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.
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!
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
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.
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.)
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Cornwall. We were especially lucky with the weather. The Blue Horizon was very comfortable and Paul and Judith very helpful hosts. The group at the other B&B enjoyed their stay however they felt that the hosts did not know about the local area and perhaps could have been more helpful.
The walks were great - we only had trouble on the day we did Lamora Cove and ended up doing part of the walk on the inland public footpath. Boscastle was fantastic and we really enjoyed the stay at the Wellington. All the walks were spectacular and we hope to be back to do more in the future.
1. More than anything, we really enjoyed our walk and magnificent sea views, being fortunate in our case with the weather.
2. The accommodation and pubs recommended to us were good and friendly, notably the Village Inn at Westward Ho!, the Hartland Quay Hotel, and the Bush Inn.
3. On a practical note, we would stress the need for walkers to take a good supply of water with them. Obvious I know, but multiple ascents and descents really do stimulate a good thirst.
4. Two delightful pit stops included the Hartland Point cafe in the car park, and earlier in the walk - and for the life of me I cannot be specific here - the tiny window in the house by quay that was open to sell drinks and ice cream. But only pointed out to us by a local walking her dog.
5. To possibly help with future publications:
- a clearer distinction in your notes regarding the difference between 'strenous' and 'severe' would be helpful.
- as naive as it may sound, greater clarity on the length (and multiple small bridges, not shown on any map) of the walk-in on the Hobby Road to Clovelly. There were a few moments, based on experience in Scotland's Highlands, when I wondered if we were actually heading the wrong way though I guess this was accentuated by not fully appreciating the nature of the final, amazing descent down to Clovelly.
But in summary a great trip characterised by very helpful information and tips alongside superb views and delightful landscapes.
The Route: We found the route was of outstanding beauty and some parts remote.To hear and follow the Atlantic crashing against the rocks watching the waves gives you a calm and sometimes mystic feeling. Looking behind you after climbing the valleys and steps going up and down great views. Always anticipating what`s around the corner a good feeling.
The accommodation: well planned and our bags always waiting for us on arrival. Would love to give special regards to Mark and Marcelline who gave us a warm welcome and lots of tips for our rest day at Westward Ho!before starting our walk. Also Keith and Julie at Tintagel who served us tea and freshly baked chocolate and banane cake at our arrival the best thing after such a walk. It was here we had one of the best breakfasts healthy eating.
The weather: We started off with great weather for hikers not too cloudy enough sunkissing for our souls. Lots of winds but we were very careful along the cliffs. Only one day of rain turning some parts of the track into a little stream und muddy we had a slippy time but also a unique experience has something mystical the coast by rain and fog.
The Encounter Team: Really lots of information and good books to help us on our way. We will definetly be back next year for the next part of the path which has infected us. Thanks a lot I`ve now recommended you to friends of ours here in Germany, telling them about our hiking with you, they asked for details so who knows I`m sure you`ll be hearing from them.
We really enjoyed this walk and found Encounter much more flexible, responsive, thorough and helpful than other companies we have used that arrange walking holidays along the South West Coast Path. We were glad that we chose to walk from pub to pub because the rooms are always available earlier than those in B & Bs and if we were tired we did not need to go anywhere else for dinner. The only change we would ask for please is that the luggage labels be made waterproof - ours fell to bits well before the end of the trip because of the rain.
Dear Damon What a terrific holiday! We had a wonderful time, even the weather was just perfect. The accomodation wast first rate. We especially enjoyed the farmhouses. Thanks a lot for the perfect organisation. We'll come back !
thank you Damon and others. the route was beautifull and perfectly orginized. the luggage transfer worked perfectly the accomodation was good (Port Gaverne Hotel was the best with a superb restorant) and we found the information and advices on our itinerary supplied by encounter walking holidays very helpfull. will be glad to come again for another part of this wonderfull trail yuval, avi, eli, & ziv from israel
Fantastic walk. Plenty of up's and down's - don't under estimate the difficulty. All accommodation very good - Bush Inn at Morwenstow worth a special mention. Good meal at Olive Tree in Bude. Cool,wet and very windy at start of week but soon calmed down and then perfect. Very well organised and path easy go follow- Trailblazers books - excellent. Will certainly use encounter again........thanks
We had a quite memorable holiday. Firstly the walk is quite stunningly beautiful and exhausting; we walked from 6 to 8 hours a day and collapsed into bed in the evenings. (actually from Hartland to Bude we actually walked 9.5 hours !!) Secondly we met a number of fellow walkers who were great fun, and we would keep bumping into them along the route or at the bed and breakfasts for the latest bit of gossip or update.
The organisation ie the collection and delivery of our bags from place to place worked like clockwork. The bed and breakfasts were variable but generally good. All the way from Clovelly I was hoping to eat fresh fish as we were on the sea but scampi and whitebait was all I could get til we made it to Port Isaac. In conclusion it was an absolutely brilliant week away; I would definitely do it again and I would definitely use encounters again. Highly recommended.
Encounter provided excellent accommodation planning and advice on alternatives. Their experience with local accommodation was very useful and accurate. All of the B&Bs and hotels were great. No issues with luggage transfers. They were faultless. Encounter also provided my wife with details on how to use public transport between each of our stops. The advice was great and very useful!! The only unexpected cost was the taxi from Clovelly to Hartland Quay on a Sunday (GBP 80). The trail was very well marked so the maps and the guidebooks were only occasionally used. Weather was very good with only one day of rain. The trip exceeded our expectations and we highly recommend Encounter.
Thanks Neil and Mai and yes that taxi fare sounds very expensive - I will contact you directly to find out who you used and make sure we don't recommend them to anyone - damon
Excellently organised trip. From the first night in Clovelly everything went like clockwork, accommodation spot on, luggage transfers on time and a warm welcome each night. Considering we were a party of 8 blokes requiring twin/single rooms and you managed to accommodate us in the same hotel/B&B every night that was a superb logistical coup. All communication, right from the first enquiry to completing the walk was first rate. Our one and only minor issue on the walk was resolved quickly and we were kept informed at all times. Would recommend Encounter (in fact I already have) to anyone interested in tackling this type of walking trip.
Fantastic walking holiday. Very well organised. I found the walk from Tintagel to Port Issac challenging lots of steps. I would certainly use Encounterwalking again.
Fantastic organisation by Damon at Encounter. Completed the first 5 days of the Cornish Coastal Path starting at Welcome Mouth. Really tough walking but spectacular scenery. We had 5 days of clear blue skies in March! Some parts of the route should not be tried in wet and windy weather unless experienced walkers. Walking poles are a real advantage over this part of the route.
Day 1 Welcome Mouth to Bude (10 miles) of very steep ascents & descents. Stayed at Brendan Arms, Bude. Excellent with amazing home-cooked food & superb breakfasts. Really friendly staff.
Day 2 Bude to Crackington Haven (10 miles), first 7 miles easy last 3 miles tough. Stayed at Coombe Barton Inn. Best food of the whole trip. Outstanding!
Day 3 Crackington Haven to Boscastle (7 miles) slightly easier than previous days. Stayed at the Wellington - full of character, amazing comfy beds. Dining room too formal so ate at the Cobweb Inn full of character but indifferent food & minimal wine selection.
Day 4 Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand (7 miles). Stayed at the Port William very friendly, OK food. Trebarwith Strand to Port Isaac (7 miles)- vertical ascent from the Port William to start the walk! Welcome arrival at the Schoolhouse, Port Isaac. Ate at Nathan Outlaws Fish Kitchen - outstanding and a reward for 5 days of challenging but amazing walking. Cant wait for the next part of the path.
It was a challenge on Thursday because the stepping stones at Welcombe Bay were covered by a torrent of water. I decided to try a footpath between the road and the river and found a bridge about half a mile along. And on the Saturday it was very windy so I had to sit down for a while, half a dozen times when atop the high cliffs, for fear of being blown down the sheer sides. Luckily it wasn't particularly cold and I had allowed plenty of time. But I took photos and sent regular instagrams so people could track my progress and I was safe. Yes there was lots of mud, particularly just before Boscastle, which was a shame, because my boots had nearly become clean beforehand.
Accommodation amazing. I'm phoning today to make another booking. Thanks for phoning the Bush Inn. I felt cared for. Best wishes, Fiona
We have had a fantastic walk , our bags have been at our accommodation on time every day a big thank you to the taxi service ( we know what the roads are like) , the accomodation has been first rate with excellent breakfasts ( of coarse some are better than others ) and the trip notes have been excellent . Once. again thanks Ian + Jo
Damon did a lovely job organising our walk, all at rather short notice. Although we live in Cornwall, the far north coast was utterly unknown to us. The ups and downs are far more frequent and higher than the ones we are accustomed to down here on the Lizard! The Bush Inn at Morwenstow was a complete delight - try the cloudy cider yum yum! Make sure you pack your swimming gear if you do this route. The beach at Crackington Haven is small, but sheltered and perfectly formed, and there are numerous other opportunities for a cheeky dip. The wild ponies on some of the steeper cliffs just north of Boscastle were beautiful, and no trouble at all. I am generally nervous of cows too, but all those we encountered were gentle and untroubled by our presence.
We had a fantastic holiday arranged by Damon at Encounter Walking, they were super helpful and everything was arranged as planned. I would highly recommend using them, they were very accommodating and we will use them again next time we come to Cornwall!
A beautiful and extremely well organised holiday. We appreciated particularly your choice of accommodations: a good variety of places, excellent locations, nice breakfasts... The provided documentation was more than adequate for navigation dummies like us. We also appreciated the efforts of the owner of the Avalon BandB in Tintagel in trying to get our clothes dried after a very wet day. Only the last morning in Port Isaac the rain was pouring down so hard that we were tempted to take the bus, but luckily the sun came through just in time to make us change our mind. One possible advice we can think of: if you have gaiters, you'd better take them with you!
Our walk was amazing and we enjoyed every minute even if the weather was not always sunny.
The walk itself is spectacular and every day is different.
The distances we walked was perfect for us as experienced long distance walkers but also gave us time for lovely coffee stops!We were so impressed with all our accomodation especially the B and B s as they all had a personal touch it was only the larger accomodation places that did not do soya milk which we found interesting! But that was only about 3 places.
The diversion was in place in St Ives but caused no probs, Biggest problem for walkers is on day arriving into St Ives when you have to walk on a very narrow busy road! Not pleasant.
The luggage transfer was first class and was always at destination and often in our room which was really nice"
Overall I would highly recommend the walk and the all the places we stayed.
thank you for your vey well planned holiday and we recommended your company to numerous people while on the walk. We look forward to booking our next trip with you soon.
Actually I did quite well on the walk, as I made use of your alternative suggestions. The landscape is just awesome and all accommodation was great! The luggage transport worked out perfectly, there is absolutely nothing we could complain about. British friends who joined us during the trip, walked the complete distances, and, it won't be a surprise to you, found it quite challenging. Especially the route section to Crackington Haven was difficult for them, as it was raining and the path (especially the steps) was wet and slippery.
One of the highlights was the stay at the Bears and Boxes, whose the owner invited us to join her on a visit to the pub in Boscastle, where locals meet for an 'evening of singing' during the summer months (every Wednesday). That was a very special evening! Fran is an original, a woman dedicated to everything she does -.. I take my hat off to her. By the way, she told us that not all travel businesses treat their contracting BandBs as fair as you do.
Another highlight is the walk from Boscastle to Tintagel. The scenery on that part is absolutely magnificent, we enjoyed every second of the walk! Port Isaac is a lovely place to visit. We didn't know anything about its fame as the 'Doc Martin' location and found out from some citizens that they are quite happy about it, since it attracts additional guests. Still, the place wasn't overcrowded and has a very special atmosphere.
Wadebridge and Padstow are both nice places to visit (unfortunately I didn't get there early enough to go on the Camel trail - something to do next time). The stay at the 'Golden Lion' was very nice and the owner is a very (!) good cook and very nice and friendly person.
All information I got from you was geared up to all needs and very informative.
I hope I can return in better conditions, I would definitely recommend Encounter Walking Holidays as THE travel organizers to book with!
We are a couple in our early 70s and experienced walkers/trekkers. We had a "life experience" 8 days on the Saints Way (Fowey to Padstow - 2 days) and then Padstow to Bude on the South West Coast Path (6 days). The advance information and preparation from the Encounter Walking team was extremely helpful - prompt, responsive to our questions, complete - both by email and in the material- detailed itinerary, guidebooks and maps - sent in advance of our walk. Encounter also responded immediately to questions that arose during our trip, and that responsiveness contributed significantly to our enjoyment of our walk. The advance information is essential to preparing for a South West Coast Path Walk.
The SWCP is not an easy walk. Thus our principal advice to those planning a Saints Way or South West Coast Path walk is to read the information provided by Encounter Walking carefully, pay close attention to the distances and estimated walking times, which are based on steady walking without stops) and plan your days consistent with your walking speed, level of fitness and endurance, over terrain that has very steep elevation gains and descents, and consistent with your personal desired experience. Know your walking speed based on how steady you like to walk and how often you like to stop and look and watch for birds and wildlife and take side trips to historic sites etc.
The opportunities for gawking as well as walking on the Saints Way and SWCP are without limit. Encounter Walking provides all this information and the formulas for estimating your walking time and distance covered. Our advice is to pay close attention to Encounters advice and to ask questions. Encounters will help you design a trip that works for you. All of the accommodations - hotels and B&Bs - met or exceeded our expectations. Again, Encounters was very responsive to our preferences and standards. Our hosts were a very positive part of the trip. All of our logistics and baggage transfers worked perfectly. Thanks for a wonderful experience!! Ed and Ann
Thanks a lot for your perfect organization.
We had a really great time on the SWCP.
Five days of sunshine, one with fog. NO RAIN!
Wonderful accommodations (four times with twin beds..),
Very friendly hosts. Great food.
From Clovelly to Heartland Quay and from Bude to Trevigue Farm,
we shortened our journey for about 2 miles by a taxi-drive.
We obviously underestimated the many, many Ups and Downs (I am 72 years of age!).
We shall recommend you to all our friends who are interested in a SWCP-Adventure.
We had a wonderful week. Got the pace about right by doing homework in advance in distances and times, it would be easy to be over ambitious on this route, the distances may be reasonable, but some stretches are very hilly. Organisation by Encounter and Damon was excellent. Not a hitch. Best way to see Cornwall in my view, many of the villages are small and not car friendly, walking in is perfect as you are always delighted to fall into ice cream stall or tea shop (ok the pub too) and watch the world go by. Time to see the UK at its best. It did help that we had the most wonderful weather of course, the sea was turquoise and blue. Fab. Highly recommend the route and also Encounter.
Fabulous walking. Stunning countryside and lovely villages, I highly recommend this. The organisation was faultless. The hotels were reasonable, 3-4 * type accommodation, although we found the beds quite small. If you are used to sleeping in a big bed, you may need to request this at the time of booking. Great week. Thanks.
This was the second year of walking the SWCP organised by Encourter Walking Holidays and it won't be the last! Everything was perfect (despite relatively short notice). We had a brilliant walk, superb accommodations and using the trailblazer made walking easy. Thank you Damon for the perfect Organisation! We will definitely continue next year!
I wanted to send you a quick thank you for the terrific job you did arranging my South West Coast Path walking trip. Everything went so smoothly! I could really relax and enjoy the hiking knowing that everything had been so well arranged, The distances were comfortable and the information provided made finding my way around easy. I got lost once or twice for a short time but have no one to blame but myself for that. The luggage transfer worked amazingly well also - please pass on my appreciate to them as well. I am very impressed with everything,
I am already looking at other hiking trips to take. Maybe stringing some shorter ones together? I discovered unexpectedly that the lonelier and more rugged sections were my favourites.
We arrived back home late last night having had a superb trip. As you indicated it was a very varied walk with a great contrast between the days walking round the estuary and the section from Westward Ho! Taking the extra days to do the walk meant that we had plenty of time to look round places and none of the days were too much for either of us. The only day it rained was on the first Sunday when we were just riding on the trains!!! Over Easter weekend it was shorts and teeshirts.
It was a bit blowy for the first couple of days - it actually blew me over at one stage and then I had to hang on to G as we came round the Foreland as I couldn't stand up in the wind. Still we made it without any mishaps. The accommodation was all very good and we are always pleasantly surprised how you manage to find these lovely pubs and B&B's etc. We really want to do the next stages in due course so hopefully we will be coming back to you at the end of the year to book something for next Easter - health permitting!!!
Thank you again for arranging everything so well.
Just returned from 4 days walking along the coast path from Bude - Padstow. We had very mild weather for the entire trip with virtually no rain. Without doubt some of the most stunning scenery we have ever seen and has left us definitely wanting to come back to do another section soon. As novice walkers, we definitely found the going tough in places and some of the ascents and descents quite challenging but the route is well signposted all the way along and easy to follow. A few things worth looking out for or considering:- If you are intending to eat at the overnight accommodation that has been reserved for you, it is definitely best to call ahead and reserve a table. Most of our stops were able to accommodate us but some were full by the time we arrived. The walk from Port Isaac to Port Quinn is a tough one ( about 3 miles ) and took us longer than we expected, partly due to some quite slippery paths in places. The tea van at Port Quinn was a very welcome sight! It isn't always open though apparently so take provisions on this stretch. On the route from Crackington Haven to Boscastle, there is an excellent farm shop and café just outside Boscastle itself. Its easily found just off the path at the top of the steep section immediately above Pentargon waterfall ( and therefore a very welcome sight! ) a final observation - the SWCP obviously gets eroded by the elements and we came across sections that have had diversions set up around them ( close to Delabole, a set of steps abruptly ended up in fresh air! ). we never needed to make our own detour but it clearly pays to keep aware of whats around generally and adjust your route if necessary! All in all, we had a fantastic trip. Luggage transfer arrangements and return taxi to collect our car all worked perfectly and the sight of our luggage already put in our rooms at the end of a long day was just perfect! Jim and Nikki
We had an absolutely wonderful time. The scenery was superbly gorgeous and the weather was sunny, cool, and we got sunburnt (who knew?) The directions provided, both the book and OS map were very helpful.
Just a few minor corrections to the book- one important one is on the way to Boscastle...there is an "alternate path" that traverses ground higher than the real path for a way- it was full of gorse and we got a bit scratched up. Also, one comment about the path and dogs - there is alot of dog waste on the trail, and it was quite a distraction to keep from stepping in it- please folks, bag up your dog poop! (I have nothing against cow, horse, sheep poop, but dog is pretty nasty). Other than that, the path was FANTASTIC! Our accommodation in Bude was fine (we ate at the Olive Garden, highly recommended, best food we had all week); in Crackington Haven, the innkeeper upgraded us to their balcony room that overlooked the harbor and where we sat with a glass of wine after dinner and watched the stars..so nice of them to do that! We had time to wander around Boscastle a bit- it is very beautiful there - had a wonderful stay at the Avalon BnB in Tintagel (beautiful updated house and very nice innkeepers).
Tintagel to Port Gaverne's only downside was that the path follows a barbed wire fence very closely, and you had to be very careful (I snagged my arm on the barbed wire- good thing you told us to have a first aid kit, the anti bacterial and bandages came in handy). The last bit of directions to the Inn in Port Gaverne were a little hard to understand - I recommend adding "just keep following the path signs and you'll pass the Inn on your left" - or maybe we were just a little too tired? Anyway, wonderful time was had in Port Isaac, great drinks in the Golden Lion (nice location for view of the harbor) and very nice dinner at The Edge- highly recommend them!
The last day to Padstow was tiring but very interesting with it's changing terrain- we just took our time and had plenty of gorp and water to keep us going. We got the last ferry! The estimated walk times in the book were invaluable and we used it alot to plan our day as we went. Our only real complaints come from Padstow. The Treann House BnB was very lovely, but the innkeeper has a very noisy 3 year old that curtailed our sleeping in the morning and nixed any possibility of a nap in the afternoon. We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary at Rick Stein's seafood restaurant, which was a big disappointment- the food is really not that good. But, we were celebrating our anniversary and a fantastic week of walking, so we brushed it off.
While in Padstow we bicycled the Camel Trail to the end at Wenfordbridge (a bit past Poley's Bridge) - an absolutely beautiful wooded trail, and at the end, we enjoyed cream teas at the Snails Pace Cafe - the proprietor is so nice, and the cafe is highly recommended! In all, our experience was great, and we will recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to all our friends! Thanks for being so helpful with answering questions and setting everything up. We look forward to exploring with you again someday!
I have often walked short stretches of the coast path whilst on holiday in Cornwall & Devon and have always wanted to do a longer stretch so when the opportunity came, how could I resist. I chose the stretch from Crackington Haven to Padstow as we have been to the area a number of times, so many of the places are familiar and as a walk it worked well as it gives you Boscastle one day and Polzeath on another day for lunch stops. This means you don’t have to carry lunch on these days. On the middle day (Tintagel to Port Gaverne), Trebarwith Strand is a little early for lunch (but still great for a coffee), so I picked up a Cornish Pasty in Tintagel before I left.
The route does have many strenuous sections with lots of steep downs and ups (Crackington Haven to Boscastle, Trebarwith Strand to Port Gaverne, Port Isaac to Port Quin, but just take your time and enjoy the views. It’s only a problem if you are in a rush. I could not pick any particular place out for the perfect view as this whole stretch is just stunning. The distances covered each day allowed plenty of time to stop and admire the views along the way as well as time to refresh yourself with a beer at the end of the walk. I had planned the trip as a solo traveller as my wife is not such a keen walker, but when I told her where I planned to go she decided to join me and make her own way from place to place on public transport. Each place we visited gave her lots to do. This worked well for both of us and this stretch of the coast is well served with buses.
Whilst walking in September, we were very fortunate to have some fantastic weather. Sunny, good visibility, but just enough breeze to be not too hot walking. The accommodation Encounter Walking booked for us was all good, but special mention must be made of the two B&Bs we stayed at in Tintagel and Padstow. Already thinking where to go next time...
We have walked quite a bit of the Cornish section of the South West coast path so decided to tackle 30 miles in Devon this time. There were some serious up and downs which tested the heart and legs but the view at the top was always worth it. Encounter don't provide the scenery, cliffs, wildlife and pubs, all of which were great. What they do provide is expert knowledge, brilliant organizational skills and a huge desire to make your walking holiday work for you! We will definitely return next year to walk another 30 miles of the SW Coast Path with the help of Encounter.
Weather was hot and sunny throughout the 9 days we were walking. Accommodations were all excellent. Avalon B&B was outstanding. Route finding was quite good, the guide had more than enough advice to get us wherever we were going. On average the rating of the difficulty of the sections of trail were fairly accurate and the suggested walking times were consistent. The section from Crackington Haven to Boscastle seemed more difficult than the guidebook suggested but some of the "more strenuous" sections weren't as formidable as we thought they would be. All in all an excellent holiday and all arrangements worked out very well!
Our walk from Clovelly to Tintagel was wonderful. Your descriptions prior to the walk were very accurate, and all the arrangements went marvelously. We liked all of the accommodation. One minor detail was that The Hartland Quay hotel was pretty slow at making our lunches in the morning, even though we had ordered them the night before. This meant we got a rather slow start on our longest walking day. We liked the New Inn but would recommend the pub on the quay for anyone who was a light sleeper, as the Inn was a little noisy with people coming and going at all hours.
Thanks for planning such a great time, we are looking forward to the next walk.
As always everything was arranged as I wanted and expected. All accomodations were very good, and the luggage never failed to be waiting for me. The route was as beautyful and challenging as I remember, and the weather was perfect for walking. Not many walkers on this section, so if you want solitude this section is perfect for you. All the dogs on the route were friendly, and some of the even let me have some of their flees. I can only recommend Encounter. This is not the last time I will use you for booking my walking.
Just a quick note to tell you what a spectacular trip we had to Cornwall. Your proposed route, plus the additional hike from Crackington Haven, was great and the accommodations were excellent. Thanks so much!
On our more recent walk from Bude to St. Ives:-
Best B&B: Simply Padstow for the room, Cornerways for the breakfast
Best days walk: Tintagel to Port Gaverne, and the Harbour Lights cafe in Boscastle deserves a special mention as the best cafe on the whole trail!
Best evening meal: Fresh char-grilled Mackerel and heritage tomatoes at the Port Gaverne Hotel. Delicious!
Looking forward to exploring the 'industrial wasteland' of the Cornish tin mines on our next visit! Will be in touch later in the year for your help in organizing St. Ives to Falmouth.
We had a fantastic time on the path. The weather was fine, only one day with rain. No problems in finding our way and the organisation including luggage transfer was as perfect as it was two years ago when we already walked a part of the path. Only one of the sections was with about 20 miles a bit long, but with the help of the sunny weather and a pub 4 miles ahead of our end we made it. Accomodation was very comfortable, highlights were the Seaforth at St. Ives where we had a great room with spectecular views over St. Ives and a superb breakfast in a comfortable ambience, but the Avalon Guesthouse at Tintagel was excellent as well, there we got an upgraded room with a great view. The Carden Cottage Crantock is worth a visit as well. Eating at the different places was no problem, there were normally different choices of restaurants or pubs where we had excellent dinners, here I would point out the Port Gaverne Hotel, where we had a superb dinner and a nice room. Thanks to encounterwalking for the perfect organization, hope we will come again.
This was our first walking holiday and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There were certainly some very strenuous sections (as described in the Trailblazer book) - although we're sure that the 'up' sections were longer and steeper than the 'down' bits!
Problems: We had trouble a bit of trouble finding the path after leaving Speke's Mill Mouth. We followed the signs for the coastal path over the river and thought we were following the correct path only to become worried when this path veered to the left and appeared to be heading towards a village. We could see another path off to our right which appeared to be heading the correct way so had to slog over some very marshy ground to reach this path - which proved to be correct - going up Swansford Hill. We're not sure where we went wrong, but perhaps we should have followed the path labelled 'cliff path' - although the Trailblazer book said that this was an alternate path.
We also had a little trouble finding the path once we reached the Satellite Ground Station near Harscott High Cliff (referred to as a radio station in the Trailblazer book). The grassy path gave no clues as to which way to go - there was a trail marker lying on the ground which may have been of some help if upright!
Eating: We can thoroughly recommend the Sandymouth Cafe for a light lunch. The people were extremely friendly and helpful. The information provided by Encounter for our sections was also most helpful, although the Hartland Quay charges £7.50 for a packed lunch and not £4 as stated in the itinerary! Thank you - have updated the itinerary notes on this - EW They stated that it had been this price for quite some time. A word of warning, if you're wanting to do your laundry at Bude, make sure you get there at 4pm - one hour before closing!!
Accommodation: It was very comfortable, we had no problems with noise, even at the busy hotels. The Brendon Arms at Bude was the stand out. Seemed like pure luxury (the room was quite large) and the bathroom was massive! Bags: Arriving at the end of a weary day to find our bags had arrived safely was just brilliant - particularly as they were delivered to our room! We're really keen to try another Encounter Walking holiday and can thoroughly recommend this group - extremely well organised and very, very flexible!
The walk was absolutely fantastic, great views, good weather most of the time and Murphy the mutt loved it. Thanks to Encounter Walking for the organisation, the luggage transfers went like clockwork and all the accommodation was first class and very friendly. The only warning for this walk is a field of Bullocks that were very aggressive just before trig point 041 (St Illickswell gug) map 14, it was extremely frightening and I certainly would not want to go through that field again, in my opinion it is an accident waiting to happen and the farmer should be taken to task about it.
Encounter Walking - We have reported the above incident to the SW Coast Path team to investigate 30th May 2014
Well Damon......how can we thank you enough...a flawless adventure. We loved it......the walk, the geography, the people, the accommodations, the service, the characters we met along the way.......all such a treat!! Many wonderful memories!! Must say that arriving in Falmouth is a bit of a shock after being treated to so many small villages with lovely interactions amongst the folks who live there (and all know one another). Another reality for sure.
Sincerest thanks and know that you will receive a very high recommendation should anyone ask who facilitated our trip......a well deserved referral!
Take good care and again thanks SO MUCH!!!
I was planning to send you an e mail to give you some feedback as I believe your company deserves to be praised and highly recommended.
Every member of my group had a wonderful time and didn't have one negative comment about the week, even the wet weather during the first couple of days didn't deter them from enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Your organisation and choice of hotels were superb, everything went perfectly smoothly and we were all completely confident that we were in good hands.
Thank you so much for making the experience so enjoyable and thank you for your outstanding professional service. I will definitely book another group holiday with you and will not hesitate in recommending you to others.
We had a lovely time thanks to your organisation and that we somehow managed to coincide our rest days with the worst weather. Overall the weather was pretty good and path was fine, with very little in the way of overgrown bits. We found a couple of cafes in which you might be interested.
Morwenstow to Bude: At Northcott Mouth there is a rustic tea garden, open Easter to early October.
Crackington Haven to Boscastle: About a mile from Boscastle at the top of the steep climb out of Pentargon is Boscastle farm shop and café which opened earlier this year. They are planning to be open 7 days a week all year, so worth knowing about. Good home made food and cakes. www.boscastlefarmshop.co.uk It's only 50 yards off the path and there is a small sign to the left of the path.
We only had one minor issue with route finding. On the leg from Boscastle to Tintagel map ref OS111 grid ref 082905 the coastal path follows a farm track (which carries on to the village of Trevalga). The CP leaves the farm track but there is no marker indicating this. So if you're not careful (which we weren't) it's easy to carry on the track towards the village.
Accommodation was fine. We loved 50 Church Street at Padstow. The Avalon Guest House in Tintagel does the best porridge ever, and Nancy at Port Isaac is a treasure. She washed our walking trousers which were plastered in mud after a slithery walk up and down the gullies.
Thanks again for another excellent walk. Will be in touch later in the year to start planning South Devon. Sounds like it will be something of a military operation with all the ferries and estuaries.
We had a great time and the accommodation worked very well with transfer of luggage good too. Dog thoroughly enjoyed his holiday Mike & Mary
Excellent walk, directions, accommodation and suggestions worked perfectly. The suggestion to include Rocky Valley and St Nectan's Kieve in first day's itinerary was ideal and I probably would not have done this without recommendation. Accommodation and food all good along the way. They could definitely do with putting a proper acorn SWCP sign where the path turns right before the gate coming in to Trevalga. I missed this and so did other walkers I spoke to. Wonderful stretch of coastline - will definitely do more in N.Cornwall. Thanks
we had great holidays, everything was well planned and worked out fine. All the accommodations were very nice, we have had a marvelous chocolate cake and the best bread at Tintagel, made by Julie Walker and we had a perfect ending ad the simply Padstow, very nice rooms with a great view and a delicious breakfast.
We had no problems with the bike and even our two boys (15, 13) were very happy. We like this rough part of the coast very much.
Thanks a lot for the perfect planning and thanks to everybody in all these nice accommodations.
Just to say we had a wonderful time. This is the first time we have used a luggage transfer service, having always carried our own packs previously and arranged our own accommodation but I don't think there will be any going back! Our luggage was transported without a hitch, in most places we arrived to find our bags already in our room, and we really liked the selection of accommodation you chose for us (and I can be a bit picky).
I was worried the route might be too taxing for us but actually it was fine. We thought the part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path we walked a couple of years ago was tougher - but then we were carrying our packs that time. We had a great time. We were also really impressed by how helpful and friendly everyone was; without exception the Hotel staff were very pleasant and accommodating. Its also the first time we have been on holiday with our dog and the place you booked us into really were 'dog friendly'. Overall a fabulous holiday!
Back from our 4 day walking holiday from Bude to Padstow. Everything went really well, and as mentioned before, very impressed at how quickly you were able to make the bookings considering I only contacted you the first time just 1 week before we wanted to start the holiday. Of course the fantastic weather helped, with continuous sunshine everyday (lots of factor 30 sunblock required), and we had to ensure we carried sufficient water as opportunities to refill are few along this stretch of coastline.
The 4 overnight hotels/pubs were varied, each with their own character, and all perfectly located for this walk, although Crackington Haven (Coombe Barton Inn) took top prize as we were able to sit outside watching the sun set all the way down to the horizon.
Notes from Encounter were excellent, very detailed and accurate eg. If sunny/hot, ensure you have plenty of drinking water, up to 2 litres per person. Fantastic organisation, particularly considering the booking was made less than 1 week before requested departure. The notes are accurate (‘strenuous’, ‘severe’ etc) and so good level of general fitness is required. Dolphins, seals, birds, stunning coastline, varied (in a good way) accommodation & locations, brilliant weather, trouble-free (for us) organisation by Encounter
The weather we have had was perfect. During our first walking day (Sunday) we had a lot of wind, which gave beautiful views. But is was dry. Next days the weather was fine and sunny, with a good walking temperature.
When we walked between Crackington Haven and Boscastle, the weather was foggy. So we hadn’t good views on this (higher) part of the route. The only rain we had was when we walked to Polzeath, but we think, that we haven’t walked in rain for more than 3 to 4 hours. So we have been very lucky.
Again we have enjoyed the walk very much! This part of the Coast path was very beautiful. And as you said to us, it was even more beautiful than the part we have walked last year. The heavily cracked and eroded rocks gave in a lot of places beautiful and stuning views. There is too much nature to see to mention.
This part of the SW Coast Path is in general good maintained. It was good to walk. More difficult parts were the sometimes steep decents to the valleys we had to pass. The stairs (what a lot!) helped to make this more easy. And we are sure that we were lucky that the path was dry. Unfortunately we didn’t see much wildlife during our walk (perhaps one seal (??), no dear, but a lot of birds).
In general, we enjoyed our walk that much and we are thinking again, that we will walk an other part of the SW Coast Path also the information how to find our hotel was very clear. Thanks for having organised everything in this way
Frits and Annemarie.
The walk was wonderful and the northern half of the trip was truly outstanding! The maps were so detailed that even when we picked some alternate routing around particularly difficult sections, we could determined exactly where we were at any time. The luggage transfer service worked without any problems whatsoever. The hotel staff was, without exception, friendly and helpful. Having done the same route 14 years earlier, I was astounded by the seemingly uncontrolled and unplanned development in the Newquay area. To say that Newquay was a disappointment would be an understatement. Next time, I would end the trip in Mawgan Porth. Thanks to Damon for the great planning! By the way, we did make our train in St. Austel in time to make our flight home from Heathrow!
1 Any problems finding the route or areas you found confusing: No, once or twice we thought we may have strayed from the path, but always seemed to find a sign post to ensure we stayed on track. We did a bit of research before starting he walk to ensure we knew where the accommodation was, the walking notes and guide books helped us here too.
2 Tips or useful information for other walkers, good rest stops, bad bits of trail, good places to eat: We found a small kiosk selling drinks and ice creams at Bucks Mills, don't think this was mentioned in walking notes or guide book, but it was a welcome sight. Best tip for any walker, slow down, look around and enjoy every minute.
3 Comments about the organisation of the trip by Encounter Walking Holidays: Everything ran smoothly, our luggage was always waiting for us at each stop, the hosts were friendly and happy to help out with directions and information. The walking and itinerary notes were very helpful.
4 Would you recommend the walk to others: Yes, have already done so and would use Encounter again.
5 And finally what was the best thing about your walk/holiday: The great views, wild flowers and the first pint at the end of each day.
Well here we are back after a wonderful hike, a week through Cornwall. Three days along the SWCP from Boscastle to Padstow before crossing Cornwall via the Saint's way (eastern leg) from Padstow to Fowey. Then we come to visit Mevagissey "LostGardens of Heligan" and join Charlestown to visit "Eden Project ". Very good organization. Congratulations to Encounter walking holidays. Spectacular views, beautiful and varied scenery along ocean (spectacular cliff slate) and through moorland, woodland and meadows. The SWCP is very well marked and maintained, which is not always the case of Saint's way. Especially between Trenance and Bable House where it is best to follow the path on the OS map with a compass rather than the arrow signs (signs wrong and uncut grass 1m high when we passed) .The accommodations (B&B, Guest house, Hotel) were all very good and welcoming. We stopped in St Jidgey and Lanivery in pubs (see OS map): St Jidgey we could not eat our packed lunch at the inn while in Lanivery it was possible. At Fowey, we have not been able to take the ferry to Mevagissey (due to bad weather). Nevertheless we had good weather day, so we took the bus. The gardens of Heligan and Eden project worth visiting. We recommend this hike, and the organization of Encounter. Everything was beautiful. We especially recommend staying at St Bennets Abbey (super lounge 14th C.)
Filling in a gap on my SW Coast Path walk, this time from Westward Ho! to Padstow via the pretty but tourist spots of Clovelly, Tintagel and Port Isaac. This was my fourth walk arranged by Encounter Walking and probably the toughest section of the Path I've done so far. Grateful that Damon suggested breaking the part between Bude and Tintagel into 3 days instead of the usual two. It made the walks more enjoyable and gave time for a bit of "books and beach" at Crackington Haven instead of being a route march. Luckily the weather was perfect with wall-to-wall sunshine but the profusion and variety of wild flowers was stunning and it was a delight to be accompanied by the song of skylarks for most of the way. Seals and puffins were also spied. All the arrangements went like clockwork (as they always have) with my luggage always at my night's accommodation and a warm welcome from the hosts. Another good mix of B&Bs and pubs/hotels which were the envy of other walkers who had made their own bookings. Suggestions for evening meal venues came from Encounter Walking or the hosts and a couple of excellent, though not cheap, fish restaurants to mention are 'Country Cousins' at Westward Ho! and 'Life's a Beach' right on the shoreline at Bude. A lunchtime crab sandwich at Boscastle (first cafe on the right) was also memorable. Can't wait to return for another walk along this stunning coast path.
Damon: thank you so much! Absolutely fabulous holiday. You can't claim credit for the weather, but the route, logistics, accommodation, etc. were all splendid. The staff in every place I stayed were invariably friendly and helpful; the places themselves were great. The guidebook was very helpful, and the walks you sorted out for me were just right.
Thanks for arranging a brilliant holiday for us Damon (and the rest of the team)
Everything worked really well, our luggage arrived safely, the taxi was on time and we enjoyed the variety of excellent accommodation.
We thought your information about the walking was clear and realistic with just enough interesting detail of sights to see to encourage us along the way. Just one little improvement which could be made i.e. the instructions to find Sunrise B&B in Bude. We mentioned this to the owners too.
... and the walking was fantastic too.
Hi Damian and everyone who had a hand in organizing his hike. Perfection is rare, but you all have achieved it: bags always there, taxis absolutely on time, accommodations convenient and good, in short, no hitches at all at any moment of the trip. No, not quite so. Sometimes it was confusing finding the path when getting out of town, but we always found it eventually so a small blip. We have already recommended your co. several times. Good luck in your business. You certainly deserve it. Betsy
Another great walk round the SWCP. Weather was pretty good and the time of year was perfect with beautiful spring flowers in full bloom. Logistics all worked out OK and the directions and itinerary were good. We were particularly glad the weather was good for the Tarka trail portion as I suspect this could have been a bit of a slog in the rain. Scenery from this point on was particularly spectacular. Many highlights - but hunkering down in the Hartland Quay hotel after walking through a storm only to see the storm clear through the evening while the sea continued battering the coast was very special.
I had a wonderful time, the walk although quite strenuous at the beginning(I was warned) was fantastic, the isolation and beauty of the walk was a reward in itself, the achievement for me was great. All accommodation was perfect, although if doing it again I would always choose an ensuite... A bath was a bonus! Places like Port Issac and Padstow were definitely at their best early and late in the day. Happy to leave just as the tourists were arriving.
We just got back from five days in Cornwall, walking from Bude to Padstow, which you guys organised for us, this is to say that we had the most fantastic time-all of the arrangements worked perfectly, the places we stayed at were great. In particular the Avalon in Tingtagel was just fantastic, and the people lovely. The view in Padstow was a wow also. All the bag transfers were spot on, and the walks described really well, and the stages just long enough to not actually kill us!...... The directions to the B&B in Padstow took us a very long way round-perhaps you could work with the owner to sort this out, a detour is not what you need after 12 miles!! I might be an idea to warn people that even in September it’s pretty much impossible to eat at any of the good places in Padstow without advance booking.
Path description mostly ok, but not always accurate. (not all landmarks mentioned and clear) All three days were good, Bude to Crackington Haven exceptional, very strenuous at times. Glad to get to the pub! We walked a bit slower and used OS map to make detour once (to avoid drop down to Pencarrow, went along road for half mile!...... Toughest drop down was Dizzard Point on day one, very steep. Weather good during days, some paths could be very muddy in wet weather. Need sticks at all times...... All four locations first class. Tintagel Guest House very attractive. Good to have baths in Crackington and Boscastle...... Copy of Explorer map Bude to Pt Issac would have been useful.......First class organisation, all went to plan. Luggage arrived in right place at right time. Decided to get a taxi in the end from Tintagel to Bude. Cost £22 with Tony Sutton from Boscastle...... Many thanks for arranging this last minute trip for us. Looking forward to doing a bit more one day.
Navigation no problem-keep sea on your right! 2nd day best day Crackington to Tintagel-discovered Boscastle! All good days but if pressed I would have to say last day as last few miles after Polzeath were a bit of a grind along the dunes! Much faster-latest arrival time was 4pm, and after late start, dawdling and copious stops! I guess that because of the limited number of places to stop this may be inevitable but I feel I could have walked an extra 3 miles most days. Not that I’m complaining as the weather was excellent and having very short walking days gave me more time to swim, sunbathe, and admire the mindboggling scenery!...... Arrive Bude as early as possible as it’s a lovely place to take a walk around and ahs a fabulous beach to swim from! Stop at Boscastle and gape at its gorgeousness! Stop at the top of every hill- there is always a fine view! Didn’t encounter a bad restaurant, but the food at Port Gaverne was the best...... Bude B & B- very welcoming and friendly couple; lovely room, good breakfast....... Crackington Haven- Nice big room, friendly staff, good food. Breakfast as expected for a pub......Tintagel -small room built into attic; hence lots of head banging, good breakfast, very friendly hosts who made a pot of tea on arrival....... Port Gaverne- another attic room, but larger with power shower. Very friendly owner/manager who made a point of talking to all residents at Dinner, which was expensive but well worth it! Good breakfast....... Padstow Inn - nice room, very friendly reception, good food; BUT- and it’s a very big BUT- the bar was full of rowdy locals celebrating a birthday and the owners didn’t see fit to close the bar before 1am or ask the locals to keep the noise down, they apologised and said it was a one off..... The luggage transfer was excellent as usual! Thank you to the taxi service.
The route is sometimes not so well marked through towns and villages and occasionally we had to guess which was the right way but in the end we always ended up on the route. But otherwise- no problems...... Every day was the best day! Lovely nature and the Atlantic ocean! And the route varied a lot from gentle meadows to steep ups and downs..... We found the accommodations in Polzeath and Padstow very good and especially the B & B in Padstow was very luxury! And once again-very nice people!..... We are very satisfied with all help and information we have got from you. In particular with the help and information we have got from you. In particular with the help with trains and buses which made our visit so much easier. Not to mention all nice and helpful people we met in Heathrow, Paddington and everywhere!...... We enjoyed the little villages along the coast such as Crackington Haven, Boscastle etc and also that there not so many walkers on the route. We also liked the nature with cliffs, ups and downs etc. And once again, thanks a lot for your kind help. We will certainly come back to you again and I will inform my friends of your excellent help!
Best days walking was Hartland Quay to Bude and Morwenstow to Bude. Lovely weather and lovely scenery. 4 hours walking time is sufficient amount......Worst day Westward Ho to Clovelly. Very muddy, mostly inland within forest...... Walked around the same time but on the first couple of days the boggy conditions slowed us down..... Red Lion-Clovelly-fab views. -Boscastle lovely location. Welcombe beach-lovely location for picnic. Hartland Quay-dramatic views. Bucks Mill woods was more of a bog :( The beach at Bude-lovely, great room, excellent breakfast and nice staff I have ever encountered. 50 Church Street-Padstow-very clean, good location, fab room and excellent breakfast, excellent host. Culloden House, Westward Ho-nice people, excellent breakfast. Hartland Quay Hotel- Hartland Quay. Beautiful view and staff friendly. Crackington Haven- lovely location, food excellent and friendly staff. Tintagel- very clean, breakfast excellent. Not much in Tintagel would have preferred to stay at Boscastle as much more to see...... , Port Issac-quirky B & B, lovely room with fantastic views, good breakfast..... The only problem we had was getting a taxi from Tintagel to Port Issac on our day off. Rang 15 companies before we found a cab!
Luckily the weather cleared for the longer harder stretched or I would have opted not to do them especially without a fellow walker. Definitely not for the feint hearted. Accommodation good...... Brilliant walk, feel good to have achieved but I don’t think I’ll push it so much next time as too many 8hr walking days together. Thanks for your efficiency.
Thank you so much for your kind donation to Macmillan Cancer Support. I haven’t raised as much as I wanted to but I’m sure they will accept the funds raised. I just loved the walk: the scenery, the wildlife, fauna, drama of the cliffs, solitude. At every turn there was another stunning view to enjoy. Once I became used to the routine of each morning...packing my bag (took too much, as usual!), having breakfast and setting out for the day, I settled into a form of rhythm for the day. I loved the challenge though, and really felt as if I was giving my legs, heart and lungs a good workout...... The accommodation was excellent... people were so welcoming and kind, sometimes I was met with a lovely cup of tea, sometimes people didn’t mind doing a load of smelly laundry for me! It would be hard to single anybody out, they were all lovely. Tim in St. Ives, Nancy at Nanterrow Farm, Sue and Sharon at St, George’s Country Hotel, and many more. On our walk to Newquay, the rain just did not stop so after a hot chocolate at Bredruthan Steps National Trust cafe, Jan and I walked to Mawgan Porth and caught the bus to Newquay.... that was a horrible day as we just became cold and wet...... I found the distances each day manageable and even a little too short on a couple of occasions. I guess that might have something to do with the availability of accommodation for that night. In particular the walk from Portreath to Gwithian. I was a beautiful day so we sat on the beach but we both felt we could have walked on further than 7 ½ miles. Our hot feet, though, welcomed the coolness of the water! Linda’s husband at Nanterrow Farm offered to drive us either down or back from the pub in Gwithian.....very kind. Just past Philip’s famous pasty shop, however is a wonderful cafe called Jonny’s. I would recommend you add this to your list of stops for refreshments...... There are so many highlights to this walk, Damon, it is hard to stop telling you about them! Your itinerary notes were excellent in their detail and information. I preferred the north of Cornwall to the south of Cornwall: I love the drama and wilderness of the coastline. The physical challenge of the cliffs, coves, fishing ports, wildlife.
Back home after a really nice week in Cornwall: thanks-excellent arrangements no hitches! 1. The walking was great: routines easy, I was a bit quicker than the time estimates but I was on my own and it did rain a lot! 2. The notes and guides were accurate and reflect the effort level pretty well. 3. Accommodation was all fine. My favourites were the Port Gaverne Hotel (this was excellent...nice room, good atmosphere and good food), and the Coombe Barton Inn. All the B&B’s were fine with nice breakfasts...... I really enjoyed the walk-parts were stunning. I would love to do another stretch of the path and will certainly be back to ask you to organise it!
We were very happy with your organisation and very pleased with the walk (Even the weather held for the week of the walk!) and I would not hesitate to recommend you...... everything was satisfactory- trail was well signposted, lunch packets were good, evening meals were good...... All very satisfactory, however some but unfortunately not all offered alternatives to the classic full English- however much one likes a full English, a change is sometimes welcome!
We had no problems finding the southwest way – not only well marked, but we also had the ordnance survey maps and my husband is a superb map reader...... The walk from Tintagel is lovely. After two smallish climbs, one is way up on the cliffs with relatively easy walking and lovely views. The path around Tintagel ruins is quite a disappointment – I should have realized..... After days on the path with unspoilt wilderness and few people, it is a shock to find the theme parks with fees and a souvenir shop----not to mention the Landrover that runs all day to drive people up and down the hill to town!!! (for two pounds each way!!). Crackington Haven to Boscastle was a BEAR!!!!! (Again I was warned and prepared, and while we spent six hours doing it, we arrived without collapse) At least four major downs and ups on what turned out to be quite a warm day. And THEN two hours in we met a small group with an 85-year-old man whom they were handing down form step to step – hope they made it......! We were given a lovely room with balcony and seaview at Coombe Barton Inn- what’s not to like!! The owner’s brother was running the place for a long weekend – very pleasant and helpful. GORGEOUS room with king bed at the Riverside- although we were directly over the kitchen and the noise and fumes from the exhaust fan were a bit much....kind of drowned out the lovely sounds of the river. And we lucked out at The Avalon where bookings caused him to give us a large room overlooking the view to the sea...Everyone was lovely - I’m sure they all work very hard to pleasant and accommodating...... Everything went swimmingly- arrived Tintagel – Peter had the car park all arranged- all other arrangements similar –not a single glitch. Met a luggage transfer guy one day – both transfers handled successfully. The Boscastle manager said that in his experience your company is the most organized one in the business – on top of all details with never a mistake!..... I know ours was a very short trip, but we do appreciate all the attention to detail on or behalf – we want to come back in a couple of years, and I have lots of thoughts about buses and taxis to try to break up those huge chunks of trail that more ambitious hikers cover.... Thanks again for everything!
We had great time and managed to be in a taxi during our only downpour. The organisation worked very well, we didn’t get lost and we were well looked after, however we did find the first two hotels a bit basic, it may well be you don’t get as much choice with a dog......Thanks for arranging things at such short notice.
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