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.
We have recently returned from this lovely walk. It was our first time to this part of England and our first experience of a long-distance path in this country. We had a great time. Even the one rainy day was enjoyable.
The route directions and maps were excellent. We only went wrong once when we did not trust the finger pointer because there was no apparent path in that direction (point 59 on map and directions). We were back on track in a few minutes.
Incidentally, the "rugged alternative route" on the SWCP Porlock to Minehead is now signed on the ground as the main route with the easier route as the alternative. We took the rugged route and were very pleased that we did. It is a beautiful walk and only rugged due to the many ups and downs at the combes.
We would also recommend the alternative route through Embelle and Culbone Woods between Lynmouth and Porlock: there was no difficulty with that route, even for us old'uns. All accommodation was good.
All arrangements worked fine. We would certainly use Encounter again if we arrange any similar trips.
We had a wonderful experience.
It started with very detailed information sent timely by mail and upon request an additional GPX-file for my GPS device.
Since this was our first long distance walk we selected the more relaxed version. On most days we had some energy left at the end of the day and so added some extra local rounds :).
Highlights were the excursion to Williton, passing through meadows with sheep and wild rabbits and then visiting the old railway station there. Another high point was the detour to Dunkery Beacon, it's moorland offered fantastic views and several groups of wild ponies!
The route was very well signposted on the vast majority of the trail and when it wasn't then the trail directions and our GPS soon sent us on the right track again.
Organization wise everything went smoothly.
We came back from this walk with so many beautiful memories that we already started thinking about our next walk. And Encounter Walking Holiday will be our first choice.
We both had a great time - it was an incredible experience, though the first two days were unbearably hot and we had to adjust the walking a bit for my dog who just gave up after the first day of walking in such heat. Still it was better than rain!
In terms of feedback - we have a few suggestions which we hope might be helpful for you and other walkers doing the trail with a dog.
1. Generally the instructions were fine, but we went wrong several times due to the fact that the information was sometimes ambiguous, often not quite clear or specific enough and occasionally there was too much information. Also some of the landmarks that we had to look out for were missing. i.e. gates, lack of signs etc. We met another couple who had the same problems - so our suggestion would be for someone to re-do the walk with the instructions to hand and bring them up to date.
2. The accommodation was good, comfortable and welcoming. Thank you so much for emailing ahead about my vegan diet - I think all the places we stayed were aware and had made allowances which was great. The bag collection system worked really well - and nothing got waylaid or lost! Great we didn't have to worry about that side of things. The taxi pick up to Porlock Weir worked really well too - no problems at all.
3. As this was a dog walking holiday, it occurred to me that whilst all the places we stayed were dog friendly - it might be helpful if they were also able to provide some dog facilities and accessories - i.e. a tin or two of dog food, poo bags, dog wipes, dog towel, water etc. Because of the heat a lot of the dog food that I was carrying got overly warm (yuk) and its also heavy when carrying a week's worth in your suitcase. It might be something that those doing the walk wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for. Just an idea.
The walk was something I'd always wanted to do, and having a goal to achieve each day was great. It was a lot harder than my sister and I (and probably the dog) thought it would be due to the undulating landscape and difficult terrain underfoot. But we did it, and have the certificates to prove it! A great achievement, a lovely walk and something I would certainly do again. Thank you for all your help, encouragement and efficient organisation in finding the accommodation, sending maps etc. It was fabulous.
Excellent notes on route and yellow maps very helpful - fabulous scenery and very varied. Good way marks and good to start in Nether Stowey ( especially at the Old cider House where Ian Pearson signed our book he wrote on the route) and end in Lynmouth
Accommodation - Overall good with 3 excellent - The Old Cider House, the Notley Arms ( even though being refurbished) and Millers at the Anchor where the bedrooms were superb and fabulous location. Recommend eating at the Rising Sun which has Les Routiers status and delicious food. Disappointing welcome at Wheddon Cross - the b nd b nearby looked very good - Sundial House. Very helpful receptionist at the Bath Hotel in Lynmouth - there was a baggage problem with the transfer and she let us use the phone and was very supportive.
We would happily use your company again and thanks.
Thoroughly enjoyed it. All arrangements without a hitch, only 1 significant error in route finding at the ambiguous sign in Mansley Combe where, despite your comments, I managed to make the wrong choice and we ended up on Dunkery Beacon, but, we didn't mind, we had the wind at our backs, blue skies alternating with ferocious roiling clouds, and showers that came and went in 60 seconds every 15 minutes or so.
Loved the holloways, the ancient walls, but above all, the trees - it's a paradise for tree-huggers! The last few miles into Lynmouth, in the company of the East Lyn River, absolutely stunning. Maybe we drank and ate a little too much sitting in comfortable and friendly pubs every night and didn't return quite as fit and wiry as we would have liked, but it would have to be a very miserable person to complain about that. Many thanks Encounter, for your work in making our trip so enjoyable.
Hi Damon - Just to say our trip was excellent and to thank you all for making it so. No problems encountered at all. We were lucky with the weather, the views were stunning, the trees showing beautiful autumn and all the stopovers and meals spot on! It is indeed a quiet and maybe unnoticed part of the country - I shall be passing on how good it all is. What a trip to remember thanks to all your arrangements. Kind regards Jill
Hello Damon, Thanks for all the arrangements you made for us on the Coleridge Way (Oct 2016). The accommodation was first class with all hosts very welcoming. The signage was very good throught the walk and along with the route description kept us on the right track (except when we were not paying attention).
Had no problem accessing the walk via public transport, though we understand the bus from Bridgewater to Nether Stowey is being discontinued, so could cause a problem in the future. We loved the variety of scenery offered on this walk which made the steep uphill sections worthwhile. Can thoroughly recommend the walk in this quiet part of England (we didn't meet any other walkers).
First organised walk I have done, took my small Jack Russell and we were both very well looked after at stop. Coleridge's cottage worth a visit, The pub in Nether Stowey had a quiz which added to the fun. Walk across the Quantocks interesting and demanding, and the trail over Exmoor gave wonderful views. Cold and sunny but did not take light weight clothing to put on at stops, therefore stiffened up when we stopped for tea, a pac a mac and similar trousers would have been a good idea.
Pubs all comfortable and friendly with good food. Breakfasts were good for the cooked part although a whole tomato would have been good, but fresh fruit and yogurt and better cereal would be good, The pub at wheddon cross went to the shop early to cater for us, also we needed to eat earlier than offered and the pub at Monksilver although very friendly did not cater well for an earlier start. very good information excellent organisation, thank you
We had a very good holiday the walking was excellent and the weather was perfect. The luggage transfer went without a hitch, the accommodation was adequate, the best B&B was The Rest and Be Welcome at Wheddon Cross.
A very varied and challenging walk, beautiful vistas but quite long walking days.
Day 1. to Monksilver. 15miles plus. No.7 be careful to spot this track, we didn't spot the sign. No.21 saw the layby but not the track running along the lower edge of the deer park. West Quantoxhead, the Windmill Inn was shut. This section is a little too long for the first day!
Day 2 to Wheddon Cross. 14miles. No. 59 a way marker would have been useful here in the field. The blue markings sometimes confusing!
Day 3 to Porlock Weir. 14 miles. If staying at Exmoor House walk along the A396 and be very careful to spot the really low waymark No.88 to Raleigh Manor. No.100 missed the sign and came out of the woods at Higher Brockwell very confusing. Webbers Post area is very beautiful.
Porlock a very pretty town, forestry commission works in the wood No.126 made for very muddy walking to Porlock Weir.
Day 4 to Lynmouth. 15miles. My favourite days walking with the sea on our right and then the Brendon Hills and lastly a beautiful riverside walk to Lynmouth. At Ash Bridge there is a diversion to the other side of the river, with Watersmeet House closed for refurbishment for 6months. Recross to the route at Countisbury bridge. A great challenge with super memories. Thank you team.
This was our fourth holiday arranged with Encounter and, once again, many thanks to Damon, Ellie and the rest of the team for organising everything so brilliantly. The luggage transfers and taxi back to Nether Stowey at the end of the holiday all worked smoothly and we enjoyed the B&B accommodation. Our favourite was Woodadvent Farm where we received a very warm welcome from Diana and the dogs, had a lovely big room and enjoyed a beautifully cooked evening meal served in the candlelit dining room. Other special mentions go to Exmoor House at Wheddon Cross (for the welcome and the food), Staghunters Inn at Brendon (for a wonderful venison casserole) and the Lyn Valley Hotel in Lynmouth (for a very friendly welcome and a bathroom with the best shower we’ve ever come across!)
We really enjoyed the mix of countryside on the walk – in particular the green lanes, ancient bridleways and the far reaching views of the Quantocks and Exmoor. We had been looking forward to diverting over Dunkery Beacon but, unfortunately, low cloud and pouring rain meant that we decided to stay on the Coleridge Way instead. From Porlock to Porlock Weir we did divert off the CW by walking down Sparkhayes Lane and then along the Coast Path. We were in Lynmouth by lunchtime on the last day so added on the extra extension round to Poets Corner – well worth doing for the trip on the cliff railway, excellent coastal views and a close up view of the wild goats. Thanks again, Damon, and we’re already thinking about walk number five!
My wife and I had a wonderful time on our recent walk. As we flew back to the US, we found ourselves discussing our next trip(!) It's difficult to describe to Americans just how unique it is to walk in the UK. There is simply no experience like it in our country. The British tradition of free access (property owners along public footpaths must, by law, permit hikers to cross their land) is quite foreign to Americans.
We met a lot of friendly sheep, horses, chickens - and, to our surprise, an ostrich - on farms along the way. Interestingly, we met just one person working outside: a boy who was feeding the chickens. Otherwise, we had free and sole access to gorgeous expanses of land.
To Damon and his teammates at Encounter Walking Holidays, I'd like to say "Thank you so much" for guiding us through the selection process. We appreciate your patience and help - especially during the (now) amusing failure of the Great Western Railway web-based reservation system. For a few days, the GWR was unable to book reservations for customers outside the UK. Damon reached out to his contact there, confirmed the problem and gave us some alternatives. Luckily, GWR fixed the problem in time and we made it to Taunton just fine. Damon and crew were also responsive to our lodging requests - e.g., distances to walk and services provided (main requirement: good pubs)
The Coleridge Way is a relatively new pathway and that may explain why we met only 2 other groups during our 7 days of walking. That was an unexpected delight. We found, though, that we were spoiled: as we drew within a mile of Lynmouth and we started to encounter walkers out of that town, we knew our vacation was drawing to a close. Being in our 60's and not in tip-top shape, we were a bit nervous about the distances. But it really wasn't much of an issue - though, when we do it again, which we surely will, we'll eliminate the 11+ mile days. Walking poles turned out to be a terrific idea, as were the Gore-Tex clothes for the one rainy day. I'll post some pics of the walk (interesting fact: my iPhone 6S Plus took better pictures than my $500 Canon S120). All in all, a wonderful experience. Thanks again.
The Coleridge Way was brilliant and everything went very well, even the weather was nearly all wonderful! The only part where we encountered any problem was coming down through the woods on the St. Audries estate. Finding the path was not easy from the description, but we worked it out eventually. Otherwise the trail was ok, indeed bracken had been fairly recently cut back, which was good as we were conscious of the risk of ticks and Lymes disease.
Accommodation was good, the Sundial House B and B at Wheddon Cross deserves special mention, they were delightful. Margaret and Stephen went the extra mile. Tea and cake in the garden when we arrived and Steve dried our boots overnight....without being asked! Also, there is a very comfortable sitting room for the evening and a super breakfast.
On the Porlock to Lynmouth stretch, it is definitely worth going to the Lorna Doone Farm in Malmesmead....a drink and a bowl of chips was a great Sunday lunch and fueled us ready for the walk to the NT cafe at Watersmeet.
All the luggage transfers were good and the taxi people in Lynmouth were great. We actually did Coombe Martin to Lynmouth on our extra day.....the weather was not good enough to do Simonsbath to Lynmouth. We started in low cloud, but we ended in sunshine and the Hunters Inn was most welcome en route.
Thanks so much for all you did to make it possible, you worked very hard in a short space of time to make it happen. It is something we will remember....indeed we got our certificate from the Exmoor National Park Office near the harbour to prove it!
Having just completed the Coleridge Way I would like to say how impressed I was with your superb organisation. The laminated maps and route details were great and we only got a little bit lost twice, mainly my fault at Mansley Coombe. All the overnight stops were fine, the baggage transfers were fine and the taxi back to the start was great. - I shall recommend your organisation if I have the chance.
Herewith some feedback as requested.
1. The arrangements and documentation were excellent. Everything went like clockwork and the only glitches were of our own making.
2. The best accommodation was at Millers and Staghunters the rest were much of a muchness.
3 .The food was generally good pub quality with high points in Williton and Wheddon Cross. Millers food was in a different category but we felt it was not quite up to the prices charged.
4. No problems finding the route as we use viewranger tracker but signage on Exmoor was worse than in the Quantocks. Some green lanes on Exmoor were rather overgrown but it was possible to walk through fields alongside. Cow/bull issues only once!
5.Due to bad weather we omitted the Wheddon Cross to Porlock sector so cannot comment on that stretch.
We did find the first walking day a bit tiring as we measured it at 13.5 miles and would probably have preferred to stay in Bicknoller.
All in all a very good week and thanks for such excellent arrangements.
We very much enjoyed our Coleridge way walk, thursday 14 -tuesday 19 july. The old cider house, nether stowey, nice genial hosts, good man is Ian, good beds, good english breakfast. A good start of our route.
Stilegate b&b, west Quantoxhead, very luxurious room and luxurious breakfast, Heidi really took care of us. Her husband even drove us to our dinner at the Bicknoller Inn and arranged with the landlord to call us a taxi back. We understood that the Windmill Inn is seen as a roadhouse and not a holiday-ish place. It certainly looked forbidding when we passed it just before walking up to Stilegate.
Trinity cottage , Roadwater, nice and quiet, Abigail as nice and quiet, good beds and breakfast. Lunch at the Notley arms was wonderfull. The host makes you feel welcome and serves good food and a nice pint of Pleasant Pheasant to go with it. On the way we visited the church at Sampford Brett, managed by a spruce elderly couple who told us that the village of 200 mostly elderly were welcome a new young inhabitant. Of 65 years...
The rest and be thankful, wheddon cross, is exactly how you feel when you arrive. Had a good night's rest there, evening meal adequate, busy restaurant with correct service. The Royal Oak in Luxborough served a nice lunch outside on their small front terrace halfway our walk.
Route: at number 70, the big post bearing the feather has rotted down and lies ond the ground. Leaving the woods it is not immediately clear which way you need to go. Using the map you can' t go wrong as it is straight ahead up the field. In general it seemed to us that the first half of the route is better kept than the second. Feathers are less weather worn. Of the path between 72 and 73, the last half was overgrown with nettles and brambles, so we had to take to the field itself.
Millers at the anchor was a very memorable stay. Drinks outside with a view of the rapidly ebbing harbour and a very good restaurant. We took a packed lunch from The Rest and be thankfull which wasn't very good, just an expensive sandwich. Enjoyed a tea and scones in Porlock before walking via Sparkhayes lane to the seaside and following the coastal path to the Weir in stead of taking the official route which is yet another shady lane without much of a view. The C way has many of such lanes we found. We came to understand why people prefer to walk the route in spring. Foliage is 't blocking views as much as in summer. The same goes for the sometimes shouderhigh ferns out on the moors.
More route feedback: you warned us to take a different path after point 95. We did so quite clearly but found that after that, going up on the moors to point 100 at Brockwell, the route signs weren't as clear nor as numerous as before so we relied on the compass to keep a path generally in the direction of Brockwell. The post bearing the roadsign to Spangate grove, somewhere between 97 and 99, was lying flat on the ground too.
The Staghunters Inn, Brendon. Very agreeable stay. Nice room, in the back a big and quiet,very well kept garden, beer and cider on the grass beside the river in front. Dinner was an adequate pub meal, all hosted genially.
Rock house, Lynmouth. Busy people, at once you are in a busy tourist village where service is somewhat less personable. The location and the views however we very much enjoyed, as we did the restfull afternoon on the lawn next to the minigolf, with a view of the sea.
On the next morning the owner of Riverside Taxis brought us back to Nether Stowey. A nice talkative man who fled from a too hectic life with hasty people around Oxford to a financially less nly more rewarding life in Lynmouth.
We had a happy holiday, not,in the least thanks to your careful and detailed planning. I'll send you some pictures separately. Thanks!
We had a truly fantastic walk - thank you!
The weather was amazing (almost too hot at times, but I won't complain!!)
We really enjoyed every bit of it (except maybe the dead sheep!)
Navigation was easy - although occasionally well meaning locals tried to tell us we were going the wrong way - clearly we weren't but maybe some parts of the route have changed / moved ? We took all the optional diversions / additions (including Dunkery Beacon - in a heat wave - this was about the only place we saw any other walkers on the whole route) and ended up with a total walk of 68 miles.
A really fabulous walk which deserves its high position in long distance walking circles. Can't wait for the next one!
The whole holiday was beautifully managed and was a brilliant experience. Each place we stayed was very welcoming and gave a high level of comfort, luggage always preceded us smoothly, food delicious, landscape breathtaking, weather perfect for walking, not a single fly in the ointment so many thanks for organising it so efficiently
What a wonderful experience! We took the relaxed option (5 days walking) and stopped at Nether Stowey, Williton, Roadwater, Wheddon Cross, Porlock Weir, and Minehead, which is easier to get back from than Lynmouth. Ian and Lynne (and Ozy!) have some sort of magical alchemy going on at Old Cider House at Nether Stowey, definitely the best overall accommodation. When I booked I was concerned we wouldn't be able to make Monksilver the first night -- however if we do it again I would push on because the vibe at Notley Arms was great and so was the barkeep and his dog. Highly recommend Wood Advent Farm, too -- gorgeous setting, wonderful hosts, and the dogs are a big plus. Exmoor House and the Cafe at Porlock Weir had the best cooking, though all meals were delicious. Many inns offered alternatives to the full English breakfast, which I appreciated.
Luggage transfers were completely reliable. I recommend bringing carry-on sized bags even when booking luggage service, sometimes floor space is at a premium. We got lost a couple times navigating through pastures but the sheep helped us out (https://www.instagram.com/p/BHCVfpsj32M). Even getting lost we were able to average 1.5-2 miles/hour including stopping for pictures and lunch. A compass is a must, as is carefully identifying the fence lines when walking through tall grass (marked in black on the OS maps). The notes in the Coleridge Companion were a useful addition to the official directions. My favorites were the many green lanes, perfect for shelter from sun or rain. I also enjoyed the last day on SWCP, beautiful change of scenery and wildlife.
Damon and Ellie did a wonderful job organizing the trip, which allowed us to relax and enjoy our walk without worrying about accommodations or transfers. The only thing I would change would be to book the incoming transfer a little later than the train arrival, our train was delayed and our taxi had to come back to the station. I hope we can do another trip soon!
So were are already back in Switzerland again! We once again had a wonderful time in the UK.
We saw no other walkers on the Coleridge Way, which is very pity. It is a beautiful way and it has everything: Moorland, coasts, woodland, streams, lovely villages, farmland and greens. May is also a wonderful time with all the flowers.
The accommodations were superb. Fabulous houses with nice rooms, all very clean. The breakfasts were outstanding, all made fresh and absolutely delicious. All people were very friendly. The descriptions and markers were very good and we had no problems to find the way. Point 7 is not difficult to find anymore. There is a new signpost standing there just beside the route.
From Williton back to the Way we took the Public Way to Aller Cottage and then further on to Aller Farm (blue 08 at the OS-map) It is not so dull as the road to Sampford Brett and very beautiful. Every day I saw Bluebells. Beyond Monksilver as we climbed Birds Hill it was millions of them. Very beautiful! The Valley of Rocks was wonderful.
The weather was very good and dry. On Saturday we had some rain, but it was no heavy rain, otherwise it was sunny. I don't know why people always complain about the english weather. Since we are back in Switzerland it rains night and day!
One more time I want to thank you and your team for a perfect organized Walking Holiday!
Thanks very much for the (like allways) super organisation. Even the weahter was fine - sometimes the light was so dramatic and the sky was so beautiful with rainbows over the seaside. I didn't get wet. It rained only, when I just was in the pub. I walked a stretch on the Coleridge-Way - it's so gorcious! There is such a wunderfull quietness in the nature - you only listen to birds, sheep and water - Time seems so be stopped there, the enviroument is still like described in Lorna Doone!
Decided on 'relaxed' 6 day option plus 2 days at the end on the Coastal Path back to Minehead from Lynmouth. The organisation of our 8 day walk, overnight stays, route notes plus general help could not have been bettered. Well done to Damon and his team. We will definitely use you again. Thank you.
Coleridge Way completed to Porlock! Great walk - charmed by villages, green lanes, ancient bridle paths, woodland and moors. Accommodation worked out very well - all walker friendly. Cider house best, followed by Porlock (best breakfast as there were alternatives to"full English"!) Pub food recommended was all good - favourite was masons arms in williton. Directions and maps were great and only two cow incidents.
In spite of 3 days of rain out of the 5 days walking, we loved the walk - a variety of landscapes, various points of historic interest and, when not raining, spectacular views across land and sea. We were very happy with the length we chose allowing us to pause and reflect whenever we chose.
Day 1: Nether Stowey to Williton - it was a beautiful sunny day so, backed up by the OS map, we decided to leave the recommended route (which followed the contour of the Quantocks) just after Alfoxton and head up and over the top. One surprise was the number of tracks on the moors, but with compass, map and advice from an entomologist, our walk was straight forward. Would only take this option on clear sunny days, never in cloud and rain.
Day 2: weather forecast of 30mph winds and rain was daunting but the route through green lanes protected us from the worst of the weather and created some wonderful memories. In spite of our wet and bedraggled appearance for lunch at The Notley Arms, Monksilver, we were greeted with kindness and warmth. The owner very interested and knowledgeable about the area - could not recommend this pub highly enough - as well as very good food and beverages. The best day overall for constant changes of landscape, vistas and interest.
Day 3: Roadwater to Wheddon Cross - if you have bad weather, suggest a diversion to a pub lunch because the Coleridge Way is more exposed than any other day and finding a protected spot out of wind and rain is difficult.
Day 4: Wheddon Cross to Porlock - the Coleridge Way comes out at Webber's Post at a small car park, ignore this one, the large car park over the two roads is what you need (#104); the contour traverse along the Dunster Path (#101) to Webber's post was rocky and pitted underfoot due to high rain and subsequent washout.
Day 5: Porlock to Minehead, South East Coastal path: we chose a mixture of the normal track and the 'rugged' track - if you have any problems with heights, the 'rugged' track is not recommend. We chatted to some seasoned walkers who noted that the 'rugged' walk does not have the open sweeping views of the coast lines, and on a hot and humid day, there is more breeze on top.
The Coleridge Way notes were excellent and essential; some Quill markers are getting somewhat weathered but by using both the notes and the OS map the Way is clear. All logistics, accommodation, recommendations etc worked like a dream - thank you to Damon and everyone at Encounter Walking. We have recommended you to others, and will continue to do so. Thank you everyone involved in the Coleridge Way.
I spoke to someone early on Tuesday morning. You were unable to book accommodation etc. for us because of your work commitments and the short time available. However you gave valuable advice about logistics, direction and accommodation. Thanks to that I was able to book the 3 days (though we had to move it back a day because of the Ironman in Wheddon Cross on 27 June!). I really appreciate your help and will have no hesitation in contacting you again, -with more notice! I will also recommend you to other walking friends.
My wife & I completed the Coleridge Way from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth in early October. Walk itself was very good; interesting & varied - weather was brilliant! Route info was excellent although I may not be the best person to judge as I've been hill walking for 60 years, love maps and can usually find my way without additional instructions. All the ancillary info was also very useful except that Luxborough Tea Gardens have been closed for some time, or so we were told. All the accommodation was either very good or excellent.
Thank-you for your efforts
Everything was great thank you - all worked like clockwork and arrangements perfect. Particular high point: Notley Inn - great accommodation and food. Also - taxi was dead on time!
We really enjoyed the contrast of each day, covering over the 4 days woodland, moors, heathland and the coast - fabulous scenery. The signage on the Day 2 route wasn't quite as good as elsewhere but your notes guided us perfectly.
Also, on the coastal path there were 2/3 broken (looked vandalised?) signs so we missed taking the longer route and ended up staying on the main path - actually worked out better for us as it happens but you may want to report the signs.
The weather was excellent for our walk as was the accommodation you recommended and booked for our party of four. We found that in some cases the packed lunches could be purchased more cheaply from places where there was a village store available (we were a little disappointed at the cost/value of the packed lunch from Nether Stowey). At all stop-overs the luggage carriers were very helpful and efficient. We suggest that beyond Roadwater, where your instructions refer to 'initial path options on the left' that the two misleading signs are removed. From our initially booking the holiday through your company we have been impressed by the way you have supplied all information and updates throughout, and would not hesitate to recommend you to others or book again ourselves. Many thanks Bob and Rosemary. PS. upon our return my wife celebrated her 80th birthday in style!
Just got back from a really great walking holiday. Many thanks, it just went like clockwork.
A wonderful range of landscapes. Rain only on one day, and our trip up Dunkery Beacon was in low cloud so we could only see 100m - A bit of adversity creates some variety! Excellent places to stay, where we really felt comfortable and welcome.
Highlights for us were The Gables, The Notley Arms and the Millers at the Anchor. The Bath Hotel at Lynmouth was the least impressive - a bit dated and faded. Probably not much choice in Lynmouth, though we wondered if some of the B and B’s on the way in would be keen on business. Very good suggestion to leave Culborne Church to the trip back along the SWCP.
Thanks again for your help and organisation.
I would thoroughly recommend the Coleridge Way, a wonderfully varied few days taking in the Quantocks, Brendon Hills, Exmoor and the coast at magical Porlock Weir. My only comment was that I did it too fast, if I did it again - and I well might!- I would take a day longer, in order to enjoy and explore more of the villages and just sit and enjoy the surroundings. The organisation was caring and efficient. Just be aware that with the extension to the Path the 'walking notes' need rechecking, some of the direction posts have obviously been renewed as the Path was rethought and some are different from that stated. But with the help of the OS maps I only overshot the mark once (just after the viewpoint at the top of the hill out of Monksilver) Most of the accommodation was excellent, luggage transfer went well, favourite resting places: Bottom Ship at Porlock Weir for kindness, location and a BATH, and Penny and John at Mellstock House in Combe Martin - spot on! Thank you, Damon, for also providing wonderful Indian summer weather and many memories to take me through the winter months.
This was our second walk with Encounter, and as before we found the organisation excellent from beginning to end. Our luggage was always waiting for us at the end of the day, a very welcome sight (sometimes in our room which was even better). The detailed walking itinerary was invaluable and we found that by paying great attention to this (aided and abetted by an OS map and a compass) we found our way relatively easily even on the stretches over fields and moorland where the path wasn't so clearly defined. Although not a difficult walk, we were pleased that we chose to do it over 4 days. For us, on this type of terrain, around 10 miles a day was ideal. We were extremely lucky with the weather, the scenery was varied and ranged from ancient forest tracks (rides) to undulating heathland with far reaching views in places. We passed through some beautiful villages. Unfortunately some of these no longer have anywhere to buy refreshments (warning that this was the case was given in Damon's walking notes) so it was essential to ensure we had adequate provisions for that day when setting off. On those days where we did find an open pub we thought the food at The Windmill Inn at West Quantoxhead was rather disappointing and The Notley Arms at Monksilver was rather expensive with a "compulsory" 10% tip added to the bill. The open tea gardens at Horner were a welcome sight and very popular with walkers. Overall the accommodation was very good. Starting our walk from The Coleridge Suite at The Old House in Nether Stowey seemed appropriate. This was a beautiful character filled place (and an enormous room) with a fabulous garden. The only downside was that in order to retain the character of the accommodation our bathroom was not ensuite, but actually located across a landing. It would have been nice if bath robes had been provided. We would recommend The Ancient Mariner pub just up the road for an evening meal, again full of character and atmosphere. Our room at the Masons Arms in Williton was very comfortable (it even had a fridge) with a modern bathroom,complete with bath. It was also surprisingly quiet considering it was located adjacent to the car park. We enjoyed an evening meal in the pub and a good breakfast to send us on our way the next morning. Woodadvent Farm at Roadwater was yet another wonderful old building, this time located in the middle of the countryside. We had an enthusiastic greeting from Diana (and the 2 spaniels!) and were made to feel very welcome. We particularly enjoyed the evening meal she provided which was beautifully cooked and served in the atmospheric dining room. Our next night was spent at Exmoor House, Wheddon Cross. This was originally a tailor's shop and the original dark wood panelling is still in place throughout. Unfortunately, we were the only guests that night which made it feel rather lifeless. This was also not helped by the fact that there are no televisions in any of the rooms. We felt this to be a drawback as we like to be able to check the weather forecast for the following day's walk. Although we enjoyed the homecooked evening meal we had pre-booked, we did feel it was somewhat overpriced. Our favourite B&B was The Gables at Porlock, where we ended our walk,with it's picture postcard looks and charming garden to relax in. Our room was prettily and comfortably furnished and the bathroom (complete with bath) was spacious and bright. Breakfast was plentiful and excellent. All our hosts throughout the walk were friendly and welcoming and had positive comments to make about their dealings with Encounter. This all made for a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable holiday with no hitches. We would definitely recommend to friends and certainly hope to use your services again.
Great walk and the pubs we stayed in were excellent. Really good organisation throughout.
We walked from Nether Stowey to Porlock (3 days) and then on our 4th day walked the Coastal Path from Porlock to Minehead. If one has only four days, I highly recommend this route. We did not meet any other walkers on the Coleridge Way which had gentle climbs and passed through only a few small villages.
The Coleridge Way was very muddy in places and despite having Gortex boots our feet did get wet. For most of the time the quill sign posts do a good job directing one but if in doubt always check the map and written directions that Encounter Walking sends out. On the first two days we managed to get off route because we were not being attentive enough, but by using the OS maps we recovered our mistakes easily.
On our third day, up on the moor, the quill markings are absent and we did go off route despite paying attention to the written instructions. Between Hanny Combe and Brockwell our instructions did not correspond to the paths present. However, if one downloads the Coleridge Way route guide (perhaps this is more up to date?) the instructions are correct, i.e. just follow the way marker to Brockwell #99 and ignore other comments about taking the second left etc. A compass and mapping reading enabled us to recover without too much difficulty.
Overall we had a fantastic walk. Damon was very helpful in putting together the places we stayed in. All the B&B's were very nice. Some we liked more than others but we would stay in all of them again. Because this walk goes through small villages one should expect to eat mostly pub food, which we like. Walkers from the USA, like us, should realize that it rains and be prepared! We were and did not mind the weather at all. We both LOVED the Scrumpy and cannot wait to come back for more. Thank you Damon, everything went smoothly and we hope to use Encounterwalking again.
Following our mail in early January I have at last walked the Coleridge Way (not including the extension) and coast path from Porlock to Combe Martin.
Its really a lovely walk through superb countryside and I really enjoyed it. All the b+bs you suggested worked well and I particularly liked the Valiant Soldier and Mellstock where John made me feel most welcome even to the extent of getting up at some ungodly hour to cook me breakfast .
I think that I agree with you now that 4 days allowed was not enough time especially for an old man of 70 carrying his luggage but I finished up with 3 nights rest on Lundy, an island I love.
Thanks again for all your help and hope we can do some more business in future with me as a paying customer.
All the best,
Arrived in Nether Stowey late on a Friday afternoon just in time for a cream tea at Coleridge Cottage, run by the NT. This was a good start to what turned out to be an excellent walk though wonderfully peaceful countryside ranging across the Quantocks, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor. We were struck by the abundant bird life, the sight of red deer and an almost total absence of other walkers (three in four days).
Eating: Two of the pubs in Nether Stowey are currently closed (Rose & Crown and Ancient Mariner) but both should be open in June after refurbishment.
Accommodation: All recommendations were very good and we were entirely happy with all the arrangements. The spectacular garden at the Old House in Nether Stowey deserves a special mention as does the warmth of hospitality and first class breakfast delivered by our hosts, Manor and Ann. The Gables in Porlock was a good finishing point (for us); a pretty thatched property in a quiet location. All B and B hosts were most welcoming to us despite us arriving in boots and muddy and wet on occasion; this was most appreciated.
Route: The route notes provided were especially useful when walking across the broad expanse of Lype Common, for finding field gates in ‘over the horizon’ wire fencing to the very large fields. There are no discernible footpaths across the common, so gates can easily be missed by a wide margin. Otherwise, the route is well marked by a distinctive quill pen symbol. The Visitors Centre in Porlock issues certificates to those completing the route but there was some query about eligibility due to a recent extension by another 15 miles, finishing in Lynton. We’re already planning our assault on the final section.
Encounter Walking Note - We have been involved in the extension which is now open, have walked and checked it and details will be on the website ready for next season however anyone needing advice on it for this year just ask as we have it all fully logged and checked...and yes its a worthy extra day / 2 days walk !
Bill, Exmoor Taxi’s, was very flexible and efficient in transporting us back to Nether Stowey. Bill and others mentioned to us how they had appreciated working with Encounter Walking and this was reassuring to us to know how thorough the research into the accommodation etc. had been. This was our second booking with Encounter Walking, this time at very short notice, and we were not in any way disappointed with our choice.
I would just like to thank you for organising our accommodation for The Coleridge Way. Everything worked brilliantly and all went very smoothly. The Notley Arms Inn in Monksilver was superb. If I can persuade my friends again I may well use you again for another walk.
Beautiful walk through the idyllic Somerset countryside and along the coast. We were lucky to have perfect walking weather and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The walk has a nice mix of landscapes with Moorland, coasts, woodland, streams and waterfalls, lovely Somerset villages and greens, and some farmland. We saw lots of wildlife including red deer, Exmoor ponies, highland cattle and probably Kestrals hunting along the cliffs. We finished off with a bus ride with amazing views to Minehead and then a ride on a Steam Train on the West Somerset Railway to Bishops Lydeard. All the accommodation was good and we were well looked after by each of the hosts. We stayed at Notley Arms, Monksilver (lovely country pub, very pleasant recent refurb); Exmoor House, Weddon Cross (excellent vegetarian food); The Gables, Porlock (beautiful quintessential Somerset thatched cottage) and the Bath Hotel, Lynmouth (views of the harbour and sea). We got packed for the next day at all our accommodation. All the luggage transfers went well. The walking notes and information form Encounter wer excellent as was the communication when organising the holiday. We are already looking at the other walking holidays they organise!
We had a wonderful holiday, thank you, and the weather was much kinder that we could have expected, bearing in mind what was going on in our home towns at the time!
I can only say that I am now completely sold on the idea of using your services for future trips. For two ladies of advancing years, it was made so easy for us in every possible way. The whole week went without a hitch. The walking was brilliant (and we did visit Dunkery Beacon and take the Rugged Alternative); the accommodation was all fun in different ways and comfortable throughout and the taxis all turned up. Your suggestion of beginning the return journey by steam train finished things off beautifully.
Thanks to you and your great team. We had a marvellous walk in good weather with no significant issues. As promised by Prue - Dunkery Beacon was the "high light".
We made two 4-day walks one after the other. The first was from Mevagissey to Looe on the South West Coast Path; and the second was the Coleridge Way. Being from the USA, we wanted to have two different landscape experiences in the time we had to walk. The South West Coast Path offers absolutely stunning scenery, much like that of our northern California coast only without the highway running along it as we have here. We were impressed with the beauty of the broad views, how lovely the harbor villages were and that there was such an organized path the whole way. The Coleridge Way was special too. We loved that we could just walk through pastureland and woods and barely saw another walker. In fact, we saw more people on horseback than on foot. This path was far less traveled than the South West Coast Path which made it all the more special to us. One of the best nights was our stay at Woodadvent Farm where cattle, sheep and pheasant are raised. The accommodations were quite special and the hosts very friendly and helpful. In fact, we were having trouble finding the place at the end of the day and we looked up from our huddle over the map in the darkening afternoon to see our host come to find us. He drove us "home" in his utility vehicle. We recommend highly the Encounter group. They helped us decide which would be the best walks for us, advised us on how to make train arrangements to the starting points from the USA and followed our progress along the way with helpful check-ins. We also very much liked that accommodations were reviewed with us prior to booking so that there were no surprises. We would definitely set up a trip with Encounter again and I have already recommended them to others here at home as well as walkers we met along our way.
We had a lovely holiday on the Coleridge Way; we did get rained on the first morning but we were under the trees for much of the time and by the afternoon the weather had dried up. The weather for the week was dry otherwise, but not quite clear enough to see all the lovely views, such as from the top of Lype Hill. We might have to go back and do some sections again! Its rather ironic that we usually have our holiday on w/c 8th July..when the weather would have really hot. We thought we would try June this year to see if we could get some better weather!
All the accommodation was very good; very nice garden and breakfast at The Old House: Wheddon Cross, Porlock and Ilfracombe also very good. The food at the Exmoor House at Wheddon Cross was excellent.
I think the only issue with the walking from our point of view is that as 'relaxed walkers' we would have been better to do the Coleridge Way in 4 days instead of 3; a special thank you to Sheila of Wick House who rescued us from The Windmill In at West Quantoxhead, and to her husband who dropped us off at Roadwater to continue our shortened journey the next day. We had of course planned out trip partly around the break in Lundy. The Coleridge Way goes through some lovely countryside; I think overlooked by lots of people.
The trip to Lundy was excellent, we had a good cottage (The Quarters) and although the weather was a bit variable we still had a great time there. The lack of traffic and being able to walk straight out of the accommodation onto the cliffs was really lovely. Plenty to see for the naturalist - lots of seals, puffins on the cliffs etc. In the cottage garden we had a water rail feeding its chick - they are quite difficult to see usually. The pub has good food and there is no music etc - no mobile phones or electronic devices allowed on pain of a £1 fine! We had to leave a little earlier than expected as high winds were forecast - we left on the Saturday morning rather than evening, but we had a good trip back in sunshine and saw some dolphins on the way, which put the icing on the cake!
So to sum up, thank you for organisng another great holiday for us, no doubt we will be coming back next year!
Great walk, great arrangements - and great weather.
We have had a brilliant 3-day walk through moorland, woodland and meadows full of spring flowers. Most of it was pretty gentle, but with a few challenging climbs, not least the walk off the trail up to Dunkery Beacon, where the 360 degree views from the Welsh Mountains to the Mendip hills was absolutely stunning. The sun shone which made the streams and rivers sparkle and the villages were looking at their picture postcard best. All the accommodations were friendly and helpful, the luggage transfers from each place seamless and the calories used by walking were more than replaced by good food each evening! It's a perfect way to spend a few days in the fresh air enjoying the peace and quiet of the Somerset countryside, finishing as every good walk on an island should, by the sea. Many thanks to Encounter Walking Holidays for thinking about every detail to make our holiday completely stress-free. Even the walking notes were so comprehensive we didn't have to think!
Have just returned from my third walking holiday arranged by Encounter Walking – this time the Coleridge Way - undertaken over three days of lovely May weather. It is simply a stunning route. Spring woodlands and meadows full of flowers, birdsong everywhere, and the discovery of some of the most beautiful villages and hamlets tucked into the folds of the hills, we were even lucky enough to see some wild deer. Many of the tracks are ancient and give a real sense of walking through the unchanged landscape of generations. Damon’s walking notes are so impressive with detailed tips that ensured no wrong turnings were taken and no points of interest missed. I am reasonably (certainly not super) fit and had a great sense of achievement at the completion of the walk. I found some ascents and descents challenging but, as advised, got there in my own time. The glorious panoramic views from Lype Hill and Dunkery Beacon made it well worth the exertion and there is plenty of level walking which gave me a chance to get my breath back and take in the view. All our accommodation was good but Wick House in Stogumber was excellent and the warm welcome (with tea, homemade cake and an offer to book us a table for dinner at the pub) very much appreciated. Porlock Weir is also special – a wonderfully peaceful place with an inspiring amount of care and effort making The Cafe a real treat at the end of our walk. Finally and as in all my previous experience, I found the organisation, bag transfer and support from Encounter Walking faultless. This really is a gem of a company.
We had a very, very nice walk on the Coleridge Way and the Coast Path from Nether Stowey to Porlock and than to Minehead. More people must dot this trail, we think (5 Dutchman), it's a very various track and we walk even trough a big deerhunting in the Quantock Hills. We followed your option to prebook a taxi from the Bristol airport to Nether Stowey and can recommanded the First 1-2 Call Taxis Bridgewater, they have a good price indeed!. We leave the taxi 8 miles before Nether Stowey and walk to the Rose and Crown Inn where the taxi dropped our luggage. The accomodations were good, especially the Wick House in Stogumber, what a welcome with coffee en tea and homemade cakes etc.and the best breakfast we ever had! In Minehead its better we think tot look for a hotel or B&B at the end of the trail, not so far away form it. We are very satisfied about your help, advice, walking notes and maps ( no problems with finding the route), and perhaps till next year!
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