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.
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.
I walked the trail with my sister , from Amroth -St. Dogmaels may 6-26th. We devided a couple of the longer walks into two days ,so walked at the most 20 km a day . The accommodations varied between Pubs and B&B's And a couple of hotels . All were very nice , but we enjoyed the B&B's the best . The breakfasts were amazing . We had one mix up with our accommodations but encounter handled this quickly . Better than we expected . Our luggage was moved for us with out any issues .
The walking was beautiful , varied every day , there were challenging days with a lot of climbing , and narrowing trails close to the cliffs . It you have vertigo issues some days might be difficult . However these were some of the most beautiful walks . The flowers were amazing all along the path. We saw many wild horses ,which was thrilling . I would have liked to go to Skomer Island to see Puffins but did not work this out ahead , if you want to see Puffins you will need to organize and set a day aside for this .
We spent two days in St David and went to Ramsey island expecting to see many more birds than on the trail . If you are walking the whole trail this a waste of your time . We did not find it as nice as most of the trail , and we saw more interesting birds on the trail than Ramsey island . I wish I had either taken the boat to Skomer from St. David's , or taken the extra day in Dale to go over to Skomer Island . You will see many birds along the rest of the path.
Everyone we met along the trail was very friendly , walkers and locals . The path was well marked , but sometimes confusing when we came into the larger villages as the street names were not there or were Welsh names and our maps were English . We did always find our way ,but maybe not on the trail . This was probably because we were not where we thought we were when starting to follow the directions in our booklets .using GPS would have been helpful .
All in all it was a great walk , very challenging as I have never done something as long as this before , but very beautiful . We only had two days with rain , and not heavy rain so we were very lucky . I would defiantly recommend this hike and Encounter walking holidays . I hope to try another trip with them in the future .
We have just completed the whole of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in 14 days, with just a day and a half of rain. We started at Amroth on 4th May and walked into St Dogmaels on 17th May in glorious sunshine. Although we hadn't particularly looked at the tide times and when the ranges were open, we were able to do both the estuary crossings at low tide and walk the entire ranges. Impressed by the range of spring flowers and birds and seeing the seals frolicking in a small cove on our wettest and windiest day. Very uplifting. The B&Bs varied along the route, from pubs to a couple who tried so hard to try our wet clothes on the wet day. People, we met on the route were very friendly, and many were knowledgeable about the area. The map and Trailblazer guide were excellent, as well as the hints and information in the pack which was provided.
We were impressed from the start by Encounter, as our first tentative enquiry was responded to, within 36 hours, including a possible itinerary, even though we hadn't any exact dates at that time. Will definitely recommend to anyone else walking in this part of the world. Thank you all very much.
Dear Damon - I owe you a feedback from our walk in Wales. I’m so sorry, but we had a lovely autumn with good weather, so we made several day walkings in the surroundings of our home. Now it is colder and it’s raining. In the Alps they have got a lot of snow so it is almost time for snowshoe walkings.
Our walking holiday in Pembrokeshire was fabulous and once again, I would totally recommend Encounter Walking Holidays without hesitation. This was our sixth walking holiday with the Encounters (I think) and, as ever, Damon and Ellie made everything so easy for us and really looked after us well – from planning our walks, arranging our accommodations, transporting our luggage, and even looking for a transport from the Bus Stop in Kilgetty to the accommodation in Amroth. (That was the only rainy day, so we were very lucky to be picked up).
We really enjoyed our holiday, walking through wonderful Welsh scenery (really magnificent Coastwalking) knowing that we had lovely accommodations waiting for us at the end of each walk. Even the not so great sceneries around Milford Haven we found very special and interesting. The weather was also very good. (do you plan it too?)
Thank you so much for ensuring we have such great experiences. It was really a perfect holiday!!!
I wish you a very good time and hope to hear from you again!
If my knees allow we surely will book again!
We had a FABULOUS experience. Everything was organized as promised. The distances walked were just right for our girls (6 and 13). The hotels were clean, comfortable, and friendly. The maps were easy to read and the weather cooperated for us. The only thing I would change would be to have some contact with Encounter on arrival at the first hotel, either by email, phone, or a message left at check-in. Thanks for a GREAT holiday!
We want to thank you for organising our amazing walk in Wales. It all worked so perfectly. Apart from one day - the official first day of walking, the weather was almost perfect too. Will come back to that day in a minute.
As we arrived early on the day before the walk was to begin, we re-arranged the taxi to drop us at Amroth (thanks to your included phone numbers) and then walked backed to Tenby. It was lucky we did as the following day the weather was blowing a gale and was very wet as well with visibility almost zero. We decided to catch the bus to Manorbier and then walk back along the track if the weather cleared. It did sufficiently for us to walk for about 2 hours. Naturally we were disappointed we did not walk the whole way from Tenby, but at least we saw some of that part of the coast. The rest of the walk was terrific and we were able to follow your detailed instructions easily.
The accommodation was all very good and the rooms were clean and the food fine. The Manorbier hotel room was a touch small. We would probably have preferred to pay a little more to have had a larger room in their hotel.
The books you supplied were informative and helpful and well used throughout our journey. We enjoyed our three nights in Pembroke spending one of the day's walking and at their castle and the second on a day trip to St David's by local bus which was great too. The Angle B&B was superb and the owners most hospitable. Please let them know at some stage how much we enjoyed our stay with them.
And yes, whilst parts of the walk were challenging, especially from Freshwater West to Angle, we could still manage it comfortably at our stage of life.
We had a lovely hike over 2 days from Amroth to Manobier. Encounter Walking perfectly arranged all the details. Our B and B's were excellent with amiable hosts, good food, and quiet, comfortable rooms. I was a bit worried that my daughter who hates to hike might not fare well on the more strenuous sections of the trails. But she did fine and found out that she can enjoy hiking in the cooler weather of Wales. The scenery was beautiful beyond my imagination. I hope to return.
Well we didn't pick the best of weeks, only one dry day, 3 showery and 3 heavy persistent rain, so bad that we didn't walk from Angle to Pembroke after a thorough soaking and getting caught in a squall the previous day. Hopefully we can go back to do that section next time.
1. The Trail. Generally the path is good and mostly well waymarked. At Broad Haven it isn't very clear which way to go from the cliff top to pick up the lily pond path. Also on the path out of Broad Haven the waymarked path through the dunes is virtually impassable due to overgrown vegetation. It is best to walk along the beach and then up the steps to the car park (where there is a very good mobile café).
2. Tips. Nothing new, there aren't many cafés. The Old Point House at Angle only does food at weekends.
3. Highlight. the Church Doors rock at Skrinkle Haven, and having the beach there to ourselves
4. Accommodation. Good throughout. We were made very welcome by the lovely people at at Angle Bay B & B despite turning up completely drenched. Our boots and socks were put by the Aga and all our wet things hung in a utility room. So good not to have them hanging around the room.
Thanks for pre-booked specific rooms at Jameston and Milford Haven, both were large and exceeded expectations. Jameston particularly good.
We have some feedback from our four days from Amroth to Pembroke. We really enjoyed it and do feel a fair bit of accomplishment at having made it. We thought we were pretty fit, but at the end of that first day…! Suffice it to say we pushed on and were surprised at our overnight recovery after each day.
State of the path during the walk – we were continually remarking on the terrific state of the walking track. It was just about always clearly defined and obviously well maintained. The wildflowers at this time of the year were a highlight. The signage with the acorn symbol and yellow arrow were almost always there when you needed them.
A final section on the walk-in to Tenby from Amroth was confusing and did have us making a 20 minute walk in the wrong direction. It’s on page 79 of the Jim Mathorpe guide book where the path to Waterwynch Bay is marked. A sign by the path referred to the beach only being accessible at low tide and had a reference to private property. We didn’t go past this sign but proceeded up the road almost to the main road taking traffic into Tenby. We turned around and walked back past the sign, finding the coastal path directions about 100m past this. Maybe this first sign needs clarifying.
Generally though the directions and maps were terrific and all three of: your notes, booklets and maps were used every day. Thanks for the opportunity to do the walk. We will be recommending it to all our friends who we think are up to it!
Encounter Walking did a great job! From advising us on trivial details as we planned the holiday to the very important details, they had everything covered. The shorter first days allowed us to improve our fitness initially, the luggage was always where we needed it to be, the accommodations were delightful (each place had its own special touch--from cold water at the end of a hot day to great dinner suggestions). Physically, the trail was a bit more difficult than I had expected, but the preparation that Encounter had done made each day fun and worth the effort!
We had a lovely holiday thanks - and the weather in Pemrokeshire last week was mainly fantastic! We were very fortunate.
- Itinerary and route comments provided by you were all very helpful, and - in conjunction with the Trailblazer book - meant we didn't get lost once!
- Couldn't fault the luggage transfer company; both bags ended up where they should be every day! Plus, taxi transfers prompt and driver friendly
- Mellieha Guest House in Amroth provided cake and tea on our arrival which was much appreciated and got our holiday off to a special start. The quality of the guest house was fantastic; both in terms of accommodation, food, and friendliness. We felt very taken care of : )
- The Lighthouse Restaurant in Tenby is lovely for a good quality evening meal (popular though, so book)
- The Wavecrest Cafe next to the beach at Angle is a nice place for lunch / cake
- The food cooked by Lorna in the restaurant at Castlemead Hotel in Manorbier is delicious! She knows how to cook, and is sensitive to any intolerances, allergies folk might have.
- Don't miss St Govan's Chapel; it is amazing! Punches above its small stature in terms of impact...
- we were very impressed with the number of hotels/B&Bs which had one; a perfect end to a walking day : )
- Pembroke Castle definitely worth a visit (as is Manorbier).
- The Cornstore Cafe in Pembroke did delicious large bowls of soup, plus cakes to die for (which we didn't get to sample because we were so full from our big bowls of soup!)
- Very friendly volunteers in the Flying Boat Centre in Pembroke Dock
I haven't said much about the walk / walking directions, and this is because it all worked so well : ). The acorn sign was a reassuring presence throughout the walk, and left us in no doubt that we were going the right way! The walking itself was wonderful, and descriptions both in your instructions and the Trailblazer book, very accurate as regards strenuousness and gradients. First visit to Pembrokeshire, and we are left feeling that it has the most beautiful coastline, and some of the happiest dogs we have ever seen (cliff tops and beaches - what's not to love?!).
Thanks for your help with organising our holiday.
Like 2 years before on the Southwest Coast Path ... the organisation of the walks (with maps and informations) and the accomodations were great. Thanks you Encouter Walking team.
My wife and I walked the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in a total of 18 days starting on the 4th June 2015 from Amroth to St. Dogmaels. We built in a day off in the middle - at Marloes. As it happened our day off was the only wet one of the entire walk except for two hours of rain early on. Otherwise the weather was near perfect for walking - mainly sunny but not too hot and usually with a cooling breeze with on odd days was just a shade strong. The walk itself was superb with wonderful scenery every bit of the way, flowers at their best and birdlife wonderful with about 100 choughs all told! We definitely felt we were walking it in the right direction as the first half was relatively easy going compared with the remainder. The final day from Newport to St Dogmaels was 16 miles and billed as arduous and this was confirmed by numerous walkers we met going in the opposite direction. However, for them it occurred at the beginning whereas for me (my wife, because of the comments sadly omitted it) having had over two weeks to become "trail hardened" it was much easier than I expected. Unlike many people we met we chose to walk the so called boring bits through Pembroke and Milford Haven and found them very interesting and in fact anything but boring. Accommodation along the route was excellent and luggage transfer, taxis and buses all worked exactly as Encounter arranged. Our daily average distance of about 11 miles was correct for us and we would not have enjoyed the walk as much had we been doing it in less time as we had lots of time to stop, admire the scenery and take photographs. On odd occasions the signage on the ground left a bit to be desired and was often obscured by foliage and therefore easily missed if not paying attention but by and large it was fine as were the notes. We would definitely recommend this walk as one, if not the best we have even undertaken.
Thank you again for organising our holiday so efficiently, the holiday was great for us and the instructions you provided were great. I’ve already fed back on the recent additional lunch stop at West Angle bay. The walking distances were great for us as we wanted a relaxed holiday to allow time for catching up and socialising with each other, rather than being on a frog march and racing against the clock. Since it was a holiday and not a mission, the day we skipped when the MOD closed the coastal option, turned out to be a very enjoyable as we walked back through the NT Lilly Pond to Broad Haven and were able to spend some time down around St Govans chapel and headland, then we headed back through the Lilly Pond to the NT walled garden and tea shop at Stackpole.
We ended up leaving the cars at Tenby rail station car park as advised by the B&B owner. The cars were fine, there were spaces (and lots of other cars parked up with Sat-Sat weekly tickets), handy for the Tenby B&B address, perfect for our return train journey a week later, and there cameras in the car park. A mere £3 for the car for the week (still winter charges!) and £4.40 ea for the train ticket back from Pembroke. The taxi arrangements with Penally taxis worked well and were timely. using the info that you provided, All went smoothly with the baggage transport, the bags just appeared to move themselves along the route!
Lunch stops which we enjoyed:
Manorbier – Bosherston: Fab stop at the NT Boat House at Stackpole Quay, although well into our days walk, but worth the wait
Freshwater West – Angle: We found Wavecrest Cafe at West Angle bay a good stop, even though again well into our days walk
Amroth – Tenby: a great cake / pasty shop “Sue’s Pantry, I think at Saundersfoot – but various options around there.
Just got back from Wales - all the arrangements and accommodation were very good - we particularly liked castlemead hotel - the food at the St Govans Inn was ok but not as good. The taxi drivers were all prompt and chatty and baggage pick ups went fine.
We were very lucky with the weather - I would not have wanted to do the second day in wind and rain as it is so 'near to the edge' the rain would have made it very slippery! The scenery was breathtaking and exceeded my expectations. On the rainy Thursday the army range was active so we came across fields - spoke to a few cows - but didn't get too wet.
We just returned from our walk from Amroth to St. David's that you arranged for us.
All parts of the trip trip (including the weather!) went very well. We thought your arrangements were helpful, and seemed to be better than those for any of the other walkers we encountered and shared experience with.
If we were to highlight one part of the trip that stood out especially it would be the wonderful accommodations in Dale. At the moment there is a truly outstanding exhibit of art by Peter Blake about Dylan Thomas' Milkwood at the Information center in St. David's. (Blake is known especially for the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band by the Beatles.) This exhibit provided great insight into his work about a community in Wales
Had a fabulous walking holiday. Very well organised. Details of the walk you sent to us were clear and helpful. All hotels were very satisfactory. The views were fantastic and your help gave us a very enjoyable holiday.
Arrived home earlier today after a very enjoyable 3 days walking in Pembrokeshire. All the arrangements worked perfectly - thank you for organising a very satisfactory trip. The weather was also kind with calm, mostly dry conditions (except an hour on Thurs pm in light rain) and a glorious sunny day on Friday.
I thought you might be interested in some unbiased feedback following our experiences:
The walks were all challenging and interesting in their own way. Day 1 (Amroth to Tenby, the least scenic) started easy but the last 21/2 miles were really quite tough. Left us feeling tired with aching legs but doubtless down to our fitness levels. Day 2 (Tenby to Manorbier) is a beautiful section with great views of the islands of Caldey and St Margaret's. Not particularly tough but there are a couple of sections (after Precipe Beach) where the path is alarmingly close to very sheer cliff edges with no vegetation barrier. This tested our nerve a little and I would not have been happy on a wet and/or windy day. Day 3 (Manorbier to Bosh, although we bailed out at Freshwater East) was my favourite. Beautifully scenic, testing ups and downs, lovely coves, rock formations, wild flowers and great birdlife. We decided to cut it short and walk to Lamphey to catch bus, (we missed a train!) collect the car and drove on to Bosherton for our last night's B&B and a walk around the stunning Lily Ponds.
Accommodation. All 3 were fine for what we needed, though we would not stay again at the option in Manorbier The place is tired and needs a makeover. We ate dinner there also, which was disappointing compared to the other dinners we ate. We appreciate, of course, that it is the only option in Manorbier! On the whole, our accommodation on our last trip to South Cornwall was of a better standard generally but this is doubtless down to choice and the market in Cornwall.
Dining out. We ate at The Moorings in Tenby. Great little restaurant which we would highly recommend; and Coast at Saundersfoot. Coast boasts a Michelin starred chef and the food and location is superb, provided you don't mind paying a little more for a high quality dining experience. The food at St Govan's Inn was excellent pub fayre served up quickly on a very busy night in the pub. Nice room also.
Car parking in Tenby. In the end we opted for the train station car park. Slightly more expensive (£16 for the week) than the Sainsbury's multi-storey but better located for Sunny Bank guest house.
Luggage transfer. It was there when we arrived!
Maps and guide were great. However, last time you also provide separate walk descriptions which had more detail than the guide book. We missed that level of detail this time round.
So, a thoroughly enjoyable and successful trip and thanks again for the excellent arrangements and service of Encounter Walking Hols
Hi Damon, sorry for my late response but after the walking week we had a relaxed week in a holiday cottage close to Strumble Head near Goodwick. We had a fantastic walking week. Everything was well above our expectations even the weather. The walks where accurately described and planned. The accommodation was excellent.
We always received a perfect service and a warm welcome.
The best choice was the Sunny Banks Guesthouse in Tenby.
They did everything they could to make us feel as comfortable as we were at home.
For example our daughter is a vegetarian. She asked for soja milk on the first day.
On the second day the soja milk was already put on our table when we
arrived for breakfast. You and your partners did a great job. Thank you very much for all you´ve done.
This was definitely not our last tour with Encounter Walking Holidays.
We look forward to our next event.
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