Kit P

An epic exploration of England's south coast — E9 Plymouth to Dover

Jonrams

An epic exploration of England's south coast — E9 Plymouth to Dover

Hiking Collection by Kit P

29-66

days

3-6 h

/ day

455 mi

33,600 ft

33,600 ft

If you’re after a truly long-distance hiking adventure, one of the best places to look are the E-paths, or the European Long-Distance Paths. These are a series of hiking trails that link existing long-distance routes together to form extraordinary, multinational paths. This route is a section of the E9 which, in full, takes you from Portugal’s south-west coast all the way to Estonia via the English south coast.

Stretching from Plymouth to Dover, this fantastic adventure takes you along some of the country’s most extraordinary coastline. From the secluded coves of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the prehistoric fossils of the Jurassic Coast to the shipping haven of the Solent and the extraordinary beauty of the South Downs, every section is spectacular.

The Devon and Dorset sections are hilly with plenty of steep climbs, sometimes multiple ascents in a stage. The Hampshire stretch is mostly flat, allowing you a chance to amble along sampling ice cream and admiring the busy shipping channels. In West Sussex, the hillier South Downs challenge your legs a little more and you find yourself treading ridgelines that have been walked since Iron Age times. In East Sussex, you enjoy some delightfully flat terrain and the final stretch through Kent is kind enough to have a bit of everything.

This route is no small undertaking but you’re also fairly well supported, as the English south coast is well populated in many areas. As a result, you’re never too far away from a good-sized town, a bus stop, a train station or a pub. There’s a wide selection of accommodation in many areas but always plan and book ahead, as you may need to alter some of your end points to match up with where you want to stay.

Southern England has warm summers and mild, often wet winters. You can absolutely hike this route throughout the year but the prevailing south-westerlies along the coast mean you’re often very exposed. As a result, I suggest you hike between late spring and early autumn, when the weather is warmest, the days are longest and the wind doesn’t bite. No matter when you hike, take sunscreen, waterproofs, sturdy footwear and plenty of water.

It’s easy to break this section of the E9 up into separate hiking trips as there are numerous train stations en route. You could opt to do a county at a time or simply work out how many days you have free and choose the section that interests you the most. Of course, you can do the entire thing in one long push and reverse the route.

Both Plymouth and Dover are well served by rail and road, so getting to and from each is no problem. Both are on mainline railways from London with Dover accessed via St. Pancras and Plymouth via Waterloo or Paddington. Of course, you could always catch the ferry from Dover and continue the E9 to Estonia.

On The Map

loading
loading

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    04:55
    11.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    725 ft
    700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first section of the E9 in England follows the craggy shoreline of Plymouth. This is one of the best ways to understand the maritime city, walking past historic forts, …

  • Difficult
    05:16
    12.1 mi
    2.3 mph
    875 ft
    925 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This stage shows you what you’ve got to come; quiet coastal trails, extraordinary coves with crashing waves and dramatic cliffs. Discover Wembury, a surfer’s secret paradise and the beautiful Newton …

  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • Intermediate
    03:49
    8.55 mi
    2.2 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The first half of this stage is delightfully peaceful and you find yourself walking the undulating clifftop with nothing but sea on one side and fields on the other. A …

  • Intermediate
    04:23
    9.68 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,025 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Hike past Thurlestone’s lovely, sandy beach and along the clifftop to Hope Cove. It’s a little early in the hike to stop for a break but you’ll struggle to walk …

  • Difficult
    05:24
    12.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Continuing along the stunning South West Coast Path, this hike takes you to two points, both of which reach out into the sea and offer fantastic views. Start in Salcombe …

  • Difficult
    05:18
    11.7 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage includes some hefty hills as you start at and return to sea level several times. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic hike and truly gives you the sense of achievement …

  • Difficult
    05:18
    11.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,400 ft
    1,375 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This stage whisks you away from the busy naval town of Dartmouth, around the coast to the pretty fishing town of Brixham. You catch the ferry across the Dart to …

  • Intermediate
    04:08
    9.70 mi
    2.3 mph
    475 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Unlike the previous stages, this is a largely urban hike, traversing the seafronts of Torbay. As a result, you are particularly well catered for when it comes to lunch and …

  • Intermediate
    03:33
    7.69 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,050 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage largely loops around Torquay and its suburbs, taking in its many coves. As the crow flies, you don’t finish all that far from where you begin and so …

  • Intermediate
    04:24
    9.89 mi
    2.3 mph
    800 ft
    1,025 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This hike takes you north along a fairly straight but undulating section of coastline from Watcombe in Torbay to Dawlish Warren at the mouth of the Exe Estuary. Just under …

  • Intermediate
    04:07
    9.78 mi
    2.4 mph
    400 ft
    400 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This stage whisks you across the River Exe to Exmouth, with its vast beach, and onto the relaxed seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. It requires a ferry crossing from Starcross …

  • Intermediate
    03:22
    7.48 mi
    2.2 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This hike is shorter than most on the E9 to make the most of having settlements to stay in, as the following stretch is quite isolated. It’s also fairly flat …

  • Intermediate
    04:44
    9.93 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,475 ft
    1,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This is an exceptionally hilly section with some steep, grassy climbs as you wend your way along the coast from Sidmouth to Seaton. Narrow, steep valleys break up the large …

  • Intermediate
    04:47
    10.3 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    As you continue your exploration of Lyme Bay’s perimeter, you find yourself deep into the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast. The cliffs beneath your feet here are …

  • Intermediate
    04:45
    10.1 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,425 ft
    1,400 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    A classic clifftop walk across the top of Lyme Bay awaits you on this stage. The hike is not undulating so much as a grassy, sea-breezy rollercoaster with steep ups …

  • Difficult
    05:25
    12.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    450 ft
    475 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    As a reward for hiking up the incredible cliffs of the past few stages, this hike is almost entirely flat with one, small hill. You follow the shoreline at low …

  • Intermediate
    04:08
    9.90 mi
    2.4 mph
    325 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The stage takes you south to the beginning of the Isle of Portland and then north east around Weymouth’s bay. It’s a fairly urban walk, given that you are rarely …

  • Intermediate
    04:22
    9.51 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On this stage, you see two of the most famous natural features of England’s south coast, both of which happen to be neighbours: Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. There are …

  • Difficult
    05:18
    11.4 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,525 ft
    1,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The first half of this wonderful, rollercoaster walk falls within the Lulworth Ranges danger zone. These are military firing ranges and, when in operation, you cannot pass through them for …

  • Intermediate
    04:15
    9.63 mi
    2.3 mph
    725 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    As you walk along the Purbeck coastline, you’ll find yourself just above an incredible series of ledges. If it’s dry, you’ll likely spot plenty of climbers too, working their way …

Like this Collection?

Comments

    loading

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    43
  • Distance
    455 mi
  • Duration
    198:56 h
  • Elevation
    33,600 ft33,600 ft
Kit P

An epic exploration of England's south coast — E9 Plymouth to Dover