South West Coast Path
Walk hundreds of miles of superb coastline through Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset on England’s longest National Trail
Find useful facts and learn more about the South West Coast Path below. Select the blue tabs below for more details.
The longest of England’s National Trails, the multi award-winning South West Coast Path offers 630 miles (1,014 km) of stunning coastal walking around the entire South West peninsula.
Starting at Minehead in Somerset it runs along the coastline of Exmoor, continuing along the coast of North Devon into Cornwall. It follows the entire coastline of Cornwall, goes across the mouth of the River Tamar and continues into Devon. After running along the south coast of Devon it then follows the Dorset coastline before finally ending at Poole Harbour.
With dramatic coastal scenery and breath-taking views of surrounding countryside and moorland, the Path offers something for everyone – whether you’re an experienced trekker looking for a huge challenge, a relaxed rambler wanting scenic strolls, a young backpacker embarking on an adventure or a family keen to explore the great outdoors.
Designated a National Trail in 1978, the South West Coast Path is a world-class destination and the South West Coast Path Association, a registered charity, helps care for the Path and support the interests of its users.
The South West Coast Path offers the ultimate challenge for the long-distance walker and the route has over 115,000 feet of ascent and descent – the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest four times! But you don’t have to walk it all at once and the various segments are enjoyed by millions of visitors each year.
The Path is usually walked in an anti-clockwise direction, from Minehead to Poole, but it is well signed in both directions.
Depending on when you visit, each season will bring something different: in spring you’ll seem lambs in the fields; in late summer, the north coast blooms with heather and gorse; autumn is a prime time to see migrating birds; and in winter, there’s nothing like watching stormy waves pound the cliffs.
The South West Coast Path is currently England’s longest waymarked footpath. The heritage, wildlife, geology and scenery along the way are truly inspirational and each step brings new experiences. More than 70% of the Path is in either a National Park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you’ll also pass through two World Heritage Sites, a UNESCO Biosphere and a UNESCO Geopark.
Highlights include the dramatic scenery of Poldark country in Cornwall (where the hit BBC TV show was filmed), the Jurassic Coast in Dorset (with its 185 million years of history) and England’s highest sea cliff, Great Hangman, in Devon.
Lonely Planet listed the South West Coast Path as one of the World’s Greatest Walks in 2009 and it was also the only UK walk to feature in their 2012 Book of Great Adventures. The Path has been voted Britain’s Best Walk twice by the readers of Walk magazine. It was listed by CNN Travel Guide as one of the world’s most awe-inspiring long-distance walks and in June 2017, it topped a National Express survey of favourite walking routes. More recently, the South West Coast Path has been included in National Geographic’s 100 Hikes of a Lifetime.
Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the South West Coast Path.
Visit our News Page for the latest interesting and exciting news on the South West Coast Path National Trail
Take a look at the Coast Path Friendly Events to find details of the enjoyable activities taking place along the South West Coast Path
Discover hidden coves linked to infamous smugglers, search for natural wonders and visit amazing attractions on or near the South West Coast Path...
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