komoot
  • Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features
Discover

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

Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

E9: Plymouth to Dover

449 mi

33,525 ft

33,525 ft

Last updated: November 15, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

Learn More
komoot premium logo

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Plymouth to Heybrook Bay — E9 Plymouth to Dover

    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, watching the boats come and go and admiring the fantastic natural harbour that is Plymouth Sound. You finish at Heybrook Bay, a secluded

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 Ferrers from across the water.

    

    Every few steps brings you above another tiny cove, usually impossible

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 little over halfway, you reach the incredible Bigbury beach.

    

    Bigbury is well known for excellent windsurfing conditions as well as the

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 past this stunning bay without pausing. The water is astoundingly clear and excellent for swimming, particularly in the second of Hope’s two

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 and take the ferry across to the eastern shore. Pick up the coast path and walk along the ridge of Portlemouth Down.

    

    When you reach

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 that the South West Coast Path is renowned for.

    

    The first ascent is small and links Beesands to the magnificent Slapton Sands beach

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 Kingswear and hike above the historic castle, gaining fantastic views of Dartmouth and the incredible houses set into its cliffs.

    

    On this hike

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 coffee stops. Follow the coast path out of Brixham and you soon find yourself in beautiful Broadsands with its sandy beach.

    

    Continue

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 it’s a good opportunity to stay in the same accommodation and perhaps lighten your load for the day.

    

    After you round the headland of Hope’s Nose

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 halfway, you descend into Shaldon, an exceedingly pretty village opposite Teignmouth. Catch the ferry from here across to Teignmouth

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 to Exmouth, so check the times and season in advance as, if the ferry isn’t running, you either need to walk a considerable

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 for the first two thirds. After, you hike up a huge cliff followed by a lesser descent and another ascent. Finally, you drop down into Sidmouth

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 cliffs along here, so you often return to near sea level as you work your way along pretty paths through scrub.

    

    Branscombe Beach

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 embedded with fossils and you can see numerous examples without having to try very hard.

    

    The stage begins steeply, ascending

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 and downs, broken up by a few friendly seaside towns. It’s tough on the thighs but easy on the eyes, that’s for sure.

    

    Leave Charmouth and

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 level, listening to the waves lap the shingle and the seabirds crying above. Then, you reach the fascinating landscape of Chesil Beach.

    

    You cut

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 away from built-up areas, but with the sea on one side, there’s always a feeling of being out in the open.

    

    Follow the lagoon’s shoreline all

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 several large climbs on this hike but much of the route is reasonably gentle and, as always, exceptionally beautiful.

    

    Head east from

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 obvious reasons. The ranges are usually open to walkers on the weekends but check the firing schedule here to make

    by Kit P

    View
  • 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 up these fantastic natural features. With fields stretching right to the cliff edge and seagulls keening high above, this

    by Kit P

    View
  • More Tours & Highlights

Like this Collection?

Questions and Comments

    loading

Collection Stats

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

You Might Also Like

A historic hike alongside Romney Marsh — Royal Military Canal Path

Hiking Collection by Kit P

Bicycle touring on the Baltic Sea Cycle Path

Bike Touring Collection by Ostseeküsten-Radweg

Südschwarzwald-Radweg – 5 stages of pleasing nature

Bike Touring Collection by Südschwarzwald-Radweg