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 thoroughly enjoyed our walking holiday with our Australian friends. The accommodation we chose was very good and some were excellent. We were lucky with the weather considering it was November. Encounter were looking out for our safety along the way, even to the extent of advising us of impending bad weather.
The coast path itself is amazing, we had done various sections before but never linked them together. In most parts the path was good or very good, but it would be worth mentioning to the authorities of a few sections where it is becoming impassable:
1. Out of St Ives towards Zennor - there is one patch that is just a large bog from the water run off from farmers fields and is very slippery where people have tried to go round the edges. Needs some big stepping stones to make it safe. Or a wooden walkway like the one placed on another section of this area of the path.
2. Beyond Coverack the paths are poor and exceedingly muddy.
3. The path diversion around the quarries near Porthoustock seem to be unnessary as the locals all use the coast path and say the diversion is not legal anyway. Diversions due to erosion were fine.
4. Because of the tide times we were not able to cross Gillan Creek so had to head inland. There is a short section of field walking here which was awful, the farmer obviously has no respect for the upkeep of paths on his land. There were several other odd bits where the path had fallen away, but unfortunately I did not keep a note of where they were, sorry. Overall it was an amazing experience.
Fortunately the weather was much better than the forecast, so we had rain on only two days and only in the morning for about one and a half hour. The first 4 or 5 days it was very windy, so walking was very diverting. At Holywell Beach and at 2 other places there were activities for the movie Poldark. Now we are looking forward with great pleasure to see it on tv or on dvd one time.
The mixture of BandB and Hotels was perfect. The staff at Treglos Hotel was very friendly and we felt very welcome despite our walking outfit. So they were too at the Esplanade Hotel in Newquay, where we had even the chance to dance after dinner. Thanks very much again to Encounter Walking for the perfect organisation of our walk including the taxi transfers between Perranporth and Portreath. We enjoyed the whole walk a lot. We are looking forward to our next walking days with Encounter Walking!
We travelled with encounter for second year and must say it is really well organised. No hazards whatsoever. Weather was good. First week very stormy but great to feel the wind and to watch the sea tossing and turning very dramatic. Of course one day rain got soaking wet but that you have to be prepared for and you don`t forget it we laugh and remember it and it makes you feel glad when your tucked up in a warm place again. Apart from that good walking weather nobody believes us back home, got a good tan.
From Pendeen Watch to Porthcurno such a lot to see Cape Cornwall beautiful, Lands End crazy with the shops etc. Porthcurno Chris served us breakfast on a long table live breakfast cooking such a wirble wind Chris was interesting how he manages all the guests. No good Pub grub in Porthcurno though (only 1 Pub direct in Village) as we arrived at 7 in the evening we didn`t want to take a taxi to the next pub, but we should have done.
Another day of great walking from Porthcurno to Penzance beautiful Larmorna Cove. Penzance to Porthleven After the tarmac road which of course was well signed after Marazion it gets a bit tricky with the right signs of the coast path crossing various fields so you think is this the right way? Once on the Coast Path again it is a quick walk into Porthleven a lovely village with a good newly run Pizza art Bistro place, which we highly recommend. All in all we had a great time and will come back again.
Hi Damon, We found the CCP a good challenge, made a little harder by the inclement Cornwall weather in September and the resultant muddy tracks. However, we got to Plymouth in reasonable shape and in good spirits. We used the Bag transfer people from St Ives for five days after the wind and weather was at its worst, but after Penzance we continued to carry our packs. Prior to the CCP walk we had completed the Hadrian's Wall Path, the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way during August (the weather was poor then too). We carried our packs on those walks so we were pretty well broken-in as mules by the time we got to Bude!
We found the accommodation you chose for us to be mostly very good. There were some gems in there where we could / would have stayed longer if we hadn't been on a schedule. A couple of places were less to our liking but that is to be expected on such a walk and in some of the locations. Over all we were very happy with the arrangements you put in place. Thank you.
Duncan & Marg
The walk has been terrific. First, the organization was perfect, as it already was for a previous walk in the past: in particular, it was made at the very last moment, but the guys at Encounter have been great in finding the best solutions for everything, from the itinerary to the accomodation, and meeting our needs and wishes fully (thank you all indeed!).
The path from Padstow to Portreath is easy and smooth, compared to the section from St. Ives to Penzance we had walked in the past. The landscape is less dramatic and the path passes across several popular seaside resorts, which is completely different from the much "wilder" St. Ives - Penzance section, with also more various views in my opinion. A couple of villages, such as Crantock and St. Agnes, are worth a short detour from the path to spend an evening in a nice spot. If you like, you can take advantage of the beautiful sand beaches for swimming or trying some surf. Just one suggestion: since there are little places to eat in some spots, it may be a good idea to book a seat early upon arrival, in order to avoid to find them packed and thus not having dinner! Shortly speaking, SW Coast Path is one of the best holiday I've ever had, thank you!
We really enjoyed our trip, even the few days with strong winds and rain. After the walk evera day we appreciated the warm welcome of our hosts, especially we would like to mention Bernard and Pat in Crantock. The supplied material about the SWCP was sufficient and useful. Nevertheless sometimes we had to use our smartphones, but only in Hayle and Newquay. Luggage transportation was done whitout any fault. Now we walked the SWCP from Padstow to the Lizard and hopefully next years we will explore some of the remaining parts. Thank you for planning and organizing our trip carefully ! Best Regards Gerhard
Walked Padstow - Falmouth - 15 days. Thoroughly pleased with the whole experience. The distances walked (averaging about 12 miles a day) were perfect for a leisurely breakfast, a couple of breaks along the route and arriving at destinations late afternoons. We were especially pleased that the paper work provided clear details of how to reach accommodation from the track which has not always been the case with other walking companies used previously.
The vast majority of hosts were friendly and informative and went out of their way to ensure we had a range of suitable eating options for evenings and that any wet clothing was dried - with the exception of one stop where we arrived soaked through but were offered no drying facilities - we even had to walk to a local shop to buy newspaper for our boots! Overall would highly recommend and fully intend to book again for next summer to walk Minehead - Padstow.
We had a wonderful time walking the coast from Padstow to St. Ives. Everything worked out as planned - starting with the good information we recieved before leaving home and all the way through luggage transfers and accomodations. The scenery was beautiful, the path was easy to follow (most of the way) and the detailed descriptions we received made it easy to find the places to stay.
Everything was as usual well organized. All accomodations were comfortable and with friendly hosts. I had some very nice re-visits. And where I was replaced, it was as good as or better than where I stayed last time.
Cliff House (or cottage?) has been modernized and is much better than last time. With small, but very comfortable well furnished beautyful rooms. And a new, very helpful and welcoming host.
The diversions you mention are all still in place, but very short.
I had outstanding weather. Only one day with hard rain, and one morning with misty rain.
We leave St.Ives today. There were 14 on the Padstow/St Ives walk. All went wonderfully and we were very happy with accommodations, your daily trip notes and the special listings of options for walkers, short walkers and non- walkers.
I will give more detailed feedback in a week or so but wanted you to know we had 100% satisfaction with your work. Thank you!
This is quite a lovely hike during which we experienced a variety of weather, from some sun to rain and high winds.
The scenery is beautiful--walking above beaches and cliffs as well as on beaches. All of our accommodations were great, and we ate very good food.
All of our luggage was delivered on time. We are impressed with Encounter Walking and their professionalism and would highly recommend them.
We had an amazing time thank you. The weather was superb which made our holiday even better then we could have ever imagined.
Thank you to you and your team for all the support you have given us.
I'm sure we’ll be booking another trip in the future, perhaps carrying on from St Ives and heading south.
We enjoyed our trip very much and had no problems. We are very sorry that govt wants to leave EU, but that's not your responsibility
All on the train headed back to London after a great long walk. We were very happy with all of the accomodations and with the luggage transfers! Our favorite was the b&b in Padstow. Our only comment would be that the directions to the St.Georges House were a bit confusing.
Thanks again for everything!
We have just returned from our holiday walking the SWCP from Tintagel to Perranporth. Everything worked out well and we want to thank you for putting together such a great holiday and well put together arrangements.
We have 2 minor comments. The instructions to reach Westwinds B&B were written for arrival by car and entailed an extra trail up hill on the road at the end of the day. It would be better to direct walkers to use the steps half way up the main road on the hill, these steps lead to a path which leads directly to Westwinds. Or, if coming in to Mawgan Porth from Padstow, take the narrow track which leaves the coastal path just after the Scarlet Hotel and leads up to Tredragon Road.
The other comment is that the Fern Pit Ferry was not running this week and we were told, correctly or not, that the Ferry only starts running on the weekend of Saturday 20 May each year. You might like to check that out.
Thank you very much for all your help. We hope to continue walking the SWCP next year and if so, we will be in touch.
Back from my Cornwall experience I want to inform you that everything went ok, and to thank you for arranging a very enjoyable walk.
It follows some comments on a few different points:
1. In spite of my initial prevention regarding vertigo I did not experienced in any moment or particular point of the path any difficulty or discomfort.I liked the Cornish coast and I will always consider between my future plans to explore other sections of this fantastic long path.
2. I did not have many problems finding and following the path as generally it follows the coast line and is well marked.The segment that I found less clear was the Gannel river crossing ( Map 31), as there are so many different possibilities and the books and maps tray to describe all of them so that sometimes it becomes a little confusing.I arrived at that area in the low tide and decided to follow the river along the beach, and I can imagine that the same land appears with a very different aspect depending on the tide.
3. I was lucky with the weather: some sunny days, other clouded but with good temperature for walking, and only some rain on Saturday 6th but bot heavy.My worst climatic moment was on Thursday 5th while doing the sections between Godrevy Point and Portreath when I had very strong head and side winds.¡That afternoon I regretted not walking the normal direct way!
4. Everything worked at perfection on luggage transport.
5 Regarding accommodation I enjoyed very much the Rick Stein experience at Padstow.All the other places were according with my expectations with perhaps two exceptions.
That's all. Again many thanks for helping me with a very nice and enjoyable walking holiday.
Very well organized walk, helpful materials that were detailed and timely. The driver (Mike Perry)who took us to our starting points and hotels etc was just excellent . He had lots of advice for us, knew the walks we were doing and made some suggestions as to how we could modify the walks to suit our immediate change in needs. Hotel bookings and luggage transfers worked smoothly. Just great scenery complimented by the brilliant yellow Gorse and the fields of bright yellow rapeseed. Just enough up and down for us, all around 70... Would use Encounter Walking again!
We walked for 21 days (with only one day "off" to travel between Falmouth and Exmouth, and had an absolutely excellent time. We are not young (I am 63, my husband 75) ; we generally walked at the "relaxed pace" and had no difficulties whatsoever, including over the challenging sections (such as between St Ives and Zennor and Sidmouth and Beer).
Other than two long days (Porthcurno to Marazion and Coverack to Mawnan Smith) we walked five to six hours per day, which we found pleasantly challenging but not exhausting. This was our first visit to Cornwall and Devon, and we wanted to ensure we could "see the sights" as well as walk, and visited the Geevor Tin Mine in Pendeen, the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno and the Quarry Caves in Beer (all interesting and worth the time). We used hiking poles which we found helped with balance on the narrow and tricky-footing sections.
The support provided by Encounter Walking Holidays, both before and during our walk, was superb, as was the Luggage Transfer service. Both highly recommended. We found the OS maps were useful to get the 'big picture' of the day's walk, but depended on the Trailblazer Guide (referencing it multiple times a day) to ensure we had not missed a SWCP acorn sign.
We were blessed with the weather (only two days of rain) and though the locals were unhappy with the cool temperatures (6-15C), cool days were excellent for walking. Other than over Easter Weekend, the path was quiet in April and May - we often walked for several hours without meeting anyone else - and the blooming wildflowers were lovely. We had never attempted a walk such as this before, and regret we have waited so long! We will definitely be back to walk more of the SWCP (or perhaps the Pennine Way, or Coast to Coast Path, or the Pembrokeshire Coast Path - so many choices!) and will definitely work with Encounter Walking Holidays again.
As always Encounter Walking never let us down with their organisation. This is our 6th trip with them, this time walking Port Gaverne to Newquay over 5 days. Parked in Newquay and were picked up by Mike, our taxi driver from past holidays, who makes you feel relaxed and that you have arrived!
Our favourite accommodation on the walk was at Polzeath staying at Seaways Guesthouse. Pauline & Ken were excellent hosts and made us feel very welcome. At the end of the walk we drove down to St. Ives and stayed at the Seaforth B & B run by Debbie and Carl. This must be the 4th time we have stayed here and we just love it! Still a reasonably rugged coast line with spectacular scenery and not many people about away from the ports. We saw grey seals which was a highlight. Looking forward to next year and, alas, our final Cornish Coastal Path stretch, Fowey to Plymouth.
We are on our way back to London and I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed our vacation. Everything just went perfectly, all the overnight stays were comfortable, and logistics were perfect. I have already recommended your company to someone else
The stay at St. George's was delightful- renovated house is lovely, hosts were delightful. IT was on of our favorite stays!
A stunning walk despite some heavy rain on the first day. Great views across the cliffs. A few concerns; there were a few spots where we were required to walk on the road, and the traffic made it rather daunting. The posted distance and times seemed rather less than what we experienced. All the accommodations were very nice and welcoming and the luggage transport was flawless. Overall, very pleased with the experience.
Now back in Sydney after a wonderful six weeks holiday in England & Spain. We are finding it hard to settle down & are already starting to plan when we can walk more of the SWCP.
We loved our walk organised by Encounter Walking from Padstow to Penzance & were very impressed how well it all worked out...from the start, when we made our first enquiry with you, until we departed Penzance - you did an excellent job for us.
We had a wonderful time, were lucky with the weather and covered the steep ascents, descents, stairs & stiles with not toooo much trouble......as long as we didn't have too many cream teas, pasties or apple cider!!!??
Accommodation was generally very good & there was only one B & B which wasn't really 'up to scratch' even though the proprietors tried hard. Thank you to you & your team & hope we will be in touch with you again soon.
We had a great walk from Newquay to St. Ives! Thanks to Damon and Encounter for organizing this! Planning, preparation and payments: Excellent! Worked out a suitable route four us together with Damon, who also promptly followed up our emails with answer to our "stupid" questions. Safe and easy payments with credit card. Route: Newquay - Perranporth - Portreath - Hayle - St.Ives. Accomodation: Great, and we used the budget options. Rooms were clean, hosts were very welcoming. Nice breakfasts all over. Luggage transfer; Worked smoothly with no problems whatsoever. The luggage had arrived at the destination before us, even on the short 4th day when we arrived pretty early. Walking: Walked the route almost on the average walking time suggested in the itinerary. Easy to find the way along the path. We can definitely recommend Encounter Walking to organize *your* trip, they did an excellent job! Regards The Stølsnes family...
Our memories are not just good but unforgetable.
The thing is that everything worked perfectly. All transfers of both luggage and people were perfect. The weather was ideal for walking. The accomodations were excellent. Exactly the right level and very well located. Lars would especially like to thank you for all your efforts and concerns. I must say that we are very impressed with your work. It couldn’t have been better. Some of the walkers were not familiar with this very beatiful part of the world. But now they are and they are very happy for that.
The only thing that the walkers were a bit unhappy with were basically themselves. As we had no experience in walking these distances for several days in a row (we usually do one-day walks), about half the group found the walks a bit too long. They felt they needed either shorter walks (maximum 15 km) or maybe a day for some rest somewhere in the middle. Life is a learning experience.
Thanks again for an incredible holiday/walk.
Overall, we had a wonderful time on our walk. Except for occasional showers, the weather cooperated allowing us to enjoy the splendid scenery. The accommodations were excellent and the hosts at the smaller establishments friendly and engaging. All breakfasts were hearty and well prepared. The luggage transfer system also worked well. We have nothing but praise for the Encounter Walking staff, as they delivered what they promised. Because our journey from the US to Padstow took well over thirty hours, our decision to build in a rest day at the beginning of the trip was a wise one. Padstow is a lovely small town, we enjoyed seeing the sights and reducing the effects of jet lag. We also took another rest day, after four days walking, at St. Agnes. This is a fascinating town with a small museum that helped put the physical remains of the former mining industry around us into their historical context. The highlight of our final day in St. Ives was a visit to the famous Leach Pottery. Thanks again, Encounter Walking folks. Your care in designing an itinerary to meet our needs was greatly appreciated. Hal & Michelle
Had high winds to beautiful sunshine & all between. Enjoyed every bit of it except the walk into Newquay. Please insist on taking a bus as it is horrible to hit the hurly burley of the town after such beautiful country walking! Also got a bit lost through Hayle as we interpreted the causeway wrongly & walked out on a nature trail across the water & when we realised it wasn't going to the other side, we paddled across to a railway siding. Unfortunately a very long day! Also need to be aware of the pastie & icecream eating seagulls- they were vicious! All the accomm was first rate & we seemed to have the best room in the pub every time. Directions re meal spots were spot on & we advise to obey them. Went to Minack Theatre to a matinee & nearly cooked. Half a Shakespeare was enough, but the experience was well worth it & the swim at the nearby beach refreshed us(it was freezing). It was fun running into some of the same people each day & we felt like we'd made some good, though transient freindships . Cant wait to do another one in a year or two. Pip & Chris Williams
I walked the 110 miles from Perranporth to Coverack as a solo walker and it was everything I hoped for and more. I will definitely be returning to walk the rest of the SWCP. The landscape is incredible from the wild, rocky stretches on the North Coast to sub-tropical, lush vegetation on the South Coast. On some days I walked for hours without meeting another person, making it feel as though I had the whole path to myself. Overall I found it straightforward to navigate my way from place to place; I had very few problems route finding aside from the occasional wrong turn, making for a slightly alternative route over a few stretches, but I never found myself straying far from the path. The Trailblazer Guide was incredibly useful for a solo walker, the maps for each section giving you confidence in where you are and what’s coming next, as well as signposting the next opportunity for tea and cake! One of the many highlights for me was the wide mix of people I met along the way, including walkers from Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden, as well as from all over the UK. Everyone I met was really friendly whether local or tourist and it was great to meet people along the way and share stories; I also found it useful to ask people I met what to expect along the next stretch. Tips: - The South coast sub-tropical sections are very lush, long trousers help! - A walking pole is really useful for some of the more rocky stretches - Ask the people you meet for recommendations on where to eat and drink the next day - Luggage transfers mean you can walk further each day - Staying in pubs is great! Overall my walk was very well organised without any issues; I will definitely use Encounter again when I return to walk the rest of the path.
Oh my gosh! The vacation you arranged for Eeva, Pat, my daughter Clara and me was the BEST EVER! I have traveled a fair amount in my lifetime, and never have I experienced such astounding beauty-we were amazed that around every corner there was something new and breathtaking!-such heartfelt kindness from the locals, not to mention the best B&B's and FOOD on earth!! Your choices and advice, your directions, luggage transferring-everything!!-was pure perfection! I, personally, had a smile glued to my face the entire trip because of my extreme good fortune at having experienced my own little piece of Heaven! I even loved the snails, which my 16 year old daughter lovingly picked up off the path and placed in the safety of nearby bushes, and the fact that I didn't see one adder!
I shall not, however, share my experience with anyone, as I wish to keep your coastline just as it is, not ravaged by more tourists!! Just kidding!... I will tell everyone to contact Damon for the trip of a lifetime!!
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart! It is so apparent that you, yourself, have walked every step, hand-picked every B&B, tasted every Full English Breakfast, and placed every acorn guidepost to keep us on the right path! Pure perfection. As I unpack today, and go over and over the precious details of my adventure in my mind, I am gobbling up all the nickels and dimes and quarters from the laundry room, out of my husband's pockets, etc. to stash away for the next leg of the journey with you!!
Forever Grateful in Washington, USA!!
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our walk, although we were not able to see and enjoy a lot of the sights as the weather was not ideal - we had two days where we were completely drenched through but our hosts on both days helped us get our things dry so that we could start the next day in dry clothes and shoes. The luggage transfers were fantastic, the documentation you provided was brilliant and we even were able to enjoy walking along the extensive beach at Perranporth in sunshine, wading through the sea. We met some wonderful people in the accommodations, who helped us and made us feel very much at home.
The only critique was that my husband really didn't enjoy the long walk to find Nanterrow Farm after having walked all day; fortunately, we were the only guests so that we didn't have to share the bathroom with other guests but a shower was not available and my husband only showers; my husband isn't so much a fan of old English houses either. I didn't mind it very much, but I'm used to the English way of things! We did enjoy ourselves and everything went according to plan and your wonderful itinerary. So MANY, MANY THANKS.
In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we want to walk a different part next year but I will fill you in with the details in a second message so as not to mess up the system - finish one trip and then start with arranging another! All the very best and will send you the details of our next walk soon.
This is a beautiful walk along a spectacular coastline but we think the descriptions in the guide book were a little misleading at times. We almost always took longer than described and it would have been helpful if the long stretches of uphill steps had been forewarned! There would have been times - in really bad weather - when we might have thought twice about undertaking those stretches. We enjoyed the variety of places to stay but the Newquay hotel was not up to the standard of the rest (will be emailing separately about this). Your instructions on how to reach the accommodation were impeccable.
Thank you very much for all you did to help us have a wonderful walking holiday! -Highly recommend Encounter Walking and the South West Coast Path - Write up about the walk and accommodation for each day was very helpful as were the maps. - Luggage pick up and delivery was flawless and made this type of vacation very enjoyable. - Accommodation was nearly always spotless and very welcoming. - Trail was quite well marked. Possible improvement in getting through Newquay and the sand dunes. - The walk was beautiful! Areas where the grass was cut along the trail were especially good. - Daily distances were good for us. The trail was quite demanding day after day but we really liked it and the rest day location choices that you made for us were excellent. - We come from a very flat part of Canada. Having walking sticks saved our knees on the steep ascents and descents. - The Cornish people, without exception, were very friendly, welcoming, helpful and courteous!
Amazing trip, my first walking holiday and it exceeded my expectations. Life changing. I am hooked. While planning our trip Damon and the Encounter Walking team consistently answered every and all queries in 24 hours clearly and a few times even answered questions before I had time to ask them. Brilliant.
Encounter's written directions were our bible every morning over our too large English breakfast and for the most part proved very clear. A couple of points for better clarity: 1) Sand dunes on Perran Sands ("strenuous") may be avoided completely by simply walking the beach instead above the beach on the dunes - given the right tide. we were grateful for a lower tide that day. 2) Directions to St Georges Country House Perranporth were not clear, references to "short gorges" and "small cliffs" were vague and not helpful. We ended up standing in some field feeling rather lost, tired and hungry until we got back on the trail and asked a local for directions.
Regarding refreshments, as we got our rhythm, we found packed lunches were the best bet over planning to stop along the way. That way we had options to stop at a café or not - besides, a picnic over-looking the stupendous cliff top views were priceless in everyway. When we did stop, we found the National Trust Café at Bedruthan Steps served the best Ploughmans. The Fish House Café in Newquay was amazing; small, family run, extraordinary food. Reservations a must. Thank you Damon and encounter team. We will be back!
We had very wet weather for our trip which made some parts of the walk more tough than we were expecting. Always the beautiful coast, the wildflowers and the bird life compensated. Do pause at the NT seasonal cafe to see the rock pipits scrounging for crumbs as if they were sparrows on the way from St Agnes to Porthtowan. We got confused by the choice of bridges on the Red River estuary as our ordnance survey map didn't show the low tide bridge - we understood why when we saw it, being more of a quay than a bridge. So best to follow signs to the ferry at low tide as you don't know you are also walking towards the low tide bridge til you are almost upon it. There were times with our Cornwall Coast Path book when we felt an age difference between the writers and ourselves (!) and less choice or greater clarity about choice of route at certain points would have made the book easier to follow. Nevertheless we were very glad of its many helpful comments and information. We appreciated the directions off the path to our accommodation too. A pity about the weather but still a wonderful path to take.
We arrived home safely on Monday evening after a superb walk. The weather was very kind to us - the only rain we had was on the last Sunday but compared to the south coast we got off very lightly even then as we were generally sheltered down by the estuary and the thunder and lightning only started after we got to the Queens Hotel. As always the accommodation was excellent - very varied but everyone was very friendly and helpful. The luggage arrived safely each day.
This section involved a lot of ups and downs but doing it at the leisurely pace meant that it was still very enjoyable. The scenery was absolutely stunning and round every headland there was a different and exciting view. We had 7/8 days of wall - to- wall sunshine which meant that we took loads of photos of tremendous cliffs and blue seas. The spring tides meant that beaches like Perranporth were absolutely vast and we walked on the bottom of the harbour in Newquay. On the other hand the high tides had the waves crashing into the bottom of the cliffs. The first couple of days were very muddy underfoot after all the rain over the easter weekend but we soon got past the worse areas. We've really looking forward to going back to do the next section ( St Ives to Falmouth) in May although I'm not sure how we can better the last two weeks for scenery and weather.
This was the most scenic walk (the ocean, cliffs, wildflowers, birds, beaches) my wife and I have ever done. And Encounter Walking was the most responsive and effective travel company that we have ever dealt with. Some of the hotels were better than others, of course, but they were all perfectly fine and the service everywhere was good. The written itinerary that Encounter gave us was absolutely complete, with all the information that we could possibly need for each stage of the walk. We are 100% satisfied. We hope to have Encounter arrange another walk for us next year.
Just to let you know that we had a great trip, although some better weather would have made it perfect.!
We had a lunch break at Porth en route to Newquay, and would recommend the Coast Cafe at the end of Porth beach where we reconnected to the trail, it was very good value and worth adding to your list.
In Portreath ate at the Bassett arms , and had an excellent meal, great value.
En route to Lelant, we were very impressed with the National Trust cafe at Godrevey Point , and would recommend walkers take away or eat their lunch there. Overall we thought we had a good mix of accommodation, and generally good value for money. Mike from Ocean Taxis was also very helpful, and spot on time for both our pick ups.
Finally, we thought the package provided by Encounter was 5* , impressed by the attention to detail , and also good communication, website , itinerary etc. Will definitely come to you again in the future!
Throughly enjoyed walking this route. There were places, especially between St. Ives and Zennor, that were particularly difficult, even to us seasoned hikers. The accommodations were good, although some were a little small. All the hosts were very cordial and two transported us to our next destination after we could walk no longer. I had to stop at Mullion and Stuart stooped in Marazion. But we still had fun! Such a different culture from the USA. Loved the pubs, the food and the locals! Would like to come back at some point and start walking from Mullion. Encounters Walking, you did an excellent job with our itinerary and will definitely use you again when I return. Thanks for all your planning information, trains buses, etc.!!!!!
We had an excellent time and could not have asked for more, other than all 7 days to be sunny rather than the 5 that we had. What worked the best for us was the organization by Damon and the team. The details for each day's walk, what to expect, places to stop, turns to take, made us feel safe and well looked after. We found our accommodations easily and appreciated that each was close to the coast path.
The vistas and scenery throughout our walking were stunning, the beaches beautiful and other than the steps up and down to portreath, everything was manageable. We were very pleased with ourselves for all that we accomplished with no injuries or blisters at all! We met many friendly people and very happy dogs! We think someone should set up a business to rent a dog for a week!
Most of our stays were very pleasant. Special mention goes to the Fairbanks inn at Crantock. Sadly they are leaving and hopefully the new owners will be as helpful and engaging as Elaine and Paul. The Harlyn Inn needs some work and although clean enough, the rooms were small and the beds too soft. The double room at the driftwood spars in St. Agnes was fine but the single room felt remote and not comfortable. The old quay inn at Hayle was very nice and the staff seemed to care. This was not the case with the hotel in St. Ives. They were kind enough to allow us to take a blanket to the Minack theatre that evening, but forgot to inform the night person that we would be arriving late. It just shows some lack of communication among their staff.
The luggage transfers were excellent and our bags always arrived far in advance of us. Our trip was a huge success because of how well it was organized and we knew help was always available if we should have ever needed it. Thank you to Damon and the group. Special mention also goes to Jason who drove us from portreath back to St. Agnes. He texted us in the afternoon to let us know he could pick us up anytime- this was a much appreciated extra step and contributed to our sense of being looked after well. We hope to return and will be sure to recommend Encounter Walking to all of our Canadian friends waiting to hear about our experience.
Thanks Damon for another great holiday with your company- the third so far, and as before everything went very smoothly- the luggage transfers, the accommodation was all of a good quality. We had no problems following the path, and the weather was glorious for September. In fact a couple of days we were too hot! It was good this time to see more unfamiliar areas of coastline further south from our usual haunts. We particularly liked Crantock and Perran sands. The only part of the walk we really didn't enjoy was along the busy road in Hayle.
We hope it won't be long before we walk another stretch of the South West Coast Path with your company, probably starting from St Ives. Until then, thanks again.
We want to say a HUGE "Thank you" to Damon and Encounter Walking Holidays. This was our first trip to Cornwall, and first time using Encounter and the whole trip was phenomenal. We booked our trip a little late in the game and, of course, scheduled it next to the late August Bank Holiday, unbeknownst to us. So lodging was scarce. Damon gave us some great suggestions on the itinerary and came up with mostly fantastic lodging.
The weather looked to be a challenge with rain forecast the entire week. But fortunately the forecasters were wrong and we had great weather until the last walking day. We stayed in Newquay the first night due to a late arrival, then took the bus to Portreath to start our hike. It was raining when we arrived to Portreath so, being flexible, we stayed on the bus for another half hour until Hell's Mouth Cafe. We got off the bus, had some soup and a bun in the cafe, the rain stopped and we were on our way. Though it rained on occasion throughout the week, never when we were on the trail until Porthcurno. The last hiking day from Porthcurno to Penzance look to be a wet one so we caught the bus that day and unfortunately missed Mousehole. Oh well, I guess we'll have to go back so we can see Mousehole.
Our original goal was Newquay to Penzance in six days, but Damon wisely cut out the Newquay to Portreath legs for the allotted time. As it was, we had only one light day, Hayle to St. Ives. We had great lodging except for the beginning and end nights in Newquay which were okay, but just not great. The whole week was a fabulous adventure with fun villages and vistas, great food, met some nice people along the way. The hiking and views were awesome. My wife wants to move there. I just want to visit, and often. We will definitely go again soon. Here are some of our thoughts for the next visit. We will go for two weeks instead of one. Plan more down time between hikes to explore towns, visit gardens and points of interest, or just hang out in little villages, and maybe do a little surfing. So we will still get a week of hiking in, but spread out over two weeks. And maybe drink more beer. Thanks Damon, for the extra effort and for the great trip.
We have had a wonderful time although as you said, the weather was a bit mixed, but we were prepared for that. This may be too much detail for you but we wanted you to know how good things were, so please take what you want for your website feedback.
First of all, many thanks for the excellent organisation of our walk. We are not novice walkers but not very experienced either, with this walking daily with luggage transfer new to us, and we found it brilliant. We are recently retired (so not spring chickens anymore!) and felt that the itinerary you set up for us was just right in terms of distance and difficulty. We wanted to stop, take pictures, eat our lunch etc. without doing a forced march all day.
The taxi transfer from Bodmin-Padstow went very smoothly. The luggage transfers were great – bags always waiting for us.
The accommodation was fine all the way.
Our main tip for others would be at some of the bigger places, Padstow, St Ives especially – in the height of the season (and even early July) if you wanted to eat in a restaurant in the evenings (and we don’t mean only the celebrity ones) it would pay to book several days ahead as even small places get full.
Our hardest day was Tues 14th Portreath to Lelant (you might remember that it was VERY wet!). We were expecting this to be hard as the weather was awful and we had read that the dunes/Towans were not well marked, which is true. In some places the stone markers are clear and then they just disappear! (we did find one that had fallen over due to sand erosion). We were torn between staying in the shelter of the dunes from the rain and going down onto the beach, which would have been our intention in better weather. We did get down onto the beach after a while but high tide was approaching with the wind bringing it in further, so the RNLI people advised us not to walk in some parts. Coming off Hayle Towans past some holiday chalets and into a car park was not well marked but we found the right road in the end and although the walk through and out of Hayle along the road is not pleasant, the Old Quay house was a very welcome sight and the binoculars and bird book in the room was a lovely touch. Overall the signposting along the path for our trip was adequate – we never really got lost apart from on the 14th but even then not for too long!
Best bits for us were walking the length of Perran beach in the sunshine to Perranporth, seeing grey seals near Godrevy lighthouse and just the fact that we did the whole walk without a hitch (proving that there is life in the old dogs yet!).
Thanks to Encounter Holidays for doing such a great job organising the walk we wanted. We are already thinking about which part of the trail we would like to do next.
We have had a really fantastic holiday and have been very fortunate with the weather. The walking was challenging at times (in a good way!) and the scenery was wonderful. We both really enjoyed ourselves and found your guidance notes useful and the Trailblazer guides to be invaluable.
It's hard to know where to start for giving you feedback...but here are a few comments which spring to mind:-
Best day's walking - from Padstow to Porthcothan because of a combination of the gorgeous scenery, beautiful weather and stunning beaches;
Hardest stretch of the entire walk - the walk between Port Isaac and Port Quinn (followed closely by the wallking on the Hartland Peninsula in the few miles both before and after Morwenstow);
Best cream tea (we sampled many!) - the National Trust Cafe at Bedruthan Steps;
Best restaurant - The Fish House in Newquay;
Scariest thing - being followed by persistent cows in a field close to Hartland Point;
Most problematic thing - being unable to get into a field close to the approach to Crackington Haven as there was a herd of cattle gathered round the stile at the entry point. After trying unsuccessfully to shift them for some time, we gave up and waited for reinforcements in the form of a group of walkers who had been walking some way behind us. We were very grateful to be escorted through the field by them and were left wondering why the cows moved for them but wouldn't move for us!
Highlight of holiday - paddling on various beaches but in particular on Mother Ivey Beach and Constantine Beach (between Padstow and Porthcothan)...it was a really warm day and the sea was almost turquoise in colour...and the waves on Constantine Bay were a delight.
I would like to thank you for all of your help in planning our holiday. It has been a very positive and enjoyable experience for us and we're already looking forward to tackling the next stage of the Path.
We great appreciated the informations provided and the careful choice of accommodations. The indications on the path are very clear and, together with the 1:25'000 map provided, allow for alternate routes when necessary. We were blessed with a splendid western aller way long and decidedly will be back for the rest of this enthralling SWCP under your expert guidance. Many thanks, Jean-Luc
Not as interesting or strenuous as the section from Westward Ho to Padstow, but still very enjoyable especially with good weather. The information given by Encounter was first class and on a damp 'free day' at St Agnes we followed the suggestion to go into Truro, which we enjoyed. The sand dunes at Gwithian were a little tricky and the stretch around the estuary after Hayle was not very well marked or pleasant. Accommodation was generally OK, but a bit disconcerting to arrive at the Harlyn Inn. Harlyn Bay and be shown to our room overlooking a performance area with a live singer about to set up a few feet from our window! Fortunately it was only a late afternoon performance.....
We had an excellent week's walking. All worked as planned by Encounter Walking - accommodation, luggage transfer and instructions all meeting our expectations. Really impressed with how much Cornwall has risen to the challenge of looking after tourists so well - everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
My friend and I made the 2nd hiking tour on the South to West Coast Path. We have already done 2014 from the Exmouth to Poole the Jurrasic Trail. Very interesting. This yea: From Padstow to Penzance. We had very good weather. However, two days of storm. This is strenuous. As usual, everything has fitted perfectly. The first overnight stay in Padstow with Poppies B&B was a very nice start. The last obernight in Penzance was also a nice end. All overnight stays had passed verry nice and quite well. All owners were very friendly and helpful. Also our stay in Saint. Ives in the Tregony Gusthouse was very comfortable. It is better, however, with sea look to book. The town with the bustle, was not so pretty for us. To much people and noice. Sea View House - Porthcurno area very friendly. The Boswednack Manor earned only one star. Ifen the biscuits were absent to the tea. Usually in general, it was a happy tour. Franz and Wolfgang, from Saarbruecken & Freiburg both from Germany
An excellent holiday! Route finding was very easy and accommodation was interestingly varied and, without exception, of a good standard AND our cases were always there at the right place. On the whole the weather was good. We had very little rain,lots of sunshine and two days of fierce wind when we had to revert to walking on the road for a couple of miles. We were lucky with the tides and walked on beaches whenever we could.The section from Harlyn Bay to Mawgen Porth we calculated as being 11 miles,not 9 as on the itinerary. The flowers at this time of the year were absolutely superb! It's too difficult to pick out one highlight, there were so many.So much of the scenery was a feast for the eyes. Thank you so much Damon and the team for your very efficient organisation. Everything went according to plan. We love Cornwall!!Jean
This was an excellent walk with perfect weather making the scenery even more stunning. We did not find the strenuous parts of the route as difficult as we expected and we arrived at both Portreath and Gwithian earlier than we planned. We should have spent more time watching the seals at Godrevy Point or longer over our coffee at Hell's Mouth Cafe! However the last few miles between Carbis Bay and St Ives did prove quite tiring. The accommodation was satisfactory but as it was a late booking we were not expecting the best rooms. The recommended eating places were very good. We did have a minor problem finding the way across the dunes between Gwithian and Hayle. The Trailblazer book mentions acorn posts with yellow arrows but the way was marked mainly with large upright slabs of carved stone that initially were difficult to identify. Also be careful walking into Hayle as there is a new walkway alongside the harbour and the waymarks are scarce. We would certainly recommend taking the quieter suburban route through Lelant. We had a great stop eating our Philp's pasties on the platform of Lelant station overlooking the estuary. Thank you Damon and the team for organising another excellent walk and we look forward to next years expedition.
Wow! Was I ever a lucky bunny sunshine all the way! Walk was fantastic tho I do prefer the rugged coastline of the north to the surfing beaches of the south.
Highlights probably St Ives to Zennor – Porthcurno beach where I swam in crystal cxlear water on a hot afternoon – walk from Perranporth when I set off early in the fog and it was just magical – Cape Cornwall another early morning when I was the only person there.
All the stopovers were good – definitely prefer B and Bs to hotels. Nanterrow farm was amazing and the lovely Linda took me swimming at Godrevy Point where we swam with seals she also upgraded me to the nicest room in the house as I was the only one there what an amazing place. Tinners Arms at Zennor was special also loved Carden Cottage at Crantock. Low point was probably the B&B in Portreath – v sterile and a poor breakfast. Much prefer staying in small places than towns – St Ives and Padstow all a bit much but I did love Port Isaac.
All in all it as just wonderful and the weather made the whole thing a complete indulgence – loved it. So next section May 2015 when you have time to put something together.
So thank you for putting such a wonderful package together again for me and am looking forward to next time.
Brilliant organisation (you did that)
Beautiful weather and views and walks
Path generally well marked (the dunes approaching Hayle were a little troublesome, but we were warned about that, and it wasn't that difficult because the location of the sea was a good clue)
Newquay and Hayle rather less scenic (but I guess you have to go through them to get to the other side)
I suggest that you advise future walkers to RUN through them as fast as possible, but maybe they just aren’t our sort of places)
Accommodation excellent throughout
Special mention to Janet at Padstow and Mary at Porthcothan – very friendly and welcoming and helpful
Extra special mention to Linda at Nanterrow Farm, Gwithian – exceptional welcome, truly tasty breakfast, and a lovely farmhouse atmosphere. At all our stops, everyone seemed to go out of their way to be helpful and friendly - these three went even further. Lovely “attic room” at Cornerways in St Ives – brilliant view across the harbour. A delightful place to stop walking !
Bassett Arms, Portreath also deserves a mention – there was some sort of private function on-going when we arrived for an evening meal. Despite being very busy, the staff were quick to welcome us, friendly, and attentive. Excellent service and a pleasant meal. And the (busy but excellent) cafe at Hells Mouth en route into Gwithian – never was a cafe so well-located !!
Baggage transfers faultless
Itinerary and information provided by you was everything we needed, detailed and accurate.
It left us free to ‘walk’ not ‘think about anything’
Seriously – it was part of the holiday to be able to just walk and eat and sleep.........................nothing else needed doing
One thing we did (and nobody minded – hope I wasn’t being a nuisance) was to ask all our overnight stops to freeze a couple of small ice packs in their freezers. In hot weather (we were lucky), it was good to carry a small cool bag in my rucksack so every day we had a couple of cold drinks with us.
Cant think of anything that was a problem or negative. Sorry – this isn't much of a feedback, more of a commentary !! We had a really enjoyable week. Memorable, relaxed and stress-free.
Thank You again
This is our 6th long distance walk and the second one done with Damon at Encounter. Exceptional customer service and support. Thank you! We had paid to upgrade our accommodations and were extremely pleased with pretty much each of our stops. The trail was not as difficult as the Minehead to Padstow section and was not as well waymarked. Too bad Land's End is such a circus.
In Penzance, we strongly recommend The Turk's Head for dinner. The very best meal we had on the trip hands down. Also had an exceptional meal in St Ives at the Waterfront Café, thanks Carl. Our favorite B&B's Portreath B&B Seaforth B&B St Ives Warwick House Penzance Symply Padstow Not only were these accommodations excellent but the hosts were caring,and very helpful. Hope to do the next section next year and will look forward to dealing with Damon and the rest of their team again.
We enjoyed the experience and found most of the walk quite reasonable. The weather was fine but had quite strong northerly winds which made the going a bit tiresome at times. But the weather is uncontrollable. Just want to point out the buses were expensive and few and far between. Due to a foot problem we attempted to shorten the walk on a couple of occasions. The one bus timetabled for the day at Portreath and Gwithian did not turn up. Overall we found the accommodation very comfortable, and the hosts were very helpful. In particular the host at St Georges Country Hotel cooked a special gluten free meal just for our party as one of our friends is gluten intolerant.
Another great holiday even though we had to cut it short by stopping at St Agnes. We had no real problems with the route although we missed the easy route down to the Perran beach -probably due to our own incompetence. As someone else has said just keep the sea on your right and you can't go far wrong! Crossing the Gannel was no problem and being mercenary we were pleased to cross by the footbridge for free. The accommodation was good at all the stops and we especially enjoyed the view from the room at Driftwood Spars. The luggage transfer once again was excellent with no problems whatsoever. The information provided by Damon and his team about refreshment stops and where to eat was very helpful. We have full confidence in the arrangements made by Encounter Holidays and would recommend them to anyone planning a walking holiday in the Southwest
It has been a few weeks since we returned from our walking holidays in Cornwall and we enjoyed it sooooo much! From the first contact with Encounterwalking we were quite confident that this would be the best choice of agency if you choose not to organise the lot yourself. The advice on which section to walk and which direction was adequate since we have seen quite some of your beautifull country but had a hard time choosing which part of Cornwall to walk... Walking the reverse route was a good option, in general we did not walk facing the sun which is quite pleasant and the wind was in our back on most of the days. Another plus: the tide was usually low when we had to cross the beach area and we could avoid the dunes which would have made it tougher for sure. One disadvantage though, if we must find one, is that we had to use a separate reverse guide book next to the standard guide book of the coast path. Both give adequate information, added with the Itinerary of Encounterwalking we could not miss on any info. We made copies of the concerned pages to avoid taking all books with us every day in the backpack which was a handy solution. The description of Encounter was very complete, in any way, each morning you simply read what's up for the day and you can decide on having to fill up with sandwiches in your backpack or wait for a nice stop on the way. Accomodations were enjoyable, some spacious some quite tight and could not have catered for 'bigger' persons. Some spotlesslly clean others rather dusty and we must say that the appearance of Certificates of Excellence tended to get quite annoying sometimes. One of the B&B's had all Certificates framed on the wall but served quite a standard breakfast with prepacked jams, no fresh fruit, quite basic. No problems but no reason to be proud of certificates. Whereas another B&B may have been more basic but served a very jummie and extensive breakfast as we had never seen before, without any Certificates at all. Do not always rely on the number / appearance of Certificates! The first day walking to Hayle was quite a short one and may have been a few miles longer. The less interesting part too but Damon already promised it would only get better each day and indeed it did! Apart from this first stretch, the distance was just fine for us and made it possible to enjoy the beach, enjoy scones, enjoy a cliff top lunch in the grass and not only spend the day walking. One 'refreshment suggestion' you should not miss and can be added to the list of Encounter is ' Rest A While Tea Garden' in Hawkers Cove near Stepper Point. About 2 miles away from Padstow, this was a very welcoming stop after quite some miles without other opportunities and tough hiking. Very tasty scones! Many many thanks for the organisation of our trip, even tough the Coast Path is open to all, this felt like a personalised version!
We're back home again, but recently walked from Padstow to St Ives. All in all we're quite happy with our holiday – luggage transfers worked perfectly and all B & B:s were really good, with the possible exception of the one in Hayle.
Hayle, however, is not a great place to stay the night; too grey and industrial, and too far away from the sea. This was the only disappointment as far as locations go – all the other places were charming. It was also a bit depressing having to walk so far inland into Hayle and then out again. How come nobody thought of building a footbridge for walkers to cross the river closer to the sea? This, of course, is not your fault.
Occasionlly it was also tricky to know where the path went and how to proceed out of the town/village, for example it was unclear how and where to cross the Gannel coming from Newquay. A few more signposts wouldn't hurt.
The views were sometimes lovely, sometimes stunning, and I will certainly recommend Encounter Walking to any friends who might be up for this kind of holiday, and who knows, we may be back for more another year...
Fabulous walk! Superb scenery, excellent accommodation, superb weather. Best section so far. Maps, guidebooks and luggage transfers worked perfectly, as usual.
All accommodation of great standard, I am loathe to name the dest or worst. Particular liked Carden Cottage, in the beautiful village of Crantock. Was made to feel really at home by Bernie and Pat, who provided an excellent room, superb breakfast and interesting conversation. Finished at St Ives in glorious sunshine, in fact the weather was warm and sunny throughout.
I only have one section to go now - Sidmouth to Poole, which I hope to do later this year - with Encounter, of course!
Overall, this walk exceeded every expectation we had, and compared to our other hiking experiences, it is tops! Damon at Encounter Walking did a great job of dealing with all the little details that we fussed about in advance, and once on the trail, everything went like the proverbial clockwork. The weather started "iffy" - windy and a spot of rain, one bout of hail (there was a convenient cave nearby) but after a couple of days, sunshine broke out. The scenery was beautiful, and awesome in places. We found it took a little longer than the recommended times for each stage, but then we wanted to take it all in and capture the scenes photographically.
Animal life was abundant, and although puffins were not to be seen, the grey seals were and we have a few moments of them frolicking on video - a real highlight. Why, we even saw a snake on the Tippy Tappy. The spectacular views from the cliffs and the beach walk before Gwithian are our most vivid memories. As we are a bit older than most hikers, we found that hiking poles were essential, especially on the ravines. Also, good rain-gear is essential, but put it on at the first sign of change. Signage was generally good. Accommodation and food were excellent with one exception reported separately. Encounter Walking made this a perfect experience and we highly recommend them.
A very good walk with spectacular scenery and a lot of variety. Accommodations were good to great for the most part; we had especially good treatment at Padstowe, St Georges Hotel (Zennor) and in Mawnan Smith. Directions into and out of Lizard were a bit confusing and the paths especially muddy. We hiked from Perranporth to St Ives and had a rest day in St Ives which was brilliant. Good suggestions and excellent recommendations by the Encounter team Overall - the hike was much tougher than we expected but a combination of good Cornish beer and cream teas helped us through
Myself and a pal completed our Cornish coastal path walk a couple of days back, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Plenty of positives, stunning scenery, clean and friendly accommodation, problem free luggage transfers, and (luckily) fantastic weather throughout. Variations on accommodation types were very wide ranging, but the quality was first class. Specific recommendations are the food at St George's Hotel, Padstow and at The Red River Inn at Gwithian. Also, walking along the beach at Perran was a welcome relief for tired feet. I will certainly book another walk next year, and have recommended Encounterwalking to friends.
Thanks encounter for a well planned well organised walking holiday.along the way we stayed in a fisherman s cottage b&b a seaside hotel a traditional pub a country hotel and a Cornish farmhouse all different all good The route walked was was easy to follow past stunning beaches ancient mining sites little fishing villages and the daily distance just enough to provide a daily challenge We also enjoyed the Camel Cycle trail from Padstow to Bodmin the day before our walk started just to loosen up the legs.The taxi to and from the airport was punctual friendly and informative and baggage transfers worked well Thank you all for a great holiday
Great walk helped by perfect weather (it only rained at night - twice) All B&B's were approx. 3 star - rooms in most were on the smallish side (that's the UK though) but this was more than offset by the lovely people who run them. Worst accom. was Portreath Arms Hotel (ONE STAR) - they were not ready for us at 4.30pm. Quaint 300 year old pub but the beds were 250 years old - lumpy and horrible - no hot water for the basin & a very old "warm' water system in shower. They also allow drinkers to sing, yell, bark etc. at top of voices for over an hour after closing, outside, under your window. I would strongly suggest to Encounter that they find somewhere else in that town. Encounter Walking Note - We have 3 good B&B options in Portreath which were full when Turk booked and we use these in the first instance as options for walkers - ask for a quote to see them - meanwhile we will be contacting The Portreath Arms to discuss these issues in the light of Turks comments -
Best guide is the book Cornwell Coast Path, but the occasional reference to the Ordinance maps for reassurance is helpful but really unnecessary if you stay on the path. I rarely recommend organisations, however, Encounter should be congratulated for their most professional organisation of our walk. The daily walk information was spot-on and although we didn't need the telephone information provided, it removed any concerns. Their walk times were also pretty consistent and could be relied upon. It was so refreshing at the end of a days treck to find your gear awaiting you, showers ready, a welcoming smile, clean facilities and a good bed (other than the pub).
One final comment - if you are asked to stay at Nanterrow Farm in Gwithian; do so. Linda & husband are lovely people, the rooms and bed are huge, the breakfast room is a beautifull setting and the food excellent. Linda had even pre-booked us in at the Red River Inn to ensure we got dinner as it is the only eating place close by, and took us down and back. BUT it is a mile and a big long slow hill to get to the farm from the road, so be prepared for that at the end of the day. There are encouraging signs like "keep going- its worth it" and "almost there" to encourage you. And YES it is worth it. All in all, we had a fantastic time - a walk we will remember fondly for years to come.
Everything was perfect! All accommodations were welcoming and good. The route to each accommodation was well explained. All luggage transfers went according to plan. The advice for refreshment stops and evening meals worked well and we had a thoroughly good time!. Encounter even arranged good weather!!! Only one problem.........which route to walk next!!!!!!
Tolle Tour, super organisiert und das bei bestem Wetter! Im Sommer gibt es parallel zur Küste einen Bus, den wir Nachmittags manchmal genommen haben, um uns vor der Hitze an den Strand zu retten (12 Meilen waren bei 30°C viel). Es hat auch unseren Teenies gefallen.
4th year running on the Coastal Walk with Encounter Walking. Organisation by Damon as good as ever with no hitches at all. Best accommodation for us was St. Georges Country Hotel, Perranporth, and Seaforth B & B, St. Ives. Weather couldn't have been better with sunshine all the way. Got slightly lost in the sand dunes approaching Hayle! Loved Chapelporth eating hedgehogs (icecreams with hazlenut topping) and really enjoyed Wheal Coates. We now look forward to next year!!
This is a magnificent section of the SW coast path. The instructions provided by Encounter walking were reliable and the bag pick up and delivery service efficient as usual. Even the weather was kind to us too. All in all a brilliant week.
I had a fantastic 6 day walking time on my own and fell definitely in love with Cornwall and the South West Coast Path: Spectacular views due to the path route, beautiful and varied scenery, free feeling because of wind, ocean and sun. I have received a real freshness and energy kick and have met very nice people on the path! Re. organisation: +++ Perfect!!! Encounter Walking did prepare very carefully and helpfully, provided all needed information. B&Bs/Hotels have been selected thoughtful and were charming. Luggage transfer has worked fine. Thanks for a great time, Anett
Other than a bitterly cold east wind, our 5 day walk to St Ives was perfect! The accommodation was varied but each night had its own unique charm be it the hosts, the food or the locals. The transfers and organisation worked like clockwork and Damon's information on the length, time and terrain of each day's walking was pretty accurate. This 70 mile stretch of the coast is relatively easy and there are beautiful stretches of beach to walk across if the tide is out. The only section which proved to be taxing was the interminable hike through Newquay and then, because the tide was in the wrong place and bridge number 2 is broken, round the Gannel. We were staying with the excellent Bernard and Pat at Carden Cottage in Crantock. On arrival, Bernard said "you should have called, I'd have picked you up!" As purists, this would have been tantamount to cheating but if your legs have run out of steam or you're just plain bored by the hike up the A392, and you don't mind cheating then I would recommend skipping this bit!
Best days walk was Saturday, brilliantly clear weather and great views.
Good NT cafe at Bedruthen steps
The accommodation Varied! but always interesting. All were fantastically hospitable.
The hotel you use as a guide to Seaforth in St Ives has changed its name - but I can't remember what it is now!
Just back from our walk. We had a splendid time. Your arrangements worked beautifully. We will be in touch when we do the next bit.
From St Ives to Pendeen - very tough, very wet, muddy & slippery. You had warned me, but weather made it more difficult I think. No fault of yours - my decision to push for the 3 days & glad I did (& would probably do it again), but it was tough.
Also the part over the estuary/causeway at Hale took me a little by surprise (it probably shouldn't have). A little more on navigating that perhaps in your own 'activity' notes would have helped (in the same way as you warn about the Gannon Estuary). It is the perception of how far inland you have to go that was a bit confusing. Walked slightly faster than your times and also I didn't stop for lunch - so overall cut about an hour each day off your estimated times. But I think for average walker - your times would have been spot on.
Minack Theatre - visitors centre definitely worth a look in......St Ives - as lovely as expected.....Crantock - was the most delightful little village.......Pendeen Geevor mine - I didn't visit it as I didn't have time, but I think it would be worth it, so I will try to go back - as such an interesting area...........Penzance - would recommend taking the 300 Cornwall Explorer bus trip to get a more 'inland' feel of the county and an appreciation of distance walked and the self-guided walking tour around the city is good and well worth doing.
It was a wonderful healthy holiday. One of the best I have ever had. Getting my baggage transferred and all the B&Bs pre-booked meant all I had to worry about was navigating to my dinner and bed each night. The perfect challenge.
With the exception of one day of rain, where I was drenched - I was most fortunate with the weather.
I will certainly do this type of holiday again.
Thank-you and well done. I am telling all my friends!
We had a superb trip, thank you, with no more than 10 minutes of rain all week. Thank you for your recommendation of the Walker’s Annexe in Clovelly- a quirky place in this quaint village! We were surprised that the meals in the Inn were such good value considering the setting!..... We had no problems with the route- we used OS maps , but the SWCP was always well marked. I particularly liked the walk from Harlyn Bay to Mawgan Porth- spectacular quiet coves and Bedruthan Steps. Graham says he enjoyed Mawgan Porth to Watergate best. We all loved Crantock and its dunes..... Port Gaverne was fairly friendly, nice rooms, good breakfast. The Golden Lion in Padstow was also good- a lively place where the clientele obviously enjoy a good sing-song(!) Nice rooms and friendly place. The Merrymoor Inn was our favourite. It was very welcoming with staff who were extremely helpful and good fun. The bar/restaurant was lively in the evening with very good meals served. Our room had a big window with a wonderful sea view. Crantock is a lovely setting and very comfortable. The owners were friendly. Hotel in Perranporth was also very comfortable and the owners and staff very welcoming-liked the chickens peering in the windows and the individual furnishings. We did have a very good meal at the Farmer’s Arms in St Merryn...... Everything about the trip was superbly organised. We appreciate the flexibility when one of our party had a walking problem. We would have no hesitation in recommending your company to anyone else, and who knows, we may be back to do another section.
We only got lost once for a short while, which increased our long day,which incidentally was the only really rainy day.
Best days walk and why..All good except 2nd day..too long and the accommodation was a bit out of the way. Jenny loved the cliff top route but personally I preferred the lanes,pasture,picking blackberries,gazing at birds etcc etcThe cliff edges scared the ....out of me and I spent my time watching my footing rather than the beautiful English countryside.The long beach walks were fantastic and the low tides were in our favour the whole time....
Times were about as you estimated and most days were pretty easy and finished mid afternoon.....Highlights were many but had fabulous meal in Rick Stein's Padstow Bistro and compared to aussie prices very reasonable,Fowey hotel was great as was the town, loved the Driftwood Spars hotel and the meal there was superb,(St Agnes,).Nanterrow Farm was great.The farming couple were lovely,welcoming,drove us down to the pub and then came down later and picked us up.Great!! Padstow Strand house was really good....your info was very useful and spot on..our accomm in St Ives chy karenza was really good.recommend "hedgehogs"at Chapel Porth,on the beach.Crantock accomm also very good.
All really good.thank you very much for your organising.john and jenny
Thank you for organising things so well- everything went really smoothly-the rooms were booked, the luggage was there...we felt really spoilt. Mike Perry was extremely helpful and friendly, Ben from Luggage transfer is a very nice guy-we met him twice and are really sorry we thought of tipping him too late. Our brains were in standbye mode!..... Driftwood Spars is a gem, what a lovely place! Seavista is an outstanding place as well as Cliff House was also very nice but the winner is of course Tim’s Cornerways in St. Ives. Tim is an angel-as somebody had cancelled on his apartment last minute, he let Chris and me have it so we 4 would have more room and opportunity to sit together-how nice is that? Not to mention his yummy tomatoes..!! Damon thanks again for everything to you and your team, you have all done a brilliant job and we will no doubt contact you again in case we plan another holiday in Cornwall-which is very likely;-)))
My preference is towards the rough starches ie St Ives to Porthcurno and Porthleven to Lizard Point. The latter was spectacular bc of the views and the very windy weather that day. And it was lovely with the heather and goarse in bloom. And to see choughs, seals, basking sharks etc. Worst day was Zennor to St Just and Porthcurno to Penzance were too long. I could have benefited from a resting day halfway ie Penzance instead of at the end of the walk........ Stick to the National Trail Guides wherever possible. I love them. Next year let me have shorter stretched. 10 miles is enough when your past 50.
Eden is great and we were lucky saving lots of pounds as walking tourists thanks to your remark. Arriving in Par at night by train and walking to the Royal Inn was just perfect!.....Saints Way: Your taxi driver was great! And Graham drove us up to Penventinue Farm where we started the walk. This was definately the best starting point. Golant and its church were highlights during the first day of the walk, especially the church is splendid from the inside.Finally we arrived in Lostwithiel and enjoyed the Crown Inn from the very beginning. This is a stunning place you will never forget - excellent accomodation, very good food, nice garden.
The second day on the Saints Way we appreciated again your special map showing the detour. In fact we "skipped" the Saints Way and we walked the detour because the weather was simply "too nice" for tough walking. Graham brought us to Milltown. We enjoyed the viaduct, put our feet in the water of the River Fowey and continued to Restormel Castle - great place!.....In the afternoon we walked to Helman Tor - definately another superb highlight of the walk.....Padstow: Great decision to stay there!
The South West Coast Path: When it comes to nature, colours and highlights: Nothing tops the Coast Path! Fields of blossoming heather, a blue sky, the rocks, the blue water - fantastic. The Wheal Coates are another stunning highlight for walkers and photographers. Chapel Porth is stunning again; we couldn't resist meeting the waves and taking a bath.Another stunning day along the Coast Path: Sunny weather and a blue sky - superb! We looked at Hells Mouth, saw Godrevy Island Lighthouse, common seals and we arrived very tired in Gwithian respectively at the Nanterrow Farm. No doubt: Linda and Glynn have been the nicest hosts on our walk!! We took our dinner at the Red River Inn and I ate the best Hamburger ever though I am 99.5 % vegetarian. Linda and Glynn were so nice; they took us back to Nanterrow Farm by car that very night.
The Cornerways Guest House was another great location and Tim is another wonderful host. We loved the rooms and the superb breakfast. St. Ives itself is great. We would not recommend the Tate Gallery; but we spend unforgettable minutes at Barbara Hepworth's Museum of Sculpture. St. Ives is a charming place and it is so easy to get there by train. All together we are still impressed how well and with how much enthusiasm everything was prepared by you and your colleagues. We will never forget that and we will recommend you whenever the occasion comes up. I want to mention especially the taxi drivers, the luggage transfer, the hospitality of Tim, Linda and Glynn, the guides and maps (a MUST to have them with you!),THANK YOU AGAIN FOR EVERYTHING!
The route through the dunes just before Hayle was badly marked and I got lost. My daughter walking along the beach, had no problems though...... Having had perfect, hot weather we enjoyed the scenery and vegetation immensely! Concerning landscape etc the best walk was the one from St. Ives...... The worst day was St. Ives to Zennor was a bit much for me (having had a new hip joint replaces in October) and I feared for its survival during the boulder climbing and finding footing in between Which caused me to skip the following day and use luggage transfer as a means of reaching St. Just.
At least we want to let you know that we really enjoyed our holidays and are very enthusiastic about continuing our walk along the coastpath! It was one of the best holidays we ever had-activity and relaxation- besides a beautiful scenery, nice and clean accommodations, friendly people and a wonderful assistance by your company (maybe we can convince our families to join in though our husbands prefer to cycle). At Porthcothan we had difficulties to find the B&B. The path is on the left side of the bay in direction of B2376. You arrive on the left side of the bridge and you can’t see the shop and therefore it is hard to find the B&B. St. Georges Country Hotel was our favourite: a charming accommodation! Sue and Sharon were considerate landlords (they even washed and dryed our clothes when we arrives totally soaked by the heavy rain!) Dinner was excellent...... We couldn’t have booked with a better organisation!
The walk and hotels were great. I last stayed at Watergate in Oct 98 when it was stuck in the fifties- it is now a really funky place with great staff, breakfasts and an amazing pool. The Ship was also really friendly and we did have a really nice dinner for 11 people with great food and good choices........Best walk was Padstow to Trevone- the views are to die for and lots of sun, clear blue skies......Trevone Cafe good for a light lunch Scarletts great for an up market lunch (red onion tarte tartin brilliant). Fifteen a great place for dinner for 17 and Watergate Bay Hotel world class as above. Accommodation was right for what we were doing. No problems with the organisation. Taxi guys really good as changed timing twice with no problems and they smiled nicely. Thank you - you will see from above we had a great time and now looking forward to our next walk...... Thank you so much for getting it together so well- I think you’re doing what it says on the tin.
Generally no problems, sometimes the direction posts were confusing but keeping to the coast usually solved that problem...... I was happy with all the days except the mist and the mud!..... The festival in Penzance was no problem, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed the music on offer in spite of the freezing wind and rain......Met a lady form Melbourne who you had supplied with GPS route info. I would have been interested in that for my Garmin GPS......Excellent and professional organisation Damon, very pleased with your company...... A great holiday I met so many wonderful people. The 4 days I spent walking with Viv and Kenwynne was so much fun they were great company and we had a laugh a minute along the way.
We enjoyed the walking holiday very much. It was all that we hoped for and more. The accommodation, hospitality and arrangements/instruction were excellent. Our main concern before we started, both of us being of a certain age, was whether we could cope with 8-10 mls/day for 8 days. But it was all OK and no problem. We had a tough route from Harlyn to Mawgan Porth in 50 m.p.h winds but it did give us the opportunity to see the coast in mountainous seas you would normally see in the winter. We slept well that night. So thank you for making all the arrangements and we look forward to a return trip on another part of the coastline.
Thank you and Prue for all the help and advice I received from you...and your patience. I will happily recommend your company to anyone wishing to undertake a walking holiday; and I sincerely hope to use you again next year..... The best day was day 7 Porthreath to Gwithian, the terrain was varied and the distant sight of the lighthouse at Godrevy Point provided an excellent incentive to carry on..... I walked definitely slower and for several reasons. Obviously the weather hindered me and sapped my energies a wee bit, but as I’ve said it was an unusually unseasonally wet and windy Spring. Also when I took a drink/snack enroute I did tend to sit and take in the wonderful views, what a spectacular scenic coastline... and therefore I also stopped and took loads of photographs. Lovely momentos but time comsuming to acquire. Rather than stopping at Trevone Bay, I found it well worth pressing on further to the van parked overlooking Harlyn Bay (although there are no facilities here) I was given a warm welcome, my chair was wiped dry for me and I ate a very good, substantial portion of freshly cooked potato wedgies followed by a lovely hot chocolate whilst enjoying conversation with the people there. I enjoyed the best cup of homemade French onion soup at the little cafe at Chapel Porth, seating is only outside..... and the cafe at Hells Mouth provided a pleasant stop in nice surroundings.
The trail was generally very well signposted. We got slightly lost leaving Newquay but other than that had no problems. ..We enjoyed all the days as the scenery was ever changing...... We were walking slightly faster but the estimated times were a very good guide....... Except for Padstow and St. Ives we ate at the accommodation rather than brave the rain again! I can honestly say we enjoyed our meal every time. The food at the Fairbank was very good and we made a large hole in their stock of port!...... All of the accommodation we used was very nice and we received a very friendly reception at each stop. We particularly liked the Penventon and The Driftwood Spars...... Driftwood Spars offered a laundry service. They washed and dried all our muddy gear and had it back to us within a couple of hours which was a great help...... We had plenty of information...... We were very impressed with the organisation of this holiday. Everything went without a hitch. Our cases were in our room each time we arrived at a new accommodation. Although we did not need them it was good to have the taxi numbers should we need to bale out any day...... I have already been singing your praises among friends. The help with planning the itinerary pre holiday and the organisation from start to finish was excellent. The scenery was stunning and we had a great time despite the weather best effort to blow us off a cliff! I would not hesitate to use you again or recommend you. In fact I have already done so!
We had a marvellous time in Cornwall, and really enjoyed our outings and accommodation. The Chapel Porth to Perranporth section was splendid. Excellent views and good historic interest. Driftwood Spars at Trevaunance Cove was a find, with 9 different cask ales, some of them brewed just across the street. We found Portreath to Chapel Porth section to be very good, although not quite up to the first day’s hike. Cliff falls had caused the path to be closed, soon after we left Portreath, and diverted onto the road for a short while, but we were able to visit Pepperpot. Overall though, much of the trail was close to the cliff edge, and that did give rise to tremendous views. Sue and Sharon were amazing! Warm, welcoming and sympathetic, they provided a delightful ambience and excellent food. And they went the extra mile (literally!) to make sure we were fully appreciated the magnificence of their part of the world. I think they are first hoteliers with which we have exchanged hugs on leaving.
No problems at all following the route...... Newquay to Perranporth was the best day for the variety of walking from the woodland estuary walking cross the gannel, sand dunes at Holywell Bay, the never ending beach walk along Perranporth beach (you can never find a camel when you want one) and the cliff walking in between......Overall the accommodation was comfortable and to a high standard...... no problems at all everything went smoothly.
At first, we may want to thank the EncounterWalking team for an excellent organisation and the really fast reply to a small problem we had during our walk. They choose a nice mix from great hotels and simply b&b`s, so every day it was exciting where to stay next. We had a really nice walk with some stunning views. For us, swiss mountain hikers, the daily routes were really easy to do, we were always too early at our destination and sometimes had to wait to get to the room. Next time we make more breaks. We got a little lost one day in the dunes, but that was our fault. The last day from Hayle to St Ives is not recommendable, the way is too long on the side of busy streets. But overall, nothing to complain. We even had some of the best weather, 2 days of sunshine and never rain. We can recommend Encounter Walking for everyone interested in walking the cornish countryside. We will definitely work with them again in the future. A big thank you. Rene & Beatrice
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