going up to the top! The only place we had any trouble finding the route was around Trembethow Farm where, even with your notes, we did get slightly lost. However, I suspect that the route was made more confusing by the fact that it was barely possible to see the farm buildings in the mist (and there were a lot of electric fences). In the end we found a way out of the farm and onto a road and managed to pick up the footpath again without any further trouble. Note that if you are thirsty by the time you get to Ludgvan the Church puts out refreshments for “pilgrims” on the path.

The “Ancient Stones of Cornwall” walk. We took an extra day at Zennor to do this walk over the moors and were so glad we did. It was lovely to see an area away from the coast which, otherwise, we might never have visited. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great but, although there were heavy showers while we were on the moor, visibility was good and we had no problem at all with navigation. The walking notes were excellent and we hardly needed to use the map at all (just as well as my husband managed to lose our compass in a peat bog somewhere on the moor!). We did go to the summit of Carn Galver but, by then, the weather was deteriorating and the mist coming down so, again, we missed out on the promised views of both coasts. With the rain coming down heavily we returned to Zennor along the coast road and field footpaths via a coffee stop at the Gurnard’s Head.

Pendeen to Cape Cornwall. This was my favourite stretch of the coast. It was misty but very atmospheric to see the deserted mine buildings and chimneys appearing out of the gloom. We waited a few minutes at the Levant mine for the site to open and then enjoyed a tour of the mine, which was fascinating, and saw the beam engine in steam. We ended up spending almost three hours at Levant, which made us a bit later getting to Sennen than we had anticipated, but it was well worth it. Note that, at times when the site is open, toilets and refreshments are available here. There was also an excellent refreshment van at Cape Cornwall. Cape Cornwall itself did, briefly, appear out of the mist but then the weather closed in for the rest of the walk to Sennen with much thicker mist at times making it difficult to make out the sea to our right or where the path was going ahead.

The holiday wasn’t all mist and rain, though. We did get a couple of days of brilliant sunshine and even came home with a suntan. We saw kestrels hunting over the cliffs, choughs at Levant, seals at Porthgwarra (where there is an excellent beach café) and dolphins off Trevedran Cliff. Thanks again to all at Encounter and we hope to be planning holiday number six with you soon.

Route: two moors way Ivybridge to Lynmouth
Name: AF
When: 17 September 2017

UK FlagWalked the two moors way from Ivybridge to Lynmouth over a 6 day period. Very lucky with the weather as only walked in the rain for about an hour however due to overnight and previous heavy rain quite a few boggy areas to negotiate. As warned, the path was indistinct in some places but really quite well marked once we got out of the Dartmoor National Park. In the park very poor signage which would be easy to remedy. Excellent organisation on all levels by Encounter and with the exception of The Sportsman's Inn in Ivybridge accommodation was really very good.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coastal path - Broad Haven to Amroth
Name: Liz and Alan & Andy and Margaret
When: 17 September 2017

UK FlagFour of us walked the second half of the PCP heading south from Broad Haven to Amroth. We have used various companies over the years and were beginning to get slightly frustrated at the casual attitude and lack of personal service that some of them had…… and then we found Encounters …..Amazing!! Nothing was too much trouble and not a problem that we were doing it from North to South which isn't the norm. (One company even suggested that we should pay more if doing it that way??!)

Our accommodation was excellent, Taxis were well informed and prompt, baggage transfer was faultless and tricky days that involved estuary crossings and firing ranges were spot on. Obviously Encounters had taken time to research everything and it all went to making a very relaxed holiday, we seriously didn't have to think about a thing other enjoy the wonderful home cooked breakfasts and set off on our days walking. We will definitely be using you again and would highly recommend your company.

Route: Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Sue and Adrian
When: 16 September 2017

UK FlagOur first organised walk and we weren't sure how it would all work! So we were very pleasantly surprised to find the organisation from Encounter was superb. Accommodation was always welcoming, comfortable and exceptional in places - our bags were always waiting which was the main thing (especially after soggy walking!). Once again the organisation was great and we were expected at the accommodation and very much welcomed. The level of documentation and detail on each day's walk was excellent and accurate - most comforting as we didn't know the area at all. All in all, the holiday was everything we wanted and we hope to do another section of the SWCP with Encounter next year.

Route: Plymouth to Brixham
Name: RP - UK
When: 15 September 2017

UK FlagThe holiday was very enjoyable and the accommodation(Dartmouth excepted) and eating probably the best I have had so far.The walk itself is always a discovery because I sometimes think the book is describing something else entirely.What has stuck in my mind is that last section Dartmouth to Brixham which was as good and tough as anything before and the way that Berry Head marks a transition.

Route: Westward Ho! To St Ives
Name: Mike and Sue Channon
When: 15 September 2017

Australian FlagParts of the walk (especially the first week) were fairly challenging but very rewarding. Scenery was spectacular - although the “Cornish miles” seem to be longer than most! We would definitely recommend rest days in Clovelly and Padstow. The accommodation was consistently good and the luggage transfer ran without any problems. Highly recommended for fit walkers.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path Full Route
Name: Bev and Wally
When: 15 September 2017

Canadian FlagHi Damon, Have been planning to email you re our trip but wifi has been spotty of late. We had a fabulous time........loved Pembrokeshire Coast. Your planning and accommodations were all brilliant. We did adjust it to suit us weather and energy wise as we went along. The marvellous bus, even with seasonal cut backs in service, and cab backups were really helpful in doing this.

Sincerest thanks to Ben and Sue, our luggage forwarders......not a flaw!! We have learned several things a a result of this trip: we will book earlier in the future, we know now that a room with a bath is very soothing at the end of a tough day; we will continue to minimize our BandB food serving requests; biscuits in our room with welcoming tea (or equivalent were appreciated and decreased in frequency in the north.

Hotel stays were much less personal and interactive. Distances on road signs were sometimes misleading after a challenging day. The 5th edition of the Trailblazer Guide and Encounter notes were excellent resources for our walk. Encounter Walking deserves our highest possible ranking when referring others to such a service. Thank you all very much for your exemplary efforts on our behalf!!!

Cannot thank you enough, Bev and Wally


 

Route: Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Amanda
When: 13 September 2017

Canadian FlagFantastic Trip! Encounter did a great job with the accommodation, restaurant suggestions and maps. Walking was very varied on this route which I loved. Some sections were easy and others quite challenging. We had varied weather conditions which also added to the fun of the walk. Accommodation was also very good and comfortable. Met so many interesting people along the way. Can't wait to do another section of the path soon!

Route: Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Diane
When: 13 September 2017

Canadian FlagI just wanted to say how much we enjoyed our hike with the help of Encounter. Everything worked so well and you have always responded so well to all of our enquiries. I would recommend your services to anyone.

Two things I would mention as negatives.Warn people if they are scared of heights that the coast trail is not appropriate or possibly what areas would be the best to consider. I did not realize how in some places how truly exposed to the cliffs we would be. Two, do not use the Looe Hotel. Unfortunately everything about it was awful. We could not wait to leave for many reasons.

The rest of the trip was absolutely fabulous - Thanks again,

Route: Dartmoor Way - Bovey Tracey - Okhampton
Name: Victoria
When: 11 September 2017

UK FlagLovely walks and nice places to stay.... The walk from Chagford to Okhampton was problematic for us, initially we couldn't find the 'Hunters Gate' in the field, and ended up knee-deep in a bog, and then all the walk above the river was difficult to discover, we made many wrong turns and the path was very slippy and quite difficult to use. Some further information about the length of the walk between each part of the description (and a map) would've been very helpful, as we did make a few wrong turns. All the notes about refreshments were great, and we had a fabulous time.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path Full Route
Name: Harris and Lynda Martin
When: 11 September 2017

USA FlagThis is a long, strenuous walk with beautiful scenery, though, given its length, the days do take on a certain sameness. The trail is well marked for the most part and well maintained. The small towns are wonderful and the places Encounter booked for us were very nice with gracious hosts. The Golden Lion in Newport, the Angle Bay B&B, the Ramsey House in St. Davids, the Cranog Trefin, the Old Vicarage in Moylegrove and the Oriel Milgi stand out.

The only failure with bags occurred in Newport when the hired company did not show up. The staff at the Golden Lion voluntarily took care of the issue and picked up our luggage in Fishgard. They also delivered our luggage to Moylegrove because of road closure. They were wonderful and took great care of us!

The weather for the walk was not great and on some days we didn't hike the route to avoid being on the cliffs with the high winds and rain. This decision was endorsed by the locals on several occasions.

Encounter was a great company to work with and everything was in place as it should have been and the choices for lodging were excellent. We would use Encounter again.

Restaurants that stood out: Pepper in Fishgard, the Griffin Inn in Dale, The St Gowan's Inn in Bosherston, Cwtch in St. Davids. Other food was fine, being mostly standard pub fare. Breakfasts were uniformly excellent, with our hosts going to great lengths to source local ingredients. Sometimes the route was hard and the weather inclement, but the Welsh people were unfailingly kind, helpful, interesting and informative. That coupled with the scenery, castles, and history made this a memorable trip

Route: Saints Way Padstow to Fowey
Name: Mark and Kate
When: 11 September 2017

USA Flag"Just got back from Cornwall and the Saints path. A little sun. A little rain. A little wind. Makes for a great walking holiday for these two Americans."

Route: Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: Nancy and Iain Muir
When: 11 September 2017
We loved our Jurassic Coast walking experience! Encounter Walking provided excellent pre-trip information and they answered all of our questions promptly. The accommodation arrangements and luggage transfer went smoothly. The weather was nice and the coastal path was spectacular for scenery and remarkably uncrowded. I would highly recommend using Encounter Walking again.
Route: Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Harold, Jane and Janet.
When: 10 September 2017

UK FlagA truly memorable week. We all greatly enjoyed it. It was a marvelous way to explore a great bit of the coast. Some days were more challenging than others but the distances (about 10 miles a day) were just about right for us with time to explore the many interesting places along the way and stop for coffee and cream teas. We always arrived at our destination in time to recover and relax before dinner. The organisation was excellent and many thanks to all at Encounter Walking. The instructions were comprehensive, the accommodation comfortable and welcoming and the baggage transfer worked flawlessly. The weather was very kind with plenty of sunshine and only one wet day (the last) and that could have been worse. Highly recommended.

Route: Lizard Coast Path and Dartmoor Way
Name: Susanne
When: 10 September 2017

German FlagDear Damon, please excuse my late reply. We really enjoyed our walk and found all the information given by you very useful and the accommodations were fine. Especially the walk along the the south west coastal path, with the sea and the light always changing and the landscape and flora much more variant than we expected was really recreational and we certainly plan to do another part of the path in the future. We also liked the highlights you suggested for every day and the best part of our walk was the Lizzard. 

The only accommodation we were not really happy with was the Bedford Hotel in Tavistock. We had a room that must have been above the heating system, because it was really hot without the heating being on and the window opened to the ventilation of the kitchen. But we already told them the next morning.

In contrast to the well signed coastal path we found that the walk through Dartmoor had hardly any signs showing the way. So you needed to consult the map quite often, which had not been necessary at the coastal path. Also when we walked in Dartmoor (3rd week in September)  the soil was really wet (I don’t know if it is always like that in the moor) and with the cattle and sheep also using the paths they were often in bad condition and we needed more time than given for the walks. But it has always to be taken into account that the times given for the walks are usually given for good conditions.

Last but not least we had really brilliant weather for hiking. Temperatures were moderate and the sun shining quite often. In the two weeks we only had two days with rain. One day when we had to walk and got really soaked and the other day, when we changed by train from the coast to Dartmoor, so that was no problem.

With showing our photos to friends and talking about this well organised holiday we always give away your mail address as a recommendation. So either we or some of them will certainly get in contact with you again. Thank you

 

Route: Osmington Mills to Lyme Regis
Name: Pat, Donna, Martin and Mark
When: 10 September 2017

UK FlagAnother walking holiday superbly organized by Encounter Walking.  We didn’t have a single hitch relating to the paperwork/luggage transfers or accommodation.  It is a shame that the luggage has to be ready for collection by 9am at the latest as we were usually only in the middle of breakfast by then, but I can see that for B & B hosts who may be working it’s no good having the luggage collected in the middle of the day.

The accommodation and food this year were excellent.  We specially liked the Smugglers Inn at Osmington Mills, the B & B at Fortuneswell on the Isle of Portland and Eypes Mouth Country Hotel.  We arrived at the Smugglers in cold, rain and wind, but when we went into our room and turned the radiator on straightaway we had heat – it was great.  Mark and Jo, our hosts on the Isle of Portland were super.  The rooms and breakfast were excellent and they were both incredibly welcoming and helpful, which makes a massive difference to a holiday.

The only disappointment we had with respect to accommodation/meals was that although we wanted to use our discount at the Hix Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis, we were not able to book a table at any time during our stay.  It seemed a shame to have made much of the valuable discount when it can’t actually be used.

I guess that every long distance path walking holiday has its less than scenic - or even somewhat unenjoyable bits.  Last year for us it was the Undercliff section of the path near Lyme Regis, This year it was the causeway onto the Isle of Portland (we crossed it on a windy rainy afternoon) along with the stretch of shingle coast path near Chesil Beach.  However the circular day walk on the Isle of Portland itself was really good.

The daily distances were just right for us, ie approx 10 miles per day.  The 4 of us are all enthusiastic regular walkers, but 3 of the 4 of us are 70+ and we definitely didn’t have any walking problems.  Needless to say the scenery was absolutely stunning.

We would emphasise what you say about always following marked diversions and furthermore not trying to invent any independent routes without really accurate up-to-date information.  We were very tempted to walk along the beach from Charmouth to Lyme Regis, but common sense prevailed and we took the inland route.  The next day we saw walkers who had tried it being caught out by the tide coming in.  They were up to their knees, or above, in seawater.

We found that our GPS devices, and even Google or Apple Maps on the phones were absolutely invaluable for working out where the next habitation/café/hotel was – or also of course exactly where we were on the route.  On that note we would especially recommend the Hive Beach Café at Burton Bradstock near West Bay; an upmarket café serving great seafood (and cream teas).  We did find though that mobile signals were often a bit flaky and wireless too wasn’t that brilliant at many of the overnight stays.  Luckily, between the four of us someone could usually get a reasonable signal.

Thank you Encounter Walking (especially as you had planned the route in reverse for our convenience)

Route: St. Ives to Penzance
Name: Kathy Allavie
When: 09 September 2017

USA FlagThis was a spectacular walk, with lots of wonderful scenery! It was also a challenging walk, in parts (particularly St. Ives to Zennor, in a light rain and wind), but we did it in almost the estimated time. It was colder than we had predicted, so all that weather advice was warranted. Coming from Southern California we couldn't imagine the second week of September already being wintery. The inns were all pleasant and friendly places, and the people were truly lovely. But the walking was the highlight, and although we were tired by the end of the day, we enjoyed every bit of it. Thank you to all at Encounter Walking for making smooth bag transfers, and being accessible by phone when we had questions.

Route: SWCP Padstow to Penzance
Name: Sabine & Markus
When: 09 September 2017

Swiss FlagFortunately the weather was much better than the forecast, so we had rain on only two days and only in the morning for about one and a half hour. The first 4 or 5 days it was very windy, so walking was very diverting. At Holywell Beach and at 2 other places there were activities for the movie Poldark. Now we are looking forward with great pleasure to see it on tv or on dvd one time.

The mixture of BandB and Hotels was perfect. The staff at Treglos Hotel was very friendly and we felt very welcome despite our walking outfit. So they were too at the Esplanade Hotel in Newquay, where we had even the chance to dance after dinner. Thanks very much again to Encounter Walking for the perfect organisation of our walk including the taxi transfers between Perranporth and Portreath. We enjoyed the whole walk a lot. We are looking forward to our next walking days with Encounter Walking!

Route: SWCP Padstow to Marazion
Name: Stephanie - St. Gallen Switzerland
When: 08 September 2017

Swiss FlagThank you very much for everything, and for preparing a great holiday for us, Damon! We had a great time, as usual.

Route: St Ives to Coverack
Name: John B - Washington
When: 08 September 2017

USA FlagThe hike went well.  All the accommodations were great, the weather was better than expected - only one day where we had about 4 hours of driving wind and rain and apart from that, the rain never lasted more than an hour or so at any one time.  Didn't rain every day and we had quite a bit of sun and lovely hiking temperatures.

The baggage transportation service performed well, the B&B hosts in particular were all very friendly and accommodating, taxis were always there on time.

Got off the beaten track a couple of times.  This usually happened when we took an alternate SW coastal path route and sometimes these did not always give clear instructions how to get back to the main path.  So we had a couple of adventures crossing fields and jumping fences.  You can't get lost on this hike though - if you can't see the water, you're going the wrong way.

Very enjoyable.  Beautiful countryside.  Thanks for organizing it well and selecting the accommodation for us.  No complaints

Route: Mullion to Portloe
Name: Liz and Alan
When: 07 September 2017

UK FlagA combination of truly terrible weather and a horrible cold (each) drove us home a day early…nothing serious just a combination of events

We managed to get some lovely days in, and enjoyed the ferries. Loved staying in the pubs particularly, Cadgwith cove, Pilchards and Feathers! Really friendly and full of atmosphere. Having a sunny afternoon to look over Pendennis Castle was delightful.

Thanks once again to you for great organisation – we will be back next year for more and hope that our waterproofs are not tested as much – we got truly expert at whipping the trousers on and off!

Route: Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Carolyn Bagster
When: 07 September 2017

Australian FlagWe had a marvellous time on our walk with spectacular scenery, quaint villages, atmospheric pubs, and a pirate ship that seemed to follow us along the coast to add to the photo opportunities which were many in any case. Encounter organised the whole thing extremely well. The accomodation was mostly excellent. Encounter was very flexible and helpful with a few changes in the lead up to our trip. All the luggage transfers were managed smoothly. The information we had received was accurate and largely complete, with plenty of pointers to help us navigate. Highly recommended.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Bob and Janet
When: 07 September 2017

USA FlagJanet and I have returned from our Cornwall walk and I wanted to give you some feedback, mostly positive. Generally the walks were spectacular and the views at least as good as we expected. We suffered thru a bit of bad weather including sideways rain for 5 hours one day and 40 mph winds another day. But even those days had much to enjoy. We were surprised at how long the walks took us, which was quite a bit longer than the book and you projected. We had anticipated being able to average about 2 mph but our average was 1.2-1.5 mph. And, while we expected the first day to be the hardest, it turned out to be the easiest - about 6.5 hours from St Ives to Gurnard’s Head Inn, which included some snack and photo breaks. Some of our slowness was due to the conditions - more wet rocks and mud to deal with than we had anticipated. You might want to be a bit more explicit about how much actual conditions can affect the hike.

The accommodations were generally quite good. Rockridge House is fabulous and Chris is great. Gurnard’s Head Inn is also great and we were very happy we ended up there instead of in Zennor. We thought Treventon in Penzance was very nice as well.  Cornerways in St Ives was also very nice but we got the worst room in the place our first night (first floor tiny noisy room). The next night Tim and Shelley moved us to a nice room upstairs. I would recommend avoiding the first floor room. The one real disappointment was the Hotel in St Just. It is a nice town and the location of the hotel is great. But they are not able to keep it up it appears. Our room smelled of mold and there was a substantial wind blowing thru the wall in the bathroom, strong enough that, in the night, it blew out a piece of the bathtub surround. 

The food was great at all the locations, including Commercial Inn. Tim did the best breakfast but they were all good. The dinner at Gurnard’s Head Inn makes it even more worth staying there - perhaps our favorite food on the whole trip.

One taxi note - we ended up using a service that is not on your list - Logan Rock Cars in Treen - and they are great for anyone looking for a ride in the Lands End to Penzance area. So, all in all, we had a great trip in Cornwall and are looking at other areas in which to do similar town to town walks. Thanks for all of your help. Bob

 

Route: Bude to Woolacombe SWCP
Name: David C
When: 07 September 2017

UK FlagEllie -Our latest walk along the SWCP was excellent in every respect:

The accommodation was very good throughout, with the stars being the Red Lion at Clovelly (we were in the separate annex), Yeolden Hotel at Northam (shame about the restaurant closing) and the Imperial B&B at Woolacombe. Note that the Hartland Quay Hotel is going through a process of upgrading their rooms. Bottom of the lot was probably The George at Braunton.


The walking was pretty varied, with the first two days made even more challenging by the very windy (and wet) weather and a couple of less interesting flat days in the second half. Overall rather less interesting than other parts of the SWCP, especially Cornwall. Note that the diversion around Horsey Island looks to be permanent.

As to places to eat, your notes were helpful but note that the Royal George Inn in Appledore is closed and and looks to be undergoing extensive renovation but the nearby Beaver Inn was very good. Hope this helps.  Looking forward to seeing your ideas for Lyme Regis to Poole for next year.

Route: SWCP Clovelly to Padstow
Name: Pam & Rob
When: 05 September 2017

USA FlagThe landscape was even more beautiful than we anticipated. As we have done quite a bit of tough hiking at altitude, we figured that the ratings were a wee bit exaggerated, given that the route is at sea level. It turns out that when Brits say that a stretch of path is "severe", they do mean "severe." But we enjoyed the challenge and have a new respect for hiking in the UK.! I would highly recommend this trip to friends. My only suggestion is that in addition to the regular offerings, EW should offer a package with upgraded accommodations (better hotels and sea view rooms). I did my own research and asked for upgraded hotels but then got quoted the cheapest rooms in those hotels. The back and forth took a lot of time. (We stayed at the Red Lion in Clovelly, Inn at Crackington Haven, the Beach at Bude, the Wellington in Boscastle, the Avalon in Tintagel, the Old School in Port Isaac, and Rick's Seafood Restaurant Hotel in Padstow.)

Route: Saints and Smugglers 100 Mile Challenge
Name: Peter and EA Moore.
When: 05 September 2017

Canadian FlagExcellent planning, maps, notes and luggage transfer by Encounter. Most of the B&Bs were first-class, though one or two were a wee bit “tired”. After two days of great weather, the cool and rain set in, but did not diminish the walking at all. Under Damon’s advice we taxied around a long Bodmin Moor day due to very thick fog and rain - dangerous to continue under those conditions. The coast paths - Atlantic and Channel - were as challenging as Encountered warned us, but completely “do-able” and overall were in excellent condition. This was not a stroll in the woods, but a real challenge.

The Saints Way - Padstow to Fowey - was quite muddy and, as warned, flooded in two areas but not insurmountable. Two farmers obviously resented having National Trust paths cross their fields, as they sprayed liquid manure and left uncut crops in the way. Apart from those blips, it was a wonderful challenge which we thoroughly enjoyed. Hats off to Damon, Ellie and their team, all our B&B hosts (especially Jim and Shirley in Love and Rob and Dave in St. Neots), and Southwest Luggage Transfers for making this a fun and memorable 10 walking days. Would do it again in a heartbeat ,

Route: SW Coast Path - Exmouth to West Bay
Name: Hilary and Emily
When: 04 September 2017

USA FlagHad an absolutely brilliant time - the route was for the most part beautiful ( with the exception of the holiday parks), the accomodations were perfect for our needs, and the luggage transfers and hotel bookings all went seamlessly. A word of caution if you are doing this route in wet weather as we were - the path through the Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs is very muddy and EXTREMELY slippery in places, so use care. That said, it was like entering another world after the windswept cliffs of the previous days walks - quite enchanting!

Route: SWCP Clovelly to Padstow
Name: Dana Kokubun
When: 04 September 2017

USA FlagIt was truly an enjoyable and physically challenging walk, even with variable weather and, on one day, near gale-force winds. The coastline from Clovelly to Padstow is dramatic, the villages are unique, and our accommodations were comfortable, and in some cases, quite luxurious. The food was excellent, particularly the fresh fish and mussels. I found the local people to be very friendly and welcoming as well. I would definitely return to walk another section of the Southwest Coast Path!

Route: Padstow to Falmouth
Name: Sharon and Gerd
When: 04 September 2017

German FlagWe travelled with encounter for second year and must say it is really well organised. No hazards whatsoever. Weather was good. First week very stormy but great to feel the wind and to watch the sea tossing and turning very dramatic. Of course one day rain got soaking wet but that you have to be prepared for and you don`t forget it we laugh and remember it and it makes you feel glad when your tucked up in a warm place again. Apart from that good walking weather nobody believes us back home, got a good tan.

From Pendeen Watch to Porthcurno such a lot to see Cape Cornwall beautiful, Lands End crazy with the shops etc. Porthcurno Chris served us breakfast on a long table live breakfast cooking such a wirble wind Chris was interesting how he manages all the guests. No good Pub grub in Porthcurno though (only 1 Pub direct in Village) as we arrived at 7 in the evening we didn`t want to take a taxi to the next pub, but we should have done.

Another day of great walking from Porthcurno to Penzance beautiful Larmorna Cove. Penzance to Porthleven After the tarmac road which of course was well signed after Marazion it gets a bit tricky with the right signs of the coast path crossing various fields so you think is this the right way? Once on the Coast Path again it is a quick walk into Porthleven a lovely village with a good newly run Pizza art Bistro place, which we highly recommend. All in all we had a great time and will come back again.

Route: Penzance to Falmouth Lizard Trail
Name: Georgia & Ian
When: 04 September 2017

USA FlagEncounter thanks for the experience. Route maps and instructions were perfect, including the detours for the recent flood damaged sections. Accommodation was good, friendly service and the breakfasts welcome! The scenery was a real treat and the 13 or so miles a day a nice balance between making progress and having time to enjoy a beachside coffee or two. Thanks for doing all the hard work and treating us to a great holiday.

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Plymouth
Name: Steve Schrier
When: 04 September 2017

UK FlagAn amazing 8 weeks - returning home at the weekends. 34 days total walking 430 miles. I set the Encounter Walking Holidays team the task of creating a route for me, getting the accommodation and sorting all the transfers for what was an unusual agenda. I also took my dog so they had to find accommodation for us which was sometimes problematic.

Some Fridays and Mondays I had nearly 5 hour train rides from my home to get to the path and still wanted to walk some distance on those days. The guys did incredibly well with the organisation and, even though I changed some things regularly, I didn't have a single issue.

All the accommodation, transport and luggage transfers went without a hitch. Damon, Rich and Ellie were amazing. The path was also amazing and we had a fantastic time. During September we were mainly on our own but in October we had several people join us. The Encounter guys even helped them too when they were stuck on certain issues. The path is quite challenging in places. Mainly the North Devon and the early part of Cornwall. Hartland Quay to Bude is probably one of the hardest days walking I have done. But oh so worth it! Make sure you are fit and you will enjoy every moment.

The best days walking for me was the going around the Lizard in 60 mile winds courtesy of hurricane Ophelia with my son. That day I won't forget! The markings are mainly good.

I only needed the maps a few times to find my way - keep the big blue thing on the right and you can't really go wrong! There are exceptions to that though so read the documentation and the books for diversions and the occasional lost signs. The path does seem to abandon you in bigger towns and cities and sometimes it is easy to get lost there and not be on the official bit but finding it again isn't too bad. I actually found Google maps good in some situations on my phone.

I found evening meals in North Devon pretty basic and sometimes not so good. Cornwall was much better, when it was finally possible it seemed to eat some fish that wasn't battered! Accommodation varies but all were clean and very welcoming. Connectivity is patchy in lots of places but most places seem to have high speed internet now (to my surprise) Too many notable highlights to list! But I did do a blog here if you want details and lots of photos: https://steveschrier.wixsite.com/swcp  Thanks so much to the team.

Route: Broad Haven to St Dogmaels
Name: Sally B
When: 02 September 2017

UK FlagDear Damon - Had another good walk on Pembrokeshire Coast Path tho weather for the first time a bit iffy!  Still really enjoyed it and didn’t find it too challenging.  I think the South West Coast Path is harder than the PCP.

I have really enjoyed all my walks with Encounter but fear it is time to bid farewell.  I would never have done all these walks without your early encouragement and I really appreciate that Damon.  Encounter have been fantastic all the way (tho surprised not to have heard anything after this walk) and I recommend you to a lot of people.

My sights are set on Northumberland Coast Path and maybe The Dales Way for next year.

Thank you for seven wonderful walking trips.  Sally

Route: Brixham to Lyme Regis
Name: Jane and Andrew
When: 01 September 2017

UK FlagHi Damon, firstly thanks once again for organising another fabulous walking holiday for us. Our time walking the South Devon Coast walk was tremendous and as with our previous excursion with you and the team at Encounter Walking Holidays, this trip was faultless.  Given that we only booked four weeks prior to starting our walk, I recognise that this possibly put you all under pressure to ensure a quality outcome, I am not sure how you did it but you pulled it off brilliantly.  

The quality of all our accommodation, whilst varied was spot on, with no disappointments at all.  In fact two of our seven stays had pools, a real bonus, especially after a hard days walking.  With a detailed itinerary, accompanying maps and luggage on arrival it was just down to us to ensure we enjoyed our walk and arrive safely.  There is no doubt that Jane and I will use you again.  Thank you so much, everyone, who was involved in making our vacation a memorable one.

Andrew and Jane
 

Route: Bude to Plymouth
Name: Duncan and Marg
When: 01 September 2017

New Zealand FlagHi Damon,  We found the CCP a good challenge, made a little harder by the inclement Cornwall weather in September and the resultant muddy tracks. However, we got to Plymouth in reasonable shape and in good spirits. We used the Bag transfer people from St Ives for five days after the wind and weather was at its worst, but after Penzance we continued to carry our packs. Prior to the CCP walk we had completed the Hadrian's Wall Path, the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way during August (the weather was poor then too). We carried our packs on those walks so we were pretty well broken-in as mules by the time we got to Bude!

We found the accommodation you chose for us to be mostly very good. There were some gems in there where we could / would have stayed longer if we hadn't been on a schedule. A couple of places were less to our liking but that is to be expected on such a walk and in some of the locations. Over all we were very happy with the arrangements you put in place. Thank you.

Duncan & Marg 
 

Route: The Dartmoor Way -
Name: RB and JW
When: 31 August 2017

UK FlagI returned home after our five days of walking on Dartmoor that you arranged. We'd like to thank you for booking the accommodation, transporting our luggage, and organising the itinerary. Everything went smoothly. We were impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of people in the various places.

But somebody needs to tell the park authorities that they have to do something about signage and promoting walking routes. Routes on maps are not reflected in quality signposting, or in too many cases, any signage at all. We are experienced walkers and can use a variety of technology to find our way around, but the poor signposting on Dartmoor does nothing to encourage those new to walking, or visitors from overseas. With the pound being so weak, the UK should be flooded with visitors, bringing much-needed income to the relatively poorer parts of Britain. The Dartmoor authorities really do need to get their act together and learn from the experience of other parts of the country and the continent of Europe.

Best wishes - RB & JW - London

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to St Ives
Name: John McGlone
When: 31 August 2017

UK FlagLuggage transfer:- Outstanding, always delivered on time. Accommodation venues:- Ranged from a 'doll's house' to a 4 star hotel. Accommodation facilities:- All outstanding for their type. Well maintained. Clean. Welcoming. Any slight problems/difficulties dealt with quickly and efficiently. Did not test drying facilities, when asked about drying some accommodation said they did not have any facilities.

Signage:- Only real problems are in towns/villages when buildings get in the way. (It's much easier in the countryside when map reading is simple. (This is meant to be a little joke!!!!). Weather:- For 75% of the holiday (15 days), rain and high winds - GREAT!!! Scenery:- Outstanding.

Overall Organisation by Encounterwalking:- Outstanding. Will be using this company again and again and again and again!!!

Route: Two Moors Way - Relaxed and Backwards (Lynmouth to Ivybridge
Name: Ian and Julie Park
When: 30 August 2017

UK FlagFirst of all, a huge thank you to Encounter to for organising the trip for us. Everything ran like clockwork and there wasn't the slightest query anywhere we went, including luggage transfer (although we did chat to the driver picking up our luggage one morning and he did say that we'd made his life 'interesting'!).

All the accommodation was excellent and pleasantly varied. Food - and drink - excellent too although possibly we might have overindulged a little here and there! Rude not to in the circumstances! Weather on trip was mixed, with some glorious days but a couple of rainy ones along the way. I did discover that my beloved cagoule had ceased to be 'suitable for purpose' on the first rainy day, never a good thing and at the worst possible time! It wasn't a major problem all told though. The walking was pretty easy as it turned out and the longest day of over 15 miles was our favourite as we crossed Dartmoor to Widecombe. It was nice to have a couple of shorter days to relax and recover though.

Several days we actually completed the walking by late lunchtime/early afternoon which gave us chance to have a look round places we might not have had time to do otherwise and on the day it rained hard on the stretch to Witheridge, the short distance was a positive boon, getting us into the Mitre at lunchtime to read the Sunday papers with tea and/or a glass of something! Navigation was straightforward - we had two different maps, two different guidebooks and a GPS! Signage is plentiful until you reach Dartmoor, where as others have remarked, the way is not obvious in a couple of places.

We made two navigational errors of note - first was, embarrassingly, not seeing the sign indicating the alley to leave the square at Witheridge, where we milled about a bit and then read the maps properly, and got it right. The other was on Dartmoor in poor weather and visibility heading to Huntingdon Ford where we went too far right and had to turn left down the (very wet underfoot) stream bank from the ruins of Warren House to get back on course. We always knew where we were though, it was just mildly annoying to have taken the wrong path. We carried the Harvey's Map of the TMW but relied mainly on the brilliant Yellow Publications concertina TMW maps (recommended). The two guide books we carried were the Devon County Council guide and the Cicerone guide. The latter has a wealth of information, historical and otherwise and was worth carrying for that, but it is worse than useless for a southbound walk as there are no specific southbound instructions. The guide of choice on a day by day basis was the DCC one which does have instructions for both directions of travel.

The Encounter trip notes were uniformly excellent and the only problem we had was not being able to secure a packed lunch from the Drewe Arms at Drewsteignton. When we enquired on arrival if it was possible to get packed lunches for the following day we were advised 'not really, we don't really do them'. Fortunately the Post Office/Store a couple of doors away was open and we were able to provision ourselves from there, but it is a potential problem if you leave on a Sunday from there.

Overall we and our two friends had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves both on the trail and off and are already talking about where to go next! (Probably somewhere flat by the sounds of things, although I prefer my walks to have a bit of altitude!). We would unreservedly recommend Encounter to others (in fact I already have!). Thanks again for the splendid organisation and a wonderful trip!

Route: St Ives to Mevagissey
Name: Michael - Perth - Group of 11 walkers
When: 29 August 2017

Australian FlagHi Damon, Safely back in Perth. Thank you for arranging a great trip.All really enjoyed ourselves and I have spoken with all travellers and they all agreed they would be very happy to recommend your services. At Porthcurno we went to the Logan Rock Inn for dinner and this was one of the best pubs we visited. So well done and thanks for your services - IT WAS GREAT.

Route: Plymouth to Brixham
Name: Ken F - London
When: 27 August 2017

UK FlagAll, it was another very good holiday - and I got it just right for the weather with only light rain one morning and a lot of rain the day after I finished which made leaving much easier. Indeed it was quite hot at times.

Some specifics -The first day was very long particularly as the walk across Plymouth takes some time. Over 20 miles including going to the pub at the end. The bridge in the barbican was closed adding to the length. The walk out of Plymouth is rather dull but there is no avoiding it.

Needing to catch the ferry means stopping along the way is always tempered by the need to get there which is a shame but again nothing to be done about this. Without the shortcut on day 2 (i.e. walking round Gara Point the day before) it would have been difficult to keep to the times needed.

The taxi was very well organised and I called him as was a little early. The actual taxi ride is longer than I expected and worth pointing out how long it takes.The second ferry is slightly hard to wave at but it was all well in the end. Unlike the guide I thought this was quite a hard days walking up and down on day 3 particularly on uneven surfaces around Lannacombe Bay

Salcombe was so busy that I could not find anywhere to sit down outside but good overall.

The walk along Slapton sands was confusing as the path does not really switch between the beach and lake side (the direction is obvious) and missing out the memorial. I missed the improvement into Strete perhaps by looking at the guide too much.

 Overall it was very good with good mixture of hills/ bays /towns etc

Accommodation - the hotel room at the start was a little odd but fine. I particularly liked the Beesands stop and the Ness Mayo and final B&B's (the first for the quiet - its never quiet in London) ;

Excellent - holiday will be back I hope. Not sure which walk to do next...any suggestions Will send a couple of photos shortly. Thanks Ken

Route: St Ives to Lizard Point
Name: John D
When: 24 August 2017

UK FlagHi Damon, We're back safe and sound after an excellent walk. The weather and hence the views couldn't have been better - almost wall to wall sunshine and blue skies throughout. The only daytime rain was about an hour on our rest day as we walked to Marazion.

All arrangements worked like clockwork. Thank you for arranging such an interesting and rewarding walk - the sea views and the weather were to die for! Regards John & Richard

Route: Saints Way
Name: Tony Janes
When: 17 August 2017

United Kingdom flagThis was a short walk - approx. 10miles per day - suitable for older but experienced walkers. Having been brought up near St.Austell it was interesting to visit villages in inland Cornwall that I had never visited although only living a few miles away. The route was easy walking but occasional poor signage led to frequent stops to study jhe map and take compass bearings. Essential to have the 1:25000map. We managed to avoid one flooded area by diverting but forgot to divert on the drove road south of Helman Tor and waded for half a mile or so in muddy water over our ankles. Although not Christians we enjoyed visiting the old churches en route and absorbing some of Cornwall,s celtic history. Encounters service was very good - baggage transfer perfect and accommodation excellent. Amazed that you could book us 1 night accommodation in the peak season. We are hoping to book a stretch of the coastal path around Cape Cornwall in the spring next year. Thanks for all your help. Tony and Dorothy Janes

Route: SW Coast Path Padstow - Portreath
Name: Olimpia
When: 14 August 2017

Italian flagThe walk has been terrific. First, the organization was perfect, as it already was for a previous walk in the past: in particular, it was made at the very last moment, but the guys at Encounter have been great in finding the best solutions for everything, from the itinerary to the accomodation, and meeting our needs and wishes fully (thank you all indeed!).

The path from Padstow to Portreath is easy and smooth, compared to the section from St. Ives to Penzance we had walked in the past. The landscape is less dramatic and the path passes across several popular seaside resorts, which is completely different from the much "wilder" St. Ives - Penzance section, with also more various views in my opinion. A couple of villages, such as Crantock and St. Agnes, are worth a short detour from the path to spend an evening in a nice spot. If you like, you can take advantage of the beautiful sand beaches for swimming or trying some surf. Just one suggestion: since there are little places to eat in some spots, it may be a good idea to book a seat early upon arrival, in order to avoid to find them packed and thus not having dinner! Shortly speaking, SW Coast Path is one of the best holiday I've ever had, thank you!

Route: Dartmoor Way (first half) Ashburton to Oakhampton
Name: Claudia
When: 13 August 2017

United Kingdom flagMy brief five day walking holiday was exactly as I had envisaged and hoped it would be. The scenery was varied and beautiful, the walking vigorous but not too strenuous and the accommodation comfortable.

Everything that had been arranged by Encounter Walking worked to perfection - the route maps and information provided were comprehensive and the luggage transfers were always completed each day before I checked in. I was travelling with my dog and so stayed in dog friendly accommodation. It was nice to chat to other people, including other dog owners, in the evenings. But by day, I was delighted to discover that, despite travelling in the middle of August, I could do a whole day's walking without barely meeting another soul. For the most part, navigating was relatively easy. However, on the second day, from Bovey Tracey to Moretonhampstead, I discovered there were a lot of fingerposts missing. Don't rely on them.

Once or twice during the holiday I found it useful to refer to my OS GPS map on my phone, but I tried to avoid doing this as much as possible and mostly the walking instructions alone, without electronic or paper maps, were sufficient. I was lucky with the weather too, which was perfect for walking. I would definitely do this again - maybe venturing on a more remote, challenging walk. My only gripe would be that the last two inns really were pretty basic. I suppose beggars can't be choosers when you're limited to dog friendly accommodation but, given the choice, I'd have opted for something a little more homely and comfortable. Arriving at around 3-4pm each day as I did, I had quite a bit of time to kill and a nice lounge area with a cream tea makes all the difference! I'd recommend Encounter Walking without any hesitation. Thank you.

Route: Charlestown to Salcombe SWCP
Name: Paul
When: 13 August 2017

UK FlagDear Damon As usual a massive thanks to you for sorting out our walk.

 – Rashleigh Arms and TGallants Annexe – Charlestown Area Very nice hotel and a cracking Sunday lunch. Bus driver drops you right outside the hotel if you ask. Although no shop you can buy home made Cornish pasties from the weighbridge tea shop and home made cakes and drinks to go for the walk.

 The King Of Prussia - Fowey - Another top draw place to stay. The little extra bits for the room were a nice touch. Walk is more 11.5 to 12 miles having to go through Par. There's an ice cream van in the car park at the end of Par beach. Fowey would be a good place for 2 nights. 

Looe - Fieldhead Hotel Very clean but deco is very dated. Breakfast was very average. The diversion is still in place. Look out for the seals at Looe Island. Loved walking through Polperro and seeing the electric trams. Some great places to eat and some good art shops. I prefer it to Looe and it might be a better place to stay the night. 

Portwrinkle - The Little Fox a bit of the path but a nice place to stay. Evening meal was very pricey. The Finnygook iInn is closer and they have rooms. This might be a better option. 

Plymouth - Sea Bleezes Great welcome from Ann who was lovely. Just off the walk and a great breakfast and comfy room. Ann couldn't do enough for us. You can tell she's had lots of walkers staying with her and was the most welcoming host we've had.

Worswell Barton Farmhouse  -Noss Mayo The ferry runs 10-4 this time of year which was good. Nice comfortable room and a hearty breakfast. 

River Erme - Ivy Barn a good walk from the path. Average accommodation   School Cafe by the beach was great, very quirky. Taxi arrived spot on time. When the tide is out you can walk from Bigbury On Sea to The Ferry along the beach. We did this and it was a lovely walk. The Bay View Cafe was closed but although it doesn't look much the Venus Cafe was spot on and very environmentally friendly. Burgh island's pub the Pilchard On had a very limited menu and a long queue for non locals and hotel residents so we gave that a miss.

The Hope and Anchor Inn – Hope Cove A excellent place, one of a chain. Rashleigh Arms which we loved is in the same chain. Had a stunning view over the sea at Hope Cove. The Bantham ferry ran spot on 3-4. He doesn't do a minute before or after. The beach just after the ferry stop has four seasonal street/beach cafes selling a variety of high end street food. There was too much choice today for a bite to eat. The walk was breath taking. 

Salcombe - B&B was very disappointing. The shower was a trickle and the breakfast poor. Last years stay at Salcombe was a really nice B&B and it was a shame it wasn't available. Appreciate that Salcombe is busy but there must have been better options. Looking at the reviews on trip advisor I have to agree with the negative ones. 

The luggage transfer service as usual was excellent. The route and the scenery was amazing. Thanks and best wishes - Paul

Route: Coleridge way and St Ives to Penzance
Name: Angelika & Helene
When: 12 August 2017

German FlagDear Ellie, we had two wonderful walks and a most enjoyable holiday due to the perfect organization and coordination of two walks in a busy season, absolutely reliable luggage transfer, the detailed information provided, the thoughtful choice of splendid accommodation and all the advice you gave us in planning the two walks! So, very many thanks for this and we certainly will plan the next walks in the UK with you.  (This you can put this on your webpage, if you like, but without the e-mail address and our first names only).

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow -St. Ives
Name: G-H-A
When: 09 August 2017

German flagWe really enjoyed our trip, even the few days with strong winds and rain. After the walk evera day we appreciated the warm welcome of our hosts, especially we would like to mention Bernard and Pat in Crantock. The supplied material about the SWCP was sufficient and useful. Nevertheless sometimes we had to use our smartphones, but only in Hayle and Newquay. Luggage transportation was done whitout any fault. Now we walked the SWCP from Padstow to the Lizard and hopefully next years we will explore some of the remaining parts. Thank you for planning and organizing our trip carefully ! Best Regards Gerhard

Route: St Ives to Lands End, and Marazion to Lizard
Name: Marika
When: 09 August 2017

UK FlagHad a great week hiking along the South West Coast Path in August! Beautiful views and scenery, and so many interesting places to explore along the way – wish I could have stayed longer! The service provided by Ellie, Damon and the rest of the crew at Encounter Walking leading up to the trip was outstanding! Always very friendly and helpful responses to queries, excellent and efficient organization with very clear details of the walk, and great accommodation arrangements with luggage transfers working like a charm during the whole trip.

The Trailblazer Guidebook was very useful with lots of helpful information too. Thank you very much Encounter! I thoroughly enjoyed my walk and hope I can come back one day for a repeat. Will definitely call upon your expertise again, and have already recommended you to several people. Keep up the excellent work!

Route: Marazion - Falmouth
Name: Anne and Wolf
When: 05 August 2017

German flagHi Damon, we had a real great time on our walk, everything - including organisation by Encounter Walking and luggage transfer - was perfect. Each day was different as the landscape changes over the path. As one highlight we loved the cosy little village Cadgewith, where we had an excellent dinner with fresh fish and the opportunity to participate on a lively folk song evening in the local inn (takes place on Tuesdays).

Falmouth would have been worth to stay a day longer with its lovely beaches, its interesting National Maritime Museum, nice shopping and eating opportunities. At one place we had difficulties to find our way: We arrived at Gillan Creek at high tide, so we knew we had to do the walk around. This one was difficult to find, our impression was that a farmer digged the path over. Locals helped us to find the way, as much as in other places people were very friendly and helpful (I've got my lost pullover back thanks to an especially nice taxi driver!). We hope that we could come back one day and try other parts of the SW coast path. Definitely we will book the next trip by Encounter Walking again!

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to Falmouth
Name: Julie
When: 02 August 2017

United Kingdom flagWalked Padstow - Falmouth - 15 days. Thoroughly pleased with the whole experience. The distances walked (averaging about 12 miles a day) were perfect for a leisurely breakfast, a couple of breaks along the route and arriving at destinations late afternoons. We were especially pleased that the paper work provided clear details of how to reach accommodation from the track which has not always been the case with other walking companies used previously.

The vast majority of hosts were friendly and informative and went out of their way to ensure we had a range of suitable eating options for evenings and that any wet clothing was dried - with the exception of one stop where we arrived soaked through but were offered no drying facilities - we even had to walk to a local shop to buy newspaper for our boots! Overall would highly recommend and fully intend to book again for next summer to walk Minehead - Padstow.

Route: Dartmoor Way
Name: Colin
When: 30 July 2017

Hong Kong flagWe had a wonderful time.  Even the weather was on our side apart from a soaking near Belstone.

Every place that we stayed at was friendly efficient and welcoming    We were very impressed by the standards of accommodation but mostly the hospitality of the people we met 

The guide books and maps were very useful.

Both my daughters said it was one of the best holidays of their lives and are now huge fans of Dartmoor.

Route: South West Coast Path - Porthcurno to Falmouth
Name: Margreet
When: 30 July 2017

Netherlands flagThank you for organizing such a wonderful holiday for us. The accommodation was very good and also varied . This made it special. Sometimes a hotel and sometimes a home adress is very nice. We were always welcomed and good taken care of. We had the misfortune of a sprained ankle for one of us. But she made the most of it by walking easy parts and was kept busy taking buses to the next stop.

Only once did we get lost, when we walked from Portleven to the Lizard. A field were it was very muddy, but also the wonderful smell of camomile( it was raining all day, but still a beautiful walk ) On the path a bit away from the coast just before Soap rock. But the Ordnance survey map was very helpful. Most times the route was very clear. Apart from the one rainy day the weather was good and we enjoyed the views, the beaches, little towns, the flowers and butterflies. 

Route: Two Moors Way
Name: Michael
When: 28 July 2017

Australian FlagEverything was great thanks, even the weather wasn’t too bad – the last day was pretty wild but added to the atmosphere on Exmoor. I have one recommendation for you to make to people.  I used the OS Maps App and had Topo Maps as a backup – using a GPS app and smartphone made things much easier and in the whiteout at Exe Head on the last day it would have been very hard going with just a compass and map. With downloadable maps and no need for phone signal this is very reliable. I would make a strong recommendation to use these. Accommodation was all good, and no issues with the luggage transfers.  I had a lot of fun.


 

Route: South West Coast Path from Minehead to Woolacombe
Name: Rudolf Schmitt
When: 27 July 2017

German flag- superior preparation with the documents for walking, with booking hotels and transportation of bagagge from encounterwalking; - they had a lot of patience with our sometimes chaotic planning ideas; - the coast path itself causes very seldom open questions about the direction to walk; - nobody should underestimate the path itself. It is really beautiful, but physical exhausting; mid-height footwear is not the best idea, even if this is elsewhere useful for trecking; a day for regeneration after two days walking might help to adopt yourself to the demands, and you should be prepared for rainy hours.

Route: SW coastal path, Padstow to St. Ives
Name: Lise
When: 27 July 2017

Norweigian flagWe had a wonderful time walking the coast from Padstow to St. Ives. Everything worked out as planned - starting with the good information we recieved before leaving home and all the way through luggage transfers and accomodations. The scenery was beautiful, the path was easy to follow (most of the way) and the detailed descriptions we received made it easy to find the places to stay.

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Woolacombe
Name: Andreas
When: 27 July 2017

German flagThank you for the perfect orangisation of our trip and the wonderful selection of accomodations. Perfect was the acc. in Comb Martin- less perfect in Ilfracombe.

We had a greate time in wonderful surroundings.

 

Route: Coast path from St Ives to Falmouth
Name: Bert and Nely Stuij
When: 27 July 2017

Netherlands flagVery nice and varied walk. For long term parking in St Ives the Rugby Club offers a good deal, a bit cheaper than the municipal car parks. B&B's were very good in most cases, top were the Chelsea House in Falmouth, the Rockridge house in Porthcurno and the Tinners Arms in Zennor. We were less enthousiastic about the Cape Cornwall Golf and Leisure club and the Chy An Albany in St Ives. All in all good choices though.

Weather was a bit variable, but we had a number of marvellous walking days. We went back to the Minnack Theatre after the walk, and enjoyed a performance there. It's often sold out, but a phone call on the day itself puts one on the waiting list, and apparently that works in most cases. It did in ours. We would surely recommend this walk to others, and thank you for your excellent organisation. It all ran very smoothly.

Route: South West Coast Path - St. Ives to Marazion
Name: Betsy
When: 25 July 2017

United States flagGreat trip!

Route: South West Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Lulworth Cove
Name: Marie
When: 24 July 2017

United Kingdom flagThanks, it was perfectly organised, the baggage tfr worked well and all the accommodation was excellent. We did find some of the diversions tricky to follow as they weren't that well signposted and several of out days were wet and windy which made some of the terrain a bit scary. Full credit to you though for your part, which was greatly managed.

Many thanks.

Route: South West Coast Path - Penzance to St Ives
Name: Anne-Gro and Tor
When: 24 July 2017

Norweigian flagThank you for your well planned trip. The baggage transport was perfect. The accommodation you have chosen was good, clean and with very nice hosts. The trail was pretty well marked, although we misunderstood the way into Zennor and came from another side than you explained.

The Zennor Chapel Guest House and the "Mermaid Room" were great and the dinner at the Tinner Arms pub was the best on the whole trip, highly recommended. The sight and the beautiful coast were amazing so even though we overrated our own capacity for long walks and spent longer time than we expected it has been a fantastic holiday. We will be happy to return another summer.

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to St Ives
Name: Verity
When: 24 July 2017

Australian FlagJust want to send a big thank you for facilitating our Coastal path walks in Devon and Cornwall.

All went extremely well with luggage transfer and accommodation choices and the maps and guide books provided allowed for a stress-free walk.

Many thanks for giving us the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful part of the country.

Route: St Ives to Marazion via St Michaels Way with Porthcurno
Name: William Moulton
When: 23 July 2017

American flagSt. Ives is incredible! Beautiful beaches and palm trees. Full of families having fun. Wife says it is something out of a James Bond movie.

Had a hard time finding the beginning of St. Michael's Way. Found the Holiday Park and that got us started. Not a well groomed trail here, think game trail with occasional markers. It is hard sometimes to fine the stiles on the other side of fields some times.

Loved walking the beach into Marazion. Mt. St. Michael's is a must see. There are tons of things to do over there. Wear boits to climb the slick, steep cobble stone road up to the castle. Portcurno was amazing! So much history, beautiful beaches, and Minack Theatre.

Route: St Ives - Penzance
Name: Sjur og Astrid
When: 23 July 2017

Norweigian flagWow... Fantastic, everything whent as planned.

Route: SWCP Exmouth to Poole
Name: Chris and Marijke
When: 23 July 2017

Netherlands flagOur 10-day hike at the Jurassic coast was a great success. The length of the sections was balanced, the chosen accommodations (ranging from simple to luxury) were all on or near the trail and near restaurants. We received a full english breakfast or equivalent every day. In two accommodations breakfast was not served untill 8.30 am, which we found a little late. Our suitcases were transported smoothly every day to our next stay. When we arrived they were usually already in the room.

The communication with the travel organization was pleasant and to the point. The day-to-day description excellent. In addition, we used a gps device with the latest gps tracks of the South West Coast Path from OpenStreetMap, which was really helpful. The walk was fantastic and exceeded our expectations. The variety was great. Initially we were a little sceptic that it would be the same landscape for ten days, but that was not the case at all.

Every day had its own atmosphere. Green hills, red cliffs, golden cliffs, white cliffs, pebble beaches, the undercliffs, a lagoon, big seaside resorts, tiny villages, holiday parks, chapels, castles, lighthouses, sheep, cows, grain fields etc. It all came along. And there were possibilities for refreshments during the day almost every day (villages, beach cafes).

We cannot point out one special highlight as there were so many. To name a few: The red cliffs near Sidmouth, historic Branscombe, Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs, Golden Cap, Abbotsbury, Portland Bill Lighthouse, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, The Lulworth Ranges and Tyneham, Old Harry Rocks (in stormy weather). The least part of the hike was Ferry Bridge (to Portland Island) in grey weather and rain. Just as variable as the environment was the weather. We had sunny days, cloudy days and a few rain showers. Only the last day of our hike the weather was really bad. Pouring rain all day and stormy wind gusts. The wind blew us from the trail (inland). But in a way, the force of nature was also very exciting. We thoroughly enjoyed this walk and the organization was flawless.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Rose C
When: 23 July 2017

French FlagBefore the holiday, we were very satisfied with the information you provided and with your reactivity.

During the holiday :

- we had no problem at all with the luggage transfer

- the B&Bs and the welcome were very good

- the breakfasts were gorgeous

- the final itinerary was very well documented and very helpful

- Geevor mining site was really worth the visit

We congratulate you.

The only problem was with the public footpath from Lamorna to Mousehole. As the weather forecast was bad, we wanted to shorten our walk so we took the bus to Lamorna turn and we wanted to get to the coast path a little after Lamorna, after the dangerous part you mentioned in this area. But the public footpath which appears on the OS explorer map is not well sign-posted and has been transformed into potatoe fields at some point. So we had to walk across some fields and we probably missed a nice part of the coast, just before Mousehole.

We don’t mind your displaying these comments on the website feedback.

We will recommend your agency should the occasion arise.

Route: Falmouth to Exmouth
Name: Emily S
When: 23 July 2017

USA FlagHi Encounter, Just responding to say that our walk was fabulous. I think other walkers should know how varied the terrain of the South West Coast Path is, both in terms of landscape and difficulty, on any given day. We totally embraced that, and could totally relax since you took care of all of the details for us. With our detailed itineraries, the mostly good signage, and the OS smartphone app with incredible GPS mapping, we never lost our way. If that's a help, by all means post it on your website. Looking forward to walking in England again soon!  Emily

Route: Pembrokeshire & Ceredigion Coast Path
Name: Victoria Hoffer
When: 20 July 2017

USA FlagA walking company that cannot be surpassed for their knowledge of the routes they book and for their personal service. I not only worked with Encounter for the Pembrokeshire Coast this year—every arrangement was perfect—but last summer they handled all arrangements for the entire Southwest Coast National Trail. Damon and his staff do not stop at making the reservations and arranging to have your luggage delivered, they tell you about tide times, route diversions, particular features of each day's walk, things to watch out for, suggest where you might have rest days and what there is to see. Their support begins when you start working with them and continues through your excursion. Truly they are a unique company that knows every step of the way you will be walking. No other company I have worked with that calls itself a "walking company" comes close to Encounter for service and expertise.

Route: South West Coast Path - Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Eva
When: 17 July 2017

The flag of SwedenThank you for a lovely holiday walking the SWCP! Fantastic views, great people and places to stay, and very clear instructions. We did not get lost at any point. Thanks also for the help regarding the temporary path diversion around Coverack due to the floods. All in all, everything went like clockwork! Cannot thank you enough and will definitely recommend you to others.

Route: SW Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Lulworth
Name: M-S
When: 16 July 2017

England flagA note to thank you for organising the walking trip for me. Impressive customer service. I would not hesitate to recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to anyone who likes expert support in organising a walking trip along the South West Coastal Path - as I have already done to several walkers encountered on my trip."

I had a fantastic time, and never got lost (but see below). Was very, very lucky with the weather too. Even the presence of wind and rain up the ridge outside Abbotsbury added to the atmosphere . And I had all the hills to myself. Then it was perfect or near perfect sunshine for all the other days while negotiating steep paths from time to time often on cliff edge.

The accommodation was great.

All the (few) fellow walkers I encountered were utterly charming. And wonderfully international too (English, Welsh, Dutch, German, Austrian ...).

BTW, the small path diversion advice given below and the annotated version on site was pretty useless if not misleading. Obviously designed by somebody who is clueless about walking.  Also there were zero diversion signs for that section. Luckily, GPS came to rescue, and there were fellow walkers to follow.

I am now hooked onto the coastal path and would like to do the whole thing, section by section. Next one to tackle: Brixham to Lyme Regis.

 

Route: Saints Way & Saint Michael's Way
Name: Henry Curtis
When: 16 July 2017

American flagReview of Walking Holiday – Sunday July 15th to Friday July 22nd Saints Way and St Michaels Way 2 Adults and 2 Children aged 16 & 11 Summary: Great walking and excellent route guidance. The Saints Way involved a lot of road walking and some busy roads, but even in July was very quiet. Lodging was very good. Would have appreciated a more comfortable accommodation near Lanlivery, after walking in torrential rain.

All connections worked well. Parents would definitely go again, kids are undecided. Day One: Arrival in Padstow: Our plan was to drive to Padstow, drop off the bags, drive on to Penzance and leave the car and then travel by train and bus to Padstow. The first challenge was getting the car close to the Golden Lion Pub, and after several attempts we had to park in the car park and walk down the hill. Good practice for the next day. Transit to Padstow worked fine and pub was comfortable and very hospitable. Enjoyed the Rojano’s Restaurant, no space at any of the Rick Stein establishments. (Tip: Scilly Parking in Penzance provided excellent secure parking for our cars)

Day Two: Padstow to Tregolls Farm – beautiful walking in sunny and warm conditions across well marked footpaths with friendly farmers and good views. Only one minor navigational error ascending Breock Down, where we followed the person in front. Fortunately, we spotted their mistake and helped them back onto the path. After a full day’s walking arrived at Tregolls Farm and enjoyed a beautiful evening meal and warm welcome.

Day Three: Tregolls Farm to Lanlivery: The day started warm and sunny with good paths and easy navigation. Didn’t like the long road walking on a busy road out of Llanivet, so were glad to reach the small hamlet of Fenton Pitts and views of Helman Tor. However, at this point the black clouds appeared on the horizon with strong winds and lightning visible over St Austell. From this point on the rest of the walk was a challenge to make the route in heavy rain through muddy lanes. We decided to make a dash for our overnight stop at Lanlivery. The pub food was ok. This location was chosen for it position on the route, but we would have preferred the short detour to Loswithiel.

Day Four: Lanlivery to Fowey and transfer to St Ives: After the storms and floods, the weather recovered and we made good progress on the route to Fowey. This involved a lot of road walking on quiet lanes and a friendly pub (Fisherman’s Arms) at Golant. We enjoyed an excellent lunch at the Well House tearoom in Fowey before the taxi ride to Par and onto to St Ives.

Cornerways Guest House was a great place, very hospitable host and we enjoyed an evening amongst the crowds of St Ives. (Tip: All the top dining in July is booked up so book in advance)

Day Five: St Michaels Way – St Ives to St Michaels Mount – This route was a lot busier than the Saints Way and was generally well maintained. A few pointers. There is an excellent café at the Una development, just 500m off the route on Tremcron Lane, perfectly located for the long uphill walk out of St Ives. Navigation between Beersheba and Bowl was difficult with no real waymarkings. (We weren’t the only ones making mistakes here). The ascent of Trencorn is well worth taking with a great view of St Michael's Mount.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Ciaran and Susan
When: 15 July 2017

Ireland flagWe have returned from our 8 days walking the itinerary you kindly provided.

The organisation of the trip was faultless and everything went off without a hitch. We had to forego walking one day due to terrible, and dangerous, weather conditions.

Baggage transport went without a hitch.

The scenery was beautiful, but coming from the West of Ireland we are a little spoiled, so our highlights here were some of the cove villages rather than the coast.

The walking was challenging, but invigorating. Our biggest complaint would be the very poor signage and waymarkers. Parts of the trail, particularly as you get nearer to Plymouth are so overgrown that it is almost impassible. I don't know who does the trail maintenance, but it needs attention.

In terms of fellow walkers, there were very few - rather surprising for the middle of the summer season.

Finally, the highlight of the trip was the food - ignoring pasties and fish and chips, the standard of food was very good with plenty of variety.

Thanks to Encounter Walking for organising the itinerary and your excellent service and I would have no hesitation recommending you to any walkers considering a trip.

Route: Plymouth to Lynmouth
Name: William Millman
When: 15 July 2017

United Kingdom flagJust completed the Plymouth to Lynmouth coast to coast trail incorporating the Two Moors Way and just now recovering! Have to send a big thank you to the encounterwalking team for their planning, preparation, guidance and choices , in particular of overnight stops.

Everything worked perfectly and the luggage transfer worked like clockwork. Loved the choice of overnight stops at the various Inns and Taverns - was able to get a great reintroduction to the UK local fine Ales and 'pub meals'. It was astonishing to me that it was possible to walk so far and not encounter mainstream car traffic or use mainstream roads. The journey was much tougher than I thought and on reflection would add a few more legs and include a rest day in the middle rather than the end. Wonderful scenery, route well marked and when I did stray the kindness of strangers very evident. Loved it!

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Combe Martin
Name: Julie
When: 15 July 2017

Netherlands flagThe luggage forwarding was perfect. Your help with the travel was also great. The guide, map and itinerary were all very helpful. We absolutely loved this whole section of the path. We liked the extra information in the guide. That small church (Culbone) for example, was really beautiful.

Route: SWCP Bude to Padstow and The Saints Way
Name: Wenche
When: 14 July 2017

Norway flagThank you for all help with our walk. It was some wonderful days. We are satisfied with everything from the first contact with you.

The paths were clearly marked at the coast. Good for us, because the walk between Crackington Haven and Boscastle we had fog and could not see so much.

When we walked The Saints Way, we had to know all the time where we were on the map to be sure we were on the right track.

Thank you for helping us, we hope to be back in beautiful Cornwall soon.

Best regards

Wenche

Route: SWCP Westward Ho! To Padstow
Name: Steve & Sue B
When: 10 July 2017

England flagThe second week of the SWCP is quite challenging but the notes form Encounter warned us of that so were well prepared. Accommodation was all of a good standard and very welcoming.

The last night at Rick Stein's was a lovely touch and made a great finale to the week. Likewise the Old School in Port Isaac where we emerged after breakfast into a film crew shooting Doc Martin.

Very well organised Encounter! We used Encounter as it offered "dog friendly" options and Ziggy was well looked after all along the route.

Only suggestion for improvement is to persuade the accommodation to offer an earlier breakfast to allow an early start on the path. Oh, and cancel the rain!

Route: Weymouth - Lulworth; Corfe-Swanage-Studland
Name: Steinar Stølsnes
When: 10 July 2017

Norweigian flagSecond year with Encounter and everything went smoothly this year as well! Luggage transfers worked nicely, accommodations were OK to excellent, path was easy to follow. Weymouth to Lulworth Cove was a very scenic walk, however the weather was not good. A bit strenous as we got closer to Lulworth.

Recommend staying an extra day in Lulworth as it was a really nice village. And do stay at Cove House! Corfe Castle to Swanage; excellent walk along Nine Barrows Down to Ulwell with a break at the pub then up to the ridge again an towards Ballard Point and back to Swanage. Swanage to Studland. Easy walk to Old Harry Rocks and towards Studland, then we took the bus to Bournemouth. Encounter Walking did everything perfectly for us once more! Thanks!.

Route: 100 Mile Challenge
Name: I & S
When: 10 July 2017

United Kingom flagA challenge indeed! Very well organised by Encounter with great notes provided and all transfers and accommodation as anticipated. If you are considering doing this, we thought that the average daily distance in benign weather was fine for the first five days (but we wouldn't have wanted it to be any further!), but any extreme weather, as we had on one day, makes it a bit of a route march - we found ourselves walking from 9 til 4 minimum every day with few and only short stops and we don't consider ourselves slow walkers.

The length of the last two days (20 & 17 miles respectively with the spot on navigation required on an 'artificial' route) would have been more than was enjoyable for us , so with a poor weather forecast for the last day we adapted this to a one day circuit of Bodmin Moor, which made for a nice end to a good walk. We added in a rest day in Fowey which we were very glad to have done.

Route comments - SWCP Boscastle to Port Issac - strenuous first day but worth it - the path is quite loose and footing tricky at times, especially in the wind and rain . You spend much of your time looking down, not looking at the great views.

Saints Way - a nice contrast to SWCP . Route notes - After crossing the A39, a Saints Way sign is missing at the kink in the path halfway up the stretch towards the top of St Breoch Downs. You should bear right but a farmer told us many people end up going straight on until they realise that after a mile of downhill they have gone wrong and have to double back. The footpath outside Withiel is still badly flooded and impassable after a good period of dry weather. The diversion to Retire is no longer and perfectly good. Make that the route?

The second Saints Way day, Lanivet to Fowey was particularly scenic and enjoyable - our favourite. Overall we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Service was excellent and people very friendly almost without exception. Thanks to all at Encounter for the great service too.

Route: Jurassic Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: Ewan Warren
When: 10 July 2017

England flagThe holiday was a terrific success. It is a spectacular section of coast and it is hard to imagine that there is a better way to appreciate it than to walk it.

We all enjoyed the mix of accommodation, whether it was traditional B&B, country hotel or a blend of the two.

The luggage transfers worked flawlessly - what a great service.

We are now thinking about our next walk - perhaps Minehead to Westward Ho! - and shall certainly be using Encounter Walking Holidays when we come to book this.

Thanks to all at Encounter.

Ewan Warren 

Route: Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Torunn and Inger
When: 09 July 2017

My friend and I walked from Westward Ho! To Padstow in July 2017. And we had 8 wonderful days of walking. We chose the Standard Route, but with an extra overnight stay in Morwenstow at The Bush Inn, as the whole section from Hartland Quay to Bude is very long and challenging. Our experience with Encounter Walking Holidays has been brilliant from the day I made my first enquiries, and all the way through. All info and maps are accurate and all our overnight stays were really lovely. And the transport of our luggage went smoothly.

I appreciate that we get several accommodation options with web links ahead of booking, so we know what we get. I also loved the final email a few weeks before the walk, were we got all necessary info about the paths every day and good tips about refreshment possibilities (or the lack of it) along the paths. The walking was often quite challenging, but very rewarding and marvellous and with spectacular views. The lushness and fresh smells of soil and plants (and farm animals) are so lovely. And we loved the changing scenery through fields of grass and rye, cliffs, valleys, forests, streams and beaches and the sights of peregrine falcons and other birds. And we had the ocean with us all the time with the sounds from the waves and the changing tides.

The paths were very well maintained and so was the signposting. We found it necessary to wear long hiking trousers due to all the bramble and nettles, and the possibility of tics. We wore ankle-high hiking boots. And a good sunscreen is mandatory. We have fallen in love with the South West Coast Path, and I have already contacted Encounter and asked for a quote for the section Padstow to St. Ives in 2018. Thank you Encounter Walking Holidays; for making our walk so wonderful.

Route: Coleridge Way - Nether Stowey to Lynmouth and Lynmouth to Minehead
Name: Frank and Shirley
When: 08 July 2017

Scotland flagWe have recently returned from this lovely walk. It was our first time to this part of England and our first experience of a long-distance path in this country. We had a great time. Even the one rainy day was enjoyable.

The route directions and maps were excellent. We only went wrong once when we did not trust the finger pointer because there was no apparent path in that direction (point 59 on map and directions). We were back on track in a few minutes.

Incidentally, the "rugged alternative route" on the SWCP Porlock to Minehead is now signed on the ground as the main route with the easier route as the alternative. We took the rugged route and were very pleased that we did. It is a beautiful walk and only rugged due to the many ups and downs at the combes.

We would also recommend the alternative route through Embelle and Culbone Woods between Lynmouth and Porlock: there was no difficulty with that route, even for us old'uns. All accommodation was good.

All arrangements worked fine. We would certainly use Encounter again if we arrange any similar trips.

Route: Devon Coast-to-Coast (Two Moors Way)
Name: George and Hugh
When: 08 July 2017

United Kingdom flagWe had a wonderful adventure and had the route to ourselves a surprising amount of the time. The organisation of bag transfer was flawless, so full marks to Encounter. For our walk, we opted for the "moderate" walking distances and found that the days with 17-19 miles were just too much. We felt it didn't leave time to stop and appreciate the views and interesting spots along the way. Also, many of the B&B's don't want to do breakfast before 8:00 which makes for a rather late start if you're walking those distances.

We're a physically fit pair in our early 50's, so hope the guide of 10-15 miles a day being plenty is helpful when you're planning.

Also - a note to the Dartmoor Parks - your insistence on a lack of any markings on the moor is rather unhelpful. The only time we wandered off the route was because of the treacherous section at the end of the Red Lake trackbed - and it could so easily have been simply marked. But it's a stunning walk with some breath-taking sections (Exmoor is such a glory) and we recommend it highly. Our top tip would be to chop out some of the dull stuff after leaving Drewsteignton and before reaching Exmoor to leave more time for the moors and the coasts. We'll be back for more - thanks, Encounter!

Route: Lands End Coast Path - St Ives to Penzance
Name: Nils K
When: 03 July 2017

Denmark flagWe had a fantastic walk. We have been very pleased with the co-operation with Encounter. You have done a really fine planning for us. The informations we received at the very first contact were obliging and friendly. The material you send beforehand was informative and gave us great expectations, that were fulfilled. Especially the last paper was convenient as it had all the informations that we needed for the walk. It made the planning from our side very easy and comfortable. You was open minded to our wishes. The suggestions to the stages on our walk was very well planned.

The accommodations were excellent with very kind hosts. We learned much about the living in Cornwall by this contact. The transportation of luggage functioned fully to our satisfaction.

The track was fine, only we had problems with the track at Lamorna. We tried to find another way, but experienced that it is not easy to find the public footpath even if the map shows that there should be one.

And as you also had created a splendid weather to us ;-); it rained only one hour in a week of walking, we can only be very pleased with your service. We will surely come back to you, and recommend you to all the walkers we know.

Route: Westwood Ho! to St Just
Name: Rowena
When: 03 July 2017

Brilliant two weeks doing next phase of SW coast path, only one drizzly day and one sea fret day. Loved variety of accommodation from family home B&B's where I met some interesting people, to historical pubs with links with writers, (Jamaica Room at Cornerways, St Ives really did have a Daphne du Maurier feel and The Tinner's Arms in Zennor felt like a haunt of D H Lawrence) to a Youth Hostel with a school party in - well behaved not at all noisy as I thought they might be.

Did a couple of half days - so made the effort to go up Rocky Valley to St Nectan's Glen a favorite haunt I have not been to for 12+ years. At the waterfall their new viewing platforms for the main fall and round to what has been a hidden one are excellent and well worth the charge. The road walk from top of Valley to the waterfall is not pleasant though. Didn't find the actual route through Newquay but it didn't really matter.

Ferry over River Camel boatman really helpful loved his dog in the prow. Felt really chuffed that managed even the long days and also the strenuous ones - thanks to gel insoles, and the sheer beauty of the setting.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Amroth to St Dogmaels
Name: Gabriele W
When: 02 July 2017

German flagThanks very much for the lovely organisation of my trip to Wales. I spent a wonderful time in that gorgeous country. The weather was very good to walk, only a little rain. I met nice people walking the coast path and I talked to them even they didn't book the holiday with you! But: I persuaded them, that encounter walking is the best and gave them your adress. So I hope, your fan-club will increase! (Book with encounter walking, and you'll have sunny weather).

I'm looking forward to coming back to Britain soon (in my easter holidays, it's a long time).

Route: St Ives to Falmouth
Name: Lyn Schnug
When: 02 July 2017

USA FlagThis is the best company for a personalized experience. People ask me why I used a company to book my walking holiday. Isn't everyone on the internet these days? Perhaps they are. But a website can't tell which hosts will be helpful and which won't be. Which really have superb breakfasts verse good enough. Every single accommodation booked was excellent - far better than I would have found on my own. But it is the Encounter Walking staff and their on going support that sets them apart. I had been ill and hadn't gotten in as much training as needed for 14 miles plus days. I advised them of this beforehand and they provide a detailed list of how we could shorten everyday. It made our holiday enjoyable instead of a grind. Again, they are wonderful.

Route: The Coleridge Way - Relaxed Route
Name: David
When: 01 July 2017

Swiss flagWe had a wonderful experience.

It started with very detailed information sent timely by mail and upon request an additional GPX-file for my GPS device.

Since this was our first long distance walk we selected the more relaxed version. On most days we had some energy left at the end of the day and so added some extra local rounds :).

Highlights were the excursion to Williton, passing through meadows with sheep and wild rabbits and then visiting the old railway station there. Another high point was the detour to Dunkery Beacon, it's moorland offered fantastic views and several groups of wild ponies!

The route was very well signposted on the vast majority of the trail and when it wasn't then the trail directions and our GPS soon sent us on the right track again.

Organization wise everything went smoothly.

We came back from this walk with so many beautiful memories that we already started thinking about our next walk. And Encounter Walking Holiday will be our first choice.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Brixham
Name: Kathrin
When: 01 July 2017

German flagHi Ellie, Damon, and the rest of your team!

Just wanted to let you know that we finally arrived back home and had amazing six days on the coast path! We've got quite a tan and like always hundreds of pictures and more miles to check off from our swcp list. :)

Thank you again for your help with everything, not just the initial booking but also the trouble we had afterwards.

Best wishes!

Kathrin

Route: St Michaels Way - St Ives to Marazion Lizard Coast Path - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Lucie M
When: 01 July 2017

Swiss flagHello. Our walk in Cornwall from St Ives to Falmouth in 6 days was very pleasant. We have walked into a really magnificent country. The weather was fine and warm and the people at the accomodation very friendly.

Best thanks also to Sue and Ben for the perfect luggage transfers.

All was very well organized and the daily route comments have good supplemented the maps and guids you had supplied.

Thank you for these great walking hollidays in Cornwall!

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to Falmouth
Name: Thea
When: 30 June 2017

Danish flagEverything was as usual well organized. All accomodations were comfortable and with friendly hosts. I had some very nice re-visits. And where I was replaced, it was as good as or better than where I stayed last time.

Cliff House (or cottage?) has been modernized and is much better than last time. With small, but very comfortable well furnished beautyful rooms. And a new, very helpful and welcoming host.

The diversions you mention are all still in place, but very short.

I had outstanding weather. Only one day with hard rain, and one morning with misty rain. 

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Barnstaple
Name: Ian R
When: 27 June 2017

USA FlagAll went well, no problems whatsoever. The staff at each hotel/B&B were super friendly and efficient. Your notes were very helpful. Bottom line: another splendid hike. This is the third time you have done a really great job for me.

On the Woolacombe to Barnstaple section I decided to take the bus from Braunton, less because I was tired than because I wasn't enthusiastic about the flat walk along the river -- but that was my fault for not looking more carefully at the route beforehand. I think that, if I were to do this particular walk again, I would end it at Woolacombe; but that's just my personal preference for the type of terrain I enjoy.

Many thanks.

Ian

Route: Two Moors Way - Widecombe to Lynmouth
Name: Agneta
When: 27 June 2017

Swedish flagAs anticipated we had some problems finding our way. This was especially true at Exmoor (last day), where we lost track amidst a herd of bulls…

We had an idea that there would be a nice beer or tea every day at arrival. Maybe this was off-season? Many of the pubs were closed between 3 and 6 and there were no other options for a snack.  At several occasions, we had to just sit and wait for the opening.

Some information on our itinerary was not quite up to date. The Drogo Castle is closed for renovation and the Exmoor Forest Inn restaurant was not open all day from noon.

Encounter Walking - Thanks Agneta will check with the Exmoor Forest Inn about new opening hours. Just to note for other walkers Castle Drogo is open but is undergoing long term work  however you can still visit the Castle and Gardens there is just less of it accessible this year

 

Route: Dartmoor Way (Part)
Name: David & Elizabeth
When: 26 June 2017

Australian flagWe were very impressed with Encounter from our first contact. They tailored the walk to suit the time we had available and made good suggestions. Had no major problems with the notes and the accommodation was all comfortable, although my wife does wonder why English hotels have such small teacups in the rooms. You couldn’t control the weather unfortunately and we took a taxi from Dartmeet to Buckfastleigh on the last day as our feet and shoes were so wet. Will have to do that section next time. Very impressed with Encounter and Dartmoor.

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to St Ives
Name: Brigid
When: 24 June 2017

Greetings,

We leave St.Ives today. There were 14 on the Padstow/St Ives walk.  All went wonderfully and we were very happy with accommodations, your daily trip notes and the special listings of options for walkers, short walkers and non- walkers.

I will give more detailed feedback in a week or so but wanted you to know we had 100% satisfaction with your work. Thank you!

Brigid

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to St Ives
Name: Jill and Gary
When: 23 June 2017

USA FlagThis is quite a lovely hike during which we experienced a variety of weather, from some sun to rain and high winds.

The scenery is beautiful--walking above beaches and cliffs as well as on beaches. All of our accommodations were great, and we ate very good food.

All of our luggage was delivered on time. We are impressed with Encounter Walking and their professionalism and would highly recommend them.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: steve w
When: 23 June 2017

England flagwe much enjoyed our walking week apart from the weather over the last couple of days. we stayed in some great places especially Mevagissey where it was Feast week, so lots going on in the pubs and restaurants.

Some of the walk was particulary tough especially the stretch by Rafaels Cliff where the footpath was very overgrown and slippery.

Route: Two Moors Way
Name: Helga, Martha and Liane
When: 23 June 2017

German flagWe really enjoyed our tour through Dartmoor. It was a good contrast to the coastal path.

First day we missed our way at the second MW Marker Stone and reached Shipley Bridge. So we had a little more to go, but reached Scorriton in time. We had a misty Weather,but the other days were good.

Thank you very much for the good Organisation

Route: Saints Way - Padstow to Fowey
Name: Judith R
When: 21 June 2017

Australia flagDoing the Saints' Way walk on my own felt like a big adventure, which I was a bit nervous about, but I had the most wonderful experience and it is one of the highlights of my extended trip away. I didn't get properly lost (my biggest fear) and didn't encounter any unfriendly farm animals (my next biggest fear). I so much enjoyed being in the outdoors, the wonderful views, the history. 

Day 1:

It was a bit discouraging to lose my way when barely out of Padstow, trying to get to Dennis Hill. The problem was that there is a Saints' Way signpost pointing left at the campsite gate, appearing to point along the laneway leading to the farm (with another campsite further along) - while the pathway that should be followed is hidden behind it. It would probably be more helpful if the Saints' Way signpost was on the left side of the road, and actually placed on the Saints' Way path. To add to the confusion, the guide note instructions about a campsite and a hedge can also be applied when on the wrong track for a short while.

The path was very narrow and overgrown on a property just out of Mellingey. What are the legalities relating to public access on private land - are the owners obliged to keep them cleared?

After Trenance the path dwindles from a paved, well-used lane to become an unpaved but well-used lane, then becomes overgrown, then narrows to a foot-track, then an overgrown foot-track with overhanging branches - it was so good to see a gate at the end with the Saints' Way symbol to be reassured I was still going the right way!

Day 2:

I was lucky to find some helpful information in a guidebook at Tregolls' Farm for getting in and out of Withiel (“British Footpath Guide: The Saints' Way - The Spirit of Kernow” by Fred & Donna Austin - no longer seems to be in print, unfortunately). Without this I would have run into some difficulties the next day.

Finding the way to and out of Withiel from Tregolls' Farm:

1. The stile at Tregustick leads into a field that can be very muddy. Instead, use the farm lane about 10 metres west of the stile, which leads down to the bridges over the streams below the field. (This lane is half-owned by Lester of Tregolls' Farm and the detour was also suggested by Marilyn).

2. Beyond Black Hay Farm there's a misleading Saints' Way signpost at a gate. The arrow appears to direct walkers through the gate along the public path marked on the OS map. But this is not the way to go - you need to follow the laneway uphill to get to Withiel.

3. Leaving Withiel, the stile and fields are quite overgrown at the start. The Austin guidebook had useful instructions for navigating the hedges through the fields correctly.

The flooded lane near Retire was under water, despite the week of hot weather preceding my walk, so I took the detour via Retire. The first stile was very overgrown, and I found the directions in Retire not as clear as the map would suggest, but found the right way when retracing my steps.

A lot of road walking on the 2nd and 3rd day - while less pleasant than fields and woods, there was reduced anxiety about navigation.

Both the inn and shop were closed for renovations in Lanivet - but the fish & chip cafe over the road was nicer than I expected - there were more options than fish & chips available, and very friendly owners.

Day 3:

The one time I decided to detour from the marked route was just before Torfrey. There were a couple of horses in the field the route needed to cross, and they were standing in the corner where the stile was. I could see from the map that I could easily continue on by road - the field crossing just cut off a corner and reduced the distance - so I chose to stay on the road and avoid close contact with the horses.

Maybe it would be helpful to point out that the area above Golant, near Penquite Farm, is where St Sampson's Church is located - before continuing on into the village. I saw an un-named sign to a church and I did look for it, but couldn't see it. I continued on down to Golant (quite a dangerous section of road, as it's narrow and well-used) and only then discovered that the church back up the hill before the village was in fact St Sampson's - and I didn't have the energy to face the climb back up.

Pastie and salad for lunch at Fisherman's Arms in Golant. I did find that the route into and through the village is a bit unclear on the map - this was the one time I had to check my phone app map to reconnect with the route.

It might be helpful to point out that the pathway out of Golant is a narrow foot-track - I had a moment of uncertainty when the roadway came to an end, and parked cars concealed the track continuing on.

The path through woodland uphill from Bodmin Pill was one of the prettiest parts of the walk - so glad it was there to enjoy at the end.

Random observations:

Churches along the way now have a passport and stamps - I've no idea about the passport or how you get one, but I did print the stamps in my journal. It was a bit sad to get to Fowey and find that the stamp has gone missing from St Finbars. However, if you are there for a church service on a Sunday, as I was, the rector will happily sign.

Surprised at how remote the walk felt, given that it is mostly surrounded by farmland.

Appreciation of a wide range of landscapes, both natural and man-made - mud flats, pastures and crops, woodland, hills, valleys, dry parched fields and muddy ground, busy roads, quiet lanes, sweeping views and narrow, hedged paths. Wildflowers. Longstones and remains of neolithic stone structures. Stone walls and bridges. Ancient churches. Well-kept, historic village cottages.

A' road sections were particularly dangerous - no verge, fast traffic in both directions. Also needed to watch for traffic on narrow lanes - cars could squeeze by, but I was lucky there were lay-bys near when I needed to evade a large farm vehicle and a bus at different times.

Always grateful for the encouragement of seeing that Saints' Way symbol when it appeared. More signage along the path - at any junction or change which could cause confusion or uncertainty - would be helpful. There are places where there are public footpaths, sometimes shared with Saints' Way, sometimes not, but the signage is inconsistent.

Friendly encounters along the way - the occasional local out walking their dog, and one other group of walkers going in the other direction.

Accommodation - all were excellent, very comfortable, welcoming and hospitable with good food.

Luggage transfers all done without a hitch.

Weather - two cool, cloudy days - perfect walking weather, with the heat of the preceding week having dried up most of the boggy sections; third day quite drizzly - soggy feet from long wet grass to start the day - but improved in the afternoon.

The additional guide notes were helpful - especially where potential areas of confusion were pointed out and I knew to take extra care.

Would recommend people carry a map pouch - it was quite difficult reading and integrating the three different sets of information - the map, the guide notes & the information cards.

Walking poles - bought from Mountain Warehouse store in Padstow - so glad to have had them.

Distance and difficulty level were about right each day - enough to offer a challenge, not too much to cope with.

Route: Coleridge Way - Nether Stowey to Lynmouth
Name: Angela
When: 19 June 2017

England flagWe both had a great time - it was an incredible experience, though the first two days were unbearably hot and we had to adjust the walking a bit for my dog who just gave up after the first day of walking in such heat.  Still it was better than rain!

In terms of feedback - we have a few suggestions which we hope might be helpful for you and other walkers doing the trail with a dog.

1.  Generally the instructions were fine, but we went wrong several times due to the fact that the information was sometimes ambiguous, often not quite clear or specific enough and occasionally there was too much information.  Also some of the landmarks that we had to look out for were missing.  i.e. gates, lack of signs etc.  We met another couple who had the same problems - so our suggestion would be for someone to re-do the walk with the instructions to hand and bring them up to date.

2. The accommodation was good, comfortable and welcoming. Thank you so much for emailing ahead about my vegan diet - I think all the places we stayed were aware and had made allowances which was great.  The bag collection system worked really well - and nothing got waylaid or lost!  Great we didn't have to worry about that side of things. The taxi pick up to Porlock Weir worked really well  too - no problems at all.

3.  As this was a dog walking holiday, it occurred to me that whilst all the places we stayed were dog friendly - it might be helpful if they were also able to provide some dog facilities and accessories - i.e. a tin or two of dog food, poo bags, dog wipes, dog towel, water etc.  Because of the heat a lot of the dog food that I was carrying got overly warm (yuk) and its also heavy when carrying a week's worth in your suitcase.  It might be something that those doing the walk wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for. Just an idea.

The walk was something I'd always wanted to do, and having a goal to achieve each day was great. It was a lot harder than my sister and I (and probably the dog) thought it would be due to the undulating landscape and difficult terrain underfoot. But we did it, and have the certificates to prove it! A great achievement, a lovely walk and something I would certainly do again.  Thank you for all your help, encouragement and efficient organisation in finding the accommodation, sending maps etc.  It was fabulous.

Route: Exmouth to Weymouth
Name: Cor and Marianne
When: 19 June 2017

Netherlands flagThe weather during our 11 days was beautiful. Sun all over! only in Weymouth a rainy day. The scenery was great . Most days we could easily find our way thanks to the signs and the good maps you provided. Only: Leaving Lime Regis there were problems on the original route. The path was gone of unsafe and we had to walk a long stretch along the A3052 to Charmouth. The path to Portland was - in the neighbourhood of 'the military areas' much overgrown and there was a lack of signs. We enjoyed all accomodation. In Lyme Regis, Abottsbury and Portland were the best and most welcoming B&B 's. We appreciated the route Undercliff: a cool path on a very warm day! Last but not least: Luggage transport without any trouble. Well organised, thank you!

Route: Saints Way-Western Leg-Fowey to Padstow
Name: Jackie Chambers
When: 19 June 2017

United States flagThis is our second walking holiday through Encounter, and it will not be our last. We did the Saints Way (through Luxulyan-my sister and I have GreatGreat Grandparents buried in the Church Cemetery there). Accommodations were perfect, and our hosts at each of our stays were very helpful, and tried to assist us in any way we asked.

The Western Saints Way is far less traveled than the Eastern Saints Way, and by the time we came through in June, areas along the trail were quite overgrown (a machete would be helpful-to bushwhack through the brambles, gorse, etc.-but I doubt I could get on a plane with one!). We really had to keep our eyes on the map, and the trail-and even so, we did get lost a few times......but not for long. The Saints Way signage to get to the Camel Estuary from Little Petherick seemed to be nonexistent-but two of us have done this walk before, so we remembered where to turn. The footpath leading into Little Petherick from Mellingey was very overgrown-we were glad we wore our "armored " hiking pants-shorts would have had our legs cut to ribbons by the brambles! Leaving Luxulyan, the signage was again nonexistent, and we wandered around trying to find the trail for a good half-hour. This leg (from Luxulyan to Tregolls Farm) travels through a boggy area that, given the time of year, was VERY overgrown. We lost the path in the middle, but eventually found it again, after climbing over downed trees, and around lots of undergrowth.

We felt like explorers in ages past! We spent lunchtime on the day of the Summer Solstice (June 21) up on Helman Tor. It was spectacular! What views! Lots of lane walking, with tall hedgerows on both sides, which leads to a wonderful sense of isolation (except when farm equipment passes you, and you need to press into the hedges to save yourselves!). As was mentioned in another review, Lanivet was closed down tight when we came through......Pub being remodeled, and the shop next door closed, but the tea rooms' owner took pity on us, and opened so we could use the facilities, and purchase food and drink.

That's what I love about Cornwall-the people! Everyone we met was helpful, and very kind. We are already contemplating our next Encounter Walking adventure! Thank you!

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Westward Ho!
Name: Sunita
When: 17 June 2017

United Kingdom flagHello,

We are back home after walking the SWCP from Minehead to Westward Ho - we had a great time and managed to complete it okay, even though the weather was very challenging . We thought the scenery was stunning though, and the path is very well signposted and we had no trouble finding our way. Thank you for your efficient organisation- all the hotels were clean and comfortable and very welcoming.

Thank you for sorting out the only we problem we had at Minehead . We were rather dismayed at first, since we were all tired at the end of the journey- but you were so prompt and helpful in making sure we were not inconvenienced- so we would like to commend your customer service. We will probably be back in touch soon to arrange the next leg of our challenge!

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to Newquay
Name: Jetze and Marjan
When: 17 June 2017

Encounter arranged for us accommodation and luggage transfer for 8 stages along the South West Coast Path.

One week before the originally planned starting date, family circumstances forced us to postpone the trip for two weeks. Encounter re-arranged it all, at no extra cost, in a very friendly and helpful way. A great performance, really. We accepted all Encounter's proposals for accommodation and were rewarded with very good B&Bs and Hotels, located very conveniently with respect to the route (and on the final day with respect to the bus stop for returning home the next day, perfect).

The information provided by Encounter on reaching accommodation, contact numbers for taxis, buses, refreshment facilities along the route, possible issues on the route, etc. was extensive and very helpful, and much more than ever experienced on other similar holidays with other organisations. T

he route itself is a gem. We walked Bude-Boscastle and Boscastle-Port Isaac in two days. These are long stretches, while the previous one (Hartland Quay-Bude) is a serious stage one as well. Some walkers do the Bude-Port Isaac section in 3 stages (overnight in Crackington Haven and Tintagel), which may be a good idea, although Boscastle is great! We walked Padstow-Porthcothan the other way around, by taking an early bus from Padstow to Porthcothan. Next day we walked Porthcothan-Newquay after taking the same early bus from Padstow. Reason was the limited accommodation at Porthcothan, but actually it was fun to do with an enjoyable bus trip and two nights the same B&B has its advantages, while Padstow is a good place to stay.

At Morvenstow, the Rectory Team Rooms (duly mentioned by Encounter) are a bit off-route, but are so excellent, that one should simply standardise the detour as being part of the route!

with thanks to Encounter and all people met along the route Jetze and Marjan

Route: South West Coast Path - Port Isaac to Penzance
Name: Cynthia and Martin
When: 17 June 2017

USA FlagWe "encountered" no problems on our hike apart from some awfully hot days and some very rainy ones, none occurring during moderate routes! We clawed our way through Zennor during a windy and rainy day... and then took a day off to visit a tin mine and do some other sightseeing rather than deal with another truly miserable wet-boot hike! We did not regret that and we all really enjoyed touring the Geevor Tin Mine that day. We did regret that we were at The North Inn in Pendeen that day because we could not make use of their pretty outdoor spaces: the tables and chairs and picnic table outside our windows; it was way too cold, wet and violently windy! We may have to return to walk that section we missed!

Everything was on schedule, even the ferries. Our luggage was always waiting for us and we even got to meet and thank the cheerful "luggage guy" one morning. Our rooms were clean and comfortable; we had wonderful breakfasts and we really appreciated all that you coordinated for us.

Thank you so very much!

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Pembroke to Fishguard
Name: Steve M
When: 15 June 2017

USA FlagsWe are 2 walkers age 70+ from USA and our objective was to see a good stretch of the endless scenic coastline of Pembrokeshire, walking 6-10 miles a day, taking side trips to see other sights, with collateral interests in birds, islands, geology, native plants and historic monuments. When traveling together our rate of speed is about 1 mph because we stop often to look and photograph.

Encounter Walking was a good choice because you planned a custom trip for us and your arrangements worked out very well and the 30+ page instructions were excellent.

Halfway through the trip my wife Jan injured her knee with a false step on Skomer island, after which her mobility was limited; she had to bus or taxi to the next evening destination and we lost a couple of days' walks getting her there and also getting medical attention ( A & E in Haverfordwest by taxi from St. Davids.) We found hosts at some B&Bs to be very helpful and are grateful that these proprietors are most willing and able to go out of their way to help their guests. This kind of service is exceptional and beyond expectations at the average hotel or vacation stay.

The bus infrastructure along the route is also just great and really helped out with our special mobility issue. The Celtic Coaster around St. Davids meant that Jan could rendezvous with me for an afternoon lunch after I walked a stretch of the path, and it makes it possible for all walkers to walk a section of the peninsula of any length and return easily to the city.

We're a little naive about cell phones and were surprised how cheap a phone plus 100 minutes are in Europe. We finally bought one at Tesco in Fishguard Dock and it was valuable later on in making arrangements for Jan; next time we'll buy two to keep in communication. It might be useful for North Americans if the notes tell where phones can be purchased; we were surprised to find them in a grocery.

Highlights of the trip for us include: + The Stacks, the Green Bridge, and their guillemot rookeries. It wasn't made quite clear to us that the MoD is generally open on the weekends, so we were unsure until the last minute whether this section would be open on the Saturday we planned to walk it. + Finding a peregrine falcon nest with chicks on the cliffs south of Angle. + Skomer Island and its puffins. Requires an hour's early morning queue; well worth the detour even for Path geeks; anyone is charmed & changed by seeing these creatures close up. + Weather extremes: we had gorgeous sun up to St Davids, then cool gray weather, and finally two days of wind and spray around Strumble Head; then sunny days to go home.

I really enjoyed the stormy weather days, especially after having done it! + With Jan's knee problem: there was almost always a cozy pub just a short walk from our B&B; that's just the structure of a Welsh village that you don't find elsewhere. + Our planned extra days in St. Davids worked out well with Jan's knee issue; we were able to get medical consultation without losing days in our schedule, and we had time to settle in to see the city, the cathedral and Oriel y Parc, plus do two stretches of the path around the peninsula.

We would do a trip of this kind again, leg issues permitting, and would visit Wales again; it's a great destination.

Addendum

I’ve written notes about our walk on the website, but forgot to add that the luggage transfers were all conducted without a hitch and we got excellent service from SW Luggage Transfers.  I believe that the Fishguard party was even prepared to transport my wife with the bag from Pwll Deri to Fishguard because of her injured knee; we were given a ride by German friends at the hostel so that proved to be unnecessary, but we appreciated the flexibility offered.

Steve M

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Broad Haven to St Dogmaels
Name: Tom and Patty
When: 14 June 2017

United States of America flagThis was our second walk using Encounter and once again everything went off without a hitch. Accommodations varied between good and great and hosts/hostesses most welcoming and helpful. A special shout out to Helen at Anchor Guest House in Broad Haven, Chris at Manor Town House in Fishguard and Meg at the Old Vicarage in Moylegrove for being extraordinary. We had several outstanding meals, including Cwtch in St David's and Meg's cooking at the Old Vicarage in Moylegrove and The Shed in Porthgain.

The path itself is as beautiful as it is challenging. We found it more difficult than the portions of the Southwest Coast Path we've walked. Also, the high weeds on the sections beyond Newport really need to be trimmed. We literally could not see where to put our feet. Maybe the path manager could find a volunteer with a weed eater. I also want to share one of many reasons Encounter is the only company we would consider booking with in this part of the world.

The walk between Trefin and Fishguard requires 2 days. Typically one would walk half way, wait for a taxi or bus in a field somewhere that may or may not have shelter and cell service, be taken back or onward, then taxi back and complete the walk the next day. When planning the trip, Damon suggested we taxi half way in the morning and walk back, then taxi half way again the next morning and walk on. No waiting on a taxi at the end of a long walk. Brilliant! Other walkers we met, using well know companies, said "why weren't they offered that option?" Because they didn't book with Encounter?

Route: South West Coast Path - Morwenstow to Padstow
Name: Dennis & Angela
When: 14 June 2017

England flagHello to all you Encounters,

Just e-mailing to say how much we enjoyed our latest walk. As usual everything went smoothly and the accommodation at all our stops was excellent. I think we realised more this time the difference between the B&B's, which were friendlier and perhaps more chaotic, and the hotels/pubs which were more organised, tidier but less personal.

I don't think we have anything that we need to draw to your attention as everything was exactly what we expected/wanted.

As usual the luggage transfers went without a hitch - please thank them for us as this is possibly the last time they will be transferring our luggage.

Thanks once again for all help over the last 5/6 years.

Route: The Two Moors Way
Name: Annette & Jeanette
When: 13 June 2017

England flagI am writing to thank you for helping my sister and I to successfully complete the 2-moors way walking holiday.  Your organisation, information and 'extra information' proved very helpful.  The guide book was particularly useful. 

We found that the Dartmoor walks were less clearly signed than Exmoor but some of that was due to our lack of observation and inexperience of map reading. My husband Ken was able was able to contact you on one occasion and spoke to a member of your staff and they were very empathic towards our dilemma. We did eventually found our way out of the fields but did note that some of the farmers didn't welcome walkers and bushes etc covered the signs but good observation is what is needed!

Please feel free to include our evaluation in any of your reviews....

Thankyou

Annette  & Jeanette

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Barbara W
When: 13 June 2017

USA FlagOther than the fact that the nine days we hiked the SWCP from June 14th to June 23rd, was the hottest prolonged spell in June since 1976, we had a wonderful time.  Not a drop of rain, plus endless sunshine and clear skies made for some memorable hikes and amazing photos -- is the sky really that blue in the UK?  Anticipating at least some cool, wet weather, I had packed layers, including fleece and a super light down jacket, none of which I wore.  I did not pack enough cool tops, so over the 9 days walking, I alternated between two long sleeved summer tops, washing one out each night.  Sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat were a must.

The scenery was breathtaking.  I confess to enjoying the first 2-3 days in Devon the most as I liked the variety of open cliffs on the coastal trails mixed with deep valleys and cool woodland strolls.  The weather was also a bit cooler the first few days; I think the excessive heat and humidity later in the week made the descents and ascents of the coombes even more strenuous than described.  Each day I carried an extra bottle of water and still ran out.  Still, we made it to Padstow and had a celebration dinner of fish and chips and Prosecco with an English couple we met on the path. 

The B & B's and Inns were lovely, each a little different, but each unique in it's own way.  The lodgings were all expecting us, the breakfasts were consistently excellent, and when purchased, the bagged lunches were more than adequate.  Our luggage was always waiting for us at the end of the day. 

We sampled mushy peas, Shepherd's Pie, Devon and Cornish cream cones with a flake, Cornish pasties, sausage rolls, ploughman's lunch, pork pies, and Eton Mess!  The path was not crowded and everyone we met was friendly and inquisitive.  The maps and guide books were clear and helpful.

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to Penzance
Name: Mary Lane
When: 12 June 2017

USA FlagWe are all back from our trip to Cornwall, tired but immensely pleased with the whole journey.  Thank you so much for making all the arrangements that went like clockwork.  We didn't have any trouble with any transfers, breakfasts, accommodations, car rentals, or anything.

We were indeed blessed with good weather.  The first day burned Sue but she didn't put on any sunscreen either.  And the hikes were tough, especially the one from Porthcorno to Mousehole which was the hottest day also.  We were glad we did the ST. Ives rest day.  But we all did fine and thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic views and countryside.  We had no mishaps and didn't get lost! 

So thank you again for your excellent service.  I will certainly recommend you to others if the occasion should arise.

Sincerely,

Mary Lane

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Walter and Marianne
When: 10 June 2017

Swiss FlagAgain we had a wonderful Coastpath-Walking-Week along your perfect itinerary.

And dream-weather: not a drop of rain, no fog, just lots and lots of sunshine with a nice cooling breeze.

Just a few remarks:

The Fire-Engine-Inn at Marazion has new owners and is actually very good. We had a very nice dinner there. Phil of Glenleigh House recommends it now.

The path-diversion at Durgan Minor was still there when we passed the place.

Accommodations very much to our liking with one exception at Falmouth.

Many thanks for your good job; by now you obviously know very well how we like our walking days.

We “cheated“ only once and took a taxi from Coverack to Porthallow ;-)

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to St Ives
Name: Andrew
When: 10 June 2017

United Kingdom flagWe had an amazing time thank you. The weather was superb which made our holiday even better then we could have ever imagined.

Thank you to you and your team for all the support you have given us.

I'm sure we’ll be booking another trip in the future, perhaps carrying on from St Ives and heading south.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Linda
When: 10 June 2017

UK FlagJust a short note to say a very big thank you for all the arrangements and information given on the SW coast path from Falmouth to Plymouth 10th June to 20th June.

Most of the accommodation was excellent and it was certainly worth having that River view in Looe.  We appreciate there is limited choice in Portwrinkle/ Crafthole.

The walking distances were good and suited Keith well.  Unfortunately he hurt his back and then had food poisoning (or something) which meant he could only complete 5 days of the walk.  He was able to take taxis and buses to join me at each night’s destination and he was sufficiently recovered for a look round Plymouth.  I thoroughly enjoyed that section of the path.

Thank you for organising such fabulous weather, perhaps too hot on the latter walks lol.  Seriously, it was great.

Looking forward to our next section with you in September.

Thank you

 

Route: SW Coast Path - Minehead to Padstow + St Austell
Name: Gabi & Adi from Austria
When: 10 June 2017

Austria FlagWe did it!

Concerning the walk, it was, no doubt, a tough one, but we managed fine. The rewards were manifold, a magnificent scenery, and lots of wildlife, nice and kind people and usually good weather. At times, it was even too hot for walking. The path was in good conditions, mostly dry, but some parts are pretty overgrown. We had only two very wet days on the path at the end.

The Tarka Trail was a bit of a torture, because of the tarmac, and it was one of the hottest days and loads of cyclists were on the road as well.

The luggage transfer worked perfectly well and we had no problems concerning payments with the accommodations.

All other accommodations were fine and we felt very welcome.

We had a wonderful holiday, even though we could have done with a few more days of relaxation after the walk, but we are back at work again. We would like to say a big THANK YOU for the perfect organization of our holiday.

Best wishes

Gabi & Adi from Austria

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Milford Haven to St Davids
Name: Maggie and Pat
When: 10 June 2017

England flagWe had an excellent time. The weather was kind to us and the scenery was beautiful. Just a couple of comments:-

1. The road between Little Haven and Broad Haven is now fully open.

2. New refreshment opportunity at St Justinians.  There is now a kiosk and a picnic table above where the boats go out. Brand new for this season. She is planning to be open every day until the end of October.

Great cakes!

Thanks for arranging us another enjoyable walk

Route: South West Coast Path - Bude to ST Ives
Name: Franz and Elizabeth
When: 10 June 2017

Austrian flagWe enjoyed our trip very much and had no problems. We are very sorry that govt wants to leave EU, but that's not your responsibility

Route: Lizard Coast Path Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Shari and Walter
When: 10 June 2017

Austrian FlagDear Damon and team: Thank you for the wonderful arrangements you made for us for our trip from Marazion to Falmouth in June - I'm only 3 months late in responding to your request for feedback!! 

The accommodations were absolutely perfect and we met such lovely people - made us feel as though we should stay forever.  We thoroughly enjoyed our walk from Marazion to The Lizard but thereon we weren't particularly happy - nothing to do with your arrangements but we just couldn't see enough with the undergrowth and bushes blocking the path and the spectacular views.  Fortunately, the weather was fantastic and we are now looking into our trip for next year - we're wondering what to do next....  Will get back to you as soon as life has settled down a bit more. Greetings to you all and thanks again for your wonderful arrangements, itinerary, organizing luggage transfers, and everything.....

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Solva to Fisguard
Name: Judy
When: 08 June 2017

UK FlagSolva to ST Dogmaels 8-15 June 2017

I have lost count but I think we have now had 8 or 9 trips with Encounter and once again we had a wonderful trip this year.

All your selected accommodation was excellent. All the luggage transfers and route directions went according to plan… (well almost, we took a slight detour finding accommodation at Newport)

The Weather this year was not too kind to us so we had to curtail the walking distances on a couple of days. Luckily we were based in St David’s where the Cathedral seems to offer concerts most days. We enjoyed a superb choral concert followed by scones and clotted cream to fill in our time whilst waiting for the weather to calm.

The shuttle buses were very useful for adjusting our walking distances according to the weather conditions. This is not always possible on some trails but very useful here. The weather finally improved and we enjoyed our last few days finishing the final section of The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path – A most enjoyable 186 miles !!

As always we can’t thank enough the Encounter Team for all their help and assistance throughout the whole process. Always willing and happy to go that extra mile!

Route: Southwest CP - Brixham to Lyme Regis
Name: Ann, David and Vivienne
When: 08 June 2017

USA FlagWalk number 5 with Encounter Walking and once again 5 stars for the planning and execution of our trip! The ease of booking, the pleasant accommodations we were greeted with at the end of each day and the tips and suggestions built into the day to day itinerary we received were all perfect and exactly what we have come to expect from the Encounter team.

This year's stretch was by far the easiest one we've done however that doesn't mean it was without any challenge or interest. Route finding was a breeze and in fact, this is the first time we've not gotten sidetracked or waylaid by wrong choices. We were a little leery of the urban stretches but they were charming in their own way with a bit of willingness to humor on our part and we found plenty of wild miles to cheer us up. Serious wilderness walkers might be disappointed with this section but for a family that includes one person who still would prefer to just drive between locations but 'suffers' the walks for family bonding, it was a good mix of quiet coast and bustling towns. We also got a kick from finally seeing from the ground stretches that we've only ever viewed from the window of the trains we've been on making our way further West/South.

The ability to have our lunch breaks each day in a town or country pub was a big plus. A couple highlighted places for lunch stops were the Thatched Inn between Torquay and Teignmouth and Slice of Lyme in Budleigh Salterton. We actually enjoyed Torquay more than we anticipated but this might have been helped along by the wonderful hosts at Marstan Hotel and a great dinner at On the Rocks in town (I noticed they have a branch in Brixham now too).

We were lucky enough to be in Sidmouth for the Folk Festival - actually, we planned our walk to do so. Enjoyed some good music and the street fair atmosphere. Highly recommend the Pea Green Boat for dinner in Sidmouth. We also were thrilled to have time to spend pretty much a whole day with the donkeys at the sanctuary just outside of town.

The free summer Sidmouth Hopper Bus was a godsend to enjoying the area so we didn't have to walk up and down the hills to get places! Truth be told we cheated on our way out of town and took the bus to the sanctuary for a second goodbye to the donkeys and walked through the sanctuary down to the coast path from there.

Highly encourage double-checking tide timetables too as you walk into Exmouth. I thought we had done so but discovered we arrived in Starcross at low tide so no ferry; but fortunately realized in time to catch the train. For extra fun, we had reservations that night at the River Exe Cafe so ferried out to it with the tide roaring back in.

Beer was a pleasant surprise - the beach was a nice picturesque stroll after dinner. Ending in Lyme Regis and finally getting to walk the Undercliff (It had been closed when we tried to do it a couple years ago) was a wonderful end. Lyme is one of our favorite spots on the coast for the chance to hunt fossils on the beach. Our dinner find there is Poco Pizza down by the Cobb. The smallest pizza place we've ever seen but by far the best pizza we've ever had - so much so we had dinner there two nights of our 3 in Lyme.

We've clocked in about 43% of the coast path now I figured - only something like 360 more miles to finish it. Funny - only 7 years ago it wasn't even a glimmer of a goal - but it gets under your skin once you start and it's hard to imagine not finishing it all. And it definitely is hard to imagine not having the excellent help and support of Encounter to do so! Looking forward to that on our next go.

Route: South West Coast Path - Plymouth to Poole
Name: Briggs
When: 08 June 2017

United States of America flagI broke the Southwest Coast Path up into a total of four trips (work gets in the way of things!), all planned by Encounter. Planning was superb and execution was precise. There was never a lost bag or missed reservation in 60+ nights on the trail. I was able to hike to my heart's content and never worry about the how or where I was going to stay when the day was done. I highly recommend them for price, service, and knowledge of the path.

Route: Full Coast Path Minehead to Poole
Name: Briggs B - USA
When: 08 June 2017

USA FlagI broke the Southwest Coast Path up into a total of four trips (work gets in the way of things!), all planned by Encounter. Planning was superb and execution was precise. There was never a lost bag or missed reservation in 60+ nights on the trail. I was able to hike to my heart's content and never worry about the how or where I was going to stay when the day was done. I highly recommend them for price, service, and knowledge of the path. Briggs

 

Route: South West Coast Path - St.Ives -Penzance
Name: Anja
When: 07 June 2017

German FlagThanks to the Encounterwalking Team! We had a great time, were very well prepared for and informed about the walk. No surprises. Our accomodations were all very nice and everybody was most supportive in all our demands. Luggage transport was perfect,

The outlined plan told us all about the ups and downs en route. The first leg from St Ives to Zennor appeared to be a short one on paper but due to the paths- which could be a bit demanding in parts- it was well chosen- especially as it was raining for the best part of the morning which made the way occassionally slippery. On the last day we left Penzance to return to St Ives on the St Michaels Way.... It was not so easy to find the paths at all times- but we were even prepared for that. A big plus was the digital download of the Ordenance Survey map. With GPS it worked at all the places even the remotest ones and so we never got lost. We do highly recommend others to use this service as well.

We went on the walk as a family with 2 of our children aged 14 and 19. Food on the way was a big issue when planning the walk. Thanks to our well prepared plan nobody ever went hungry!!! I am sure we will come back and do a longer walk along the coast and use Encounterwalking services again!

Route: South West Coast Path - Par to Dartmouth
Name: Maggie & Peter
When: 07 June 2017

United Kingdom flagOur fourth section of the south west coastal path with Encounter. Everything went very well even the weather was kind. The route was easy to follow and all diversions were well marked. The remote section from Plymouth was particularly spectacular with lots of ferry crossings and incredible scenery. All accommodations were good and welcoming. Food was great everywhere and advice on booking in advance was helpful. Luggage transfers perfect. Thanks to all at Encounter Maggie & Peter

Route: St Ives to Plymouth
Name: Mark W
When: 07 June 2017

Australian FlagMy apologies for the delay in coming back with some feedback on our journey from St Ives to Plymouth.

Accomodation - All the accommodation was as a minimum perfectly acceptable and ranged from that to totally delightful. We enjoyed the wide array of characters who owned owned and operated the various establishments. Food was a classic with a couple of owners almost force feeding you a super hearty breakfast for your approaching expedition that day whilst others used very small serving bowls to encourage you to eat modestly. However we always left well fed and nicely looked after.


Walk Notes - Your walk notes are excellent. I’d seriously think about not looking at the books in future given the quality of Encounter notes.  A couple of minor points. 

On Day 3, Thursday 8th June on our schedule we stayed at the Zennor Chapel Guest House. Your notes noted that in August and and on Bank Holidays one should book early at the Tinners Arms but our host sent us there straight away on arrival (mid afternoon) and we got the last table. As it is pretty much the only dinner option, I’d remove the restrictions given and suggest booking dinner on your way in.


On Day 9, we walked from Lizard to Porthallow. Approaching Coverack, there was a section of very poor trail so I took the group an alternate way. On that path we ran into the Terence Coventry Sculpture Park. http://terencecoventry.com/sculpture-park-2/ Well worth mentioning in your notes. Location is shown here. http://www.classicguide.co.uk/attractions/terence-coventry-sculpture-park.html

Track Conditions - Compared to other sections of the SWCP I have walked previously e.g. Minehead to Barnstaple and Exmouth to Poole or other significant UK trails including the Wainwright Coast to Coast, there were more than a few sections of the SWCP between St Ives and Plymouth that frankly were very poorly maintained. For the most part it was overgrowth up to a foot or more higher than us but the track conditions in other sections didn’t warrant having the trail being classified as a National Trail. Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful journey but track conditions should have had a higher overall standard. I believe James raised this matter with you as we did discuss it on our journey. Funding is undoubtedly the issue and the challenge is to both collect the funds and have it actually employed for the intended purpose. How that can be best done, we shall leave to those whom locally can be major influencers. However if we can help, let us know.

Route: South West Coast Path - Clovelly to Padstow
Name: Lisette and Michael Keats
When: 06 June 2017

United Kingdom flagThankyou very much for organising a wonderful walk.All the hotels and pubs booked were well prepared for our arrivals , they were all helpful, the luggage arrived at every location, taxis arrived on time.. Before leaving you equipped us with all the information we needed. Everything went smoothly and you held the trip together beautifully.We would definitely recommend you and would love to do another walk with you in the future. As for the Walk itself we were confronted with many weathers , and magnificent views of every type of rock and beach encounter..and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Elizabeth
When: 03 June 2017

UK FlagAs you know, this year we decided to take things leisurely and enjoy our holiday in Cornwall - and it was fabulous!!

The accommodation you found for us was wonderful. Pubs, B&B's and Hotels all had their good points for different reasons.  A couple of places surprises us with a double room but both easily changed to twin rooms. And we had some super breakfasts. I certainly have no complaints at all.    Our rest day at Fowey was heavenly!

We had a couple of days of rain and strong winds as we started, but our second week was glorious

One more section to complete the walk next year, Plymouth to Sidmouth.       Mary and I are already planning dates next June so we'll be in touch to confirm by the end of the year.  The SWCP is such so lovely - the best walk in the world!

Thank you for providing such a professional service.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth

Route: South West Coast Path St. Ives to Penzance
Name: Kaisa Kriek
When: 03 June 2017

Netherlands flagThis was our second walk (after walking from Falmouth to Plymouth in June 2016) and again we enjoyed it so much, the path along the coast is breathtaking and to see Lands End was very special, we even saw seals and dolphins. The accommodation was again a very nice variety of a B&B or a hotel, with very friendly people. We enjoyed very much staying in the yellow colored Inn at Treen, where a delicious dinner and breakfast was served. St. Ives and St.Just are lovely towns to spend some time when the weather gets bad. Porthcurno seemed a bit deserted, there is not much there. Thanks again Encounter Walking for your great service in preparing the trip, we are heading for Wales next year so we'll be in contact!

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Westward Ho!
Name: Helen
When: 02 June 2017

British FlagI joined my friends for the first seven days of their much longer walk (they went all the way to St Ives). Encounter were great in organising my accommodation to fit with theirs along the route and all baggage transfers happened like clockwork. The route was varied with some lovely views in many parts. The routes were easy to follow - the acorn became out best friend - and the alternative routes were good too. Afternoon tea in Bossington and a morning stop on Croyde beach were memorable. Thank you. Looking forward to the next stage now!

Route: Minehead to Lynmouth
Name: James Moseley
When: 02 June 2017

UK FlagThis was our first ever experience of a walking holiday... in total we had a party of 8 plus 2 dogs. Fitness was a mix of regular walkers and those who do very little, although everyone was keen to point out just how athletic they were!

The trip was very enjoyable, the first 2 days walking saw perfect, dry conditions, but the 3rd day was truly awful, and we decided to avoid doing the full 14 miles with a drive home to the Midlands / Sussex afterwards. The baggage transfers went without a hitch and all the rooms were clean and pleasant to have a good night's rest. The routes were well marked, and even for novices like us, we didn't need to use a map once.

One thing to bear in mind is that we found that food choices can be limited due to the remoteness of the locations, and we were poorly planned for our lunches. The itinerary was spot on, so we should have taken a bit more notice of that regarding the warnings of a lack of grub stops! Also, it's worth remembering that the West Country closes on Sundays!

All in all, a very enjoyable trip, strenuous, but rewarding. We will be sure to be booking again in the future to hopefully continue along the coast path.

Route: Fishguard to Solva
Name: Susanne Orth
When: 31 May 2017

German flagWalking Tour Fishguard to Solva 31/05/17 – 06/06/2017 We were a group of eleven walkers, quite sportive (more or less), aged between 40 and the mid-fifties, all living around Frankfurt, Germany. Last year we decided to spend a walking holiday together on Pembrokeshare Coast Path. We detected the homepage of “Encounter Walking Holidays” and because of the nice and helpful response to our first email we stayed in contact and planned the vacation together. Our questions were answered to the full extent and all our wishes were taken seriously. In cooperation with Damon from EWH, we decided, that the tour between Fishguard and Solva would probably be the best for us. The time had come and we nervously started our trip on Frankfurt Airport on a rainy Wednesday morning (31st May). In Amsterdam our luggage got lost (because of the short connection flight). A pity, because 8 of 11 walkers had their walking shoes inside these suitcases. We had rented a bus transfer to Fishguard, so we arrived at Cartref Hotel about noon being heartily welcomed by our host. She is a fantastic and warm hearted woman accompanied by a lovely little dog named Toby. Her reception looks a bit messy (many papers lying around), but everybody has his own way to work. The rooms were clean, well appointed and lovely decorated. Kristina, the host, was always available to provide all kinds of information. Thanks to Damon for thinking of an early reservation at “Royal Oak”, where we had a delicious dinner on our first evening in Wales. The next morning, our host made wonderful breakfast and while we got to our first walking tour on the 2nd day, she awaited our luggage, which was delivered late afternoon. The first tour took us from Strumble Head to Fishguard. Although walking shoes are absolutely recommended, we managed the distance in our trainers as well, particularly because we had no choice! The weather was nice and because of the short distance, we could take a lot of time to “get used” to the stunning views. We spotted our first seals and took a rest at a lovely beach with a big waterfall around a corner at its left side. The next surprise was a short section through a small forest, where swings were attached to big trees, so we could swing above a little river. Funny exercise! At home we found our luggage. What a nice reunion!

We celebrated that at the pub “The old coach house” and later on at “Bennets Navy Tavern”. We took our dinner at the Indish restaurant next to the Cartref Hotel, which was delicious, too. The next morning we had to check out of Cartref Hotel and our luggage got transferred by “Luggage Transfers South West”. They came just in time and were able to put 11 suitcases in one estate car! The weather was rainy when we left Fishguard taking the bus to Strumble Head again to carry on to Trefin this day. Luckily, the rain stopped the moment we left the bus and the sun broke through the clouds. After a short walk we were already heaving a break because we spotted a group of dolphins at Carreg Onnen Bay. 10 minutes spent for really good reason! Pwill Deri is really worth having a break, too. The view is quite phenomenal! We were curious about this day`s tour, because it was supposed to be strenuous walking all day. It was strenuous because of the length, but the path itself was good to manage. We took our picnic at Pwllcrochan but we stayed on the hill and did not descend to the beach. But – believe it or not – at Aber Mawr one of our group really took a bath!!! She was whirled around by a wave and had an uncomfortable contact with the stones under water, but she did well and all the others were full of respect! For our group the distance was a bit too long, so it would have been more comfortable to cut off in Abercastle but we are proud to say, we managed the whole route. 19,7 km, 850 altitude difference (ups and downs!) and you have to consider that we started at 11.40 because of the bus timetable! We got to the “Old School Hostel” at 6.30, exhausted and hungry.

We were welcomed lovely by our hosts and the accommodation was really beautiful. Felt a bit like a school trip! Breakfast was well-sorted and nothing was missed. The lunch packages were delicious and helped us a lot on our longest route between Trefin and St. Justinians. With heavy legs we started the day a bit earlier than the ones before. The sun made us expect a hot day but only 10 min after leaving Trefin, we got in heavy rains. Fortunately only for a short time, half an hour later – around Porthgain - the rain stopped and it was sunny and just a bit windy the rest of the day. At blue lagoon we had a break and watched the cliff divers doing their stunts. The kiosk van was highly frequented by some of us to get a warm drink because we estimated better weather conditions and left some essential clothing at the hostel. We passed the “blue lagoon festival” which effectuated high traffic on the path, which decreased after Aber-pwll and nearly no one came across until we reached Carn Penberry. The path is quite narrow at this section with no spot to take a rest. At Carn Penberry (we did not have enough power to climb it), we could take the much-needed break. Then the path got wider and we did not need to go on in single file what we really enjoyed. Carn Llidi was too high for us, no one felt able to climb it. We decided to descend to Porthmelgan beach and it turned out to be the best idea of the day! Our brave friend took a bath again, enjoying the beautiful sand on the beach and all others lay in the warm sand and just enjoyed having a rest. The rest of the tour, especially after passing “White Sands beach” was more a fight than a walk, because all of us were tired and groggy. We could have taken the bus at “White Sands beach” but we wanted to get through the whole path uninterrupted, so we walked on and luckily reached the bus at St. Justinians.

When we entered “The Coach House” applying for the rooms nearly put us to a quarrel, but after everything was done, we became friends again. The third day always becomes difficult to handle for a big group. The host was as nice as those before. He showed us all facilities and managed a reservation at “The Bishop`s” for us. Which was a really nice location as well! Five of us were accommodated at the cottage in the backyard. The cottage is the highlight of this B&B!!! It is not suitable for a couple and singles as they told us before. The beds on the ground floor are separated and the ones that sleep there have to be untouched by “night walkers” to the bath room. Upstairs are three beds in one room so there is no privacy for a couple either. But that was not a problem for us. The couples got the rooms in the main house and we had a “lady`s cottage”, where all 11 of us could spend the leisure time in the evening (thanks to the refrigerator filled with beer cans!) sitting on the couch, the beds on the ground floor, the staircase and the floor. Best bath rooms, best breakfasts and best location of the whole trip! Highly recommended!

The next day (Sunday, 4th June) we took our rest day and visited Ramsey Island. It was the brightest day of our journey and we took hundreds of photographs. Those who couldn`t calm down refused to take the bus home from St. Justinians to St. Davids and walked. The others were contented with the 6 km trip around the island and preferred the bus service. We took our dinner at “The Farmers Arms” this time and it turned out to be the best location of the week. Really good variety of foods, tasty and good service. On our last day the plan was to walk from Solva to St. Justinians but the evening before we heard about a bad weather forecast. Because we did not want to interrupt our trip, we decided to start at St. Justinians and see how far we could get. There were really strong winds and heavy rain but we got through and after passing the Ramsey Head it got much easier. We also chose this direction because Damon from EWH told us the wind would get stronger in the afternoon, so we wanted to have fulfilled the hardest part of the trail before that. Some of us cut off at Porthclais Harbour because of being cold. The man at the kiosk sold us wonderful tea and biscuits.

One got to Caerfai Beach, then turned towards St. Davids. Three more cut off at Caer Bwdy Bay. Some brave ones kept on and they managed the whole trip. Some people in St. Davids called us crazy. But we met a lot more other walkers than we expected. In Solva the brave group was recommended to take a brandy at a pub nearby and that’s what they did immediately. So all came back well and we celebrated our homecoming at “The Farmers Arms”. On Tuesday we enjoyed having some leisure time to do some shopping or drink coffee, before our bus transfer picked us up and took us back to Cardiff Airport. The journey was awesome for all of us and everyone will remember this vacation as one of the best walking holidays ever! Thanks for the service of EWH, stay as you are and you will make plenty of walkers having unforgettable trips!!!

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho to Padstow
Name: Val and Bob Holmes
When: 31 May 2017

Canadian FlagHad a wonderful trip on the southwest coast path. Spectacular views, great trail conditions (a few spots a bit overgrown but was easy to spot the trail and all areas were well marked), wonderful food and accommodations, in particular the B&B's, including the Surf Haven Guest House in Bude and the Tor View B&B in Padstow - these are wonderful establishments with lovely hosts and beautiful rooms!! We would highly recommend this section of the trail, and Encounterwalking did a fantastic job with all the bookings and moving our suitcases - thank you so much!

Route: South West Coast Path - Bude to Padstow
Name: Anonymous
When: 31 May 2017

German Flagit was such a wonderful holiday, maybe the best one we ever had! Nothing is more relaxing than walking all day at the beautiful coastline on the cliffs, through the dunes, on the grassy hill-tops, through remote villages! I send you you a few impressions of the journey, starting from the first minutes in the small tower at Bude and finishing with our shadows waving bye-bye in the evening at Padstow...

The accomodations were all very nice and the "Full English Breakfast" was very much to our taste! Perfect start for the day!

All the best, and thanks so much again for all your effort! We'll certainly come back one day, to explore the Path a little further!

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Bob
When: 31 May 2017

Canadian FlagThe Westward Ho to Padstow hike that you set up was really good. The accommodations were all fine and the maps and trail guides helped a lot. Also I thought your itinerary was very helpful. We did have some rough weather with very high winds and rain on two of the days but we hiked through that. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for all your help in organizing things. We may do another similar trip sometime and will be sure to contact you if we do.

Route: South West Coast Path - Mevagissey to Dartmouth
Name: Ulrike
When: 29 May 2017

German flagAll accommodation booked was good, but some was better and staff 'went the extra mile' to make you feel more welcome than others.

All in all well done for choosing those places. Nothing to complain about!!!

A big thank you to you all for again providing excellent advice on the next part of the trail, which we walked from Mevagissey to Dartmouth this year. This has been our forth time on the SWCP organised by Encounter Walking Holidays and we are already planning to continue next year. Everything was well organised, incl. the luggage transfer!  Accommodation was well chosen. Having been on the trail before we knew what to expect and despite a few more days of wet weather in comparison to the last three years, it did not stop us enjoying the walk. The views are absolutely stunning. We had no problem following the trail description and except for a short part of the way between Looe and Lansallos where the trail was overgrown, the rest was perfectly fine. Will definitely keep in touch! Thanks again for a perfect holiday!

Route: South West Coast Path - Bude to Padstow
Name: Ivan
When: 27 May 2017

United Kingdom flagMust say thanks to Encounter walking team, everything went as arranged, all luggage transferred to next stop. All accommodation was as expected from the team. Walked on my own can go at my own pace then. Did four days walking from Bude to Pastow, some very hard walking and some easy. Thanks for all the hard work you do to make it all possible Ivan

Route: Dale to St. Davids
Name: Terry C.
When: 27 May 2017

USA FlagSix of us had a wonderful walk from Dale to St. Davids at the end of May. This was our second walk with Encounter Walking, our first being the Lizard Peninsula four years ago.

As expected, the trip was well planned and executed. We particularly liked the Clock House in Marloes (great host!) and Cambrian Inn in Solva (great food!). We stayed at 2 Brains hotels, the Lord Nelson in Milford Haven and the Grove in St. Davids. The Lord Nelson was ok (food only ok), but the other Brains Hotel in St Davids was a big disappointment. It was dirty and in poor repair. We notified Damon so he would know there were issues. I'm confident he will address the situation before booking anyone else in. Luckily the beds were decent, so we were fine.

We found some very good restaurants in St. Davids (the Farmer's Inn, the Biship Inn, and Saffron), since we were not keen to eat at the accommodation. The walk and countryside were terrific. We were blessed with amazingly good weather, managed to get onto to Skomer Island to see the puffins (thanks to our host at the Clock House), and had a flexible and prompt taxi service (Jones Taxi out of Broad Haven).

All our luggage was delivered without a hitch. The only time we had an issue with the route was when we tried to find the path to walk into St. Davids from St. Justine. We started down a trail marked to St. David's only to get dropped onto the road. The directions said there were walking trails, but did not tell us where or how to find them. It would have been nice to end our trip walking into St. Davids on a trail instead of a fairly busy road.

- EW - Thanks Terry really helpful comments our itinerary sheets do cover the walking routes to St Davids from the coast path (there are also minibuses if anyone does not want to walk and we give that information as well)

Route: St Ives; Fowey
Name: Rich Robinson
When: 24 May 2017

United States flagThis was our second year with Encounter. We continue to be very happy customers. We stayed five days each in St Ives and Fowey and took hikes around those two locations that Encounter suggested and arranged. Everything was flawless. We believe that we received very good value for our money. We hope to do something again next year and recommend Encounter without hesitation.

Route: South West Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Plymouth
Name: Lainie & Bill K
When: 24 May 2017

USA FlagHello Encounters:  Just to let you know we are back in Florida after our British return the end of June. The walking was fantastic from Lyme Regis to Plymouth.

Everything went so smoothly due to all your planning experience!    

Thank you so very much for an amazing adventure. We loved it!

Best wishes,

Route: Poole to Plymouth
Name: Lainie and Bill
When: 24 May 2017

USA Flagloved the walk, Encounters....it was stellar.    Thanks for these incredible experiences.  Please add to your comment page that we wish we had found Encounters several trips ago. You are the only company that we know of who gave us accommodation options.   In some cases we wanted something a bit more pricey, but in others we weren't spending much time at that location, and chose a cheaper option.    In our view, Encounters was far superior to any of the other companies we worked while we completed the southwest coastal path.  

Sent from my iPad Best wishes, Lainie & Bill 

Route: Saints Way
Name: Mary Beth
When: 20 May 2017

United States of America flagWonderful walk through pastures, woods, hamlets and villages. Beautiful views and plenty of sheep, horses, cattle, pigs, pheasants, geese and one guard turkey. Some ancient standing stones and very old churches along the way. Amazing wildflowers. Good accommodations and friendly hosts/hostesses. We had a last minute mix up wth our map and it was resolved promptly and cheerfully by Encounter Walking. Wayfinding was fairly straightforward with a few minor detours. Not kidding about the mud! Some long uphill stretches, but mostly gradual. Fowey is a lovely town to end in, recommend an extra day. Overall, a great once-in-a-lifetime experience for two couples in their 60's!

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Magda and Phillipe
When: 20 May 2017

Belgian FlagConcerning our recent hiking tour along the South West Coast Path:

Let me start by pointing out that we are very satisfied of the service delivered by your company. The documentation was complete and sent to us well in advance allowing a good preparation.

From day one and for the full duration of the trip everything run exactly as planned.

But of course we did not expected it to be different from our previous ‘collaborations’. Thanks!

The trail was easy to follow.

The couple of detours imposed by the ‘crumbling’ of the cost line (England is getting smaller by the day?) is well indicated and in one case (day 4) made use of another path adding a nice valley walk (though it added a couple of miles to the already longest hike of our journey, and the one with the worst weather!!)

So nothing but praise, we enjoyed the magnificent coast scenery (especial on the first part with its weird knife like rock formations perpendicular to the coast line), the ‘nice to wander through’ towns like Clovelly  and Port Isaack, good stay’s and good meals. We would like to a special mentioning of Mrs. Anna (Coastguard Cottage). She not only drove us to the Hartland Quay Hotel for dinner but also arranged the breakfast well early so we could start the longest walk nice on time.

This might then be our sol remark, though we understand difficult if not impossible to achieve, especial in a hotel setting. We presume it to be a thump rule for hikers to try to have an early start. If breakfast is only served from 8.30 AM then half of the morning is ‘lost’ before you’re well on the way.

Route: South West Coast Path - Plymouth to Exeter
Name: Doreen and George
When: 19 May 2017

United Kingdom flagWe arrived back safely on Thursday evening having spent a day looking round Exeter before we came home.

The final section of the walk was lovely - no rain again for the whole fortnight and a lovely on-shore breeze most of the time which made for ideal walking conditions. This section was not so urban as I had expected but still contained a lot of ups and downs. The books always say that the North Cornwall section is the hardest but we have found the two sections from Falmouth to Exmouth to be equally challenging!!! Must be getting older.

The coastline was very attractive and the drowned rias were very picturesque in the sunshine with the boats floating on the deep blue water. As always the accommodation was all very good and all different. It was lovely having breakfast at Beesands with the folding doors wide open - just like being on the continent. The Sea Tang B&B have refurbished all their bedrooms this year and they are now very smart. It was also lovely to go back and see Anne in Plymouth for a couple more nights. George insisted on taking the ferry across to Exmouth to make sure we completed the route. We also managed to get some really good photos of a cirl bunting which was a first for us. No problems with the luggage transfer - they even managed to deliver a 'lost '  fleece to another group of walkers that we picked up en-route.

We have thoroughly enjoyed doing the walk - we are quite sad in a way to have finished it but maybe we'll look at the new Somerset walks when you have had more time to sort them out.

Thank you so much for organising all 6 of our trips. Knowing how difficult it can be to get one - night bookings at peak holiday times must make booking accommodation quite time consuming. It's been lovely exploring this part of the country for the first time - in no small part to your help. We will continue to recommend you to anyone who is interested in walking in the South west.

 

Route: South West Coast Path - St Ives to Penzance
Name: Diane & Jill
When: 18 May 2017

United Kingdom flagWe had a wonderful walk, spectacular views and good weather. The breakfasts were so big that we never ordered a packed lunch -- happy to eat gorp from our packs. Encounter did a good job, no complaints at all. In fact, sitting around a breakfast table one morning with other hikers, we heard many complaints from other companies, but none concerning Encounter. Twice we missed the path as it branched into various options--once leading us away from the sea onto a farm, and another time losing our way just after Land's End. Other hikers also took this wrong path after Land's End, and we all ended up scrambling straight up a steep hill to rejoin main path. It's pretty obvious in retrospect that the path most traveled was always the correct choice--not simply the one closest to the sea.

We heard rumors from fellow trekkers that St Michael's Way is a bit difficult in terms of directions (she had to stop at 3 farmhouses!). The route is supposedly not marked as well as SW Coastal and much less used. We gave it a miss and returned by taxi to St Ives the last day. We didn't mind as we got to see St. Ives. Thanks! We will use Encounter on next hike.

Route: South West Coast Path - Minehead to Combe Martin
Name: Jim and Marcia
When: 17 May 2017

United States of America flagAs usual, the trip and all of the arrangements and materials worked well. We took a chance on the steam train when the TV program was being filmed.  That production really only affected the Minehead station and we had no problem getting seats at Bishops lydeard, albeit after a bit of a walk in the rain. Great fun chatting with RR guys and scoping out the activity.

The accommodations and directions were all good. Most notably, the pubs/B&Bs at Minehead and Porlock Weir--particularly because of the great staff.

One tip would be to make more clear where and how to make a hard right turn--just before Bossington--through an unmarked gate to stick to the path along the beach at Bossington, and on to Porlock Weir.  We missed that turn and ended up going into Bossington proper and following coastal path signs taking you a very long way around on paved roads through Porlock--pleasant walk on the road, but we were out of steam at that point.  Of course, when we eventually found our way back to the beach route, the giant pebble footing was a real ankle challenge for the end of the day!. Another note, the very nice ladies at Blair Lodge indicated they would not be providing pack lunches--but their were other options for those walking on. Taxi service lady with Andy's at end of the trip was great.

Thanks again for the good work.  We appreciate the responsiveness of you and your team.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Amroth to Broad Haven
Name: Sally
When: 17 May 2017

You timed it perfectly again arrived after the rain and left before it got too hot!

Had a wonderful eight days with some fabulous walking and even enjoyed the so called ‘grotty bits’ which were fascinating.  My least favourite bit was thru the rifle range but the end of that day was fantastic. The lily ponds were magical. I found Pembroke as a whole quite depressing and down at heel but loved Milford Haven.  Jim at Manobier was just a delight.  Room at Angle wonderfull and what can I say about Allenbrook!

I found the walking generally not too taxing and really looking forward to September. Thank you as always. By the way the shop in Angle has closed.

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Penzance to Charlestown
Name: Gerd
When: 17 May 2017

The walk was a big adventure. Well planned, thank you very much. Everything worked well. We reached the ferries time, the luggage transfer was perfect. NO RAIN and good weather every day. That was rather important because of the footpath. By rain sometimes it will be very slippery and dangerous.

Our problem: the daily distances of 14 miles were to long. On two days we walk from 10:00am to 5:30pm up and down. At least we were very erhausted and after drinking 1-2 beers we immedeatly went to bed. Often there was no time to look at the famous sights nearby.

But, it was great. Perhaps we come back. Next year one month earlier to see the blossom of the huge rhododendrons in the gardens.

Thank you very much

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to Portreath
Name: Jennifer
When: 16 May 2017

United States of America flagAll on the train headed back to London after a great long walk. We were very happy with all of the accomodations and with the luggage transfers! Our favorite was the b&b in Padstow. Our only comment would be that the directions to the St.Georges House were a bit confusing.

Thanks again for everything!

Route: South West Coast Path - Wembury to Brixham
Name: David
When: 16 May 2017

At last a rare free moment (it's raining outside) since our return to answer this.

The walk was excellent thanks. The weather was very kind overall to us, with the heavy rain on arrival and also day 1 soon replaced by sun. The walking was not really demanding (even the last day when the terrain was a bit tougher but mileage low), with quite low daily distances (driven clearly by accommodation locations and ferries).

The accommodation was uniformly very good, with the highlight for us both being Bayards Cove Inn, closely followed by The Fortescue Inn both of which were excellent.  We didn't bother with packed lunches due to the short distances, but perhaps should have done on day 1 with hindsight. A few updates for your guide notes:

The two taxi trips on day 1 with Kevin worked very well.
The cafe at Mothecombe is currently closed for renovation (hence my comment above re packed lunch) which made waiting for the taxi in the rain less comfortable than it might have been. And all the places in Bigbury were closed by the time we arrived!


The Sloop Inn only opens at 6pm although we could get earlier access to our room - but no beer until later!  They have some renovation work ongoing too impacting the restaurant, but the food in the bar was very good.
No problems getting a table at Cricket Inn either with very good food - and there is the option of the Britannia further along the beach which looked very good (and popular).


The Kings Arms pub in Strete is currently closed and up for sale. The village store there only had limited provisions (including some out of date sandwiches!) - we would have done better to wait until the (very good) Green Dragon in Stoke Fleming.


The ice cream shop in Dartmouth no longer sells packed lunches - but there is an excellent coffee shop called Woodroast in town (other than the Bayards Cove itself) for which we delayed our leaving until their 10am opening time! Bushell's Riverside proved to be a very good choice for dinner.
The best coffee in Brixham is at Port Espresso (we arrived just in time for their 4pm closing time) and we dined well at Beamers.

Hope this is of use.

 

 

Route: Dartmoor Way
Name: Karel
When: 15 May 2017

Belgian flagWe enjoyed the walk despite some days of rain. The walk for us was a bit more strenous then expected, due to two days of long walks of 30 Km. The second day when leaving Bovey Tracey we walked through the Park following the river up to Drakeford Bridge which was a good alternative to the normal route. From Belstone to Mary Tavy we used part of the Granite Way and descend just passed the Lake Viaduct, returned under the viaduct and rejoined the West Devon way near the Bearslake Inn.

We stayed in some very nice Inn's and pubs that were very dog friendly, most notable, The Cromwell Arms in Bovey Tracey, Ring O Bells Inn in Chagford and the Mary Tavy Inn in Tavistock. Dartmoor Way is wonderful varied walk through woods, pastures with view on the Moors, the south part of the walk is through the Moors, so you get a bit of everything. It was a memorable 6 days and we will be back to do other walks.

Route: Two Moors Way
Name: Tim
When: 15 May 2017

United Kingdom flagCate and I have just finished a lovely walk, although the weather wasn’t too kind at times.  The accommodation everywhere was fine, thank you and the baggage arrived everywhere it should have. I would also note that the baggage did get picked up before we’d finished breakfast (9am) a couple of times.  It would have been nice to know the evening before that this was going to happen so that we could ensure that we had packed everything before going down for breakfast.

We used the Cicerone guide and you might like to advise future walkers of some (relatively minor) points that arose.

Stage 1. page 49. On arriving in Yealmpton “Just before Bowden Farm turn right on a footpath” In fact it’s left, not right.

Stage 3. pages 66 – 67.  Because we had experienced very heavy rain for the previous few days, we opted for the “First High Water Variant”.  A little more detail on how to find the “track running east from the settlement” would have been helpful.  We didn’t actually find it at all until after we had managed to cross Wella Brook.  We never did find the bridge.  A close examination of the OS map shows the track is actually on the far side of the settlement and starts off running North, then swings East.  From the far side of the Wella valley, looking back, it is obvious but up close, it isn’t.

Stage 7. page 118.  “Cobscombe Farm, seen on the hill ahead is the next port of call”.  In fact there are now a whole series of new fences, gates and waymarks which take you round the farm at some distance from it, bringing you out on the lane into Lower Black Dog about a hundred yards further North (away from the village).

Stage 7. page120.  “aiming to the right of a solitary beech tree” is not possible when the tree has been felled!  We suggest you should aim well to the right of the hedge corner just visible at the top of the ridge.

Stage 8. page 123.  “the path bears away from the trees”.  It doesn’t.  Stick with the trees.

Stage 10. page 142. “into a coniferous plantation  via a gate alongside a line of lovely beech trees” both the plantation and the beech trees have now been cut down (work was still in progress on finishing the job as we walked past).

Thank you for a very well organised trip.  The walk was a pleasure.  I would only make one additional comment.  I’d love to know exactly how far it is from Scorriton to Chagford.  Admittedly, we had some foul weather (hail and strong winds) pretty much all the way across Hamel Down and Chagford Common, but this section took us 10 hours.  This suggests to me that it’s probably closer to 20 miles than the 18 you mentioned in your notes!

Thanks Tim really useful feedback and we have provided it to the Sue who writes the Two Moors Way guidebook for Cicerone she is going to have these issues addressed in the next edition - EW

Route: South West Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: Lesley
When: 15 May 2017

British FlagPlease pass on our thanks to the team for all their hard work in choosing such varied and interesting accommodation for our holiday and also for providing such useful and comprehensive notes.   The walk went seamlessly all thanks to you even though the first few days we suffered very bad weather. 

All of the accommodation was good and on many occasions staff went more than the extra mile to make our stay pleasurable.  We will be posting good reviews for each individual accommodation on Tripadviser. 

The only slight hiccup we had was in finding the route to Worth Mattravers from the coast for the last two or three miles.  The first diversion from Lyme Regis was also a bit tricky to follow.  We wonder if that was just us though.

We had a great time and will certainly contact you again when we are ready to do another section of the walk.

Route: South West Coast Path - St Ives to Penzance
Name: Maggie, Exeter
When: 14 May 2017

United Kingdom flagThank you so much for the way you handled my walking holiday from the point of first enquiry to booking the accommodation and sending really helpful up to date information and guidance.  As a solo walker I felt completely confident knowing I had support should I need it. (abeit mobile signal rarely available!)

Accommodation: All very clean which is really important to me.

Regent Hotel, St Ives - I was a bit concerned what the shared bathroom would be like but it was opposite my room and seemed to be brand new, so a pleasant surprise. Best breakfast of the holiday and a wonderful view of the beach from the dining room window.

Old Chaple, Zennor - best room of the holiday.  Such a comfy bed.  Very helpful staff and considerate about ensuring heating on to dry wet clothes.

Commerical Inn, St Just - must better than I had anticipated.  The name had conjured up simple basic accommodation.  I had a fantastic dinner 'trio of grilled fish'.  Top marks for quality of food and service. The breakfast was extensive and well presented.

Overall I had a great time despite choosing dates when the rain came down, but that's life.  I would have no hesitation in recommending Encounter Walking to others and hope to be a repeat customer myself.  It was my first solo walking holiday and it was wonderful. Thank you for being flexible and arranging for luggage delivery to Penzance Railway Station on the final day.  This worked well. 

St Ives - Penzance coastpath - certainly strenuous, particularly on Days 1 & 2 !!  I've walked Wainwright's Coast to Coast but the first two days of this walk were equal to some of the harder parts of the C2C. I feel a great sense of achievement.

The markers on Days 1 & 2 were not great.  No finger posts so searching for rocks by the path to check where to go.  Sometimes these were positioned at least 50yds along the path so there was occasional ambiguity.

Lamorna Cove - thank you for the warnings but these made me a little anxious.  Although I don't like sheer drops I didn't feel there was any risk of falling over the edge, so perhaps the warning needs to be reduced a little to avoid undue concern.

Thank you again and I think I will be in touch to book another walk in the future.

Route: The Saints Way
Name: Heather Shaw
When: 14 May 2017

United Kingdom flagThis was my first ever walking holiday and it will not be my last! We walked The Saint's Way in three days of rain and enjoyed every minute. All the overnight accommodations were outstanding, the luggage transfers seamless and the taxi pick-up on the dot! All the paperwork was superb and we laminated the extra walking notes as they were very helpful. All the telephone enquiries were dealt with very professionally....well done and thank-you to a great team!!

What can I say but well done to all concerned in the arranging of this lovely walking holiday, my first and certainly not my last! It was wet and windy, foggy and low cloud so we didnt see much but the lanes were lovely to walk along. It was very muddy and flooded in places but the helpful additional info sheets (we laminated them luckily) kept us on the right track. We only went wrong once and it was our fault as e went through an open gate rather than a shut one that led us into the wrong field just out of Withiel. All the accommodation was first class and helped with our wet boots and clothes.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Herbrandston to St Dogmaels
Name: Neil and Mai
When: 13 May 2017

Canadian FlagOur walk in Wales was excellent.  Weather was better than expected.  I walked in a strong but exhilarating wind on one of the days and a bit of fog near the end of the trip.  Some of my most memorable experiences on the trail were from the days when the weather was less than perfect.   The accommodation and food was generally very good and of a higher standard that we found on the section of the SWCP we walked last year.   The flexibility that Encounter provides in selecting accommodation is one of the best features of booking with Encounter.  My wife found that the bus service in Pembrokeshire was very good. 

Trail was well marked.  The route comments provided by Encounter were very useful and I took most if not all, of the recommended options on the route.

Route: South West Coast Path - Tintagel to Perranporth
Name: Marian
When: 10 May 2017

United Kingdom flagWe have just returned from our holiday walking the SWCP from Tintagel to Perranporth. Everything worked out well and we want to thank you for putting together such a great holiday and well put together arrangements.

We have 2 minor comments. The instructions to reach Westwinds B&B were written for arrival by car and entailed  an extra trail up hill on the road at the end of the day. It would be better to direct walkers to use the steps half way up the main road on the hill, these steps lead to a path which leads directly to Westwinds. Or, if coming in to Mawgan Porth from Padstow, take the narrow track which leaves the coastal path just after the Scarlet Hotel  and leads up to Tredragon Road.

The other comment is that the Fern Pit Ferry was not running this week and we were told, correctly or not, that the Ferry only starts running on the weekend of Saturday 20 May each year. You might like to check that out.

Thank you very much for all your help. We hope to continue walking the SWCP next year and if so, we will be in touch.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Valerie
When: 10 May 2017

United States flagThank you for the good job you did planning our hike. 

All accommodations were clean and the owners very helpful.  Some singles were tiny...tight for a bed and a suitcase.  I would avoid them in the future!  At Plymouth we had to walk through one bedroom to get to the bathroom...not ideal. Our favourite was The Finnygook Inn in Crafthole.

All the places offered a good breakfast.

The information you sent us about the route was very helpful..we never got lost!   The first day was long.  We were wondering which way to go when we ask a man walking by and were directed to a short cut, which was helpful as we were tired and wet.

The weather was very mixed with plenty of rain and the visibility was bad at times, which was disappointing.  The wild flowers were wonderful!

The hike was quite a bit tougher than the Lizard hike which two of us had done before.  One of us had a knee issue...she spent some time riding the bus, which proved to be entertaining.  Everyone made it to Plymouth.

Route: Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Diane and George
When: 09 May 2017

United States flagWe liked our walking holiday from Marazion to Falmouth so much that we're already thinking about our next walk with Encounter! This despite the fact that we had some rain on most days and a lot of heavy, whipping rain on the walk from Porthleven to Mullion. It was sufficiently bad that we gave up walking at the bus stop at Prudhoe Bay. It turned out that we were not alone -- two other hiking parties were already at the cafe there waiting for the next bus to Mullion. The following days had some rain too, so by the end of our holiday the paths were goopy mud in places and slippery stone in others.

We spent the last two days mostly on inland footpaths, which were an interesting change from the coast, so the rain didn't stop us from enjoying our vacation. The days with about 12 miles of hiking suited us best. The last day from the Trelawne Hotel in Mawnan Smith was only a few miles, which surprised us. We should have looked at the map ahead of time to have avoided such a short day. Still, it was a great walk overall and we're looking forward to our next one.

Route: Port Isaac to Penzance
Name: Dorothy
When: 09 May 2017

Australian flagEncounter Walking are the best walking company we have walked with, well better than the other two. Great accommodation and on the track if possible, the only ones that were off the track were places where there just were not any B&Bs. The Cornwall Coastal Path was quite challenging, especially for me 73 years old with two total knee replacements. The only place that I wished I had taken the easy option was Port Isaac to Port Quinn as getting up and down the steps was not easy for me, but I did see the young ones striding ahead and thriving on their challenges.

WE should have used the odd taxi a bit more just to conserve our energy but the only time we decided to do this was at Lamorna and of course no mobile phone reception, café phoned for us. Apart from this and the day it poured with rain as we made Newquay going to Crantock where we caught the bus. Husband took over 800 photos just magnificient. Would I recommend this walk? Yes if I can do it so can you.

Route: The Saints Way
Name: Mark
When: 09 May 2017

Sue and I completed the walk on Friday, and really enjoyed the experience. 

Here are a few points that may help other walkers:

The route at Little Petherick is not signposted. The map indicates that you cross the bridge and immediately turn right on to a path. This doesn't seem to be correct - one of the householders told us that the path was further up the road. In fact it would seem that you should indeed walk up the hill and turn right into a concreted drive just where the road bears left. Then follow the footpath to the left, just before you reach the property. 

When approaching Blable House, tell people to head for the top left corner of the field. We saw a stile in the field at the top of the hill, but that led to someone's garden.

West Park Farm - tell walkers to follow the farm track through the wood and up the hill. We took the wrong footpath when we reached the wood.

The path through the fields from Higher Bosnieves is indeed confusing - there is a tall slatted stile at the top right hand corner of the first field, which is quite difficult to climb over. Once over this, follow the path down the hill, keeping to the left of the fence. Then make your way to the lane at the bottom right corner of the field - we saw a deer here.

The flooded trail beyond Withiel - it had been dry for a long time prior to our walk, but there was still some standing water in the lane, and so we took the alternative footpath to Retire. We were planning to continue along the lane through the village to the footpath at the far end, but a householder closed a gate across the lane and insisted that it was a private road, and so we turned right and joined the main road. 

From Tremore Farm - we took the footpath short cut across the fields, missing out Higher Woodley. The stile is 3/4 of the way along the left hand side of the first field, but the stile is missing several steps in the wall, and so it's quite tricky to use.

St Benets Abbey - access is only from the A389 - the map indicates that there might be a track to the rear of the Abbey, but it’s closed off.

Incidentally, we would really have appreciated a hot bath after our walk, but our bathroom only only had a shower. It would be helpful for you to clarify with walkers whether or not they would like a bath, and so they could upgrade accordingly.

Helmans Tor - we thought that the sign to the left, i.e. for the Eastern leg, was easily visible! The old drove road from the foot of the Tor was dry and easily passable. We never saw the clear signpost to the Wilderness Way Walk - I couldn't find either Bodwen Farm or Whistow on the map.

The taxi back to Padstow cost £45, which we thought was reasonable, as was the £6 per day charge at the long stay car park.

Thanks again for arranging this very memorable adventure!

Route: SWCP: Minehead to Westward Ho
Name: Anja (from Belgium) and Muriel from Holland
When: 09 May 2017

Belguim FlagDutch FlagHaving seen a 5 part BBC documentary about the SWCP we chose the 1st part of the route for our walking holiday in England. The Encounter organization was very good and we were pleased with the follow up of information from enquiry to booking followed by the day by day information to be used as we made the journey. Baggage transfers were excellent and on the whole the accommodation was good.

Perhaps you could ask the hosts at all your recommended accommodations to allow for an early start for walkers by an early availability of breakfast - we found 9:00 (breakfast time at some accommodations) rather late on a day in which we'd be walking well over 20kms. The walks were varied. Although very strenuous, we found the walk from Lynmouth to Combe Martin the most spectacular with stunning coastal views.

Unfortunately we were caught in a heavy downpour late in the afternoon and might have missed a signpost. We ended up in a carpark where a kind motorist offered to drive us the remaining few kilometers to our accommodation, an offer we gladly accepted! Signposting was not always good and during the last part of our walk where the SWCP and the Tarka Trail become one for part of the way we sometimes found it confusing. However, we always managed to make it to our accommodation, usually with the advice of helpful friendly locals! We enjoyed our walking holiday in England and recommend Encounter Walking as a good organization for the SWCP;

Route: 2 Moors Way
Name: Phil
When: 09 May 2017

UK FlagWe enjoyed the walk despite a lot of rain. It is a fine route, but I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is not an expert navigator, due to the complete absence of way markers on Dartmoor. Of course we do not want our wild places festooned with too many unnecessary signposts, but other National Parks with long-distance paths have managed to have a few discreet way markers without upsetting anyone. If Encounter is able to lobby the Dartmoor National Park authorities they may wish to make this point. After several hours of non-stop rain the streams on Exmoor were swollen leading to some difficult crossings. The crossing below Hoar Oak Tree (grid ref 747431) was impossible and it was necessary to trek upstream and do a difficult jump.

Turning to Encounter's services, everything ran smoothly, directions to accommodation were clear, and our luggage always arrived before we did. On the question of accommodation, using the familiar star rating (5 excellent, 4 good, 3 satisfactory, 2 unsatisfactory, 1 awful) we rated four nights 4* and 5 nights 3*. Overall, the quality of accommodation was a bit below what we have encountered on other long-distance trails with a similar daily charge, so I am unable to say that the trip was particularly good value for money. To be rated good value, the price would have to be reduced a little or, preferably, a couple of the B&Bs changed. I have put additional comments in an e-mail.

Encounter Walking - Thanks for the comments Phil and great you enjoyed the walk. The Two Moors Way does work out as one of the more expensive routes mainly becuase of its remoteness which means the luggage transfers costs are a lot higher here than on routes like the Coast Path where long transfers around the moor are not required. We are always happy to suggest routes better suited to whatever budgets you are sticking to so do ask.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: John and Lindsay Markham
When: 08 May 2017

Australian FlagMany thanks, organisation exemplary. Everything ran smoothly: luggage transfers, map reading and following your directions and itinerary, quality of accommodation (we were particularly impressed with the Lerryn Hotel in Falmouth and Sea Breezes Guest House in Plymouth). The view of the harbour from the breakfast room at Honeycombe House, Mevagissey, was stupendous. Check ferry connection from Fowey to Polruan - engineering works at Whitehouse Quay necessitated a last-minute change to the advertised location.

Route: South West Coast Path - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Kevin and Lalita
When: 08 May 2017

United Kingdom flagDear Encounter, many thanks for organising our walk recently. Bag transfer, hotels, etc, went without a hitch. The accommodation was very nice thanks. The only tough part for us was the approach to Coverack. For a 66 and 70 year old couple, it was quite a challenge!

Many thanks once again

Route: South West Coastal Path - Mevagissey to Looe
Name: Ted and Moffett Churn
When: 08 May 2017

United States of America flagWe had a wonderful experience walking from Mevagissey to Looe ( a three day walk). The signage , for the most part, was well marked. There was one change that should be noted. In Fowey, the directions indicated that the Ferry, from May 1st to Sept. 30th would only operate 9:00am to 17:30pm from Whitehouse Quay. Actually, It only operates from the Town Quay. After watching the Ferry pass us by two times, we noted a message on the board about the change in schedule. The walk was breathtaking. Indeed the strenuous walks were, at moments, strenuous. All four of the B&Bs and/or pubs were most accommodating and helpful in providing needed information. Well done Encounter Walking! We would do this again should the opportunity ever come our way.

Thanks for the ferry update Ted which is really helpful feedback, seems that this was a sudden change by the operators due to work on the Quay at Whitehouse - we have updated notes for other walkers until its completed

Route: Coleridge Way
Name: Julia
When: 07 May 2017

United Kingdom flagExcellent notes on route and yellow maps very helpful - fabulous scenery and very varied. Good way marks and good to start in Nether Stowey ( especially at the Old cider House where Ian Pearson signed our book he wrote on the route) and end in Lynmouth

Accommodation - Overall good with 3 excellent - The Old Cider House, the Notley Arms ( even though being refurbished) and Millers at the Anchor where the bedrooms were superb and fabulous location. Recommend eating at the Rising Sun which has Les Routiers status and delicious food. Disappointing welcome at Wheddon Cross - the b nd b nearby looked very good - Sundial House. Very helpful receptionist at the Bath Hotel in Lynmouth - there was a baggage problem with the transfer and she let us use the phone and was very supportive.

We would happily use your company again and thanks.

 

Route: Two Centre Break - Marazion and Boscastle
Name: Rebecca
When: 06 May 2017

Australian FlagWe thoroughly enjoyed our time in Cornwall. We were especially lucky with the weather. The Blue Horizon was very comfortable and Paul and Judith very helpful hosts. The group at the other B&B enjoyed their stay however they felt that the hosts did not know about the local area and perhaps could have been more helpful.

The walks were great - we only had trouble on the day we did Lamora Cove and ended up doing part of the walk on the inland public footpath. Boscastle was fantastic and we really enjoyed the stay at the Wellington. All the walks were spectacular and we hope to be back to do more in the future.

Route: Pembrokshire coastal path - Amroth to St Dogmaels
Name: Susan
When: 05 May 2017

Canadian FlagI walked the trail with my sister , from Amroth -St. Dogmaels may 6-26th. We devided a couple of the longer walks into two days ,so walked at the most 20 km a day . The accommodations varied between Pubs and B&B's And a couple of hotels . All were very nice , but we enjoyed the B&B's the best . The breakfasts were amazing . We had one mix up with our accommodations but encounter handled this quickly . Better than we expected . Our luggage was moved for us with out any issues .

The walking was beautiful , varied every day , there were challenging days with a lot of climbing , and narrowing trails close to the cliffs . It you have vertigo issues some days might be difficult . However these were some of the most beautiful walks . The flowers were amazing all along the path. We saw many wild horses ,which was thrilling . I would have liked to go to Skomer Island to see Puffins but did not work this out ahead , if you want to see Puffins you will need to organize and set a day aside for this .

We spent two days in St David and went to Ramsey island expecting to see many more birds than on the trail . If you are walking the whole trail this a waste of your time . We did not find it as nice as most of the trail , and we saw more interesting birds on the trail than Ramsey island . I wish I had either taken the boat to Skomer from St. David's , or taken the extra day in Dale to go over to Skomer Island . You will see many birds along the rest of the path.

Everyone we met along the trail was very friendly , walkers and locals . The path was well marked , but sometimes confusing when we came into the larger villages as the street names were not there or were Welsh names and our maps were English . We did always find our way ,but maybe not on the trail . This was probably because we were not where we thought we were when starting to follow the directions in our booklets .using GPS would have been helpful .

All in all it was a great walk , very challenging as I have never done something as long as this before , but very beautiful . We only had two days with rain , and not heavy rain so we were very lucky . I would defiantly recommend this hike and Encounter walking holidays . I hope to try another trip with them in the future .

Route: South West Coast Path Charlestown to Looe
Name: Nicky Davies
When: 05 May 2017

British FlagWe walked over two days, approximately 25 miles. The first Leg was between Charlestown and Fowey. We were a little confused when we walked through Par . There seemed to be a few different routes we could take. After this we enjoyed the walk immensely...From Fowey to Looe was beautiful. The wildlife, scenery and rawness of the route was exhilarating. We were lucky to have 2 fantastic days with glorious sunshine. Definitely recommend this part of the SW coastal path but you need to be fairly fit as there are some steep climbs.

Route: Saints Way and Coast Path Padstow to Plymouth
Name: Stephanie Brown
When: 04 May 2017

USA FlagPlease forgive my delay in letting you know how much we enjoyed our walking trip this past May. There were 5 in our group and we chose to walk South Cornwall, from Padstow to Plymouth, including the Saints Way. The staff at Encounter Tours not only customized a beautiful route but endeavored to accommodate all of our wishes. You went above and beyond the call of duty!

Our luggage transfers were seamless and where we needed transport to the next trailhead, your drivers were right on time. The walking was superb with unparalled views; pathways were in good condition and the sun followed us for most of our trip. Your choice of hotels / B+B's was perfect. The Old Ship Hotel in Padstow was a great introduction to Cornwall... lively pub complete with live Celtic music our first night. We especially enjoyed the Crown Inn in Lanlivery and the Little Fox Hotel (best dinner we had in England!)

It's difficult to pick just one highlight....there were so many! I never know how people will accept American tourists. We don't have the best reputation as travelers. But everyone we met was warm and welcoming. We heard great stories on our walk from passersby and from lovely people we met in the pubs and inns . When we needed directions, locals went out of their way to help us.

All in all, a lovely trip. We will highly recommend Encounter Tours to anyone coming your way. I dare to hope that you offer tours in other areas of England. We plan to go to Wales in the spring of 2018. Any chance you're there? With best wishes, Stephanie Brown

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Full Route
Name: Christine and John
When: 04 May 2017

British FlagWe have just completed the whole of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in 14 days, with just a day and a half of rain. We started at Amroth on 4th May and walked into St Dogmaels on 17th May in glorious sunshine. Although we hadn't particularly looked at the tide times and when the ranges were open, we were able to do both the estuary crossings at low tide and walk the entire ranges. Impressed by the range of spring flowers and birds and seeing the seals frolicking in a small cove on our wettest and windiest day. Very uplifting. The B&Bs varied along the route, from pubs to a couple who tried so hard to try our wet clothes on the wet day. People, we met on the route were very friendly, and many were knowledgeable about the area. The map and Trailblazer guide were excellent, as well as the hints and information in the pack which was provided.

We were impressed from the start by Encounter, as our first tentative enquiry was responded to, within 36 hours, including a possible itinerary, even though we hadn't any exact dates at that time. Will definitely recommend to anyone else walking in this part of the world. Thank you all very much.

Route: South West Coast Path - Lyme Regis to Weymouth
Name: Pam and Isabel
When: 03 May 2017

United Kingdom flagWe really enjoyed our 3 day tailored walking holiday Lyme Regis to Weymouth in May. Lovely walks. Travel advice and arrangements worked really well. All the accommodation was fine - especially liked Peaches in Abbotsbury. Luggage transfer went very well- the B and B hosts were great at ensuring it left/arrived in the right place.

Very happy with the break and would definitely recommend to others. Even the weather was well coordinated- we had no rain at all until 20 mins after we reached our last hotel on the route!! - Thankyou.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Full Route
Name: Christine
When: 03 May 2017

United Kingdom flagJust a few notes about our trip.

The road between Little Haven and Broad Haven is now open, and the cars do travel quite quickly along it, so be warned.

The B&Bs which impressed us most: Brynteg at Manorbiern, Allenbrook at Dale, Bethsaida at St Dogmaels

We were allocated good sized rooms, shower/bathroom facilities were good, breakfasts cooked well and amenable/friendly hosts.

The 2 over the cafes were both very impersonal.  Once we arrived the owner went home, so we were left alone (like caretakers) in the cafe. Breakfast could have been better, ie no cereals at one, fruit juice was an after thought at the other.

Our luggage was moved efficiently and always there when we arrived.

Thank you very much and will recommend your company to any of our walking friends who may walk in your area.

 

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Judith
When: 03 May 2017

Australian FlagThank you so much for making my 60th birthday celebrations so special. we had a wonderful time on our recent south coast walk and we're very happy with the arrangements you made for us. it really was the highlight of my trip.

in terms of feedback the only suggestion I have is to provide a little more detail on the alternative walking route if the ferries aren't running from Falmouth to St Mawes. That was the case for us and we struggled a bit finding our way and would have appreciated a bit more information on the route. Google maps is a wonderful thing, so we got to our accommodation eventually with no harm done. 

I am keen to do some more sections of the track, though not sure whether I can work up interest from the others. If I do, I will be back in touch. Thank you again.

Route: South West Coast Path - St Ives to Padstow
Name: Jose - Costa Rica
When: 02 May 2017

flag of costa ricaBack from my Cornwall experience I want to inform you that everything went ok, and to thank you for arranging a very enjoyable walk.

It follows some comments on a few different points:

1. In spite of my initial prevention regarding vertigo I did not experienced in any moment or particular point of the path any difficulty or discomfort.I liked the Cornish coast and I will always consider between my future plans to explore other sections of this fantastic long path.

2. I did not have many problems finding and following the path as generally it follows the coast line and is well marked.The segment that I found less clear was the Gannel river crossing ( Map 31), as there are so many different possibilities and the books and maps tray to describe all of them so that sometimes it becomes a little confusing.I arrived at that area in the low tide and decided to follow the river along the beach, and I can imagine that the same land appears with a very different aspect depending on the tide.

3. I was lucky with the weather: some sunny days, other clouded but with good temperature for walking, and only some rain on Saturday 6th but bot heavy.My worst climatic moment was on Thursday 5th while doing the sections between Godrevy Point and Portreath when I had very strong head and side winds.¡That afternoon I regretted not walking the normal direct way!

4. Everything worked at perfection on luggage transport.

5 Regarding accommodation I enjoyed very much the Rick Stein experience at Padstow.All the other places were according with my expectations with perhaps two exceptions.

That's all. Again many thanks for helping me with a very nice and enjoyable walking holiday.

Route: Two moors way & part of South West Coast Path
Name: Gerda & Gerard
When: 01 May 2017

Netherlands flaggreat walks: very diferent in nature, b.e. the hills and valleys in Dartmoor vs the seaside in Westward Ho!. weather was great and that really helped: just 2 days of some rain. kind people along the whole track: my partner caught a bad cold and everyone tried to cure it. two remarks regarding to the South West Coast Path: 1) the path does not go into Barnstaple anymore so no refreshmenst there 2) we (and other couples) got lost on the Saunton golf courses - signs should be improved.

Thanks Gerda - Just for future reference the path does still go into Barnstaple but there is an alternative option to cross Taw bridge as you come into the town rather than go right into the centre of Barnstaple which reduces the distance by 1.25 miles but you then do miss the centre of town and the shops.

Route: Minehead to Perranporth (SWCP)
Name: Chris
When: 28 April 2017

British FlagI've just got back from another incredible solo hike along a 200 mile stretch of the SWCP over 15 days . The landscape for the majority of this the path is stunning, with some fairly remote stretches and some tough but rewarding hiking. Encounter once again organised things so that everything was taken care of, including luggage transfers, with no dramas throughout the trip. I'll be using them again for my next walk; having covered Minehead to Coverack in two stints, I'm just trying to decide whether to hike the last half of the path in one go...

Route: St Michael's Way and Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Dolf and Birgit
When: 22 April 2017

Netherlands flagWe had a wonderfull walking holiday. Sure worthwhile to do such a walk oncemore. The combination to do first a walk through the country (the St Michaels Way ) and then the SW Coast Path was a good choice.

Finding our way on the St Michaels Way was no problem.

In your information of this route you gave a note at the point of Trembethow farm because of added buildings. Just follow the original way signs and not the black and white temporary signs. The route there is easy to follow.

On the SWC path we had one confusing point after the crossing of the Helford River. In the part between Polgwidden Cove and Durgan two trails are there with a hight difference of about 10 meters. Not on the map. We followed the top one and at Dungan we went uphill to Trebah farm instead going along the coast to Mawnan. We should have followed the bottum trail.

All the accommodations were very good close the trail, some on the trail! All the information from you was very good and usefull. Luggage transport has been very good.

Highlights: St Ives was very beautiful  and the St Michaels Way showed us a very nice countrysite. The SWC path was very beautiful because the coastline and the special light. We can understand that a lot of artists are in Cornwall. The two parts of the SWC path between Mullion- Cadgwith and Porthallow - Mawnan Smith were the highlights of the trail.

For us we have some points of attention:

- more attention to hight differences of the trail

- an extra day of rest after a hard day.(long and many hight differences)

Route: South West Coast Path - Westward Ho! to Bude
Name: Mike
When: 22 April 2017

Scottish flag1. More than anything, we really enjoyed our walk and magnificent sea views, being fortunate in our case with the weather.

2. The accommodation and pubs recommended to us were good and friendly, notably the Village Inn at Westward Ho!, the Hartland Quay Hotel, and the Bush Inn.

3. On a practical note, we would stress the need for walkers to take a good supply of water with them. Obvious I know, but multiple ascents and descents really do stimulate a good thirst.

4. Two delightful pit stops included the Hartland Point cafe in the car park, and earlier in the walk - and for the life of me I cannot be specific here - the tiny window in the house by quay that was open to sell drinks and ice cream. But only pointed out to us by a local walking her dog.

5. To possibly help with future publications:

- a clearer distinction in your notes regarding the difference between 'strenous' and 'severe' would be helpful.

- as naive as it may sound, greater clarity on the length (and multiple small bridges, not shown on any map) of the walk-in on the Hobby Road to Clovelly. There were a few moments, based on experience in Scotland's Highlands, when I wondered if we were actually heading the wrong way though I guess this was accentuated by not fully appreciating the nature of the final, amazing descent down to Clovelly.

But in summary a great trip characterised by very helpful information and tips alongside superb views and delightful landscapes.

Route: The Saints Way
Name: Marion & Malcolm
When: 19 April 2017

Australian flagWe greatly enjoyed our recent walk on The Saints Way. Warm sunny weather in late April was a bonus! We did the walk over 3 days, with an extra day at the start to explore Padstow. The distances were not too taxing (we are an older couple) and the varying terrain made for challenge and interest. The panoramic scenery at several points was magnificent. We found we could handle navigation with the help of the route notes and maps, although not without the occasional mistake. Mostly we could get back on track quite quickly. However near Pawton Mine we failed to take a right turn. We thought we were further along than in fact we were. Then a local farmer told us that the post with the waymark had rotted away and not been replaced, despite local request.

We missed several features mentioned on the notes – standing stones and crosses. Maybe locations of these could be better detailed in the notes. We found the accommodation in Padstow (Cyntwell B&B), St Wenn (Tregolls Farm), Lanlivery (Crown Inn) and Fowey (King of Prussia) all excellent. We appreciated the opportunity to have the evening meal at the somewhat isolated Tregolls Farm. From Fowey we went on to Charlestown, where Tall Ships B&B, also arranged by Encounter Holidays, was brilliant. Transfers of our luggage all took place without a hitch.

Route: South West Coast Path between Padstow and Perranporth
Name: Nick Busing
When: 19 April 2017

Canadian FlagVery well organized walk, helpful materials that were detailed and timely. The driver (Mike Perry)who took us to our starting points and hotels etc was just excellent . He had lots of advice for us, knew the walks we were doing and made some suggestions as to how we could modify the walks to suit our immediate change in needs. Hotel bookings and luggage transfers worked smoothly. Just great scenery complimented by the brilliant yellow Gorse and the fields of bright yellow rapeseed. Just enough up and down for us, all around 70... Would use Encounter Walking again!

Route: South West Coast Path - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Susan
When: 18 April 2017

We are still in UK but finished our walk after a delightful time with superb weather. Thank you for arranging THAT for us!

It was a magnificent experience. We did find day 5 much shorter & day 4 much longer than expected. A taxi from the pub at Helford Passage day 4 and then backtracking day 5 helped balance it out a bit but a surprise after the first 3 days feeling accurate. Happy with the  accommodations chosen, really not sure where to suggest a day 4 change!

Again thank you, we are truly happy with our arrangements.

Route: Lyme Regis to Poole
Name: Johanna and Jürgen
When: 17 April 2017

German FlagA few days ago we returned from our walk at the Jurassic Coast.

We had the most wonderful holiday. The landscape is beautiful and although we had to go up and down the cliffs we never regretted walking there. The preparation for this walk was perfect. The accommodation was selected with good knowledge. We liked each hotel and b&b, much so as they were so different in style but alike in the friendliness of the hosts. The transportation of the luggage was precise and the taxi for the detour to Corfe Castle was in time and with an excellent and friendly driver. Thank you very much for all you did for us. The maps and descriptions of our route were absolutely accurate.

We are sure to visit the South of England again, the path is not completed yet since it continues to the West. We will happily contact you again when we are ready for a new adventure. Thank you again for assuring us a holiday with no worry about luggage and accommodation. We enjoyed it very much.

Just one thing: You prepared us for some rainy days, but we only had sunshine – not one day with rain or fog or lightning. ;-)


 

Route: South West Coast Path whole route
Name: Joyce
When: 16 April 2017

Unitied Kingdom flagOnly a few overall comments really.

Everyone spoke highly of the company and the way you dealt with them.

Everywhere had the booking ready for me, only twice did I get an accommodation bill and both times I think it was the operator unfamiliar with the system not a genuine request.

Only one place offered to do washing - I could have asked but an offer would have been nicer, especially on such a long trip.

Everyone cheerfully gave me fresh milk to use instead of the UHT cartons.

Make sure they are not allergic to dogs - they were EVERYWHERE.

I was very lucky with weather but a much wetter trip may have caused problems getting stuff dried - especially footwear, not all seemed clued up about walkers.

Advise to carry some cash - Lyme Regis, for example, had no bank and the cash machine was broken - only source was cash back.

There is  no escape on many parts of the path and usually no phone contact either.

Kevin the taxi man was lovely - he told me of the late walkers in case I couldn't get over to the Sloop, to save me looking for my own taxi.

Route: South West Coast Path - Padstow to Lyme Regis
Name: Joan
When: 13 April 2017

Canadian flagWe walked for 21 days (with only one day "off" to travel between Falmouth and Exmouth, and had an absolutely excellent time.  We are not young (I am 63, my husband 75) ; we generally walked at the "relaxed pace" and had no difficulties whatsoever, including over the challenging sections (such as between St Ives and Zennor and Sidmouth and Beer).

Other than two long days (Porthcurno to Marazion and Coverack to Mawnan Smith) we walked five to six hours per day, which we found pleasantly challenging but not exhausting.  This was our first visit to Cornwall and Devon, and we wanted to ensure we could "see the sights" as well as walk, and visited the Geevor Tin Mine in Pendeen, the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno and the Quarry Caves in Beer (all interesting and worth the time).  We used hiking poles which we found helped with balance on the narrow and tricky-footing sections. 

The support provided by Encounter Walking Holidays, both before and during our walk, was superb, as was the Luggage Transfer service.  Both highly recommended.  We found the OS maps were useful to get the 'big picture' of the day's walk, but depended on the Trailblazer Guide (referencing it multiple times a day) to ensure we had not missed a SWCP acorn sign. 

We were blessed with the weather (only two days of rain) and though the locals were unhappy with the cool temperatures (6-15C), cool days were excellent for walking.  Other than over Easter Weekend, the path was quiet in April and May - we often walked for several hours without meeting anyone else - and the blooming wildflowers were lovely.    We had never attempted a walk such as this before, and regret we have waited so long!  We will definitely be back to walk more of the SWCP (or perhaps the Pennine Way, or Coast to Coast Path, or the Pembrokeshire Coast Path - so many choices!) and will definitely work with Encounter Walking Holidays again.   

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Full Route
Name: Stephen
When: 12 April 2017

Welsh FlagI am a very satisfied customer! I thought the work done by Encounter Walking Holidays was superb. Thank you all very much. Everything went smoothly with the luggage transfers and the accommodation you booked was very varied and of high quality. I particularly enjoyed the converted chapel in St Dogmaels. Overall I had a great walk!

Obviously the universe is dynamic and some things change. There is a shop in Dale - the big shop that sells marine kit also has a small grocery in the back and in the front it sells cakes and sandwiches. (At least it did in late April, I don't know about winter.

I understand the view that the northern part of the walk is grander and wilder, but every experience is totally individual. I had superb light and sunny weather in the south and the walk from Broad Haven to Solva was magical, with the sea like glass. When I walked the northern stretch the weather was more overcast and the last day, from Newport to St Dogmaels, there were a lot of people on the path, some of them competing in an insane overnight race which had started in Dale. Walking with all these people with numbers on their backs took the edge off the wildness! But c'est la vie, I'm not complaining.

Route: Dartmoor Way
Name: Paul and Sue
When: 10 April 2017

UK FlagA beautiful area and a magnificent varied route, including river walks, wild moorland, old bridleways, disused railway lines and woodland paths. We were lucky to enjoy 7 sunny clear days, enabling easy walking, fantastic clear views and everywhere dry underfoot. The Dartmoor Way is not marked too clearly, and many fingerposts are very weathered and unclear or even missing, so care is needed to avoid straying from the correct route. With care and attention and a good map it provides a stunning walk, lovely villages, old pubs, plenty of history and comfortable accommodation each evening. The maps, information and luggage transfers were very helpful, and the route provides plenty of opportunity to visit other attractions, sites and places of interest. We thoroughly enjoyed the week as did George our labrador! Thanks for all your help.

Route: South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Doreen and George
When: 07 April 2017

British FlagWe arrived home safely on Friday evening. The walk from Falmouth to Plymouth was lovely helped by the fact that there was no rain at all for the whole fortnight. The coastal scenery and villages such as Polperro . Charlestown and Megavissey were lovely but there were still lots ups and downs which keeps the legs moving. The accommodation was all very good and the route was easy to find all the way. The flowers were lovely again with the may blossom full out this time as well as bluebells . primroses and gorse- quite a splash of colour. We saw  lots of birds and one dolphin but no other marine life.

The extra days to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and Eden Project were well worth the slight detours. We are looking forward to doing the final leg ( for us) in about three weeks time. Many thanks again for organising everything for us.

Route: South West Coast Path - Port Gaverne to Newquay
Name: Clive & Gillie Thompson
When: 06 April 2017

As always Encounter Walking never let us down with their organisation. This is our 6th trip with them, this time walking Port Gaverne to Newquay over 5 days. Parked in Newquay and were picked up by Mike, our taxi driver from past holidays, who makes you feel relaxed and that you have arrived!

Our favourite accommodation on the walk was at Polzeath staying at Seaways Guesthouse. Pauline & Ken were excellent hosts and made us feel very welcome. At the end of the walk we drove down to St. Ives and stayed at the Seaforth B & B run by Debbie and Carl. This must be the 4th time we have stayed here and we just love it! Still a reasonably rugged coast line with spectacular scenery and not many people about away from the ports. We saw grey seals which was a highlight. Looking forward to next year and, alas, our final Cornish Coastal Path stretch, Fowey to Plymouth.

Route: St Ives to Porthcurno
Name: Jenny
When: 03 April 2017

UK FlagHi there I just wanted to say we had a brilliant time on our recent St Ives to Penzance walk.  A thoroughly relaxing break thanks not just to fabulous weather, but to excellent planning which meant that everything worked so smoothly.  We really did have nothing to worry about!

Accommodation was all excellent and we particularly appreciated your advice on planning the length of each segment - just long enough to feel we'd had a good walk each day without being too taxing for novices.  The only grumbling came on the last section into Pendeen from Zennor.  We thought we were nearly there for a good hour before we actually arrived!  

We also took a wrong turning as we crossed fields between Zennor and Pendeen but I cant remember quite where that was - to correct ourselves we would have had to go through a small paddock of ponies if we hadn't turned back to find the correct style. 

Many thanks once again. Cant wait for the next trip

Route: SWCP Falmouth to Looe
Name: Gabriele
When: 01 April 2017

German Flag Dear Encounter-Walking-Team,  thanks very much for the organisation of this lovely holiday. I enjoyed the walks and the hospitality of the bandbs very much. Everything was perfect. Also the weather: Booking with encounter walking means always sunshine

Best wishes Gabriele

Route: The Smugglers Way
Name: Ann
When: 09 March 2017

United Kingdom flagApologies for the delay in getting back to you and thank you for all the work you put into my holiday. The walking notes for the Smugglers' Way and the instructions for finding the accommodation were spot on. There were bits of water-logged ground on the Smugglers' Way, but no more than what is to be expected of moorland after rain - certainly nothing I haven't coped with before.

Route: Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Rachel
When: 24 November 2016

UK FlagFabulous, end of November, 7 day walk from Place to Plymouth. Not a drop of rain all week and even walking in T-shirts on some of the days. Excellent organisation provided by Encounter Walking with bnbs all booked and luggage transfers all operating like clockwork, taking any stress and worry out of the equation. Had the path to ourselves for most of the time, making it a wonderful escape and delightful experience. I would definitely recommend this glorious route and booking through Encounter Walking.

Route: Saints Way
Name: Tim Birnie
When: 19 November 2016

Canadian FlagTo say this walk was a challenge is putting it mildly. Partly due to storm Angus yes but also being November. We did enjoy but felt a bit pushed to get finished by dark after setting out by 10 each day. We did appreciate the daily weather updates from Damon. The accommodations booked were A1! We also found the iTunes app for the maps a lifesaver as sometimes you weren't entirely sure you were on the proper track. Love to do it again perhaps in Sept or Oct. Thanks again!

Route: Weymouth to Lyme Regis
Name: JB
When: 31 October 2016
  • UK FlagHi Damon and team - Fabulous walking holiday. The weather was incredible for the three days we were walking, couldn't have had better. Thank you for your gift (my slip up) for Abbey House, it was absolutely wonderful! We certainly would use Encounter Walking again. And I've already recommended EW to others we met on our trip and friends at home.
  • EW the best so far.
  • Best Regards to you all  X
  •  
Route: Minehead to Combe Martin
Name: Monique
When: 22 October 2016
  • Flag of the NetherlandsHaving returned back home, I am writing to you to thank you for the perfect organisation of our trip.... it was our first time walking the SWCP, but we'll definitely be back. Your carefully composed and precise information helped us prepare for, plan and enjoy the walking, find our way around and sleep in great B&Bs/Inns with welcoming hosts.
  •  
  • We had a tough time on the second day, with new shoes (bought in Porlock) that didn't fit as they should have.. and it took us 7 hours to get to Lynmouth.. exhausted! The next day we thought our feet wouldn't carry us anymore... but we just decided to walk to the Valley of Rocks, from there we walked a bit further... and a bit further.. and managed half the walk to end at the Hunter's Inn in Hendon, from where we called a cab. So I guess that's where we need to start next time we come back. It was great!

 

Route: St Ives to Marazion
Name: Paul + 2
When: 15 October 2016

Flag of the NetherlandsDear Damon, we really enjoyed our trip!

The trail was beautiful, the weather more than pleasant and the accomodations oké.The luggage transfers where outstanding! Next time for me the accomodations can be a bit more upscale, with for exemple a spa.

But the reason for the walk, a boys trip away, was more than succesful!

Thank you very much for the arrangements and next time when we Will go walking I will definatelly book with your company again.

Route: Solva to St Dogmaels
Name: Pat and Doug peacock
When: 13 October 2016

It was our first experience with an organised walk company and we were thrilled with Encounter Walking. Without exception, all the B and B hosts were warm and helpful, accomodation was first rate and the breakfasts were excellent. The itinerary and maps provided excellent detailed information for planning our days. Luggage transfers worked very smoothly. We would definitely recommmend Encounter Walking to our firends.

Route: coleridge way
Name: mike smith
When: 13 October 2016

UK FlagThoroughly enjoyed it. All arrangements without a hitch, only 1 significant error in route finding at the ambiguous sign in Mansley Combe where, despite your comments, I managed to make the wrong choice and we ended up on Dunkery Beacon, but, we didn't mind, we had the wind at our backs, blue skies alternating with ferocious roiling clouds, and showers that came and went in 60 seconds every 15 minutes or so.

Loved the holloways, the ancient walls, but above all, the trees - it's a paradise for tree-huggers! The last few miles into Lynmouth, in the company of the East Lyn River, absolutely stunning. Maybe we drank and ate a little too much sitting in comfortable and friendly pubs every night and didn't return quite as fit and wiry as we would have liked, but it would have to be a very miserable person to complain about that. Many thanks Encounter, for your work in making our trip so enjoyable.

Route: The Coleridge Way to Lynmouth
Name: Jill + 1
When: 11 October 2016

UK FlagHi Damon - Just to say our trip was excellent and to thank you all for making it so. No problems encountered at all. We were lucky with the weather, the views were stunning, the trees showing beautiful autumn and all the stopovers and meals spot on! It is indeed a quiet and maybe unnoticed part of the country - I shall be passing on how good it all is. What a trip to remember thanks to all your arrangements.  Kind regards Jill

Route: The Coleridge Way
Name: Elizabeth and Carol
When: 10 October 2016
  • UK FlagWhat a great walk
  • Everything was just right. The accommodation was perfect. The most beautiful paths ever. Just one problem we got lost twice. Section 57 Road water in the woods and Section 92 93 Dunkley to the river. But still we loved it and we ended in the right place If I come down to the south I will definitely use you again We really had a great time Thank you Elizabeth and Carol
Route: The Coleridge way
Name: Ann and Bob
When: 08 October 2016

UK FlagHello Damon, Thanks for all the arrangements you made for us on the Coleridge Way (Oct 2016).  The accommodation was first class with all hosts very welcoming.  The signage was very good throught the walk and along with the route description kept us on the right track (except when we were not paying attention). 

Had no problem accessing the walk via public transport, though we understand the bus from Bridgewater to Nether Stowey is being discontinued, so could cause a problem in the future.  We loved the variety of scenery offered on this walk which made the steep uphill sections worthwhile.  Can thoroughly recommend the walk in this quiet part of England (we didn't meet any other walkers).

Route: Helford Passage to Mevagissey
Name: Eva + 4
When: 07 October 2016
  • UK FlagWe had a terrific weekend walking thank you! Absolutely glorious and a wonderful stretch of coastline. Thank you so much for all your detailed guidance notes which were a great help to Nadine in particular. I think we only had a couple of comments:
  •  
  • The walking time on Saturday was out by about two hours having allowed for an hour for lunch at the Plume of Feathers to Portloe (?) We were able to rebook the taxi for 7pm (from booked 5pm) and all was well. Great lunch, lovely taxi driver (Dave), no problems!
  •  
  • We learnt that some taxi drivers stop working in October so we were apparently lucky to get ones when we needed. No sandwich lunch offered at the Mevagissey Bay Hotel but there are cafes open on Sunday morning for delicious crab sarnies!
  •  
  • Cafes on the route were closing early, about 3-4pm, to we missed out a couple of times. I think the closing times entirely depend on the weather, how many people are about, how the owners feel! Luckily we had plenty of snacks with us…!
  •  
  • So thank you, once again a lovely weekend. We’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather once again. Gorgeous.
  • Very best wishes, Eva
Route: Padstow to St Ives
Name: Cynthia + 3
When: 06 October 2016

USA FlagWe are on our way back to London and I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed our vacation. Everything just went perfectly, all the overnight stays were comfortable, and logistics were perfect. I have already recommended your company to someone else

The stay at St. George's was delightful- renovated house is lovely, hosts were delightful. IT was on of our favorite stays!

Route: Coleridge Way
Name: joyce whatley
When: 03 October 2016

UK FlagFirst organised walk I have done, took my small Jack Russell and we were both very well looked after at stop. Coleridge's cottage worth a visit, The pub in Nether Stowey had a quiz which added to the fun. Walk across the Quantocks interesting and demanding, and the trail over Exmoor gave wonderful views. Cold and sunny but did not take light weight clothing to put on at stops, therefore stiffened up when we stopped for tea, a pac a mac and similar trousers would have been a good idea.

Pubs all comfortable and friendly with good food. Breakfasts were good for the cooked part although a whole tomato would have been good, but fresh fruit and yogurt and better cereal would be good, The pub at wheddon cross went to the shop early to cater for us, also we needed to eat earlier than offered and the pub at Monksilver although very friendly did not cater well for an earlier start. very good information excellent organisation, thank you

Route: Coleridge Way and Coast Path back to Minehead
Name: Lynn
When: 03 October 2016

UK FlagWe had a very good holiday the walking was excellent and the weather was perfect. The luggage transfer went without a hitch, the accommodation was adequate, the best B&B was The Rest and Be Welcome at Wheddon Cross.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Ariane and Francois
When: 01 October 2016

Swiss FlagDear Damon, Everything has worked out fine. The weather conditions were perfect. We pretty much enjoyed discovering south Cornwall. In every accommodation there was gluten free bread and the rooms were confortable. We both thank you very much for state of the art organisation of our Journey. Thanks again,  Ariane and François

Route: Weymouth to Poole
Name: Tim - Norwich
When: 30 September 2016
  • UK FlagHi Damon & Team,
  • All the arrangements went precisely to plan including the shuttle from Worth Maltravers to the Limes and back. The pick up from the Chain ferry and drop off at Poole station went without a hitch. Excel taxis were punctual for all journeys. We also liked the three overnight stays you booked for us; very different but all good. 
  •  

We were blessed with excellent weather apart from a cloudburst on Saturday morning. Just as well as the severe ascents and descents would have been much trickier if slippery.  The only time we had to resort to GPS was when we left the Path to go to Worth Maltravers on the Sunday. Also there have been a couple of small cliff falls at Lulworth Cove, but there are sufficient alternative paths.

We had three days of excellent and enjoyable walking.  Thanks and regards,

 

Route: Dartmoor Way Full Circle
Name: MK
When: 30 September 2016
  • UK Flag I would like to say thanks -- I had a great holiday, accommodation and food absolutely fine, luggage transfers worked smoothly etc.  I did struggle a bit with the printed walk guide, which wasn't always easy to follow in terms of map locations and sometimes seemed positively misleading (maybe it's a bit out of date?), but that's not your fault: your suggestions all felt like improvements, and in fact I'd say the highlight of the whole walk for me was the East Okemont River valley, so thanks specially for that. 
  •  
  • I enjoyed Lydford Gorge too, but on the 4th day (Okehampton to Lydford) rather than the 5th as you suggest: even after some spectacularly inept map-reading I reached Lydford by 2.30, which left plenty of time for sightseeing, and as the gorge doesn't open till 10.00 I think you're in danger of making that 5th day awkwardly long if you try to include Brentor -- as of course you should!  I did one on each day, which equalled them out a bit (14.5 and 13.75 miles) and seemed to work well.  But this is a very small point.  Overall I had a brilliant week: thanks again.
Route: The Coleridge Way
Name: Christine Southern
When: 29 September 2016

UK FlagA very varied and challenging walk, beautiful vistas but quite long walking days.

Day 1. to Monksilver. 15miles plus. No.7 be careful to spot this track, we didn't spot the sign. No.21 saw the layby but not the track running along the lower edge of the deer park. West Quantoxhead, the Windmill Inn was shut. This section is a little too long for the first day!

Day 2 to Wheddon Cross. 14miles. No. 59 a way marker would have been useful here in the field. The blue markings sometimes confusing!

Day 3 to Porlock Weir. 14 miles. If staying at Exmoor House walk along the A396 and be very careful to spot the really low waymark No.88 to Raleigh Manor. No.100 missed the sign and came out of the woods at Higher Brockwell very confusing. Webbers Post area is very beautiful.

Porlock a very pretty town, forestry commission works in the wood No.126 made for very muddy walking to Porlock Weir.

Day 4 to Lynmouth. 15miles. My favourite days walking with the sea on our right and then the Brendon Hills and lastly a beautiful riverside walk to Lynmouth. At Ash Bridge there is a diversion to the other side of the river, with Watersmeet House closed for refurbishment for 6months. Recross to the route at Countisbury bridge. A great challenge with super memories. Thank you team.

 

Route: Dale to St Davids
Name: Sarah - Massachusetts
When: 26 September 2016

USA FlagI was going to email you sooner but we're still on vacation.  We had a wonderful trip walking the Pembrokeshire coast path for 5 days.  The inns and hosts were great and our luggage was always delivered on time. You made our vacation stress free.  We had some wind and rain the first two days but after that it was sunny and warm. 

Route: Coleridge Way
Name: Helena & Geoff
When: 22 September 2016

UK FlagThis was our fourth holiday arranged with Encounter and, once again, many thanks to Damon, Ellie and the rest of the team for organising everything so brilliantly. The luggage transfers and taxi back to Nether Stowey at the end of the holiday all worked smoothly and we enjoyed the B&B accommodation. Our favourite was Woodadvent Farm where we received a very warm welcome from Diana and the dogs, had a lovely big room and enjoyed a beautifully cooked evening meal served in the candlelit dining room. Other special mentions go to Exmoor House at Wheddon Cross (for the welcome and the food), Staghunters Inn at Brendon (for a wonderful venison casserole) and the Lyn Valley Hotel in Lynmouth (for a very friendly welcome and a bathroom with the best shower we’ve ever come across!)

We really enjoyed the mix of countryside on the walk – in particular the green lanes, ancient bridleways and the far reaching views of the Quantocks and Exmoor. We had been looking forward to diverting over Dunkery Beacon but, unfortunately, low cloud and pouring rain meant that we decided to stay on the Coleridge Way instead. From Porlock to Porlock Weir we did divert off the CW by walking down Sparkhayes Lane and then along the Coast Path. We were in Lynmouth by lunchtime on the last day so added on the extra extension round to Poets Corner – well worth doing for the trip on the cliff railway, excellent coastal views and a close up view of the wild goats. Thanks again, Damon, and we’re already thinking about walk number five!

 

Route: Lizard Marazion to Falmouth
Name: I & R - Victoria
When: 21 September 2016

Australian FlagThe walk was magnificent with only two Cornish days of mizzle and four of glorious sunshine - I got a bit burnt the first day! Dropping car at Penzance and walking to Marazion was a great gentle start and the Marazion accomm was very nice with views of the bay.  We visited the Mount before the tide came in and enjoyed a great meal at the Kings Arms where I was introduced to rum & shrub.  I'd never heard of it before - possibly the smallest pub dining room ever - they didn't charge for the shrub apparently because our meals had taken so long to arrive.  We're not in a hurry!

Have to say the next day was a hard one for me. All those stiles and scrambly bits of path. But we got to Praa Sands feeling pretty great and had a ploughman's before hitting the final 7kms (I can't think in miles, sorry) and it knocked me about a bit.  Clearly 17 kms for me needs to be a little less rugged! Utterly due to my overestimating my ageing bones. 

The Old Vicarage in Mullion was beautiful with a very informative landlady. The Old Inn is fantastic with it's community library in the dining room - 'The pub's the hub' as it says. We took the bus from there to Lizard for a look around before walking to Cadgwith. The new owners (2012) it seems had an idea of closing over winter but the locals told them they had a civic duty to stay open for them and now they do. I love that kind of good sense in the Cornish. The barman was quite indignant that someone had written on Tripadvisor that the place has "good food, nice rooms - pity it's run by emmetts!"

Gallen Treath guest house is run by an unlikely looking sort of gentle bikie bloke and his wife. They were really helpful and did a full load of muddy, sweaty washing for us and refused payment, just asked for a donation to the RNLI collection tin. Another lovely stop.

Gold Martin B&B was a great finishing spot - they picked us up from the pub as we were absolutely saturated (by the persistent 'mizzle'!) and then drove us to Mawnan churchyard to resume the next morning after I'd visited my friend's grave there. Their breakfast offering was also welcome after a week of full Englishes - croissants with melted Brie and ham and an egg on top.  They told us that Encounter Walking is far and away the best company to deal with, replying promptly to emails, always keeping them informed of what they need to know and paying promptly.  I thought that was good for you to know. (And it echoes our own experience). I think being Cornwall-based really helps.

So Damon - thank you for a great trip. We passed your name onto a couple of different people we met who are interested in planning a coastal walk and also the saint's way from North Cornwall to the Mount - not sure if you do that one?

 

Route: Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Mike - Sheffield
When: 21 September 2016

UK FlagHi everyone, Firstly, all the arrangements were fine and well organised. The accommodation was in both Guest Houses and pubs, and in all cases they were friendly and expecting me at the appropriate times. Breakfasts were always well cooked and with a choice of cereals and fruit. The walking was fantastic and exhilarating.

The maps and guidebooks were invaluable, although I should have read the notes more carefully which described Day 1 as moderate to strenuous, and the last part was certainly strenuous. I was unable to locate the path at one point after the quarry at Godfrey Cove. It was raining hard and with no-one else in sight and no mobile signal, had to retrace my steps and detour to St. Keverne. I later learned from other walkers the path was not well marked and went through very marshy and boggy land which had become saturated due to the rain. Otherwise the maps and instructions were accurate in all respects.

Also, whilst walking alone, it was good to see a number of other walkers on various occasions who were following the same route. Not sure if these other groups were with Encounter, but they were staying at the same accommodation by and large. Perhaps Encounter could advise walkers if other groups were following the same route at the same time. Overall a very enjoyable holiday with magnificent views around the coast, interspersed with wonderful Cornish villages and pubs of real character. Harder walking than anticipated, but well worth the effort. Mike from Sheffield

 

Route: Minehead to Barnstaple; St Ives to Penzance
Name: Pamina, Mark, Ellen, and Bruce
When: 20 September 2016

USA FlagWe are two couples who recently walked two segments of the South West Coast Path. We had a wonderful experience and thought these tips might be useful to other walkers:

• On the stretch between Minehead and Porlock Weir, the Trailblazer book and Encounter's notes describe the "main route" and the "rugged alternative route." The trail signage, however, is the reverse of what is indicated in the notes, and designates the route closer to the sea as the "main route," which we took and which we highly recommend.

• We found the signage generally clear and useful, although we got off track a few times in towns and urban areas, where the signage was sometimes non-existent or harder to spot.

• We found that the mileage indicated on our two GPS units was consistently about 8 to 10% higher than what was indicated in the notes, possibly the result of our wandering off the prescribed route or measuring from portal to portal of our B&Bs.

• Two of us are vegetarians and one of us is lactose intolerant, so we had some concerns about whether we would find suitable meal choices. Not to worry! Encounters advised our B&Bs in advance and every restaurant or pub we visited was well prepared to deal with dietary restrictions and intolerances. An EU regulation requires restaurants to maintain information about fourteen common allergens. One restaurant showed us the book it maintained with this information for all its menu items.

• A note about breakfast: most B&Bs offered the included cooked breakfast between 8 and 9 a.m., which meant a fairly late start for the trail each day. Sometimes we were able to negotiate an earlier meal time or an earlier uncooked breakfast (cold cereal, fruit, juice). Other times we were able to substitute a packed lunch for the cooked breakfast and hit the trail on our own schedule.

Route: Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Sharon and Gerhard
When: 19 September 2016

German FlagThe Route: We found the route was of outstanding beauty and some parts remote.To hear and follow the Atlantic crashing against the rocks watching the waves gives you a calm and sometimes mystic feeling. Looking behind you after climbing the valleys and steps going up and down great views. Always anticipating what`s around the corner a good feeling.

The accommodation: well planned and our bags always waiting for us on arrival. Would love to give special regards to Mark and Marcelline who gave us a warm welcome and lots of tips for our rest day at Westward Ho!before starting our walk. Also Keith and Julie at Tintagel who served us tea and freshly baked chocolate and banane cake at our arrival the best thing after such a walk. It was here we had one of the best breakfasts healthy eating.

The weather: We started off with great weather for hikers not too cloudy enough sunkissing for our souls. Lots of winds but we were very careful along the cliffs. Only one day of rain turning some parts of the track into a little stream und muddy we had a slippy time but also a unique experience has something mystical the coast by rain and fog.

The Encounter Team: Really lots of information and good books to help us on our way. We will definetly be back next year for the next part of the path which has infected us. Thanks a lot I`ve now recommended you to friends of ours here in Germany, telling them about our hiking with you, they asked for details so who knows I`m sure you`ll be hearing from them.

 

Route: Saints Way Fowey to Padstow and Coast Path To Tintagel
Name: Jonathan -British Columbia
When: 18 September 2016

Canadian FlagWe had a great time on Saints Way followed by the Padstow to Tintagel coast section.

  • Walkers need to go through the village of Retire to avoid the flooded road on the regular path toward Tregoll Farm (but it's easy to get lost finding your way back to the path when going in the direction towards Padstow).
  • Watch out for the horse that is aggressive and tries to bite in the uphill field immediately outside Padstow
  • the Halfway House Inn is worth the detour for lunch on that stretch of the Saints Way
  • Do not miss calling at St Petroc's church at Little Petherick  on the way into Padstow - beautifully decorated and easily the most impressive church we visited despite being very small. (Be warned that the sign just outside the church gate that says 2 miles to Padstow is wrong -- it's further than that and took us almost 2 hours to get to the Metropole from there.)
  • We enjoyed all the accommodations, except we found the Bosayne Guest House in Tintagel pretty ordinary compared to the other excellent places.
  •  
Route: The Lizard Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Chris - London
When: 17 September 2016

UK FlagHi, We had a great time. Thanks. Everything went smoothly.

First thanks to you. We booked late and I appreciate that you still went ahead and tried to book things for us. I also appreciated the facility to have a  choice and upgrade before we booked on individual night stops.

The accommodation was generally very high standard. We've done part of the coastal path before and think the accommodation this time was much better than what we have encountered before. I would single out three where it was exceptional. Fernleigh at Coverack. The host was extremely welcoming and the breakfast was delicious. She even checked and gave us advice about the upcoming ferry service on our walk (which was disrupted by an especially low tide that day). Very thoughtful. The views were great from the house and we had the run of several rooms at our disposal to relax in.  Also extremely good was our first night's accommodation in Penzance (Treventan) which offered delicious breakfast. And the Lerryn at Falmouth - wonderful seaview room with balcony.

Thanks again

 

Route: Minehead to Boscastle
Name: Julia - Austria
When: 17 September 2016

Austrian FlagDamon and the Team did a great job in arranging my walk and luggage transfer, as well as getting me some additional information. Thank you! In most accommodations my suitcase was already waiting in my room when I arrived. Not having to carry luggage up the narrow English stairs after a long day of walking, was particularly nice. The weather was mostly great for walking. Not too warm, not too cold, not too wet. I skipped 1 day (Clovelly to Hartland Quay) and took a bus to Hartland Village (from where it was only about 1 hour of walking to Hartland Quay), as it was very stormy and raining cats and dogs. It was nice having a rest day and I would recommend scheduling one after 5-7 days. I will definitely be back! :)

Route: The Lands End Coast Path
Name: Jeltje
When: 17 September 2016

Netherlands FlagFirst of all I want to thank Damon and his team for organizing everything so quickly!! We booked the tour only 2 weeks in advance which was possible thanks to the flexibility of Encounter Walking. We had such a great time! The weather was perfect, the landscape was like a painting, the people we met were so kind, the food was great. We had a little bit of trouble in the beginning of the walk. We missed the sign for the Coastal Path when we walked from Mousehole to Lamorna. Instead of the Coastal Path, we walked through the country site which was also beautiful. We even saw a show at the Minnack theatre. What an exceptional place to build a theatre. We definitely want to come back to Cornwall to do other walks and of course we will book our trip with Encounter Walking next time.

Route: Lands End St Ives to Penzance
Name: Ann
When: 16 September 2016

USA FlagWe are so thankful we used Encounter Walking to book our trip and move our bags. There were so many hikers that had to take valuable time out of each day to look for a place to stay the next night. The B and B's that were suggested were perfect. The owners were lovely and so eager to please us. All the other suggestions that Encounter Walking made were helpful as well. Thanks so much!!

Route: Coleridge Way
Name: Paul and Pam
When: 16 September 2016

USA FlagMy wife and I had a wonderful time on our recent walk. As we flew back to the US, we found ourselves discussing our next trip(!) It's difficult to describe to Americans just how unique it is to walk in the UK. There is simply no experience like it in our country. The British tradition of free access (property owners along public footpaths must, by law, permit hikers to cross their land) is quite foreign to Americans.

We met a lot of friendly sheep, horses, chickens - and, to our surprise, an ostrich - on farms along the way. Interestingly, we met just one person working outside: a boy who was feeding the chickens. Otherwise, we had free and sole access to gorgeous expanses of land.

To Damon and his teammates at Encounter Walking Holidays, I'd like to say "Thank you so much" for guiding us through the selection process. We appreciate your patience and help - especially during the (now) amusing failure of the Great Western Railway web-based reservation system. For a few days, the GWR was unable to book reservations for customers outside the UK. Damon reached out to his contact there, confirmed the problem and gave us some alternatives. Luckily, GWR fixed the problem in time and we made it to Taunton just fine. Damon and crew were also responsive to our lodging requests - e.g., distances to walk and services provided (main requirement: good pubs)

The Coleridge Way is a relatively new pathway and that may explain why we met only 2 other groups during our 7 days of walking. That was an unexpected delight. We found, though, that we were spoiled: as we drew within a mile of Lynmouth and we started to encounter walkers out of that town, we knew our vacation was drawing to a close. Being in our 60's and not in tip-top shape, we were a bit nervous about the distances. But it really wasn't much of an issue - though, when we do it again, which we surely will, we'll eliminate the 11+ mile days. Walking poles turned out to be a terrific idea, as were the Gore-Tex clothes for the one rainy day. I'll post some pics of the walk (interesting fact: my iPhone 6S Plus took better pictures than my $500 Canon S120). All in all, a wonderful experience. Thanks again.

 

Route: Abbotsbury to Poole
Name: Rosemary Williams
When: 14 September 2016

UK FlagVery varied walking on this section - farmland, clifftop, beach - and with some tough descents in places. SWCP not as clearly signed within the Lulworth ranges as elsewhere and easy to miss a sign (as I did!). Enjoyed the Portland circuit more than I expected to. Sculptures at Tout Quarry particularly fascinating and excellent accommodation at Fortuneswell, possibly the best of any I encountered this time though Lulworth ran it close. Pleased that all accommodation was close to the Path and of high standard; not everyone I met was so fortunate. The benefit of booking with Encounter Walking.

Route: Charlestown to Polperro
Name: Stan and Barb
When: 12 September 2016

USA FlagDamon, thanks so much. We had a fabulous time. The accommodations were excellent and the directions you provided kept us on course at every turn. We had good weather for all three days hiking .....Charleston to Fowey on day one, then Fowey to Polperro on day two and Polperro to Looe on day three.  The trek from Fowey to Polperro was the highlight in that we had perfect weather and spectacular views from the coast. The scene as we arrived in Polperro was picture perfect as the tide was in and the harbor was in perfect light for photographs.  We had dinner and drinks at the Blue Peter and talked with fellow travelers who hiked the trail that day. All in all it was a fabulous time. Thanks again. Stan and Barb Snow, Seattle Washington - Sept 2016 - Please feel free to post on your website. 

Route: Westward Ho to Padstow
Name: Penny McDonagh
When: 11 September 2016

Australian FlagWe really enjoyed this walk and found Encounter much more flexible, responsive, thorough and helpful than other companies we have used that arrange walking holidays along the South West Coast Path. We were glad that we chose to walk from pub to pub because the rooms are always available earlier than those in B & Bs and if we were tired we did not need to go anywhere else for dinner. The only change we would ask for please is that the luggage labels be made waterproof - ours fell to bits well before the end of the trip because of the rain.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Linda Wolf
When: 09 September 2016

German FlagWhat a beautiful place. We had a great time walking from St Ives to Penzance. The landscape is absolutely stunning and we had perfect weather in September. Walking along the coast, not knowing what comes next and getting a warm welcome at our next B&B/Inn was lovely. Thank you for the the perfect organisation and all supporting mats, which include so many good tips. Our luggage was always delivered on time. We enjoyed the variety of accommodation. Zennor with it's Chapel Guesthouse and a pub with awesome food has been one of our highlights. We loved staying at the Treventon Guesthouse in Penzance, Steve and Diane did everything to bring us a memorable time with delicious breakfast and cosy rooms. We will definitely come back to Cornwall and/or discover other parts of the SW Coast Path. Visiting Cornwall was a great experience, even because of the people we met there. Thank you! Linda & Gero

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path Amroth to Milford Haven
Name: Tumde
When: 08 September 2016

Swiss FlagDear Damon - I owe you a feedback from our walk in Wales. I’m so sorry, but we had a lovely autumn with good weather, so we made several day walkings in the surroundings of our home. Now it is colder and it’s raining. In the Alps they have got a lot of snow so it is almost time for snowshoe walkings.

Our walking holiday in Pembrokeshire was fabulous and once again, I would totally recommend Encounter Walking Holidays without hesitation. This was our sixth walking holiday with the Encounters (I think) and, as ever, Damon and Ellie made everything so easy for us and really looked after us well – from planning our walks, arranging our accommodations, transporting our luggage, and even looking for a transport from the Bus Stop in Kilgetty to the accommodation in Amroth. (That was the only rainy day, so we were very lucky to be picked up).

We really enjoyed our holiday, walking through wonderful Welsh scenery (really magnificent Coastwalking) knowing that we had lovely accommodations waiting for us at the end of each walk. Even the not so great sceneries around Milford Haven we found very special and interesting. The weather was also very good. (do you plan it too?)

Thank you so much for ensuring we have such great experiences. It was really a perfect holiday!!!

I wish you a very good time and hope to hear from you again!

If my knees allow we surely will book again!

 

Route: South West Coast Path, Bude-St.Ives
Name: Bettina & Manfred, Germany
When: 07 September 2016

German FlagDear Damon What a terrific holiday! We had a wonderful time, even the weather was just perfect. The accomodation wast first rate. We especially enjoyed the farmhouses. Thanks a lot for the perfect organisation. We'll come back !

Route: Lyme Regis to Lulworth Cove Dorset
Name: Martha Brouwer
When: 06 September 2016

USA FlagThe trip was all that I hoped for and more -- especially in terms of the scenery. The walks along the cliffs were amazing. I love the rolling and rural landscape. At 70 years old, the lengths of the walks were a bit ambitious for us. Twice we took a bus to avoid the city of Weymouth and the causeway in and out of Portland Island. The only day we had rain was when we were on Portland Island and we were able to just explore without circumnavigating the whole island. Encounter Walking was incredibly good with their support for the trip and thorough information. The book was invaluable. We got lost twice but were able to figure it out with the book. The accommodations were excellent and the luggage transfer perfect. I definitely would recommend this walk and this tour company.

Route: Penzance to Plymouth
Name: Anita
When: 05 September 2016

Swiss FlagDear Damon and Team Thank you for the perfect organisation of the walk! I had a wonderful time in Cornwall with most of the time sunny and warm weather. The B&B's and Inns I stayed were all very nice and I felt like coming home. There was everywhere a very warm welcome. The luggage transfer was really magical and my suitcase was always in my room when I arrived! I enjoyed all the walking, the landscape, the scenery, the weather, and the spirit of Cornwall. I'll be back again!

Route: SW Coastal Path- Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Travis Penn
When: 03 September 2016

USA FlagWe had a fabulous trip! Everything about it surpassed our expectations. The walks were beautiful- a bit more difficult than we anticipated but we managed the challenge. But the secluded coves, the sea cliffs, the lovely villages, the green pastures- all were exactly what we had dreamed of Cornwall being. The hotels were great- a variety from luxurious to slightly rustic. The details provided by Encounter Walking were perfect. We can't recommend them more highly. All the people were met along the way were warm and helpful. We ate delicious food- a bit too much and too often perhaps but it was a holiday! We have become fans of Tarquins Gin- will miss not be able to get it back in the USA. The walking notes provided were well done and we really appreciated the suggestions for eating and exploring. Thank you for a very memorable experience.

Route: Zennor to The Lizard
Name: Tom and Patty - Charleston SC USA
When: 03 September 2016

USA FlagThank you Damon and company for putting together a wonderful walking holiday and especially thank you for the support you provided due to our delayed arrival caused by Hurricane Hermine. We hate that we missed the first leg of the journey from St Ives to Zennor, but once we got started the entire trip went like clockwork.

Our luggage was always waiting for us and the B&Bs / Pubs and such we stayed at were expecting us and had our rooms ready. You could not have done a better job. I especially liked that we were able to select and review our accommodations before hand and there were no surprise taxi rides to lodging out in the boonies like we have experienced with other tour operators. Should we walk in some area you don’t cover in the future I shall demand that they be as forthcoming with the accommodations before booking as you are.

Of course, when we walk in SW England again, Encounter Walking Holidays will be our choice. Regarding the trail, we have walked 2 other sections of the SW Coast Path and this was by far the most challenging but also the most stunning. Fortunately, we chose the relaxed walkers itinerary, so distances were fairly short, but strenuous as advertised. The boulder strewn paths were different than the other sort of sheep trail paths we had encountered on the SW Coast Path previously. All of this was as expected based on your detailed descriptions of each days hike and we had a great sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

One suggestion I would make to other hikers walking this or any section of the Coast Path. Get a hiking app for you phone that will let you download a map and a track of the path. I used Back Country Navigator Pro on my Android phone as was able to download the OS map of the area we walked as well as a track of the Coast Path. Whenever we came to a confusing intersection, we could consult the phone and see which way to go. While the sketch maps in the book you provided were useful, seeing our position and heading on the phone worked better for us, especially since the path is not perfectly marked.

I might also mention that we had dinner at 2 restaurants that were as good as any we’ve ever had in New York or London. The Shore in Penzance and Kota in Porthleven. They were both culinary treats. Booking way in advance is highly recommended. Again, thank you for putting together a wonderful walking holiday for us. We can’t wait to walk with you again.

 

Route: Fowey to Dartmouth
Name: Brenda and Kent
When: 03 September 2016

New Zealand FlagHi Damon and others,  We have just finished our itinerary today in Dartmouth. We have been going for 16days and have walked almost 200mls on the coast track with several diversions to places where I lived, was evacuated and grew up along the way. The trip has far surpassed my expectations. The weather has been excellent -if somewhat stimulating at times:)Only 1 hour of rain all the time. The scenery is unbelievable...still unspoilt and much of it as I remember it from over 70 years ago. The villages and accommodation were so excellent and interesting and we met some lovely and eccentric locals in all the pubs!

The walk is the best that I have ever done....varied at every turn and historically interesting.

we are now staying a few days with my brother in a beautiful converted church in N Cornwall. We will spend a couple of days on Dartmoor too, using your info supplied to us earlier.

We would not hesitate to recommend this to others. We were most impressed with the help and efficient service that your company supplied...and especially the luggage support service. No problems to report. We had a few diversions which were tricky when the Coast Path gave choices, but did not indicate why (eg tidal routes etc) but nothing major.We would love to return and do another area some time, Thanks for all your help in planning and supporting us ,

 

Route: South West Coast path - St Ives to Penzance
Name: Celine Leathead
When: 02 September 2016

USA FlagOverall, a GREAT walk. The first day (the hardest day) it rained the entire 3.5 hours. Luckily we were both in great spirits, and made it safely from St. Ives to Zennor. All the other days walks we had marvelous weather. Even got a bit sunburnt in September! All of the accommodations were lovely, the breakfasts delicious, and the luggage transfers were smooth. We highly recommend this walk and this company! The Cornish were extremely nice, and we will be returning to Cornwall for sure.

Route: Newquay to Padstow
Name: Mike S
When: 02 September 2016

New Zealand FlagA stunning walk despite some heavy rain on the first day. Great views across the cliffs. A few concerns; there were a few spots where we were required to walk on the road, and the traffic made it rather daunting. The posted distance and times seemed rather less than what we experienced. All the accommodations were very nice and welcoming and the luggage transport was flawless. Overall, very pleased with the experience.

Route: The Saints Way
Name: Richard and Caroline Unwin
When: 02 September 2016

UK FlagSorry not to have sent our comments before but we have only just found your email in Spam! We did enjoy our walk although the first day was extremely wet and windy - we were very glad to find instructions on the front door of our B&B on how to find our room as our hosts were out when we arrived at about 3.30. We didn't have any problems navigating the route and managed to avoid the flooded track by taking the alternative across a field. We met a Canadian family at the second night's stay and were able to tell them about this as they were doing the route the opposite way. All the arrangements worked very well and than you for organising our trip.

Route: St. Ives to Coverack
Name: Serge Gregory
When: 01 September 2016

USA FlagWe walked 90 miles in eight days, plus two days in St. Ives at the start to recover from jet lag, and a second day in Marazion to have enough time to see St. Michael's Mount (highly recommended). We had a literal "baptism" the first day, walking from St. Ives to Zennor in a driving rain and fierce winds. But for the rest of the walk the weather was mild, sometimes sunny.

We have taken many long-distance walks in the UK and I would rate the SW Coastal Path among the top two (together with the Coast-to-Coast). It combines some challenging stretches with dramatic coastal scenery and a sense of walking through history from prehistoric barrows to the ruins of tin mining operations. We enjoyed all our accommodations, particularly the B&Bs where we spent two nights: Cornerways in St. Ives and St. Michaels in Marazion.

As a general comment, we noticed that the accommodations en route were not as well set up for walkers as places we have stayed in along the Offa's Dyke and Coast-to-Coast paths: no mud rooms for boots and wet clothes; the heated towel bars that we use for quick drying clothes were often turned off. I suspect that this is because most of their guests arrive by car. All the arrangements by Encounter Walking were terrific--the smooth baggage transfers, the detailed itinerary and maps. We had a terrific time and I highly recommend Encounter to anyone considering a long-distance walk.

 

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Anita Banerji
When: 31 August 2016

UK FlagThis is our third holiday with Encounter and I really want to thank Damon and the team for their attention to detail, care and personal service and their enthusiasm! We did this walk in 6 days - with one of the days being a day at Sennen to go surfing. We had a taster lesson and really enjoyed it. Some of the days walking were shorter than the standard walkers itinerary, but this worked well for us as we could enjoy the beaches more - swimming or paddling is a great way to finish a day out on the coastal path. All the days seemed different - stunning coastal views, the atmospheric tin mines, the Minack theatre, Cape Cornwall and great beaches. We managed fine finding veggie options to eat even in the smaller places. There was also a great community feel among the walkers along the path - catching up with each other along the way and meeting people from all over the world. I'd highly recommend this walk.

Route: Coleridge Way Full Route
Name: B & L - Shropshire
When: 31 August 2016

UK FlagThe Coleridge Way was brilliant and everything went very well, even the weather was nearly all wonderful!  The only part where we encountered any problem was coming down through the woods on the St. Audries estate. Finding the path was not easy from the description, but we worked it out eventually. Otherwise the trail was ok, indeed bracken had been fairly recently cut back, which was good as we were conscious of the risk of ticks and Lymes disease.

Accommodation was good, the Sundial House B and B at Wheddon Cross deserves special mention, they were delightful. Margaret and Stephen went the extra mile. Tea and cake in the garden when we arrived and Steve dried our boots overnight....without being asked! Also, there is a very comfortable sitting room for the evening and a super breakfast.

On the Porlock to Lynmouth stretch, it is definitely worth going to the Lorna Doone Farm in Malmesmead....a drink and a bowl of chips was a great Sunday lunch and fueled us ready for the walk to the NT cafe at Watersmeet.

All the luggage transfers were good and the taxi people in Lynmouth were great. We actually did Coombe Martin to Lynmouth on our extra day.....the weather was not good enough to do Simonsbath to Lynmouth. We started in low cloud, but we ended in sunshine and the Hunters Inn  was most welcome en route.

Thanks so much for all you did to make it possible, you worked very hard in a short space of time  to make it happen. It is something we will remember....indeed we got our certificate from the Exmoor National Park Office near the harbour to prove it!

 

Route: Padstow to Penzance
Name: Lynne + 2
When: 30 August 2016

Australian FlagNow back in Sydney after a wonderful six weeks holiday in England & Spain. We are finding it hard to settle down & are already starting to plan when we can walk more of the SWCP. 

We loved our walk organised by Encounter Walking from Padstow to Penzance & were very impressed how well it all worked out...from the start, when we made our first enquiry with you, until we departed Penzance - you did an excellent job for us. 

We had a wonderful time, were lucky with the weather and covered the steep ascents, descents, stairs & stiles with not toooo much trouble......as long as we didn't have too many cream teas, pasties or apple cider!!!?? 

Accommodation was generally very good & there was only one B & B which wasn't really 'up to scratch' even though the proprietors tried hard. Thank you to you & your team & hope we will be in touch with you again soon.

 

Route: Fowey to Plymouth
Name: Angela & Dennis
When: 26 August 2016

UK FlagThis is a lovely stretch of the coast path with spectacular views back towards the Lizard. The stages from Fowey to Polperro & Looe to Crafthole were quite hard in places but by pacing ourselves and stopping regularly we were able to cope without any problems. Great accommodation at all the stops with very friendly hosts especially Anne at Sea Breezes in Plymouth. We had excellent meals, particularly at the House on the Props and the Liscawn Hotel, and a very good value carvery athe Portbyhan in Looe. There are good snack stops at Whitsand Bay, Seaton and also at Portwrinkle. We had no problem finding the path except for the last 400 yards (sorry metres!) in Plymouth where we missed the path around the West Hoe headland. The other tricky part was just after Millendreath where the path has been diverted. However following Damon's instructions we found the path o.k. Thanks Damon, Ellie and the rest of the crew for yet another great holiday - possibly the best yet.

Route: South West Coast Path - Lands End Circular
Name: Sandy
When: 23 August 2016

Canadian FlagSome seven months after our walking tour of Cornwall, we have finally dug back through the e-mails to express to you are sincere thanks for putting together such a wonderful trip for us!

Kim contacted at least 3 tour companies last summer, concerning a walking tour on the SW Coast Trail.  Of those, only Encounter immediately took us up on the proposal and went to work finding us places to kip on very short notice.

Kim wore a pair of well-broken-in hiking boots, but she still managed to get a bad blister on the walk from Marazion to St. Ives.  It was plimsoles for her after that, and we decided to mix coast days with days walking the old right-or-ways through farmers' fields, etc.  The ordnance map made that possible.  All the routes we did were great.

When we got home I put in positive Trip Advisor comments on all the accommodation. The room at the Ship Inn, was very 'compact', but we knew that was coming.  The luggage was always waiting for us at every stop.

We would not hesitate to recommend Encounter, or to use your services again, if we are walking again in the UK.  (Now i better mention you on Trip Advisor.....)

Route: St Ives to Falmouth
Name: P & W - Stuttgart
When: 22 August 2016

German FlagIt was a wonderful trip and a magnificent walk. The weather was nice, the guesthouses, pubs and B&Bs were friendly and comfortable, and the landscape was stunning. Although the walk was strenuous in some parts, we enjoyed every day.

Just for your information:
There were two places where we missed the way, because it wasn’t marked as good as usual:
Shortly after Percella Point there are some unmarked public footpaths and it is not clear which is coast path resp. which is footpath. We met other walkers who missed the way at this point as well.

Secondly, we couldn’t find the descent at Gew Grace, shortly before Kynance Cliff. But it was probably our inattention. The way through the grassland guided us inland at the gorge.

But we always found the right way after a short detour - so it didn't matter.

Thank you very much for your friendly help and for the perfect organisation.
We’ll come back if at all possible!

 

Route: Coleridge WAy
Name: Tony Kite
When: 20 August 2016

UK FlagHaving just completed the Coleridge Way I would like to say how impressed I was with your superb organisation. The laminated maps and route details were great and we only got a little bit lost twice, mainly my fault at Mansley Coombe. All the overnight stops were fine, the baggage transfers were fine and the taxi back to the start was great. - I shall recommend your organisation if I have the chance.
 

Route: Two Moors Way
Name: Susanne and Thomas
When: 19 August 2016

German FlagOur walking holiday was indeed a success! Everything went well, the accomodation you booked were very good, the luggage was transferred on time and very reliable.
We especially liked the stay at the Riverside Cottage in Lynmouth at the end of our walk: We had a cosy room on the 2nd floor with a balkony directly looking over the river Lyn and the harbour - a wonderful place to relax. And our host Debbie was very friendly and helpful in every way.

The weather was not perfectly kind. The first day out of Ivybridge we had strong wind (luckyly from behind!) and later on mist, rain and partly sleet until Scorrington - kind of an initiation. The second day was better, on the third day we started in mist and slight drizzle, but after we had reached Grimspound it turned better. The next days it was mixed, and we only had rain on the final day around Hoar Oak valley, but finally we arrived in Lynmouth in sunshine.

Now for the itinary:
On the first day we lost the way after the end of the trackway. It is vital to pass the hill on the left side (we followed a good visible track to the right and uphill, which was wrong!). Please make a remark for other walkers.

On our 4th stage from Drewsteignton to Morchard Road there is heavy road walking (>50 percent), and we were not aware of that before. Please mention it so other walkers will be prepared.

On the last stage you  warn people with vertigo or scared of heights walking along the cleaves - but the way is very safe indeed, there is no exposure like for instance on the actual Coast Path. Anybody should be able to walk it and experience the looks of Lynmouth and the Sea - so some encouragement would help.

Our highlights:
Walking the moor in any weather condition - a wonderful experience. Grimspound is very impressive. The Hoar Oak valley. The walks along the many rivers. The final stage looking down on Lynmouth.

So thank you once again for preparing an excellent walking holiday for us.
 

Route: Dartmoor Way
Name: Mrs Rachel Tapper
When: 18 August 2016

Well what a fantastic walk we had! I would like to thank you for organising lovely accommodation with great food and for transporting our bags onto each location with ease. The route itself is not marked out very well along the way, and maybe this is the only feedback that should be passed onto Dartmoor National Park. However, the route was absolutely stunning and breathtaking in parts. It was incredibly quiet along the route and some days we never saw another walker??!! The park is underutilised compared to other national parks, however, this is nice in a way!!!

Our 10 year old and 14 year old also did the walk with us and loved it all too....although they are glad to be home for the rest! I will definitely be back to Encounter to book the next walking holiday....the detailed itinerary was invaluable and gave us so much additional information and your choice of stopovers were fantastic. Thank you so much for organising such a great family and wonderful memories to cherish forever. Thank you again.xx

Route: St.Ives to Penzance
Name: Richard Braun - Berlin
When: 12 August 2016

German FlagFirst we say "thank you" to Damon and his team for making this walk possible last minute. Everything was well organized and we enjoyed every day; accommodation, recommended restaurants, even the weather was fine. The first day was quite a challenge , long and sometimes uncomfortable to walk (for beginners on the path), so the second day we took a bus for the first half of the way. No stress! But at the end we walked another extra stage (to Praa Sands). I loved the restaurant in Sennen Cove (The Old Success Inn) and the strong wind at Lands End. We had a great time and will come back.

Route: SW Coast Path, Minehead to Westward Ho
Name: Graham and Barbara
When: 10 August 2016

UK FlagFirstly, the EncounterWalking team was truly excellent - always pleasant and helpful, and highly efficient in making our bookings and dealing with queries. Hotels/inns/B&Bs along our path were good/acceptable, and the diversity made for daily interest. We particularly liked the Café at Porlock Weir and the Rocks at Woolacombe; the Rising Sun at Lynmouth also has great character, and the newly renovated George Hotel at Braunton lovely rooms.

We loved our 7 days walking. Some of these sections of the coastal trail - particularly along the north of Exmoor - were a bit challenging, and we had to work at some of them to get them done in a day (but we are in our mid-60's, so I think some allowance is due!). 15 miles a day is fine if it is flat, but with hundreds/thousands of added vertical feet during the course of a day, our pace was probably slower than we expected. If we were to do it again, I think we might add a rest day, or a lower mileage day, in the middle of the week. That said, the hilly sections of the walk were beautiful and remote, with wonderful flora and fauna, and we would not have missed them for the world. In the latter part of our week, in contrast, we found ourselves walking some very flat paths around some very long estuaries. One estuary is fine for diversity, but I think we'd cut out any more of them than that if we were to do this walk again. Again, a lovely week's walking. Thank you, EncounterWalking!

 

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Jane
When: 10 August 2016

UK FlagI had a great trip from St. Ives to Penzance. Mostly gorgeous weather and stunning views. Just magical. All the information was perfect, bags always arrived well before I did and mostly the trail was well marked. I did feel that maybe the end of the St Just to Porthcurno route might have merited ‘strenuous’ as there seemed to be a LOT of climbing in and out of cloves in the last couple of hours, but it was the end of a long day so I might have been just tired. 

The single room I had in Penzance was VERY small, although very pretty and very well appointed. Warwick House was the nicest place I stayed and overall it was fantastic—proper sized bathroom with a full sink, which was great for washing things out--but requesting a slightly bigger single if they have it might be useful for walkers. There wasn’t enough floor space to open my suitcase anywhere but the bed. 

Everything else was really fantastic. The people who run the b&b in St Ives were especially great—I had a hard time getting there because of the St Erth fire, had to train to Penzance and then take a 2 hour bus ride in standstill traffic (apparently it usually takes half an hour??) from Penzance to St Ives, and they kept in close touch via phone to make sure I’d be able to get in when I did arrive and sat me down with a glass of prosecco to decompress! 

Really really great breakfasts everywhere I stayed!

I’ve been telling everyone what a fantastic trip I had and have recommended your company to many. Ellie has been SO helpful about planning the trip with my parents, in particular. It’s so great to have a knowledgeable person to help figure out what walk will best suit and when. 

 

Route: Penzance to Falmouth SW Coast Path
Name: Herbert + Erika
When: 07 August 2016

German FlagWe enjoyed each of the 5 hiking days and the extra days in Penzance and Falmouth too. We had a little drizzle one morning, the rest was sunshine all day long. Thank you Damon and Ellie for perfectly meeting our wishes and answering all our questions.

Route: Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Don and Ilona West
When: 07 August 2016

New Zealand FlagBig thanks to Damon and Encounter for excellent organisation and communication during the planning stages. The walk was wonderful - scenery stunning. Bag transfers all went like clockwork. Accommodation was fine throughout. Standout accommodation and meal was at the Lugger Hotel in Portloe. Also Sea Breeze in Plymouth was excellent. Only down was the very long and very boring walk to the hotel in Par at the end of that day - wonder if there could be an alternative? Thanks again and we will definitely recommend this organisation.

Route: THE SAINTS WAY
Name: rein russchen
When: 01 August 2016

Netherlands FlagThe saints way, we have walked 3 day s the wether was good . the Luggage transfers between accommodations was perfect. the b&b s where we stayed where perfect. specialy Tregolls farm many thanks for the evening meal top super!! and she gave tips for walking . rein & nies

Route: Full Coast Path Minehead to Poole
Name: Tara
When: 31 July 2016

Austraian FlagSorry for the delayed replie, it's a little difficult settling back into normal life after my fabulous adventure on the south west coast path. Thank you for the afternoon tea it was a pleasant surprise.

i have to commended you on your organisation, all my accommodation was wonderful, my bag arrived before me everyday but one! Because of your wonderful organisation, I had a worry free adventure.

i promoted your company when people asked how I had organised my walk and told people because everything was so well organised my only worrie for the day was what times breakfast, where's the acorn! And where's the pub for my midisonal G&T! 

Thank you and keep up the good work of assisting people to enjoy the extrodanary south west coast path.

Route: Poole to Lyme Regis - SW Coast Path Reverse Direction
Name: Ana and Isabel
When: 31 July 2016

Spainish FlagThank you very much for your support during our walking along the Jurassic Coast. It was a wonderful path and very interesting from the geology point of view. The lugagge transfer was absolutely perfect as well. We want to point out that our revers directions was successful for us because of the itinerary up and downs were in favour and also Lyme Regis was a splendid end.

Some details:

* First day, between Poole and Worth Matravers, as the weather was foggy, windy and rainy, when we arrived to Swanage we decided to give up and finish the stage by taxi. Oops!

The accomodation at Ann and Dave's home was perfect and they prepared dinner quite good. 

* The second day dawned foggy and rainy and Dave recommended us an alternative way  taking us to the start of that way by car. 

* The rest of the days were sunny and brilliants and we had no problem to do the stages.

* As for the accommodations, except the one in West Bay, that was a bit far from the village centre, they were well located and in well conditions, except the one of Lulworth Cove which we think it needs some improvement and changes.

* The whole of the hosts were really kind and friendly.

* To finish say that the explanation about the itinerary, diversions, highlights and so on were very helpful as well as the book and maps. Great! 

We are very pleased to have known you, pity not in person, and be ready for the queue of walkers you'll receive from either Catalunya or Basque Country!

 

Route: Dartmoor Way Circle
Name: Carmen
When: 30 July 2016

Spanish FlagWe finished our Dartmoor Way on 6th August. Everything was perfect and very very beautiful the way on the Moor. The GPS helped us a lot to follow the way and we think that without it to get lost is very easy.

Thanks very much - Carmen

Route: St. Ives to Penzance
Name: Michael & Shelley McGuire -
When: 26 July 2016

USA FlagWe were very happy with our entire experience. Encounter Walking were excellent to work with. They did a great job helping us plan our hike. Everything worked like clockwork. Thank you, Damon! The website is well organized, and user friendly. It really helped us figure out where we wanted to walk. Damon, and his team were very responsive to questions, and helped us custom build an excellent itinerary.

The hike was spectacular. We were constantly in awe of the natural beauty of this area. Our chosen walk took us through all kinds of terrain. We found every day exhilarating. We were left feeling like we accomplished something every day. If you are planning on hiking this section of the path, try to catch a performance at the Minack Theatre. The venue is spectacular. You can bring in your own wine. And, there is a kiosk in the parking lot where you can purchase a meal to carry into the theatre. We were very satisfied with all of the accommodations we chose.

We stayed at Cornerways in St. Ives, which was very cozy. It's a little difficult to find, but worth the search. The next night was the Gurnard's Head Hotel, our favorite of the trip. They have an excellent chef. Dinner was outstanding, as was the service. The next night was the Old Manse in Pendeen. This is a very quiet little town, only two restaurants, I believe. The Old Manse was clean comfortable and quiet. A great place to dry out, and relax from the previous day's walk through a gale. (We thoroughly enjoyed walking through the gale too.). At Sennen Cove, we stayed at the Old Success Inn. It was fine, nothing fancy, but met our needs. In Porthcurno, we stayed at Rockridge House. It was very homey. We were very comfortable. Our room, in the front of the house, on the second floor, had a great view of the sea off in the distance. The last night, in Penzance, we stayed at Torwood House. Again, nothing fancy, but met our needs just fine.

We flew into, and out of Newquay. The only mistake we made was booking the 7:40 flight out of Newquay. It is an hour cab ride from Penzance, so we had to get up super-early. All in all it was a fantastic experience. I can highly recommend Encounter Walking. I will definitely work with them again in the future.

 

Route: Coleridge Way Nether Stowey to Lynmouth
Name: Mike and Mary
When: 24 July 2016

UK FlagHerewith some feedback as requested.

1. The arrangements and documentation were excellent. Everything went like clockwork and the only glitches were of our own making.

2. The best accommodation was at Millers and Staghunters the rest were much of a muchness.

3 .The food was generally good pub quality with high points in Williton and Wheddon Cross. Millers food was in a different category but we felt it was not quite up to the prices charged.

4. No problems finding the route as we use viewranger tracker but signage on Exmoor was worse than in the Quantocks. Some green lanes on Exmoor were rather overgrown but it was possible to walk through fields alongside. Cow/bull issues only once!

5.Due to bad weather we omitted the Wheddon Cross to Porlock sector so cannot comment on that stretch.

We did find the first walking day a bit tiring as we measured it at 13.5 miles and would probably have preferred to stay in Bicknoller.

All in all a very good week and thanks for such excellent arrangements.

Route: lyme regis to abbotsbury
Name: keith anthony whitlock
When: 22 July 2016

Australian FlagGreat walk and very well organised by your team. It was more strenuous than we anticipated and we wont be underestimating English hills again. Abbotsbury is an absolute gem!

Route: Two Moors Way
Name: Richard + 4 friends and dog
When: 22 July 2016

Flag of the United Kingdom11 days walking from Wembury to Lynmouth. Great walk, we all enjoyed it very much. The route marked by Ordnance Survey across the moors is not exact so one should just use it as a guide not as the exact line to follow. In a couple of places we had to cut across the moors as we couldn't see a path where shown on the map. Even with this, route finding was straightforward with the OS 25k maps (using the AZ Adventure series books for Dartmoor and Exmoor) and two good hiking GPS. On the final day we had to backtrack at an impassable ford about 500 metres south of the suggested high water route. We returned to Exe Head then east to the road which we followed all the way to the A39. Looking at maps and Google Earth at home in the dry, it looks as though it would have been possible to go over Exe Plain to the east of Hoaroak Water and join the suggested high water route thus avoiding both crossings of the swollen stream. It would be useful if this could be added to the detailed itinerary.

Route: Saints' Way
Name: David
When: 21 July 2016

Flag of the United KingdomAn interesting and varied walk through beautiful country with lots of panoramic views - which enabled us to see which showers had missed us and which were still to get us. These walks always seem more uphill than downhill - is that possible? Some ambiguous signage, some a bit overgrown, but the main signs on roads were clear and easy to follow. Overnight stops were comfortable, friendly, and helpful - and always with good food, Cyntwell b&b in Padstow (outstanding in the choice of eating places), the ancient pub in Lanlivery, and The Old Exchange b&b in Fowey. Luggage transfer worked well, and our two taxi drivers, Michael, from Padstow, and the lady from Fowey, were friendly, helpful, and informative. A wonderful three days.

Route: St Ives Circle Coast Path and St Michaels Way
Name: F & T Washington USA
When: 20 July 2016

USA FlagHello! Thank you for all the detailed work you did to help us plan our walking holiday in Cornwall. 

The trail was well marked almost everywhere, and your directions were really helpful. There was one place: Near Pendeen you pass a lighthouse and are on a road. It is not clear where to turn right to get back on the trail and off of the road. There's a trail marked "public pathway" and another marked mysteriously just "P". The correct trail is the one NOT with the P. The correct trail is directly across the road from a big white house with a blue gate and an address on the gate -- the address contains the word Enys. (I forget the number.) After you get onto this trail and off the road, pretty soon you see the acorn marker -- but there's no acorn marker at the road. At this location, the guidebook (not your instructions) said that Pendeen Farm offers cream teas in summer. We walked to Pendeen Farm and disturbed some holiday makers -- the farm no longer serves cream teas. There are signs on the road saying "Cream Tea two fields away," etc but the signs are incorrect. Otherwise the guidebook was very accurate and helpful.

Loved eating at The Loft in St Ives. The newer St Ives Brewery up by the high car park was pretty good and it got you out of those crowded, shoulder-to-shoulder streets. And there's a bus up and down to the car park from the waterfront, which we took down after having lunch up there. We did laundry in St Ives, up near the town hall, it was very convenient because we were able to drop off and pick it up later for nine pounds for one large load. This saved time for us.

The Red Lion in Newlyn was fun. We heard there's a little place in Newlyn, right by the bridge over the creek and next to a fish restaurant, with homemade ice cream that is supposed to be great! But we missed this. We saw the shop but didn't hear until later how great it is, and at that point we hadn't yet had lunch.

The telegraph museum in Porthcurno is fascinating.

Walking back across from Penzance to St Ives was really fun and beautiful, but of course we were really hungry near the end. So we thought Carbis Bay was closer and would have lots of places to eat. It turned out to be more of a posh suburb with limited options for food -- so we went to the fancy Carbis Bay Hotel for a cream tea. It was expensive but it felt good to sit in a beautiful place with a view and celebrate our walk. Then we walked on into St Ives and back to Cornerways.

Favorite thing or highlight: 

I love England in general! I love how everything's made of stone. And my favorite thing(s) were the old parish churches and their graveyards, particularly in Zennor and in Ludgvan. We spent a lot of time in these graveyards and the churches were open to go in. It was really moving to see the care taken in the building and maintenance of these places, and in the epitaphs on the stones, and the handmade "everything" inside each one. I wish we could have gone into St Ives church, but it was closed, then open only for a funeral and another service. I also loved seeing some standing stones and some mysterious stone circles. I didn't like the mine area, but my husband would like to go back and take the mine tour!

We loved the Barbara Hepworth museum AND the indoor/outdoor "art tour" of St Ives, led by a Tate employee named Andrew. He gave us lots of cool facts about the art history of St Ives, including facts about the church. It seems they're doing this because the Tate is closed. It was about 90 minutes and very worthwhile for anyone who likes to walk around and look at things.

If we do this again, we will make more overnight stops, to shorten the walk each day so that we can linger more.

As far as accommodation goes, each one was unique and excellent. We were really happy with them all. It was especially fun chatting with Tim at Cornerways because we had a little more time there (our rest day).

I want to do this again next year! Realistically I am not sure that will happen. But we loved it. Thank you for everything. Feel free to use anything I've said. Photos are attached that you can use with or without attribution.

 

Route: westward ho! - padstow
Name: yuval, eli, avi & ziv
When: 18 July 2016

Flag of Israelthank you Damon and others. the route was beautifull and perfectly orginized. the luggage transfer worked perfectly the accomodation was good (Port Gaverne Hotel was the best with a superb restorant) and we found the information and advices on our itinerary supplied by encounter walking holidays very helpfull. will be glad to come again for another part of this wonderfull trail yuval, avi, eli, & ziv from israel

Route: Pembrokeshire North - St Davids to St Dogmaels
Name: Carol - Indiana USA
When: 17 July 2016

Wonderful service! Really helpful for my first time planning something like this from across the pond. Encounter was was very patient with me in the booking process answering my multitude of questions and very accommodating while I tweaked my plans. From the directions for the hikes to the bus locations and taxi numbers, this service made the hike worry free and flexible. We planned each day individually from the info supplied to accommodate the weather or just how we felt after each days walk. One note: the miles shown in the info may have been stated a bit shorter than what my walking app showed. The Wales Coastal Path was so beautiful and so worth the walk! We even got to know the luggage transfer guy (taxi service) who was very helpful and personable. 

The accommodations were great! So charming! Each one had something special to offer. Thoroughly enjoyed our stays!  I would highly recommend Encounter particularly for those not familiar with the coastal walk!

Route: St Ives Circle via Lands End
Name: Kathryn and Michael
When: 16 July 2016

Swiss FlagWe would like to say how much we enjoyed our holiday and also thank you for your efforts in booking everything for us and organising our last-minute changes. We liked all of our accommodation especially The Tinners Arms and Cornerways B&B. We were very impressed with the luggage transfer, we had absolutely no problems whatsoever, luggage was in our next location before we were every day. The walk was great, our GPS told us it was a bit longer than your notes, but the views were fantastic and your notes on St Michaels Way were very helpful. Thanks again and we hope to be back next year to do another part of the Coastal path, fingers crossed for more great weather.

Route: Pembrokshire Amroth to Stackpole
Name: Chris Magnuson
When: 15 July 2016

Flag of SwitzerlandWe had a FABULOUS experience. Everything was organized as promised. The distances walked were just right for our girls (6 and 13). The hotels were clean, comfortable, and friendly. The maps were easy to read and the weather cooperated for us. The only thing I would change would be to have some contact with Encounter on arrival at the first hotel, either by email, phone, or a message left at check-in. Thanks for a GREAT holiday!

Route: Coleridge Way Nether Stowey to Lynmouth
Name: Jan
When: 14 July 2016

Netherlands FlagWe very much enjoyed our Coleridge way walk, thursday 14 -tuesday 19 july. The old cider house, nether stowey, nice genial hosts, good man is Ian, good beds, good english breakfast. A good start of our route.

Stilegate b&b, west Quantoxhead, very luxurious room and luxurious breakfast, Heidi really took care of us. Her husband even drove us to our dinner at the Bicknoller Inn and arranged with the landlord to call us a taxi back. We understood that the Windmill Inn is seen as a roadhouse and not a holiday-ish place. It certainly looked forbidding when we passed it just before walking up to Stilegate.

Trinity cottage , Roadwater, nice and quiet, Abigail as nice and quiet, good beds and breakfast. Lunch at the Notley arms was wonderfull. The host makes you feel welcome and serves good food and a nice pint of Pleasant Pheasant to go with it. On the way we visited the church at Sampford Brett, managed by a spruce elderly couple who told us that the village of 200 mostly elderly were welcome a new young inhabitant. Of 65 years...

The rest and be thankful, wheddon cross, is exactly how you feel when you arrive. Had a good night's rest there, evening meal adequate, busy restaurant with correct service. The Royal Oak in Luxborough served a nice lunch outside on their small front terrace halfway our walk.

Route: at number 70, the big post bearing the feather has rotted down and lies ond the ground. Leaving the woods it is not immediately clear which way you need to go. Using the map you can' t go wrong as it is straight ahead up the field.  In general it seemed to us that the first half of the route is better kept than the second. Feathers are less weather worn. Of the path between 72 and 73, the last half was overgrown with nettles and brambles, so we had to take to the field itself.

Millers at the anchor was a very memorable stay. Drinks outside with a view of the rapidly ebbing harbour and a very good restaurant. We took a packed lunch from The Rest and be thankfull which wasn't very good, just an expensive sandwich. Enjoyed a tea and scones in Porlock before walking via Sparkhayes lane to the seaside and following the coastal path to the Weir in stead of taking the official route which is yet another shady lane without much of a view. The C way has many of such lanes we found. We came to understand why people prefer to walk the route in spring. Foliage is 't blocking views as much as in summer. The same goes for the sometimes shouderhigh ferns out on the moors.

More route feedback: you warned us to take a different path after point 95. We did so quite clearly but found that after that, going up on the moors to point 100 at Brockwell, the route signs weren't as clear nor as numerous as before so we relied on the compass to keep a path generally in the direction of Brockwell. The post bearing the roadsign to Spangate grove, somewhere between 97 and 99, was lying flat on the ground too.

The Staghunters Inn, Brendon. Very agreeable stay. Nice room, in the back a big and quiet,very well kept garden, beer and cider on the grass beside the river in front. Dinner was an adequate pub meal, all hosted genially.

Rock house, Lynmouth. Busy people, at once you are in a busy tourist village where service is somewhat less personable. The location and the views however we very much enjoyed, as we did the restfull afternoon on the lawn next to the minigolf, with a view of the sea.

On the next morning the owner of Riverside Taxis brought us back to Nether Stowey. A nice talkative man who fled from a too hectic life with hasty people around Oxford to a financially less nly more rewarding life in Lynmouth.

We had a happy holiday, not,in the least thanks to your careful and detailed planning. I'll send you some pictures separately. Thanks!

Route: Newquay - St. Ives
Name: Stølsnes family
When: 13 July 2016

Flag of NorwayWe had a great walk from Newquay to St. Ives! Thanks to Damon and Encounter for organizing this! Planning, preparation and payments: Excellent! Worked out a suitable route four us together with Damon, who also promptly followed up our emails with answer to our "stupid" questions. Safe and easy payments with credit card. Route: Newquay - Perranporth - Portreath - Hayle - St.Ives. Accomodation: Great, and we used the budget options. Rooms were clean, hosts were very welcoming. Nice breakfasts all over. Luggage transfer; Worked smoothly with no problems whatsoever. The luggage had arrived at the destination before us, even on the short 4th day when we arrived pretty early. Walking: Walked the route almost on the average walking time suggested in the itinerary. Easy to find the way along the path. We can definitely recommend Encounter Walking to organize *your* trip, they did an excellent job! Regards The Stølsnes family...

Route: Coleridge Way Nether Stowey to Lynmouth
Name: Becci and Kellen
When: 13 July 2016

UK FlagWe had a truly fantastic walk - thank you!

The weather was amazing (almost too hot at times, but I won't complain!!)

We really enjoyed every bit of it (except maybe the dead sheep!)

Navigation was easy - although occasionally well meaning locals tried to tell us we were going the wrong way - clearly we weren't but maybe some parts of the route have changed / moved ? We took all the optional diversions / additions (including Dunkery Beacon - in a heat wave - this was about the only place we saw any other walkers on the whole route) and ended up with a total walk of 68 miles.

A really fabulous walk which deserves its high position in long distance walking circles. Can't wait for the next one!

Route: St. Ives to Lizard
Name: Nele and Peer
When: 11 July 2016

German FlagWe’ve had a most enjoyable walk from St. Ives to Lizard. Great thanks to all of the Encounter-staff – their bookings (B&Bs, luggage transfer) and recommendations (break day, route) fit perfectly! The daily distances matched our fitness ideally – how did you know? Amazing scenery, stunning views, the trail just beautiful, thus in parts demanding – and the drop of clotted cream on top of it was the perfect weather: not too hot, but sunny all day long. So we recommend: book via encounter, bring walking boots and sufficient sunscreen, and enjoy perfect walking holidays! Communication with Encounter was very helpful – quick, very personal and always accurate. Thank you for this great walking experience! Nele & Peer

Route: Dartmoor Way Circle from Buckfastleigh
Name: Karin - Hagersten, Sweden
When: 11 July 2016

Sweden FlagThe walk was a success! Dartmoor was beautiful, the weather was good, and the people we met were very friendly and helpful. This includes all the landlords and –ladies at the pubs, hotel and B&B. Thank you for all the useful information, suggested detours etc! We really enjoyed the extra walk on the moor by Belstone and going down Lydford gorge.

We had a few minor problems, however.

We lost our way a little between Water and Moretonhampstead. I think we chose the wrong path at Horsham and somehow ended up in Manaton. We walked on with the help of the OS map and by looking at the landscape around us, and came on the right track again near Neadon.

After North Bovey (as described on page 6 paragraph 2) it was a bit unclear which gates we should go through/over, what field we were supposed to go over, and in what direction. We went in what we knew was the right general direction and found the right path after a while. 

We were a bit confused before Belstone, regarding how many footbridges we were supposed to cross (3?) and what paths to follow. With the help of the OS map and my tablet with GPS we eventually managed to find our way to Belstone.

On Sunday we went to Lydford Gorge and then planned to catch the bus to Tavistock from Lydford or Mary Tavy. The only problem was that there were no buses on Sundays! We had to change our plans and get a taxi instead.

The information in the Dartmoor Way generally seemed rather old and sometimes out of date.  Several gates had changed and were no longer stiles or kissing gates. One example: the kissing gate described in paragraph 1, page 12 is no longer in use, but still stands by the path as an object of interest. Apart from these minor problems, we had a wonderful time walking on and around Dartmoor!

Thanks Karin thats really helpful and we have left the information above on the site in case its of use for others this year. The good news however is in the previous review - we are hoping for some improvements shortly on the ground that will tackle these issues for 2017 season.

 

Route: Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Daniel Gygi and Rita Zenhäusern, Basel, Switzerland
When: 10 July 2016

Flag of the NetherlandsLike last year we enjoyed a perfect organization, beautiful sceneries and nice accomodation. Weather was fine and we had no difficulties finding the path. With two of our rooms we were not so lucky, because they were located next to noisy kitchen ventilators. This was at the Harbour Inn in Portleven and at the Paris Hotel in Coverack. At least they were switched off after midnight. Otherwise it was just brilliant and we will come again.

Route: Padstow to St Ives
Name: P-E Walking group of 15
When: 10 July 2016

Flag of SwedenOur memories are not just good but unforgetable.

The thing is that everything worked perfectly. All transfers of both luggage and people were perfect. The weather was ideal for walking. The accomodations were excellent. Exactly the right level and very well located. Lars would especially like to thank you for all your efforts and concerns. I must say that we are very impressed with your work. It couldn’t have been better. Some of the walkers were not familiar with this very beatiful part of the world. But now they are and they are very happy for that.

The only thing that the walkers were a bit unhappy with were basically themselves. As we had no experience in walking these distances for several days in a row (we usually do one-day walks), about half the group found the walks a bit too long. They felt they needed either shorter walks (maximum 15 km) or maybe a day for some rest somewhere in the middle. Life is a learning experience.

Thanks again for an incredible holiday/walk.

Route: Saints Way Padstow to Fowey
Name: Corrie
When: 09 July 2016

Netherlands FlagDear Damon and others, We enjoyed our walk along The Saints Way very much, 9 – 17 july. The first walk from Padstow and the last part to Fowey we found most beautiful.Lodgings were very good, people friendly! Thank you for all informations on bus etc. We had no trouble finding our way.

However, we had two very scary moments, crossing/passing busy roads. We were not prepared for this by the description.  These locations:

1. Walking (on the Saintsway) a short piece of the A389 in Litte Petherick, the bridge and a piece of bending road. You see nothing coming and lots of cars come along this small road. When we looked back we saw a sign that walkers should not walk on this way. So the cars do not expect walkers. Very dangerous!

2. Walking along the A 390, near Lostwithiel. We were prepared by looking on the map. But yet, the road was crowded, cars, caravans, this holiday saturday. The trees were not cut, so for safety we walked bending our heads and schoulders between de branches, to walk on the grass.

Maybe you can put in a warning for these locations. Or even better: is there an alternative route possible?

Met vriendelijke groet,

 

Route: porthcurno to falmouth
Name: Susanne Moon & Bob Kendrick
When: 09 July 2016

UK FlagHi, we would like to say thanks for all your help in making our walk so enjoyable and stress free. Everything went as planned with no problems of any kind. The b & b's were all great with really friendly hosts and great breakfasts - we would definitely recommend all of the b&b's for future visits. We have carried our own bags on past occasions but this time we had our bags moved on each day and this helped in making our week's walking a very pleasurable experience. Once again many thanks and we look forward to booking with you again soon for the next stage of the South West coast path!!

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Amroth to Pembroke
Name: Anne and Mick - Victoria, Australia
When: 08 July 2016

Australian FlagWe want to thank you for organising our amazing walk in Wales. It all worked so perfectly.  Apart from one day - the official first day of walking, the weather was almost perfect too.  Will come back to that day in a minute.

As we arrived early on the day before the walk was to begin, we re-arranged the taxi to drop us at Amroth (thanks to your included phone numbers) and then walked backed to Tenby.  It was lucky we did as the following day the weather was blowing a gale and was very wet as well with visibility almost zero.  We decided to catch the bus to Manorbier and then walk back along the track if the weather cleared. It did sufficiently for us to walk for about 2 hours.  Naturally we were disappointed we did not walk the whole way from Tenby, but at least we saw some of that part of the coast.  The rest of the walk was terrific and we were able to follow your detailed instructions easily.

The accommodation was all very good and the rooms were clean and the food fine.  The Manorbier  hotel room was a touch small. We would probably have preferred to pay a little more to have had a larger room in their hotel.

The books you supplied were informative and helpful and well used throughout our journey. We enjoyed our three nights in Pembroke spending one of the day's walking and at their castle and the second on a day trip to St David's by local bus which was great too.  The Angle B&B was superb and the owners most hospitable.  Please let them know at some stage how much we enjoyed our stay with them.

And yes, whilst parts of the walk were challenging, especially from Freshwater West to Angle, we could still manage it comfortably at our stage of life.

 

Route: SW Coastal Path from Zennor to Mousehole
Name: Genice and Steve Rabe
When: 07 July 2016

USA FlagScenery was spectacular. One sunny day with crashing waves and playful seals. One foggy day for atmosphere. Some mist. Hike was a work out. The outdoor Minnack Theater over the sea is a must stop. We watched part of a rehearsal for the Winter's Tale. Met some friendly hikers including a family staying at a family home in Porthcurno. They invited us to supper. Accommodations were very nice with one exception. Enjoyed particularly The Old Manse in Pendeen and the Ship's Inn in Mousehole.

Route: Plymouth to Torquay
Name: David
When: 06 July 2016

UK FlagWe had a successful and enjoyable walk from Plymouth to Torquay, thank you. The itinerary information was fine, and all the B&B accommodation was very good.

The only problem we encountered was with some of the way-marking, where it wasn't obvious which way we needed to go. Two In particular were: over the fields between Strete and Matthew's Point, and from the Torquay Marina to Daddyhole Plain then Cove.

Route: Penzance to Plymouth SW Coast Path
Name: Birgit - Northeim
When: 06 July 2016

German FlagI've got to tell you that the walk was just really really enjoyable. Therewas nothing that was a problem, all the places I stayed at for a night or two where very different and worth the experience. The itinerary was well composed (meaning the distances were perfect and all the little pieces of information were very interesting). So I'd like to say thank you for a wonderful holiday!! 

Route: Dartmoor Way
Name: Judy Brua
When: 04 July 2016

UK FlagDartmoor itself is lovely. We walked the Way in 7 days. The first 3-4 days were not on the Moor itself, but through lovely forests and by lots of streams. Days 5-7 include much more time on the Moor. What I did like were Encounter's additional notes which helped. The accommodations, while not fancy, were very pleasant. If anyone is staying in Okehampton, we happened on an Indian restaurant on Fore Street called Ma'ida - it was absolutely excellent and you should try it.

For the down side, the Dartmoor Way I think is not yet an official national trail, and I don't remember seeing any waymarkers that referred to it. Generally, many of the footpaths did not have waymarkers, and we relied a lot on our GPS. The Way is therefore not heavily walked, and we had a number of places where paths were seriously overgrown with nettles & brambles (this being July and it has been wet and warm). In one place, a path about a quarter of a mile long took us almost 45 minutes to get through. Also, when the weather was wet and we were walking through fields of grass that were knee high, because the path hadn't been walked much, we ended up soaked. So I wouldn't particularly recommend the Dartmoor Way itself, or not in the growing season, but I would recommend Encounter wholeheartedly.

As well as the notes being helpful, everything arrived on time, and when even on a Sunday morning there was an issue with payment at one hotel (the hotel's mistake) someone at Encounter picked up my call, sorted it out and then also rang the next hotels to make sure there would be no recurrence of the problem. I will certainly use Encounter again for another walking holiday.

Encounter Walking Note - Positive note from us we have just heard (July 2016) that the route has applied for grant development money for 2017 season which will include a new section, full signage and path improvement (finally)  so we hope to be looking forward to better conditions on the trail for next season and furthermore will hope to be involved in that work - get in touch if you want to know the latest  There are plans for an extended section to the South of The Moor linking Tavistock to Buckfastleigh via Ivybridge as an option - anyway improvements to this trail look like they are coming and we are delighted to see this after working on this route for many years !

 

Route: Route Walked:st ives to Penzance returning on st Michael's way
Name: Diane Griffin
When: 04 July 2016

UK FlagWe enjoyed this walk and it was interesting to walk st Michael's way and see both coastlines from Trencrom hill. We felt it was a bonus to return to our car via this circular walk. Our luggage was delivered every day before we arrived and everything went to plan. We would definitely use encounter walking again. The walk was quite strenuous at times, being very up and down but we had taken the easy option - more overnight stops, and often felt we could have walked further.

Route: amroth to manobier
Name: Coral
When: 04 July 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaWe had a lovely hike over 2 days from Amroth to Manobier. Encounter Walking perfectly arranged all the details. Our B and B's were excellent with amiable hosts, good food, and quiet, comfortable rooms. I was a bit worried that my daughter who hates to hike might not fare well on the more strenuous sections of the trails. But she did fine and found out that she can enjoy hiking in the cooler weather of Wales. The scenery was beautiful beyond my imagination. I hope to return.

Route: Hayle to Mevagissey South West Coast Path
Name: Ulrike and Erich - Osnabruck
When: 30 June 2016

Flag of GermanyFirst of all, I would like to say a big THANK YOU for the excellent planning and assistance provided through your office yet again. Absolutely everything was perfect including the weather. We still cannot believe how lucky we were. We had sunshine throughout the walk except for the last morning. It was incredible. This actually was the best out of the three walks we did. I am not sure whether  this is because we allowed more time this year, whether we were fitter or if it was because of the weather. I suppose it probably was a combination of all three. We knew what to expect, brought the right clothing and were rewarded accordingly.

From our point of view we would recommend you continue to use all of the locations we stayed at. They are all different and sometimes it is difficult to compare hotels with private BandBs. We like the mixture!

The information on the trail, the highlights mentioned and the directions given were outstanding and a big thank you for all the recommended places/sites to visit and hard work you put into the detailed preparation. We had no problem following the trail at all. The views are stunning (especially in the good weather we had). The daily distances were  just about right. In order to be able to enjoy the location you walk to in the evening and not feel too exhausted, a distance of up to 20 km is well within our comfort zone. Anything above that, especially if the trail has a description of being severe and you walk for hours on very rocky ground, is outside of that comfort zone and we just feel too tired to wanting to explore the village / town you walk to. Which is a shame. Every place we have been to has its own charme and it is a pity not to take the time to explore it.

As you know, we stopped after the first five days of walking and went to the Scilly Islands for a short break. I would highly recommend this to anyone walking through Penzance and having the time to do so. We definitely enjoyed it. St Mary is wonderful to explore and we spent the Sunday walking around the Island. It is a walk of about 6 hours, moderate level and just as enjoyable as the SWCP.

A very big thank you also to the staff from the luggage transfer. Everything was perfect.

One recommendation for those who wish to visit the Minack Theater and perhaps enjoy a show there - the distance St Just to Porthcurno may just be a bit too long to arrive on time - unless you set of early enough in the morning, especially as there is lots to see on the way.

The ferry crossings at Gillan Creek are well worth an experience and I leave it to everyone to explore and enjoy!

Just finally, we have met a number of people on the path who have been talking very highly of encounter walking holidays, how well you are organised! This was confirmed by comments of BandB owners / hotel staff who obviously have the possibility of comparison. WELL DONE! And continue the good work.

 

Route: Padstow to St. Ives
Name: Harry Keiner
When: 29 June 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaOverall, we had a wonderful time on our walk. Except for occasional showers, the weather cooperated allowing us to enjoy the splendid scenery. The accommodations were excellent and the hosts at the smaller establishments friendly and engaging. All breakfasts were hearty and well prepared. The luggage transfer system also worked well. We have nothing but praise for the Encounter Walking staff, as they delivered what they promised. Because our journey from the US to Padstow took well over thirty hours, our decision to build in a rest day at the beginning of the trip was a wise one. Padstow is a lovely small town, we enjoyed seeing the sights and reducing the effects of jet lag. We also took another rest day, after four days walking, at St. Agnes. This is a fascinating town with a small museum that helped put the physical remains of the former mining industry around us into their historical context. The highlight of our final day in St. Ives was a visit to the famous Leach Pottery. Thanks again, Encounter Walking folks. Your care in designing an itinerary to meet our needs was greatly appreciated. Hal & Michelle

Route: Minehead to Westwood Ho
Name: Rowena Francis
When: 28 June 2016

UK FlagExcellent walk that I really enjoyed. Information from Encounter on route good. Because I booked so late the long day was just that bit too long but knew that and will book sooner for next legs. There is a cafe open Tues-Sun called The Waterside not on your info with good views, if nice enough to sit outside, of the estuary on the right about .5 of a mile before The Braunton Inn on The Tarka trail. All B&B's lovely but evening meal at Blair Lodge absolutely fantastic. Only negative comment I did not feel the packed lunch from The Bath Hotel was good value for money compared to elsewhere where such was needed due to the route. Thanks for organizing my hol - it was all I hoped for and expected.

Route: SW Coast Path Padstow to Penzance
Name: Pip Williams
When: 28 June 2016

Flag of AustraliaHad high winds to beautiful sunshine & all between. Enjoyed every bit of it except the walk into Newquay. Please insist on taking a bus as it is horrible to hit the hurly burley of the town after such beautiful country walking! Also got a bit lost through Hayle as we interpreted the causeway wrongly & walked out on a nature trail across the water & when we realised it wasn't going to the other side, we paddled across to a railway siding. Unfortunately a very long day! Also need to be aware of the pastie & icecream eating seagulls- they were vicious! All the accomm was first rate & we seemed to have the best room in the pub every time. Directions re meal spots were spot on & we advise to obey them. Went to Minack Theatre to a matinee & nearly cooked. Half a Shakespeare was enough, but the experience was well worth it & the swim at the nearby beach refreshed us(it was freezing). It was fun running into some of the same people each day & we felt like we'd made some good, though transient freindships . Cant wait to do another one in a year or two. Pip & Chris Williams

Route: Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Stephen & Christine
When: 27 June 2016

UK FlagFantastic walk. Plenty of up's and down's - don't under estimate the difficulty. All accommodation very good - Bush Inn at Morwenstow worth a special mention. Good meal at Olive Tree in Bude. Cool,wet and very windy at start of week but soon calmed down and then perfect. Very well organised and path easy go follow- Trailblazers books - excellent. Will certainly use encounter again........thanks

Route: FULL COAST PATH COMPLETED !
Name: Vicki - New Haven USA
When: 26 June 2016

USA FlagI must give you and your staff a 10+++ out of 10 for the administration of the walk.  Not only did everything go smoothly, but I very much appreciated your doing everything possible to make things the way I wanted them, for example:  no taxi transfers!!  How wonderful it was, each day, to arrive at THE destination.  I have thanked you many times before, but cannot thank you enough for arranging the best walk I ever had.  I know whatever else I do, the South West Coast Path will remain the ne plus ultra.

Problems finding the trail:  The only bad (stupid?) mistake I made was coming down from Mawnan Smith.  I neglected to go through the gate to the beach and walked almost all the way back up in a U.  A lady walking her dog set me straight!

I found having a GPS extremely useful to verify, on occasion, many occasions, that I was on the path and sometimes to help find it when there were tricky on-agains after reaching a parking lot or something.  

South Dorset Ridgeway:  The first part of it out of Abbotsbury is very pretty, but a lot of it is rather dull and you have to be VERY VIGILANT following the signage, which is quite good.  I would not choose the SDR over Portland and Weymouth had I not already done the former, but it was fine….you have it all to yourself!  

I might suggest a rest day in Abbotsbury for people who would like to visit the swannery and the subtropical gardens.  You can’t do both on the day you arrive.  Even I, who started out at 7:00 a.m. could barely manage, and I would have preferred more time in both places.  Those gardens were my absolute favorite of all the gardens I visited.  If one took a rest day in Abbotsbury, then one could walk to the Hardy Monument, thus taking in the best part of the SDR, and have time for, say, the gardens.  

Overall favorite sections were the first ones down from Minehead, but some were a bit scary, I have to say!  Around Hartland Quay with ferocious wind and rain on those steep cliffs….yeah, I had my moments!

Perhaps I did not need so many rest days, but there were interesting things to do in all the places I stopped.  In Dartmouth, managed Coleton Fishacre on the day I arrived (took a taxi in Kinsgwear—there is only one.  The lady at the Tourist Information was helpful with her advice to call before taking the ferry over to make sure the driver was available.) and visited Greenway the next day…ferry there and walked back.  Museum in Dartmouth is also very interesting.  Back to Coleton Fishacre…a walker can enter from the path, see the gardens before 10:00, even if not exactly legal, and then see the house and proceed, but I would not recommend it.  Too much for one day, but then I am not 25!

You can easily do both Greever and the Levant Tin Mines in Pendeen.  (It was Pendeen, right?)  The tours are quite different.

 

Route: Saints Way
Name: Dag & Dina- Norway
When: 26 June 2016

Norweigan FlagHei, We are very satisfied with our trip on Saints way. We were well prepared for this walking with your
arrangement maps and information etc. Your helpful attitude to answer questians and try to make a it a good experience for the walkers is important. I was a little exited to take a walking trip in a another country ,read maps etc., but it worked well.

The wheather on our 3 days walk was not bad.1 day with no rain. 
The accomodation was very good,all 4 places.The English breakfast is very good to start with before walking. It was nice people with good service. I will mention spesially Tresgollsfarm. The food and service was incredible. It was good that it is possible to eat lunch in Lanivet,so we did not bring  packed lunch
that day.

We loved all the nice views on the route. It is interesting to know something about the history(trough the guidebooks) of the route.Some places it was a little difficult to see the signposts,but most places it was good signed. It was good to have the map in combination and the information about the route.Just before Blable house it was a signpost which was fallen down. The field below whith 10 bulls , before Blable house was a little scary, if the path is ment to go trew. We walked a little detour.  We walked down to Breney farm instead of walk path,maybe we did not see signposts (maybe we was not obeservant enough).It was difficult to get out of the farm with fences with barbed wire all over. But we managed to go trough the farm.

The luggage transport worked well. 

We loved  these days with walking in Cornwell and will recomend it for everyone.

Thank you Damon for your help in our planning.

 

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Ali -
When: 25 June 2016

UK FlagI am proud of myself for completing the walk from St Ives to Penzance in late June as the weather was a challenge – just the one day without waterproofs! My favourite accommodation was the Old Success Inn in Sennen. It is modern with wonderful food. Sennen is such a beautiful place and after five hours walking there in very heavy wind and rain, the sun came out, dried me and I relaxed on the most beautiful beach. I preferred the Inns to the hotels as having a pint and dinner in the bar was more cozy and sociable.

Route: Padstow to Penzance
Name: F & A - Maassluis
When: 24 June 2016

Netherlands FlagWe had plenty of time to walk through Padstow, which we (again) found one of the nicest places we have been in England. In Mawgan Porth, we had dinner in a restaurant named Catch, which was good and pleasant. To us Newquay seems a city not worth a long visit.

We didn’t pass the river Gannel near the ferry, but at the footbridge more upstreams (the tidal information we had got from you was very helpfull). We spent the evening in The Bowgie Inn at about 10 min walk, which was very pleasant, with good food.

Crantock to Perranporth - Unfortunateally this was a rainy/ misty day, with poor visibility. Until the dunes upon Perranporth Sands, the path was not very difficult to walk. But these dunes walked very unpleasant. Not only because they are very steep by time, but also because everything (sand and gras) ware very wet because of the rain. When we were at the Perranporth Sands, the tide was low, so we decided to walk on the beach, by which we could reach Perranporth.

Portreath -  We had a nice dinner in The Waterfront Inn, which is quite close at Cliff House.

At Mutton Cove we saw several seals with youngsters. Very beautifull. Later this day we saw several seals again.

The walk across the Towans was nice and very well marked (the stoned used to mark the path, were very beautifull).  Here we did not go across the beach, but passed through the dunes. They were much easier to walk as the dunes we passed through some day ago.

Didn’t like the walk across the holiday homes before entering Hayle. The quay before entering Hayle was nice and new indeed. But the walk through Hayle and from Hayle to Lelant was not very attractive.

St Ives to Zennor -  Here and during the first few kilometers west of St. Ives, the walk went over an easy path.

Later on, the walk became more and more strenuous, over a difficult and very rocky path, which went up and down constantly.It was severe indeed ! Today the weather was nice, so that we had good views over the rough and beatifull landscapes we walked through. We also saw some seals today. The Tinners Arms is a nice place to sleep, with good food and a pleasant atmosphere. It made us think more or less at the manned huts wich you can find in the Alps.

Walking across the (remainings) of the buildings of the Geevor and the Lelant mines is a special opportunity. During the last few days it already had become clear to us, that , mining had been very important in this area. But is is also clear, that the people, who have had their job in the mines, had a hard and unhealty job.

Most of the day, the walk stayed special, because of the old mining buildings we passed. The stretch was not that difficult as the parts we walked yeasterday and the day before. The nature was beautifull and rough again.

Today we passed Land’s End. Because the distance from Sennen Cove to Lands End is not to big, we were there pretty early and it wasn’t yet to busy. It is in some way a remarcable place to visit and we spent here some time. We were so lucky again to have beautifull weather with fantastic views.Except for the views and some time in the little shop, with very pleasant people, Land’s End is not a place for a long stay.

Also this day, nature was rough and beautifull, with splendid rocks. Around the Minack Theatre is was quite crowded.

In Penzance we stayed in the Dolphin Tavern. Shortly before we started our holiday, we heard from friends that this is a nice place to be. We can say the same now: it is a very nice Inn.St Michael’s Mt is surely worth a visit. It is a beautiful castle. And because the weather was fine again, with very fine views. We had a nice day there.

We went by train from Penzance to London Paddington and with The Heathrow Express to London Heathrow.

From there we took the plane back to Holland.

This is a pretty long, but easy journey.

Some parts of this stretch were very busy, this were the places were there are beaches and where is a lot of surfing and other water sports. Other parts were remote and beatifull to walk.

What surprised us, is that we had seen very few cattle. Where we, on our other walks in England and the South West Coast Path, have seen thousands of sheeps and  lots of cows, we now just saw of both just a few dozens.

Everything was arranged well again.

We enjoyed the contacts we had with Encounter Walking Holiday to compose our holiday.

The itinerary is clear and very complete. Erverything at the places we slept was ok. And we found our lugage with no problems at the places we stayed.

We have enjoyed England, the English food and the English hospitality very much again.

 

Route: St Davids to St Dogmaels
Name: Mike and Rona
When: 24 June 2016

UK FlagWe really enjoyed the final leg of a brilliant walk. It all went very smoothly and we really enjoy having everything arranged for us.  The accomodation was very good and all our hosts were very helpful. The only weak link was the Webley Hotel in St Dogmails. The owner was lovely and he worked incredibly hard but the rooms were a bit 'tired'. Saying that the food was very good and the hotel is in a brilliant location for dramatic sunsets and walking on the estuary.

All our hosts provided really good packed lunches.

We really appreciate the hard work that went into finding such good locations for the overnight stops. It was really worth the extra mile to the Old Vicarage at Moylgrove !

 

Route: Pembrokeshire South Amroth to Milford Haven
Name: Maggie and Pat
When: 23 June 2016

UK FlagWell we didn't pick the best of weeks, only one dry day, 3 showery and 3 heavy persistent rain, so bad that we didn't walk from Angle to Pembroke after a thorough soaking and getting caught in a squall the previous day. Hopefully we can go back to do that section next time.

so feedback:-

1. The Trail. Generally the path is good and mostly well waymarked. At Broad Haven it isn't very clear which way to go from the cliff top to pick up the lily pond path. Also on the path out of Broad Haven the waymarked path through the dunes is virtually impassable due to overgrown vegetation. It is best to walk along the beach and then up the steps to the car park (where there is a very good mobile café).

2. Tips. Nothing new, there aren't many cafés. The Old Point House at Angle only does food at weekends.

3. Highlight. the Church Doors rock at Skrinkle Haven, and having the beach there to ourselves

4. Accommodation. Good throughout. We were made very welcome by the lovely people at at Angle Bay B & B  despite turning up completely drenched. Our boots and socks were put by the Aga and all our wet things hung in a utility room. So good not to have them hanging around the room.

Thanks for pre-booked specific rooms at Jameston and Milford Haven, both were large and exceeded expectations. Jameston particularly good.

Route: North Pembrokeshire Coastpath St Davids to St Dogmaels
Name: Ann & Bernie Gibbons
When: 20 June 2016

Flag of WalesThis is a really great walk. We had a group of 5 friends, plus another joining part way through. All arrangements made by Encounter Walking Holidays worked like clockwork. The coastpath is spectacular and rugged, with lots of wild flowers and birds, plus seals on the rocks and a pod of dolphins. The weather was bad for two days but we still managed to walk and the accommodations were all very helpful and friendly. (Especially Vivienne at Hampton House in Trefin - she has a wonderful boot drying machine!) We have now completed the whole of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and highly recommend the walk.

Route: Coleridge Way Full Route
Name: Sylvie - Oxford +3 walkers and 2 dogs...
When: 20 June 2016

UK FlagThe whole holiday was beautifully managed and was a brilliant experience.  Each place we stayed was very welcoming and gave a high level of comfort, luggage always preceded us smoothly, food delicious, landscape breathtaking, weather perfect for walking, not a single fly in the ointment so many thanks for organising it so efficiently

Route: Perranporth to Coverack
Name: Chris
When: 20 June 2016

Flag of the United KingdomI walked the 110 miles from Perranporth to Coverack as a solo walker and it was everything I hoped for and more. I will definitely be returning to walk the rest of the SWCP. The landscape is incredible from the wild, rocky stretches on the North Coast to sub-tropical, lush vegetation on the South Coast. On some days I walked for hours without meeting another person, making it feel as though I had the whole path to myself. Overall I found it straightforward to navigate my way from place to place; I had very few problems route finding aside from the occasional wrong turn, making for a slightly alternative route over a few stretches, but I never found myself straying far from the path. The Trailblazer Guide was incredibly useful for a solo walker, the maps for each section giving you confidence in where you are and what’s coming next, as well as signposting the next opportunity for tea and cake! One of the many highlights for me was the wide mix of people I met along the way, including walkers from Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden, as well as from all over the UK. Everyone I met was really friendly whether local or tourist and it was great to meet people along the way and share stories; I also found it useful to ask people I met what to expect along the next stretch. Tips: - The South coast sub-tropical sections are very lush, long trousers help! - A walking pole is really useful for some of the more rocky stretches - Ask the people you meet for recommendations on where to eat and drink the next day - Luggage transfers mean you can walk further each day - Staying in pubs is great! Overall my walk was very well organised without any issues; I will definitely use Encounter again when I return to walk the rest of the path.

Route: South West Coast Path Minehead to Barnsatple
Name: Tracy Walczynski
When: 19 June 2016

Australian FlagWhat an excellent experience for the 3 of us. Each day provided a reasonable walking challenge, rewarded with a clotted cream tea break during the walk and an ale at the end of the day. The time guides were accurate and the information in the guide book gave a good indication of what to expect and the path was easy to find and well marked. We would recommend taking the steam train from Bishops Linyeard to Minehead or vice versa. It was a pretty addition to the journey. We had some mizzle and only really one episode of transient rain, making the summer weather pretty well perfect for us. The seamless transfers of luggage and suitable accommodation made a welcome relief to tired walkers. All up a rewarding experience thoroughly recommended. THankyou.

Route: Coleridge Way to Porlock Weir, SWCP Porlock Weir to Minehead
Name: Monica and Chris (Oakland, CA)
When: 18 June 2016

USA FlagWhat a wonderful experience! We took the relaxed option (5 days walking) and stopped at Nether Stowey, Williton, Roadwater, Wheddon Cross, Porlock Weir, and Minehead, which is easier to get back from than Lynmouth. Ian and Lynne (and Ozy!) have some sort of magical alchemy going on at Old Cider House at Nether Stowey, definitely the best overall accommodation. When I booked I was concerned we wouldn't be able to make Monksilver the first night -- however if we do it again I would push on because the vibe at Notley Arms was great and so was the barkeep and his dog. Highly recommend Wood Advent Farm, too -- gorgeous setting, wonderful hosts, and the dogs are a big plus. Exmoor House and the Cafe at Porlock Weir had the best cooking, though all meals were delicious. Many inns offered alternatives to the full English breakfast, which I appreciated.

Luggage transfers were completely reliable. I recommend bringing carry-on sized bags even when booking luggage service, sometimes floor space is at a premium. We got lost a couple times navigating through pastures but the sheep helped us out (https://www.instagram.com/p/BHCVfpsj32M). Even getting lost we were able to average 1.5-2 miles/hour including stopping for pictures and lunch. A compass is a must, as is carefully identifying the fence lines when walking through tall grass (marked in black on the OS maps). The notes in the Coleridge Companion were a useful addition to the official directions. My favorites were the many green lanes, perfect for shelter from sun or rain. I also enjoyed the last day on SWCP, beautiful change of scenery and wildlife.

Damon and Ellie did a wonderful job organizing the trip, which allowed us to relax and enjoy our walk without worrying about accommodations or transfers. The only thing I would change would be to book the incoming transfer a little later than the train arrival, our train was delayed and our taxi had to come back to the station. I hope we can do another trip soon!

 

Route: Brixham to Lyme Regis
Name: Stig Montin
When: 18 June 2016

Swedish FlagEverything went very well, except for some smaller injuries. It rained a couple of days, but we were rather well equipped for all kind of weather . The sceneries were amazing. We felt very welcome at all B&B and with a nice full English breakfast or excellent porridge we could walk several hours before enjoying a cider or an ale. The luggage were smoothly transfered from place to place. So, thanks for a well arranged walk! It is a pity that you will leave the EU, but that will not keep us from returning again!

Route: Jurassic Coast reverse - Sandbanks to Exmouth
Name: Mike Peacock
When: 17 June 2016

UK FlagI went 'off piste' with this walk to try and get the whole Jurassic Coast completed in the six walking days at my disposal. Encounter Walking were happy to oblige and sorted all the accommodation at each of the locations I'd selected along my route. I knew the area quite well already but it was great to have the accommodation sorted and bags transferred. Everything worked without a hitch so all I had to do was walk each day.

I stayed in a mixture of private guest houses, B&Bs and hotels and all were fine and met my needs. Worth Matravers is a lovely village but with limited facilities so I followed Damon's advice and ate at the guest house and also reserved a packed lunch for my next day. At every other stage there were options en route for lunch and in the evenings. I enjoyed staying at The Manor Hotel in West Bexington and at Duke's in Sidmouth. I got soaked a couple of times and it was hard to get kit dry as most places did not have drying facilities. As I had plenty of spare clothes my focus was drying out my boots by any means possible.

I knew what I had let myself in for with long daily distances - over 95 miles in six walking days. I found the estimated walking times accurate to plan my days. I completed most walks between 30 mins to an hour quicker than suggested. I am relatively fit and walked a steady pace with no long breaks or lunches. I think the important advice here would be to know your capabilities and limits. The full coast is doable in a week and is a great walk to complete but it is challenging when there is no rest day built in.

Having your itinerary planned, bags transferred and accommodation sorted makes a huge difference. The SW Coast Path in Dorset and Devon is very well trodden and signposted. On a clear day you can see your route for miles. That said, I read each section's daily itinerary carefully and was always in contact with my map. I would advise anyone to make sure they can read one. One day I walked in total disorientating fog (even in June) and at times the sign posts can be hidden by vegetation. Knowing what you are looking for and where you are on a map, how to read contours and other features, etc. means you don't make mistakes and add unnecessary distance to you walk.

Other advice to walkers would be to always wear long trousers. Vegetation is often overgrown with lots of nettle and bramble. In addition, the horse flies were out in force along certain sections. I saw lots of people walking in fashion trainers and even flip flops. I wore sturdy boots and needed them on certain sections. The terrain can be rough and the Undercliffs between Lyme Regis and Seaton a real quagmire in some sections. In all this was a great walk and a wonderful experience. I'm pleased I chose Encounter Walking to help plan and arrange it for me and would heartily recommend their services.

 

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Peth
Name: Thea Lousen - Denmark
When: 17 June 2016

Danish FlagEverything was very well planned and fulfilled my expectations. All hosts were friendly and helpful. And the route is easy to follow - very well marked - you only need a map to follow your progress, not to find the way. Although it is a challenge to get to and from especially St Dogmaels, once you are there, local transport with walkers shuttle busses (al least in the summer) makes it very easy to shorten some of the days, or to stay in the same place two or three days, and take the shuttle to or from the walking.

This was my second time on PCP. I last walked the route in 2009 and always wanted to return. I found it easier this time. Most of the styles have been replaced by gates. It may sound like a small thing, but it really makes a difference on some of the very long and challenging days. The views, especially on the northern half of the route are magnificent. Compared to SWCP, the walking is easier, the views just as beautiful, but there is a lot more overgrowth to battle, I think due to the more humid conditions. I probably will return again, but next time I will skip at least the part before Milford/Sandy Haven - walking is beautiful, interesting, and diverse, even in the more industrial parts of the trail, but too many horseflies to my taste on this section.

Route: Exmouth To Lyme Regis
Name: Rebecca + 2
When: 17 June 2016

USA FlagFirst of all, I just want to thank you for arranging everything so nicely. We had a great adventure and everything went very smoothly.  All the luggage transfers and accommodations did exactly what they were supposed to do, so we didn't have to worry about anything other than our own feet! 

We definitely found hiking poles useful.  There are enough steep places where using your arms to help pull up or catch yourself coming down was a good idea.  Also in slippery or uneven spots we saved ourselves from falling many times.

For 60-year-old Americans, who don't take regular long walks, the estimated times were too short.  We were happy knowing that the daylight would last until 10pm, and we never needed that long, but every section took longer than expected.  The first day, Exmouth to Sidmouth, which was supposed to be the longest, ended up being fairly easy, perhaps because the weather was perfect, but also because the path was so varied in addition to being well marked. There were a few places where we were uncertain about which way to go.  There are so many public footpaths and in the foggy places it's hard to see a landmark to help locate yourself.

Americans don't know that breakfast is always included, so you might say that, just so no one has to wonder.  It was wonderful trying the various versions of the Full English Breakfast and feeling well fortified for the day.

Exmouth was a fun and easy place to walk around, find something to eat, buy snacks and get ready for our adventure. We loved the little place for coffee and sandwiches on the beach at Budleigh Salterton. Excellent lattes. Also, Sidmouth has a lot of nice shops.  I had to replace my hat which had blown over a cliff and there was a very nice outdoor adventure store. The walk to Sidmouth was, indeed, severe at times, with many flights of steep stairs cut into the hillsides. And we had a drizzly day with many low-lying clouds that we walked through on the tops of the cliffs. So we didn't have the full benefit of the views from the altitudes we had reached.  But the farmland and natural areas were lovely and we enjoyed seeing cows and horses.

If there is any way to clarify how to get on the public path to Branscombe before you get down to the beach, We ended up at the fine old mill in the National Trust area.  The very helpful man directed us to the old bakery for wonderful crab sandwiches and Devon Cream Tea.

Beer is absolutely delightful and the Dolphin Hotel was a good choice, as we were able to stay out of the rain and get a good dinner and local beer. There are many bakeries and shops where you can get a lunch, in addition to asking the very helpful staff to pack a lunch.  We opted for pasties and fresh fruit from the shop next door.

Interestingly, the newly reopened Undercliff Path was our least favorite bit.  It's too much like our lush, tangled American woods to feel very special, and the path was so slippery and wet that we had a hard time staying on our feet.  It seemed like a place that would never dry out and we felt like we would never see the end of it. Lyme Regis was a great reward, and the sky had cleared by the time we got there.  The first thing we did was wash off our boots and trouser legs in the sea. 

We loved poking around Lyme Regis the next day and would recommend that people build a day into their schedule to enjoy it. The cab to the train station in Axminster was only 14 pounds and well worth it.

Overall, it was a delightful trip and we are grateful for everything you did for us.

Thanks again.  Rebecca

Route: St Ives to Falmouth
Name: Ann and David
When: 17 June 2016

US FlagWhat to say - another brilliant walk thanks to the organization and help of the Encounter team. This was our 4th walk and most ambitious in terms of total length of trail tackled but not being marathon marchers we had it split up into most days being less than 10 miles. That allowed us leisurely starts in the morning and arrivals at next stop well before dinner and time to explore if we liked. Took us more days of course but well worth the time spent. Although truth be told exploring usually meant finding the nearest pint at the end of the walk. We realized this trip that we like these walks because they are just big long pub crawls for us.

Hardest day was St Ives to Gunnards Head only because it was our first day plus it rained all day long with some nice gusty winds when on the headlands. The Gunnards Head was a welcome end to the day to say the least and maybe because of that remained at the top of our list for our favorite spot out of all our stays - food is incredible and the atmosphere and rooms were just right. Biggest disappointment was our next day which was suppose to be The Ancient Stones moor walk from Gunnards Head - but we woke to dense fog - i.e. couldn't even see the other side of the road from the inn so we cancelled the walk (we are able to 'lose' our way on the moors on a sunny day so certainly wasn't going to risk fog) and just pottered around the Inn and once the fog lifted late afternoon strolled out to the head to try and puzzle out the promontory fort there.

All in all this section of the coast path was the easiest we've walked yet in terms of strenuous up and downs and longs slogs although there was scrambling amongst rock and boulder that tested our path picking skills - that was fun - when not raining. Trail was very muddy and slippery in places throughout our days and a few bruises ensued due to that; but nothing serious. Just take your time and have good shoes. Some highlights for us - Sennen Cove was a pleasant stop and we enjoyed watching the surfers. Porthleven was a great little harbor town.

Inadvertently arriving in Penzance during the Golowan Festival on Mazey Day which gave us a great little interlude as the pub we had found to escape the crowds from was invaded by the roving troop of musicians for a private concert of old cornish fiddle, flute and drum music as we were the only patrons in the pub. fun.

While Gunnards Head Inn topped the list of all our accommodations they all were good finds for us and we'd return to every single one of them. To be fair to the B&B stops; it's hard to compare a B&B to an Inn - so of the B&B St Michaels in Marazion was the top of the B&B stops. GoldMartin in Mawnan Smith was up there too for the warm welcome and great conversation.

Walking notes as always were spot on; the recommendations for refreshments along the way worked great during the day and we found places to stop on nearly every day with only a couple that we needed to take food with us. All diversions noted were easy to follow (Trebah diversion is still in force). We've not followed the advise in the past to book tables for dinner but did this time and were glad we did - places were pretty busy and we felt that we were in not quite high season yet. Even just popping into wherever you might want to eat as you hit town can be helpful but if you really have your heart set on a place call a day or two earlier.

Outstanding meals had at Gunnards Head as noted, 2 Fore Street in Mousehole. The Square at Porthleven. In Porthcurno do not be put off by having to walk across the fields to Logan Rock Inn - even at end of day the walk was easy, not tiring and the food/atmosphere well worth it. For something different in Falmouth there is a Jamaican restaurant, Cribbs, with pretty authentic and good food and good cocktails. So as always - a big thanks to Encounter for their organizational skills and in depth knowledge and of course as always - we'll be back for the next section (once you start its hard to turn your back on it til it's all done I've found).

Route: Marazion to Fowey
Name: G & A - AUSTRIA
When: 16 June 2016

Austrian FlagJust a quick note that we arrived safely in Fowey. Everything worked perfectly well, apart from the weather, it was quite wet at times. Nevertheless, we had a great time and lots of fun. Thanks for everything.
 

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path Amroth to Milford Haven
Name: David and Kerry - Victoria
When: 16 June 2016

Australian FlagWe have some feedback from our four days from Amroth to Pembroke. We really enjoyed it and do feel a fair bit of accomplishment at having made it. We thought we were pretty fit, but at the end of that first day…! Suffice it to say we pushed on and were surprised at our overnight recovery after each day.

State of the path during the walk – we were continually remarking on the terrific state of the walking track. It was just about always clearly defined and obviously well maintained. The wildflowers at this time of the year were a highlight. The signage with the acorn symbol and yellow arrow were almost always there when you needed them.

A final section on the walk-in to Tenby from Amroth was confusing and did have us making a 20 minute walk in the wrong direction. It’s on page 79 of the Jim Mathorpe guide book where the path to Waterwynch Bay is marked. A sign by the path referred to the beach only being accessible at low tide and had a reference to private property. We didn’t go past this sign but proceeded up the road almost to the main road taking traffic into Tenby. We turned around and walked back past the sign, finding the coastal path directions about 100m past this. Maybe this first sign needs clarifying.

Generally though the directions and maps were terrific and all three of: your notes, booklets and maps were used every day. Thanks for the opportunity to do the walk. We will be recommending it to all our friends who we think are up to it!

Route: Padstow to St Ives SW Coast Path
Name: Judy - Washington USA
When: 15 June 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaDamon,

Oh my gosh! The vacation you arranged for Eeva, Pat, my daughter Clara and me was the BEST EVER! I have traveled a fair amount in my lifetime, and never have I experienced such astounding beauty-we were amazed that around every corner there was something new and breathtaking!-such heartfelt kindness from the locals, not to mention the best B&B's and FOOD on earth!! Your choices and advice, your directions, luggage transferring-everything!!-was pure perfection! I, personally, had a smile glued to my face the entire trip because of my extreme good fortune at having experienced my own little piece of Heaven! I even loved the snails, which my 16 year old daughter lovingly picked up off the path and placed in the safety of nearby bushes, and the fact that I didn't see one adder!

I shall not, however, share my experience with anyone, as I wish to keep your coastline just as it is, not ravaged by more tourists!! Just kidding!... I will tell everyone to contact Damon for the trip of a lifetime!!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart! It is so apparent that you, yourself, have walked every step, hand-picked every B&B, tasted every Full English Breakfast, and placed every acorn guidepost to keep us on the right path! Pure perfection. As I unpack today, and go over and over the precious details of my adventure in my mind, I am gobbling up all the nickels and dimes and quarters from the laundry room, out of my husband's pockets, etc. to stash away for the next leg of the journey with you!!

Forever Grateful in Washington, USA!!

Route: SW Coast Path Mevagissey/Fowey & Saints Route Fowey/Padstow
Name: Shirley Riley & Martin Ruef
When: 15 June 2016

Swiss FlagGreat organisation by Encounter. THANK YOU. Luggage transfers were smoothly done. All stop overs were great with good breakfasts to start the day. Particular mention of Tregolls Farm where the owner was very hospitable and helped dry out boots! The Crown Inn was also a great place to stay. The route was well marked on Coastal Path and the views wonderful with plenty of options to enjoy our cornish pasties. On the Saints Way there were one or two places where we had to navigate main roads which were tricky and a couple of places where we could have done with a machete! The information sheets you provided were very informative and helped us to decide where to linger. The maps were very easy to follow and we didn't get lost! We would definitely recommend Encounter Walking and hope to do another one soon.

Route: Padstow to St Ives
Name: Shari
When: 14 June 2016

Austrian FlagMy husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our walk, although we were not able to see and enjoy a lot of the sights as the weather was not ideal - we had two days where we were completely drenched through but our hosts on both days helped us get our things dry so that we could start the next day in dry clothes and shoes. The luggage transfers were fantastic, the documentation you provided was brilliant and we even were able to enjoy walking along the extensive beach at Perranporth in sunshine, wading through the sea.  We met some wonderful people in the accommodations, who helped us and made us feel very much at home.  

The only critique was that my husband really didn't enjoy the long walk to find Nanterrow Farm after having walked all day; fortunately, we were the only guests so that we didn't have to share the bathroom with other guests but a shower was not available and my husband only showers; my husband isn't so much a fan of old English houses either.  I didn't mind it very much, but I'm used to the English way of things!  We did enjoy ourselves and everything went according to plan and your wonderful itinerary.  So MANY, MANY THANKS.

In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we want to walk a different part next year but I will fill you in with the details in a second message so as not to mess up the system - finish one trip and then start with arranging another! All the very best and will send you the details of our next walk soon.

Route: Lyme Regis to Weymouth
Name: Geoff Thompson
When: 14 June 2016

Flag of ThailandOverall we enjoyed our 3 days of walking although only on one day did we escape the rain - the last day Abbotsbury to Weymouth was the least fun as the scenery is ordinary - The Fleet & Chesil Beach are interesting but not particularly scenic, especially in the rain, and much of the coast path here is through fields away from the coast. This was compensated by the scenery & walking on the first two days from Lyme Regis to West Bay & W.B. to Abbotsbury. We were very happy with the B&Bs chosen by Encounter, although the " industrial scale " B&B in Weymouth was a surprise - fortunately this was our last night so we didn't need help drying out gear for the next day ( which the other more homely B&Bs were happy to help with) The maps provided by Encounter also worked out well, although we found the timings given for the stages were pretty optimistic - perhaps we were unusually slow but we added at least 1 hour extra for walking + another hour for stops ( Thus a 4 hour stage ended up as 6 hours). In terms of evening meals we found the small " Pizza & Steak" restaurant in Lyme Regis, tasty, good value,& friendly. In Abbotsbury we chose The Swan Inn over the more pricey Illchester Arms and were not disappointed. In Weymouth we chose The Ship , a shortish walk from the B&B and again were pleased with the simple pub grub, good bottle of wine and friendly service. Thanks to Encounter for helpful and friendly communication while arranging our walk.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: M & A Fellbach Germany
When: 13 June 2016

Flag of Germanynow we are back and we had wonderful holiday, more than we expected.

The daily walks brought us to our limits but we did them!

Each of accomodation we had good time and enjoyed our stay.

All hosts have been very friendly,  especially Tim of Cornerways (St. Ives) and Louise of Chy-an-Mor (Penzance).

Luggage transfer was perfect.

Your information and the guide-book are very helpful.

Following guide-book maps and description  word by word and step by step  you can’t go wrong.

Each day walk differs to the other. New sights and aspects every day.

Very hard for me was the part of the coast path from Minnack Theatre down to Porthcurno at the end of day 4 because I was tired from the day walk.

As I hurt my knee on Day 5 we couldn’t do the St. Michaels Way.

But we talked about next year holiday and - may be -  we’ll come back and then we try it again.

bye-bye, perhaps until next year?

Route: Saints Way 3 days
Name: Christopher and Diana UK
When: 13 June 2016

Flag of Great BritainDespite the somewhat unseasonal weather we had a very enjoyable 3 days walking the Saints Way.  We thank you for the excellent organisation of the walk, together with the very good walking guides, maps and individual notes which you provided. The three overnight B and B's were also very good with particular praise for Marilyn at Tregolls.  The care and attention to detail which was provided by you and your staff was very much appreciated as was the courteous and efficient way in which any telephone enquiry was treated.  We would certainly recommend ENCOUNTER to anyone who wishes to do a walking holiday in the South West. 

 

Route: South West Coast Path Padstow to St Ives
Name: Maggy
When: 13 June 2016

Flag of the United KingdomThis is a beautiful walk along a spectacular coastline but we think the descriptions in the guide book were a little misleading at times. We almost always took longer than described and it would have been helpful if the long stretches of uphill steps had been forewarned! There would have been times - in really bad weather - when we might have thought twice about undertaking those stretches. We enjoyed the variety of places to stay but the Newquay hotel was not up to the standard of the rest (will be emailing separately about this). Your instructions on how to reach the accommodation were impeccable.

Route: Lyme Regis to Weymouth
Name: Philip Stooke
When: 12 June 2016

Flag of CanadaThanks for an excellent experience! Everything worked perfectly. The guide and maps were great and we had no difficulty finding our way. The accommodations were perfect, and baggage transfer went without a hitch. You did a great job organizing this for us. I would recommend your service to anyone. Just try to improve the weather a bit next time!

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path St. Davids to St. Dogmaels
Name: Hans-Detlev, Barbara and friends - Düsseldorf
When: 12 June 2016

German FlagExcellent organisation of the walk by encounterwalking. We had no problems at all. Good information material and very good communication and informations before the walk. The B & Bs/guest houses/hotels were between very good and excellent with one exception which will be taken care of by encounterwalking.

The Pembrokeshire coast is beautiful and overwhelming and so was the walk. The scenery is dramatic and changes every minute. As we walked on the South West Coast Path (St. Ives to Mousehole) last year we have a good comparison and we can recommend both very much. The scenery in Cornwall is in parts perhaps even more dramatic whereas the views of long parts of the coast in Wales are unique. The level of difficulty of both trails is comparable, they are both strenous. In fact 2 of us found the Wales trail more difficult: the path is in parts overgrown with grass, fern and other plants up the the breast and the trail is in parts so narrow that we had to perform kind of a catwalk which is tiring in the long run. The other 2 found Cornwall more difficult: the trail is in long parts covered with rocks and stones which makes it strenous to walk. But the beautiful landscape overcompensates every strain and we had no problems (we are in our sixties/early seventies and in normal shape).

By the way: we spent some days in London after our walks and we were never so exhausted on the trails as we had been after one day walking in London. We found out that 15 km or a bit more walking was enough for us. So on two days we made use of the bus which connects many places along the coast and which is a very good thing. We had a lot of fun with the (lady) driver of the Strumble Shuttle whom we met several times as she drives six days a week and who was very friendly and helpful. Time tables of all bus routes are in the buses but it may be a good idea for encounterwalking to enclose a timetable in the information material. To sum it up: we spent a wonderful and unforgettable week in Wales. Thank you for the perfect organisation, Damon.

Route: Lyme Regis to Lulworth
Name: Carol and Kaye
When: 11 June 2016

UK FlagWell we did it ! 

And I need to thank you do very much . Everything went so well, our bags we waiting for us at every stop .  The path was well marked - well,   outside  of towns . We did struggle in towns , especially Weymouth. Your written instructions gave us the impression that the hotel was a stones through from the road joining Weymouth to Portland, but I fact it was about 2.5 hours more of walking ! This was partly our fault, because when we got there we then looked at our map and it was quite a distance . Thanks Carol useful feedback we could see the confusion was around the comments on "crossing the harbour into Weymouth" (we meant the harbour at Weymouth and you took it to be the Causeway to the Isle of Portland) - we've added something to the direction notes now to clarify that for everyone - EW

How we worked the paper side of things was : the night before we read from the book, so we had an idea of what to expect . Then we used your information sheet to guide us out and in to our hotel, but during the actual walk we used the map . I appreciate there was lots of information to hand, but when using walking poles you need your hands free . 

The accommodation you selected for us were super , thank you . Just the very first one in Lyme Regis wasn't there despite your information saying arrive after 4 pm. But I phoned her and she arrived in 5 mins. 

We enjoyed the different varieties of resting places, b&b / pubs . All were perfectly adequate. 

So all in all a very enjoyable trip . Would definitely recommend you to anyone .

Thank you so much once again  Carol and Kaye

Route: Minehead to Appledore
Name: Robin and John - Georgia
When: 10 June 2016

USA FlagHello Damon! - We had the vacation of a lifetime! Everything went smoothly. We had only one day of ‘real’ rain, so we consider ourselves quite fortunate. The daily amount of walking was just right for us, the path well marked, and the scenery spectacular. Our bags were always waiting, and the accommodations were wonderful. Thank you so much for arranging all this for us so professionally. 

Route: Port Isaac to Penzance
Name: Janet & Ian
When: 09 June 2016

Canadian FlagThank you very much for all you did to help us have a wonderful walking holiday! -Highly recommend Encounter Walking and the South West Coast Path - Write up about the walk and accommodation for each day was very helpful as were the maps. - Luggage pick up and delivery was flawless and made this type of vacation very enjoyable. - Accommodation was nearly always spotless and very welcoming. - Trail was quite well marked. Possible improvement in getting through Newquay and the sand dunes. - The walk was beautiful! Areas where the grass was cut along the trail were especially good. - Daily distances were good for us. The trail was quite demanding day after day but we really liked it and the rest day location choices that you made for us were excellent. - We come from a very flat part of Canada. Having walking sticks saved our knees on the steep ascents and descents. - The Cornish people, without exception, were very friendly, welcoming, helpful and courteous!

Route: Lands end to polperro
Name: Pete haynes
When: 07 June 2016

Flag of the United KingdomA massive thankyou to Encounter walking! Having not done anything like this before it was made easy and went without a hitch. The weather was good most of the time but you dont walk the Cornish coast for the weather! Its a bonus if the sun shines.the scenery was stunning, the people, the places all very freindly and excellent full Cornish every day to get me on my way, averaged 15 miles a day and that was enough! The guide book and map were a great help, you can miss so much if you just march on by, once again thanks to the guys at Encounter I will be organising another trip for 2017.

Route: Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Mary- Australia
When: 07 June 2016

Australian FlagI found this walk a great experience. The coastal scenery and wildflower displays were spectacular and all the arrangements made by Encounter Walking worked like clockwork. On my two rest days, I walked to The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project and would particularly recommend the latter. I have a poor sense of direction and was walking on my own but found that the guidebook and OS maps generally kept me on track. The fog was very thick on the day I walked from Portwinckle to Plymouth and I became disoriented while on the firing range; even the sea had become invisible and the usual gaps in a hedge or other markers of the path were not in view. In these sorts of conditions it may be advisable to follow the alternative path alongside the road. Thanks for your wonderful organization and support - I have no hesitation in recommending Encounter Walking to anyone considering a walk in this area.

Route: St Ives to Lizard
Name: Birgit, Christiane, Ria, Simone
When: 05 June 2016

Flag of GermanyThank you Damon for your the organizing. It was perfect. We had a great walk! Wunderfull views, superb landscape, lovely flowers and birds... The transport of luggage was going smoothly. All in all the accomodations were pleasant apart from the one in Penzance which was not of the same standard.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Wendy Branson
When: 05 June 2016

Flag of CanadaWe had a lovely trip and were blessed with some amazing weather (almost too hot!). The scenery was amazing. We did find that our walking time was significantly longer than the estimate provided - although it was likely more due to the time spent gazing at the scenery. There were sections that were quite demanding but we were in pretty good shape and survived! We could have used an extra day (5 instead of 4 hiking the same route) to be able further explore some of the museums, tin mines, beaches. What we appreciated most was Encounter Walking making all the arrangements AND moving our bags each morning. there was never a problem and all of the bed and breakfasts were unique, clean and quite adequate (breakfasts were all amazing!)

Route: Saints Way and Falmouth to Marazion
Name: Kristina and Borje Illerstrom
When: 04 June 2016

Flag of SwedenIn Swedish: Fantastiska vandringar i Cornwall, något för alla som ledsnat på att bära tunga ryggsäckar, sova i tält och äta frystorkad mat. Här bor man på jättefina B & B, oftast mycket bättre än hotell, får superb frukost, förfriskning på vägen och god middag på kvällen. Sträckan vi gick i år var från Padstow till Fowey (The Saints Way), därefter buss och tåg till Falmouth och från Falmouth vandrade vi The Coastal Path till Marazion. Vackert scenery var det i stort sett hela tiden - engelskt landskap med kullar och åkerlappar, mysiga små vägar som slingrade sig fram som gröna tunnlar genom landskapet osv. Byarna är små, ofta väldigt gamla med vackra stenhus. Pubarna, där man ibland övernattar, kan vara så gamla som flera hundra år, delar byggda kanske redan på 1200-talet. Gott öl och ale och maten är god, mycket bättre än sitt rykte. Och så är det dessa engelsmän! Trevliga, vänliga och hjälpsamma! Synd bara att det är så få svenskar som hittat till denna vrå av världen - det är det ultimata vandringsmålet. Vandringen efter The Coastal Path går i stort sett hela tiden längs med havet - Atlanten. Ibland högt uppe på klipporna med bara en meter till klippkanten med allt från några meter till några hundra meter ovanför den klippiga stranden! Häftigt! Det är mycket upp och ner men inte värre än att man klarar av det. På de brantaste ställen finns för det mesta enkla trappsteg. Stavar är ett bra hjälpmedel. Stora chanser att se tretåig mås, stormfågel, skarvar, sälar och har man tur kan man också få syn på alpkråka som är väldigt sällsynt. Samma gäller basking shark, en jätte som äter plankon, delfiner osv. Encounter Walking Holidays hjälper till med allt som behövs men gå får man göra själv. De bokar B & B, kör bagaget mellan övernattningsställen, föreslår vandringsetapper, hjälper till med tåg- och busstider, telefonnr till taxi, ja allt som man har behov av. Ett otroligt trevligt och hjälpsamt företag! Vi är supernöjda och har anlitat dem 5 gånger de senaste åren. Stort tack till Damon och hans vänner!

Route: Falmouth to Portwrinkle
Name: KK - Amsterdam
When: 04 June 2016

Flag of the NetherlandsWe had a wonderful trip last week and we were so lucky with the weather. How absolutely beautiful to walk along the coast path and local people were so friendly.

Thank you for organizing our trip

Route: Padstow to St Ives
Name: Mary Letson
When: 02 June 2016

Flag of CanadaAmazing trip, my first walking holiday and it exceeded my expectations. Life changing. I am hooked. While planning our trip Damon and the Encounter Walking team consistently answered every and all queries in 24 hours clearly and a few times even answered questions before I had time to ask them. Brilliant.

Encounter's written directions were our bible every morning over our too large English breakfast and for the most part proved very clear. A couple of points for better clarity: 1) Sand dunes on Perran Sands ("strenuous") may be avoided completely by simply walking the beach instead above the beach on the dunes - given the right tide. we were grateful for a lower tide that day. 2) Directions to St Georges Country House Perranporth were not clear, references to "short gorges" and "small cliffs" were vague and not helpful. We ended up standing in some field feeling rather lost, tired and hungry until we got back on the trail and asked a local for directions.

Regarding refreshments, as we got our rhythm, we found packed lunches were the best bet over planning to stop along the way. That way we had options to stop at a café or not - besides, a picnic over-looking the stupendous cliff top views were priceless in everyway. When we did stop, we found the National Trust Café at Bedruthan Steps served the best Ploughmans. The Fish House Café in Newquay was amazing; small, family run, extraordinary food. Reservations a must. Thank you Damon and encounter team. We will be back!

Route: Dartmoor Way
Name: Jonathan Pryce
When: 01 June 2016

Flag of the United KingdomExcellent customer service from Encounter Holidays who were able to accommodate our desired walking distances (no more than 13 miles per day) and also accommodate the dog. They responded very quickly when we emailed them to confirm that the dog could sleep in our room at the Plume Of Feathers in Princetown when the pub's website explicitly forbids it! The accommodation and food was generally very good in all the places we stayed.

One point I would make about walking with a dog is that some of the stiles on the Dartmoor way, especially but not exclusively between Lydford and Tavistock, are very hard to get a dog through. There are some near-vertical 5 foot tall ladder stiles with no feasible bypass; I would advise that you do not attempt this walk if you are unable to lift your mutt that far! It's a shame the waymarking is poor on the Dartmoor way, we saw not one sign anywhere that mentions "Dartmoor Way". The walker's guide to the route is OK but is annoyingly imprecise about distances: it uses terms like "after some time you get to..", "eventually you reach..." and "in a while the track narrows" rather than what you really need to know which is whether it is 100m or 1km later. Most walkers might consider that this adds to the interest but not, I suspect, when you are trying to find your way through a Dartmoor fog.

Route: Padstow to St Ives
Name: Angela Richardson -
When: 01 June 2016

UK FlagWe had very wet weather for our trip which made some parts of the walk more tough than we were expecting. Always the beautiful coast, the wildflowers and the bird life compensated. Do pause at the NT seasonal cafe to see the rock pipits scrounging for crumbs as if they were sparrows on the way from St Agnes to Porthtowan. We got confused by the choice of bridges on the Red River estuary as our ordnance survey map didn't show the low tide bridge - we understood why when we saw it, being more of a quay than a bridge. So best to follow signs to the ferry at low tide as you don't know you are also walking towards the low tide bridge til you are almost upon it. There were times with our Cornwall Coast Path book when we felt an age difference between the writers and ourselves (!) and less choice or greater clarity about choice of route at certain points would have made the book easier to follow. Nevertheless we were very glad of its many helpful comments and information. We appreciated the directions off the path to our accommodation too. A pity about the weather but still a wonderful path to take.

Route: St. Ives to The Lizard
Name: Peter Kelvin
When: 29 May 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaThe scenery was spectacular, exceeding our expectations, the flowers and color of the water are really amazing. The path between St. Ives and St. Just was more difficult than we expected, and we probably should have taken 3 days, rather than 2, or scheduled a rest day, which other walkers we met had done. Lands End could easily have been skipped, but the Lizard was truly beautiful, maybe the best spot of the entire stretch, although St. Ives to Gurnard's Head is also great, pretty hard to choose. The Coast Path was generally easy to follow, but going through the old mining areas before St. Just was very confusing, too many paths that wander off without markings. For those going that way, the Telegraph Museum and Minack Theater in Porthcurno were a real treat, and worth going out of your way to see if you have time. All the arrangements made by Encounter went like clockwork, we didn't have to think about anything except walking and taking photos, and what ale to try each evening!

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Name: Anita Weaver
When: 27 May 2016

USA FlagEncounter Walking did a great job! From advising us on trivial details as we planned the holiday to the very important details, they had everything covered. The shorter first days allowed us to improve our fitness initially, the luggage was always where we needed it to be, the accommodations were delightful (each place had its own special touch--from cold water at the end of a hot day to great dinner suggestions). Physically, the trail was a bit more difficult than I had expected, but the preparation that Encounter had done made each day fun and worth the effort!

Route: Dartmoor Way
Name: Roel & Barbara
When: 25 May 2016

Flag of the NetherlandFirst of all, the accommodations and luggage transfers were very well organised. Sleeping in places where also dinner is being served is an advantage, then there is no need to go out again in the evening. Also good to have a supermarket nearby or on route to buy the necessities for the day, this was the case almost every day. The walk was good and the moors were beautiful. The route was easy to find, but off course we made mistakes and had to walk back a few times. In this case our navigator on the phone was a good help, we compared the route we had walked with the shape on the map and could easily find where we went wrong ;-) Often stiles were replaced by gates, or had disappeared, but the map always showed us we were still on track. The thing we didn't like so much was the fact we had to follow roads quite often. Even a very busy one for a few kilometres, that was kind of scary because the cars drove fast. Also lots of roads were very very narrow with high hedges on both sides, so there was nothing to see at all and we felt trapped and a bit claustrofobic. Any tractor and there would be no way to pass each other. The beautiful fields and views on the other side of the hedges remained invisible for us on these paths. It would be a good thing to address the locals about it to maybe replace these huge hedges for something else that offers views, just a thought, also for safety. But we were satisfied. The weather was perfect (no rain at all), the people were kind, we enjoyed being outside and looking over the fields, walking among the sheep and cows (and sometimes even horses). So yes, it indeed was a good walk and vacation and thank you for that! A personal thing: people who are afraid of heights would like to be informed which parts of a walk are a bit tricky f/e no wall or gate next to a steep slope down....

Route: Lizard Trail - Marazion to Falmouth
Name: Deborah + 2 - California
When: 25 May 2016

USA FlagFirst and foremost we all thank you for the wonderful arrangements and care you gave us on planning our trip which was FABULOUS.  We had incomparable weather, only 10 minutes of rain the entire time and most of the days were incredibly gorgeous with just a windy day early on. Wildflowers were beyond anything we ever expected and the ocean surprised us, we never expected the water to be so beautifully blue and clear.  

And now for a couple of points that could be helpful for other hikers:  Those two photos above were taken in Coverack, about two miles from town.  Unfortunately, on the other end coming from Cadgwith the sign which tells you to take the Inland route for easier going is NOT there and we stuck to the Coast and it was indeed challenging to say the least.  Someone needs to get this same sign up on BOTH ends so folks could make the choice of the easier route and maybe be advised its a darn good idea to take it. 

We are really glad we went to the Eden Project, a special place and well worth the visit.  The train was a lovely opportunity to see more of the countryside as well.  I am going to send another email with a few more photos you might enjoy.  Your company is just exemplary and we are so grateful to have found you.  With warm regards   Deborah

Route: Bude to Padstow
Name: Doreen - UK
When: 24 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomWe arrived home safely on Monday evening after a superb walk. The weather was very kind to us - the only rain we had was on the last Sunday but compared to the south coast we got off very lightly even then as we were generally sheltered down by the estuary and the thunder and lightning only started after we got to the Queens Hotel. As always the accommodation was excellent - very varied but everyone was very friendly and helpful. The luggage arrived safely each day.

This section involved a lot of ups and downs but doing it at the leisurely pace meant that it was still very enjoyable. The scenery was absolutely stunning and round every headland there was a different and exciting view. We had 7/8 days of wall - to- wall sunshine which meant that we took loads of photos of tremendous cliffs and blue seas.  The spring tides meant that beaches like Perranporth were absolutely vast and we walked on the bottom of the harbour in Newquay. On the other hand the high tides had the waves crashing into the bottom of the cliffs. The first couple of days were very muddy underfoot after all the rain over the easter weekend but we soon got past the worse areas. We've really looking forward to going back to do the next section ( St Ives to Falmouth) in May although I'm not sure how we can better the last two weeks for scenery and weather.

Route: St Ives to Falmouth
Name: Doreen and George - UK
When: 24 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomWe arrived home safely late on Monday evening after another superb holiday. The weather was very kind to us (again) with no rain at all this time. We thoroughly enjoyed this section of the walk - the accommodation was varied but as usual very good. We even met the Luggage Transfer guy one morning this time. There were no problems with the route at all because it was very dry underfoot. The flowers were absolutely superb with carpets of thrift , bluebells , campion etc. We think it was the best holiday for flowers that we have ever experienced even comparing it to the hay meadows in Switzerland. It was a lot more gentle section of coastline than the section from Bude to St Ives but the vegetation was luxuriant - as the chef Tom Kerridge would say - it was 'proper lush'. We also saw some choughs but no basking sharks even though they had been sighted off the coast at Porthcurno.

The only thing I would mention is that the museum in Zennor is now closed - the owner has retired and the exhibits have been moved to other museums in Cornwall.  Thank you Doreen we have removed the info from the route notes (Encounter W).  However we were lucky to fit in a tour around Levant mine, listened to a dress rehearsal of the musical South Pacific at the Minack Theatre and took a guided tour around Pendennis Castle in Falmouth. The extra day in St Ives was interesting particularly the Barbara Hepworth Garden ( the Tate is closed until next year but we knew that before we left).

All the places we stopped at were good but we particularly liked the Five Pilchards , the two St Austell pubs at Sennen Cove and Porthleven and the Mount Haven Hotel  at Marazion. The food was very good in all the places we stayed and we love the local beers and cider!!! We went to the Cable Station Inn in Porthcurno and even though it is an unusual building the food was very good and the lads behind the bar were very friendly.

Thank you so much for organising the trip. We now have two sections left to walk which, health permitting,  we hope to do next year so we will be in touch at the back end of the year to see what we can sort out.

We recommend your company to lots of people as we go along and we are always pleasantly surprised at the lovely places you find for accommodation which are generally close to the path itself which is a real bonus.

Thanks again for all your hard work in arranging these trips for us  and feel free to use these comments on your web site.

Route: Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Roland EARL
When: 23 May 2016

Flag of AustraliaOverall a great 8 day walk with a good variety of conditions, views and places to see. For those our age, effective speed at times was not much better than 1 mph when lots of steps involved. Suggest not be too ambitious as to distance covered each day, 8 miles max unless it is easy going. Accommodation fine and bag transfers 100%. Need to refer both to Coast Path guide book and the OS map while walking. Directions leaving Par around Polmear were specially problematic with some direction arrows hard to interpret and a few posts missing. Most of the walk, the path markers were sufficient with only occasional checks of the maps needed.

Route: clovelli to port isaac
Name: simon and helen
When: 22 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomWe had a quite memorable holiday. Firstly the walk is quite stunningly beautiful and exhausting; we walked from 6 to 8 hours a day and collapsed into bed in the evenings. (actually from Hartland to Bude we actually walked 9.5 hours !!) Secondly we met a number of fellow walkers who were great fun, and we would keep bumping into them along the route or at the bed and breakfasts for the latest bit of gossip or update.

The organisation ie the collection and delivery of our bags from place to place worked like clockwork. The bed and breakfasts were variable but generally good. All the way from Clovelly I was hoping to eat fresh fish as we were on the sea but scampi and whitebait was all I could get til we made it to Port Isaac. In conclusion it was an absolutely brilliant week away; I would definitely do it again and I would definitely use encounters again. Highly recommended.

Route: Padstow to St Ives
Name: Richard Robinson
When: 22 May 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaThis was the most scenic walk (the ocean, cliffs, wildflowers, birds, beaches) my wife and I have ever done. And Encounter Walking was the most responsive and effective travel company that we have ever dealt with. Some of the hotels were better than others, of course, but they were all perfectly fine and the service everywhere was good. The written itinerary that Encounter gave us was absolutely complete, with all the information that we could possibly need for each stage of the walk. We are 100% satisfied. We hope to have Encounter arrange another walk for us next year.

Route: St Ives to Mousehole
Name: Liliane Boeckle and Nathalie Lovis
When: 22 May 2016

Flag of SwitzerlandWe enjoied great weather, ideal for walking and admiring the beautiful landscape we walked through. The organisation of the accomodations was great, the transport of our luggage too, many thanks. Everybody was very welcoming in the acomodations. Some part of the path were little marked and we missed it twice the first 2 days. But we got used to it (in our country, Switzerland, they put much more marques with more informations). We liked it so much that we hope to be able to come again for another part of the path. Best regards, Liliane and Nathalie

Route: Lyme Regis to Brixham (reverse direction)
Name: Pat + 3 - UK
When: 22 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomWe found the terrain and distances fine, although by the end of the 13 mile and the 11 mile days (day 4, Sidmouth to Exmouth and Day 6 Teignmouth to Torquay) we had definitely had enough, especially as we live in Berkshire and aren’t used to the very steep climbs on the Coast Path. We didn’t have time to look at any of the interesting attractions which were mentioned.  We just walked with breaks for refreshments etc. (which was fine)

All the hotels were friendly and welcoming The instructions re how to find the hotels were really good (we loved the plastic swans in the directions to the Royal Beacon Hotel.)

Every day we came upon somewhere to have coffee/snacks/afternoon tea etc (obviously only one of these per day as otherwise we’d never have arrived)There was somewhere to buy the day's lunch every morning, and the sandwiches & pasties that we bought were of a really high standard. 

All the ferries were working as planned.The Luggage Transfer worked perfectly.The taxi back to Lyme Regis to collect our car was very good - punctual and a very comfortable journey. The long term car parking worked well (Martin will probably comment on this).  We did it daily and when the system was not undergoing maintenance it was very quick.  You do need to be friends with modern technology though to make it work easily  

Day 2  Lyme Regis to Beer

The Undercliff was quite muddy slippery and narrow in places; in fact just as we were starting it we met 4 people coming back who said it was dangerous and they’d turned back.  Honestly though it wasn’t that bad for anyone who is a regular walker and you did flag up in your itinerary that it can be like that.

Exceptionally nice afternoon tea at the cafe on the seafront in Seaton (sorry, can’t remember name)

Day 3 Beer to Sidmouth

No walking problems except that just as we arrived at the streets of Sidmouth we lost the route, i.e. there weren’t any signs that we could see.  Obviously we found our way down to the sea so that was fine.

Day 5 Exmouth to Teignmouth

The Thatched Tavern en route at Maidencombe was brilliant.  An exceptional pub.

We went out for a fantastic meal at ‘Fresco’ - an Italian Restaurant very near the hotel.  One of our star evenings of the holiday.    

Day 6 Teignmouth to Torquay

Nothing special to note re walking

The Torcroft Hotel was a lovely hotel.  It was more like a very up market guest-house in that Phil and Sharon were very hands-on and always around to offer help and advice.  When we arrived we were invited down to the terrace for a complimentary glass of Prosecco - which obviously made a great start to our stay

Day 7 Torquay to Brixham

Ferry trip was very enjoyable.I took the ferry back, but the other 3 walked and I think the route maybe wasn’t very well marked on that section?

We all thought that the holiday was superbly organised, and had an all-round great time.  Thank you Encounter Walking.

Route: Milford Haven to St Davids
Name: J & C Kaneohe Hawaii
When: 22 May 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaAloha Damon and everyone, We have completed our Pembrokeshire walk and had a wonderful time.

Your detailed itinerary was great.  In particular, we did the two tidal estuaries at the lowest of tides and in the brightest of sun. In fact we had no rain on our walking and often very nice sun.  Your notes ensured we hit all the key highlights. We especially enjoyed our day walking among the Puffins on Skomer Island.  And also the wonderful flowers along coast. Mahalo for your arrangements. We look forward to working with you on our next long walk. We are now in London and leave Sat to walk day hikes with HF in Slovenia.

Route: St Ives to Porthcurno
Name: Patrick Ashwood
When: 19 May 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaOur walk went without any problems. All the rooms were booked and the luggage was always there. We really enjoyed the first three days of our walk, St. Ives to Sennon Cove. We would not do the Sennon Cove to Porthcurno section again. It was not as interesting and there were so many people. Porthcurno is also where we had the worst lodging and dinner. Porthcurno was only interesting to us for the telegraph museum, but then we are not into English theater. The Seaview B & B was the least pleasant accommodation on our trip, which included 11 different places. We supposedly had the largest room, which was a bed with a bit of space around it. Cramped is the theme here. I would arrange your walk so you do not stay in Porthcurno. We had a car and should have not started in St. Ives.

Thanks to the instructions we got to the hotel, but it was a hassle. Parking the car in St. Ives was expensive. If we were to do this again with a car, we would start up the coast from St. Ives and end in Sennon Cove. My only concern was the cost of Encounter Walking. I could not find an itemized bill. I have no idea what the costs of the lodging were or the luggage forwarding costs. And of course was the maps and books and personalized directions which are hard to put a price on. Our bill was about $250 a day or 175 pounds a day. Arranging this would have been very difficult for us to do ourselves from the U.S. and we had this organization to back us up if something went wrong.

So in the end, we would probably use this service again for our next walk which my wife says we might do in two years time. Once we paid our entire bill we did not hear from Encounter Walking again until they wanted our opinion on our holiday. We thought this was a bit odd. Perhaps an email or text to ask how it is going or if we had arrived?

Encounter Walking Holidays Response  - Thanks for the feedback Patrick with some useful points for other walkers there - to clarify we don't plan to call walkers once you are on the trail and its not something we have been asked/expected to do up to now -  BUT if anyone would like a call we are here right through your walk and so would be very happy to do so if you want a call.... so please just ask next time. We are always in contact after your final payment by sending on your final detailed itinerary and we ask anyone with any further questions to get in touch at that point - a lot do and we always respond if asked to.  We are always happy to make as much or as little contact as you would like as long as you tell us.  Price wise we do provide very clear individual quotes for every enquiry and we won't arrange any bookings for anyone until you have seen a quote, seen the price, what is included and decided you are happy with it.  We are lucky to have a high number of returning walkers so it makes sense for us to provide the best value we can and that is how we price your walks. That said please be aware that we are always happy to give free advice if you prefer to try and arrange it yourselves so do email us and ask - and we never charge for advice.

Route: Amroth to Milford Haven
Name: Sarah - UK
When: 19 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomWe had a lovely holiday thanks - and the weather in Pemrokeshire last week was mainly fantastic! We were very fortunate.

Some comments:

- Itinerary and route comments provided by you were all very helpful, and - in conjunction with the Trailblazer book - meant we didn't get lost once!

- Couldn't fault the luggage transfer company; both bags ended up where they should be every day! Plus, taxi transfers prompt and driver friendly

- Mellieha Guest House in Amroth provided cake and tea on our arrival which was much appreciated and got our holiday off to a special start. The quality of the guest house was fantastic; both in terms of accommodation, food, and friendliness. We felt very taken care of : )

- The Lighthouse Restaurant in Tenby is lovely for a good quality evening meal (popular though, so book)

- The Wavecrest Cafe next to the beach at Angle is a nice place for lunch / cake 

- The food cooked by Lorna in the restaurant at Castlemead Hotel in Manorbier is delicious! She knows how to cook, and is sensitive to any intolerances, allergies folk might have.

 - Don't miss St Govan's Chapel; it is amazing! Punches above its small stature in terms of impact...

 -  we were very impressed with the number of hotels/B&Bs which had one; a perfect end to a walking day : )

 - Pembroke Castle definitely worth a visit (as is Manorbier). 

 - The Cornstore Cafe in Pembroke did delicious large bowls of soup, plus cakes to die for (which we didn't get to sample because we were so full from our big bowls of soup!)

 - Very friendly volunteers in the Flying Boat Centre in Pembroke Dock

I haven't said much about the walk / walking directions, and this is because it all worked so well : ). The acorn sign was a reassuring presence throughout the walk, and left us in no doubt that we were going the right way! The walking itself was wonderful, and descriptions both in your instructions and the Trailblazer book, very accurate as regards strenuousness and gradients. First visit to Pembrokeshire, and we are left feeling that it has the most beautiful coastline, and some of the happiest dogs we have ever seen (cliff tops and beaches - what's not to love?!).

Thanks for your help with organising our holiday.

Route: Coleridge Way Nether Stowey to Lynmouth
Name: TP - Switzerland
When: 18 May 2016

Flag of SwitzerlandSo were are already back in Switzerland again! We once again had a wonderful time in the UK.

We saw no other walkers on the Coleridge Way, which is very pity. It is a beautiful way and it has everything: Moorland, coasts, woodland, streams, lovely villages, farmland and greens. May is also a wonderful time with all the flowers.

The accommodations were superb. Fabulous houses with nice rooms, all very clean. The breakfasts were outstanding, all made fresh and absolutely delicious. All people were very friendly. The descriptions and markers were very good and we had no problems to find the way. Point 7 is not difficult to find anymore. There is a new signpost standing there just beside the route.

From Williton back to the Way we took the Public Way to Aller Cottage and then further on to Aller Farm (blue 08 at the OS-map) It is not so dull as the road to Sampford Brett and very beautiful. Every day I saw Bluebells. Beyond Monksilver as we climbed Birds Hill it was millions of them. Very beautiful!  The Valley of Rocks was wonderful.

The weather was very good and dry. On Saturday we had some rain, but it was no heavy rain, otherwise it was sunny. I don't know why people always complain about the english weather. Since we are back in Switzerland it rains night and day!

One more time I want to thank you and your team for a perfect organized Walking Holiday!

Route: Falmouth to Fowey
Name: Dennis & Angela
When: 16 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomAnother great walk on the Cornish coast path made even better by the profusion of spring flowers. The weather was mixed and we missed the views from Dodman due to the low cloud and rain but got spectacular views from Gribbin Head in the sunshine. The accommodation was excellent with an outstanding stay at the Lugger Hotel in Portloe. It's worth noting that the Mevagissey Bay Hotel does not provide evening meals even though their website suggests they do. Also if you intend to get a taxi back from Portscatho to Trewithian Farm, we recommend booking it in advance. We had no major problems finding the path although we had minor difficulties just after the Caerhays car park (need to head up hill and turn right behind the clump of trees) and again feeding the path out of Mevagissey from the quay (Trailblazer guide not too accurate here).

The path from Porthbean beach was not easy to find. You have to walk along the concrete walkway past the seasonal shop and then turn left up some steps into the woods. The steps are well hidden and not obvious until you are quite close to them. (When we comment about problems finding with the path we then think it's probably due to our own stupidity!). As a general comment we did find a few inaccuracies in the Trailblazer book particularly in the location, steepness and direction of some of the ups and downs. The luggage transfer worked very efficiently with our bags appearing as if by magic at our next stop. Once again Damon and the Encounter team for another (fifth or sixth?) excellent and enjoyable walking holiday.

Route: Padstow to St Ives
Name: WE - UK
When: 16 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomJust to let you know that we had a great trip, although some better weather would have made it perfect.! 

We had a lunch break at Porth en route to Newquay, and would recommend the Coast Cafe at the end of Porth beach where we reconnected to the trail, it was very good value and worth adding to your list.

In Portreath ate at the Bassett arms , and had an excellent meal, great value.

En route to Lelant, we were very impressed with the National Trust cafe at Godrevey Point , and would recommend walkers take away  or eat their lunch there.  Overall we thought we had a good mix of accommodation, and generally good value for money. Mike from Ocean Taxis was also very helpful, and spot on time for both our pick ups.

Finally, we thought the package provided by Encounter was 5* , impressed by the attention to detail , and also good communication, website , itinerary etc. Will definitely come to you again in the future!

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: rizza iametti
When: 15 May 2016

Flag of SwitzerlandWe just loved our holiday. We received all the information needed, the luggage transfer worked at the perfection, the weathear was very kind with us. The path was feasible almost all the time, just a bit hard at some points, but the view worth it. We're looking forward to walk one more section.

Route: Westward Ho! to Padstow
Name: Neil & Mai
When: 13 May 2016

Flag of CanadaEncounter provided excellent accommodation planning and advice on alternatives. Their experience with local accommodation was very useful and accurate. All of the B&Bs and hotels were great. No issues with luggage transfers. They were faultless. Encounter also provided my wife with details on how to use public transport between each of our stops. The advice was great and very useful!! The only unexpected cost was the taxi from Clovelly to Hartland Quay on a Sunday (GBP 80). The trail was very well marked so the maps and the guidebooks were only occasionally used. Weather was very good with only one day of rain. The trip exceeded our expectations and we highly recommend Encounter.

Thanks Neil and Mai and yes that taxi fare sounds very expensive - I will contact you directly to find out who you used and make sure we don't recommend them to anyone - damon

Route: Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Ivan Waterfall
When: 12 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomHi, Sorry I can't be of anymore help than this, but I had 5 days of walking from Penzance to Falmouth. I found that your planned holiday for me was very easy to follow and all the hotels were great. Some of the walk for me was sometimes a bit hard going but that was only what I had expected as I am 73. I found the detours of which you told me about all easy to follow. I am sure that you will be hearing from me again t give me a route to follow from Falmouth. I have now walked from Padstow to Falmouth. Thanks for all your help. Ivan

Route: Clovelly to Tintagel
Name: Nick Handscombe
When: 12 May 2016

UK FlagExcellently organised trip. From the first night in Clovelly everything went like clockwork, accommodation spot on, luggage transfers on time and a warm welcome each night. Considering we were a party of 8 blokes requiring twin/single rooms and you managed to accommodate us in the same hotel/B&B every night that was a superb logistical coup. All communication, right from the first enquiry to completing the walk was first rate. Our one and only minor issue on the walk was resolved quickly and we were kept informed at all times. Would recommend Encounter (in fact I already have) to anyone interested in tackling this type of walking trip.

Route: Lyme Regis to Lulworth Cove
Name: CM Scotland
When: 12 May 2016

Flag of ScotlandThe first thing to say is that all aspects of administration and organisation were excellent, faultless. Response times to any emails were quick and replies always helpful. The notes, guide book and map were all really helpful too.

Simlarly, all the accommodation - everywhere we stayed seemed to be run by 'people people' - helpful, friendly and welcoming.  It all added hugely to the enjoyment of the walk.

The route was all we'd hoped and just as described.  The only part that we felt was a in need of some upgrade was Abbotsbury to Isle of Portland. Some signage was badly weathered and some of the stiles could do with maintenance. There is one specific part where signage could definitely be improved. As you leave Littlesea Holiday Park at Lynch Cove, there is a large grass area. On the map, it  is clear that you should take the upper path but the entrance to the lower path (which is pretty well impassable) is actually quite far up on that grassy slope. The entrance to the upper path is only a few metres above it but is not immediately obvious. On the day we passed there was actually a large family having a picnic at the entrance to the upper path which hid the entrance and didn't help!  But a clearer sign would definitely have been useful.

As you point out, eating places are a bit off track on this section but it might be worth emphasing that the Crab House Cafe towards the end of the walk is bookings only - or was the day we arrived!  However, just over the bridge and just before the causeway Billy Winters Diner is a quirky but excellent place to get a light meal, snack, drink - plus great views of all the water- based activities going on outside.  The next day we found the cafe in Portland Castle a great place for lunch and very handily placed at the end of the walk round Portland Island.

All in all, it was a great week. If we decide to head down to this area again to do anothe part of the coastal trail, we won't look beyond Encounter Walking  for the booking.

Route: Saints Way
Name: John Ashmore
When: 10 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomWalk started 10/5/16 finished 12/05/16. Walked East route North to South. Many thanks to Damon and Richard in particular for accommodating my walking buddie and I especially as we only gave them a week's notice. Good instructions and all information received in time despite short lead in time. B&Bs were all good. Thoroughly enjoyed the walk with such history and interest. Great views along the way. Walking in May was good as a result of catching all the spring flowers along the way. Hope to be back to you to perhaps do the walk South to North / West route one day.

Route: Milford Haven to St Davids
Name: Robyn
When: 10 May 2016

Flag of New ZealandHello - I had a wonderful time in Pembrokeshire.  Even though one day was disgustingly wet (but not cold).

The scenery was magnificent.  I loved the wildflowers especially.  And the castles.  And the villages.  And the sea vistas.  Some stormy seas would have been the icing on the cake.  The sea was dead flat.

My accommodation was wonderful.  Especially at Broad Haven.  Neil and Helen were so good at remembering guests names.  It seemed that every time I sat down I was offered a pot of tea.  And a lovely place to sit too, out the front people watching in the sun.

Everything was clean, well provisioned, and incredibly handy for me.  Great breakfasts meant a great start to the day.  My feiends were starting to accuse me of eating my way around Wales!

Coming into Dale, I had to take the high tide route and I happened upon a garden centre with a cafe.  This was not in the guide notes but was a welcome place to dry out, warm up, and use the facilities, and have a pot of tea and a Welsh cake!

I found the running good.  Distance wise was about right.  I shortened the final day into St Davids because my knee was being a pain.  Or should I say giving me pain!  And as I have a big race in two weeks (gulp) thought I should not push it.  It was great having my bag transported and there was no problems there.  It meant I could run with just the necessities of the day.

I would certainly do similar again.  It was a great way to see the country and to meet people from all countries.  Not just other walkers but people in the villages along the way.

Thank you - Robyn

Route: Lyme Regis to Weymouth - SW Coatsal Path
Name: Karen Musk
When: 09 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomThis was the most wonderful holiday I have had. The trail is beautiful, well-marked and varied. The only stretch that wasn't so pleasant was Abbotsbury to Weymouth, round Fleet Lagoon. It was very hot, humid and misty so the flies were a problem, not helped by the path being in a terrible condition around the (many) campsites. However, this did not detract from what was a fantastic 4 days walking and the maps, notes, accommodation and luxury of having my bag transferred each day were perfect. I cannot recommend this holiday highly enough.

Route: Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: Lars and Lisa
When: 09 May 2016

We had a fantastic walk and it only rained for half a day during the whole walk. We sent pictures to friends here in China and they loved the look of it so who knows, maybe next time we bring a bunch of friends with us. 

Everything on the walk regarding luggage transfer was as smooth as can be expected, bag was always at our next destination when we arrived.  All the places we stayed in was very good, service and friendliness was spot on.

I have a few tips to other walkers, well first ones like us I should say. When deciding on the walk, how far to walk each day is an important one. Although I enjoyed the 20 or so km everyday the problem is that you don't get a chance to do anything else but walk. Having a rest day as we did in Fowey was perfect and could probably have one more in Looe. So if other walkers is doing the walk just as a exercise then fine, by all means do 20 km every day. If you want to see more of the surrounding area, besides the track, I suggest longer stopovers and/or shorter day walks.

Next walk we do in your areas we will surely use Encounter again!

Thank you Damon and the whole Encounter team!

Route: St Ives to Lands End
Name: Craig - Cornwall
When: 08 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomYes, the walk was a great success but unfortunately the weather did not play ball! Still, that can't be helped. All the accommodation you selected was first class and easy to find. Drinks and meals along the way were varied and plentiful and we met some very enjoyable company. If we do this type of thing again we'll definitely use you.

Many thanks, Craig

Route: Minehead to Westward Ho!
Name: Pauline
When: 07 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomWould highly recommend Encounter walking for arranging a holiday. Excellent accommodation and baggage transfers. Found Ilfracombe directions a bit confusing. Great meals in Woolacombe and Braunton(SQ's) Altogether fully enjoyed our week. We'll be back to continue this coastal path.

Route: Now completed the Whole Path with you !
Name: Sally
When: 07 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomJust back from another memorable walk on the SWCP – do I get a certificate!

Weather was very kind and last four days spent in glorious sunshine even the days which started a bit drizzly soon brightened up and waterproofs off.  Only got caught once in some fairly heavy rain and even that didn’t last for long.

The whole path was just fantastic and I cant thank you enough all your encouragement and meticulous planning.  I found all waymarking to be good and realised pretty quickly if I had gone wrong – as you had told me I would.

Route: Saints Way - Padstow to Fowey
Name: Sara Wisnia
When: 06 May 2016

Flag of AustraliaThis walk was one of the highlights of our trip. We are in our 60s and were able to walk the route without much difficulty in 2 days. We were lucky enough to do it whilst all the bluebells, primroses and wild garlic was in flower. Some of the woodland stretches were the most beautiful walks any of us had done. The countryside was constantly diverse. We didn't get lost at all, but occasionally feared that we had taken a wrong turn. Especially when we were walking across fields. We used the map to check out contour lines. We also found the cards in the Saints Way booklet helpful. Many of the wooden Saints Way signs have become darkened with age, and would be very hard to see in a mist. We suggest tacking a coloured plastic disk to them.

Leaving from Padstow, and passing by Dennis Farm (with a side trip to Queen Victoria's obelisk), there was some indecision about the direction to go when crossing diagonally through the paddocks sloping down to the creek. We needed to consult the compass before proceeding (correctly) over the crest of the hill, bearing right, and down to the stile on the far side, in order to take the steep track down to the creek. Better sign-posting would have been good. We have been inspired to undertake further walks in the future.

Route: Minehead to Westward Ho!
Name: Tony and Mo
When: 05 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomWonderful week on the North Devon Coast Walk, very lucky with the weather..one wet morning otherwise perfect for walking and a clear blue sky ( plus a little mist now and then, heat haze). Nothing negative to report, all went to plan, accommodation fine, luggage transfer on the dot, our train/bus down was good as was the return.

Tips for other walkers, well…

As the weather was so good we decided on the high route on day 1 for the views of Exmoor, we were not disappointed, plus wild ponies and lots of bird life in the gorse. Nice paths using old sunken farm tracks. Recommend cream tea at Bossington.For the same reason we took the high path again on day 2 from Culbone Church, nice walking at elevation.

Day 3, Highlight.. Valley of the Rocks, splendid.

We are getting on a bit and although we are used to fell walking in the lakes we were certainly glad we split day 3 at Heddon’s mouth.  We arrived at the Hunter’s Inn just after lunch which meant we had time to enjoy the surroundings (and the same for the following day to Combe Martin) without pushing on. Had the weather not been so good it would have been even more so. It meant that we had time to visit the interesting little museum at Combe Martin.

It also meant that we had recovered fully for the next day, Combe Martin to Woolacombe, which we thought was by far our toughest day, with an avoidable tour of Ilfracombe back streets but mainly because of the last stretch after Lee Bay which involved multiple climbs up steps designed for a giant. Where possible, we noticed that walkers had walked up the side of the steps, not on them, note to the NT or whoever built them.

Enjoyed the excellent walk from Woolacombe to Croyde Bay around Baggy Point although no good pics of spectacular cliff formations, almost nil visibility  in rain, our only wet morning.

Braunton to Instow, nice lunch stop at Fremington Quay, 

Plus, recommend Hocking’s Ice cream, available from vans at all stops between Barnstaple and Westward Ho!, and Sharp’s Pilsner, new to us, very nice on a hot afternoon.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: E & T - Norrahammar, Sweden
When: 05 May 2016

Flag of SwedenWE HAD AN AMAZING AND MARVELOUS WALK IN CORNWALL!! 1 000 THANKS FOR ARRANGING IT!

Everything worked perfectly. Coming from Sweden we expected at least train delays - not even that happened! The most outstanding B&B’s were Sennan Cove (Old Success Inn) - where we got the most beautiful room and almost hesitated to walk into it with our hiking boots on - and of course Chy-An-Mor Guest House - such a treat! The room was absolutely beautiful and I can still dream about the wonderful breakfasts we enjoyed in the mornings…

The luggage transfer worked perfectly and our suitcases were always waiting for us upon arrival.

The walks were beautiful and very enjoyable even if it was a bit more up-and-down than we expected. At one point we actually did go the wrong way, but out of nowhere a dog and his owner appeared and led us right back on the trail. He said he met people every day who made the same mistake as we had done and was going to make a signpost that day :). We should have used the map more than we did, I think, instead of only using the book. But this was the only time we missed a turn (at least that we know about).

Even the weather was nice! We had one rainy day but it was our resting day in Sennan Cove. In the morning we went to Land’s End and back again and that’s when the rain really hit us. It poured down all afternoon and we spent it reading and listening to the rainfall outside in our beautiful room. 

A bonus was the nice people we met on the trail. Some of them we met multiple times as we had the same itinerary And, yes, we are telling every one that if they are going to Cornwall, they should contact Encounter Walking Holidays!

Route: Padstow to Fowey
Name: Melanie Reed
When: 04 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomGlorious weather for walking the Saints Way (too hot really, one or two blisters!!) Accommodation at Tregolls Farm nr Withiel superb, Marilyn is a wonderful host. Note for first time walkers, this is no walk in the park, my husband (62) and I (50) are regular gym users and reasonably fit, but still found some parts of the walk (should this be described as a hike?)a bit of a slog, admittedly the unusually high temperatures and strong sunshine probably added to the challenge, but hugely grateful that it was not raining, as there were still some pretty muddy bits to negotiate.

We had a good laugh, especially as my husband somehow managed to lose several items from his back pack along the way. If anyone finds some spectacles and a large orange water bottle - let us know! Don't be tempted to save a few pounds and carry your own luggage on your back, it's a long way with such weight and even with my military training, it is something I would never do again.Our walking poles were the best buy, would recommend them to every walker. Sign posts are good, but study the map closely, additional notes provided by encounter were excellent and came in very handy - we had no problems following the route.

Wonderful churches along the way and magnificent scenery. If you want excellent fish and chips in Padstow at local prices visit Chip Ahoy and eat them overlooking the harbour - perfect! So glad we did this, thank you Encounter for giving us everything we needed.

Route: whole path in one way Minehead to Poole
Name: Annelies from the Netherlands
When: 02 May 2016

Flag of the NetherlandsThe first part from Minehead to Bude was exquisite organized by Encounter. This part I did with my husband René. Then I went alone and I organized the accomodations to Falmouth by myself. This took me to much time, so I asked Encounter to arrange the last part to South Haven Point and this they have done really great. Within a few days it was all about. All this at the last minute and therefore the accomodations where sometimes further from the path, I am very satisfied with how everything in no time was controlled by Damon and Ellie from Encounter.

The path itself, I can only speak in superlatives, really very very beautiful. If you doubt whether you can walk this path alone: just do it. It always felt very safe to me. It is very well to do and if you take minimal luggage you do not need luggage transport (my backpack weight just 8 kg). The distances to be covered were sometimes tough but doable. I often required more time than was indicated. I really liked the rivercrossings by foot or ferry. Getting lost on the trail is impossible. If I was wrong it came mostly because I did not pay enough attention and usually I could find quickly the right way. And if not, there usually was a local with dog to show you the right path. I found it a great experience and I am very happy I have walked this beautiful path. I will definitely recommend Encounter with others because of their good organization, service and knowledge of the area.

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path - Milford Haven to St. David's
Name: Colorado Hiker
When: 01 May 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaOur first trip in Wales, definitely not the last. Terrific conditioning for warm-weather hiking. Everything worked, the hotels/inns were well-located, the breakfasts good and filling, the luggage where it was supposed to be, the maps led properly and the picnic lunches purchased from the inns were more than adequate - one lunch would work for two people. The walk was terrific. The least interesting part was from Milford Haven to Sandy Haven Pill. We took a taxi based on recommendation from EncounterWalking and did not regret. Thanks for offering this walk.

Route: SWCP Plymouth to Lymington
Name: David Coulson
When: 01 May 2016

Flag of the United KingdomMy walk was from Plymouth to Poole. It was for the charity Motor Neurone Disease Association. I needed the help of encounter to plan my walk to suite my abilities. Without their help I could not have completed the 266 mile walk. The location of accomadation was perfect and the planned route worked. I was aware of all diversion on the way, I got lost a few times mainly down to myself. The scenery and views are stunning. It's a perfect way to enjoy a few days away. I finished by walking from Poole to Lymington a 26 mile walk to help the sufferers and families of this terrible disease. With out the help of Encounter Walking Hoildays and their professional approach I could not have finished this walk. Thank you

Route: Exmouth to Weymouth
Name: BFJ - Germany
When: 30 April 2016

Flag of GermanyAs I already wrote, we were very contend with your organisation! Your description at the everydays schedule was very useful and our setbook every evening, or morning. You really thougt at everything which could happen and gave us manny telefonnumbers to help ourself, just in case! This gave us a secure feeling!

The hotels were very fancy and cosy and the host were so hospitable and gentel! These nice old houses we loved very much!!!

Althought the weather on the first two days was a bit cold and windy, even rainy one afternoon, we enjoyed the amazing landscape and rejoiced ourselfs as the sun came througt all the next days! We were really lucky and happy with that! Sometimes we surched a bit for the way, when there were more possibilities, and for example the old way at the beginning of the jungle seemed to be more attractiv than the totally new made path. But at least we got not lost! In the beginning, every day had his own different character, and we were astonished about it! 

Sole exception was the part of the West Bexington Nature Reserve. It was a boring path, difficult to walk because of the rolling stones, and the enviroment was so dirty like nowhere else! We were happy about the possibility to change to the South Dorset Ridgway Diversion!

The track on the last two days wasn´t really worth the way. It was too long, and my friends had big problems to find the right way out of Abbotsbury, because they had not expected to pass the swanery so near. This would perhaps be a good note. The last day was to much, so they desided to take the bus for visiting the lighthouse!

Conclusion:

+ very good organisation (everything was prepared when we arrived)

+ good support for our special wishes (taxi, businformations...)

+ very nice accomodations

+ absolut amazing landscape!

- to long and boring tracks for the last 2,5 days

- not clear Indication of the way in Abbotsbury

- BnB signature in Fortuneswell

Thank you very much for all your support! I already passed your name to some friends, some are very interested...

Route: St. Ives to St. Michaels Mount
Name: Longchamp Hilda
When: 25 April 2016

Flag of Switzerlandevery thing was just perfect, even the weather ! Thank you for all. Kind regards, Hilda

Route: St Ives to Mullion
Name: Liz & Alan
When: 23 April 2016

Flag of the United KingdomHi Damon - We got the most amazing weather last week – actually got a bit burned on a couple of the days.

You did a fantastic job looking after us – the feat of managing to book us a bath in every accommodation was quite something!   Thanks for the tip to go and see Geevor mine, what a great museum, will never forget it

We will be back next year to start in Mullion and do the next section. You are very good at what you do!

Route: Saints Way
Name: Edweige
When: 22 April 2016

UK Flagjust to let you know that we had the most wonderful weekend walking the Saints Way - the weather was on our side and the card that I purchased to guide the route were helpful - although in some areas the actual description/ instruction is not very clear and having a map as back up would be helpful - but we managed it without!  Encounter Walking "please note we provide all our walkers with the highest scale OS maps!"

There are certainly some areas with rather sketchy markers and other areas that are really well signed but we managed it all and found the whole journey wonderful.

Thanks for your help - the buses that we needed  from Lanivet to Padstow all turned up - on time!

Route: Minehead to Poole - Full Coast Path in 8 weeks
Name: Urs and Elisabeth Gamma - Zurich
When: 20 April 2016

Swiss FlagIn was a risky decision to book the full tour since there were some open questions as: Are we able to do it with little training? Do we really want to walk every day? What's about the english weather? Do we still like english food after 30 days? No all these questions are answered. Every thing went well and we miss the daily walks...

A big share in this success was the prepartion and execution done by Encounter Walking Holidays, especially Damon. The length of the daily walks were good and not too long, the Accommodation selection met our expectations, the Luggage Transfer worked perfectly and when we had a question, Damon sent feedback in no time. Many thanks for this and you will hear from us again

Route: Falmouth to Pendeen (reverse direction)
Name: J & S - Scotland
When: 17 April 2016

Flag of ScotlandWe had a really great trip and much enjoyed seeing Cornwall and the superb coastline with the rocky bays and the spring flowers en route, and had absolutely no problems.  We covered 84 miles in all, and interestingly our total elevation was just over 5500 metres, so there was quite a bit of climbing up and down on each day.  We averaged about 2 mph moving which is fairly slow by most standards, but we do have 148 years between us!  We were also very fortunate with the weather, some high winds midweek but virtually no rain at all.

Firstly, many thanks indeed for all your excellent organisation and the very detailed itinerary with maps which made everything so easy and completely stress free.  Your planning and attention to detail were exemplary, and you provide a first class service.  A few comments follow:

The Route.  This was easy to follow being well marked and pretty obvious. Just occasionally there were minor variations, but nothing that use of a GPS and map could not solve.  We were particularly impressed by the complete lack of litter which other parts of the country including up here could do well to follow.  The various cafes you recommended en route were very pleasant and made very good pit and fuel stops.

Accommodation.  All the places you found for us were very satisfactory.  Our favourite was the Cadgewith Cove Inn which was very high standard indeed, but the good quality inns where we could eat in the evenings were just right for us.  The Lerrin Hotel in Falmouth made an excellent start and finish point and we were able to park the car on the street outside the hotel for the week with no problem. 

Luggage Transfers.    Worked perfectly.

Dog.  He thoroughly enjoyed the trip with us and was made very welcome by everyone.  He is pretty well trained and very phlegmatic and biddable, but anyone taking a dog on the path should be aware that there are dangers for a less well trained and controlled dog, and that the larger beaches forbid dogs from 1 May to 30 September.

Summary.  As said, your organisation and attention to detail was faultless and made our trip completely stress free and therefore a thoroughly enjoyable holiday for both of us.   We loved our time in Cornwall - a beautiful place and a great contrast to our more rugged mountain territory here in Scotland - and we very much look forward to coming back.

Route: SWCP- Padstow to Falmouth
Name: Amy Treverton
When: 16 April 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaThroughly enjoyed walking this route. There were places, especially between St. Ives and Zennor, that were particularly difficult, even to us seasoned hikers. The accommodations were good, although some were a little small. All the hosts were very cordial and two transported us to our next destination after we could walk no longer. I had to stop at Mullion and Stuart stooped in Marazion. But we still had fun! Such a different culture from the USA. Loved the pubs, the food and the locals! Would like to come back at some point and start walking from Mullion. Encounters Walking, you did an excellent job with our itinerary and will definitely use you again when I return. Thanks for all your planning information, trains buses, etc.!!!!!

Route: Saints way
Name: Simon Dyer
When: 15 April 2016

Flag of the United KingdomI found that the accommodation arranged by Encounterwalking extremely good and the baggage transfer faultless. The trail can be muddy in places but passable with caution. The pub at Golant doesn't open on Monday's and there is no shop, so carry food and drink when walking this section (No problem other days). All in all this was a well organised holiday and I would recommend Encounterwalking to people considering this walk.

Route: Saints Way Fowey to Padstow - West Leg
Name: Jackie Chambers - USA
When: 05 April 2016

Flag of the United States of AmericaOur group had a wonderful time walking the Saints Way from Fowey to Padstow from April 6-8th 2016. The accommodations were first rate, the food was delicious, the scenery breathtaking, and the people the most friendly we have ever encountered. The only negative I can report is lack of a warning to look out for guard geese.......those we encountered outside of Saint Blazey were vicious! (We were lucky to escape with our lives!????) Thank you, Encounter Walking Tours, for planning such a lovely time!

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Lower Solva to St. Dogmael's
Name: Cora - UK
When: 04 April 2016

Flag of the United KingdomParts of this stretch of Coast Path are very challenging with steep ascents and descents, and sheer drops to the sea below. The weather was mostly perfect walking weather, no rain but 2 days of very strong on shore winds. All of the information supplied by Encounter Walking was perfect. The accommodation was comfortable and convenient to the path with very welcoming owners; the transfer of luggage went smoothly(always a welcome sight at the end of a day hiking). Thank you to all at Encounter who looked after me so well!

Route: Penzanze to Newquay with St Michaels Way
Name: Gela - Leimen Germany
When: 03 April 2016

Flag of GermanyThank you so much, Damon! We had a fantastic time at the walk and would repeat it anytime!

Route: Minehead to Combe Martin
Name: Kerstin - Germany
When: 02 April 2016

Flag of GermanyHaving returned from our wonderful trip through Exmoor I would like to thank you very much for your great support along the whole journey. We had a perfect time! Walking was great and we were blessed with nice weather- it seemed that the sky opened up for us just these four days!

Our favorite place to spent the night was the Ship Inn (room no 2!), people were totally friendly, the food was delicious, the whole atmosphere was just terrific and the Blair Lodge in Combe Martin of course was perfect as well! Walking on the SWC is a great experience – and we will definitely explore another part of this trail with your support!

Route: Bude to Porthcothan
Name: Jill - UK
When: 01 April 2016

Flag of the United KingdomFantastic walking holiday. Very well organised. I found the walk from Tintagel to Port Issac challenging lots of steps. I would certainly use Encounterwalking again.

Route: Coast Path and Coleridge Way Minehead to Woolacombe
Name: Gabriele
When: 28 March 2016

Flag of GermanyThanks very much for the (like allways) super organisation. Even the weahter was fine - sometimes the light was so dramatic and the sky was so beautiful  with rainbows over the seaside. I didn't get wet. It rained only, when I just was in the pub.  I walked a stretch on the Coleridge-Way - it's so gorcious! There is such a wunderfull quietness in the nature - you only listen to birds, sheep and  water - Time seems so be stopped there, the enviroument is still like described in Lorna Doone!

 

Route: Coleridge Way
Name: Richard Duggleby - UK
When: 27 March 2016

Flag of the United KingdomDecided on 'relaxed' 6 day option plus 2 days at the end on the Coastal Path back to Minehead from Lynmouth. The organisation of our 8 day walk, overnight stays, route notes plus general help could not have been bettered. Well done to Damon and his team. We will definitely use you again. Thank you.

Route: Saints way, Cornwall
Name: Ian Taylor
When: 26 March 2016

Encounter Walking Holidays logowe enjoyed the saints Way very much. 3 x 10 mile per day is very manageable and not a slog. Route is undulating and very varied, with woodland,hill, coastal and inland aspects. toughest section is the middle three miles on day 1 out of Padstow-elevated plateau with limited protection from the wind ( an issues as we were walking over a stormy March weekend.)

Route has avery powerful sense of history, especially days 2 and 3. follows a neolithich droving path later used by Irish pilgrims crossing to mainland Europe. route is characterised on day 2 by historic churches, holy wells and (original) Celtic crosses at the junctions. Path is well marked.

Tips would be 1. interior of Cornwall is quite thinly populated-take some sandwiches 2. be aware of the weather forecast-hedgerows can provide some cover from any wind and allow you to walk parrallel to the path if necessary. 3. nb some signs came down in high winds on day 1 route.

highlights 1. historical route, ancient churches, wells, standing stones, crosses etc-take time to look at these things 2 variety of scenery 3. a manageable walk for most abilities 4 . very good cornish beers and ciders , especially the 'Proper Job'hopped ale 5.finish and start are at fashionable Fowey and Padstow respectively. ample chance for a bit of shopping or gourmet eating at either end- went to rick Stein's for my 50th birthday treat. accommodation was good in all cases- Fowey Hotel is a good thing to treat yourself to at the end for a wee bit more expense. overall interesting, varied and memorable.

Route: Bowleaze to Swanage
Name: 5 London Walkers
When: 19 March 2016

Flag of the United KingdomAnother great walking weekend organised by Encounter. We walked over 3 days, 9 miles the first, 13 the 2nd and another 10 on the final day with a range of difficulty from gentle paths towards the end to near vertical (well it felt like it!) climbs in the middle. The second day was the most spectacular, from East Lulworth to Worth Maltravers across beautiful cliffs. Several parts of this stretch were classed as severe, which felt fairly accurate, but the views made every step worthwhile. In addition to superb walking we ate extremely well, at the Bishops in East Lulworth, The Canteen in Swanage and also the newly opened Java cafe in Swanage (we were the first customers!). Although it was cold there was no rain and it wasn't windy, which could have been scary on those cliffs! A very enjoyable weekend overall, made all the better by the smooth arrangements.

Route: Welcome Mouth to Port Isaac
Name: Julia Ratcliffe
When: 13 March 2016

Flag of the United KingdomFantastic organisation by Damon at Encounter. Completed the first 5 days of the Cornish Coastal Path starting at Welcome Mouth. Really tough walking but spectacular scenery. We had 5 days of clear blue skies in March! Some parts of the route should not be tried in wet and windy weather unless experienced walkers. Walking poles are a real advantage over this part of the route.

Day 1 Welcome Mouth to Bude (10 miles) of very steep ascents & descents. Stayed at Brendan Arms, Bude. Excellent with amazing home-cooked food & superb breakfasts. Really friendly staff.

Day 2 Bude to Crackington Haven (10 miles), first 7 miles easy last 3 miles tough. Stayed at Coombe Barton Inn. Best food of the whole trip. Outstanding!

Day 3 Crackington Haven to Boscastle (7 miles) slightly easier than previous days. Stayed at the Wellington - full of character, amazing comfy beds. Dining room too formal so ate at the Cobweb Inn full of character but indifferent food & minimal wine selection.

Day 4 Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand (7 miles). Stayed at the Port William very friendly, OK food. Trebarwith Strand to Port Isaac (7 miles)- vertical ascent from the Port William to start the walk! Welcome arrival at the Schoolhouse, Port Isaac. Ate at Nathan Outlaws Fish Kitchen - outstanding and a reward for 5 days of challenging but amazing walking. Cant wait for the next part of the path.

Route: hartland quay to tintagel
Name: fiona crook
When: 17 February 2016

Flag of the United KingdomIt was a challenge on Thursday because the stepping stones at Welcombe Bay were covered by a torrent of water. I decided to try a footpath between the road and the river and found a bridge about half a mile along. And on the Saturday it was very windy so I had to sit down for a while, half a dozen times when atop the high cliffs, for fear of being blown down the sheer sides. Luckily it wasn't particularly cold and I had allowed plenty of time. But I took photos and sent regular instagrams so people could track my progress and I was safe. Yes there was lots of mud, particularly just before Boscastle, which was a shame, because my boots had nearly become clean beforehand.

Accommodation amazing. I'm phoning today to make another booking. Thanks for phoning the Bush Inn. I felt cared for. Best wishes, Fiona

Route: SW Coast Path Sennen Cove to Penzance
Name: Dee
When: 30 October 2015

Flag of the United KingdomThank you for organising a wonderful weekend for us.  You are right about the weather, it was so lovely we were walking in t-shirts a lot of the time.  Very lucky for the last weekend in October!
 
We were happy with both B & B's and the hotel in Penzance, comfortable beds and great breakfasts in all of them.  We had been a little concerned that we might be cold and had even brought a hot water bottle, but if anything we were a little too warm - not really something to complain about.  We had very good evening meals at the Old Success in Sennen Cove and the Logan's Rock Inn when staying in Portcurno.  Chris at the B & B gave us directions for a short cut across the fields so we had a bit of an adventure getting there in the dark.
 
The walking, especially from Portcurno to Mousehole was tough at times.  We are both small so found some of the steep steps uphill from the coves en route quite a struggle - they were obviously built for tall people with long legs.  And the sections into and out of Lamorna Cove were a bit of a challenge too, there was a lot of picking your way around, through and over rocks and boulders.  It was not so bad in the fine and dry weather we had but I would not have wanted to do it in the wind and rain.
 
We will definitely do some more of the south-west coast walk another time, it was really beautiful.  And we will definitely use your company again so once more thanks very much.
 

Route: SWCP Lynmouth-Woolacombe
Name: Louise & Gavin Stewart
When: 29 October 2015

Flag of the United KingdomWell organised trip by Encounter, thankyou. Day was was pretty strenuous, not helped by lots of mud which made the ups and downs interesting. Goodness only knows what the path is like after rain, probably treacherous. Absolutely beautiful scenery across the moors though. Day 2 was OK although we cut it short at Ilfracombe when we found the pub! Day 3 Woolacombe - Saunton Sands was easy walking,only about 10 miles. Beautiful scenery and gorgeous weather! We can highly recommend a Sunday lunch at the Saunton Sands hotel, exactly what a hungry walker needs!

Route: SWCP Falmouth to Plymouth
Name: D &J Poole
When: 06 October 2015

Flag of AustraliaThe walk had many highlights, wonderful views, little fishing villages and some pleasant downs after some rugged ups. The first and last days were challenging lengths but the fine and sunny weather when the rest of southern England was grey and miserable compensated. Some of the signage was intermittent, so we saw a bit more of Cornwall than planned especially around the Ropehaven cliffs. Otherwise the accommodation was excellent, particularly the B&Bs and the friendly and helpful hosts and luggage transfers went without a hitch. Finding the evening accommodation was easy using the walk notes from encounterwalking.

Route: SWCP Sidmouth-Poole
Name: Richard Donovan
When: 03 October 2015

Flag of the United KingdomAs usual, everything worked like clockwork. Accommodation all expecting me, bags always transferred and in my room on arrival. First long day completed in overcast but warm conditions, followed by two rainy days. Missed (mist!) out on Golden Cap section, will go back and do it again when it's visible! Rest of days mix of overcast and sun, and walked the final three mile beach in glorious sunshine to catch the ferry at South Haven point - the finish! Quality of accommodation was fine and I enjoyed this section very much even though some days the hills (mountains!) seemed endless! I did the whole SWCP with Damon and Encounter and each section was organised to perfection. I intend to re-walk a few particularly nice sections and I would not look further than Encounter for their great organisational ability and local knowledge.

Route: South west coastal path Falmouth to Looe
Name: Clare
When: 01 October 2015

Flag of AustraliaThanks to Damon and Encounter walking holidays for a very well organised holiday. Damon even managed to give us an Indian Summer for the first few days with enough warmth and sunshine to go swimming. Our group had 3 different subgroups of friends/ family with varying starts and finishes and every permutation was seemlessly managed. We loved visiting The Lost Gardens of Heligan on the morning walk out of Mevagissey and would recommend that as an add on to the walk from there to Charlestown. The accommodation was welcoming and the trail notes excellent. All we had to do was walk, enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife, and look forward to a good evening meal and comfortable bed. A perfect holiday.

Route: Minehead to Combe Martin
Name: Judy Woollett
When: 25 September 2015

Flag of the United KingdomWalked this over 4 days. Spectacular scenery - would thoroughly recommend it and we had the most wonderful weather - sunny all the way. Not sure the Bergundy Chapel just out of Minehead is worth the visit as there is a very steep climb afterwards but Culbone Chuch after Porlock Weir definitely is. Great hotels booked by Damon and team and would thoroughly recommend the Rising Sun in Lynmouth for a delicious meal. Heddons Gate Hotel excellent and meal very reasonable. Thanks to Encounter Walking for a great holiday.

Route: The Saints Way and SW Coast Path Fowey / Mevagissey
Name: Lyn and Chris - Australia
When: 25 September 2015

Flag of AustraliaHi Damon, as I write I am overlooking the sea from our room at Honeycombe House in Mevagissey. Our Saints Way walking holiday organised by you has been a great success. All the accommodation was wonderful; the trip notes very detailed & helpful, & the weather of course, has been magnificent!  Generally we found the way fairly well signposted with a few areas where signs had been "souvenired" or were just plain not there but I regret to say we didn't take specific note of locations hoping we would remember at the end - not so, except for yesterday when we had difficulty getting out of Golant & then again further up the track. A few spots on day 1 & 2 were very brambly too, but the muddy parts weren't too bad. We will certainly recommend you to any of our friends who come this way. You made the whole adventure very easy & enjoyable.

Route: Saints Way East to Fowey
Name: Linda +3 - USA
When: 23 September 2015

Flag of the United States of AmericaWe had amazingly beautiful weather, rain only at night or while at lunch one day.  Some mud, well quite a lot in places, as a result.  We loved our walk!!!  All transport went smoothly.  All accommodations were lovely and hospitable.  The food at the Crowne Inn was particularly excellent.  

Signage was mostly good.  But we did get lost, several times.  We got better at understanding the map and where to go when there was no sign, but the first day was particularly difficult and we lost our way below Dennis Hill as the trail enters the woods.  It looked like the arrow headed right, but in fact, it headed straight.  Animal trails and others who obviously lost their way confused the issue.  Entering fields was often confusing and I would suggest small binoculars to try to find the exit.  It was often very confusing.  Sometimes we thought it was a miracle we were actually on the "way".

But really, our experience was very positive and we were delighted to have accomplished our goal.

Thanks for all you arrangements.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Geoff - Australia
When: 21 September 2015

Flag of AustraliaOur feedback is as follows:  Reliable, dependable. Luggage moved perfectly. Hotels were great, especially the Commercial at St Just, and the Treventon was excellent.The walking guides were good. A suggestion would be to supply walking maps and notes of just the few pages of the actual walk. This means that the whole book does not have to be carried, and accessed. A few pages could be easily carried and be accessible easily especially in wind and rain.

The Telegraph museum at Pothcurno is fantastic and it would be worthwhile telling people about it and allowing a few hours for it in the walk.

For us, the walk from St Just to Porthcurno was very long (8 hours) and we were tired at the end when we reached the very steep descent at the Minack and then the walk back up,the hill again to the Sea View. It would be helpful to put in the notes that that there is the option to walk down the road to the Sea View if you are tired and want to avoid the steep sections.Thanks Damon. Your help with the train tickets and general advice was much appreciated. Also you turned on fabulous weather!

Walk easy!

Route: Pembrokeshire Coast Path (Full Route)
Name: Martin
When: 19 September 2015

Flag of SwitzerlandLike 2 years before on the Southwest Coast Path ... the organisation of the walks (with maps and informations) and the accomodations were great. Thanks you Encouter Walking team.

Route: Penzance to Falmouth
Name: Helena & Geoff
When: 19 September 2015

Flag of the United KingdomThanks to Damon and the team for another really enjoyable, well organised holiday (our third with Encounter). Damon went out of his way to tailor the itinerary to our preferred overnight stops and gave us some excellent options for upgrading the accommodation. Baggage transfers worked very smoothly and the accommodation was generally very good. We particularly enjoyed the Polurrian Hotel, the Five Pilchards at Porthallow and Gold Martin B&B at Mawnan Smith. Most enjoyable evening meals of the week were at the Five Pilchards (great steak) and Giuseppe’s in Mawnan Smith (fantastic turbot). We would also recommend the Brew House at Porthleven for great coffee, friendly staff and views of the harbour (the cakes looked great too!). The weather was rather mixed at the beginning of the holiday with intermittent heavy rain and strong winds but steadily improved as the week went on and we had lots of sunshine and fantastic views. Some sections of the path were extremely muddy – especially around Coverack. We were amused to be stopped on the coast path near Gunwalloe Cove while a scene for Poldark 2 was being filmed. The ferries at both Gillan Creek and the Helford River worked perfectly for us and added interest towards the end of the week. Thanks again Damon and we hope to be back walking with Encounter in the near future.

Route: Two Moors Way
Name: Peter & Carrie Moss (with Millie)
When: 18 September 2015

Flag of the United KingdomAn excellent and memorable holiday. Accommodation bookings and luggage transfers no problems and the dog friendly rooms where absolutely fine (but then our collie was very well behaved and usually ready for a rest at the end of the day). Weather was pretty good for the week not too hot or cold although one pretty damp day and ground was muddy under foot but never impassable. We had two long walking days of 22 miles each and with hindsight the second of them was 'tough'. Muddy ground slowed our progress, it was not easy to get an early start from the accommodation and that meant we finished in the dark crossing muddy fields (thankfully with a torch I had packed) arriving in Witheridge at 9.30pm. But the next day was only 7.5miles, so we had a lie in! Summer months and lighter evenings would make that easier.

Never lost our way but you could not do this walk and rely on the footpath signs all the time. We had to follow compass bearings on some stretches. (But I would say 80% of it is well marked overall) I would certainly recommend Ordnance survey maps for the whole route. The Harvey map supplied was okay but I would have preferred the bigger scale of OS for some of the Exmoor sections. I bought the Cicerone guide for the walk but have to say the local Devon Two Moors guide was much better and I referred to that every day for their route guidance. The cicerone was not that user friendly for the walk. Excellent time overall, and well organised by Encounter.

Route: Pencance - Falmouth
Name: Ernst Schaffner
When: 18 September 2015

Flag of GermanyIt was really great, the scenery extremely impressing, and well, we were also more than lucky with the weather, only half a day some showers, otherwise pure sunshine with some white clouds. Organisation was perfect, in all guest houses, inns and hotels we were always expected and warmly welcomed. The luggage was always at the places where it should be. Quality of accomodation was fine in general, but two inns (the Harbour Inn in Porthleven and the Old Inn in Mullion) should spend some money in the refurbishment of their lodging, particularly in the bath rooms. Breakfast was in general fine, reaching from the standard cooked breakfast (and toast and marmelade and cereals) to more interesting variations around smoked salmon. The coastpath was so fairly wayposted that one could not really get lost (together with the Trailblazer Cornwall Coast Path Book and the AZ Adventure South West Coast Path Map), with the exception from Coverack to Porthallow, where the former official route was abandoned, the path now going inland, with no sign post of this change (at least we did not find it), fortunately we met some locals knowing the place. Not much more to say - it was just great (I'm not sure if I would come to the same conclusion if we would have had one week of rainy weather, but this may not happen in Cornwall ?)

Route: Saints Way
Name: Joanne and Glenn
When: 17 September 2015

Flag of the United States of AmericaThe Saints Way tuned out to be a great walk for us (both age 64). We did a coastal walk in Padstow before we left and the Hall Walk in Fowey after our three days on the Saints Way. All the logistics went perfectly and our accommodations were good. The weather was perfect which made our walks even better. We had very few problems. We got a little lost a few times but recovered pretty easily. We did run into one flooded path that required walking in a hedgerow (thank heavens we had gloves!), but all in all a wonderful time.

Route: South West Coast Path Mevagissey to Polperro
Name: Cherry Schomberg
When: 16 September 2015

Flag of the United KingdomTrip very well organised by Encounter. We liked the fact that everything was very detailed in the itinerary so you knew exactly what was what each day. This was much appreciated. They also took the trouble to provide different options for each day as we were not sure exactly what we could fit in. The luggage transfers were brilliant and our cases were always at our accommodation when we arrived.

As for accommodation - the rooms in Buckingham House B&B were lovely, so bright and airy. People running it were very nice and helpful and breakfast delicious! Rooms in the Pier House Hotel were a bit small and warm! Food was good though and they had a nice cosy lounge where you could sit in the evening and watch the Rugby (if so inclined!). In Fowey we stayed in the King of Prussia and had a lovely large room with lots of goodies provided which was a nice touch. Nice view overlooking the harbour too. All the accommodation was very central though and close to everything. At Polperro we had difficulties finding the coastal path to Fowey - it wasn't easy to find and we had to ask for directions - not well signposted. We also visited the St Austell Brewery which is highly recommended - good beers and good food, also very friendly service. All in all a lovely walking trip - Cornwall is an amazing place to walk, especially if the weather is good, as it was for us. We'll be back and would definitely book with Encounter again.

Route: St Ives Lands End Circle
Name: Pauline
When: 16 September 2015

Flag of the United KingdomWe very much enjoyed our walk on the Coastal Path from St Ives to Marazion and back overland. While it was not always sunny, almost all the rain fell overnight so we were lucky.

We have done several long distance walking holidays now and I was very impressed with the service given by Encounter. You were very helpful and knowledgeable and the quality of the guidance notes you provided was the best we have come across.

The way marking on the coastal path was not great – a bit tired – and we did take the wrong path once, but can’t remember where. The marking on St Michael’s Way was fine, and a lot of new gates have been installed on one stretch.

We were very impressed by the quality of the accommodation. Obviously a lot of money has been invested in Cornish hotels and B&Bs. The exception to this was the Seaview B&B in Portcurno which was not to the same high standard. The room we had (room 6 at the top), was very small and lacked a lot of the basic necessities such as bedside lights and toothmug. The sink was so small that it was impossible to fill the kettle and the bathroom light was controlled by an automatic sensor which meant it went off when I was in the shower and came on when I turned over in bed – very annoying. Although not high season, there were still lots of visitors around, so it was not always straightforward to find eating places. You could stress the advisability of booking in advance.

We loved the Cornish scenery and I’m sure we will return soon to try out another section of the path.

Route: St Ives to Penzance
Name: Ingeborg - Norway +3
When: 14 September 2015

Norway FlagDear Aidan,  At last a few lines of feedback from us Norwegian ladies that you prepared so well for. 

Encounter Walking Holidays (and you!) did not fail us once, we felt all the time that we were in good hands. The hotels and guesthouses you picked for us suited us perfectly, the transport of our suitcases went smoothly every day, and all your advice on things to see and do (or avoid) were carefully read and followed. We used the (excellent!) map and book you sent us beforehand all the time. Even the weather was good! The only rain we had was on the night before we left Cornwall.

You asked us to mention the highlights of our trip. They were many, but I’ll pick some: After our first day’s walk (15th Sept) we came to Zennor: a wonderful little place with lovely guesthouse rooms, a beautiful church and good food&atmosphere at the Tinner’s Arms Pub. The day after we had a long walk to St.Just, but took time to have a guided tour in the Geevor Tin & Copper Mine. Very interesting, and a good preparation for Poldark, which is now running on Norwegian TV… On the 18th we had tickets for Much Ado About Nothing at Minack Theatre. A fantastic theatre created by one devoted woman (we spent the morning there also) & a wonderful performance. Our last day in Cornwall was on Sunday in Penzance. We discovered quickly that all the museums and art galleries were closed there on Sundays (St Michael was available, but all of us had been in Mont St. Michele in Normandy before…). We therefore took the train back to charming St.Ives, where we spent the day in interesting museums & galleries and had a good meal.  

We will not hesitate to contact you next time!

Best regards from 

Four in Cornwall (by one of them)*

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_in_Norway_(by_two_of_them)

Route: Lyme regis to Lulworth Cove
Name: ann
When: 11 September 2015

Flag of the United Kingdomall good, no problems, luggage arrived on time, accomodmation all ok.

Route: Padstow to St. Ives
Name: Joan
When: 11 September 2015

Flag of CanadaWe had an excellent time and could not have asked for more, other than all 7 days to be sunny rather than the 5 that we had. What worked the best for us was the organization by Damon and the team. The details for each day's walk, what to expect, places to stop, turns to take, made us feel safe and well looked after. We found our accommodations easily and appreciated that each was close to the coast path.

The vistas and scenery throughout our walking were stunning, the beaches beautiful and other than the steps up and down to portreath, everything was manageable. We were very pleased with ourselves for all that we accomplished with no injuries or blisters at all! We met many friendly people and very happy dogs! We think someone should set up a business to rent a dog for a week!

Most of our stays were very pleasant. Special mention goes to the Fairbanks inn at Crantock. Sadly they are leaving and hopefully the new owners will be as helpful and engaging as Elaine and Paul. The Harlyn Inn needs some work and although clean enough, the rooms were small and the beds too soft. The double room at the driftwood spars in St. Agnes was fine but the single room felt remote and not comfortable. The old quay inn at Hayle was very nice and the staff seemed to care. This was not the case with the hotel in St. Ives. They were kind enough to allow us to take a blanket to the Minack theatre that evening, but forgot to inform the night person that we would be arriving late. It just shows some lack of communication among their staff.

The luggage transfers were excellent and our bags always arrived far in advance of us. Our trip was a huge success because of how well it was organized and we knew help was always available if we should have ever needed it. Thank you to Damon and the group. Special mention also goes to Jason who drove us from portreath back to St. Agnes. He texted us in the afternoon to let us know he could pick us up anytime- this was a much appreciated extra step and contributed to our sense of being looked after well. We hope to return and will be sure to recommend Encounter Walking to all of our Canadian friends waiting to hear about our experience.

Route: Penzance - Falmouth
Name: Essink Karel
When: 10 September 2015

Flag of the NetherlandsWe enjoyed the walk along the SW Coast Path. The accomodations were very pleasant, providing good food and drinks. We included a walk around Loo Lake, which provided a pleasant diversion from the coastal landscapes. Parts of the path we (being 65+ and 70+)found rather strenuous. We were very lucky with the weather. The first days, walking in our T-shirts. The daily weatherforecast promised more rain than we actually experienced. We had only one day of walking with our raingear on; and yet the rain was intermittant, not continuous. Thank you for the well organized vacation.

Route: Coleridge Way Nether Stowey to Porlock
Name: Margaret
When: 10 September 2015

Flag of ScotlandColeridge Way completed to Porlock! Great walk - charmed by villages, green lanes, ancient bridle paths, woodland and moors.  Accommodation worked out very well - all walker friendly. Cider house best, followed by Porlock (best breakfast as there were alternatives to"full English"!) Pub food recommended was all good - favourite was masons arms in williton. Directions and maps were great and only two cow incidents.

Route: Plymouth to Lyme Regis
Name: Sally
When: 09 September 2015

Flag of the United KingdomThank you for once again organising a glorious walking trip for me.  The weather – despite the very inaccurate and gloomy forecasts – was fantastic for walking – even the supposedly awful Wednesday did not materialise.  I only had my waterproof trousers on for two brief periods and the wind was kind. Crossing the Erme was quite an adventure but with the advice from the lovely Jackie at Worsall Barton I was armed with walking sandals and a towel and made it.  Thank you so much for organising the walk to correspond with the tides – it was fun.  

Arrived at Starcross Ferry at 2.50 ferry at 3.10 so pretty perfect.  Few worrying moments waiting for the ferry at Bigbury but eventually someone waved from the other side and ferried us across.

The walking was fabulous right up there with the first section despite the urban bits.  Badly signed I felt from Torquay and I missed Anstys Cove.All accomodation was up to the usual good standard.  I loved Dukes in Sidmouth.
All in all I had a fabulous time.

Route: Dartmoor Way
Name: Tünde
When: 09 September 2015

Flag of SwitzerlandThe Dartmoor Way is fantastic. One of the most exciting walks I have ever done. And I have done many walks in Great Britain and Ireland. The endless moors with the Tors, the gorse, the heather, the grass and the wild ponies are an explosion of colors in the autumn. The open wide landscape, the forgotten villages and the River Vallyes and Gorges. Just great! There are not very good waymarkets, so you must be able to use a map and compass. But it is a interesting challenge. The accommodations were excellent, clean, calm and comfortable.

Route: Falmouth to Polperro
Name: Sally & Alan Johnson
When: 07 September 2015

Flag of the United KingdomWe had a thoroughly enjoyable walk and cannot thank Damon and his colleagues enough for their attention to detail from the initial planning of our walk to immediately resolving a problem we experienced on the first day. The scenery was stunning and varied, the route mainly easy to follow, the main e