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.
Now taking bookings for all dates in 2023........
Would you choose Encounter Walking Holidays for future holidays? Yes
Would you recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to others? Yes
Dear Damon and colleagues,
Damon - such a pleasure to meet you in person and twice! Really great, after these years of corresponding.
First of all, thank you all SO much for making my walk this year possible. It really was the most wonderful break, especially after all the months of being restricted to staring more or less all the time at four walls.
Just viewing the sea, the open horizon and hearing the sound of the waves constantly in the background - all really did me a world of good. Very happy too to see lots of bird life. On one of my last days, I spent a fair bit of time with a young kestrel just meters away, sitting on a post. It was staring at me, as I was staring back! I also had the company of a trio of peregrine falcons overhead most of an afternoon. Such great memories to take back to the city.
I do realise and appreciate hugely how you had to organise everything twice, what with the necessary cancellation in the spring. I also understand that it must have been very challenging for your team as well as all the b&b’s, what with having to start up again after many months in lock-down and organise things quickly. Everything went really well and everyone was incredibly welcoming and helpful.
I hope the rest of the season goes smoothly for all of you and can provide your company with the necessary resources for the future. You are all doing an amazing job, providing a fantastic personal service.
Warmest regards, Carl
Would you recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to others? No
Just a few words to tell you that we now arrived safely in Norway. We have had a perfect trip with lovely hikings in a beautiful landscape. The hikingtours matched us just perfect!
Thank you and maybe we will come back in the future????
First of all the information, route and preparation by Encounter were, as always spot on. We have a couple of suggestions and feedback on 2 of the B&Bs which we stayed at.
General route feedback and suggestion
1. The walk from Charlestown to Parr Sands was fairly dismal. If those walking were not absolutely set on completing every inch of the specified route and it was feasible from a practical perspective it may be worth adding an optional extra of the bus from Charlestown to Par and then walking on that day to Polkerris staying overnight there meaning a slightly shorter day to Polperro.
2. The signage into Charlestown seemed to indicate that we needed to take the diversion still and we ended up travelling inland on the road. Having done that we still weren't sure we had followed the correct path!
1. Buckingham House B&B at Mevagissy was very pleasant and we were thrilled to find they did a laundry service. The info said 24 hours but they took our bag of laundry that morning and it was back in our room at the end of the day clean, dry and neatly folded. It may be worth including that info if other walkers are having a day off there for the Lost Gardens.
2. The Royal Inn at Par Sands has a new manager. Whilst the rooms are very spacious the food was the worst of the whole trip. Rather than the menu that had been in use (and was still in the room info folders) these had been changed and we suspect involved the removal of an actual chef with the equivalent of brought in and reheated "Break Brothers" type food. The breakfast although freshly cooked wasn’t a lot better. It may be something worth checking out?
Thank you once again for your excellent service and I have recommended Encounter to several other people who are interested in this type of walking and who have expressed an interest in the area you cover.
Sorry for the delay in responding, just getting back to the real world!
We had a fabulous holiday, loved the walk and all the stops offs, the accommodation was all great, and no problems with any of the transfers. So no complaints from us!
In fact we enjoyed it all so much we would like to go back and do another section as soon as possible so will be in touch after the Bank Holiday!
We very much enjoyed the walk and your arrangements were splendid. Wonderful clifftop scenery and coastal harbours. Baggage transferred seamlessly, lodgings were excellent. We would recommend you without reservation.
Weather sunny every day – almost too good because a few degrees cooler would have been a little more comfortable. However, if there had been three days of rain, we might have a different response.
We brought trekking poles and they were useful, particularly on the strenuous portions of the walk.
Very difficult driving into Mevagissey because the streets were so narrow and crowded with pedestrians and the turns were so tight. We might have been better off just parking in the carpark and rolling our luggage to Buckingham House.
Only place we had any trouble with the trail was in Par, where we were walking on village streets after we skirted the China Clay factory. We did not see any trail marker or sign for the right turn onto the A3082 and – expecting a trail marker – we went wrong for about 1/4 mile. Better map reading on our part would probably have avoided the problem.
The final day was too ambitious, at least for walkers of our age and fitness. The seven or so miles from Fowey to Polperro (although strenuous) was fine but with a fairly leisurely stop at Lansallos Beach and then another stop for tea in Polperro, it was after 3 pm. We decided we were a little too tired and we would arrive in Looe too late to keep walking. However, it was easy enough to take a taxi and very helpful to have your listings .And extraordinarily nice to arrive at Commonwood Manor, where they took very good care of us.
Had excellent meals at Wreckers in Charlestown and Smuggler's Cott in Looe.
Thanks for all your assistance.
To all the Encounters Walking Team,
My great thanks to you all for the planning of Garnets and my walking trip along the Cornish Coast. I just loved this experience in your beautiful country, and the Cornish Coastline is so spectacular !! And none of it is flat ! So, the walks were certainly a challenge, some more than others, but we quickly recovered with a beer/cider at our destinations.
The accommodation was really good, we liked some more than others, namely, Lerryn Hotel in Falmouth, Plume of Feathers in Portscatho, and Rashleigh Arms in Charlestown. But, all in all, the people running the accommodation venues were charming, the breakfasts were delicious and we were warm and comfortable. Our luggage was always waiting for us and the planning was excellent.
It was a real pleasure to briefly meet you, Damon , at the station in Plymouth, sorry we couldn’t spend longer chatting! You seemed concerned that the weather may have put us off, but we actually enjoyed the cool and we were lucky that we had little rain. The one day of torrential rain arrived at a good time for us, the walk from Fowey to Polperro. We took the day off, caught a taxi and had great fun playing backgammon and enjoying the happy vibe at The Blue Peter. Our legs appreciated the rest . We did get very mildly lost a couple of times along the way, but soon realised we were wrong and quickly recovered our route. Actually, we were usually the ones at fault for not reading the directions properly or missing the odd signpost, but it was never an issue.
If I were to do this trip again, I think I would like to take the odd day off, not because the walking was too difficult, but because the beautiful little coastal towns needed more time for us to explore. We have several friends in Cape Town who have been interested in our trip, and I will certainly recommend your company to them.
If you are ever in Cape Town, please look us up. We would love to show off our own beautiful city.
Best wishes to you all, and thank you for the experience.
It was nice to briefly meet you when Christine and I got our luggage at Plymouth station
Just to tell you,the walks you organised were great,and generally our accommodation and breakfasts were totally acceptable.The Plume and Rashleigh were really nice places to stay at-because they had baths??
A few points-the walk I found to be quite taxing,especially the longer days,but we were very lucky to have stormy and overcast days-it would be quite hard if hot—I feel the distances we were able to cope with,even if we missed the odd path or two??Our best meal,and cider/beer was in Polperro at the Blue Peter,lovely atmosphere on a very wet and squally day.
Certainly you are a business I will tell me friends about
Thank You so much for once again arranging a great SWCP itinerary, accommodations, and schedule. As in my previous two SWCP sections, your arrangements for the Falmouth to Salcombe section were nearly flawless.
Your day-to-day distances and scheduling were fine and your knowledge and expertise in negotiating the various ferry crossings (particularly the "double-whammy" day between Noss Mayo and Bantham) was invaluable. Even with walking the extra 2-1/2 mile "long way" to the Worswell Barton Farmhouse at Noss Mayo to shorten the distance to Bantham, I still had to rush all of the next day to get the last ferry across to Bantham. Without your guidance, I would have been literally "up-the-creek".
All of the accommodations were fine. Most were very, very welcoming and hospitable and all of the locations were interesting, some fascinating, nice and historic locations. (only one, the Honeycombe House in Mevagissey, had a private bathroom that was separate and down the hall from the bedroom which was inconvenient for me - otherwise, the Honeycombe House was a great place with a great location and a great view and charming, welcoming hosts). The Worswell Barton farmhouse at Noss Mayo was a considerable distance off the SWCP but was a fascinating, very interesting and historic location that made the extra distance well worthwhile (in addition to the very limited number of beds available in the area). As nice as they were, it did seem that the two "pub" locations (Pier House in Charlestown and Sloop Inn at Bantham) while historic, quaint, and interesting, had management and staffs that might have been slightly more interested in their Pub customers than their overnight residents. Still each and every location was fine by me and I was glad to reach each at the end of the day.
I had a few thoughts and comments to share from my day-to-day journey on this SWCP section:
Day 1 at Falmouth - After arriving in Falmouth I decided to eat at the nearby beach restaurant fairly close to the Lerryn Hotel. I was very surprised to find that there was at least an 1-1/2 hour wait for a table at 7:30 PM on a September Thursday night. I walked all the way across Falmouth, had my choice of places to eat and be seated immediately and was on my way back to the hotel - all before an hour and a half had passed. I wouldn't recommend the Beach restaurant.
Day 2 - Falmouth to Portloe -
In September, Monday to Friday, the first ferry from Prince of Wales Pier was 09:15 AM. There is a combination fare for SWCP hikers of 9 Pounds for both the Falmouth to St. Mawes ferry and the St. Mawes to Place Creek ferry, which was available at the Custom House Quay.
The Hidden Hut outside Portscatho at Porthcurnick Beach was very crowded when I reached there. There appeared to be 100's of people at the small place and a sizeable line at the ordering/serving window. Too many people for me, so I passed by and found a quieter, nearly empty place further down the path.
The Ship Inn at Portloe was also very crowded at dinner time and all the tables were reserved. I did manage to wheedle a table from them, a tiny round table (barely large enough for a plate to sit on) wedged next to the brochures rack and directly opposite the hostess stand. It was almost impossible to get my knees under the table, because of the legs and small size. Ordering was done at the bar after a long delay trying to get noticed. It was not my favorite meal or restaurant/pub of the trip.
Day 3 - Gorran Haven -
The Coast Path Cafe was the first building passed upon entering Gorran haven. It is on the left side just as you enter the town and has indoor and outdoor seating. It is a town cooperative (formerly a town reading room) which has a good assortment of cakes, sandwiches, and drinks. Not much of a menu for a big meal but just fine for my needs. It was not included in the notes or guides.
Day 4 - Mevagissey to Charlestown -
The Route Diversion at Porthpean - I did not see or notice. Perhaps it is now so old that it appeared to be just part of the normal SWCP route.
Porthpean Beach - There is very little shade anywhere around and almost none at the refreshment kiosk.
Room #18 at the Pier House Hotel, otherwise a nice single room, but the window overlooks the back of the kitchen scullery area and the ice machine. Lots of cooking smell during the day and evening and noise and clatter and talking from the kitchen staff all through the evening and starting again very early in the morning.
Day 5 - Charlestown to Fowey -
The SWCP route from St. Catherine's Castle to Fowey is not well marked. There is one sign post with confusing and wrong yellow arrows (but no acorn) just past the castle that should mark the route to the Fowey esplanade, but mislead me into walking all the way up to Lawnyre - over a mile out of the way.
Day 6 - Fowey to Looe -
The Fowey Ferry is now 2.20 Pounds for an adult ticket and departs from the Town Quay up until 09:30 AM, and thence from the Whitehouse Quay.
The Diversion approaching Talland Bay after Polperro, starts off well enough, but in the middle, at a little road at the inland end of a field, a sign is posted reading: "Follow Arrows" and there are no arrows posted after that.
The sign for the Fieldhead Hotel (which seemed a lot further up the road than 100 meters) is white with a green border (and not all green).
Day 9 Plymouth to Noss Mayo -
The lock gate bridge over Sutton Harbor in Plymouth was still under repair in September; but was open for one hour a day, starting at 12:30 PM - too late for a SWCP walker to leave from Plymouth. Because the lock gate bridge was open for the one hour a day, the temporary ferry was not operating at all, requiring the extra mile diversion from Mayflower Steps to the Aquarium. This made for a long day. When you added the 1 mile around Sutton Harbor to the approx. 1 mile from the Sea Breezes Guest House to the Mayflower Steps, and the approx. 5 miles from the Aquarium to Mount Batten, you have spent a good part of the day walking about 7 miles without really progressing toward Noss Mayo. If the "Official" SWCP route in other places (Fowey, Padstow, etc.) encompasses a ferry crossing, I would think that the SWCP Authority could include the Mount Batten Ferry in the "Official" route and eliminate (or make an alternative route) the long, dull, uninteresting trek through the industrial area and suburbs of Plymouth.
The Swan Inn at Noss Mayo is now closed and no more, leaving The Ship Inn as the only place for dinner in Noss Mayo.
Route beyond Gara Point to Noss Mayo: I didn't see the "Hunting Gate" as I walked to Noss Mayo.
Day 12 - Salcombe to London -
I called "One to One Taxis", which seems to be now operating as "Mike's Taxis" and arranged for Mike to take me from the Waverley B&B to the Totnes train station. Mike did a fine job, just as he had promised and got me to the station in good time and good order. I will use his services when I return to Salcombe next May to finish the SWCP.
So that's all of the comments that I thought of to add to your already fine and inclusive route notes. I hope that they are of some value to you and/or other Coast path walkers.
Thanks, once again for all your invaluable help and assistance in planning my hike(s). I've really enjoyed all three sections of the SWCP that you have implemented for me; and I'm looking forward to my final section and your help in completing the entire SWCP
It was excellent and all went very smoothly - no problems whatsoever. Loved walking in autumn in contrast to July mainly because of the rich supply of blackberries this year along a lot of the walk., But the haws and deadly nightshade and changing colours of the trees were also fantastic.
Found a café at Porthgarrow on route that did good cream teas but weather was good so it was picnic tables outside of quite a small basic shed. Gift of Cornish mead on arrival at Sea View House - very warming. First day it was good to get to see a performance at the Minack Theatre - strongly recommend the boxed hot food to take in on sale at the entrance - very tasty and impressive. Pity the performance itself was not good. Someone else in the B&B left at half time. Handy short cut from B&B to theatre that saved walking on road but didn't risk it in the dark at end of evening.
Treryn good to find time to go out and see - views good. Paynter's Cove - missed path up from boulders at back of beach and ended up having a bit of a scrabble - I was obviously not the first person to do this. Penzance - found Admiral Benbow fascinating as a pub of character and staff interested to share its history and nautical artefacts.
Round Treweras Head spend ages with others watching a hobby raptor hunting - so much more graceful than the everyday kestrel that were seen daily.
Artist Loft accommodation was lovely but breakfast voucher limited by fact in September none of the cafes you could use it at opened till 9am at the earliest which is quite late for a full walking day. It would be good if it was useable at the place that seemed to open at 7.30pm-8pm where you could get basic stuff - can't remember its name but very close to the accom.
Porthleven and Loe Bar new route opened couple of days before I got there - and they were opening the bridle way that day which was great. Worth visiting the church of the storms.
Found the Lizard quite barren to walk around although the Lighthouse was interesting. Perhaps the dry summer made it seem more so. The Caerthillian is an impressive house of interesting character.
Devils Frying Pan was a wow! Just thinking I had missed it when turned through a hedge and there it was with a sailing ship framed in it. Terence Coventry Sculpture park at Coverak amazing - seems to be in the middle of nowhere but with some interesting sculptures. Diversion took you through it - and it was worth it. The Lighthouse fish and chip restaurant / shop was excellent.
Arrived at Gillan Creek at low tide and used the stepping stones but they were very slippy - most people simply waded across.
Boatman on the Helford - Helford Passage ferry was great and took us at request on an extra tour down to Frenchman's Creek included in the price simply because a couple of people asked.
Long haul up to Budock Vean Hotel - there is a footpath up river along beach for 50 years and up steps, then across a cross roads and up to gate, across golf course to hotel. It would have been much pleasanter but probably less easy to find. Came back down that way. There hot tub in the open overlooking the river is wonderful along with their pool etc. Not much range of food except their set hotel 3 course meal.
Got to Falmouth early and had the afternoon at Pendennis Castle - strongly recommend - it was fascinating. Walk round by docks interesting too and I found somewhere to eat overlooking them.
Hidden Hut back of Porthcurnick beach really worth waiting for - enjoyed the haddock chowder immensely. Carradale B&B - I found the directions not as clear as they might have been . Yes it is the second drive on the right a few hundred yards after the Ship Inn but the steep route up comes off on the right between the pub and the drives - it seemed like a fork in the road to me - so I started up it before realising I needed to go straight on. But I am not good at that kind of thing.
Caerhays Castle estate - I found the signage over their land very lacking. Both on arrival around the look out the route was not clear and leaving the cove the route was not easy to pick up either.
Mevagissey museum certainly worth a visit if you like social history. Honeycombe House - I had amazing sea views, Recommend Roory's Restaurant - decided to eat more up market than normal and it was good.
Hallane cove is easy to miss. It looked like access to it was through a private house so I didn't go. But could see the waterfall from the top as I came up to Drennick. Lots of good views on the walk but Black Head back to Mevagissey was excellent.
Pod of dolphin off Porth Pean beach near Ropehaven Cliff - people in café generously lent me binoculars as I was not carrying extras. Charleston was interesting because Georgian clay port rather than older fishing port - so a very different feel. Good to see Poldark boat. It was hot and the room I had at Pier House the windows were over kitchen extractor fans - so not the best. But pleasant to sit out on the front and have a drink.
Golf course coming out of Charleston was busy - one did need to take care. Not my favourite stretch of the walk around industrial china clay units - Parr Sands gave some relief. Walk around Gribbin Head and down into Fowey much better. Worth stopping off at St Catherine's Castle - fascinating to see the history of defence of rivers and ports down through the ages layered on one another in this stage of the walk. Well House is an amazing place to stay - couldn't get over the bottom of the bed being on 4" blocks because of the unevenness of the floor. Low ceilings and odd shaped nooks and crannies - a real delight to be in the oldest house in Fowey dating back to 1430. And very central too.
Fowey to Polperro was beautiful Lansallos Cove was good to stop off at and have a paddle. Natural rock arch at Blackybale was interesting as have been many of the rock formations. Diversion along road down into Porthallow Beach was not pleasant - the sooner they can redirect the path nearer the coast the better .Little Harbour Guest House very friendly. But I was not that impressed with Looe as a place - perhaps because it was spread out down both sides of the river. Felt like a working town and less touristy which might have been attractive but I did not find it as welcoming as other places. Perhaps a personal prejudice.
Millendrath holiday village could hardly be said to be a beautiful sight and it was shame to have to walk all the way round the back of it. Too much road walking today. But did have a couple of hours at monkey sanctuary which was really good. Carpark café not open in September so no provision till 11am when the sanctuary opens. Did the sea wall round Seaton rather than following the path which was good. Inn on the Shore was changing hands and therefore was closing for a week so provision there probably not as good as usual but it was fine. You could only have what was left in stock as they were closing that night for stock take and take over by new management over the coming week. Enjoyed the walk into Prothwinkle / Crafthole.
Whitsand Bay hotel felt like a place that should be a setting for a murder weekend. Rebuilt brick by brick on the cliffs from a venue elsewhere. Beautiful views. But it was shabby and run down rather than shabby chic - especially the room I happened to be in - only 50% of the lights had working bulbs, and there was no toilet roll holder. Food and service in restaurant was good. And lounge was very comfortable and good to have a swimming pool all to oneself.
Tregantle Fort was not what I was expecting having seen so many iron age forts and castles - to suddenly be faced with a working fort that looks like a prison of a huge size was quite a surprise. Didn't like the amount of road walking but the erosion of the cliffs and the way that the cabins are positioned made one think about who might choose to live there - I think I would find it quite scary. Went to the Cliff Top Café and it seemed full of locals and was really busy even though I thought I arrived at opening time - worth a visit.
The route through the estate down into the ferry for Plymouth was beautiful as the autumn colours were very rich and the trees beautiful. A ferry was due as I arrived so didn't manage to have tea in the Orangery which would have been good. At Devils Point as your come around the marina it would be good to be told that the flight of stairs up is part of the SW coast path - there is a notice at the top saying who it is in memory of but nothing at the bottom and it is not clear whether it is for public access - it doesn't say no entry but it doesn't say anything about where it leads either. Recommend The Harbour fish and chip restaurant on the front near the Mayflower steps monument - range of fish and chips and as many chips as you can eat. Great for me who doesn't like batter so had grilled fish but double chips. They also have daily specials depending on the catch.
Enjoyed the cliff walking, found the amount of road (due to diversion mainly) and the amount of walking on a path between high dense hedgerows that you couldn't see above less interesting and it felt that this stretch had a higher proportion of that kind of walking. But the variety and scenery, wildlife and weather, plus autumn colours were all stunning. Look forward to next year and the next stages and hopefully completing.
Hi, my feedback on this years walk from St Ives to Falmouth is below -
Firstly all went well and I completed it. Due to the bad weather I managed to combine days 1 &2 on the first day i.e. St Ives to Zennor and then onto St. Just. Although this was a very sunny day the distance slightly impacted my time to stop and enjoy the walk but it was still very good. The cost of a taxi back to Zennor was more than I expected but meant I could complete the full distance. I caught the bus back to St Just the next day.
The Tinners arms at Zennor were slightly confused over my booking but it was sorted out in the end. The second day was a wash out but gave me time to recover. Land's End was quite a short walk on the third day with little to do once arrived. By contrast the Land's End to Penzance walk was very long and partly really hard work over all the boulders before Mousehole.
It was foggy/raining for the walk past the quarries and for much of the Helford Passage day although the diversion in the quary appears to be removed now. It is rather odd that the path diverts so far inland here but given the rain I was quite grateful.
There is one new diversion just beyond Marazion to avoid a small cliff fall (very small). it is not clearly marked and in fact I did not follow it as a local out for a walk showed me the quickest route.
The long detour near the Loe Bar can be partly avoided on a higher path according to my map but I went the long way round which actually was quite nice along the lake. It is likely to be removed soon as the new path is clearly in progress.
I might have missed the guidance but the Helford crossing does not run for about an hour either side of low tide.
Accomodation was all good - the fruit for breakfast in Porthleven a welcome change. I caught the train back rather than stay in Falmouth as I was fairly early and have stayed there before. Normally I would not do that as I like a day to relax at the end but it meant a return to work on the Monday which was helpful.
I can't remember getting lost although walking through the tin mines near St Just was quite confusing as to which path to follow and I couple of times the signs for the path were not there when you needed them.
What I enjoyed the most was the variety of the coast on the walk - cliffs / remote Atlantic / small harbours /beaches / sudden moments of too many people then none.
I suspect having got this far I will have to walk the whole SW path now. I will be probably look to part of North Devon down to Boscastle (where I have been before) next year.
Thank you for organizing a wonderful trip. We were very happy with the accommodation, transport of luggage, description of trail, estimated walking time etc. We would love to do it again!
Two small comments;
It has been a fantastic walking holiday. Everything was very fine: the accomodations, the luggage transport, the walkings, the difficulties of the walking, etc. etc.
We thought our trip was all quite perfect for us. Working with Encounter Walking was easy. You asked us the right questions so that you could plan a trip for us that fit our fitness and comfort needs. We walked for 3 days with lovely places to swim and eat along the way. The coastal path is so beautiful. The written information you sent ahead of time was very useful and we used the guide and maps along the way. The accommodations were all very different and that was a pleasant surprise. We look forward to working with Encounter Walking in the future.
We completed our hike , all went well, thank you.
Thank you very much for organizing such a wonderful walking holiday. The routes were exactly described, the accommodations just perfect selected; and the weather was more than fine, nearly too hot for walking, we appreciated a little drizzle in between. Quite strenuous for us were the diversion between Porthleven and Lizard (1,5 h extra). But that is probably owed to our condition. We came back yesterday, having spent some extra days in London and with relatives, and we are already looking forward to the next part of the walk (Lizard to ...). Thanks again!!!
Loved the walk but it was more difficult than I had anticipated. Would choose an easier walk for a first walk next time.
Wear or take something bright or neon in colour, like a jacket or flag you can wave in case you need assistance.
Some walks are well populated and others are really remote. Take pictures of the co-ordinates posted from time to time, or landmarks, so that if you need assistance you can tell the emergency services where you are.
Well organised route with plenty of maps provided by Encounter. We were blessed with glorious weather which made the pub at the end of the day all the more fabulous. Our luggage was waiting for us at each accommodation and each of our hosts could not do enough for us. A very warm welcome from everybody . Our only complaint would be that the path had not been trimmed between Mevagissey and Par and the grasses were actually taller than us! The team were on the path though , they just hadn't got to that section.
Accommodation: All as expected and all of a very high standard.
The one which stood out with all the elements (staff, room, service, food, etc) being exceptional was the Pier House Hotel at Charlestown. It was also very nice to have double room facility, as a single walker it just gives a little more 'elbow room'. This was really appreciated when I had to make do with single room and private bathroom (but that was only on one occasion not bad for 16 walking days).
Walking Times: I feel are a little on the tight side (especially for an oldie like me). An extra 30 minutes added to each leg would make oldies feel better and younger walker feel exceptional as they would be beating the times cited.
Degree of Difficulty: Accurately described. Although there was times when I could have (and did) use stronger adjectives to describe the strenuous sections.
Directions in the Guide Book: Pretty good and all accurate.
Directions on the Ground: At times ruddy frustrating. Warning to future walkers that signage can be:-
1) the acorn (carved into a way post or a badge nailed onto a way post);
2) the acorn with or without a yellow arrow;
3) a yellow arrow only;
4) a metal sign (plate) positioned about 6 inches off the ground in the most non-obvious position;
5) a sticky backed plastic sign with an arrow and SWCP stuck to any metal pole;
6) the position of signage can be anywhere between 6 inches off the ground to 2 metres above ground level.
The longer diversions during my walk did not lead you back automatically onto the SWCP. So that meant you had to employ the OS maps for SWCP. No real hardship but not easy if you don't know how to read a map.
The Path: In some places (quite a few) very overgrown. Most of the overgrowth was up to knee height, so I recommend walkers do not walk in shorts as hidden brambles could cause real problems scratching unprotected legs. I really suggest investing in a pair of good quality garters. In some places, thankfully not many, the overgrowth was upto and past head height. It made for a refreshing shower in the rain!!!!
The Weather: This year, as opposed to last, the weather was exceptional. Well done Encounter Walking for organizing that.
On the SWCP I still have to complete the Plymouth to Poole section. So all being well see you next year.
First of all I would like to thank all the "encounterwalking people" for their perfect planning of our walk. Nearly everything which was important for us was mentioned there!
The Luggage Transfers Ltd did a great job, too. Thanks a lot.
We were in many ways very lucky: The biggest gift was that during our 12 days walking we had no rain at all! :)) Sometimes it was sunny, sometimes cloudy and thus very nice to walk along the South West Coast Path! The view of The Channel and its Bays was spectacular. Of course we enjoyed being in the middle of nature with its flowers and animals.
Meeting other walkers from England or even from the United States was very pleasant.
As you mentioned in your Itinerary, some of the stages were strenuous and some parts of the Path were overgrown by plants and stitching nettles which made walking even more strenuous:( I walked with walking poles and found them very helpful.
Another gift was that we never lost our way or only a bit because we always had somebody who helped us spontaneously. The walking times indicated by you were too short - at least for us.
The accommodations were very different but all in all good and we were well looked after. Thanks to everybody!
What would we do differently next time? - We would take a GPS with us. - Both of us would walk with walking poles. - We would would like to walk shorter distances for having much more time to enjoy our surroundings. Once again, we had wonderful walking holidays in Cornwall. Thank you and bye-bye. Anna Barbara
This was our 7th year with Encounter Walking and in that time they have never let us down! Lots of ups and downs on the path from Fowey to Polperro. The cafe at Tolland Bay is really worth stopping at for lunch and we really enjoyed the Whitsand Bay Hotel even though we had a fire alarm at 4.20 a.m. Rame Head was lovely as was Cawsand. We finished at the Edgecombe Arms where Encounter's taxi was waiting to drive us back to Haverners in Fowey. Only wish we could have received a certificate having completed the whole of the Cornish Coastal Path to proudly put on our wall! Next year Hartland Quay and north Devon coastline. Can't wait!
As always Encounter Walking rose grandly to the challenge of a short walking holiday with around a weeks notice. to book it. The weather was amazing and we almost finished our bottle of sun lotion. Having completed the North Devon and a fair amount of the North Cornwall coast path the South Cornwall coast was quite different. More gentle in both the walking ,the scenery and the climate although still very challenging given that October has less daylight hours to walk in!. We particularly liked the Whitsandbay hotel with its incredible beach and the pool/ sauna that were a definite plus. Thanks again to the Encounter team and we will be back with another challenge next year..
What a marvelous well planned adventure! Although American, I'll use the expression "spot-on!" Maps were on target, accommodations perfect, and the weather was very autumnal. Most of the rain came from a North American source - Maria.
A few minor suggestions: the first three days were very muddy and a bit of a challenge for my aging body, so trekking poles are a good idea. I managed to "borrow" a fine hiking staff after the first day and left it at the ferry at Cremelly.
Second - either the directions into Par were unclear or I was negligent in reading them.
Third - the leg from Portwrinkle to Plymouth has quite a few miles of boring road, although you mentioned it, you might emphasize this fact. For the most part signage was good, but in a few places signs were knocked down and not clear - example - on the last leg toward the ferry to Plymouth you walk on the Camilla Nature Trail with no indication that it is the Coastal Path.
Overall these are minor adjustments and already contemplating what portion of the Coastal Path I should hike in the future!
Fantastic Trip! Encounter did a great job with the accommodation, restaurant suggestions and maps. Walking was very varied on this route which I loved. Some sections were easy and others quite challenging. We had varied weather conditions which also added to the fun of the walk. Accommodation was also very good and comfortable. Met so many interesting people along the way. Can't wait to do another section of the path soon!
I just wanted to say how much we enjoyed our hike with the help of Encounter. Everything worked so well and you have always responded so well to all of our enquiries. I would recommend your services to anyone.
Two things I would mention as negatives.Warn people if they are scared of heights that the coast trail is not appropriate or possibly what areas would be the best to consider. I did not realize how in some places how truly exposed to the cliffs we would be. Two, do not use the Looe Hotel. Unfortunately everything about it was awful. We could not wait to leave for many reasons.
The rest of the trip was absolutely fabulous - Thanks again,
We have returned from our 8 days walking the itinerary you kindly provided.
The organisation of the trip was faultless and everything went off without a hitch. We had to forego walking one day due to terrible, and dangerous, weather conditions.
Baggage transport went without a hitch.
The scenery was beautiful, but coming from the West of Ireland we are a little spoiled, so our highlights here were some of the cove villages rather than the coast.
The walking was challenging, but invigorating. Our biggest complaint would be the very poor signage and waymarkers. Parts of the trail, particularly as you get nearer to Plymouth are so overgrown that it is almost impassible. I don't know who does the trail maintenance, but it needs attention.
In terms of fellow walkers, there were very few - rather surprising for the middle of the summer season.
Finally, the highlight of the trip was the food - ignoring pasties and fish and chips, the standard of food was very good with plenty of variety.
Thanks to Encounter Walking for organising the itinerary and your excellent service and I would have no hesitation recommending you to any walkers considering a trip.
Hi Ellie, Damon, and the rest of your team!
Just wanted to let you know that we finally arrived back home and had amazing six days on the coast path! We've got quite a tan and like always hundreds of pictures and more miles to check off from our swcp list. :)
Thank you again for your help with everything, not just the initial booking but also the trouble we had afterwards.
we much enjoyed our walking week apart from the weather over the last couple of days. we stayed in some great places especially Mevagissey where it was Feast week, so lots going on in the pubs and restaurants.
Some of the walk was particulary tough especially the stretch by Rafaels Cliff where the footpath was very overgrown and slippery.
Just a short note to say a very big thank you for all the arrangements and information given on the SW coast path from Falmouth to Plymouth 10th June to 20th June.
Most of the accommodation was excellent and it was certainly worth having that River view in Looe. We appreciate there is limited choice in Portwrinkle/ Crafthole.
The walking distances were good and suited Keith well. Unfortunately he hurt his back and then had food poisoning (or something) which meant he could only complete 5 days of the walk. He was able to take taxis and buses to join me at each night’s destination and he was sufficiently recovered for a look round Plymouth. I thoroughly enjoyed that section of the path.
Thank you for organising such fabulous weather, perhaps too hot on the latter walks lol. Seriously, it was great.
Looking forward to our next section with you in September.
As you know, this year we decided to take things leisurely and enjoy our holiday in Cornwall - and it was fabulous!!
The accommodation you found for us was wonderful. Pubs, B&B's and Hotels all had their good points for different reasons. A couple of places surprises us with a double room but both easily changed to twin rooms. And we had some super breakfasts. I certainly have no complaints at all. Our rest day at Fowey was heavenly!
We had a couple of days of rain and strong winds as we started, but our second week was glorious
One more section to complete the walk next year, Plymouth to Sidmouth. Mary and I are already planning dates next June so we'll be in touch to confirm by the end of the year. The SWCP is such so lovely - the best walk in the world!
Thank you for providing such a professional service.
Thank you for the good job you did planning our hike.
All accommodations were clean and the owners very helpful. Some singles were tiny...tight for a bed and a suitcase. I would avoid them in the future! At Plymouth we had to walk through one bedroom to get to the bathroom...not ideal. Our favourite was The Finnygook Inn in Crafthole.
All the places offered a good breakfast.
The information you sent us about the route was very helpful..we never got lost! The first day was long. We were wondering which way to go when we ask a man walking by and were directed to a short cut, which was helpful as we were tired and wet.
The weather was very mixed with plenty of rain and the visibility was bad at times, which was disappointing. The wild flowers were wonderful!
The hike was quite a bit tougher than the Lizard hike which two of us had done before. One of us had a knee issue...she spent some time riding the bus, which proved to be entertaining. Everyone made it to Plymouth.
We had a wonderful experience walking from Mevagissey to Looe ( a three day walk). The signage , for the most part, was well marked. There was one change that should be noted. In Fowey, the directions indicated that the Ferry, from May 1st to Sept. 30th would only operate 9:00am to 17:30pm from Whitehouse Quay. Actually, It only operates from the Town Quay. After watching the Ferry pass us by two times, we noted a message on the board about the change in schedule. The walk was breathtaking. Indeed the strenuous walks were, at moments, strenuous. All four of the B&Bs and/or pubs were most accommodating and helpful in providing needed information. Well done Encounter Walking! We would do this again should the opportunity ever come our way.
Thanks for the ferry update Ted which is really helpful feedback, seems that this was a sudden change by the operators due to work on the Quay at Whitehouse - we have updated notes for other walkers until its completed
Many thanks, organisation exemplary. Everything ran smoothly: luggage transfers, map reading and following your directions and itinerary, quality of accommodation (we were particularly impressed with the Lerryn Hotel in Falmouth and Sea Breezes Guest House in Plymouth). The view of the harbour from the breakfast room at Honeycombe House, Mevagissey, was stupendous. Check ferry connection from Fowey to Polruan - engineering works at Whitehouse Quay necessitated a last-minute change to the advertised location.
We walked over two days, approximately 25 miles. The first Leg was between Charlestown and Fowey. We were a little confused when we walked through Par . There seemed to be a few different routes we could take. After this we enjoyed the walk immensely...From Fowey to Looe was beautiful. The wildlife, scenery and rawness of the route was exhilarating. We were lucky to have 2 fantastic days with glorious sunshine. Definitely recommend this part of the SW coastal path but you need to be fairly fit as there are some steep climbs.
Please forgive my delay in letting you know how much we enjoyed our walking trip this past May. There were 5 in our group and we chose to walk South Cornwall, from Padstow to Plymouth, including the Saints Way. The staff at Encounter Tours not only customized a beautiful route but endeavored to accommodate all of our wishes. You went above and beyond the call of duty!
Our luggage transfers were seamless and where we needed transport to the next trailhead, your drivers were right on time. The walking was superb with unparalled views; pathways were in good condition and the sun followed us for most of our trip. Your choice of hotels / B+B's was perfect. The Old Ship Hotel in Padstow was a great introduction to Cornwall... lively pub complete with live Celtic music our first night. We especially enjoyed the Crown Inn in Lanlivery and the Little Fox Hotel (best dinner we had in England!)
It's difficult to pick just one highlight....there were so many! I never know how people will accept American tourists. We don't have the best reputation as travelers. But everyone we met was warm and welcoming. We heard great stories on our walk from passersby and from lovely people we met in the pubs and inns . When we needed directions, locals went out of their way to help us.
All in all, a lovely trip. We will highly recommend Encounter Tours to anyone coming your way. I dare to hope that you offer tours in other areas of England. We plan to go to Wales in the spring of 2018. Any chance you're there? With best wishes, Stephanie Brown
Thank you so much for making my 60th birthday celebrations so special. we had a wonderful time on our recent south coast walk and we're very happy with the arrangements you made for us. it really was the highlight of my trip.
in terms of feedback the only suggestion I have is to provide a little more detail on the alternative walking route if the ferries aren't running from Falmouth to St Mawes. That was the case for us and we struggled a bit finding our way and would have appreciated a bit more information on the route. Google maps is a wonderful thing, so we got to our accommodation eventually with no harm done.
I am keen to do some more sections of the track, though not sure whether I can work up interest from the others. If I do, I will be back in touch. Thank you again.
We arrived home safely on Friday evening. The walk from Falmouth to Plymouth was lovely helped by the fact that there was no rain at all for the whole fortnight. The coastal scenery and villages such as Polperro . Charlestown and Megavissey were lovely but there were still lots ups and downs which keeps the legs moving. The accommodation was all very good and the route was easy to find all the way. The flowers were lovely again with the may blossom full out this time as well as bluebells . primroses and gorse- quite a splash of colour. We saw lots of birds and one dolphin but no other marine life.
The extra days to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and Eden Project were well worth the slight detours. We are looking forward to doing the final leg ( for us) in about three weeks time. Many thanks again for organising everything for us.
Dear Encounter-Walking-Team, thanks very much for the organisation of this lovely holiday. I enjoyed the walks and the hospitality of the bandbs very much. Everything was perfect. Also the weather: Booking with encounter walking means always sunshine
Best wishes Gabriele
Fabulous, end of November, 7 day walk from Place to Plymouth. Not a drop of rain all week and even walking in T-shirts on some of the days. Excellent organisation provided by Encounter Walking with bnbs all booked and luggage transfers all operating like clockwork, taking any stress and worry out of the equation. Had the path to ourselves for most of the time, making it a wonderful escape and delightful experience. I would definitely recommend this glorious route and booking through Encounter Walking.
Damon, thanks so much. We had a fabulous time. The accommodations were excellent and the directions you provided kept us on course at every turn. We had good weather for all three days hiking .....Charleston to Fowey on day one, then Fowey to Polperro on day two and Polperro to Looe on day three. The trek from Fowey to Polperro was the highlight in that we had perfect weather and spectacular views from the coast. The scene as we arrived in Polperro was picture perfect as the tide was in and the harbor was in perfect light for photographs. We had dinner and drinks at the Blue Peter and talked with fellow travelers who hiked the trail that day. All in all it was a fabulous time. Thanks again. Stan and Barb Snow, Seattle Washington - Sept 2016 - Please feel free to post on your website.
We had a fabulous trip! Everything about it surpassed our expectations. The walks were beautiful- a bit more difficult than we anticipated but we managed the challenge. But the secluded coves, the sea cliffs, the lovely villages, the green pastures- all were exactly what we had dreamed of Cornwall being. The hotels were great- a variety from luxurious to slightly rustic. The details provided by Encounter Walking were perfect. We can't recommend them more highly. All the people were met along the way were warm and helpful. We ate delicious food- a bit too much and too often perhaps but it was a holiday! We have become fans of Tarquins Gin- will miss not be able to get it back in the USA. The walking notes provided were well done and we really appreciated the suggestions for eating and exploring. Thank you for a very memorable experience.
This is a lovely stretch of the coast path with spectacular views back towards the Lizard. The stages from Fowey to Polperro & Looe to Crafthole were quite hard in places but by pacing ourselves and stopping regularly we were able to cope without any problems. Great accommodation at all the stops with very friendly hosts especially Anne at Sea Breezes in Plymouth. We had excellent meals, particularly at the House on the Props and the Liscawn Hotel, and a very good value carvery athe Portbyhan in Looe. There are good snack stops at Whitsand Bay, Seaton and also at Portwrinkle. We had no problem finding the path except for the last 400 yards (sorry metres!) in Plymouth where we missed the path around the West Hoe headland. The other tricky part was just after Millendreath where the path has been diverted. However following Damon's instructions we found the path o.k. Thanks Damon, Ellie and the rest of the crew for yet another great holiday - possibly the best yet.
It was a wonderful trip and a magnificent walk. The weather was nice, the guesthouses, pubs and B&Bs were friendly and comfortable, and the landscape was stunning. Although the walk was strenuous in some parts, we enjoyed every day.
Just for your information:
There were two places where we missed the way, because it wasn’t marked as good as usual:
Shortly after Percella Point there are some unmarked public footpaths and it is not clear which is coast path resp. which is footpath. We met other walkers who missed the way at this point as well.
Secondly, we couldn’t find the descent at Gew Grace, shortly before Kynance Cliff. But it was probably our inattention. The way through the grassland guided us inland at the gorge.
But we always found the right way after a short detour - so it didn't matter.
Thank you very much for your friendly help and for the perfect organisation.
We’ll come back if at all possible!
Big thanks to Damon and Encounter for excellent organisation and communication during the planning stages. The walk was wonderful - scenery stunning. Bag transfers all went like clockwork. Accommodation was fine throughout. Standout accommodation and meal was at the Lugger Hotel in Portloe. Also Sea Breeze in Plymouth was excellent. Only down was the very long and very boring walk to the hotel in Par at the end of that day - wonder if there could be an alternative? Thanks again and we will definitely recommend this organisation.
I've got to tell you that the walk was just really really enjoyable. Therewas nothing that was a problem, all the places I stayed at for a night or two where very different and worth the experience. The itinerary was well composed (meaning the distances were perfect and all the little pieces of information were very interesting). So I'd like to say thank you for a wonderful holiday!!
I found this walk a great experience. The coastal scenery and wildflower displays were spectacular and all the arrangements made by Encounter Walking worked like clockwork. On my two rest days, I walked to The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project and would particularly recommend the latter. I have a poor sense of direction and was walking on my own but found that the guidebook and OS maps generally kept me on track. The fog was very thick on the day I walked from Portwinckle to Plymouth and I became disoriented while on the firing range; even the sea had become invisible and the usual gaps in a hedge or other markers of the path were not in view. In these sorts of conditions it may be advisable to follow the alternative path alongside the road. Thanks for your wonderful organization and support - I have no hesitation in recommending Encounter Walking to anyone considering a walk in this area.
We had a wonderful trip last week and we were so lucky with the weather. How absolutely beautiful to walk along the coast path and local people were so friendly.
Thank you for organizing our trip
Overall a great 8 day walk with a good variety of conditions, views and places to see. For those our age, effective speed at times was not much better than 1 mph when lots of steps involved. Suggest not be too ambitious as to distance covered each day, 8 miles max unless it is easy going. Accommodation fine and bag transfers 100%. Need to refer both to Coast Path guide book and the OS map while walking. Directions leaving Par around Polmear were specially problematic with some direction arrows hard to interpret and a few posts missing. Most of the walk, the path markers were sufficient with only occasional checks of the maps needed.
Another great walk on the Cornish coast path made even better by the profusion of spring flowers. The weather was mixed and we missed the views from Dodman due to the low cloud and rain but got spectacular views from Gribbin Head in the sunshine. The accommodation was excellent with an outstanding stay at the Lugger Hotel in Portloe. It's worth noting that the Mevagissey Bay Hotel does not provide evening meals even though their website suggests they do. Also if you intend to get a taxi back from Portscatho to Trewithian Farm, we recommend booking it in advance. We had no major problems finding the path although we had minor difficulties just after the Caerhays car park (need to head up hill and turn right behind the clump of trees) and again feeding the path out of Mevagissey from the quay (Trailblazer guide not too accurate here).
The path from Porthbean beach was not easy to find. You have to walk along the concrete walkway past the seasonal shop and then turn left up some steps into the woods. The steps are well hidden and not obvious until you are quite close to them. (When we comment about problems finding with the path we then think it's probably due to our own stupidity!). As a general comment we did find a few inaccuracies in the Trailblazer book particularly in the location, steepness and direction of some of the ups and downs. The luggage transfer worked very efficiently with our bags appearing as if by magic at our next stop. Once again Damon and the Encounter team for another (fifth or sixth?) excellent and enjoyable walking holiday.
We had a fantastic walk and it only rained for half a day during the whole walk. We sent pictures to friends here in China and they loved the look of it so who knows, maybe next time we bring a bunch of friends with us.
Everything on the walk regarding luggage transfer was as smooth as can be expected, bag was always at our next destination when we arrived. All the places we stayed in was very good, service and friendliness was spot on.
I have a few tips to other walkers, well first ones like us I should say. When deciding on the walk, how far to walk each day is an important one. Although I enjoyed the 20 or so km everyday the problem is that you don't get a chance to do anything else but walk. Having a rest day as we did in Fowey was perfect and could probably have one more in Looe. So if other walkers is doing the walk just as a exercise then fine, by all means do 20 km every day. If you want to see more of the surrounding area, besides the track, I suggest longer stopovers and/or shorter day walks.
Next walk we do in your areas we will surely use Encounter again!
Thank you Damon and the whole Encounter team!
The walk had many highlights, wonderful views, little fishing villages and some pleasant downs after some rugged ups. The first and last days were challenging lengths but the fine and sunny weather when the rest of southern England was grey and miserable compensated. Some of the signage was intermittent, so we saw a bit more of Cornwall than planned especially around the Ropehaven cliffs. Otherwise the accommodation was excellent, particularly the B&Bs and the friendly and helpful hosts and luggage transfers went without a hitch. Finding the evening accommodation was easy using the walk notes from encounterwalking.
Thanks to Damon and Encounter walking holidays for a very well organised holiday. Damon even managed to give us an Indian Summer for the first few days with enough warmth and sunshine to go swimming. Our group had 3 different subgroups of friends/ family with varying starts and finishes and every permutation was seemlessly managed. We loved visiting The Lost Gardens of Heligan on the morning walk out of Mevagissey and would recommend that as an add on to the walk from there to Charlestown. The accommodation was welcoming and the trail notes excellent. All we had to do was walk, enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife, and look forward to a good evening meal and comfortable bed. A perfect holiday.
Trip very well organised by Encounter. We liked the fact that everything was very detailed in the itinerary so you knew exactly what was what each day. This was much appreciated. They also took the trouble to provide different options for each day as we were not sure exactly what we could fit in. The luggage transfers were brilliant and our cases were always at our accommodation when we arrived.
As for accommodation - the rooms in Buckingham House B&B were lovely, so bright and airy. People running it were very nice and helpful and breakfast delicious! Rooms in the Pier House Hotel were a bit small and warm! Food was good though and they had a nice cosy lounge where you could sit in the evening and watch the Rugby (if so inclined!). In Fowey we stayed in the King of Prussia and had a lovely large room with lots of goodies provided which was a nice touch. Nice view overlooking the harbour too. All the accommodation was very central though and close to everything. At Polperro we had difficulties finding the coastal path to Fowey - it wasn't easy to find and we had to ask for directions - not well signposted. We also visited the St Austell Brewery which is highly recommended - good beers and good food, also very friendly service. All in all a lovely walking trip - Cornwall is an amazing place to walk, especially if the weather is good, as it was for us. We'll be back and would definitely book with Encounter again.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable walk and cannot thank Damon and his colleagues enough for their attention to detail from the initial planning of our walk to immediately resolving a problem we experienced on the first day. The scenery was stunning and varied, the route mainly easy to follow, the main exception being rejoining the coastal path after Par. We too, found the path a little too close to the cliff edge approx 1.5 miles from Polperro.
All the accommodation was very good, although breakfast at the Rashleigh Arms was very limited compared to all the others. We had some excellent evening meals in both pubs and restaurants which were generally not too far from our accommodation (the owner of one establishment even offered to pick us up!). We walked 8-12 miles daily and whilst we felt that we could have comfortably managed more, it was nice to be able to spend some time looking around the villages where we stayed. We were very lucky with the weather which was an unexpected bonus! Once again, many thanks to The Encounter Team for organising a great trip.
The joy of our walk began with Encounter's excellent notes that answered all questions. Accommodation arranged for each night was good to excellent. The luggage transfers were spot on! We found the walking to be quite strenuous but rewarding and enjoyed fine weather throughout. Our most enjoyable meal was at a small Italian restaurant in Looe. The more expansive views towards the end of the walk were our favourites. Overall, a delightful experience for a pair of older Aussies.
Many thanks to Damon and Encounter Walking Holidays for a very memorable, enjoyable hiking holiday! We were very pleased with all our accommodations and breakfasts, but some stood out for us as extra special: The Well House (Fowey), The Bungalow (Crafthole), Honeycombe House (Mevagissey), and the Falmouth Hotel. Luggage transfers all worked well, with our bags always waiting for us when we arrived at our B & B. Although I was a little worried about the length and difficulty of the trail (ups and downs) on some days, it turned out that some of the most strenuous days were our favourites. Favourite sections included Mevagissey to Charlestown, Fowey to Looe, and Crafthole to Plymouth. We had a few issues finding our way between Portloe and Gorran Haven, in the field just after Caerhay's Castle; in Par; at the far end of Par Beach in the car park area; and after Looe, near and just after the monkey sanctuary. Enjoyable stops and meals included The Ship Inn in Portloe, the waterfront pub in Charlestown, the Liscawn Inn in Crafthole for dinner, and cream tea at The Old Bakery in Cawsand. We were very lucky with the weather, having only about an hour of serious rain as we arrived in Looe, and light showers on and off the last day. We were extremely happy with the local knowledge offered by Encounter, and have already recommended them to our fellow hikers and our friends at home.
The walking holiday was a success because it was perfectly organised. My congratulations. Ten days of walking between Falmouth and Plymouth, and a day’s rest in the middle in Fowey was just the right thing for us (65’ers who walk 25 kilometers on a flat course once a month). More would have been too strenuous. And the weather was very kind, only 2 hours of rain during the ten days of our walk. Who says it rains that much in England?
The first, long diversion between Looe and Portwrinkle is already marked, you have just to follow the signs. (You mentioned the diversion, you didn’t mention it was marked on the ground, as you did for the second short diversion). The sleeping accommodation was all right. As we don’t know the prize for each accommodation, we can’t compare prize and quality. The poorest was T’Gallants Guest House in Charlestown. I couldn’t shave (or I didn’t find where I could plug in my shaver) and the waiters and waitresses in the Rashleigh Arms didn’t take their time to answer our questions (understaffed?).
The planning and information given from encounter walking holidays was superb. There are a couple of points that I would like to make which didn't spoil our experience but e think heed addressing. 1. The accommodation in Charlestown is niw run by the local public house which is a stroll away up a hill...After waking all day we had to ho there and check in then take our luggage down the hill to the accommodation and up flights of stairs...my husband didn't have wheels on his and it was a problem. 2. The accommodation in Fowey was very quaint and lovely hosts...The bed was very small and my husband is 6"3 also the nesting seagulls on the roof ment we didn't sleep even with ear plugs. The walks were wonderful and the views exceptional tge food and drink along the way we're good. Upon hindsight we would of walked two days and rest a day etc but I would definitely use this company again a brilliant holiday. Roll on the next one!!!
We had a great time walking, the weather was fine. All the bed and breakfasts were great exept the one in fowey, the galjoen inn. IT was not clean ! The services of encounter walking Holidays was great. If we are gone walk in england again we certainly Will do iT with you. Thank you for everything! Allaart en ietje ter Haar.
This has been a fantastic walk!! Except walking the golf course and behandling the old factory in Par, the whole trip was absolutely wonderful. The best part was from Fowey to Polperro where we walked alone in beautiful weather. In Ropeheaven we had problem finding the path - no sign telling is to turn left, so we walked almost down to the sea. The accomodations where ok - except for Schooner in Looe which is great - we love this B&B! Coming back to Norway, we will sure tell our friends about this - and I'm sure we will contact Encounter Walking again. Great service - thank you all! Rudi & Knut
Dear Damon, Our troupe definitely enjoyed our walking vacation with the exception of one very bad storm that drenched everything, including our boots, and gave us much misery that day. We’d pay extra to avoid that weather if we could! We never gave our luggage transfer a second thought because it worked perfectly. The same with our accommodations, though there were some places we enjoyed more than others. Our goal was to find a nice place to walk from town to town and not be too far from civilization, and chose the Falmouth to Plymouth leg of the Coastal Path. It seemed as though it would be fine, but WOW! was it ever a spectacular place to hike! We had never known that the Cornwall coast was so scenic and so utterly unspoiled and wonderful. A group of friends (and then even more friends came for a long weekend) joined us for a hike from Falmouth to Plymouth which was an incredible experience. We met many other hikers, some just out walking dogs close to home, some out for a full day's hike, some just for a picnic and others who were tackling even longer stretches than we were. However you do it, we all gave this particular 77 miles a hearty thumbs up. For the most part, the trail was well marked so that way-finding was not a problem.
There were some places, though, when we truly were clueless about which way to go and had to wander about before we figured it out. In several places there were no signs at very essential crossroads or tees and, in several other places the wooden signposts had completely rotted and had fallen to the ground. (these were easier to figure out, as we could deduce the correct directions from the confluence of the paths and the arrows.) The ordinance survey maps sometimes were not that much help, either, but at least we had them! We did badly lose our way at some point after the Gribbin Daymark tower going toward Fowey which nearly doubled the length of our walk; we are still trying to figure out why... suffice it to say that, if there were signs there, we did not see them.
In some places the path led through towns or near pubs or beach concession stands and one could purchase food and drink. In other places, the path was more remote and we'd made provisions to carry food with us, either prearranging sandwiches from our inn or purchasing something from a shop on our way through town. We had made careful note of this and planned. I also carried protein bars and apples in my backpack along with plenty of water. (water is extremely heavy as 1 Liter = 2.2 pounds) I was the one who walks most regularly and the one who knew how difficult the terrain would be. I am not sure my husband and friends would have come if they could have foreseen it! PLEASE NOTE: I DID WARN THEM. (and, in their defense, they DID train.)
This section of the coast path was very scenic and very varied, woodlands, sandy paths, beaches, hayfields, cows, dartmoor ponies and on and on. We loved the rugged paths and the variety and the views. The great views were paid for, of course, by very steep climbing and many, many stair steps. We all came to dread looking ahead across a headland to see another hundred steps cut into the other side! Whenever I came to steps built into a cliff, I silently thanked whomever it was who lugged stone or lumber or cement to build these vertical passes. Aloud, however, I am sorry to admit that I may have cursed! Maybe not on the first thousand steps... but certainly after that! Down and up, up and down, both... both are hard! The steep ascents and descents made for longer walks than we were used to. I'd recently covered 15.5 miles in 6-ish hours, including breaks, but found that that same distance took us nearly 9 hours in Cornwall. More difficult terrain along with frequent photographic stops accounted for this... and our crew was dead tired by the time each day's walk ended.
The most impressive thing was looking backward and being able to see headland beyond headland... all of which we had just traversed! It was amazing. Bathrooms were an interesting aspect of walking here, some towns had public facilities that were permanently closed due to lack of funding. In some places, townspeople fought to keep them open and, either by collecting donations or by recruiting volunteers, they somehow managed to do it. Some loos requested donations from users, which we all gladly paid, since a public bathroom is a wonderful thing when you need one. SUGGESTION! add extra nights! We also added a few extra nights in places where we wanted to sightsee but we should have added even more because there was never enough time to see everything that looked interesting. I'd suggest spending a second night in Falmouth because it is large and scenic. We added a sightseeing day both in Mevagissey and Fowey and were happy not to have missed Lanhydrock and Restormel Castle there!
We wished we had added a night to stay in Polperro Beach but, because we were walking through it from Fowey to Looe, we had to keep on going. Who knew that Polperro would have been a great place to stay!? Not to mention that the walk TO there was enough to exhaust us! We didn't need to push on to Looe at that point because we'd already had a strenuous walk. If you can, walk from Fowey to Polperro; the mileage may seem short but it is strenuous. I'd also have liked to spend much longer in Looe, as well. The shops and restaurants were wonderful and I didn't get to browse in the two bookstores that looked so nice!
Encounter Walking describes an extra day as a "rest day for tired walkers" which makes it sound like you are too tired to get out of bed! Or, worse, that you are weaklings! Even if that is true, we looked on those extra days as an opportunity to visit manor houses, museums and gardens, etc. Just think of them as sightseeing days. Because, even on those days, we put in plenty of miles walking around... just not on the official coast path! If you add extra days for sightseeing, you will be happy that you did.
To sum it up: We'd all recommend this section from Falmouth to Plymouth for its beauty, relative ease and access to towns, inns, pubs, other sights and comforts. Thank you for planning such a great trip for us! What a wonderful hike we had!
For the second year in a row, we had a great time walking some of the coast path in Cornwall. Accommodation stops were all good and offered a variety of rooms/styles/outlooks/personalities. This leg was less rugged that the land's end leg that we walked last year, but no less enjoyable for that. Well organised and a holiday that we will long remember.
First time we walked with Encounter Walking. Wonderful holidays. We did the relaxed way but some days it was quite tough however. But we enjoyed each day! Accomodations very friendly and luggage transfer perfect.
We came back from Cornwall on Tuesday . The holiday was very nice and everything worked super good . Fortunately for us, seemed the sun . I enjoyed the holiday very much , my husband, however, not so much . He is blind and it was for him but very tiring . The roads are so narrow and so we was slow , making him very angry , because he wanted to make it in the specified time . Sure, that 's just not . But now he is happy to have managed this challenge . He has for the evenings in the pub enjoyed more than I do. The variety of accommodation we also found very good. My husband has two favorites : The " Trewithian " and " Schooner Point " . All in all - thank you for the excellent planning .
We had a fabulous walk-and except for a little rain on Thursday morning (which helped us appreciate even more-if that was possible the glorious sun) the weather was perfect. It was truly a memorable trip for the three of us. Incredible landscape, perfect amount moderate and strenuous walking (though we were a little freaked out at the closeness of the path to the high cliff edge about 45 minutes before Polperro) and gorgeous seaside towns. Thanks for all your advice (i.e. not to stay overnight in Par-for one.)
We really enjoyed all the accommodation and my only negative comment would be the King of Prussia-where they have earplugs by the bed because of the loud music that comes out of the pub at night. That might disqualify it as an upgrade option. Or at least a warning might be helpful when making a choice between it and the other accommodation. T Gallant and the Mevagissey Bay Hotel were the highlights.
All this said, I cannot express adequately what an amazing three days we had. We have travelled far and wide, and the Cornwall coast is one of the most magical places we've ever been. And to walk along it was an extraordinary experience!
Thanks again for all your help!
We had a great walk on the SWC path. At times we had a little difficulty finding the correct path and some places were not marked very well. We really enjoyed the beautiful scenery and villages we passed through and/or stayed at. All accommodation was quite good, we especially enjoyed a fabulous rest day at Coverack and Ann, owner of the lovely Fernleigh B&B even provided a Birthday Cake for me on our arrival. The Caerthillian Guest House at The Lizard was also particularly lovely. The owner there Austin was a fabulously friendly guy and nothing too much bother. I will recommend a very good restaurant at The Lizard called Coast; quite near the Top Pub but much better standard of food & wine and service. We had a really top dinner there. The lighthouse tour was also very good at The Lizard.
This was the first but maybe not the last time we spend a holiday like this, it was fantastic. Everything worked out perfect, luggage transfer, accommodation, breakfast and even the weather was perfect, a first walking day with some rain but after that no more rain and lots of sunshine, a lovely tan on the right side of our bodies. And it is so good to now that after a day of walking there is a room whit a soft bed waiting for you, but first a well-earned dinner and some pints of Cornish beer.
All of our accommodation was super, of course some of them felt a little bit better but it could depend on our physical condition at that time. The path was very easy to follow and we just went wrong only one time at the Tregantle fort. The contact whit Encounter Walking was friendly and very helpful, thank you Damon.
We had a great trip! Everything worked as you had planned for us, so nice and easy!
Weather was, well, lots of all kinds of it. But we never got really wet and really cold, by our standards, so happy enough about that J . Walking was fine, conditions on paths and routes were really good all the way. Due to some knee problem the others took a short taxi ride and a bus ride the last day, but enjoyed that too! All accommodation was good, with T Gallants in lovely Charlestown and the Portloe Ship Inn as the clear winners! Great places, both!
Bags transfer worked like magic every day! All in all we are so happy with the whole trip. Hope to do another section some time!. Thank you very much!
Wonderful trip. Damon was great at organizing the distances and terrain. I didn't want to turn a 'walking holiday' into an oxymoron like 'airplane food'. Damon was fantastic at making that possible. The B&B's were all excellent, the luggage transfers perfect. I made some good friends along the way. The Coastal walk was spectacular. Thank you so much for arranging a walk that made such lovely memories.
Accommodation only a few minutes from Falmouth Town station made for an easy start, and the first of four sea views from the five rooms of my holiday. A lovely walk round Pendennis Point on the first evening set things up nicely. The weather on the first full day was wet and windy throughout, and I was therefore the only person on the St Mawes ferry (whose timetable advertised on the quayside bore little resemblance to the one on their website or that in the SWCP Assocation book). But still some lovely walking in the rain to Portloe (small but lovely), and then better weather for day two to Mevagissey (a little bigger and busier, but a wonderful place) and day three to Par. Mevagissey as far as Charlestown and its gorgeous harbour and tall ships is almost all up and down (though the ups and downs aren't as big as some on the north coast), after which the walking becomes much easier but the scenery deteriorates for the last section - Par is perhaps not the ideal end to a multi-day walk as it may feel anticlimactic. For me the final day was Par to Polperro in unbroken sunshine. As far as Fowey is beautiful (Polkerris is lovely both from high above and up close) but fairly easy; although the information from Encounter warned that the second section of the walk is challenging, the hard work gradually builds from Lantic Bay onwards with two big ascents saved till last - this really is a day that gets harder from start to finish, but it is an extremely rewarding one with stunning coastal scenery and a wonderful climax at the really delightful Polperro (especially with my bedroom overlooking the harbour). In the morning a bus easily took me to Looe to catch a train home. No problems at any stage - info was helpful, directions perfect, accommodation great, luggage transfers smooth.
This was my first big walk and I had no clue how to plan one, but Encounter Walking recommended the perfect route and ensured that everything went smoothly for me. The views were stunning, the walk itself just the right balance of challenging and relaxed. My luggage was transferred every day without a hitch and the accommodation was unfailingly clean and welcoming, with fantastic breakfasts. I've already decided to do the Lands End route next :)
Our third walk with Encounter Walking and all arrangements went smoothly. We had perfect weather to enjoy both the walking and the coastal scenery. Accommodation was very good: we enjoyed our stay at Gold Martin in Mawnan Smith where Clare delighted us with her flower paintings. We walked down to the Helford River through Glendurgan Gardens (NT) - note that these are now open Tuesday-Sunday, with access to the coastal path. Special mention must be made of Barbara and John at Carradale in Portloe: when they realised that the Ship Inn was not providing an evening meal, they not only reserved a table at the pub in Veryan but provided a taxi service there and back. Highlights included the access to the little coves along the walk, the many birds (though some of them remain, for us, LBJs!) and the richness of the wild flowers. The view from the top of Nare Head is superb, well worth the climb. Sadly an underlying health problem meant that we had to curtail our walk at Portloe. Thank you to Damon and the team.
The walk went very well and we were extremely fortunate with the weather. Although the Sun didn’t shine all the time ,there was only a 15 minute heavy shower by the Carlyon Bay Hotel and golf course when we donned wet weather gear. About a couple of hours after reaching Looe the weather closed in and we drove back the following morning in mist and rain.
The scenery on the walk was wonderful,being by the water ,almost the whole way is a real bonus.
The walk was perhaps strenuous for longer than we expected ,but good for fitness.
The accommodation, baggage arrangements,maps etc were all excellent,which made for a very stress free holiday.
And so some feedback on our first holiday in Cornwall:
We thought your construction of a bespoke itinerary for us was excellent, as was the luggage transfer arrangements. We loved Fowey and The Fowey Hotel and really appreciated the fantastic view from our upgraded room (room 102).
In Looe we did find it a bit of a slog out of the town to Barclay House and would ideally have preferred something in West Looe. We thought Rame Head was spectacular and Cawsand/Kingsand quite delightful. We also very much appreciated both the welcoming text message from Alibetts and Mike’s efforts to arrange an evening meal for us.
We also loved the Mount Edgcumbe Estate and found Plymouth very interesting. In particular we can highly recommend the tour of the Plymouth Gin Distillery which was very educational and good value (with a complimentary gin & tonic at the end) and the tour of the Citadel (with the fantastically knowledgeable guide).
And we also appreciated how lucky we were with the weather! Best regards,
There ist nothing to complain about our tour! You organized everything perfectly, our Hosts were all very friendly, humorous and the b&bs were originally, comfortable, beautiful and clean. We´re glad that the weather was perfect for Walking, though we had to realise that the distances were exhausting for us. After all we can say: It was an unforgettable trip! Thanks for all!
Thanks to all at Encounter for a very enjoyable trip, even the weather was playing ball. The luggage transfers also went without a hitch which was much appreciated. On the accommodation front all was in order and the hospitality was excellent throughout. Special mentions to those at Sea Breezes, Schooner Point, King of Prussia and Tregorran.
We’ve started now so I’m guessing we may not have finished…
Hi Damon, fantastic week and got unbelievable weather, simply could not have had better weather
Highlight of the week was the afternoon walk from Fowey to Polperro, probably the best scenery on the entire Cornish coast path ? Really enjoyed overnight in Mevagissey & Fowey, lovely places
Had a swim on Cawsand beach before Cremmel & Polbean beach before Polpero, nice and quiet
The path was general easy to follow with the book but you can get a bit lost in places if you don’t keep your eyes open, lots of paths lead off to dead ends in places and look like the proper path !!
Fantastic week though and look forward to booking Minehead to westward Ho with you next year.
This was our very first walking holiday, but is was a tremendous success. We will definitely do this again! Many thanks to Encounter Walking for the perfect organisation. What a luxury to have your luggage transferred and B&B's booked... something we could get used to! We were very lucky with the weather: not a drop of rain and everyday glorious sunshine.
Some feedback about out trip: Accommodation: three out of four nights were just perfect. That B&B in Mevagissey... the best room in town, no doubt about it! All the hosts were very friendly and helpful, we felt at home and welcome. Makes you wonder why we ever stay in anonymous hotels?? The stay above the pub in Fowey however was (I'm sorry, there's no other word for it) horrible. Not suitable for walkers who are tired and want to get to bed early (on top of that it was live music night...). Not as clean as the other places, not as much love put into offering guests a comfortable stay and no hot water. But we didn't let that ruin our mood!
Thanks for telling us Anouk - we are contacting the place in question particularly about the hot water and to try and establish when music nights will be happening - for those thinking of walking the route note that there are other non pub options in Fowey that can be used for those who want to avoid them. EW.
Eating: we made very good use of the tips Encounter and our B&B's provided and that was very satisfactory. Different local seafood everyday, that's not too bad!
Walking: the combined information of the guidebook, the map, the signposts and Encounter's information got us where we wanted to go. When in doubt, the missing piece of information was usually in one of our resources. And when not, we just decided to keep the sea on our right! The only two points where we actually went wrong, was in Pentewan and in Par. The sign at the end of the village Pentewan was very well hidden and the road seemed to be somebody's driveway. We realized soon enough, but not after climbing the entire tarmac road at 20% incline... At least after that we knew even the smallest side road could be the right road. In Par we couldn't find the path at the end of the beach. Sign hidden behind parking meter... Following signs for the Saints' Way we found our way back soon enough, the detour was probably only just short of a mile.
The route: the stretch between Mevagissey and Looe is just gorgeous. The bit between Fowey and Polperro was very strenuous but doable, especially after learning this is one the toughest parts of the entire South West Coast Path! Now we know we can handle it all! For untrained walkers with an average physical condition, this three day walk was just right. A challenge that was nice to master, not exhausting or painful. The difficulty of the path was nothing like some mountain walks we have done before. All in all, very happy we went to Cornwall and very happy we booked with Encounter Walking! When can we go again?
Have just returned from walking from Falmouth to Plymouth. We chose the 'relaxed route' ie, did it in 9 days. For anyone who enjoys walking but also wants to enjoy the beautiful views and countryside and not have a race, would recommend this time. We cheated a bit by taking the bus from Polurean to Polperro (which was an experience in itself!) in order to spend some time in the picturesque village of Polperro. If we hadn't have done this the 12 mile strenuous walk would have been a bit much in one day.
The organisation was brilliant and accommodation was superb. The view from our balcony on to Mevagissey harbour at Honeycombe House was magnificent; sleeping in the Tudor Room at The Well House in Fowey was like going back centuries; at Schooner Point in Looe we were given freshly made flapjacks to keep us going during the day and we felt like landowners staying at The Liscawn Country Hotel in Crafthole. A must here is to visit the community run village store, Basil (91) served us and was disappointed we only bought a bottle of water! Our warmest welcome was given by Anne at Sea Breezes in Hoe, Plymouth. We were a bit worried about getting to the station the next day because all roads were closed due to a cycling event, but Anne managed everything!
The map and descriptions we had were perfect (most of the time we didn't need our map because the acorn indicators were adequate). Any diversions due to the bad storms earlier on in the year are clearly marked and there is no need to take the diversion at St Anthony's Head as there are planks of wood next to the footbridge undergoing repair. We had 9 days of beautiful weather with only a couple of rain showers. This is what made our holiday so great. I wouldn't want to walk parts of the coastal path for hours in the rain. In parts it was so overgrown that you would get terribly wet legs and feet and wouldn't see the path, which I would expect to get very muddy and slippery. Thank you Encounter Walking for everything. We will certainly recommend you.
Arrangements were outstanding throughout our trip. Delightful B&Bs, good directions, and luggage always at our destination. This is a gorgeous part of the coast, and the little villages are picturesque. The best meal we had was at the Ship Inn in Portloe - baked cod to die for! The best b&b was the Carradale in Portloe. Thanks for the impeccable planning!
We had a fantastic time. And our last day was all sun, despite the bad weather you had. Unless you are talking about Saturday, but we were traveling that day, so it made it easier to leave in the rain. The arrangements all went off perfectly, and we loved both B&Bs. They were comfortable, welcoming, and the buildings were full of character. Tim and Paula were lovely hosts, as were Janet and Ian. Ian even drove us to the bus on our last morning. They all gave us good advice on the walks (Janet suggested doing the Trevonne walk in the reverse, starting with the inland part so the hills weren't so bad and we got the views going into the estuary, which worked well for us. And Tim suggested an extension of the Hall walk to Lantic Bay, if we had energy, which we did. It was gorgeous, and worked out perfectly, since we skipped that part of the walk later in the week, when we needed a rest day.) We ended up taking an easy day on our Polperro day, and just walked from Talland cove to Polperro, then took the bus back. Graham dropped us off at Talland and we spent the morning there. The first of three lovely sunny days.
Your restaurant recommendations were all excellent. Loved the Rashleigh Arms on the beach. Especially welcome because of the rain on the last hour of the walk. I thought Paul Ainsworth was a bit overrated, but it was nice.
The coastal path leaving REadymoney beach in Fowey is closed due to storm damage, as was the past leaving Talland Beach toward Polperro, but the alternate routes were well marked.
I loved the walks on both coasts.
We (2 adults and two boys, 5 and 7 years) had an amazing holiday in Fowey and Padstow. Excellent weather, very nice people and beautiful walks. Accommodation at the Galleon inn in Fowey was good, the boys loved the possibility of playing snooker in the bar. Very friendly and helpful staff. We did one walk every day while there, circular Hall walk, circular walk to Polkerris and one walk including transportation from Polperro to Fowey. Spent about 5,5 hours including breaks on the two longest walks. The walk from Polperro requires reasonably fit children that are used to walking, and should maybe not be the first one you try out on in the area. In Padstow we had transfer to Port Quinn and walked along the coast to Padstow while our luggage was taken to the hotel. Then one "rest day" on the Camel trail with hired bikes that was great fun for the boys, and finally a circular walk to Trevone with lovely beaches on the way. We are used to trekking from Norway, bur really loved the atmosphere and landscape in Cornwall. The detailed day-to day schedule we had from Damon made it all very easy for us as we spent no time planning what to do the next day,-only enjoying. Two centre walk was a good alternative for us as we got to see different parts of the coast as well as not having to pack/ unpack every day. One advice for Polkerris on a sunny day (and I think school holiday) Book table in advance, or be prepared for a possibly very long wait. Many good Padstow restaurants were fully booked long time in advance for the whole Easter, and is something you might want to check up on before going if you want to try something other than the pub-food. We hope to come back and see more!
Wonderful 5-day walk with splendid views and fine weather. Great organisation by Encounterwalking, including nice B&B's, luggage transfer and itinerary. Path diversions, due to cliff falls, were well indicated. Around Fowey path signs were a bit confusing. Thank you for the excellent organisation.
We are back home safely, thank you, and nothing but happy memories of our brief, dramatic Cornish getaway! We loved the walk to Polkerris and had a fabulous lunch at the Rashleigh Arms (?) pub on the beach, before walking home along the Saints Way. The Fowey Hall Hotel was also fabulous, we had a delicious dinner and wine by the fire with our labrador - heaven, and the most comfortable bed, I think, ever! The next day we took the ferry to Polruan and did the Hall Walk, which was beautiful, and then we decided to drive home that night and give Padstow a miss. We were happy not to be walking in the gales and the mud and the rain once we got home, but overall had a fantastic time, and maybe will try and do Padstow or another area soon. Funnily enough I think the dog is the most tired of all three of us, but we all really, really enjoyed it and are grateful for all your advice and help. Feeling very lucky to be warm and dry, and not flooded, and looking forward to our next trip, perhaps in the summer!
Excellent recommendation from Damon to stay in one location ( highly enjoyable Fowey ) and do day walks to the surrounding villages. Friendly and nice accommodation at the King of Prussia in Fowey. We had a fantastic holiday and were most impressed by the very professional arrangements by Encounter Walking Holidays.
I had a very enjoyable two and a half days walking on the southwest coast path with my son and his partner. The weather could have been kinder but it did not dampen our spirits. The organisation and information from Encounter were excellent and so were the B&Bs at Mevagissey, Charlestown and Fowey. The owners at Honeycombe House in Mevergissey directed us to a road nearby where free car parking was available. The luggage transfer worked a treat and everyone was very helpful and friendly. From Charlestown to Fowey we did miss our route on a couple of occasions around the golf course and at Polridmouth) and were surprised that the way marking signs were not more in evidence. We should have kept a closer eye on the OS map but as it was raining we probably got lazy about getting the map out! We had a great time and want to do more.
Just a brief (and rather late) message to thank you for another well organised holiday. Everything went well and we had a good time. There were no problems with the bookings, and the baggage transfer was flawless. The accommodation was the usual delightful variety.
We had a fantastic weekend, helped of course by the glorious weather. We loved Mevagissey; the room with the balcony overlooking the bay was a bonus. The walk to Charlestown was as described - a lot of sharp ascents - but manageable and with some great views. The walk from Charlestown to Fowey was longer, but with more gentle hills and although it was a shame to have to spend time walking around the back of the china clay works, not being able to see the sea, lunch at the pub in Polkerris amply made up for this.
We took two wrong turns - one on the first route at Ropehaven where we were so busy looking at a bench on our left that we missed the sign on our right and one on the second route at the end of Polridmouth beach, when someone held the gate open for us and so we went through it! (We turned back once we realised what we'd done). The luggage transfers were effortless (for us!) - what a great idea! We had hoped to take the ferry back to the car, but unfortunately had been cancelled due to the weather. The bus was fine, and added another dimension to our holiday, although one of our fellow passengers suggested it resembled a ride at a theme park as we rounded some of the corners! All in all, great organisation and helpful advice in response to some pre-holiday emails queries led to a brilliant holiday in a beautiful part of the world. Thank you Damon.
That was the third time we walked in Cornwall. I must say it was excellent. The weather was perfect, 15-20°C (for walkers ideal) dry (half an hour with rain in 11 days). The walk was wonderful and not so strenuous. There were less ups and downs as between Bude and Padstow. For my knees it was just perfect. The wievs were amazing, a lot of beautiful flowers, very friendly landladies and wellcomes, clean rooms, good food and drinks. The discriptions were clear and easy to understand.Everything was very good arranged. Thank you Damon and crew! We enjoyed our holyday.
This was our 4th consecutive year with Encounter and was as excellent as ever, The organisation was brilliant and the luggage service the same. We had 7 days of cloudless blue skies and temperatures of 23-25C FANTASTIC, A number of sections were affected by landslides and we at one point heading towards Gribbin when a sign directed us onto a well maintained path which after about 2 miles was roped off. we were not prepared to backtrack so negotiated a couple of barbed wire fences and in fact found a couple of newly placed small yellow markers that helped us to go into Gribbin directly. Someone has been naughty but helpful putting those markers there. We were surprised at how much road walking there was in the last two days of the walk heading to and away from Portwrinkle, All in all another excellent holiday, We will be back next year. Thank you Damon and your team
Overall a great walk with some quite 'strenuous' parts as indicated on your itinerary! Terrific scenery of course and we were so, so lucky with the weather, even if the wind was strong and chilly at times. The places we stayed were generally very good,as usual. Falmouth stop(Grove hotel) was comfortable and there are lot's of bakeries open quite early on way to ferry which was usefull for lunch stuff. A little easy to get confused which way to go after second ferry. We got a bit mixed up as did others we spoke to. Nothing too bad and maybe we weren't reading the map very well! The Ship Inn at Portloe was, again, very comfy however the en suite shower cubicle was hardly big enough to turn round in! Good job it was only 1 night. Mevagissey is just fab. Glad I chose this for a day off. We stayed at Honeycombe House which is fab too with a fantastic view of the harbour from the breakfast room. It's on a very steep hill going down to the town! Next stop Charlestown and Gallants guest house which was very nice. The first pub and bistro next too each other, as you come into Charlestown on the path, are best places for evening drink/eats if you don't want to walk far. The next part of walk was interesting. Lovely walking around golf course and beach then around Par the beach path disappears. only when someone passing told us it goes inland through a passage did we know where to go. There is a sawn off bit of post by the entrance which may have had a sign on it at some time? Anyway this passage takes you through an industrial area and into Par itself, before heading around and back towards beach. Just before Gribbin head there was a massive cliff fall which was signed before but it was a long way to backtrack when we got to this sign!? We managed to find a way over a fence and around some field edges to get around it but it wasn't that easy. Don't tell the farmer! My final comment on the path is that parts of the second half of this days walking is definitely 'strenuous' not 'moderate' unless I'm getting old! Fowey is a fantastic town with good pubs and restaurants and a fabulous harbour front. The Trevanion Guest House was nice enough. One complaint. We had the 'Twin' room on ground floor which has a walk through bathroom. This leads to a second small bedroom which has terrible sound insulation. You can hear talking and television like it was in the same room! good job it stopped at 11.45. Best parts. The views, Mevagissey and Fowey harbour. Recommended Overall a fantastic, scenic, challenging and fun hike. Well organised, as always, for peace of mind. Thanks, Simon and party.
Hi Damon just to let you know that Gayle and I have just returned from our mini break with Barbara and John Leah. They were great no problems with the dogs and they took us to are different starting places. Really good decent local people with a wealth of local snippets which made it all very interesting . Absolutely lovely walking the coastal path up and down, then through wooded areas with wonderful spring flowers and then onto open sands where the dogs could relax and chase around , all different yet equally beautiful and quite stunning. The Ship Inn at Portloe did us very proud each night. The first two days were dry and the last day was damp off and on so not quite like last years glorious sunshine but good for walking.
We will be back next year for you to sort us with another mini break !
Hope you all have a good season
This was our first experience of the Cornish Coastal path and we are looking forward to doing more of it! Such beautiful scenery, the peacefulness was amazing and the hedgerows at this time of the year were stunning. Fowey to Polerro was challenging and then after a rest you have another 5 miles to your accommodation in Looe! I must say I have never been more pleased to see my bed, but such a wonderful feeling too! To start with we struggled a little with the signs but it got easier as we became used to them. Thank you Damon and team for such a well organised trip.
We had another excellent week walking. We have now walked the entire length of the Cornish portion of the South West Coastal Path, each year we have walked with Encounter Cornwall who have been excellent thoughout. There have never been any problems with any of the accomodation. We personally felt that stopping in Polperro rather than Looe would have been better in terms of distance and grade of walking. Good restaurants we found along the way this year were Salamanders in Mevagissey and Sam's in Fowey. If you're looking for a lunchtime stop in Gorran Haven there's a cafe in the back of the post office which is excellent; we found this by chance.
We have had a fabulous time and all agreed that the walking, food and accommodation has been terrific. My friends haven't done B+B for years so it was a revelation for them! Honeycombe at Mevagissey was our favourite although having a bath here in King of Prussia was a huge bonus and the rooms are super. We took it slowly walking as the weather was so conducive to long breaks - and some stretches were indeed strenuous! A really successful trip all round - thank you so much Damon!
NO PROBLEMS, BUT COULD DO WITH MORE WAY MARK SIGNS, THOSE THAT WERE THERE WERE ON A STRAIGHT PATH WITH NO OTHER OPTION ANYWAY.LUGGAGE TRANSFERS SUPPLIED A GOOD SERVICE & YEO TAXIS WERE VERY GOOD, EVEN ARRIVING ON TIME.
A GOOD HOLIDAY WAS HAD BY ALL, EVEN THE WEATHER WAS OK, WITH ONLY LIGHT SHOWERS ON THE LAST DAY. WE SHALL BE BACK NEXT YEAR......
No serious problems with route finding, but a few more markers would be useful. The best day was the stretch from Fowey to Polperro which was very peaceful with spectacular views, despite a number of gradients! (We were divided-one of us found the uphill section more demanding, the other the steep descents.)..... We walked slower but we frequently stopped to admire the views! We were never later than 5.00pm arriving at the B&Bs...... Wreckers at Charlestown and Smugglers Cott at West Looe were excellent, especially if you enjoy fish...... All accommodation very clean and comfortable. All our hosts were most welcoming.....Looe B&B gave us tea and cake on arrival, Dave carried our backpacks up to our room and brought our suitcases down the following morning (unasked) and there were flasks of fresh milk in the fridge on the landing. In Mevagissey the accommodation served breakfast in the conservatory with superb harbour and sea views. Just a shame the only twin-bedded room was not available for our stay...... Everything was very helpful; even the rail journey info back from Looe. As last year, it was helpful and reassuring to discuss concerns by phone prior to booking. Thank you. We are 2 reasonably fit OAPs (one 65 and one 71) and we found the walking manageable. We were extremely fortunate with the weather as I’m sure some of the going would be treacherous in or following heavy rain.
Yes the instruction from Perranuthnoe from the lane named Greenburrow led us down onto the beach via a ‘track on the right’. We clambered over some treacherous, wet, slippy, rocks for half a mile which was not very pleasant and quite dangerous...... Every subsequent day was lovely and the profusion of plant and wild life, especially seeing choughs made the whole experience very memorable...... All of our accommodation was enjoyable for all sorts of different reasons...... We walked the ‘high tide’ route around Gillan Creek. The farmer has done his best to eradicate the footpath across the field by growing tall maize crop across the path, the access to the footpath is very overgrown and one stile was practically impossible to climb because of stinging nettles and footpath signs were obscured.
We ran into fog the first day and had some difficulty finding the correct route through Nare Head . . .the path from Portloe to Mevagissey was slippery with mud - it was much nicer walking a hard packed trail and our best day was from Charlestown to Fowey. I really enjoyed the Lugger Hotel. I loved the atmosphere when we arrived in Portloe - very wet and windy with the waves crashing in that small harbor which reminded me of a scene from Daphne du Maurier's books. The staff were wonderful at the hotel and the breakfast was excellent. We enjoyed our stay in every place. Thank you...... Anne at Sea Breezes was very welcoming. The accommodation was first class and the food was very good. The Mevagissey B and B was very good...... Encounter Walking provided us with a well organized itinerary and excellent choices for accommodation so that we could concentrate on the walking and exploring. Our biggest challange was how to dry our wet boots and socks. Thanks again for your help and I have already recommended your company to friends who may be interested in walking in England.
No problem with directions and route clearly marked throughout...if in doubt follow the acorns and keep the sea on the left...we were walking reverse! Looe to Fowey, superb scenery, lovely weather ditto Portloe to St. Mawes..... We generally walked faster, but the path from Fowey to Mevagissey was very muddy, grass overgrown in places and soaking wet. It was our long day (18 miles) and it took us 10 hours including 1.5 hours of stops...... Route through Par urban, but inevitable, I didn’t particularly like Charlestown, very touristy (fine weekend). Mawgans in Looe great fish restaurant, Sam’s on the beach Polkerris and Sam’s in Fowey were great, food at Ship Inn at Portlooe lovely. Loved Fowey, not just a tourist town with working docks, cruise ships etc...... We choose to stay in Inns rather than B & B’s, found that landlords were not always geared up for breakfasts before 8.30/9am, breakfasts in B&B better in terms of choice...... Walking in reverse was fine, no strong winds and loved finishing in St. Mawes rather than Plymouth. Baggage carriers were great. Inns tended not to be open in the afternoon, and while they left a number to ring, it took a while to raise one manager not helped by the fact that we were soaked! He made us a pot of tea when we arrived and dried all out belongings, supper and breakfast was lovely. Overall great holiday, thanks, and we missed the worst of the weather. Looking at Lands End and the Lizard next!
All the walking days were good but day 2 was strenuous stuff towards the end...just after we’d been thinking this isn’t strenuous!! Accommodation excellent. The information was accurate and useful. Have recommended you to lots of my friends! Thanks for a great walking break.
First day was the best it wasn’t raining or misty! All along the coast path from Falmouth to Crafthole certain stretches of the coast path were quite overgrown. I strongly recommend walkers take waterproof over trousers with them to prevent getting soaked by the wet grass...... All accommodation was to a good standard and the hosts were very welcoming...... As ever, everything was planned to perfection by Encounter Walking. My thanks to Damon
There is an outdoor cafe at St. Anthony Head, closed on Saturdays. There is a cafe at the Whitsand Bay Holiday Park before Rame Head. Also decent loos. There are a lot of very overgrown (chest high) sections between Place and Charlstown. The accommodation was very good with firnedly hosts, helpful hosts, particularly when we arrived soaked......Everything worked smoothly. We went wrong at Rame Head in thick fog and only realised when we arrived at the chapel. . We had a good time despite the weather. Thanks for your attention to detail it makes all the difference. (we met some Swiss people booked with another walking company who had just been given a map and the addresses of their accommodation, it was so much better to have direction!) Thanks for everything.
The walk was terrific, everything went fine. Our weather was great, sunny much of the time and no rain. Today when we are not walking it’s raining and blowing so we are happy to be finished! Everything went fine. Directions were great and the places we stayed in were all excellent. Had dinner at Magawns where we stayed last night in Looe and it was delicious. It was a really enjoyable time, thank you for the great directions and the bookings.
Best days walk and why: Portscatho to Portloe. Dramatic coastline, saw peregrine falcon chicks and arrived in Portloe for Diamond Jubilee cream tea and setting the beacon alight!..... Great view from Nare Head at lunchtime. .General comments on the accommodation: Really enjoyed staying with Barbara and John Leach in Portloe. Very friendly also at Charlestown and Fowey......Would be useful to know if a bath was available as opposed to showers. A long soak after a wet day is glorious!..... As good as ever despite the weather. Now look forward to next year! Thanks for all your help.
All the sections were beautiful (except Par) Wayne liked the walk from Portloe to Mevagissey because it started out strenuous and ended with an easy section and the beautiful walk into Mevagissey. I like the walk to Plymouth from Portwrinkle for the mixture for the mixture of scenery: the wonderful village of Cawsand and the forested walk through Mount Edgcumbe...... The walk into Brixham was not my favourite because 11 miles of up and down without facilities (not one toilet!) was taxing for me...... Being able to eat wonderful meals at the Cricket Inn and Mawgans is definite bonus at already wonderful accommodation...... .The luggage transfer service people were also wonderful, despite thinking we had the heaviest small cases they had ever hefted! ..The hosts at the places I mentined were really good were all exceptional......Arriving at Beesands just before the rain started for a late lunch, with our beautiful room waiting for us was the most wonderful feeling ever! And with our great meal, it just got better...... The trail from Plymouth was well worth it and, in some ways, we had some of the most memorable scenery that we had seen on the entire coastal path. Noss Mayo was wonderful, in spite of us getting lost. The ferry driver there was lots of fun and from what we had heard from other walkers, he was reliable........I would not have missed Salcombe:- the beaches there were absolutely beautiful; we loved Beesands and the area around there:- Torcross is stunning. As for Dartmouth:- what a jewel it is! We were in these places during the Jubilee celebrations so they were busier than usual. Dartmouth would be a very interesting spot for people interested in maritime history. (or people wanting to buy art!) We met some wonderful people around different breakfast tables......I honestly can not imagine how I would have managed this walk without your information. The arrangements would have been very daunting
All good days but finishing off through the park before the Plymouth ferry was very relaxing......The first ferry from Fal on a Sunday is 10.15 so walking from Place started at 11.00. I found no problem but less experienced walkers might struggle (or at least be anxious)......Par to Polperro felt more than 13 miles.......
The route was well signed and easy to follow.......Best day was Marazion to Porthleven. Most varied scenery and a brilliantly sunny day plus day 1 of walk so very exciting- walking times were almost spot on...... Best restaurant was Kota at Porthleven....... Host at theB & B in Mawnan Smith and at Mullion were really lovely......Couldn’t have been organised better if we had done it face to face instead of half way around the world via email!......We had such a great time that we hope to be back to do another section within the next year or two! Thank you Damon for all your consideration, expertise and interpretation of our needs.
Falmouth to Portloe - found the last section confusing, went wrong way and wasted time, so arrived late......Portwrinkle to Plymouth was less strenuous, beautiful walk, beautiful weather...but long......If in any doubt, always keep close to the coastal path. Make sure follow the yellow acorns, not the yellow markers......Accommodation very good. Grove Hotel, Falmouth-very good. , Portloe B&B -very good. Looe B&B-very good. Seabreezes, Plymouth-excellent hostess, accommodation, food and location...... Found Encounter excellent, including personal emails to all parties, and special financial arrangements for American guests...... Had a wonderful and memorable time. Excellent personal service. Will use again. Will recommend to others, Luggage was also excellent. Will put places to stay in Mevagissey, Looe and Plymouth on Trip Advisor.
We had such a great time and really enjoyed ourselves. Thank you so much for all your help. I have recommended you to all of my colleagues......Second day- lovely undulating walk with lovely scenery......The walk up to Polkerris was lovely......We took our time and ambled so the timing was spot on......Book at Sam’s on the beach in Polkerris in advance. It is super busy and tables are hard to get......All of the accommodation provided fab breakfasts and we all put on weight despite all the walking......The organisation was brilliant and I am definitely going to use you again.
The final day to Portloe was very good. Quite hilly......The pub at Portloe-forgotten the name was good......Accommodation all seemed perfectly above board. The B and B in Mevagissey is up a very steep slope- no prob for us but might for some walkers.
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