South West Coastal Path

“An epic discovery of the south west of England along its wild coastline”

(630 miles, 1 month minimum)

The South West Coast path dwarfs all long distance paths except the Land’s End to John O’Groats ‘End to End’ classic. The 630 miles winds its way from Poole Harbour, along the south coasts of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall to Land’s End before turning back north east all the way to Minehead in Somerset. The guide describes the walk as passing through the most outstanding coastal scenery in the world. It passes through 5 areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 17 Heritage Coasts and 2 World Heritage Sites.

SW Path. Typical walking

SW Path. Typical walking

However this disguises the reality of walking the path. Taken in bite size chunks. Pick the best stretches and enjoy the undulating nature of the coast with its ever changing views and constant surprises of town, village, industry and estuaries. However it is the sheer length of the walk that is difficult to get a gauge on. For a start you ever seem to progress and secondly, over such a period of time, you would expect significant changes in scenery and landscapes. I reality the lay of the land is similar throughout. Completing the entire walk in one day is not something I would ever fancy doing, breaking it up into the best sections is!

Prepare for many climbs and descents, prepare also to leave the coast for periods of time.

Spectacular coast of the SW Coastal Path

Spectacular coast of the SW Coastal Path

For those who do want to complete the entire walk there is a multitude of places to stay and explore. The links detailed below help. .

Suitable For:

Achieving the entire length of the South West Coastal Path in one chunk is an exceptional achievement. It requires a single minded dedication to the landscape, geology, history and fauna. Anyone could and should visit the area for walks of up to 2 weeks as the coastal scenery is outstanding.

Maps

Poole in Dorset marks the usual start of the walk, Minehead in Somerset the end.

South West Coastal Path map

Dorset. Highlights include Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, the towns of Lime Regis, Swanage and Weymouth (part of a World Heritage Site) and the flat sands of Studland Bay

The South Hams in Devon area offers some of the best beaches in the South West whilst the cliffs at Beer and Torbay are superb. Less happily for walkers  the cities of Plymouth and Torquay sit on the route.

Cornwall has the best beaches on the walk, Lizards Point is certainly a major highlight both for beaches and remoteness. Lands End is passed and the cliffs between St Just and St Ives are spectacular. The north Cornwall coast with its pretty fishing villages are my favourite part f the coast.

Passing back in to Devon and through Exmoor in Somerset the coast is wilder and windswept. The beaches near the Ilfracombe Peninsula are great for surfers and the pretty villages continue.

Just follow the sea!

Just follow the sea!

Useful Links

National Trail’s Route Planner The official route planner, from ½ days to the entire thing.

South West Coastal Path A good selection of day walks on the route including the authors 10 favourites

Personal Journey

Coming soon…

Day-by-day

Day 1.
Coming soon…