Discover challenging and dramatic walking trails shaped by the footsteps of traders, smugglers, saints and pirates. Cornish walking trails will reveal ancient tin mines, clifftop castles, timeless fishing villages and wild moors as you travel through a landscape of huge cliffs and hidden coves that goes back to the depths of time itself. In between the coastal drama, iconic harbours such as St Ives and Padstow give walkers access to some of the UK‘s best restaurants and coastal hotels. A county encircled by the wild Atlantic ocean, there is over 330 miles of spectacular world class coast path here taking you around the farthest corners of England - put simply it feels like walking on the edge of the world.
Stretching from coast to coast across the southwest of England, Devon is a richly diverse county with rugged shores and cliffs in the north, and classic Victorian seaside resorts in the south. In between you'll find tranquil green pastures, wooded gorges and the two dramatic wild moors in the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Choose Devon for its walking variety, and you'll find that the popular image of cream teas and thatched cottages is true - but that Devon is so much more once you explore it on two feet. Coast to coast routes like the Two Moors Way will offer a journey through it all from the wild northern shores that inspired the Romantic poets to the maritime ports of the south coast.
Free your soul and clear your mind! Walking on the wild moors of these National Parks is a wonderful antidote to modern living. England's last true wilderness, Dartmoor offers 365 square miles of virtually uninhabited freedom with high moors and twisted dramatic granite tors a land of myths, ghosts and legends. Exmoor, its smaller and more gentle neighour, is 250 Square miles of near perfect and unique beauty, with high uplands swathed in heather and steep, wooded gorges and rushing streams. See Dartmoor ponies and Exmoor stags in these wildlife rich areas, home to 30 species of mammals and over 240 types of bird. The moors offer a unique opportunity for more challenging walking where the only human sound you will hear is the rhythm of your own breath.
Avoid the crowds and discover “Secret Somerset” missed by so many rushing headlong for the far South West. The 'land of the summer people' was named in a time when this area could only be visited in the summer months as the sea receded. Today its a rich, fertile and 'for real' landscape crowned by the fine walking ridges of the Mendip and Quantock Hills both protected areas of outstanding natural beauty. Rising up over King Arthur‘s Vale of Avalon along with the magical Tor at Glastonbury, walkers will find hidden gorges, wooded combes and the best inland panoramas of the South West. Also boasting its own Jurassic Coast Path, providing a gateway into the wilds of Exmoor National Park, Somerset offers walking routes without the crowds for those who want to find..... what the rest miss.
Dorset has a comfortable old world “English” feel to it and its walking routes traverse a rather more green and agricultural land of thatched cottages, cream teas.... and fossils ! Walkers here will find the more gentle rolling farmland, pretty villages and chalk ridges beloved by Thomas Hardy that sweep down to end abruptly at the World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Here, alongside the sea, those after more challenging routes can take a walking holiday through time itself amongst the dramatic chalk stacks, cliffs and arches of the Dorsetshire fossil coast. An area that can be very busy in high season but often suits walkers looking for more gentle and less exposed walking than the far west of the region.
Wales offers some of the best walking and outdoor activities to be had anywhere in the world. The 870-mile Welsh Coast Path was only fully opened in 2012 and is the world's first walk along the entire coast of a nation. The terrain is on an equally grand scale with towering cliffs, vast stretches of unspoilt golden sands, imposing castles, offshore islands and to the north there is the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park with its stunning mountains. Wales in general offers walkers great value for money compared to more popular areas like Cornwall with walking options to suit everyone, from those who want the cosmopolitan restaurants and facilities of towns like Tenby and St Davids, through to isolated and remote forests and coastal hills that sit on the very cusp of the Snowdonian Peaks. Bursting with confidence and pride in its “Welshness”, its Celtic history, language and culture there has never been a better time for walkers to enter Wales.
The South West Coast Path is the UK's longest National Trail and one of the top ten walking routes in the world. It snakes, dips and rises continuously on its way through a staggering 1014km (630 miles) of pristine coastline, 450 miles of which is through nationally protected areas. It's a challenge too; walking the entire South West Coast Path is the equivalent to scaling Mount Everest four times! From towering cliffs to hidden coves, ghostly tin mines to lush subtropical wooded creeks. One minute a dramatic rock theatre hewn out of the cliffs, the next a prehistoric fossilized forest or a 20thC Art Deco Island Hotel. What sets The South West Coast Path apart from other trails is that around almost every corner is yet another surprise as you retrace the footsteps and histories of the tin miners, fisherman, smugglers, wreckers and the customs men who chased them.
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Would you choose Encounter Walking Holidays for future holidays? Yes
Would you recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to others? Yes
We had a lovely walking holiday. It was well organized and we had no unpleasant surprises. Encounter did an excellent job and I would recommend your company to anyone. We have used one of your major competitors and you are by far superior.
The diversion at Coverack is over and the coastal path follows the original route. It is however newly opened and very rough. We may have been one of the first to use the trail. One could also take the alternate footpath into Coverack but it would be nowhere as exciting!
I (mostly) solo walked this over 14 days, with a couple of rest days in Penzance, finishing on 31 October.
From an organisation perspective, everything went like clockwork, and I appreciated all the maps and walking notes (not to mention the luggage transfer!). TIP: The digital version of the OS Map on my phone was wonderful, as it included GPS, which helped decide which path to take at times. I also used the Maps.Me app, with the Cornwall maps downloaded. Having GPS navigation that you can use offline is very handy in the back blocks of Cornwall where coverage is not great!
The accommodation was fine, even if my single room was small at times. Although I sometimes had a shared bathroom, I was invariably the only one using it this late in the season. On a couple of occasions, though, I was too tired/footsore to walk anywhere for dinner and went without. Next time on booking, I would pay more attention to how far away my B&B is from dinner (or take up the option to prearrange to have it cooked in-house). Also, I might pay more attention to which B&Bs provide a bath -- a nice bonus when it happened.
The section from St Ives to Mousehole is stunning, but even at the relaxed pace (5 days) I was desperately thankful for my scheduled rest days -- especially as I also walked an extra day on the moors. During the second half (Marazion to Falmouth), the daily distances were further and I made other arrangements for the 4th leg (Cadgwith to Porthallow) to give myself a break. I could probably have quite happily have called it a day once I reached Cadgwith, having rounded the Lizard. But I did have quite a sense of achievement arriving in Falmouth, even taking a few shortcuts (and buses) here and there.
I'm glad I scraped in before the end of October, because many of the services (including the vital Helford ferry) were about to close for the season. Although I had planned to take packed lunches, in the end I ate in many of the cafes along the path. So I definitely wouldn't walk after October.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience, albeit more taxing than I expected. It was not so much the difficulty of a single section, but all the days stacked together and accumulated fatigue. Encounter was awesome with tailoring my itinerary as per my direction, with days before and after, as well as the rest days in the middle. Next time, I would probably schedule some extra rest days or very short days to better meet my physical fitness/ability. But I completely loved the walk, even if people thought I was a bit mad walking on my own. I chatted with a lot of people along the way, while embracing the peace and beauty of the wild and rugged coast. I would love to do another section, or another walk somewhere else, in time -- either solo or with friends.
Thank you, Encounter Walking Holidays, for organising everything so all I needed to do was turn up.
Our first family walk with our boys aged 12 and 14. Luckily the wild autumn storms cleared on the first morning giving us 5 glorious days walking the Cornish coast. Being off-season we had the track mostly to ourselves (except at Lands End and on the final day coming into Penzance,) which added to the beauty of the walk. The accommodation was all excellent, with champion breakfasts for hungry boys. The bag transfer service worked brilliantly. We were the only people in the pub in Porthcurno, but the walk to the next village for dinner was not going to happen with the kids in tow. Well planned, great notes to get us places and something we will definitely do again with the kids. Thank you for organising it.
Walked with dog from Willington, via Luxborough, Porlock and Brendon Cross to Lynmouth. Incredible driving winds and rain on Friday 12th meant we curtailed the 13 mile walk to Porlock (the second part over Exmoor) as 'waterproofs' were in no way 'proofs' against this appalling weather. We were truly drenched through and through. The pub called 'The Rest and Be Thankful' in Wheddon Cross lived up to its name.....And it was great to have the taxi numbers. All accommodation and arrangements were great. And the walk is (would be!) spectacular. Thank you so much.
This was a fantastic walking trip for my wife and I and a friend (in our 70s). The scenery was even more gorgeous than anticipated. The accommodations were all great, but our favorite was the Merrymoor Inn in Mawgan Porth. The luggage transfer went smoothly, and the trail descriptions and map were excellent. We only got slightly disoriented once, in Newquay. I highly recommend this trip!
Well it wasn’t what we expected in general - that was my fault for not researching the path. There are better sections so we were told.
Sea Tang was a great start.
Brixham is nice but Torquay is not. Personal opinion, Paignton- oh dear oh dear. Exmouth -Lyme Regis - Beer- Abbotsbury excellent - Weymouth harbour and the beach are good but not a nice place on a Saturday evening.
The way markers and maps are not brilliant - thank you google maps- and we weren’t expecting the markers in the ground when we were inTorquay.
Going out fromTorquay towards the B and B we went down and up through an uninteresting area with little views to come up about 50 yds further up the road - there were a few of these on our route, not worth the effort.
We have not used your company before and this was our first walk along the route. Very efficient on all points, maybe a question mark on accommodation standard. For instance always finish the holiday on a high not a low.
The accommodation varied from brilliant to ok to well why here?
Our last stop in Weymouth for instance - I will send a different email - Beds /showers and pillows were questionable at some stops.
Storm Callum - stopped raining when we walked - Portland the weather at the Bill was dry warm with dramatic seas. The wind was very difficult the day before but no lashing rain. Good to receive the email warning.
Ferries Teignmouth was great -walked straight onboard -nice people - the one to Exmouth was cancelled and by the sounds of it unreliable.
Luggage transfers - this was excellent - the soya milk was lost in transit but the people were all very helpful. First class.
Well organised as usual. Instructions about each section of the walk and where to eat were excellent as was the OS map of our route. A lovely part of the SW Coast path and well signposted- we only got lost once which was around Caerhays castle where the signposting is poor. Accommodation in Coverack and Falmouth brilliant. B&B in Portloe tired but I guess there isn't much choice there. Luggage transfer excellent too. Well done Encounter Walking
We all enjoyed this walk.
Just a few comments: Baggage transfer: No problems at all, our bags were at the B&Bs when we arrived.
Accommodation: All good, although breakfast was best at the Penscot, Shipham.
Day 1: Weston to Shipham: All our GPSs showed a mile further than on the guide. Highlight was the extensive views from Crook Peak.
Day 2: Shipham to Wells: Again a mile further on GPSs. Disappointed with Cheddar Gorge as we expected to see more stunning scenery, but the tree cover was dense. Went slightly wrong, but soon sorted. Saw slow worm, ponies and the feral goats. As time was getting on, we made a slight diversion near Wookey Hole. Arrived in Wells to see the Cathedral bathed in brilliant evening sunshine.
Day 3: Pilgrim Walk: Wells to Glastonbury Tor. Lovely views from the Tor. One section of the path from East Street farm was overgrown, but no other problems. Caught the bus back to Wells.
Day 4: Wells to Frome: We knew this would be a long day, so left Wells at 8.30am. A bit drizzly to start with, but weather improved as day progressed. A few navigational problems around Shepton Mallet. The only muddy section was in Asham Wood, but the boots had dried off by the time we arrived at The George in Frome at 5.30pm, giving time to soak in the bath before going downstairs for a meal. (Again, a mile further than expected)
An enjoyable walk and many thanks to the Encounter team. The only gripe is with GWR who for some reason changed the rail timetable from Frome to Gloucester. When tickets booked, there was a direct train, but we had to change at Bristol, and then the train went via Newport to Gloucester. As we had booked seats from Gloucester, we had to leave Frome 2 hours earlier than anticipated to get our connection. The George did provide us with bacon butties to take with us, as we had to leave before breakfast.
We very much enjoyed the walk and your arrangements were splendid. Wonderful clifftop scenery and coastal harbours. Baggage transferred seamlessly, lodgings were excellent. We would recommend you without reservation.
Weather sunny every day – almost too good because a few degrees cooler would have been a little more comfortable. However, if there had been three days of rain, we might have a different response.
We brought trekking poles and they were useful, particularly on the strenuous portions of the walk.
Very difficult driving into Mevagissey because the streets were so narrow and crowded with pedestrians and the turns were so tight. We might have been better off just parking in the carpark and rolling our luggage to Buckingham House.
Only place we had any trouble with the trail was in Par, where we were walking on village streets after we skirted the China Clay factory. We did not see any trail marker or sign for the right turn onto the A3082 and – expecting a trail marker – we went wrong for about 1/4 mile. Better map reading on our part would probably have avoided the problem.
The final day was too ambitious, at least for walkers of our age and fitness. The seven or so miles from Fowey to Polperro (although strenuous) was fine but with a fairly leisurely stop at Lansallos Beach and then another stop for tea in Polperro, it was after 3 pm. We decided we were a little too tired and we would arrive in Looe too late to keep walking. However, it was easy enough to take a taxi and very helpful to have your listings .And extraordinarily nice to arrive at Commonwood Manor, where they took very good care of us.
Had excellent meals at Wreckers in Charlestown and Smuggler's Cott in Looe.
Thanks for all your assistance.
Thank you and the walk was amazing! The scenery is stunning and the walk was challenging and very very fun! And everything went so smoothly....... Wales is certainly a hidden jewel.... thank you for your coordination. I know you will send us a survey for us to complete too...
What a glorious walk. I was very lucky with the weather - splendid sunny skies, cool temperatures, perfect for walking. Only a sprinkling of rain on the very last kilometre!
The landscape is stunning. Massive rocky folds curve around secluded coves; broad, dramatic headlands jut into the sea. Almost every day I saw seals basking on rocky beaches, and on one unforgettable afternoon, dolphins cavorting in a cove!
If you're reasonably fit, the 'strenuous' grades are manageable. I took my time on the steepest inclines and descents, pausing every 50 steps or so to catch my breath and take in the views. Walking poles were very helpful. I was a bit apprehensive about the last day from Newport to St. Dogmael's after reading that these 26 kms were "the toughest section of the entire walk." It was strenuous, but not as bad as I expected - in fact, it was exhilarating.
At the impressive "Witch's Cauldron" I stopped for a break, enjoying the lone seal who was swimming languidly in the inner cove's turquoise water. I had planned on 9-10 hours of walking, but cruised into Poppit Sands after 7 hours.
Damon and crew were terrific: I appreciated their responsiveness and flexibility. Guidebook and map were excellent; route notes detailed and accurate. I typically get lost in a shoebox, and so a) was thankful that the trail is well marked and always by the coast; b) found that I had to read the route notes very carefully to get to the accommodation from the trail. When in doubt, I asked people for directions; they were all kind and helpful. As a solo walker, I always felt safe.
Accommodations varied from modest to luxurious; they were all clean and comfortable. Excellent food, in both the pubs and in some very fine restaurants. Recommendation:
If you fly into London, as I did, count on a long day of travel out to Wales, and DO book a train to Wales that leaves before noon in order to make connections. I took the 13:05 from Paddington, and it lost time along the way, with the result that I missed the connection at Cardiff for Haverfordwest and no later trains were available.
Luckily, an angel named Ruth helped me re-route (Cardiff to Swansea to Fishguard) and my taxi driver in Haverfordwest was able to meet me in Fishguard and drive me to the starting point of St. Davids.
All in all, a very satisfying and memorable walk.
We walked from Penzance to Falmouth during the last week of September 2018 and enjoyed it immensely. We were extremely lucky with the weather - sunny and mild most days. We were often walking in short sleeves and shorts, and we only needed the rain jackets while walking around Falmouth on the last day.
We loved the range of scenery, from wild to cultivated, from clifftop to beach, and urban to rural. The transportation, luggage, and lodging accommodations all worked perfectly. So nice to find your luggage waiting at the end of the day, and wonderful to start the day with a full breakfast.
For details and photos of our trip, check out the blog I wrote for friends and family at: spruceknobtravel.wordpress.com We found most days to be well-balanced in terms of distance and difficulty. However, the two 15-mile days were less enjoyable (mainly at the end of the day). It may not look like much extra on paper, but when you have to walk extra miles to get to the inn, they add up. Detours and diversions also add to the day's fatigue, as do the number of ups and downs from cliff to cove and back. Also, depending on location, you may have to walk another mile or two round trip to get dinner at the end of the day. Be cautious when planning the trip. A shorter mileage means more time to stop and enjoy along the way. It was hard to know in advance how difficult the walking would be. We are newly retired and quite fit. In preparation, along with our normal activities we took weekly hikes. Being in Vermont, this typically meant three miles up a mountain and then three miles down! So the altitude changes on the coastal path were not alarming to us, but the long days did wear out our legs and feet. (We are glad to report no blisters!) Overall, we would have called the "moderate" parts easy, and the "strenuous" parts manageable.
It was very important to have both the guidebook and the map. But we were especially grateful to also have a good hiking app on the mobile phone, which saved us from taking the wrong trail many times. The coastal path is well-signed in some places and not in others. There were multiple times when it was easy to lose the trail or follow the wrong trail. They could use some simple blazes at key places! However, dangerous areas were always well-marked.
FYI, a particularly unwelcome diversion from the expected trail was at Gillan, where you have to go a long ways up and then a long ways down simply to avoid a short bit of eroded harbourside trail.
We look forward to more walking holidays in the future!
Our route was from Milford Haven to St. Dogmaels at the end of September/Beginning of October. This is my first visit to Wales and I found the scenery of the country to be stunning, the people so warm and welcoming, and unbelievably we had amazing weather for ten days.
First the trip was impeccably organized. We carried the maps, detailed itinerary and guide book with us daily and found all three informative and for us, and necessary. My friend and I both like to look at maps and know where we are and so appreciated the materials. We also wanted to make sure we saw the highlights so having the materials was helpful. We also followed the advice of making reservations where noted which proved to be important. Everyone we worked with at Encounter Walking was extremely helpful and responsive. You asked about our date choice and warned us about the weather and lack of some transport services which was appreciated. Lucky for us the weather was fantastic and we enjoyed having the path mainly to ourselves... The luggage transfer worked without any issues... and our only comment was we overpacked and would lighten our load the next time. We took a rest day in St. Davids based on your recommendation and it was well needed and enjoyed... we ended up attending an evening Songs and lessons service at the Cathedral that evening, which was beautiful and so enjoyable in the stunning Cathedral. HIghly recommend doing it... We also always did the suggested add-ons/detours and appreciated these options. Sometimes we both did them or just one of us but it gave us exacting instructions.
A shout out to the owner of the Hampton House B&B... my friend’s feet needed a rest and as we were off season there were not taxis available. I hiked the entire route but the B&B owner drove my friend up to the hostel on the coast... cutting her walking time in half. This was incredibly generous.
Highlights of the trip included:
Obviously the seals and seal pups.... we loved watching them in the coves, one afternoon we encountered a mom teaching her pup how to swim.
The scenery became more dramatic and “untamed” each day as we went farther from Milford Haven. We even appreciated the industrial look of Milford Haven as the refineries are a part of the economy of Wales. We also liked the direction we were walking as each day seemed to get progressively harder. We felt prepared for it each day and a walk of 8 to 10 miles became easy!
Some of the hidden gems we ate at... Obviously the Griffin Inn was incredible... we followed your recommendation for reservations and were so glad that we did.. The Clock House bed and breakfast in Marloes had the best breakfast and coffee! Also they packed a great lunch...... This was one of our favorite accommodations. We also enjoyed the sunset bed and breakfast in Broad Haven - as we each had our own spacious room and the accommodation was lovely... In Solva in the harbor is a great coffee shop/cafe called Thirty Five. We did not get lunch from our accommodation but rather from this shop before heading out to walk. They opened at 8am and we were there waiting at the door. Highly recommend their lunch to go... In Goodwick we recommend the Rose and Crown for dinner... modern version of a pub, excellent food!
Fantastic last accommodation the Bethsaida B&B... the owner was great and it was such an unique lodging..... we were the only guests and she went out of her way to make sure we had everything we needed and again, this was also a great breakfast. A great place to finish at!
We can not thank you enough for this amazing trip..... your attention to detail and knowledge of the area is to be highly commended. I am from the United States and my girlfriend from London...... and we both would highly recommend your company to walkers.. All of our questions and concerns were answered prior to departing and changes we asked for our itinerary were made where possible. As my first walking tour vacation I am excited and look forward to doing another one! THank you again....
I am grateful to the team at Encounter who managed the whole schedule and logistics so professionally and yet with a personal friendly approach. Thank you Damon for all your advice and guidance, and assistance with further bookings and travel arrangements beyond the walk.
This was a most memorable "slack-packing" hike, made so much easier and enjoyable having confidence that the best accommodation to our liking was all arranged ahead of us and we were sure to find our luggage waiting for us in our rooms. The rooms were mostly very comfortable with the exception of the size of some of the rooms that did not leave much space to move around in. All of them laid on excellent breakfast preparing us for the day's walk.
The recommended restaurants and pubs for our evening meals were always good. The cool Ale at the end of the day was well earned and particularly refreshing!
The coastal path is well laid out and mostly very clear signage. We seldom lost the path, but the Trailblazer guide book and the OS maps were very helpful in keeping us on the straight or helping us find the correct path when we erred.
The weather? Wow!! is that also arranged by Encounter? Because it was awesome. The previous week having been wet and stormy, we had the perfect one. This meant the views and scenery were spectacular, and there was always a cool breeze to keep the temperature at a steady 20 dogs C.
Our gratitude to Encounter Walking. We will certainly recommend you, and look forward to the next time we book.
Encounterwalking's planning and arrangements were all first class. They were able to tailor our requirements to allow for our age and level of fitness. Baggage transfers were always on time and a taxi was waiting for us at the end of our holiday. Accommodation was good especially Kota Restaurant in Porthleven and The Top House in Lizard Town. I would have no hesitation in recommending Encounterwalking to my friends in South Africa. Well done.
We are a healthy and relatively fit couple in our early 50’s with minimal walking experience. The Saints Way walk was exactly right for us. It was a taste of a walking holiday that we were able to fit into a schedule of travel and other destinations from Australia.
Padstow accommodation at Symply Padstow was a great starting point. We had a lovely room and wonderful hosts. We spent part of the day before our official walk ‘practising’ a quick walk along the Camel Trail from Padstow to Wadebridge. This is a popular trail for pushbike riding also.
We had a challenging first day walking from Padstow to Hustyns due to very inclement weather. We were lucky that the hotel was able to lend us a heater overnight to help dry out our clothing and especially our shoes.
The weather, thankfully, cleared up beautifully for the final two days of our walk. The Crown Inn at Lanlivery was a terrific place to spend the second night of our walk. The room was very comfortable and the food in the Pub was delicious.
We would recommend a detour on day three to Lostwithiel. This town is a little off the walking route and it extends the walk by about an hour, depending how long you spend in the town.
The immediate scenery coming into Fowey is gorgeous. It was such a beautiful place to finish our journey. Our lovely hosts and accommodation in the historic “Well House” were a fitting end to walking the ancient Saints Way.
We would highly recommend Encounter Walking Tours. The thorough planning, baggage transfers and the general support received from them was fantastic. They gave us the confidence to enjoy our three days of amazing experiences through the beautiful Cornish countryside. Please pass on our appreciation to all involved. (Especially Mike - the transfer driver from Padstow to Lanlivery).
We enjoyed the walk enormously. The combination of the Coleridge way and a few days back along the coast path to Minehead gave us a great view of Somerset and Devon. We particularly enjoyed the woodlands. The accomodation was generally good to excellent, and we had some great food. Once again the advice from you guys and the arrangements were excellent. I made a point of asking some of the accommodation providers what they thought of Encounter and they were all full of praise.
To all the Encounters Walking Team,
My great thanks to you all for the planning of Garnets and my walking trip along the Cornish Coast. I just loved this experience in your beautiful country, and the Cornish Coastline is so spectacular !! And none of it is flat ! So, the walks were certainly a challenge, some more than others, but we quickly recovered with a beer/cider at our destinations.
The accommodation was really good, we liked some more than others, namely, Lerryn Hotel in Falmouth, Plume of Feathers in Portscatho, and Rashleigh Arms in Charlestown. But, all in all, the people running the accommodation venues were charming, the breakfasts were delicious and we were warm and comfortable. Our luggage was always waiting for us and the planning was excellent.
It was a real pleasure to briefly meet you, Damon , at the station in Plymouth, sorry we couldn’t spend longer chatting! You seemed concerned that the weather may have put us off, but we actually enjoyed the cool and we were lucky that we had little rain. The one day of torrential rain arrived at a good time for us, the walk from Fowey to Polperro. We took the day off, caught a taxi and had great fun playing backgammon and enjoying the happy vibe at The Blue Peter. Our legs appreciated the rest . We did get very mildly lost a couple of times along the way, but soon realised we were wrong and quickly recovered our route. Actually, we were usually the ones at fault for not reading the directions properly or missing the odd signpost, but it was never an issue.
If I were to do this trip again, I think I would like to take the odd day off, not because the walking was too difficult, but because the beautiful little coastal towns needed more time for us to explore. We have several friends in Cape Town who have been interested in our trip, and I will certainly recommend your company to them.
If you are ever in Cape Town, please look us up. We would love to show off our own beautiful city.
Best wishes to you all, and thank you for the experience.
It was nice to briefly meet you when Christine and I got our luggage at Plymouth station
Just to tell you,the walks you organised were great,and generally our accommodation and breakfasts were totally acceptable.The Plume and Rashleigh were really nice places to stay at-because they had baths??
A few points-the walk I found to be quite taxing,especially the longer days,but we were very lucky to have stormy and overcast days-it would be quite hard if hot—I feel the distances we were able to cope with,even if we missed the odd path or two??Our best meal,and cider/beer was in Polperro at the Blue Peter,lovely atmosphere on a very wet and squally day.
Certainly you are a business I will tell me friends about
Thank you and we are happy to give you our feedback, because we had an absolutely amazing time. We can’t say enough great things about your service, our accommodations, the landscape, and all the incredibly friendly people we encountered. I personally especially loved the old Inns we stayed in - something about that history. But then even the B&B guest houses were cozy, charming and welcoming. We want to let you know that we had especially exceptional service at the Golden Lion Inn in Padstow our last night. One staff persona in particular, I her name was Natalie, went above and beyond to help us arrange a very early departure to catch an early flight out the next morning.
Regarding the walk, we are very happy we made the decision to do the slightly more relaxed itinerary between Heartland and Padstow for two reasons - 1. There were lots of things to see which we might have missed if we had to spend more hours walking.
2. Because we ended up having 4 extra strenuous days of high winds. 2 of those were particularly testing with sustained 30-40 mile hour head wind and even higher gusts. Was I thankful that one of those was our 5 mile day!
We only had one day where we got a bit disoriented on the trail and the guide book was not very helpful. Due to steady rain (and concerns about safety on the really steep sections), we chose to do the shortcut in the first 3 miles of the route from Port Isaac to Padstow. This is a bypass through farmland rather than staying coastal. We found the cut-off ok, but from there, we had trouble staying with the route. We got quite lost in the fields and finally decided to backtrack and get to the coastal path. By chance we ran into our bypass so thankfully didn’t have to start back at the beginning. In this one instance, we didn’t have clear directions and we found the guide book lacking detail. But otherwise, for the main route, we found the guidebook incredibly detailed and helpful.
We absolutely would love to go back and do more of the path some day. Again, we were very very happy with your service. Very responsive and professional. Thank you!
We enjoyed our 6 day walk immensely. The scenery was of constantly changing beauty and all the accommodation was excellent. We would have preferred however more quill direction especially around the half-way mark.
We settled into buying sandwiches and fruit at the beginning of each day and picnicked since we never seemed to pass by pubs or through villages when they were serving food. A served meal would also have held us up and we had the night meal to look forward to.
Woodadvent Farm was the highlight for accommodation but we had trouble finding it - an old one mile sign post to the farm led us to being surrounded by 5 gates with no quill.
Would definitely recommend the walk.
We were very pleased with the service provided by the team at Encounter Walking. All the administration prior to the holiday was handled with efficiency and simplicity. All the accommodation selected by Encounter was excellent as was the material/tips provided by them prior to the walk. The walk was strenuous, particularly the first four days but the views and experience made it all worthwhile. When we next walk part of the South West Coastal Path we will certainly use Encounter Walking.
Apologies for the delay, but I would very much like to provide you with some feedback from our recent walking break, expertly organised by Encounter.
Minehead to Lynmouth
19th- 22nd September.
We had a lovely time. Both my sister and I (and Smith, the dog) thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Second day was definitely tougher than Day 1, but completely manageable. We finished, happily tired but not completely exhausted. We opted to walk out to the Lighthouse at Foreland Point and around The Foreland headland. The guidebook was right to provide a mild warning. The path was a bit exposed but we found it to be stable and not quite as scary as we thought it might be. Overall, the itinerary, maps & information provided by Encounter were detailed (far more so than I expected!) and provided all the information we needed.
The accommodation recommended and booked for us met our needs exactly and was delightful. Was exactly what I ordered!
Staff at the Top Ship, Porlock could not have been more helpful and welcoming – nothing too much trouble. Extremely dog friendly too. Their “home cooked” style menu was excellent, so that we ate in their restaurant both nights of our stay. Good breakfast and pack lunch too. Excellent value.
Accommodation for our final night, was a little more “up market”. A different atmosphere from The Top Ship – but nonetheless very welcoming, very well appointed and we enjoyed a superb meal in their restaurant in the evening – more pricey, but was a real treat and perfectly met my request, which had been for a “special meal to celebrate my sister’s birthday” .
The taxi transfer back to Porlock was on time and our lady driver was very friendly and courteous.
All in all a perfect mini break. I would have no hesitation in using Encounter again (and indeed hope to)– have already recommended you to some of my other walking buddies.
Thank you for all your help and assistance.
Our eight-day hike along the South West Coast Path from Padstow to St. Ives featured icons of Cornwall's rich geography, history, industry and the arts, an astounding portfolio we enjoyed on foot and in mostly good weather (but please don't forget your rain gear).
For the most part we found the path obvious and easy to follow, except in urban areas such as Newquay, where the way-finding Acorn markers were hard to find, and along the sand dunes between St. Agnes and Hayle, where the way-finding markers change from yellow Acorns on wooden poles to hard-to-see Acorns engraved in huge chunks of slate that have been set in the sand like tombstones.
The scenery was absolutely spectacular every step of the way, and far more heart-stopping than we had ever imagined in terms of hiking just feet from cliffs that dropped straight down into the roiling sea hundreds of feet below! Sometimes you just have to look straight ahead at the path and not at the scenery. It was a privilege to find ourselves on beaches and coves of white sand and azure water that were inaccessible except by the trail.
We met friendly walkers along the way, who were always willing to stop for a hello or a call for help (are we still on the right path?)
Our accommodations were easy to find and clean and comfortable with no problems checking in or out. All our hosts were knowledgeable about the path, walkers and our walking company.
Luggage arrived on one day and was picked up the next without a hitch. The breakfasts were fantastic and all we needed for a long day on the path, though we always stopped for tea in places where Encounter suggested we do so. Most places Encounter booked had pubs for dinner or were close to one.
Our weather was accommodating except for two days of rain at the end (prompting us to take a bus from Hayle to St. Ives) and during one day that we were extremely exposed (north of Wheal Coates) and the wind was blowing 35 knots. We consulted with the Coast Guard station above the path and chose to walk off the path and join it a mile or so later, where it was not as treacherous. We would advise rain gear in your day packs, a first aid kit (we had some blisters) and lots of layers, power bars and water, though because the weather was cooler (around 60-63F) we didn't drink that much.
Encounter's written itinerary was excellent, including taxi numbers (which we did use). Highlights of our trip aside from the scenery and walking through Poldark Country while they were filming (though we did not actually see any of the scenes or actors) included: the discovery that Cornwall has a thriving surf culture; our lucky arrival on the last day of the Gannel River Fern Pit ferry's operations (a big rowboat with a motor, captain in bare feet and sleeping dog at the boat's bow); seeing up close along the trail the lighthouse at Godrevy Point made famous by Virginia Woolf; and the huge hot tub -- more like a pond than a tub -- at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel in Mawgan Porth.
Thank you Encounter for a spectacular and memorable trip!
What an excellent walk! Beautiful varied scenery in such an unspoilt area. Sufficiently challenging to be tired and ready for our R&R at the end of each day. On the second day we didn't see anyone else all day!
Signposting is excellent, better than most and route description and notes helped if we were unsure. Diversions to see sights can add to distance and time so factor that in.
Accommodation along the way was friendly and welcoming, sometimes pointing out points of interest for the next day. Couldn't fault any of them and breakfasts without exception lovely. Notley Arms menu in the evening while superb fine dining, may not be quite what you would want at the end of a long walk, but we coped and the Black Rat Perry was a compensation.
We made use of community shops where we could to pick up food supplies to help support them.
We had a "rest day" in Porlock and caught the bus to Minehead and walked back along the Coast Path which is a good day walk option. We also did the last day of the Two Moors Way from Simonsbath to Lynmouth. It was very misty on the moor and the signposting to Exe Head is somewhat misleading. Best to take a compass bearing and walk to that. Also be aware that what is marked on the map as a fence line may be just the remains of an earth bank on the ground. Otherwise we enjoyed the last day especially the views on the different approach to Lynmouth.
Transport information to and from the walk's start and finish were very helpful and also the taxi numbers. Might be worth mentioning that buses from Lynmouth to Barnstaple are quite limited, but there are a few more options leaving from Lynton. However the funicular to take you up the steep hill doesn't start running until 10.00, so plan accordingly. If planning to use public transport back to Barnstaple it may be an option to stay in Lynton instead.
Overall we had a marvellous time and would recommend this walk to anyone. Also without hesitation would recommend Encounter to anyone considering a walking holiday in this part of England. Where to next??
Great service. We much appreciated the efficiency in which you organized the walk without any of the worries booking B&Bs etc etc.
During the last years we booked several holidays through Encounter Walking and once again: everything was perfectly organized. The accomodation were very nice and the additional information given were very helpful. Damon & Team: thanks a lot ! To avoid a loooong walk on tarmac (Tarka Trail from Braunton) we hired a bicycle to cover the stretch from Braunton to Westward Ho! in one day. This gave us also some additional time to visit Barnstaple and enjoy a wonderful cream tea in Fremington. Your hint to use "Biketrail" was perfect, as they deliver and collect the bikes to/from different places. We will certainly come back !
We had a wonderful time- hike went well but be aware that it is not flat walk ( multiple ups and down; total ascension was > 600 metres on 2 different days). It was great to receive info before the trip. So a BIG THANK YOU to Encounter Walking organizers!
Luggage: transfers were done without any problem.
Weather: 40 min of rain during the 4 days- with gorgeous sunshine and wonderful panorama. Not busy and very peaceful walk!
Directions on the ground: not always easy to follow- yes it can be frustrating but thankfully the directions in the book were excellent (maps were not difficult to read). Be prepared to walk a little bit longer distance than mentioned.
Accommodations: no issue- but we liked especially the one in Zennor (Tinner Arms).
Food: just one thing- not that much to eat properly at Porthcurno (supper) (however going to see a play at the outside Theatre was worth it). By the way, little cafe in Zennor served excellent soup.
Overall: a very pleasant walking trip!
First I’d like to say a big thank you.
My planning, your help, your itineraries, documents and especially the customised map, the taxi service, luggage transfers and both places we stayed were just as described and there were no hiccoughs so we had a terrific holiday.
I know I can’t blame you for the mist,drizzle that we had the first day but actually I was really glad it wasn’t very hot. We were very lucky to see some Exmoor wild ponies which more than I had expected.
Feedback on the routes
On the first day near Mansley Coombe (no 95) we ended up on the wrong hill as we followed the main path but actually we needed the other bridleway to the left to go to Dunkers Errish. It might be a good idea to clarify that in the write up.
On the second day at Oare (145). There is now a weather station beyond the small conifer plantation so your instructions should tell people to keep to the left of the conifers alongside the fence to get to a stile that takes you to the path described in 146.
The rest of your instructions were very clear and worked well for us.
Feedback on stopping places
We had a lovely break at Webber’s Post (105) with convenient tree stumps and Day 2 we found some convenient rocks near Broomstreet Farm (142) with a lovely view We recommend the National trust cafe at watersmeet for excellent loos and coffees!
The Ship Inn was fine - adequate beds/breakfast but busy at supper time. Booking a table is advised.
The Millslade Country Hotel was superb. Very comfy rooms, delicious breakfasts, warm welcome and great homemade packed lunches.
Hope this helps - I will certainly recommend you to anyone/everyone.
Brilliant. once again, thank you so much for sorting out such excellent night stops and baggage transfers. I couldn’t find fault with any of them.
I probably could have done some slightly longer days as I was usually finished by 1 or 2 pm, but that was my fault.
The Erme nightmare was easy.. get up at 4..start walking at 4.37 with a ‘Paddington’ breakfast.(.marmalade sandwiches) provided by the farmer’s wife..pitch black..cloud on the deck..could just make out telegraph posts for idea of direction..made it interesting..but got to the Erme at 0615 (low tide 0724)..just light enough to see the causeway on the other side..waded across and away again at 0644 to the dodgy ferry at Bantham..but one wave at ten o’clock and he was there, and I was across and at the pub by 1013..to find my bag was already there!
Not quite so efficiently handled when Mrs G arrived to pick up and drop off (two hours late at the first rendezvous!) but good to walk with the dog..I reached the Exe yesterday (24th). Good weather other than last Saturday when I got soaked to my toes doing 17 miles..but the other days were lovely.
Once again..many many thanks..I would/will recommend you to anyone
Many thanks to Prue, Damon and all the encounter team for another outstanding organisation of our second swc part. We challenged them with an unpredictable 3-day-off and they helped us through by even saving money. Once more their walking informations, the trailblazer and the map helped a lot to plan the tour. Whilst offline app maps me helped for navigation and Komoot for tracking the tours. 13 days of great hiking landscapes and accommodations. First of all Lugger Inn/Portloe: staff, room, shower(!), place, diner(!!!). Also remarkable: Wintara B&B/Bottallack, Houselbay Hotel/Lizard, Lerryn/Falmouth and St. Bernards/Newquay. Most impressive part around Kynance Cove, Bottallack to Porthcurno and around Gillian and Helford River. Several unattended sunburnts prouved: Hiking in september is a good choice.
Only remark in this area: the accommodations and pubs ruled by St. Austell Brewery where a bit disappointing. The places and rooms are perfect, but food (especially diners) quality is worth to look for alternatives.
We’re looking forward 2019 swc with encounter. Thank you ???? “
Once again Damon and the folks at Encounter came through with outstanding service! Our accommodations were lovely (especially the Bayards Cove Inn in Dartmouth) and all went very smoothly.
These three days of walking were listed as strenuous, and I would have to agree - some of the ups and downs were pretty long and very steep, but oh, are they worth it! The scenery was truly stunning. It seemed as though every time we came over a rise or around a corner a new breathtaking vista appeared. Some of the little picturesque coves with their rock pools were so lovely we hated to move on! But move on we did - the walks were quite demanding and on the two longer days we didn't have much time to squander on beachcombing and rest.
I would recommend walking poles for this stretch - we did the first two days without them and then bought some in Dartmouth for the last day, and we were very glad we did. Our weather started out a bit shaky on the first day with a short rain shower as soon as we set out on the Salcombe ferry, but it was soon over, and the rest of the way we were treated to sunny skies and very pleasant temperatures. It was almost hot!
We ended up in Brixham tired but happy, and celebrated with an excellent meal at Beamer's. Get the shellfish platter for two - it is heavenly!! We will definitely be back for the next phase of the path next year - thanks Damon and crew!!
A short note to tell you that the organization was perfect. I had just to enjoy the walk without bothering with practical problems.
Regarding the B&B, they were all satisfying but those I appreciated the most were Zennor chapel guest house and Wellmore end cottage at Portheleven (room, food and welcoming).
Regarding the walk, not surprisingly the first part between St Ives and Mousehole was stunning; the part between Mousehole and Marazion not very exciting and then again I had a quite pleasant walk from Marazion to Poldu Cove. Your advice to stroll through the Loe pool was an excellent one.
I will probably do another stretch of the cornwall coast path next year.
Thank you for your help.
Just wanted you to know: We finished Minehead to Padstow today. We loved it...and we were delighted by your choices for accommodations. Excellent...and all near or on the South West Coast Path. All baggage transfer worked. Thank you.
My wife and I (both mid-60's and experienced long distance walkers) hiked the Coast Path from Exmouth to Lulworth Cove in 10 days, with a rest day in Lyme Regis. We also opted for the circuit of the Isle of Portland. Afterwards, we transferred to Bovey Tracey and four days of walking the Dartmoor Way, which I will review elsewhere.
We couldn't have been more pleased with the pre-trip service provided by the Encounter team. I appreciated their ability to listen to our needs, to provide advice and alternative route options to consider, to offer accommodations at a variety of price points/comfort levels, and to do so promptly and efficiently. We will use them again and will recommend them to friends.
Some highlights...the daily routine of walking to a new destination, of experiencing incredible scenery, of navigating the trails, of finding a new pub upon arrival and sampling the local ales, the diversity of lodgings (small B&B's, small hotels, pubs, etc.), and meeting some tremendous B&B and hotel owners/staff.
We had no trouble navigating the route...the Trailblazer Guide was excellent and the on-ground trail signage made it difficult to get lost...and the OS maps only served as a little-needed backup for us.
Some comments/suggestions: We arrived in Exmouth a day early to help recover from jet lag, but found ourselves wanting to get out and walk. The suggested free day walk that Encounter provided in the notes -- the walk along the River Exe to Starcross and then the ferry back to Exmouth -- was a great way to stretch our legs. We shortened the suggested walk a bit by taking the #57 bus from Exmouth to Countess Wear roundabout, and accessed the trail just over the two bridges nearby. We cut out some of the less interesting bits near Exeter and had a great lunch at Turf Lock along the Exe canal.
After arriving at the Dukes Hotel in Sidmouth without a dinner reservation and having to wait until 8:45pm to eat, we thereafter called ahead to make dinner bookings at a pub or restaurant. This saved a lot of needless worry. Many restaurants in Lyme Regis are closed Monday and Tuesday, so plan accordingly. We loved the free day in Lyme Regis, and had a great tour of the old flour mill in town. Highly recommend!
While walking around the Isle of Portland, we left the path and climbed to the Portland Museum, which is a gem...lots of cultural, geological, and political history here. Lots of info about the quarrying of stone, which we found fascinating. In fact, we spent so much time there that instead of continuing on with the coast path, we caught the bus back down to Chiswell.
The Cove House Inn in Chiswell on Portland is not to be missed for dinner....enjoy a drink overlooking the sea and then feast on their delicious food. If you walked to Portland as we did, don't waste your time walking back across the causeway...take the bus to Ferrybridge, get off and rejoin the path. And do take the penny ferry across the river in Weymouth...saves 20 minutes and it's a fun boat ride.
Loved the West Bay Inn! Great location on the beach, friendly staff, large room, and delicious specials on the board. Some of the lodging choices have very small rooms, low ceilings and door clearances, and footboards on the beds...I'm 6'5" and had a little trouble at Peach's B&B in Abbotsbury and Tewkesbury Cottage in Lulworth. That said, I wouldn't have missed either of them...the owners' personalities and conversation made a little physical discomfort worth tolerating.
My wife and I walked 10 days of the Southwest Coast Path and then transferred to Bovey Tracey for 4 days on the Dartmoor Way -- from Bovey Tracey to Okehampton. We are both experienced long distance walkers in our mid-60's.
We couldn't have been more pleased with the pre-trip service provided by the Encounter team. I appreciated their ability to listen to our needs, to provide advice and alternative route options to consider, to offer accommodations at a variety of price points/comfort levels, and to do so promptly and efficiently.
We were especially grateful for their suggestion that we reconsider the Two Moors walk, given our limited experience with navigating in low visibility conditions, and for suggesting this walk as an alternative. We will use them again and will recommend them to friends.
While a beautiful walk in many places, this segment of the Dartmoor Way is not a moors walk, and we were somewhat disappointed by not having more time on the moor. The High Tors Walk day gave us some flavor of the moors, but due to weather conditions, we were unable to take the higher walk option above Okehampton. So most of our walking was through rolling farmland, woods paths, trust property, etc. Some highlights...
The Southern High Tors Walk out of Bovey Tracey...a beautiful introduction to the moor, with great views, interesting tors and flora, and the amazing granite railway that was used to transport the quarried rock to the canal and then to the coast.
The notes provided by Encounter and the OS map made navigation relatively easy...but care is still required.
The wonderful little village of North Bovey and the warm and welcoming Ring of Bells Inn. Great food and drink...and we were upgraded to a huge room above the dining area. The Inn at Fingle Bridge for lunch...sitting at a table along the river with a beer watching the river flow past was perfection. The river walk after Fingle Bridge to the intersection with the Two Moors Way was one of the most delightful walks of the trip. Easy, but always under trees with the river close by on your right.
A not to be missed lunch stop at the Oxenham Arms pub in Zeal...a monastery before becoming an inn, this is where Dickens wrote much of his Pickwick Papers. We stopped in sopping wet after walking 3 hours in a downpour and were welcomed warmly. The coal fire dried us out, and we enjoyed the best pub lunch of the trip there.
Comments/Suggestions Unlike the coast path, where you practically could walk on auto-pilot most times, the Dartmoor Way requires ongoing attention to the trail notes and following the route carefully on the OS map. The Dartmoor Way is not a signed route...it is a route cobbled together from existing permissive paths, conservation trust lands, etc. The 1:50,000 map included in the Dartmoor Way guide is pretty much useless for on the ground navigation. Our routine each night before the next day's walk was to look at the 1:50,000 map to get a general sense of the route, read through the Dartmoor Way Guide trail description and any supplementary notes provided by Encounter, and then mark up the 1:25,000 AZ Dartmoor map using a highlighter pen. This helped us familiarize ourselves with the place names and route before we set off and made navigating on the ground much quicker and easier...particularly in the wet conditions we encountered at the end of the trip. It also reduced the number of arguments between us while on the trail. :) Take the waymarks that are mentioned in the Dartmoor Way guide with a grain of salt...I don't know when the guide was last updated, but stiles were often gates, gates were often stiles, fingerpost signs were missing, etc. The distances cited in the descriptions are also often incorrect. Here again, following along with the OS map was invaluable, even to paying attention to the field boundary walls and hedge markings to help determine position. Several times, we used our compass to help us determine the general direction of travel. For some reason, cardinal directions (N, S, E,W) are never used in either the guides or Encounter's notes...it would be helpful at times if they were.
There is a trail deviation on the High Tors walk that is worth mentioning. On the Templer Way, just before Lower Down (AZ Dartmoor Map, p. 50 B1), the trail no longer continues east before bearing south to the road; instead the trail now follows the green bridleway bearing southwest and then intersects the road. This means a longer road walk...extreme care should be exercised here, as the road is narrow with encroaching hedgerows and the speed of the traffic is fast. Walk single file facing traffic and be prepared for speeding vehicles.
Leaving Haytor, the Templer Way soon is no longer recognizable by the granite rails as it devolves into an overgrown, unmarked footpath in places. Shortly after Haytor village, we erroneously took a wide path to the left too soon and needed to backtrack down toward the road, where we followed a much narrower path that turned out to be the correct one. Our advice is to stay on the paths closest to the road, ignoring any path to the left...after the quarry (disused) the Templer Way signs will soon reappear, along with remnants of the granite rails.
The only place we ever had great difficulty was a segment of the Water to Moretonhamstead section just beyond Horsham (AZ Dartmoor map, p. 37, D3). After the cottages mentioned in the guidebook, p.6 first paragraph, we followed the concrete track uphill but could not find where we were to bear right "over the waymarked stile" or where to "follow the fence to another stile into woodland." After conferring with the map and then encountering a local woman who provided us excellent advice, we were able to get back on track. My advice for this section is: "Continue uphill on the concrete track until you reach a cattle grid. To your right, hidden among the trees, you will see a weathered sign reading "Path" and pointing diagonally across the field to your right and heading downhill. Follow that path across the field, pass through a gate and after about 20 meters, pass through another gate. Continue downhill and then through another gate into the woods, bearing downhill the entire way." Soon you will see the fingerpost sign "Lane to Foxworthy." This route is very clear on the AZ OS map, and we should have trusted it rather than the guide description.
Our greatest disappointment with the Bovey Tracey to Okehampton section of the Dartmoor Way was the amount of road walking involved in places. While the paved lanes were often quiet and restful, the hard surfaces were tough on the feet. But still...a great walk!
Thank You so much for once again arranging a great SWCP itinerary, accommodations, and schedule. As in my previous two SWCP sections, your arrangements for the Falmouth to Salcombe section were nearly flawless.
Your day-to-day distances and scheduling were fine and your knowledge and expertise in negotiating the various ferry crossings (particularly the "double-whammy" day between Noss Mayo and Bantham) was invaluable. Even with walking the extra 2-1/2 mile "long way" to the Worswell Barton Farmhouse at Noss Mayo to shorten the distance to Bantham, I still had to rush all of the next day to get the last ferry across to Bantham. Without your guidance, I would have been literally "up-the-creek".
All of the accommodations were fine. Most were very, very welcoming and hospitable and all of the locations were interesting, some fascinating, nice and historic locations. (only one, the Honeycombe House in Mevagissey, had a private bathroom that was separate and down the hall from the bedroom which was inconvenient for me - otherwise, the Honeycombe House was a great place with a great location and a great view and charming, welcoming hosts). The Worswell Barton farmhouse at Noss Mayo was a considerable distance off the SWCP but was a fascinating, very interesting and historic location that made the extra distance well worthwhile (in addition to the very limited number of beds available in the area). As nice as they were, it did seem that the two "pub" locations (Pier House in Charlestown and Sloop Inn at Bantham) while historic, quaint, and interesting, had management and staffs that might have been slightly more interested in their Pub customers than their overnight residents. Still each and every location was fine by me and I was glad to reach each at the end of the day.
I had a few thoughts and comments to share from my day-to-day journey on this SWCP section:
Day 1 at Falmouth - After arriving in Falmouth I decided to eat at the nearby beach restaurant fairly close to the Lerryn Hotel. I was very surprised to find that there was at least an 1-1/2 hour wait for a table at 7:30 PM on a September Thursday night. I walked all the way across Falmouth, had my choice of places to eat and be seated immediately and was on my way back to the hotel - all before an hour and a half had passed. I wouldn't recommend the Beach restaurant.
Day 2 - Falmouth to Portloe -
In September, Monday to Friday, the first ferry from Prince of Wales Pier was 09:15 AM. There is a combination fare for SWCP hikers of 9 Pounds for both the Falmouth to St. Mawes ferry and the St. Mawes to Place Creek ferry, which was available at the Custom House Quay.
The Hidden Hut outside Portscatho at Porthcurnick Beach was very crowded when I reached there. There appeared to be 100's of people at the small place and a sizeable line at the ordering/serving window. Too many people for me, so I passed by and found a quieter, nearly empty place further down the path.
The Ship Inn at Portloe was also very crowded at dinner time and all the tables were reserved. I did manage to wheedle a table from them, a tiny round table (barely large enough for a plate to sit on) wedged next to the brochures rack and directly opposite the hostess stand. It was almost impossible to get my knees under the table, because of the legs and small size. Ordering was done at the bar after a long delay trying to get noticed. It was not my favorite meal or restaurant/pub of the trip.
Day 3 - Gorran Haven -
The Coast Path Cafe was the first building passed upon entering Gorran haven. It is on the left side just as you enter the town and has indoor and outdoor seating. It is a town cooperative (formerly a town reading room) which has a good assortment of cakes, sandwiches, and drinks. Not much of a menu for a big meal but just fine for my needs. It was not included in the notes or guides.
Day 4 - Mevagissey to Charlestown -
The Route Diversion at Porthpean - I did not see or notice. Perhaps it is now so old that it appeared to be just part of the normal SWCP route.
Porthpean Beach - There is very little shade anywhere around and almost none at the refreshment kiosk.
Room #18 at the Pier House Hotel, otherwise a nice single room, but the window overlooks the back of the kitchen scullery area and the ice machine. Lots of cooking smell during the day and evening and noise and clatter and talking from the kitchen staff all through the evening and starting again very early in the morning.
Day 5 - Charlestown to Fowey -
The SWCP route from St. Catherine's Castle to Fowey is not well marked. There is one sign post with confusing and wrong yellow arrows (but no acorn) just past the castle that should mark the route to the Fowey esplanade, but mislead me into walking all the way up to Lawnyre - over a mile out of the way.
Day 6 - Fowey to Looe -
The Fowey Ferry is now 2.20 Pounds for an adult ticket and departs from the Town Quay up until 09:30 AM, and thence from the Whitehouse Quay.
The Diversion approaching Talland Bay after Polperro, starts off well enough, but in the middle, at a little road at the inland end of a field, a sign is posted reading: "Follow Arrows" and there are no arrows posted after that.
The sign for the Fieldhead Hotel (which seemed a lot further up the road than 100 meters) is white with a green border (and not all green).
Day 9 Plymouth to Noss Mayo -
The lock gate bridge over Sutton Harbor in Plymouth was still under repair in September; but was open for one hour a day, starting at 12:30 PM - too late for a SWCP walker to leave from Plymouth. Because the lock gate bridge was open for the one hour a day, the temporary ferry was not operating at all, requiring the extra mile diversion from Mayflower Steps to the Aquarium. This made for a long day. When you added the 1 mile around Sutton Harbor to the approx. 1 mile from the Sea Breezes Guest House to the Mayflower Steps, and the approx. 5 miles from the Aquarium to Mount Batten, you have spent a good part of the day walking about 7 miles without really progressing toward Noss Mayo. If the "Official" SWCP route in other places (Fowey, Padstow, etc.) encompasses a ferry crossing, I would think that the SWCP Authority could include the Mount Batten Ferry in the "Official" route and eliminate (or make an alternative route) the long, dull, uninteresting trek through the industrial area and suburbs of Plymouth.
The Swan Inn at Noss Mayo is now closed and no more, leaving The Ship Inn as the only place for dinner in Noss Mayo.
Route beyond Gara Point to Noss Mayo: I didn't see the "Hunting Gate" as I walked to Noss Mayo.
Day 12 - Salcombe to London -
I called "One to One Taxis", which seems to be now operating as "Mike's Taxis" and arranged for Mike to take me from the Waverley B&B to the Totnes train station. Mike did a fine job, just as he had promised and got me to the station in good time and good order. I will use his services when I return to Salcombe next May to finish the SWCP.
So that's all of the comments that I thought of to add to your already fine and inclusive route notes. I hope that they are of some value to you and/or other Coast path walkers.
Thanks, once again for all your invaluable help and assistance in planning my hike(s). I've really enjoyed all three sections of the SWCP that you have implemented for me; and I'm looking forward to my final section and your help in completing the entire SWCP
Minehead to Padstow was as great as our previous experiences and when we returned to where we had started in 2016 felt sad that we had finished. You did an excellent job of organising it all for us.
We are not visiting UK this year but starting to think about 2020 and where we will go......maybe back to beautiful Cornwall?
Wishing you all the best for 2019 and continue the good work of keeping your clients fit, healthy and happy! We have some fabulous memories and loved every step!!
Many thanks for the perfect organisation of our walk. Everything - apart from my legs occasionally - worked magnificently. We are looking forward to doing our next walk in 2019.
Many thanks to Damon and team for ensuring that our first walking holiday in Cornwall was wonderful. Communication from the beginning was prompt, responsive to our needs and well advised. The organization, detailed itinerary, guidebook & map provided a secure framework so that we could fully embrace the adventure before us.
We appreciated the different accommodations with friendly hosts, comforts at the end of the day and delicious breakfasts: The St.Agnes hotel with its history and charm, The Copperhouse luxury B&B in Portreath with a hostess who truly pampered us, and the Nanterrow farm in Gwithian where we felt like part of the family. Each luggage transfer was perfect!
Whether we enjoyed a Cornish pasty (like Grandmother used to make) or a locally prepared meal in a pub, we felt right at home and not like a tourist. Our walk from place to place was described well on the itinerary and in the Trailblazer Coast Path guidebook.
However, nothing could have prepared us for the beautiful scenery along the cliffs, the quiet punctuated by the sound of the surf, wind, seabirds, and the friendliness of people we met along the way. The moderate sections were just right. The sections of strenuous grade with steep ups & downs challenged our middle aged joints, but we made it!
A cup of tea followed by a pint or glass of wine with dinner contributed to our satisfaction of accomplishing something very special indeed. We have two highlights to share, among many. One was the rest day we spent in Portreath so that we could visit a nearby village where a great grandmother lived with her family before they emigrated to America. Another was watching the tide come in at Newquay harbor with all the happy activity of people & dogs enjoying the annual seafood festival.
We have already recommended EWH to others and hope to arrange another tour in the future!
A really enjoyable walk, diverse scenery, (mainly) fine weather, and remarkably few people around. Route well marked and planning and organisation by Encounter first-rate.
Absolutely perfect experience from start to finish! The planning process was fun, and the advice and guidance invaluable. I began my holiday knowing exactly what to expect and with the assurance that every detail had been thought of and arranged.
Additionally, throughout my holiday I had the peace of mind knowing there was a team of good people standing by to help me if anything went wrong. As a not very brave solo hiker on my first long distance walking holiday in the UK or anywhere, those two things were what gave me the courage to go do this, rather than just dream about it.
During my holiday everything (luggage transfers, reservations, finding public transportation, etc) went smoothly and I truly was free to just walk and enjoy myself. My route, though quite unconventional, gave me precisely what I was looking for, and the scenery was varied and glorious the entire time. (Endless gratitude to Encounter for living up to their promise of “your walk, your way” and helping me figure out how to accomplish it!) I loved the contrast between the cliffs in Devon and Cornwall, and the Cornish countryside as I crossed coast to coast.
Every place I stayed was clean and comfortable, the hosts were exceedingly kind, and the food was plentiful and delicious. There were even quite a few sea views despite having “budget” rooms! I wholeheartedly recommend all of the places I stayed, but extra recognition to the Bosayne Guesthouse in Tintagel for my very favorite breakfast and packed lunch (tough competition!), and to Blair Lodge in Combe Martin, The Imperial in Woolacombe, Symply Padstow in Padstow, St. Benets Abbey in Lanivet and Safe Harbor in Fowey for above and beyond service.
I found the difficulty level, mileage, and route descriptions were all very accurate (although on the coastal sections I personally needed to add far more time than I expected for stopping so I could look up from my boots to enjoy the view.) Even the (initially intimidating) section graded as “severe” was very manageable and left me with plenty of energy to explore the village at the end of the day.
I found the paths to be in excellent condition, and well signposted for the most part- the itinerary notes filled in the gaps where it wasn’t. Every highlight and diversion in the guidebooks and the itinerary from Encounter was worthwhile and wonderful- many of the suggestions in the itinerary were for places that I hadn’t seen mentioned in guidebooks! Each step was steeped in fascinating history- it was wonderful to slow down and take it in.
Far too many highlights and favorite moments to list even a fraction of them, but here are a few:
Minehead to Woolacombe: Dunster castle and village, a herd of galloping wild Exmoor ponies, a rainy picnic watching the waves on completely deserted and magnificent Heddons Mouth Beach, the hills and cliffs covered in purple heather (just starting to bloom) and yellow gorse, the WWII memorials for American soldiers near Porlock and at Woolacombe-very moving and humbling for this American!
Tintagel to Padstow: The whole route, really- expansive views up and down the beautiful coast and rewarding walking! Tintagel castle and it’s wind-whipped views and gorgeous little beach, sunny breakfast picnic at Trebarwith Strand, Port Isaac, especially once the day trippers left, walking along the sandy beaches in route to Padstow .
Saints Way- Padstow to Fowey Countryside views every bit as pretty as the coast in a different way, getting up close to ancient history at the St Breock Longstone and Helmans Tor (and the view from each!), following the Celtic crosses and stopping in churches, Restormel castle- well worth the detour!, strolling around Fowey, Lost Gardens of Heligan and the ferry ride to and from them.
It was excellent and all went very smoothly - no problems whatsoever. Loved walking in autumn in contrast to July mainly because of the rich supply of blackberries this year along a lot of the walk., But the haws and deadly nightshade and changing colours of the trees were also fantastic.
Found a café at Porthgarrow on route that did good cream teas but weather was good so it was picnic tables outside of quite a small basic shed. Gift of Cornish mead on arrival at Sea View House - very warming. First day it was good to get to see a performance at the Minack Theatre - strongly recommend the boxed hot food to take in on sale at the entrance - very tasty and impressive. Pity the performance itself was not good. Someone else in the B&B left at half time. Handy short cut from B&B to theatre that saved walking on road but didn't risk it in the dark at end of evening.
Treryn good to find time to go out and see - views good. Paynter's Cove - missed path up from boulders at back of beach and ended up having a bit of a scrabble - I was obviously not the first person to do this. Penzance - found Admiral Benbow fascinating as a pub of character and staff interested to share its history and nautical artefacts.
Round Treweras Head spend ages with others watching a hobby raptor hunting - so much more graceful than the everyday kestrel that were seen daily.
Artist Loft accommodation was lovely but breakfast voucher limited by fact in September none of the cafes you could use it at opened till 9am at the earliest which is quite late for a full walking day. It would be good if it was useable at the place that seemed to open at 7.30pm-8pm where you could get basic stuff - can't remember its name but very close to the accom.
Porthleven and Loe Bar new route opened couple of days before I got there - and they were opening the bridle way that day which was great. Worth visiting the church of the storms.
Found the Lizard quite barren to walk around although the Lighthouse was interesting. Perhaps the dry summer made it seem more so. The Caerthillian is an impressive house of interesting character.
Devils Frying Pan was a wow! Just thinking I had missed it when turned through a hedge and there it was with a sailing ship framed in it. Terence Coventry Sculpture park at Coverak amazing - seems to be in the middle of nowhere but with some interesting sculptures. Diversion took you through it - and it was worth it. The Lighthouse fish and chip restaurant / shop was excellent.
Arrived at Gillan Creek at low tide and used the stepping stones but they were very slippy - most people simply waded across.
Boatman on the Helford - Helford Passage ferry was great and took us at request on an extra tour down to Frenchman's Creek included in the price simply because a couple of people asked.
Long haul up to Budock Vean Hotel - there is a footpath up river along beach for 50 years and up steps, then across a cross roads and up to gate, across golf course to hotel. It would have been much pleasanter but probably less easy to find. Came back down that way. There hot tub in the open overlooking the river is wonderful along with their pool etc. Not much range of food except their set hotel 3 course meal.
Got to Falmouth early and had the afternoon at Pendennis Castle - strongly recommend - it was fascinating. Walk round by docks interesting too and I found somewhere to eat overlooking them.
Hidden Hut back of Porthcurnick beach really worth waiting for - enjoyed the haddock chowder immensely. Carradale B&B - I found the directions not as clear as they might have been . Yes it is the second drive on the right a few hundred yards after the Ship Inn but the steep route up comes off on the right between the pub and the drives - it seemed like a fork in the road to me - so I started up it before realising I needed to go straight on. But I am not good at that kind of thing.
Caerhays Castle estate - I found the signage over their land very lacking. Both on arrival around the look out the route was not clear and leaving the cove the route was not easy to pick up either.
Mevagissey museum certainly worth a visit if you like social history. Honeycombe House - I had amazing sea views, Recommend Roory's Restaurant - decided to eat more up market than normal and it was good.
Hallane cove is easy to miss. It looked like access to it was through a private house so I didn't go. But could see the waterfall from the top as I came up to Drennick. Lots of good views on the walk but Black Head back to Mevagissey was excellent.
Pod of dolphin off Porth Pean beach near Ropehaven Cliff - people in café generously lent me binoculars as I was not carrying extras. Charleston was interesting because Georgian clay port rather than older fishing port - so a very different feel. Good to see Poldark boat. It was hot and the room I had at Pier House the windows were over kitchen extractor fans - so not the best. But pleasant to sit out on the front and have a drink.
Golf course coming out of Charleston was busy - one did need to take care. Not my favourite stretch of the walk around industrial china clay units - Parr Sands gave some relief. Walk around Gribbin Head and down into Fowey much better. Worth stopping off at St Catherine's Castle - fascinating to see the history of defence of rivers and ports down through the ages layered on one another in this stage of the walk. Well House is an amazing place to stay - couldn't get over the bottom of the bed being on 4" blocks because of the unevenness of the floor. Low ceilings and odd shaped nooks and crannies - a real delight to be in the oldest house in Fowey dating back to 1430. And very central too.
Fowey to Polperro was beautiful Lansallos Cove was good to stop off at and have a paddle. Natural rock arch at Blackybale was interesting as have been many of the rock formations. Diversion along road down into Porthallow Beach was not pleasant - the sooner they can redirect the path nearer the coast the better .Little Harbour Guest House very friendly. But I was not that impressed with Looe as a place - perhaps because it was spread out down both sides of the river. Felt like a working town and less touristy which might have been attractive but I did not find it as welcoming as other places. Perhaps a personal prejudice.
Millendrath holiday village could hardly be said to be a beautiful sight and it was shame to have to walk all the way round the back of it. Too much road walking today. But did have a couple of hours at monkey sanctuary which was really good. Carpark café not open in September so no provision till 11am when the sanctuary opens. Did the sea wall round Seaton rather than following the path which was good. Inn on the Shore was changing hands and therefore was closing for a week so provision there probably not as good as usual but it was fine. You could only have what was left in stock as they were closing that night for stock take and take over by new management over the coming week. Enjoyed the walk into Prothwinkle / Crafthole.
Whitsand Bay hotel felt like a place that should be a setting for a murder weekend. Rebuilt brick by brick on the cliffs from a venue elsewhere. Beautiful views. But it was shabby and run down rather than shabby chic - especially the room I happened to be in - only 50% of the lights had working bulbs, and there was no toilet roll holder. Food and service in restaurant was good. And lounge was very comfortable and good to have a swimming pool all to oneself.
Tregantle Fort was not what I was expecting having seen so many iron age forts and castles - to suddenly be faced with a working fort that looks like a prison of a huge size was quite a surprise. Didn't like the amount of road walking but the erosion of the cliffs and the way that the cabins are positioned made one think about who might choose to live there - I think I would find it quite scary. Went to the Cliff Top Café and it seemed full of locals and was really busy even though I thought I arrived at opening time - worth a visit.
The route through the estate down into the ferry for Plymouth was beautiful as the autumn colours were very rich and the trees beautiful. A ferry was due as I arrived so didn't manage to have tea in the Orangery which would have been good. At Devils Point as your come around the marina it would be good to be told that the flight of stairs up is part of the SW coast path - there is a notice at the top saying who it is in memory of but nothing at the bottom and it is not clear whether it is for public access - it doesn't say no entry but it doesn't say anything about where it leads either. Recommend The Harbour fish and chip restaurant on the front near the Mayflower steps monument - range of fish and chips and as many chips as you can eat. Great for me who doesn't like batter so had grilled fish but double chips. They also have daily specials depending on the catch.
Enjoyed the cliff walking, found the amount of road (due to diversion mainly) and the amount of walking on a path between high dense hedgerows that you couldn't see above less interesting and it felt that this stretch had a higher proportion of that kind of walking. But the variety and scenery, wildlife and weather, plus autumn colours were all stunning. Look forward to next year and the next stages and hopefully completing.
Thank you to Damon and the team for a great trip. Everything ran smoothly and even the weather cooperated. The only very minor hiccup was at the Smugglers Inn (Osmington Mills) where they suggested we should pay for our accommodation. However, when I pointed out that Encounter had made the booking and gave them your telephone number I think they realised their mistake.
Luggage Transfer was excellent with no problems at all.
Accommodation was very good. On some of the longer days it would have been useful to have breakfast earlier than 8:30 am but we always made our destination in time.
A few specific comments:
The Old Vicarage at Mullion was good but, given it was a short day, a 4:00 pm check in was a nuisance. Possibly the Mullion Cove Hotel might be a better option especially given it is on the path.
Given that we arrived in Porthallow on a Saturday we needed to be advised that we should have booked for dinner either at the Guest House or the Five Pilchards Pub. As it was we made do with very indifferent pizzas in the pub’s courtyard.
Durham House in Beer was unusual in that we never saw or met the host. The breakfast hamper was okay but possibly not best suited to walkers.
The walking note, guides, and maps were good although some of the on the ground signs were confusing. Ironically there were often signs when there was only one possible path but none when there were options! Given the acorn does not always uniquely identify the SW Coast Path it might be useful to mark the path with a different colour. Several times we had to double check the maps and GPS on the phone to verify where we were going – and assist others who were going the wrong way.
The diversion at Durgan (Porthallow to Mawnan Smith) is still in place. Unfortunately the sign taking one back to the coast path merely indicates it is the path to the beach and not part of the diversion. We finished up walking along the road for a while before getting on the paths by the fields.
We walked along the beach from Lyme Regis to West Bay and missed any diversion notices. We walked along the path on the cliff and met many locals doing the same. It seemed quite safe but, if you are concerned, you might need to cover the situation where walkers approach West Bay from the beach in your notes.
The path after the holiday camp near Tidmoor Cove (Abbotsbury to Portland) was very overgrown – almost to the extent that we wondered whether we were on the correct path. Not a problem but a bit disconcerting at the time.
Given the wind we walked the Portland Circle anti-clockwise. The path branches left just past Yeolands Quarry with a sign pointing to The Grove (I think) with no indication the main path eventually comes to a dead end at a fence. Looking at the map afterwards it was relatively obvious but an easy mistake to make.
We would also suggest that walking poles are essential for the more mature walker on some of the slopes – we certainly found them useful!
All in all an excellent walk that was well organised. We would happily recommend encounterwalking to any other walker. (I guess the fact that this is our second walk with you speaks for itself)
Another wonderful walk arranged through Encounter. We walked from Padstow to St Ives over 6 days. All hotels arranged were great, suitcases delivered every time. All information given was right, very enjoyable and thinking of booking another for next year!
We could not have had a more pleasurable introduction to Cornwall than provided by our hike on the spectacular South Coast Path planned and executed with the superb assistance and advice of the Encounter Walking team. Our accommodations were wonderful, ranging from the funky to the luxurious, and the luggage logistics were managed without a hitch. The food was good and plentiful and complemented by the pints we looked forward to at the end of our daily treks. Our rain gear was only required on the last hour of our last day of hiking, so the weather fully cooperated as well. We fell in love with this special part of England.
Thank you for organizing this great trip! Everything was as we agreed and your suggestions made our trip perfect.
I have been home in Canada for a few days now. I wanted to email to let you know that I really enjoyed the holiday you planned for us. The scenery was so beautiful it was a pleasure to go out and walk. We were a little disappointed that we did not complete the last day by the cliff path instead we walked in land, as it was we got soaked. We did not feel it would be safe for us to be out on the cliffs because the paths become quite slippery.
Our luggage transfer was seamless and our bags were always at our next stop. I found it quite refreshing to stay in one place for two nights, it gave us a chance to get to know our hosts a little better. Generally the accommodation was good. However there was one place we did not like and that was in Fishguard. We did feel some empathy with the lady who appeared to be running the place on her own trying to make a living. However the place was really untidy, with papers etc. everywhere. The main desk was a mess.The lounge area smelt of dogs and cats, and we could smell cigarette smoke. The whole place was dingy and depressing. To be fair the rooms were clean.
One of our favourite places was Vienne and Chris's Hampton B&B in Trefin. The food was lovely much of it produced by them, free range eggs and home grown tomatoes and they were so friendly and helpful. It was just like being at home.
Just wanted to say a big thankyou for organising a great week of walking in Cornwall. Everything went to plan and the weather was good too!
Sue & Bill
First let me say the trip was marvelous. The itinerary worked well for us, the tips included in the notes were spot-on and the distances were just enough to leave us tired but happy each night. The weather was mostly really good, the first day probably the worst, especially after we had reached Zennor when we added a sidetrip to Zennor Quoit in zero-vis fog.
GPS on the phone was a huge plus everywhere but especially that afternoon. BTW we used the Galileo App on the iPhone, which uses the Open Source map data so doesn’t need cell service.
The Coast Path is clearly shown in the map data and between the Trailblazer Guide and Galileo we were never lost. Also, the luggage transfers were flawless so kudos to them. The path diversions were always well-marked. We were very happy with the folks at Treventon GH in Penzance (we spent a total of four nights there) and Bridget at Boak House in Coverack was wonderfully welcoming.
Thank you for making our trip worry-free.
We enjoyed our holiday, no rain all week which helped, luggage transfers perfect.
You Do need to be able to navigate on the moors. We did enjoy going to Widecombe, adds more miles but worth it.
We did find The Sportmans basic but appreciate there is little accommodation in Ivybridge with long term parking.
When we arrived at Withypool the pub was shut due to staff holidays! Luckily we arrived before 5 and the tea room was open so they heated a pasty for us which we ate at our accommodation. The ladies in the tea room and shop said the pub was becoming unreliable.
Had a taxi to Barnstaple then train to Ivybridge, lovely train ride along the coast.
Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your company.
Carol and Paul
All of our arrangements were satisfactory to fantastic thanks! The accommodation all worked out well and there were some real gems in there. The only comment I recall on the instructions that could be improved was getting from the train to the Minehead bus at Taunton - the Minehead bus has a covered stop immediately adjacent to the train platform where the Paddington train arrives. This is much closer than the one in the instructions which is the originating point for the bus (and we appreciated the cover as we were there for nearly an hour in heavy rain :-) ). Otherwise all good...
Just a quick note to say 'thank-you' again for the Smugglers' Way notes.
My son and I stayed at the Jamaica Inn for three nights from last Thursday to Sunday, and we walked the route in two days, Friday and Saturday. We booked a taxi (Dans Cabs from Launceston) from the Inn to Looe on Friday morning and walked back to the Inn, and then on Saturday we walked to Boscastle and had a taxi back to the Inn. Your notes were perfect and, coupled with the three OS maps and a compass, we had no problems whatsoever. On Saturday the weather over Brown WIlly and Rough Tor was ideal; I guess we could see for 30 miles or more.
So, thanks again. The whole weekend worked like a dream!
Thank you very much for a perfect walking holiday.
It was the third time, we walked a part of the coast path - and it was marvellous again.
Unfortunately my English is not good enough to anwer officially and online. But I'll try to give a feedback via your website.
We enjoyed everything, especially the red cliffs on our first day, the Undercliffs Nattional Nature Reserve and the cliffs between Weymouth and Lulworth. We just missed the blooming heather and gorse of North Devon and Cornwall. But all the impressive views more than compensated for it.
The B&Bs, hotels, pubs were clean and nice (Weymouth a bit shabby, but clean) and everyone (!) was friendly and helpful.
And the weather was almost ideal as well.
The Path was perfectly signed.
We just want to suggest one alteration:
In our opinion it's so much nicer to walk the Inland Route from West Brexington to Abbotsbury than the Beach Route. The Path is beautifull there and the view from Wears Hill down to the village is quaint. If nothing else, one spares (is this the right word?) to walk on the long pebble beach.
Thank you very much again. I hope, we'll be back soon.
All the best
Hi, my feedback on this years walk from St Ives to Falmouth is below -
Firstly all went well and I completed it. Due to the bad weather I managed to combine days 1 &2 on the first day i.e. St Ives to Zennor and then onto St. Just. Although this was a very sunny day the distance slightly impacted my time to stop and enjoy the walk but it was still very good. The cost of a taxi back to Zennor was more than I expected but meant I could complete the full distance. I caught the bus back to St Just the next day.
The Tinners arms at Zennor were slightly confused over my booking but it was sorted out in the end. The second day was a wash out but gave me time to recover. Land's End was quite a short walk on the third day with little to do once arrived. By contrast the Land's End to Penzance walk was very long and partly really hard work over all the boulders before Mousehole.
It was foggy/raining for the walk past the quarries and for much of the Helford Passage day although the diversion in the quary appears to be removed now. It is rather odd that the path diverts so far inland here but given the rain I was quite grateful.
There is one new diversion just beyond Marazion to avoid a small cliff fall (very small). it is not clearly marked and in fact I did not follow it as a local out for a walk showed me the quickest route.
The long detour near the Loe Bar can be partly avoided on a higher path according to my map but I went the long way round which actually was quite nice along the lake. It is likely to be removed soon as the new path is clearly in progress.
I might have missed the guidance but the Helford crossing does not run for about an hour either side of low tide.
Accomodation was all good - the fruit for breakfast in Porthleven a welcome change. I caught the train back rather than stay in Falmouth as I was fairly early and have stayed there before. Normally I would not do that as I like a day to relax at the end but it meant a return to work on the Monday which was helpful.
I can't remember getting lost although walking through the tin mines near St Just was quite confusing as to which path to follow and I couple of times the signs for the path were not there when you needed them.
What I enjoyed the most was the variety of the coast on the walk - cliffs / remote Atlantic / small harbours /beaches / sudden moments of too many people then none.
I suspect having got this far I will have to walk the whole SW path now. I will be probably look to part of North Devon down to Boscastle (where I have been before) next year.
We have returned now to Switzerland after an excellent holiday in Cornwall.
We would like to thank you very much for the itinery that you set up for us for our Lands End walking tour.
Everything was perfect, from your excellent instructions to the quality of all our over night stays. We thoroughly enjoyed all the stages which apart from the Penzance to St Ives walk, where it rained most of the day, were ideal conditions for walking.
All the b&b’s were excellent but a special mention for the Gurnard’s Head which we found exceptional.
A big thank you for your contribution to our holiday and we look forward to your helping us again for a furure walking holiday.
It is my pleasure to give you feedback since our walk has been a great experience to both of us!
We were highly impressed by the standard of organization. Books and Maps and the day to day itinerary arrived on time just sufficiently to adjust our preparations. The accommodations were all organized and the hosts well informed and the luggage was always there on time! Also the walk was tailored specifically to our needs and the communication for planing it went perfectly well!
The walk itself:
We were very lucky as far as the weather was concerned. Only one day during our walk it was raining occasionally. The scenery is really spectacular and divers. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The path is very well signposted. After the second day we decided not to take the Bus from Bosherton to Freshwater West as suggested, but to explore the area around Bosherton itself (The Lily Ponds, Broad Haven St. Gowan's Chapel and the village itself) since we felt that we wanted to take it a bit easier this day. We discovered a lovely cafe just next to st. Govan's Inn The Old World cafe which is obviously just a converted living-room with kitchen (see attached Photo) and with the homely atmosphere of a private host.
Only on the last day there were some confusing parts as you had written in the itinerary, but to be honest, your descriptions were even more confusing concerning the part along the fence of the refinery. Also we did not manage to find the church of Pwllcrochan. We only discovered afterwards that we must have past it a while ago. This last day we found more tiring than the days before, although there weren't very strenuous parts. But - maybe because we had failed the right way - there were long stretches along roads. But even so there are also very beautiful paths through woods and across farmland partly with beautiful views.
As for the length of the every day's walks we found that we always needed more time (not including breaks!).
By far the best was Angle Bay Bed and Breakfast! A very friendly and welcoming atmosphere, a very nice newly refurbished room, home made scones and tea to welcome us and a genuinely friendly hosts! They even booked us in the Hibernia Inn for Dinner in advance foreseeing that it was going to be very busy. We would have quite liked to stay at this merry place longer! (see attachment)
The second best on our way was in Manorbier the Castlemead Hotel, which also has a very friendly and personal atmosphere and we had a very good meal there.
But all the other places were good too some with little deficiencies: The Esplanade Hotel in Tenby could be better maintained and the St. Govan's Inn in Bosherton for all it's original rural atmosphere the cleanliness in the bath left something to be wished for.
Generally the whole walk was a great experience and I am pretty sure that I will do another part of the walk or another walk altogether some time.
Thank you for organizing it so well given the fact that we made up our minds so late and in high season!
Well what can I say but a very big thank you. Just returned from our walking trip to lynmouth and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The rising Sun was excellent accommodation and superb food. We walked the gorge walk the first day then taxi to combe Martin on Saturday and walked back into lynmouth. Completed in 6 hours. The weather was pretty kind to us. Showers most of the morning then the sun came out in the afternoon but a nice breeze to keep us cool. My friend had a fancy watch on that tells us how far we walked and the steps. 14 miles on the Saturday. Sunday we took a taxi to Porlock weir and walked back to lynmouth. Your notes state 12 miles but there are a lot of landslides along this stretch with a lot of diversions so my friends fancy watch actually recorded us walking 14.5 miles. Still we completed in just under 6 hours as was a more moderate walk. The heathers were all in flower so beautiful surroundings. We had aching legs the next morning but really enjoyed it. Trying to plan our next trip....any suggestions?
We just wanted to say thank you again for all your efforts and information. It was a pity not having more time – days to explore the regions.
We had an incredible good time walking with a lovely Moorland Guide who still lives with Dartmoor ponies at home….in the different regions of Dartmoor and one day near Padstow Harlyne Bay.
The Mitchelcroft BB was just perfect to us. It is such a lived mindful philosophy and you can’t expect more in any case. The BB Lee Byre in Coryton was very different - also nice and remote situated what we like.
The Pony ChampionShip Show as well as the agricultural Show in Okehampton were a superb experience - we very very much enjoyed it.
Ja we really understand why people have some kind of obsession about Dartmoor….Devon Coast usw. ….my English husband is finally thinking about moving back somewhere on the countryside….
Hope to be back and walk a little bit more the coast with your agency.
All the best Judith
Again, a wonderful walking holiday thanks to Encounterwalkingholidays.
We are impressed and thankful for all the useful information and great tips we got ahead of our walk.
We stayed in Padstow, Harlyn Bay, Mawgan Porth, St. Agnes, Portreath, Crantock, Gwithian and St. Ives. We had a few extra overnight stays and took a bicycle ride along the Camel Estuary, we walked up to St. Agnes Beacon, and we walked the St. Michael’s Way from Marazion to St. Ives.
We brought rainclothes, but didn’t need to use them during our 12 days. The weather was very good for walking.
Accomodations: All of them were lovely. Quite different in styles but all were clean and comfortable, and the B&B / pub / inn / hotel hosts are nice, polite and welcoming and make very nice breakfasts. Good size rooms everywhere. We had twin rooms. It is impossible to say what was best, for we liked all of them.
We used Strava and Viewranger to track our walks, and most of them were measured a bit longer then what had been told us. But that may be caused by varying GPS signal. Difficulty was as described. We used the Trailblazer maps a lot, and they are very helpful.
The signposting around Perran Beach – Perranporth were partly missing, so it was not easy to find our way through the sand dunes just following the acorns. But luckily, I had downloaded OS-maps app on my phone, for use off-line. And we were able to follow the path there – as we can also see where we are in real time on the app. You only need GPS signal for this. I recommend everyone to download that app if they have a smartphone. But mostly we found the signposting to be good.
We are a bit concerned about walking among cattle, but this year we had no scary incidents along the path. Along St. Michael’s Way we chose to abandon the path for a small distance and walk another way and had to climb a farm gate to avoid a big herd of cows obstructing the path. But in general, cattle were mostly behind fences.
We brought some energy bars, but we also had a few meals along the walks. Pasty is a very good and tasty energy provider during a walk, and we will recommend: Chouch Bakery, Porthcothan Bay Stores The Watering Hole, Perranporth
We had a brilliant walking holiday and can hardly wait to start planning the next leg from St. Ives to Penzance. And we will of course use Encounterwalkingholidays’ expertise again then :-) Their knowledge and service is brilliant.
The coastpath starting from Amroth is just as beautiful as the path in Cornwall.
Tenby is a lovely place to stay for one or two nights, plenty to do. We found the walk from Tenby to Manorbier one of the most beautiful parts of the trail with spectacular views on the sea and we recommend the Castlemead hotel in Manorbier. They have a lovely garden to relax in after a day's walk and they serve a nice dinner.
Arriving in Bosherton the next day, the last part of the walk is especially lovely, passing the fairy tale like Lilly Ponds. St. Govans Country Inn is a nice place to stay.
Freshwater West to Angle Bay was by far the most beautiful walking day of our week and we highly recommend the Angle Bay B&B (Kilnback). Very nice and fresh room and a delicious packed lunch for the next day (the host bakes his own bread).
Arriving in Pembroke the next day, the trail passes a huge industrial zone which is quite impressive to see actually.
We spent a weekend in Cardiff which is worth it, seeing the Castle, great shopping at the two huge shoppingmalls and we recommend the restaurant The Alchemist.
Overall a great walking holiday, clear signs and blackberries (!) all along the path. Thanks again Encounter Walking for your personal service and we will be back next year! Kaisa and Bram, The Netherlands
Sorry for our late feedback! We were on holiday until the beginning of September and then school and work started, so we were a little bit busy.
Our walk was fantastic, we had good weather, perfect conditions for hiking.
Everything worked perfectly, the B&Bs were mainly very good. Best places were Zennon Guesthouse (delicious breakfast!), Sunny Bankhouse (very good supper, nice rooms, the only problem near the main road) and The old coastguard hotel. The North Inn was clean, but not our favorite B&B.
The walking distances worked well.
Thank you for your help organizing our trip.
Next time, we want to go to Wales.
We just wanted to thank you for organising our amazing walking holiday along the Colchester Way. It was fantastic, with everything running like clockwork. We couldn’t have asked for more and are left with special memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you for all your hard work in ensuring this was perfect for us. The accommodation was clean and comfortable with friendly, helpful hosts and great food, the walking notes and maps clear and detailed, the luggage transfer reliable and the taxi ride home, with such a lovely taxi driver, the perfect end to our time in this stunning place.
Sure, I'd be glad to give you feedback about the walk.
First of all, we had a great holiday, the Two Moors Way was an awesome experience and I would like to thank everyone involved at Encounter Walking Holidays for the excellent planning. Generally it was a good idea to take the relaxed route especially since we were carrying our own luggage. After the muscle soreness was gone after the first three days it really was a relaxed walk. The accomodations were well chosen and all of good quality even though we would have preferred more smaller B&Bs. But that was probably because we booked late and there were no other options left. Often the packed lunch felt a bit overpriced when paying 5 Pound per person for just one sandwich each, but that is just a minor concern. Let me go through the days just to leave some comments:
Day 2: We took the longe route at the coast and it was worth the effort. The weather was fine and we took a bath at Wembury Beach. What a great day! Very nice rooms at the Rose & Crown Inn.
Day 3: Good walk, nothing special to mention.
Day 4: We were a bit unlucky with the weather in the open moorland, from 11pm it has been raining all day. Even though we had rainwear we got soaked to the bone. No waymarking at all once you enter the open moorland and without GPS we definetly would have ran into problems. It was quite a demanding day and I would recommend every walker not to underestimate the area. But we had a pleasant meal in Scorriton.
Day 5: The weather cleared up and we had a beautiful day. The Manor Cottage was lovely and the host was very kind and helpful.
Day 6: Perfect weather in the Open Moorland, absolutely beautiful day! We took the detour to The Warren House Inn and had a little concert by a piano player that was in the pub. The Drewe Arms is a fine place to stay and it would probably have been the best place for a rest day. We had dinner in Chagford, but not at the Three Crowns but at the Ring o' Bells, which was surprisingly good.
Day 7: A pleasant walk, I liked the Devonshire Dumpling, even though it was a bit noisy, located directly to a main road. But we joined the pub quiz and had a good time. Gordon was an excellent host.
Day 8: Exeter is worth a visit, expecially the Quayside and the Cathedral
Day 9: The Mitre Inn was a nice place to stay.
Day 10: Even though I was sceptical before the Mason Arms turned out to be an excellent place to have dinner. Especially because it is a countryside pub and everything is just relaxed and casual and not as formal and posh as in most restaurants of such a category.
Day 11: The Royal Oak Inn turned out to be booked out for evening meal, so maybe other walkers should be aware of that. But Julian and Polly from Westerclose House Cottages were so sweet to go by car with us to the next village to a pub. We had such a nice time having dinner with them! And there is a lovely little tearoom in Whitypool which I would recommend.
Day 12: Nothing special to mention.
Day 13: We had a blast walking to Lynmouth. The descent to the village is just breathtaking with the mountains and the sea.
Day 14: Lynmouth/Lynton is a good place for another rest day. We decided not to walk and did a boat trip and had some cream tea.
What I didn't know before was, that you could get seals of the Two Moors Way into a book to document the different places. We discovered that at the end and only got the one in Lynmouth at the National Park Centre. It doesn't really matter, but maybe that is interesting for other walkers.
Thank you for reading I hope this is helpful for you.
It was an incredibly beautiful walk with stunning scenery and lovely people. The accomodiatons were great!!! Cosy and with wonderful food. We truly can recommend all of them. Arranged luggage transfer and taxi back to the car was perfect too. Thank you Encounter Walking Team for the Organisation!
Thank you for organizing a wonderful trip. We were very happy with the accommodation, transport of luggage, description of trail, estimated walking time etc. We would love to do it again!
Two small comments;
Thanks for this Rich (if I may). We're just back from our holiday, which was very enjoyable in the main. The accommodation was all good, though we caught the Harbour Inn in Porthleven on a Saturday and the noise levels were quite high. There were no problems with the luggage. We managed some sections of the path but not others, the main issue not being the difficulty but the length. I suspect you're used to dealing with fitter hikers!
The only real issue I'd like to flag up is dogs. The path was pretty much awash with dogs, from start to finish, and given that my partner is scared of dogs this presented a massive problem. Dogs 'under control' clearly means different things to different people, and while most dog owners we encountered put their dogs back on the lead when asked, a couple were reluctant to do so and one owner insulted us. I like dogs myself (sometimes more than people!) but would strongly suggest that walking holidays on the South West Coast Path not be sold to anyone who doesn't like dogs, still less to anyone who is afraid of them. It's a sad but true fact that most dog owners simply don't understand that there are people who don't like dogs, and we saw little if any respect for recommendations and rules, including a few dogs running free on supposedly dog-free beaches and plenty running free on narrow clifftop trails.
Other than that, the holiday was good, as were the weather and the scenery. I would recommend your agency to other walkers, but with the caveats above.
we enjoyed our walk and all arrangements worked well. we took a few diversions such as walking over Quantocks (superb) suggest including possible alternatives for non purists
We were perfectly happy with the communication beforehand, detailed walking notes, maps, lovely accommodation, great host and perfect luggage transfer. The trail has lots of interesting sites to visit and is a peaceful and quiet walking route even in August.
Everything went ok from booking till the walk itself: flexible booking, good accomodations, good information on the walk.
We walked from Minehead to Padstow during the first 2 weeks in August. All arrangements ran very smoothly. Despite initial scepticism, Encounter's advice to leave our car on a specific street in Minehead proved to be both accurate and free!
All accommodation was close to the trail and adequate or good. The stand out accommodation for us was Surf Haven in Bude where the hosts really went the extra mile to make us welcome and well-provided for.
The trail is very easy to follow and the couple of mistakes we made were a result of our lack of concentration rather than fauts in signage. Due to cliff collapse, there is a lengthy diversion inland to Morwenstow half way between Hartland Quay and Bude which traverses farm fields and a muddy river bank. I was glad we had split this stage into 2 days - the Bush Inn at Morwenstow is an excellent stay and it would have been a shame to have not had sufficient time to enjoy this lovely section of the walk.
after another week in Glastobury and Bristol we ware back home now. So here is some more detailed and blunt feedback on the walk on West Mendip Way. We had a wonderful time. It was was all so well organized and worked out smoothly, so we will definitely book with you again.
super, especially great food
Great pool Noisy until 1am because of a wedding with band. Felt awkward in hiking clothes between dressed up and drunk wedding guests. Maybe for Saturdays another accommodation works better for hikers.
Great vegan food and big effort by the owner including nice chat. Room was suitable for our needs.
Luxury indeed very welcoming hosts and catered very well for vegan needs.
Old-fashioned and rustic. Owner left a welcoming note and everything with the keys worked really well.
Breakfast was OK and very basic.
Located perfectly central. Room, especially the floor could have been cleaner. Good breakfast. Unfortunately trouble when checking out, because the receptionist in charge didn't believe that the night was already paid by you.
Before Shipham: Fallen signpost > should have checked the map but stupidly we didn't and missed a turn
At T-junction before Owley House we couldn't find a sign or fitting description but managed ????
All in all:
Perfect organisation of the trip! Thank you
A great thank you for a wonderful walk and the excellent organization, everything went smoothly. The accommodation facilities were well chosen. In particular we enjoyed the homelike B&Bs and the pubs associated to or located close to the accommodation.
It has been a fantastic walking holiday. Everything was very fine: the accomodations, the luggage transport, the walkings, the difficulties of the walking, etc. etc.
We had a fantastic holiday! Everything was well-planned, and the accommodation was excellent. However, good navigation skills are required as some sections of the route are not very well marked. Don't forget to bring the route comments provided by Encounter Walking Holidays - they are essential! I highly recommend to include The Southern Tors option if possible - it is a quite spectacular walk.
Good walk only spoiled by heavy mist on days 4 and 5. The organisation, information and guidance were good. The walking is not hard; the occasional sharp uphill stretch got the pulse going. All the accommodation was good or better. We ate well everywhere except in Marloes where the Lobster Pot Inn provided a poor meal in dirty surroundings. In contrast, the Griffin Inn at Dale, the Cambrian Inn at Solva, and Cwtch at St Davids were very good.
We were happy with all arrangements made by Encounter . We made our Enquires very late and they worked hard to accomodate us.
Sorry to be slow in responding but be assured that we enjoyed our 8 day Mendip walk. All the accomodation was good and Hannam Manor in Cheddar was outstanding. The walking notes were also good with only one occasion where they led us astray. This was on the last day out of Shepton Mallet when the notes said to go straight ahead after the Poachers Pocket Inn. In fact the directions matched the road that turned hard left after the Inn. We also found the blue Mendip Way signs on this road. However, it turned out when we came to the field that we were supposed to cross that the farmer had obliterated the footpath by planting maize. The map showed a road alternative that allowed us to rejoin the MW after a mile or so.
My only other comment is that there were hardly any other walkers and that some sections are overgrown with brambles. Not a major problem if you are wearing long trousers and sleeves.
In short a very pleasant walk and we are grateful to Encounter for the care you put into its organisation.
We were very happy with your preparation and organisation of our walking trip. Super!!! You did your best trying to find another place to put us up when the boiler broke down at St. Govans Inn. But as it was peak season, there was no chance. At St. Govans Inn we got the 20 pounds refund and had a nice main meal every evening for free. The room there was newly done but it had "paper walls". We could listen to the TV programme of the people next door. What we liked best was the Castlemead Hotel in Manorbier. Everything was great there: the room, the food and very friendly and helpful staff. And nearly as good as the hotel was the B&B in Angle Bay : Nice room, friendly hosts.
We liked the coastal path very much, especially the first part From Amroth to Bosherston.My favourites : Bosherston with the waterlily lagoons, Broad Haven and Barafundle Bay. The next part wasn't that attractive, because the army range was shut and we had to walk along the "fence" and a lot of meadows or fields. No way to get to the interesting parts of the coast here. The part from Freshwater West to Angle Bay was strenuous but very beautiful. When we walked around the Angle Headland we had a"wonderful view" of the huge Oil refinery and decided to skip the last bit of our walking trip, take the bus to Pembroke and have a look round the town.
We loved it! Thank you, Encounter, for excellent organization and attention to details.
Mostly, we did not have trouble following the path. At some points there were many additional side trails , especially from Sennen Cove to Porthcurno, where we lost the path, but eventually made our way.
The Coast Path book was very helpful, although Lamorna did not have toilets, as is shown in the Coast Path book -- unless they were closed and sign removed.
We would agree with other comments, that the walking times given are a bit tight. We did take longer, I think rest stops should be encouraged and enjoyed. There is no hurry. Once we did reach our destination each day, we found friendly accommodations, and good seafood.
Two especially good meals were: Mote in Port Isaac, and The Old Coast Guard (we also stayed here) in Mousehole. Stein's Fish and Chips in Padstow was a ho hum meal with a massive crowd. While exploring the coastal villages, we were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of bookstores.
Overall, we had an outstanding walk on the SW Coast Path.
We did a bit of a "mix and match" walk, and I was very impressed by how helpful the people at Encounter were in putting the holiday together for us, and how patiently they answered all our questions. I loved the detailed notes we got for each day, this way we could really just arrive and get started.
All went very smoothly, from accomodation to luggage transfer to finding places to eat! In terms of the walks, my favourite bit was the Coleridge Way Walk - the scenery is really varied, including fields and wonderful old woodland and a taste of open moorland, some rivers, some hills with a view, and finally the sea at Lynmouth. The way takes you through small villages, and while we were cordially received in all the accomodations, many of the hosts on the Coleridge Way provided an especially warm welcome - much needed since it did rain much more on this section than on the coast and in the Mendips!
We felt that average walking times were calculated quite tightly, and even though we're reasonably fit we ended up taking longer almost every day. Finding the way was easy on the Coleridge Way Walk, even easier on the Coast Path, but at times a bit tricky on the West Mendip Way. We were alerted by Encounter of a recent rerouting of the trail, and this was sort of signposted on the ground, but there were quite a few gaps. With the notes and the OS maps, we didn't get lost, but had to stand around and wonder for a while several times. On a related note, I liked that the OS maps include the option to download the paper maps onto your mobile device - the combination of the paper map for the larger overview and the OS app with its GPS location function makes it really hard to get lost.
All in all we had a lovely holiday and I'm sure we'll be back for more in the future!
Thank you so much for a really well organised break! The maps, handbook, tide table etc were all really useful and the extra notes on the itinerary for exactly directions to our accommodation was all really thorough.
All the accommodation was good but Nanterrow Farm in Gwithian was just gorgeous and the breakfast was amazing and in Crantock, the couple who have Carden Cottage were such nice people and the atmosphere was just so welcoming.
Obviously, walking section from Padstow to St Ives,the views were amazing, the weather was mainly dry and really lovely in places. It's just a beautiful part of the world and even in July/ August once you get a mile away from any town, you've got the whole place to yourself. I should also say how very helpful the luggage company were and everything arrived well on time.
Many thanks for a really lovely holiday!
We thought our trip was all quite perfect for us. Working with Encounter Walking was easy. You asked us the right questions so that you could plan a trip for us that fit our fitness and comfort needs. We walked for 3 days with lovely places to swim and eat along the way. The coastal path is so beautiful. The written information you sent ahead of time was very useful and we used the guide and maps along the way. The accommodations were all very different and that was a pleasant surprise. We look forward to working with Encounter Walking in the future.
Got back on the weekend from walking the latest stage of the SW Coastal Path (Westward Ho to Padstow). Everything ran to clockwork and all of the B&B's were excellent (private homes & small Pubs/Hotels) so a big thank you to you both for organising such a great trip. Best regards, Roger
Thank you to Encounter Walking for organising our walk. We could not fault it. It was well organised in terms of longer walking when the terrain was flatter and shorter where it was very hilly. The book and map were good and the itinerary perfect. The B & Bs / hotels were excellent and the staff helpful. We were upgraded to sea view rooms if there was room. The Albany B & B was particularly good in Lime Regis. We thoroughly enjoyed the walking, beautiful scenery of the Jurassic Coast and the villages/towns we stayed in each night.
This was my fourth leg of the Southwest Coastal Path, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I thought Encounter Walking's preparations were really excellent.
All the b&b's & inns you had arranged were very welcoming and comfortable. And everything else, like the bag pick-up service, went like clockwork.
Your suggestions on what to look out for on the trail were very helpful. I noticed for instance that the Bronze Age stone inscriptions in Rocky Valley on Day 6 that you mentioned in your notes were not in the Trailblazer Guide, and as they (as well as the mill) were a wonderful thing to see, I was very glad for that.
I don't think I have anything to suggest, really. No major problems in terms of navigation.
I did think Tintagel was pretty dreary, for instance in terms of dinner options. Sadly, the pubs feel as if they are geared for coach parties, with food and service to match. But the hosts at the Bosayne b&b (and the room they'd given me) were lovely.
And I suppose the distances are such that it doesn't make sense to break the walk for the night either before or after that. Oh, and I can report that at least two weeks ago the diversion on Day 4 at Henna Cliff was still in place.
Otherwise, this was a summer holiday to remember. Very memorably, I was accompanied by kestrels and peregrine falcons much of the way. And of course, I was very fortunate with the weather.
Finally, a special word of thanks to Damon - I was really impressed by all your personal attention and care. I think I have four more legs of the SWCP to go, and will definitely be returning to Encounter for your help to do them! Warm regards, Carl
Dear Encounter Team,
my friend Britta and I enjoyed our walk from Penzance to Falmouth hugely and are thoroughly enchanted! The path, the people, the great views, the accommodations...everything was simply lovely. We lost the way only once, just behind Praa Sands (map 76), where we couldn't find the sign "Rinsey 2 miles". Otherwise we had no problems on the trail.
I am very sure that this was only the first of many visits for me and that I'll be back requesting another quote quite soon. Thanks for everything so far!
P.S. we even saw basking sharks on the way, what luck!????
Dear staff at Encounter Walking,
First off: we (mother mid-sixties and daughter mid-twenties) loved the trip and everything went well. The B&Bs and hotels were all very good. Luggage transfer went without a hitch. Finding the way was no problem with the materials you supplied (for one slight exception see below). All that plus the fact that you were always very responsive and have an informative website means that we will use Encounter Walking again for our next walking trip in the UK.
High points of the walk on this gorgeous trail: - Lindsway Bay near St. Ishmael's, a beautiful sandy cove all to ourselves - From Dale to Marloes Sands across the neck of the Dale peninsula - From St Justinian to White Sands Bay - Strumblehead area - A lovely forested footpath we discovered between the road to Moylgrove and the Pwll y Wrach caves on the Coast Path. The driver of the Poppit Rocket coast bus knew what we meant and dropped us at exactly the right place. - Seeing Welsh mountain ponies on the trail
High points of food and accommodation: - it was great that some of the B&Bs had reserved us tables at local pubs, which were often quite full - our favorite B&Bs were Cranog in Trefin and Fern Villa in Goodwick - best breakfast at Ramsey House in St Davids - best food was at the Rose and Crown in Goodwick, the Golden Lion Inn in Newport, and the Griffin Inn in Dale - there were vegetarian options everywhere, sometimes also vegan options
Problems (not many!): - The weather was more Mediterranean than Welsh this July. That in itself was of course wonderful, but it was very hot and mostly no shade, so we slightly regretted having chosen the "challenging" version of the walk, meaning long hot walks every day and no time to stop at the wonderful coves and beaches. We ended up using the various bus services to shorten some of the days, and that worked out fine. It was fun taking the Celtic Coaster, Strumble Shuttle, and Poppit Rocket! Anyone considering using these services should pick up the handy Pembrokeshire Coastal Bus Services timetable available at many B&Bs and do some planning, as the buses don't run very often. The B&B hosts were also a good source of information on the buses. - The tides were against us leaving Milford Haven, meaning we had to walk around the Sandy Haven estuary, which was very unpleasant. Mostly on the road, with a fair amount of traffic. We should have taken your advice and used a taxi to get around it. To make matters worse, we got lost trying to follow what looked like a footpath outside of Herbrandston and spent about an hour stumbling around in brambles trying to get back to the road. The signage in Herbrandston was sub-par, we thought.
We highly recommend the trail and the organization through Encounter Walking.
Hello Damon and team, thank you so much for managing this taylored walking holiday for us! Everything worked well, we had no problems at all!
All of our hosts were wonderful (possibly our favourites were Rosebank House in Porlock and Mellstock House in Combe Martin) and all transfers of us and our luggage were perfect and in time!
We enjoyed the combination of Coleridge way and coast path with the one daytour on 2-moors way and can recommend this to other walkers! We wondered why Coleridge way is not so well known even to local people and noticed that it is not too well marked and tends to be overgrown! This path is in our opinion worth to be in the first choice of long distance walkers, especially because of the unusual many parts heading through old and very beautiful forests and unspoilt rural countryside!
Thanks to encounter for the advice to detour to Dunkery beacon! On good weather conditions it is well worth - we didn't understand that this is not an official alternative route of Coleridge way!
We hope to come to UK again and book another walking tour with you!
I had booked a week of hiking on the South Coast Trail with Damian for my mother and 8 year old son. They absolutely loved the trip and are already talking about coming back. They were so taken by it that they convinced my sister to do the same trip this August, and Damian organized this at very short notice, too. I would truly like to express my gratitude for everything being so superbly organized: the car transfers from Bristol airport to St Ives and back from Penzance, the thoughtful choice of hotels and B&Bs, the seamless luggage transport. The guide and day-by-day program proved extremely helpful. My mother and son loved every minute of their week, and we will surely be back! Thank you again for all your effort and organizational skill! Best wishes. Judith
The walk was very good particularly the western section and the places visited en-route including Wells , Glastonbury, Cheddar, Frome added a historic dimension. The accommodation was as always very varied but very good and it was always fairly easy to find a place to eat on an evening. Luggage transfers went smoothly. It got a bit hot towards the end of the walk but that was true of most places in the UK but at least there was quite a bit of woodland shade. Thanks again Encounter for another well organised trip.
Our walk was splendid and everything was organised perfectly. With all our documentation we didn't have any bigger problems in finding our path. Walking time indicated in the booklet is rather short. We are good walkers but wouldn't like this speed to go. The way from Ferrybridge to Portland Island is tiresome. On the way back after the circle of portland Island we took the bus Nr. 1 into Wymouth The B&B in Fortuneswell called '77' is fantastic but not indicated from outside as a B&B. It took us some time to understand that 77 is just the number of the house.
This is a spectacular section of the SW path. Next time, we will start more slowly. Doing 6 hours on day 1 and 2 was a bit much, given the hot weather and humidity. The hotels and b&bs were all good, except for the New Inn in Clovelly. It's not very new.... And Clovelly becomes a bit of a ghost town in the evening. The Bush Inn in Morwenstow was our favourite. Lovely staff, nice food - not bad for an inn that dates back to the 13th century. The Hartland Quay Hotel was also nice and the location amazing, of course. Thanks for everything, we will be back!
Coleridge Way This is a really lovely walk through handsome English countryside. Encounter were very helpful with planning the walk and their suggested pace, completing the Way in four days, was just right for us. We walked from about 9.30 to 17.30 each day at a steady pace with plenty of time to admire the landscape and have swift pint if we passed and open pub in the afternoon.
We arrived in villages too late for lunch a couple of times but survived on snacks. Each day had its own character and very little time was spent on paved roads. The network of paths and bridleways , often through ancient woods, speaks of the very long farming history in this area. The last half day's walk into Lynmouth along the wooded banks of the river is the equal of any walk I know and could only be improved by arriving at the Staghunters Inn in time for lunch.
We took a rest day at the end of the Way then walked the last day of the Two Moors Way into Lynmouth. This a really lovely walk on open moorland followed by a wooded descent back to the town.
Our accommodation was often excellent and never less than adequate. Our first night in at the Old Cider House Nether Stowey was hoisted by the author of the guide to the Coleridge Way. The guesthouse was fine but the hospitality was a little underwhelming.
The Bridleside B&B in Monksilver was tricky to find but well worth the effort. We enjoyed a very warm welcome and a breakfast good enough for two days. The only restaurant in the village was closed that night and the hostess was kind enough to lend us her car to drive a few miles down the road to the next inn - exceptional.
Exmoor House in Wheddon Cross is a newly refurbished guesthouse that deserves to do very well. Our room was finished to a very high standard and the bath, with Epsom salts, was welcome after the typically "difficult second day". There is a pub directly across the road and Exmoor House has a large comfortable living room for guests to relax in. Genuinely warm hospitality from the owners and an excellent breakfast maintained the very high standard.
The Bottom Ship in Porlock Weir is a lively inn with a decent menu. The bedroom was dated and a little tired but acceptable homely overall.
We finished up at the Bath Hotel in Lynmouth which again was little old-fashioned but cosy and very friendly.
An excellent week's walking, seamlessly organised by Encounter. If you want to walk in the Southwest I can think of no reason not to go with them.
I highly recommend Encounter and their walking holidays.
* The route: the South West Coast Path is a wonderfully signposted path with lots of breathtaking views. It has quite a lot of ups and downs, because you have to cross river valleys and then climb back up again, but it is totally worth it. I have never taken so many photos on a vacation before! I loved all the nature, being so close to the sea, all the cliffs, and the very British countryside in between. I really recommend a cream tea at Bossington, near the end of the first stage from Minehead. A picnic on Great Hangman was the highlight of another day.
* The organization Encounter organized the walk meticulously. When we said that we had a child walk with us, they figured out not only a route with shorter walking days, but also managed to get us family rooms for a lot of our stays. They were very helpful in figuring out which trip to take and where to end our trip to make it easiest to get to London afterwards!
* The book and the plan They sent us a great book from Trailblazer about the walk, which I loved, because it has very detailed maps about the walk. The very detailed document about where our accommodations were and whether to get a packed lunch etc. was also immensely helpful. We really loved the tip about the tunnel baths at Ilfracombe.
* The luggage transport That went off without a hitch. I was a bit anxious the first few days, but even when we arrived pretty early, it was always all there!
* The customer service They were very friendly, helpful and detail-oriented. If I wasn't a tiny bit worried about Brexit, I would book our holiday next year with them :D
Wow, what a trip! We had a fantastic week from start to finish. Consulting both book and map, the route discribed for every day was easy to follow, and we only took a couple of small detours not worth mentioning. An extra bonus was the tides being out during walking hours, so we made use of walking along the long beautiful beaches. Thank you, EncounterWalking for organising through and through and providing all info for anything one could wish for. We sampled many Cream Teas and Fish & Chips along the way and just have to recommend one of each which were totally outstanding: Olives Cafe in St Ives for the best ever Cream Tea (don't get caught in the tourist jungle until you get there) and Sanders Fish and Chips in Hayle (even better than Rick Stein..). We are looking into another section of the path for our next holiday :)
Annemiek asked me to give your organisation feedback on our beautiful walk in Somerset.
I am glad te be able to do that.
All 3 we enjoyed the walks a lot: very differing landscapse, nice villages and almost no other walkers.
The first day walk was a bit too long for us,
In Bicknoller we discoverded a very nice detour through the fields to our B&B in Williton.
May be thats something worth mentioning in the special form you make for every walk.
Most of the time it was easy to find our way with map and the good description.
The only time we really struggled was on our way to the B&B in Woodadvent Farm.
The route to this farm is marked in a way that was very puzzling for us. Maybe there is some improvement possible.
But these are very small things in a further beautiful and very good arranged route.
We felt really taken care of by you andthe 3 of us like to thank you for that from the bottom of our hearts.
We will recommend your organisation to friends and other people who are interested in walking.
Good luck with your work
Bonjour, Nous avons parcouru durant 6 jours cette randonnée côtière sous un beau soleil ce qui ne gâte rien ! En tout 1h 30 en deux fois de petite pluie pour nous rappeler que cela existe. Tout c'est déroulé comme prévue et nos n'avons eu aucune surprise, plutôt que des bonnes, sur les hébergements proposés suivant nos demandes et les petits déjeuner toujours excellents par le coté copieux et par leurs choix. Concernant l'itinéraire parcouru il n'y avait pour nous, plutôt bon marcheur alpin, aucune difficulté. Sentier bien tracé avec la possibilité de sans échapper parfois pour des visites insolites grâce aux ouvrages fournies : carte et topo. Topo qui donne envie de revenir d’ailleurs. En ce qui concerne les transport en commun il faut savoir que les trains du matin sont réserver aux gens qui se rendent au travail avec une tarification pour les touristes très onéreuse ! Prendre un billet touristique qui permet de voyager avec le train et le bus toute une journée , utile pour ce rendre ou revenir de son point de départ ou d'arrivé. Nous ne pouvons que recommander ! Salutation de deux Français qui n'en ont jamais croisé sur le sentier ni dans les hébergements, nous étions dans un autre monde !
Thank you for your e-mail and sorry for my late reply, I got caught by work after coming home.
We had 10 wonderful hiking days, everything worked out perfectly and we were more than lucky with the weather. The hike was sometimes challenging, in particular the section from Hartland Quay to Bude, but we never had serious difficulties and enjoyed every single mile of it. Also the luggage transportation worked smoothly.
A few comments about the accomodations (I currently don't have the itinerary with me, so I can only refer to the names of the villages). The place in Westward Ho! was ok but we didn't feel overly welcome. Although the place was not fully booked we didn't get a room with a view to the sea (which unfortunately also happened in some other places, it seems that hikers usually get the rooms with a view to the backyard). Clovelly was lovely, of course, and also Hartland Quay was really charming. All other accomodations were fine, I would say that the BB in Porthcothan has somewhat small rooms (although the owners were extremely friendly) and the final hotel in Newquay was not really our cup of tea.
Once again thank you for your organization, we really enjoyed our vacations and hope that we will be able to continue our hike around Devon and Cornwall in the near future !!
Very good organisation, the way was signed very good, the accommodations were easy to find and not far away from the path. Just in Crackington Heaven at the Combe Barton Inn the rooms were very noisy. They were situated above the bar and we heard everything until they closed at 11 pm.
Thanks for the e-mail and apologies for the late reply due to other holiday commitments - no hardship!
The walk was a great success and everything ran very smoothly.
There were a few things that may be of interest to other walkers:
Combe Martin to Woolacombe - the alternative route at Mortehoe (just north of Wollacombe) has been replaced by a permanent inland route up and over Sharp Rock. It adds approximately 0.5 mile and a good climb at the end of a long day, but the views - particularly north, back towards More Point - are spectacular. Most of the signage was in form of permanent posts but there were some on bits of paper! I presume that in the meantime these have now been replaced with permanent signs. I suspect we may have been some of the earliest to pass by on this new route.
Braunton to Instow -
i. this route is almost entirely shared with the Tarka trail and whilst we were prepared for meeting a number of cyclists we were not expecting quite so many, presumably because it was a Saturday. Most were as accommodating as we were in making good space on the trail. A few were not! We would suggest avoiding this section of the trail at week-ends.
ii. because the trail is so flat it is easily possible to make Instow in time for lunch, where shortly before entering the village, behind the dunes, there is a fantastic beach shack - The Glorious Oyster - which does fantastic food. Well worth passing some of the busier places and pressing on to get here for your lunch stop and spending the afternoon in the beautiful village of Instow.
3. Instow Barton farmhouse B&B - this B&B is rather special and whilst Encounter did mention in the itinerary that evening meals were available in a small restaurant, which could become busy and booked up, we ourselves did not book as we were not aware of what to expect in terms of the standard. Had we known the quality of the B&B and that the hosts were both formerly private chefs, we would most certainly have done so. As it was the restaurant was indeed fully booked for our stay and we missed out. It would be worth raising the profile of the B&B and in particular the restaurant/chefs so that other walkers won’t make the same mistake!
Other than that just a big thanks for everything. We shall be in touch shortly to arrange our next leg for 2019.
We enjoyed our week of walking the South West Coast Path. The views were spectacular, our accommodations were lovely, and our luggage was transferred smoothly. We were lucky with the weather and had no rain whatsoever. I think the Coast Path would be scary if wet. The path goes frighteningly near in places to the edges of cliffs. My only real complaint is that I could have used more help navigating the very confusing Great Western Railroad website. I inadvertently bought twice as many train tickets as I needed and am now struggling to file a refund claim. Also, I did not know that Penzance is the end of the line and that a spur connects St. Ives to the main-line at St. Erth.
Encounter Walking: Sorry to hear about GWR (the train operators) they have been having some troubles with their website this summer. We are always happy to try and advise on travel if you ask us. For future reference a good overview of the train, air and ferry routes and options can be seen on this link We also provide details on the quotes on how to get to the start and from the end of your walk.
We had a lovely time. It was all very well organised and weather was glorious and we swam everyday. High points stackpole estate and allenbrooks in dale. Lower points crown hotel in pembroke thank you.
Dear Organizers of encounter Walking Holidays,
Thank you so much for planning our walking holiday! My husband and I had a wonderful trip - It was much better than expected.
The waether was wonderful, maybe its little too warm and also unusual for England.
The hike became more beautiful from day to day.
Also the accommodations.
Just for your future hints on hikes, I would like to give you also the few not quite optimal things.
We drove from London to Totness by train. From there is only the possibility to reach Ivybridge by taxi (start of the hike).
As is well known by the German Railway in hot weather, that the air conditioning fails, so it was also on the train to Totness. But the British railway immediately offered us free water.
At the train station in Totness there is unfortunately no taxi on site, but you can request a taxi by the telephone number you provided in the itinerary plan.
The accommodation in the Sportsman's Inn still has a lot of potential.
During the hike through Dartmoor to Scorriton we lost our way. The signage is very poor and you have to be very careful. Here our Garmin was very helpful.
The accommodation "The Tradesmans Arms" and the meals there were wonderful. Thanks a lot to Kevin und Suzy.
The hike from there to Widecombe in the moor was fantastic.
Lots of green, shadows and beautiful streams.
The accommodation was very clean. The landlady had served us a very nicely prepared breakfast.
The village is very nice to look at and there are very nice cafes and restaurants and a very nice restaurant with garden to relax.
Also the next hike to Drewsteignton through Celtic settlements was very nice, but very long, so that we stopped in Chagford.
A very nice village.
The accommodation "Drewe Arms" has been already extraordinary; a very old house and proper.
That evening, England played against Croatia and we watched TV together with the villagers and hoped soooo much that England would win.....
The hike to Morchard Road was very strenuous as there was a lot to go on asphalt. Also, the lead in West Ford was not to be found.
We were rewarded with a comfort accommodation in "The Dewonshire Dumpling" and a very nice breakfast there. We tried for the first time black pudding, because we had a friendly chef from Scotland. Black Pudding is Delicious!
Followed a really easy tour to Witheridge.
A nice little old hotel "The Mitre Inn"with a friendly landlady, good dinner and Super good breakfast.
On the occasion, there were at most accommodations also gluten-free breakfast.
Also the next tour to Knowstone was not long but strenuous because of the long sections on asphalt.
For us "Rosemary Cottage"' was the best B&B on the tour. It was really all perfect.
And what a surprise in such a small village, a restaurant with Michelin star.
We enjoyed it so much! Unforgettable.
Due to the effect of my broken toe, I couldn' t walk the long way. So the luggage driver was so kind to take a piece of the car with us, so we could shorten the rather long route. I was so happy about it. And we could enjoy Tarr Steps.
Julian and Polly awaited us in Withypool "Westerclose House Cottage". They gave us an apartment so we had a nicer view of the landscape. Everything was perfect. The only restaurant in the place was very rustic.
The way to Simonsbath was pretty nice.
"Exmoor Forest Inn" was a very comfortable hotel. The food there did not correspond to this elegant hotel.
The next day we went with respect to the last long stage.
To our astonishment the track was very entertaining and varied.
The steep climb to the cliffs and the descent to Lynmouth was simply a great conclusion to the hike.
Nice hotel with a small room but with very good restaurant and very good breakfast.
The return to the airport by taxi, local bus and coach takes a long time but works very well.
Finally, we would like to emphasize again how beautiful we felt the hikes and how many beautiful impressions we have gained from the land and the people.
We can recommend the Two Moors Way to everyone.
Thank you very much.
Ursula und Gerhard
First of all I thank you very much for the good organisation.
Everything worked very well.
We had excellent weather. In the 18 walking days we had no rain!
The accommodations were mostly very good. The cricket in in Besands was excellent. In Dartmouth the room was good and big but the breakfast room and the breakfast kitchen was a bit dingy. In Salcombe we had a room in the cellar without a window, which was smelling a bit cause of the humidity.
We would like to start earlier with the walk, but breakfast is not available before 8.30..9.00. But this is in England a fact, which cannot be changed.
As we go for breakfast with other clothes than we walk, we need to change after breakfast. This means that the suitcase is not ready for pick up before 9….9.30 am. In Besands the taxi driver was too early, but he gave us enough time.
Finding the path on the coastal path is no problem together wirth the map you delivered. On the two moors way in the Dartmoor I had twice a problem. With the map and the gps on the handy I could finaly find the way. Whre the sheeps go through in groups it seems to be a path but is not the right way. A bit more Indicaters, such as poles in the field is not very expensive but very helpful in places where you have on the map just white fields.
The day by day description of the whole walk was very helpful. Especially the indications for refreshments, check in, distance and grade of walk and dinner were very helpful.
It was a wonderful walk, well organized. If we come again to the coast path then we book again over encounterwalkingholidays.
With my best regards
Wonderful walk along the Cornish Coast. Great combination of scenic beauty, interesting villages and fun pubs each night. Some of the days did get a bit long, but that was primarily due to hot and sunny weather that was unusual for the area. The organization of the trip was superb and it was very nice to have the bags transferred each day. The day to day text prepared by Encounter Walking Tours was very helpful. The book and detailed maps they provided were essential to making decisions from time to time. Don't be afraid to try the local ales, lagers, bitters and ciders in the pubs, they were a wonderful highlight each night. Food in this region is unique and very good ranging from simple fare to sophisticated and the people we met were very welcoming and fun. We both look forward to hiking in Cornwall in the future and look forward to working with Encounter Walking Holidays again.
We completed our hike , all went well, thank you.
We now have completed the SWCP & feel a great sense of accomplishment
We also quickly reached the conclusion that we dont do hills so well anymore! At 74 & 68yrs.
We found this stretch of coast far harder than the rest of Cornwall. The cliffs & hills were enormous & a bit much for us at times so we became familiar with the excellent bus system on the harder bits!
So maybe for older folk like us it may be useful to warn them how steep some of the paths are & maybe not so much fun.
Overrall it was most spectacular but those last couple of miiiiiiiles seemed to stretch forever.
Thankyou for your organisation & we certainly will be walking again but a bit flatter!
Pip & Chris
Hi Damon A great big thank you to you and the whole team of Encounter Walking Holidays. We had a great walk, the weather was fantastic with sunshine and blue skies every day (who would have thought that our warm jumpers would stay in the suitcase!).
Our accommodations were great too all the way through: The Cambrian Inn in Solva, Ramsey House in St. Davids (2 nights), Cranog in Trefin (2 nights) and Manor Town House in Fishguard (my personal favourite), Teifi Netpool Inn in St Dogmaels. They made us all feel very welcome and at home and provided us with excellent breakfasts so that we were fit to tackle the next stage of our walk. Each one of them was great in a different way and had something special.
Your instructions on the itinerary were faultless. Luckily we didn't need any buses or taxis but it was all there should we have needed it. We mainly used the OS map and the small booklet for the towns. Your instructions to get to the B&Bs were excellent as well.
I personally would have preferred just a small print out of the map with the accommodation marked on it, but that is just me. I prefer maps to reading instructions while walking : )
As to food we were well catered for everywhere: The Cambrian Inn in Solva, The Bishop's at St Davids, The Golden Lion Inn in Newport and the Teifi Netpool Inn in St. Dogmaels to name a few (inspite of me being the difficult one on a vegan diet).
The path was well marked in most places. Just in towns we needed to make sure to consult the map or the booklet before walking off in the wrong direction. The path was well maintained apart from some remote areas ie between Pwell Deri and Fishguard, Fishguard and Newport,Newport and St Dogmaels where we had to walk through high vegetation up to our chests sometimes where the path was barely visible. We had clear skies but I imagine with poor visibility that could become a problem.
All in all we had a fantastic walk. It will be a walking holiday to remember for good that I can only recommend especially if you like to walk in remoter areas with fewer people. We were glad that Damon recommended to split Trefin - Fishguard. It would have been too much especially followed by a 16 miles walk on the last day. Thanks again.
We [John, Erica, Hannah] walked the Saints Way 3rd to 5th July with a night in Padstow on the 2nd and a night in Fowey on the 5th to return home on 6th. We walked with our dog Samson. It was hot which did diminish things a little and slowed us down.
There was no problems with baggage transfers. Using the map supplied ensures the route is easy to follow - in places the way marking is absent but only in one place mentioned below did we have a slight problem.
Public transport to and from Padstow and Fowey proved easy - we used the train to and from Devon. The bus journey from Bodmin Parkway to Padstow is an hour and enjoyable in itself. It is a short bus journey from Fowey to Par station - be aware the bus stop is not obviously the station stop.
As we were travelling with our dog one measure was how dog friendly places were. We stayed in the Ship Inn in Padstow which was very dog friendly as is the town in general. The evening meal was good. Although the Inn supplied us with a packed lunch we were told they did not normally do this though we had been advised they did on a pre walk information.
The route from Padstow to Hustyns Country Park was fairly easy to follow. The longstone on St Breock Down is worth the slight detour. There is a sense in places that the footpaths are just about tolerated by some landowners with crops right to edge of fields and liquid muck spreading right to field edge but in general the way marking is clear. We were aware that Hustyns was a trial as it has newly opened. The positives is that we swam in the pool and it was air conditioned. However the reception struggled to answer our questions at times probably because they had not been asked them before. It was dog tolerant but, for example, there are no bins in the grounds. At breakfast we were allowed the dog with us. We were not offered anything cooked though there was continental style buffet. We were very clearly told they do not do packed lunches though we had been advised they did on our pre walk information.. The restaurant is not open as yet. Encounter Holidays organised a taxi to take us to Ring of Bells in St Issey. Mike from Ocean Taxi's was great - dead on time, friendly and helpful. The pub was good - it was the night of England vs Columbia and there was a good atmosphere, prompt service and we enjoyed the meal [home made puddings excellent]
We were warned by Encounters of the slight problems with the route across the fields after Hustyns, This is because the stile over the field boundary in one place is not where the map locates it - however as you cannot cross where the route goes on the map you end up at the field gate where the stile is anyway and then head across the next field for the wind turbine. The church in Withiel is worth a visit. Lanivet has a shop and toilets. Unfortunately after Reperry Cross [do not miss the old waysigns and cross] there is a bit of unpleasant road walking to St Ingunger Farm. The road is busy with cars driving fast and you have to swap sides several times to ensure cars see you.
We enjoyed Helman Tor though the path afterwards was hot and fly infested but would have been pleasant at other times. The paths around the nature reserves are signposted but seemed overgrown when we diverted to see the Longhouse. We stayed at Lanlivery - another church to visit - and the pub was dog friendly with good food and they supplied a basic packed lunch.
The third day was very hot but we enjoyed most of the walk. Golant is an absolute must to stop in and the church was wonderful. The last bit into Fowey along the B3269 was again unpleasant due to traffic. We enjoyed Fowey. We stayed in The Well House which was probably the pick of the accommodation. Very dog friendly and the cafe is excellent. We did the short Hall Walk before leaving on the 6th and this is certainly worth it if you have time.
We just got back from a great week on the SWCP. Thanks for organising it all for us.
We especially liked the Driftwood Spars, Tinners Arms in Zennor and Cornerways in St Ives. I have to say the rooms at the Mad Hatter in Hayle and Honeydew in Penzance were a little "snug" for two adults, never mind the dog! The Esplanade in Newquay was "dog tolerant" rather than dog friendly I'd say and a bit coach party oriented for our taste.
Steve & Sue (& Ziggy)
Thank you very much for organizing such a wonderful walking holiday. The routes were exactly described, the accommodations just perfect selected; and the weather was more than fine, nearly too hot for walking, we appreciated a little drizzle in between. Quite strenuous for us were the diversion between Porthleven and Lizard (1,5 h extra). But that is probably owed to our condition. We came back yesterday, having spent some extra days in London and with relatives, and we are already looking forward to the next part of the walk (Lizard to ...). Thanks again!!!
We had a wonderful 8 days walk. Everything went smoothly and all accommodation clean and comfortable. Fantastic stop at Woolacombe Bay Hotel with nice restaurant and also 'old school'charm at the Commodore in Instow. Dinner B&B well worth it and great view from restaurant. Weather was beautiful and we had no problems with the route and came across no issues. Lovely beaches to paddle before climbing the cliffs again. Quite long days on this section. Trailblazers guide books excellent as always. Thanks for organising once again and three more sections left to complete the SWCP.
I just wanted to say thank you as the organisation was excellent, accommodation and breakfasts were very good, the hosts were always very welcoming and friendly, the rooms were clean and comfortable, fresh linen, and generally a good choice of breakfasts on offer. Luggage transfers went well, the luggage was always waiting on time and transferred in good condition.
The walks are challenging and enjoyable and the views speak for themselves,
The walk toward Rock and especially the view of the estuary approaching Padstow was spectacular it must be one of the standout views on this section of the costal path.
An unexpected surprise was the fern pit ferry crossing, a pleasant walk down the hillside toward the ferry, to see wonderful views of the estuary and then once crossed onto mountainous sand dunes.
So overall it was a very good challenging, enjoyable walk from our point of view, which we intend to continue in the coming years.
It was very well organised by yourselves, prompt patient customer service from the initial enquiry through to confirming everything had been booked, communication was spot on.
Our walk progressed very smoothly with accommodation spot on and luggage transfers extremely efficient. Encounter informed all our accommodation of special dietary requirements which were successfully met at each overnight stop. The itinerary and the books provided were really helpful. It’s worth noting that the coast path signposting in this area is a bit variable. Although all accommodation was clean and suitable, top marks go to Sea Tang guest house in Brixham, Dukes in Sidmouth and the Albany Guest House in Lyme Regis. This is our second holiday organised by Encounter and we’ve been delighted with the service received.
Just wanted to write a quick email to thank you and the rest of the team at Encounter for organising a wonderful trip, we ended up with exactly what we had hoped for, everything ran perfectly, we didn’t have to give any thought to anything aside from enjoying the trip.
I would thoroughly recommend you to anyone that is interested at organising a trip. Thanks again.
Regarding the walk as a whole, we were more impressed with the West Mendip Way than the East. We loved Wells and Cheddar Gorge and gave Wookey Hole a wide berth due to the "hundreds" of small children running around!
We had fabulous weather, a bit too hot for walking, but not complaining.
Accommodation was pretty good and hosts friendly and helpful. Special mention to the Penscot Inn who put us in their coolest room, which was much appreciated.
Regarding walk notes, there is an error in the West Mendip script. At Loxton the notes say "on reaching the road turn right...." actually you need to turn left. There is no waymark on the junction to help either.
Coming out of Wells for about a mile all the waymarks have been broken off. You can see little bits of plastic where they should be. Presumably this is vandalism, but we found the way after a short diversion. Route was very overgrown in places particularly the first couple of miles after Shepton Mallet. A number of fields in this area have had the footpaths ploughed over and planted out, so very heavy going.
Our highlights were the lovely City of Wells and walking from Crook Peak to Wavering Down. The views are wonderful.
Thanks for all your arrangements, everything worked like clockwork as usual
Maggie and Pat
I find it easier to write our feedback in an email....feel free to quote any of it on your website.
We did manage to get lost a few times. Sometimes this was due to our stupidity, sometimes a lack of markers and sometimes we just misread the instructions.
Below are a few points that I can remember....
Went wrong between Numbers 20 and 21 due to a lack of signposts and high vegetation. Could not match up instructions and resorted to compass bearings.
Number 55 Instruction is confusing - says take the path straight across field to gate in corner opposite. There is no path. Should say keep to the right of the field and look for the gate in corner.
Number 71 Could not see footpath into field on our right and the field was full of cows and lively young calves so went on yellow road to lower court farm.
Signpost at number 143 is broken
All our accommodation was good..... have put a comment against each one
Old Cider House - Comfortable B&B
The Masons Arms - Good pub and restaurant with well appointed and quiet rooms in annexe attached to pub.
The Valliant Soldier - Characterful pub with restaurant right on the Coleridge Way. Large room and bathroom.
The Rest and be Thankful - Inn with popular local restaurant and carvery. Very good food.
Locanda on the Weir - Loved our room with a view and the fabulous shower room. Beautifully decorated lounge and bar area. Hosts could not have been friendlier.
Staghunters Inn - Traditional Inn beside the river. Very good food in bar and breakfast in the dining room overlooking the garden.
Rising Sun Hotel - Row of old buildings above harbour housing the Hotel, bar and restaurant. Fish and Chips excellent. Our room was a wee bit small with no room to open out our cases and stuff but the shower room was well appointed.
Taxi arrived dead on time and it was great to get a lot of local info from the driver on our way back to Nether Stowey.
Highlights of our trip definitely the pubs / restaurants which were consistently good - no bad experiences at all. I drank Thatchers Cider Gold and Peter had the local Ale at every pub visited.
My favourite was the Lorna Doone Inn at Malmsmead. We were very hot and tired at this point so the Crabbies Ginger Beer suggested was just fantastic. The food is also excellent.
The only problem we had was that we were walking in a heatwave and there is nothing Encounter could do about that. On Sunday we walked in the heat in the morning and then got soaked in the afternoon so arrived at the Rest and be Thankful like a couple of drowned rats. At least the heat meant everything was dried out by the morning.
The path is very overgrown in parts. The bracken is really tall and the last couple of days the horse flies were a real pain.
The views are really good.... you just have to remember to look back after you get to the top of the hill..... the heat haze meant we did not see Wales clearly the first couple of days which is obviously a bit unusual.
We got our certificate at Lynmouth and saw a video of the walk. You need to tell people to ask for the video. We really enjoyed it.
Hope this has been helpful.
Quick note to let you know everything went well. transfers and accommodations were all very good. Marcia at Peaches and folks here at Gloucester House were especially nice.
Lulworth was worth the extra effort.
Doug and Mary Ellen
This was our 2nd walk with Encounterwalking. Again perfect organisation, good information, good communication. The route was tailor made to our wishes. Good to very good accomodation. Blue sky throughout the whole week. As it got warmer and warmer and as we could not escape the sun we came to our limits and called a taxi on two occasions. Thank you for providing "telephone numbers for tired walkers"
The following tip may be helpful: the recommendation was to use the car park in Pensance. As we started in Marazion, we asked the parking attandents of St. Michael´s Mount parking. They allowed us to use the car park close to the village. It was even cheaper.
Rather annoying was that the path was in parts overgrown with grass, fern and other plants up the the breast and even higher (especially between Marazion and Porthleven and between Mawnan Smith and Helford Passage). These parts were very difficult and strenous to walk, especially as it was so hot, and one could hardly see the ground. Maybe Encounterwalking can use its influence and experience so that the cutting back of vegetation is done earlier (I have read the information on the coast path website but I think they can do better).
To sum it up: walking on the coast path is an unforgettable and wonderful experience (it was our 4th walk) especially when it is perfectly organised. Thank you, Damon!
Max and I completed the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path yesterday and want to say a huge thank you to you guys for all the organising you did making the holiday so easy and enjoyable. There were no hiccups and we really loved it all, the weather has been fantastic and all the different accommodation was interesting. So thanks once again
We're back and wanted to let you know that we had a great time and everything worked very well. We were so glad we'd planned for more days and shorter walks as it meant that despite the heat we actually coped remarkably well, usually arriving between 2-3pm leaving us plenty of time to cool down and relax every day. And there was always a breeze plus lots of sections in the shade.
All the accommodation was a very good standard and our hosts often went out of their way to make us welcome even when we arrived early desperate for shade and a drink! We were lucky enough to get a table at the Mason's Arms in Knowstone which was a first Michelin star experience for us and really wonderful. The ploughman's supper at Drewsteignton was epic and it was one of our favourite stops! And there was no problem checking in later at West Bowden Farm - we arrived in Knowstone by (late) lunchtime and spent the afternoon in the Mason's Arms and village.
And our two luggage transporters - Robert and Jim were lovely - so friendly and helpful. The route was mostly very well signed and a joy to walk (even the boggy bits were firm and dry!); although in the central section there were two padlocked gates and a few missing signs.
So thank you for all your arrangements - it made this sort of walking holiday possible (even luxurious) for two sixty something year olds!
Sheila and Tony
The only slight hitch on our reverse and first day walk of the Saints Way was finding the signs on the other side of everything and most overgrown with plants due to the warm summer !We battled a bit crossing fields looking for signs but all in all the contour maps helped a lot. Had to remember we were in the northern hemisphere and not the south!!!!
Thanks for your advice. I have used Contour before (West Highland Way) but just wanted to say I thought you guys were the best and nothing was left to chance!!!!
Thank you again for a wonderful trip and will def recommend you!!!!Maybe even do another walk in Cornwall !
Dartmoor is a wonderful place to enjoy the countryside and get some fresh air. We had terrible misty, foggy weather in June, but still loved it.
We had a lovely time! We even managed to find pubs where we could watch most of the WC-games. All accommodations were very nice and we felt very welcome every where. The views at St Agnes was astonishing (although I am a bit afraid of heights). We will surely recommend this route to other Swedes, and of course arranged by Encounter Walking!
Route: The Coleridge Way
Names: Richard and Tangea
Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable, if challenging, experience. In terms of the smooth organisation of accommodation and luggage transfers (recommended), supplying maps, route notes, taxi numbers (very helpful!) and answering all questions without delay, Encounter were great. We mislaid our route notes and were impressed by the speed with which the link was emailed to our accommodation before breakfast one morning.
Accommodation: Generally very good. We found several hosts particularly helpful: Ian and Lynne at the Old Cider House, Mike at the Valiant Soldier and Stephen and Margaret at the Sundial all went out of their way to help us.
Suggestions: At times, a compass would have been very helpful. Some indication of how long a stretch from one marker to the next (i.e. a hundred yards or a mile) would also take the stress out of some situations.
Weather: Sublime -- in the main between 25 -27. Came back to a cold and rainy Perth, WA, with a suntan!
We will definitely recommend your company to any friends considering a walk in southern England.
Hello everyone at encounter!
It just occurred to me that we have been enjoying our walking vacation but have not even told you that! Or thanked you for putting it all together for us.
Thank you! It’s all worked seamlessly so far with no reason to believe that our last four days will be any different.
We truly appreciate your work and are also extremely appreciative of the weather you’ve arranged for us! AMAZING!
Cynthia & all
Better late than never! So here comes our feedback.
Again, we had a wonderful time on the SWCP back in June and the weather really was good to us. Apart from the bit from Babbacombe to Exmouth, where we were caught in a thunderstorm and heavy rain, we had almost always dry conditions on the path and the temperature was perfect for hiking. We also managed the walk from Cape Cornwall to Porthcurno and Penzance to Marazion, on which we missed out on our first time on the SWCP. So, by now we have covered the whole part of the SWCP from Minehead to Exmouth.
The luggage transfer was impeccable and we always found our heavy bags already in our room, when we arrived at the accommodation, no matter which floor.
All accommodations were of appropriate and good quality and we got on very well with our hosts. We just want to point out some of them, because we simply felt especially lucky to have been there.
The BRIDGESIDE GUESTHOUSE – to be honest, the house itself from outside doesn’t look very inviting, mainly due to the run down semi-detached building on the right. BUT the Guesthouse itself was immaculate as was our room and we felt very welcomed and perfectly well looked after.
Our stay at the WHITSAND BAY HOTEL clearly was an extraordinary one, because it reflects exactly that typical English atmosphere, very often shown in Hitchcock movies or Rosamunde Pilcher television films mainly set in Cornwall, which are, unfortunately, not very well-known in England itself.
The walk through Plymouth was a tough one and we were very happy to finally arrive at the IMPERIAL to find ourselves staying in a huge room with a separate entrance – it was a very welcomed treat.
We’d have loved to prolong our stay at the WORSWELL BARTON FARMHOUSE – it couldn’t have been more different to our stay in Plymouth, but it was exactly what we needed back then. The scenery was spectacular, lots of animals and Jackie spoilt us with the most delicious breakfast *yummy*.
The THURLESTONE HOTEL was without doubt the most luxury treat of our whole hiking holiday and we enjoyed every single minute. We were amazed to see all those luxury cars in the hotel car park. When we were asked to state the registration number of our car at the check-in, we told the receptionist, that we’ve come all the way from Fowey on foot – she was quite amazed too.
Beesands was delightful and not only due to the fact that there was more or less no possibility for refreshments all day long. We had the most gorgeous room at THE CRICKET INN, overlooking the pebble beach and the sea and we could watch it from our bed. The food was excellent and it’s certainly worthwhile to visit again just to enjoy a wonderful meal.
Brixham was another wonderful place we’d have loved to spend more time. The SEA TANG GUEST HOUSE is very much recommended, we really loved it there, we got on so well with Chris and Claire and again we were spoilt with hospitality.
Last but not least we had a wonderful stay at the WARWICK HOUSE in Penzance. The breakfast, prepared by the ‘chef’ Chris, was just delicious. We even got an early bird breakfast on the day of our departure.
Please, don’t get me wrong, all the accommodations were perfectly fine and everything was ok, but those mentioned above are just standing out, at least to us.
We managed several river crossings without missing any ferries.
All in all we had a wonderful time and we enjoyed every single day. We had lots of encounters with wildlife as foxes, rabbits, birds of prey as well as sea birds and my husband was attacked twice by a seagull - the second one even managed to steal his muesli bar *lol*.
THANK YOU ALL for your help and the accurate work you do, preparing and organizing our hiking holidays.
We still have a few miles left to cover until we reach Poole Harbour and we’ll be in touch again.
a fantastic walk and all went according to plan. some noteable accommodations - Brynteg B & B in Manorbier, Clock House in Marloes and Anchor Guest House in Broad Haven. We visited Skomer, not on the intended day due to winds. (we walked to Broad Haven ...and back instead!) Yes you do need to get to the booking office very early (6ish). The Clock house supply excellent packed breakfasts to make this possible). Their packed lunches are amazing too. They don't do evening food as suggested in the notes but the lobster pot was superb! All in all a great holiday and we'll be back next year (hopefully) to complete the whole walk. thank you Encounter for yet another fabulous holiday (5th)!
A wonderful experience!
The staff at Encounter Walking were truly excellent. They arranged a great trip for us with relatively little notice (about 2 months, during the high season).
We were satisfied with all of the BnBs they recommended, and the luggage transfers were totally seamless.
My husband and I are relatively young and fit, but we're not terribly experienced walkers, and we found the trip from St. Ives to Penzance (spread over 5 days) challenging in just the right way. The terrain was always varied, with gorgeous clifftop views, fascinating old mining buildings, and some fun scrambles over boulders. I'm not good with heights, but I never had any problems; the trail is usually quite far from the cliff edge. Zennor was a particular highlight: it's absolutely beautiful, quiet, and isolated.
No cell signal, but the accommodation was wonderful and had great wi-fi. Excellent food too! We also loved getting a cream tea at Porthgwarra. We weren't expecting such a lovely little teahouse tucked away in the valley!
For people wondering about the level of professional equipment and fitness necessary, I did the trip in trainers/running shoes. Although it was fine, when things were damp I was really wishing that I had proper hiking boots with better grip and ankle support. Poles might also have been helpful, although not necessary.
We also brought a good store of snacks, since places to restock provisions and water and/or to have lunch weren't always readily available. In one case we did not make dinner reservations in time and missed the chance to get a full meal, but peanut butter and crackers did the job! You also have to be somewhat savvy: there were a few points on the trail that weren't super well marked (especially in the old mines right near Pendeen, when you can get off course), and at another point we had to barge through a herd of cows that were blocking the path.
Confidence, judgement, and a generally good level of fitness and agility are important. Thanks to Encounter Walking Holidays, I'm already dreaming of my next trip to Cornwall!
My wife and I went hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path from Solva to Cardigan. Usually organizing our biking and walking holidays on our own, this time we decided to choose the service of an travel agency. Encounterwalkingholidays was a superb choice. Communication via e-mail was ever so easy. The recommended accomodation were excellent; Cranog B&B in Trefin, Manor Town House in Fishguard and the Old Vicarage in Moylegrove are most outstanding. As the weather was unexpectedly very good almost without any rain, the Hiking experience in Wales was one of the most relaxind vacations for the last couple of years.
Wonderful walk, sublime weather, perfect organisation. Accomodation (B&B, pub, hotel ..)very good Route notes by Encounter Walking of St Michaels way are perfect. Thank you very much , we had a beautiful walking holiday
Greetings — I cannot say enough about how much we loved our hike — we have worked with two other companies in the UK — and Encounter, far and away, is our favorite.
The walking instructions were fantastic. And the good news is we discovered Pimms at one of the oceanside restaurants — the bar attendant convinced one of us that a jug was cheaper than two glasses — my husband made it up the next hill, Pimms powered!
This was a truly remarkable hike – one of our best in the UK. Working with the team at Encounter was simply a delight [DE-M was lead trip planner this time]. My sense is that you research and know the innkeepers well – and it is evident.
One general comment from us. In five inns, one or both of our rooms were on the third floor. We annotate below. This prompted us to think about our next trip and inquiring about first or second floor rooms and the differential cost – if reasonable, we are willing to upgrade.
The notes associated with our hike were wonderful and very explicit. We appreciated the highlights and found delicious Pimms and beer for mid-day breaks. Thanks. Luggage transfers were perfect.
Toby and Nikki were delightful and excellent hosts. The back yard of the Inn was most enjoyable. Breakfast delicious and great location to the harbor. Would stay again in a heartbeat.
Eypes Mouth Country Hotel
A little less personal than the other B and Bs on our route. Rooms were moderate but absolutely clean. Nice pub at hotel and very good food. The opportunity to watch the fox hunt rabbits on the hillside across the road from the hotel was great.
Fun B&B. One of our rooms was on the 3rd floor. This would have been a good one to swap for a second floor room. Breakfast was excellent. Jonathan was charming and had a good sense of humor.
77a Fortuneswell - Portland
Mark and Jo were awesome. They even set the dining room table so we could bring in dinner. Excellent location. We had a third floor room here that was perfectly acceptable. Wide stairs ascending, lots of windows, just lovely.
Upon reflection, here is where we could have stayed two nights in lieu of staying Weymouth. We hiked around the Is. of Portland and could have easily gone back to 77a Fortuneswell. Yes, the hike from Portland to Lulworth the next day would have been longer, but we stayed in Lulworth for two nights so we could recover. The walk from Portland to Weymouth is flat.
Cunard Guest House - Weymouth
Sam greeted us warmly and was efficient in helping us get settled. The third floor rooms were meticulous – but I worried about quickly leaving if necessary. Here we would have swapped for 2nd floor rooms, if possible. We had a lovely dinner in Weymouth and breakfast was fine (ranked lowest among our B&Bs).
Cove House in Lulworth
I must admit, we compared every inn to this one! Justin and Mandy set the highest standard and achieve it! I remember Damen remarking about the Cove House when we were planning the trip. We had two third floor rooms here that were perfectly acceptable. Enjoyed two nights. On a side note, one of us had to leave early due to a death in his immediate family, and Justin and Mandy were most helpful in arranging his transport to Windsor. We really enjoyed the local pub – food was delicious.
Mariners Guest House in Poole
Poole is a big town! After we got off the ferry we took a bus the Mariners Guest House. Yvonne was special. One of our rooms was up the steep stair case – and hauling the luggage down was challenging. She was having problems with one of the showers in a room, so we figured out an alternative room arrangement. She served breakfast early to accommodate our travel plans. When the taxi did not arrive on schedule, Yvonne drove me to the train station.
All warm wishes to you and everyone with whom we interacted — we look forward to next year’s hike.
I received an excellent service all round from Encounter Walking: they were so helpful, gave good advice and were accommodating of my specific requests through the entire planning and booking stages.
I'm something of a novice walker over long distances so wanted to take it easy, and I'd say this route is not too strenuous and doesn't require more than an average level of fitness.
The luggage transfers worked like a dream.
Encounter's notes on diversions were detailed and saved me from getting lost; it's really worth following them closely in conjunction with the OS map. The Dean Quarry diversion after Coverack would be tricky without such good notes to help (I met a French lady - not walking with Encounter's help - who'd ended up in St Keverne and had had to be given a lift to Porthallow by a helpful local resident). I did find the route around Gillan Creek a bit difficult: coast path signs are few and far between and often not easy to spot.
The Trailblazer map helped a little but didn't always resemble what I saw on the ground. I did get the sense that farmers didn't go out of their way to make it easy for walkers. I didn't expect to St Michael's Mount to be anything other than touristy but it is a wonderful place (not least because the St Aubyn family have kept the excesses of the NT in check), and I happily spent a whole day there. Also unexpected were the gardens at Trebah, and again I spent the whole day here: the beach can't be reached from the coast path, so if the weather is good, take swimming stuff: it is truly beautiful. It's certainly worth planning rest days with things like this in mind.
Best tea and ice cream and cake stop? The Fat Apples Cafe on the approach to Porthallow. The best beer? The Ship Inn Porthleven. Best G&T? Curio Rock Samphire Gin at the Polurrian Bay Hotel. Best kept secret? Rinsey Cove. Quirkiest place to stay? The Artists' Residence, Penzance. By complete chance, I ended up in Falmouth over the 2018 Sea Shanty Festival: fantastic (free) live music all over the town. What an atmosphere, and what a great way to end a great trip.
Dear everyone at Encounter Walking,
I just wanted to thank you for helping with the organisation of my retirement celebration walk along the Cornish coast. Everything worked extremely well, and the whole experience did just what I wanted it to do. The luggage transfers went smoothly, the accommodation was great, and all the info and notes you gave me with my itinerary were invaluable.
This was particularly true of the diversions. I met a couple of walkers who had got lost on those inland diversions either side of Coverack, and while I can't say that I didn't put a foot wrong, your pointers helped enormously and I (barely!) strayed from the path - all useful map reading practice anyway!
All of the diversions in my itinerary are still in place as you have described. The one near Loe Bar is a tad frustrating as judging by the OS map, the NT could make this a much shorter diversion if they so wished, but there is no indication that they plan to do this. That said, the diversion is well signposted and a beautiful walk in itself. The sign at the start of the diversion says that work will begin on the repair to the path at the beginning of July (with no indication of how long it is likely to take).
Encounter Walking: Glad to say the diversion here was removed on Sept 1st after a new section of trail was built to deal with the cliff fall. Walkers are now back on the original route with no detour !
Thanks once again. This walk has certainly inspired me in so many ways, and I have lost count of the number of people who have expressed a desire to do something similar.
Very best wishes,
You asked for any feedback on our accommodation on the Coleridge Way and our 2 days coastal walk from Lynmouth to Minehead.
The CW was very quiet - we only met one other person doing the trail (and they were only scouting out a one-day section prior to bringing a group later in the year), and one rider (there is a slightly different route for those on horseback). We loved the solitude.
The route is lovely, and passes through a variety of types of landscape: crop-growing areas, livestock farms, mixed woodland, beautiful rivers and streams. We did the CW over 4 days without any difficulty (we are both nearly 70). The coastal path was busier, mainly with people doing short sections with their dogs - but still by no means crowded. Again, we found it very manageable.
A few other comments: We were both pleased not to be walking alone, as there were a number of points where two heads were needed to figure out the correct route. At times, the OS map, way markers and walking notes were all at odds with each other. Even so, we did go wrong a couple of times. Also, the distances noted on the way-markers can be quite confusing, and dispiriting, as they sometimes increase rather than decreasing! We had a wonderful week, ate lots of wonderful seafood, and found nearly all the B&Bs very welcoming and friendly.
One final comment: I'm sure that we are not the only walkers who like to get out on the path relatively early - but many places only start breakfast at 8.30am and some even later. Perhaps this could be discussed with them?
We hope that these comments are useful. Overall, we had an absolutely wonderful week, and are extremely grateful to Encounter for all your help.
We really enjoyed our walk. We were incredibly lucky with the weather on the Coleridge Way, and only had one torrential downpour on the Coastal Path.
Rich and Damon
Many thanks for your excellent organisation of a great trip for us.
All went very well.
The walk from West Bay to Abbotsbury encounters some very unpleasant walking in the last mile or so before West Bexington. Having to walk on the pebble paths is very uncomfortable walking and there was no alternative. I think that you should highlight this pebble walking more as it was very difficult for those of us with uncertain knees. It made us review things and we cut inland at West Bexington to the West Dorset Ridge walk but, happily, this was a blessing in disguise, as this section of the route to Abbotsbury was one of the highlights of the trip.
I hope that this will be helpful.
Many thanks again.
Great experience, beautiful landscape, no rain, infact most of us got sun burned.
Organisation was perfect, all accommodations were good to excellent, as was luggage transfer. No loss, no failure.
Navigation was easy even in the dunes of Upton Towans and following places.
Best accomodation was St.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
Apologies 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
Loved 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.
Altogether, 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
Well 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.
Thanks 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.
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:
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.
Accommodation: 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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
Minehead to St Ives: 21 days of brilliant walking
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.
Locanda on the Weir, Porlock Weir. Fabulous Italian evening meal, and best breakfast of the holiday
Only negative comment is evening meal at the B&B option at Perranporth is grossly overpriced for what is provided.
We can't thank Encounter enough for the efficient organisation, amazing places to stay and accurate guidance on the route. We completed the South West Coast Path in June 2018 and Encounter were by far the best company we used on the trail, we only wish we had booked with them from the start of the path in Minehead. Excellent Service! Thank you Keith and Linda
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!
Kevin & Sharon
Hello 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!!
First 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
Thank 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.
Thank 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.
Hello - 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...
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
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.
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.
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 !
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,
We 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
We 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.
We 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
What 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 !
I'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.
Went 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.
Recent 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
This was our 7th year with Encounter Walking and in that time they have never let us down! Lots of ups and downs on the path from Fowey to Polperro. The cafe at Tolland Bay is really worth stopping at for lunch and we really enjoyed the Whitsand Bay Hotel even though we had a fire alarm at 4.20 a.m. Rame Head was lovely as was Cawsand. We finished at the Edgecombe Arms where Encounter's taxi was waiting to drive us back to Haverners in Fowey. Only wish we could have received a certificate having completed the whole of the Cornish Coastal Path to proudly put on our wall! Next year Hartland Quay and north Devon coastline. Can't wait!
We 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
Walk 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.
My 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?
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.
I walked with 6 other women from various parts of the US to celebrate the 70th birthday of one of our group. What a great time we had! We did the "relaxed" route, with 6 days of walking and a rest day at Mawnan Smith near the Helford River.
The daily mileage was 7-12 miles, a good pace overall, rated mostly moderate, though the first day (Marazion to Porthleven) ended with about 6 miles of strenuous ups and downs that made us all wish we could simply walk straight across the fields to our destination. We all enjoyed some R&R and the ambience of Porthleven that night.
A mix of sun and clouds made for perfect walking weather all week, and the coastal scenery was spectacular--we especially loved the clifftop trails on the Lizard peninsula and beautiful Kynance Cove. The diversion (a.k.a. detour) that had been in place between Porthleven and Loe Bar had just been lifted, saving us the extra 2+ miles of walking on day 3, which was good news.
All the accommodations were good--favorites were the Cadgwith Cove Inn, Gold Martin B&B in Mawnan Smith, and the Lerryn Hotel in Falmouth. (Budock Vean near Helford, where some of us were lodged, was beautiful but a bit too stuffy for our tastes.)
Our rest day in the Helford area allowed us to visit the beautiful Trebah Garden, with its beautiful valley of blooming hydrangeas leading down to the sea. There we appreciated seeing the beach where American soldiers left for Omaha Beach on D-Day (including my father, who made the same crossing 4 days later).
Everyone we met during the walk was friendly and talkative, and many had handsome, well-behaved dogs who were a lively presence along the trail and the subject of many photos. (Each day I chose a Dog of the Day--lots of competition.) When we reached Falmouth early on day 7 we were glad to have time to enjoy the town scene but sorry that our walk was over. Thanks go to Damon and the others at Encounter for making this experience so positive. We all hope to do another leg someday and will definitely use the services of Encounter again.
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!
Damon & 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.
David & Danielle
Dear 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
From May 16th to July 16th 2018 I walked the complete SWCP. Encounter Walking Holidays arranged all the accommodations and the luggage transfer for me. I can only say: Job very well done!
The whole trip went perfect and when necessary Encounter solved issues very fast. One time my luggage seemed to be missing, but after contact between the hotel and Encounter they found it in the wrong room in the hotel.
Another time, there seemed to be no room reservation for me. The hotel gave me a spare room and contacted Encounter later on. I never heard anything from this again, meaning they solved it.
The accommodations were very different, ranging from a small single room with almost no space to move to a big apartment like double room with a bathroom as big as the small single room mentioned earlier. All accommodations were good and the people friendly and helpful. I sometimes wondered how they find these places…
I also liked the Itinerary they made for my trip. Basically this had all the info I needed for every day, including info on the path, highlights of the day, ferry information, how to get to the accommodation, etc. Very helpful!
During my walk I was contacted by Encounter every now and then via email with extra info. I appreciated that very much. I also liked that they followed my blog :-)
With respect to my walk, I had the best walking weather one can wish for. For nine weeks it was dry almost every day. Just two days of some drizzle and one time rain for an hour. All in all I had a magnificent experience and I would recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to everybody when they go walking in the south west of the UK.
The 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.
Dear 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.
Barb and Roy
This 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.
Due 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
I 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.
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.
Rich - 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
Thank 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.
Dear 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.
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!
Dear 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
Rather late with our feedback but none the less we wanted to submit it to you. The trip in all was very well organised by you. 8,5 out of 10!!
We would like to mention that although most distances were a little shorter in distance than you or the books mentioned, this might have only been about 1,0-1,5 miles longer each day. But one day in particular was longer. So much longer that for walkers it is necessary to know. It was our third day, when we walked along the SW-coastpath from Lynmouth to Combe Martin. According to my Garmin watch it was not 13,5 miles but 16,1 miles. We found that having to walk 2,5 miles longer on a day with strenuous parts, was quite much and not expected. Also due to bad reception in many places we could not ring the next B&B that we would be late. So we had to rush to be in time. We understand that with the distances it is quite difficult to get them exact, but this we felt you should know.
Encounter Walking - Thanks for this Eveliina - the mileage we use is the official South West Coast Path Association figures which were taken on the ground. There is always varience with things like where the accommodation is and where you are measuring from but where you find every day is incorrect its likely to be something called the "spider effect" which affects GPS units and walkers. Its good for all walkers to be aware of this and of how to try and get more accurate figures from what they actually walk - see this link for more information and articles explaining it - https://encounterwalkingholidays.com/faq#gps-different
Splitting up the day from Heartland Quay to Bude in two was a very good idea. It gave us some easier days and we felt sorry for people who had to do the whole route to Bude and were already more tired than us.
All places we stayed at had good to excellent service. :) We want to especially mention a few here: the Bath hotel in Lynmouth, they went out of their way for our packed breakfast and lunches. And Jules at Holmsleigh in Braunton was superb, VERY accommodating and she even did some laundry for us. Soooo sweet! The cook at the New Inn at Clovelly put our breakfast outside of the door during the night, so we could leave nice and early (we liked to always leave before 8am which almost always was a problem). We thought the BB in Bude in asked too much for her packed lunch £10,- each (whereas she did not give more (less actually food wise) than other’s, who provided us with a packed lunch and they on average asked £5,-).
We had two fantastic weeks of walking! Thank you!
I 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.
Greetings 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.
Our 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.
This has been such a wonderful experience! Thank you!
This 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.
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
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
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!
Hi 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.
Thank you! The walk was perfectly organized! The accomodations (and the food) were excellent. I strongly reccomend Encounter Walking!
We 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.
As 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!!
Firstly, 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.
Thanks 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.
Dear 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
Thank 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.
As 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.
Arrive Tintagel, so easy via rail from London to Bodmin Parkway, Avalon B&B very comfortable. The town was not yet fully geared up for summer tourists; however, we had the best fish & chips of the trip at The Cornishman.
Walk to Port Gaverne, perfect weather for the first day, a good walk with lots of up and down, spectacular scenery with a great feeling of remoteness. Arriving at Port Gaverne Hotel was such a surprise coming off the trail at the town, so cute and snug, well worth the upgrade, and enjoyed a beer in the garden and later dinner in the pub. Walk into Port Isaac with a serious revisiting of Portwen. Since our return, we have been re-watching Doc Marten with excitement of scenes at Port Gaverne and around Port Isaac.
Next day to Padstow was more challenging with intermittent rain; we took a couple of shortcuts getting to Polzeath but felt lucky that we didn't get lost since signage off the Coastal Path is poor. Continuing to Rock was easy and on to Padstow. We loved the Old Custom House accommodations and the offerings in the town.
It was a drizzly, windy day to Harlyn Bay and the Harlyn Inn is perfectly adequate. Note that the Inn uses a surfeit of scented cleaning products that would likely affect anyone with a scent allergy.
The next day to Watergate Bay was generally overcast with lots of up and down grades which made for our longest day of walking but totally enjoyable with dramatic scenery. The upgrade to the Hotel to celebrate my birthday was the best present I've received in awhile. Our dinner at 15 Cornwall was equally enjoyable with dramatic seas rolling in under the restaurant. The next day was clear and pleasant and the Hotel was very accommodating allowing us to enjoy the common areas, including a most excellent hot tub, and lunch before we took the taxi to Newquay and train on to Penzance.
Penzance is an interesting town with a rich maritime industry. We enjoyed a day hike to Mousehole and Lamorna with an early dinner at Dylan Thomas's favorite pub then took the bus back to Penzance. We enjoyed the train back to London then on to Heathrow for our flight home, all without a hitch.
For us, the April weather was very agreeable and the lack of crowds in the off-season made the trip perfect. Your bookings and organization met our every expectation and was a remarkable value. We loved our trip.
The 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.
I 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.
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.
My 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.
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.
Elsbeth and Maja
Our 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.
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!
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!
Coming 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.
I 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!
We 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!
We 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.
I 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.
As 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..
Took 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.
Hi - 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
What 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!
Thanks 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"!
Thanks 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.
First 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!
A 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.
Just 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
Great 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.
Enjoyed 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.
We 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.
A 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.
Walked 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.
Four 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.
Our 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.
The 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.
Parts 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.
Hi 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
Fantastic 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!
I 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,
Lovely 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.
This 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
"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."
A 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.
Dear 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
Another 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)
This 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.
Fortunately 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!
Thank you very much for everything, and for preparing a great holiday for us, Damon! We had a great time, as usual.
The 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
A 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!
We 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.
Janet 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
Ellie -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.
The 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.)
Excellent 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 ,
Had 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!
It 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!
We 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.
Encounter 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.
An 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.
Dear 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
Hi 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
Hi 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
I 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
Luggage 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!!!
First 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!
Hi 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.
All, 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
Hi 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
This 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
The 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!
My 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.
Dear 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
Dear 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).
We 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
Had 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!
Hi 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!
Walked 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.
We 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.
Thank 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.
Everything 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.
- 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.
We 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.
Thank 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.
Very 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.
Thanks, 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.
Thank 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.
Just 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.
St. 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.
Wow... Fantastic, everything whent as planned.
Our 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.
Before 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.
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Hi 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
A 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.
Thank 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.
A 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.
Review 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.
We 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.
Just 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!
The 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.
Thank 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.
The 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!
Second 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!.
A 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.
The 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.
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.
We 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.
We 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!
We 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.
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.
Thanks 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).
This 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.
We 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.
Hi 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.
Hello. 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!
Everything 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.
All 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.
As 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
We 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.
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!
This 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.
we 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.
We 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
Doing 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We 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.
The 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!
This 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!
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!
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
We "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!
We 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.
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.
This 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?
Hello 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.
I 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....
Annette & Jeanette
Other 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.
We 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.
Again 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 ;-)
We 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.
Just 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.
We 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.
Gabi & Adi from Austria
We 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.
Thanks for arranging us another enjoyable walk
We 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
Dear 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.....
Solva 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!
Walk 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.
I 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.
I 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
Thanks 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!
Our 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
My 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.
Thankyou 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.
As 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.
This 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!
I 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!
This 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.
Walking 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!!!
Had 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!
it 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!
The 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.
All 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!
Must 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
Six 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)
This 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.
Hello 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!
loved 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
Wonderful 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!
Concerning 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.
We 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.
We 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.
As 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.
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.
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
All 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!
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.
We 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.
Cate 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
Please 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.
Thank 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.
This 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.
Our 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.
We 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.
Thank 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.
We 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.
Encounter 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.
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!
Having 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;
We 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.