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.
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)
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.
I was going to email you sooner but we're still on vacation. We had a wonderful trip walking the Pembrokeshire coast path for 5 days. The inns and hosts were great and our luggage was always delivered on time. You made our vacation stress free. We had some wind and rain the first two days but after that it was sunny and warm.
Aloha Damon and everyone, We have completed our Pembrokeshire walk and had a wonderful time.
Your detailed itinerary was great. In particular, we did the two tidal estuaries at the lowest of tides and in the brightest of sun. In fact we had no rain on our walking and often very nice sun. Your notes ensured we hit all the key highlights. We especially enjoyed our day walking among the Puffins on Skomer Island. And also the wonderful flowers along coast. Mahalo for your arrangements. We look forward to working with you on our next long walk. We are now in London and leave Sat to walk day hikes with HF in Slovenia.
Hello - I had a wonderful time in Pembrokeshire. Even though one day was disgustingly wet (but not cold).
The scenery was magnificent. I loved the wildflowers especially. And the castles. And the villages. And the sea vistas. Some stormy seas would have been the icing on the cake. The sea was dead flat.
My accommodation was wonderful. Especially at Broad Haven. Neil and Helen were so good at remembering guests names. It seemed that every time I sat down I was offered a pot of tea. And a lovely place to sit too, out the front people watching in the sun.
Everything was clean, well provisioned, and incredibly handy for me. Great breakfasts meant a great start to the day. My feiends were starting to accuse me of eating my way around Wales!
Coming into Dale, I had to take the high tide route and I happened upon a garden centre with a cafe. This was not in the guide notes but was a welcome place to dry out, warm up, and use the facilities, and have a pot of tea and a Welsh cake!
I found the running good. Distance wise was about right. I shortened the final day into St Davids because my knee was being a pain. Or should I say giving me pain! And as I have a big race in two weeks (gulp) thought I should not push it. It was great having my bag transported and there was no problems there. It meant I could run with just the necessities of the day.
I would certainly do similar again. It was a great way to see the country and to meet people from all countries. Not just other walkers but people in the villages along the way.
Thank you - Robyn
Our first trip in Wales, definitely not the last. Terrific conditioning for warm-weather hiking. Everything worked, the hotels/inns were well-located, the breakfasts good and filling, the luggage where it was supposed to be, the maps led properly and the picnic lunches purchased from the inns were more than adequate - one lunch would work for two people. The walk was terrific. The least interesting part was from Milford Haven to Sandy Haven Pill. We took a taxi based on recommendation from EncounterWalking and did not regret. Thanks for offering this walk.
We walked in a group of nine and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The scenery is magnificent. We were very fortunate in having great weather, except for some light showers during our day in Pembroke itself and heavy rain on the day of the walk from Broad Haven to Solva, when we caught the bus part of the way (from Newgale) after getting pretty wet.
The path is generally easy to follow although there are a couple of ambiguous markings when other paths join from the side. The route guidance from Encounter and the guidebooks was helpful, particularly for the first and last 1/4 mile to and from the accommodation each day. There is quite a lot of elevation change on some sections as you descend to beaches and climb back to the headlands and cliff tops. The path itself is generally in good condition but there are some muddy patches and, after the heavy rain, some of the streams were a challenge to ford.
The longer days (12 miles or more) were tiring but we recovered after a good dinner and a night's sleep. The accommodation arrangements worked out despite having to be split up on one night due to the large size of our group, and our luggage always showed up on time and in the right place. The breakfasts at our lodging places were sumptuous and appreciated before each days walk. For lunches we generally bought sandwiches or prepared food and ate by the path at a suitable spot. In a couple of the smaller towns, we ate in the evening at our lodging place but went out to restaurants in the larger places.
Options for buying food and dining were very limited in Dale and Marloes as some places had closed for the season. Generally, the food was good and there were choices for most tastes. We all felt a great sense of accomplishment as we reached the headland just before St Justinians on a perfect afternoon and looked back over the broad sweep of St Brides Bay to the shoreline around which we had walked over the previous three days. It was a great walk.
My wife and I had a wonderful time. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is scenic and challenging. It is very well laid out and easy to follow once on it. Our weather we nearly perfect with sunshine most days and light winds which kept us from overheating. We heard tails from others about how bad the weather can be but for us it was simple delightful. We took five days to cover the 55 miles, however, we were told that some younger folks have done this same stretch in three days and possibly less. I highly recommend this walk if you like exercise and appreciate the beauty of the Atlantic and its rocky coastline.
From Australia it was a little difficult to find practical trip planning information on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk. We contacted Encounter Walking and, after some email discussion on what type of walk we were interested in, we received a great deal of background information on the walk, accommodation options and advice on an itinerary that allowed for time to enjoy the scenery. Having completed the walk between Dale and St Davids we wish to thank Damon and co. for their advice and assistance in setting up the walk. The scenery was spectacular, the suggested accommodation spot on and all arrangements worked smoothly. We will be back and would absolutely recommend Encounter to anyone thinking of the coastal walk.
A brilliant walk, rugged coastline, huge, beautiful sandy beaches. Lots of bird life and the wild flowers at this time of the year are stunning. The walking is great, some slightly strenuous sections but nothing too bad and with spectacular scenery all the way and very few people around. Good variety of accommodation and some exceptionally good food, notably The Clock House at Marloes and The Coach House at St Davids. Allenbrook in Dale, is a fabulous house, full of interesting artifacts, with peacocks and chickens wandering around the gardens and vintage cars in the garage. Some slight confusion with keys and rooms at Felingog (Solva) but otherwise everything ran like clockwork. Well worth spending a day in St Davids at the end of the walk. Looking forward to doing the next section next year!
We finished our coastal walk yesterday, which we have both enjoyed very much. Your advice and accommodation arrangements have been spot on. Thanks for your assistance - it has been a holiday we will recommend to everyone.
the hike was a fantastic vacation for the four of us. Damon did a gret job setting it up, arranging our lodging and luggage transfers. the B&Bs were all fine, good restrurant suggestions. We found the extra notes on each day very helpful. HOsts were friendly and helpful, especially our Marlos stay! We did take a day and went to Skomer Island, it was great! We never got rained on until we left our hiking. thanks for the super plans.
A stunning walk; a very close rival to the Cornish coastal path and in fact I am loathe to say it, perhaps it is even better!! Fantastic scenery and of course the geology around there is so interesting. Highlight was a bay (just after the deerpark) where we say lots of grey seal pups lying on the beach - some quite young. You have often pointed out that we might see them in Cornwall but we never have - perhaps we were just at the right time of the year this time. We all did the 12 mile walk on the Thursday and as you said, it would have been a shame to miss it - absolutely amazing. We experienced one short shower on the first day but on the whole the weather was good.
Accommodation was mostly good - the first house at Dale was a bit quirky but we were all fine with it. Fabulous food all the way round - mainly fish. I did find it very expensive compared with Cornwall where I had just returned from a week's holiday but I suppose they have to make up for times when tourists are not around. St. David's fabulous and a very nice B&B - I would go there again. The first night we took the taxi over to Porthgain to a restaurant called "The Shed". Wonderful. And we all attended service in the Cathedral before we left.
Only downside was the extremely slow and long rail journey home. But it was a Sunday. Remind me never to travel home on Sunday again!
Everything was excellent, the luggage was always waiting for us when we arrived at the B&Bs, very nice people, delicious breakfasts (I love full English breakfast!) and the weather was formidable! We have nothing to complain about, on the contrary we are very, very satisfied and we will certainly come back to you again another year and walk other parts of Cornwall and Wales or somewhere else. We liked the paths in Pembrokeshire, we found them not so challenging, rather easy to walk and a beautiful countryside. We could have continued to walk for another week or two.
We visited Skomer Island and met lots and lots of puffins, we made a whale and dolphine trip from St Justinian and passed Grassholm covered with thousands of gannets, quite an experience! And we were also visited by several dolphins so everything was splendid. On the mainland we saw several choughs, passed nesting fulmars, met a fox puppy etc.
If you have any nice suggestions of good walking I would very much appreciate if you could give me a hint. Do you have any plans to extend your range of walking, for example Snowdonia? As we think that you and your company have helped us so much we would most certainly come back to you again and we will recommend you to our friends here in Sweden. The next summer though we will probably go tho France, but that has to be in spring or autumn - to hot in summer. The summer climate in UK suits us very well, it is excellent when you are walking.
Encounter Walking (especially Damon) did a great job of tailoring our trip for us. The walks each day were great and the trip notes told us exactly what to expect. The B and Bs were just what we expected and were always clean and welcoming--even if some were tiny rooms (but were the only place to stay in some towns). Overall a great trip!!!!
First at all, thanks again for the great organisation, like last time, everything worked out very smoothly. No problems and no issues, only good memories J.You have looked for the perfect charming overnight stays, and I had met only very nice hosts. If I should choose the less perfect ones, I would name the „Lord Nelson Hotel“ in Milford Haven, since it was a bit noisy due to a close club/drunken people…and not so personally like the B&Bs, but I had a great view from my room. And the food at the Grove Hotel was a bit overpriced and and did not fulfill the expected higher standard…
I have experienced a great walk from Milford Haven until Whitesands Bay on Pembrokeshire Coast Path and did enjoy the route very much. I did like the landscape/environment almost a bit more than in Cornwall, since it was more wild, pure and lonely, in addition I much appreciated that there have been only rarely street walks.
All your instructions and maps were very helpful again. I have been walking again alone, like last year on the South West Coast Path but I have met again nice walkers, tourists and locals and enjoyed everywhere delicious seafood and good beers. I have even purchased two paintings from a local artist, one of the beach before Whitesands and one of Fishguard. I have planned to continue with the part up North next year, again around June. Pls. make a note! ;-)
Weather was most of the time perfect, with exception of one heavily rainy afternoon from Broad Haven to Solva.
Most curious thing, my friendship with a horse which suprised me with his sudden company at lunch time!
Beautiful walking, wild flowers, seals, birds, well signposted and maintained path, spectacular scenery. Want to do the next section next time. Would highly recommend
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