Somerset’s coast overlooks the Bristol Channel which until Tudor Times had the more romantic name of the Severn Sea. It certainly inspired the Romantic Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who regularly walked alongside it from his rented cottage in Nether Stowey and is said to have composed ‘The Ancient Mariner’ after a visit to Watchet Harbour.
This four day trail takes in the diverse landscape of Somerset’s coast. Beginning at Brean Down it passes the sandy beaches of Berrow and Burnham-on-Sea, the Victorian docks of Bridgwater and the marshes of Steart Point. Once past Hinkley, the beach and cliff formations from Lilstock to Blue Anchor are classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) offering an outstanding series of sections through our geological history. Taking in the seafaring town of Watchet on the way, the route shadows the West Somerset Steam Railway through Blue Anchor and Dunster to end in Minehead, the gateway to Exmoor, but you can top it off, literally, with a trek to the end of North Hill for an astonishing panoramic view of the next section of the England Coast Path.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
58 miles / 93 km
History / Nature / Geology
Coast / Villages and towns / Rolling countryside / Rivers
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This trail takes in Somerset’s diverse coastline. Beginning at Brean Down it passes the sandy beaches of Berrow and Burnham-on-Sea, the Victorian docks of Bridgwater and the marshes of Steart Point. Once past Hinkley, the diverse beach and cliff formations from Lilstock to Blue Anchor are classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) offering an outstanding series of sections through our geological past. Taking in the seafaring town of Watchet on the way the route shadows the West Somerset Steam Railway through Blue Anchor and Dunster to end in Minehead.
The route is mainly flat with the most strenuous section being the steps at Brean Down, though these can be avoided using the alternative path. A great get-in-shape itinerary to do before tackling some of the more strenuous sections of the England Coast Path.
You can download a list of the accommodation featured on this site here, select the Brean to Minehead section on the left.
The main towns of Burnham-on-Sea, Bridgwater, Watchet and Minehead all offer a broad range of accommodation, you might also look at Weston-super-Mare for the start (or end) of your journey. On the more remote sections of the path it’s often necessary to head inland to the nearest villages. The following websites provide good accommodation listings for the main towns and surrounding areas:
There are buses, coaches and trains to and from the main towns on the trail, the following options enable you to see the services to and from Brean and Minehead. Accessing Brean Down can be from Burnham-on-Sea or from Weston-super-Mare with the most appropriate choice based on your starting point and walking itinerary.
Both Bristol and Bridgwater are access points for Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-super-Mare to join the England Coast Path.
The closest airport to the route is Bristol. For information about flights in and out of Bristol look at Bristol airport destinations.
Please note that many of the normal transport options have been suspended due to COVID19 restrictions, so double check your travel plans with the journey providers.
The Brean to Minehead coastline features stunning cliffs and long beautiful stretches of sandy shore. But please be aware that these features also present risks. The rock formations and geological timelines visible in the cliff face include faults that can lead to landslips or rock falls at any time. Likewise the long expanses of sand can include mud or sinking sand that can trap the unwary. Wide shallow shores also mean that tides can come in very fast.
When walking please use common sense and use the following guidance:
If looking for fossils, follow the Fossil Collecting Code of Conduct and be aware that the entire coast between Lilstock and Blue Anchor has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is subject to stricter regulation.
There are many restaurants, cafes and pubs along the trail offering local produce and home cooked food. The main towns of Burnham-on-Sea, Bridgwater, Watchet and Minehead all have supermarkets and most of the villages you pass along the route will have a village or community shop. Look out for local produce fairs and farmers’ markets too, where you get the chance to sample fresh, local food.
Somerset is famous for its cheese and cider so why not search out some local delicacies on the trail. For inspiration have a look at:
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
View information on the map by ticking the boxes in the Map Filter. Drag the map and use the zoom tool to navigate.
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