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.
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?
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!!!
Just a few notes about our trip.
The road between Little Haven and Broad Haven is now open, and the cars do travel quite quickly along it, so be warned.
The B&Bs which impressed us most: Brynteg at Manorbiern, Allenbrook at Dale, Bethsaida at St Dogmaels
We were allocated good sized rooms, shower/bathroom facilities were good, breakfasts cooked well and amenable/friendly hosts.
The 2 over the cafes were both very impersonal. Once we arrived the owner went home, so we were left alone (like caretakers) in the cafe. Breakfast could have been better, ie no cereals at one, fruit juice was an after thought at the other.
Our luggage was moved efficiently and always there when we arrived.
Thank you very much and will recommend your company to any of our walking friends who may walk in your area.
I am a very satisfied customer! I thought the work done by Encounter Walking Holidays was superb. Thank you all very much. Everything went smoothly with the luggage transfers and the accommodation you booked was very varied and of high quality. I particularly enjoyed the converted chapel in St Dogmaels. Overall I had a great walk!
Obviously the universe is dynamic and some things change. There is a shop in Dale - the big shop that sells marine kit also has a small grocery in the back and in the front it sells cakes and sandwiches. (At least it did in late April, I don't know about winter.
I understand the view that the northern part of the walk is grander and wilder, but every experience is totally individual. I had superb light and sunny weather in the south and the walk from Broad Haven to Solva was magical, with the sea like glass. When I walked the northern stretch the weather was more overcast and the last day, from Newport to St Dogmaels, there were a lot of people on the path, some of them competing in an insane overnight race which had started in Dale. Walking with all these people with numbers on their backs took the edge off the wildness! But c'est la vie, I'm not complaining.
It was our first experience with an organised walk company and we were thrilled with Encounter Walking. Without exception, all the B and B hosts were warm and helpful, accomodation was first rate and the breakfasts were excellent. The itinerary and maps provided excellent detailed information for planning our days. Luggage transfers worked very smoothly. We would definitely recommmend Encounter Walking to our firends.
Wonderful service! Really helpful for my first time planning something like this from across the pond. Encounter was was very patient with me in the booking process answering my multitude of questions and very accommodating while I tweaked my plans. From the directions for the hikes to the bus locations and taxi numbers, this service made the hike worry free and flexible. We planned each day individually from the info supplied to accommodate the weather or just how we felt after each days walk. One note: the miles shown in the info may have been stated a bit shorter than what my walking app showed. The Wales Coastal Path was so beautiful and so worth the walk! We even got to know the luggage transfer guy (taxi service) who was very helpful and personable.
The accommodations were great! So charming! Each one had something special to offer. Thoroughly enjoyed our stays! I would highly recommend Encounter particularly for those not familiar with the coastal walk!
We really enjoyed the final leg of a brilliant walk. It all went very smoothly and we really enjoy having everything arranged for us. The accomodation was very good and all our hosts were very helpful. The only weak link was the Webley Hotel in St Dogmails. The owner was lovely and he worked incredibly hard but the rooms were a bit 'tired'. Saying that the food was very good and the hotel is in a brilliant location for dramatic sunsets and walking on the estuary.
All our hosts provided really good packed lunches.
We really appreciate the hard work that went into finding such good locations for the overnight stops. It was really worth the extra mile to the Old Vicarage at Moylgrove !
This is a really great walk. We had a group of 5 friends, plus another joining part way through. All arrangements made by Encounter Walking Holidays worked like clockwork. The coastpath is spectacular and rugged, with lots of wild flowers and birds, plus seals on the rocks and a pod of dolphins. The weather was bad for two days but we still managed to walk and the accommodations were all very helpful and friendly. (Especially Vivienne at Hampton House in Trefin - she has a wonderful boot drying machine!) We have now completed the whole of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and highly recommend the walk.
Everything was very well planned and fulfilled my expectations. All hosts were friendly and helpful. And the route is easy to follow - very well marked - you only need a map to follow your progress, not to find the way. Although it is a challenge to get to and from especially St Dogmaels, once you are there, local transport with walkers shuttle busses (al least in the summer) makes it very easy to shorten some of the days, or to stay in the same place two or three days, and take the shuttle to or from the walking.
This was my second time on PCP. I last walked the route in 2009 and always wanted to return. I found it easier this time. Most of the styles have been replaced by gates. It may sound like a small thing, but it really makes a difference on some of the very long and challenging days. The views, especially on the northern half of the route are magnificent. Compared to SWCP, the walking is easier, the views just as beautiful, but there is a lot more overgrowth to battle, I think due to the more humid conditions. I probably will return again, but next time I will skip at least the part before Milford/Sandy Haven - walking is beautiful, interesting, and diverse, even in the more industrial parts of the trail, but too many horseflies to my taste on this section.
Excellent organisation of the walk by encounterwalking. We had no problems at all. Good information material and very good communication and informations before the walk. The B & Bs/guest houses/hotels were between very good and excellent with one exception which will be taken care of by encounterwalking.
The Pembrokeshire coast is beautiful and overwhelming and so was the walk. The scenery is dramatic and changes every minute. As we walked on the South West Coast Path (St. Ives to Mousehole) last year we have a good comparison and we can recommend both very much. The scenery in Cornwall is in parts perhaps even more dramatic whereas the views of long parts of the coast in Wales are unique. The level of difficulty of both trails is comparable, they are both strenous. In fact 2 of us found the Wales trail more difficult: the path is in parts overgrown with grass, fern and other plants up the the breast and the trail is in parts so narrow that we had to perform kind of a catwalk which is tiring in the long run. The other 2 found Cornwall more difficult: the trail is in long parts covered with rocks and stones which makes it strenous to walk. But the beautiful landscape overcompensates every strain and we had no problems (we are in our sixties/early seventies and in normal shape).
By the way: we spent some days in London after our walks and we were never so exhausted on the trails as we had been after one day walking in London. We found out that 15 km or a bit more walking was enough for us. So on two days we made use of the bus which connects many places along the coast and which is a very good thing. We had a lot of fun with the (lady) driver of the Strumble Shuttle whom we met several times as she drives six days a week and who was very friendly and helpful. Time tables of all bus routes are in the buses but it may be a good idea for encounterwalking to enclose a timetable in the information material. To sum it up: we spent a wonderful and unforgettable week in Wales. Thank you for the perfect organisation, Damon.
Parts of this stretch of Coast Path are very challenging with steep ascents and descents, and sheer drops to the sea below. The weather was mostly perfect walking weather, no rain but 2 days of very strong on shore winds. All of the information supplied by Encounter Walking was perfect. The accommodation was comfortable and convenient to the path with very welcoming owners; the transfer of luggage went smoothly(always a welcome sight at the end of a day hiking). Thank you to all at Encounter who looked after me so well!
Pembrokeshire must be Wales Best Kept Secret. The trail is easy to follow. It was challenging both mentally and physically, but around every corner or the top of every climb, the views were wonderful. Encounter Walking had us booked into the best B&Bs, the luggage was always waiting for us and Damon answered all of our questions (every single one of the million) quickly and cheerfully. It was the trip of our dreams but much better.
We had a wonderful walking holiday. Encounter helped us to custom make our itinerary (very patiently when we kept changing things). All of the accommodations were clean, friendly and comfortable. The luggage transfer was smooth. Everything was hassle free. The hiking was spectacular. Even the weather cooperated. We hiked the lower part, Amroth to Bosherton, then skipped up to St. David's and hiked from Justinians to Dogmael. The wildflowers were stunning. The path was in good condition. Thank you Encounter.
The holiday was indeed a success, I very much enjoyed my 4 days walking on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, it’s such a beautiful unspoilt coastline. It was VERY windy on the last day, Wednesday, & I had to be careful on some of the more exposed parts of the route. But walking south-to-north meant the wind was usually at my back.
I found the walking itself fairly strenuous with all the ups & downs, but I managed it within the times you indicated in the itinerary. All the arrangements worked like clockwork, thank you very much. And I was happy with all the accommodation & everyone gave me a warm welcome. I would certainly be happy to come back to you for another holiday in the future.
It was fantastic weather - can't ever complain about it being too hot! And the hottest day was ended with arriving at the lovely garden at the Manor Town House in Fishguard, a gem. The first B and B in Trefin was a bit random, and obviously the only place to stay there, though all have been very welcoming. The Grove as you said, in St. Davids, has had the noisy fan taken out so that was fine.
The Webley was rather daunting from the outside particularly as had scaffolding up (not their fault!) and really, all was fine, with the absolute treat being the Manor Town House. Forgot to mention the Golden Lion at Newport - walked in to the one before it and tried to check in! (way more upmarket/expensive but would love to stay there one day).
Re the walking, the last day (16 miles I think in itinerary) was a bit too much, ie long and strenuous, for me so two of us walked across via minor road from Newport, via the garden centre at Moylegrove, and on to Poppit Sands. If anyone else wants to do that, its a very nice walk, and still some very good views of the coast.
Just as a thought - you don't do the Dorset coast do you? thinking of next year.....
By the way the taxi driver took us to the exact spot the walk starts at St. Dogmeals, and also via the Abbey there. The buses, everywhere, were very good. Thanks very much - Liz H
Damon: Our feedback is all good. Pentower in 'Fishguard and Golden Lion in Newport were perfect for our needs. Tony and Mary are delightful, interesting, and generous people--incredibly nice, large room, extraordinary breakfast, interesting conversations, lots of special touches and tips about getting around and seeing things--Fishguard is lacking in eating options with some places apparently out of business. We very much enjoyed the Golden Lion and glad for the extra night in Newport--used the "rest day" for another walk on the coast and a drive to the burial chamber and to Nevern. Also loved having great food on premises--the best and most efficient and friendly serving staff we have ever encountered. We adjusted our walking to 3-4 hour roundtrip hikes from Strumble Head, Dinas Head (should not be missed ever), Moylegrove, and Newport. With a rental car, that worked well--stunning weather was the real gift. When starting from Moylegrove, parking halfway between the village and the trail at the garden center and taking advantage of the delightful cafe with full day hours was a good tip from a fellow walker--the walk from the garden center down to the trail is like Robin Hood's forest--beautiful. The next chapter in the wilds of the Brecon Beacons was also inspiring--unbelievable scenery on brief walks (although, next time, we would just spend more time on the coast)., Brecon itself appears a bit worn out.
So thanks again for your friendly guidance. Let us know which coast Encounter
Walking tackles next!
The scenery was pretty stunning; I especially liked the views around Ramsey Island ad was sorry their was no way to get there on the day I stopped at St David's. St David's, Solva, Newport were all very interesting
The two rest days were actually very good; I probably wouldn't have attempted the last day (Newport to St Dogmaels) otherwise. As it was the last 15 miles turned out to be quite easy: I had the wind in my back.
Accommodation: all very good and the people very friendly and helpful. A couple of updates: Anchor Guest House in Broad Haven has new owners, Helen and Ian. The seafood pie at the restaurant next door (Ocean Cafe...) was excellent.The other very good meal I had was at St David's - Indian at Saffron. The Coach House does an excellent breakfast too.
Wildlife: didn't see all that much, apart from a few rabbits, but lots of birds whose names I don't know, lots of butterflies. The spring flowers were exquisite. My friends all liked the picture of Witch's Cauldron!
Signage is really very good. In a few places I had to retrace my steps, but nothing serious and I can't remember exactly where. Another comment: it would be good to have a few more benches, because when it's wet you don't want to sit down in the grass. The lunch stop at the bench at Carn Ogof (map 63) was one of my highlights.
Most of the B&B places have free wifi, which might be worth mentioning in your notes.
That's all. Thank you so much again for organising at short notice.
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