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.
12th September 2023- We are sorry but we are now fully booked until October on all our routes - please contact us for Autumn and 2024 dates
Would you choose Encounter Walking Holidays for future holidays? Yes
Would you recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to others? Yes
We had a really good time. It was a little windy but added a bit more interest to the walk. Cornwall at it bleakest but still beautiful. Accomo was very good and we had good breakfasts and meals out. Our hosts were very welcoming.
The distances were just right for us, as the wind slowed us up a bit and the terrain more demanding than previously but we were still able to arrive in our destinations in good time,early enough and importantly fit enough to enjoy a look around and our evening meal.
All in all another good do organised by you.
Much as I'd love to wax lyrical about two great weeks in Cornwall, I'll spare you! Suffice to say we had a really fantastic holiday. The South West Coast Path is very special, isn't it? We were blessed by the weather (basically two sunny weeks with no rain!) and the experience of those 11 days on the trail will live long in the memory.
Thanks to you and all your colleagues for putting it together for us...we couldn't be more grateful. Once again, many thanks. Andrew
Dear Damon - Tom and I just returned home from our spectacular walking holiday around Land’s End. It was way more wonderful than we ever dreamed it would be, in that we were fit enough for the “strenuous” bits and navigated the tricky intersections with the OS map that we downloaded on our phones at your recommendation. We followed the plan except that the final day we walked to the Mount back from St Ives rather than the reverse, because it was raining on the planned for day. The OS map came in especially handy for that, as we made our way from The Queens Hotel in St Ives thru the streets and paths to find St Michael’s Way. Although the scenery wasn’t as dramatic as the coastal routes, we loved traversing the farmer’s fields and cow pies, and catching glimpses of the Mount as we got nearer. We don’t live near the country so it was a treat to enjoy the green hills and smells.
Another thing we did was take photos on our phones of our paper itinerary and guide book for easy access along the way.
Over the fortnight we loved meeting up at various points with the same walkers as we progressed along the route. No other Americans but Canadians, Germans and one Flemish woman with her dog Billie. She was camping along the way and we were so pleased that we were staying at the B&Bs and hotels you arranged for us. My favorite was the Gurnard Head Inn, but they were all great in special ways. It was fun to talk with Vivian, Tim, Shelley, Pauline and Pippa. My husband loved their Coca-cola breakfast room. We got upgraded at two places: the Old Success Inn, and the room that fronted on the sea, and at the Beachfield, where we got the penthouse suite. Three times we rode part way on the bus when it rained. And due to rain, we spent a morning touring the Telegraph Museum, which is excellent. Although disappointed that the Minnack had no production the night we were in Porthcurno, that afternoon we happened on a full dress-rehearsal for Orpheo; this was perfect because I doubt that we would have had the energy to attend an evening performance and hike on the next day.
I could go on, but just wanted to tell you what a grand trip it was when it so fresh in my mind. We had many opportunities along the way to recommend Encounter Walking to others we talked to.
Many Thank Yous to you and your team!
We really enjoyed our recent walking holiday. Everything went very smoothly - accommodation was good and luggage transfers were efficient. The guidebook and notes sheets were extremely helpful. We really liked having the choice of accommodation were available. We will be booking to walk the next stage with you next year!
Hope this is helpful.
Company feedback - it would be nice to have the option to upgrade rooms when booking as we would have loved a bath sometimes and also a larger room - would have been happy to pay an upgrade.
Encounter Walking - Thanks Ann its fine look at differnt rooms when you ask for a quote just let us know and we can include rooms with baths and larger/seaview rooms as options to consider
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