The South West Coast Path is Britain's longest, and one of its most-loved, national trails. Stretching 630 miles (1,014 kilometers) along the coast of Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset, the trail explores some of England’s most beautiful, historic, and wildlife-rich sections of coastline.
Along the trail you will wander through some internationally-important wildlife habitats and see the only place in the world that displays 185 million years of geological evolution, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
You will see evidence left behind from thousands of years of people living, working and battling along the coastline, whilst exploring some of the finest cliff-top trails, best beaches, cleanest seas and most picturesque fishing villages this country has to offer—plus much more.
In general, the South West Coast Path should not feel particularly crowded, even during high summer. Of course, the trail passes some of Britain's most-popular beaches and holiday destinations, and many sections of the trail are popular day walks. However, the trail is so long that many sections afford a real sense of solitude and many of the beaches, coves and villages you pass are also very serene as there is no easy access to them.
There is no set itinerary or direction for completing the trail. However, in this series of Collections we opt for the most popular itinerary: 52 days of hiking, split over eight weeks, starting from Minehead and finishing at South Haven Point.
At this pace, you have time to explore the many sights along the trail and take in the wonderful scenery. This itinerary also ends on the Jurassic Coast, arguably the climax of the South West Coast Path.
In this Collection, the first seven routes explore the rugged moorland of Exmoor National Park before passing the surfer beaches of Woolcombe and around the Taw and Torridge Estuary. The latter seven routes, from Westward Ho! to Padstow, are considered to be one of the most challenging but most spectacular sections of the trail, with dramatic cliff-top views, hidden coves, golden beaches, serene villages, and many wildlife hotspots.
If you are planning to arrive by public transport to complete these routes, you can catch a train to Taunton railway station, which is served by direct trains from London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Bristol. From Taunton, catch the 28 bus service, which runs every 30 minutes to Minehead.
To get home, you can catch the hourly 11A bus service from Padstow to Bodmin Parkway railway station, which has direct trains to London and has connections around the country.
If you are planning to arrive by car, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B a rate to stay for a night either side of your hike in Minehead and to park your car for the duration. From Padstow, you would need to catch the 11A to Bodmin Parkway railway station, then a train to Taunton, and then the 28 bus from Taunton back to Minehead.
For more information about the South West Coast Path, visit: southwestcoastpath.org.uk.
For the 28 bus service timetable, visit: bustimes.org/services/28-taunton-bishops-lydeard-williton-watchet-minehe.
For the 11A bus service timetable visit: bustimes.org/services/11a-bodmin-padstow.
For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.
In order to see the whole South West Coast Path, click the links below to see more Collections.
Part 2: komoot.com/collection/887634/conquer-britains-longest-trail-south-west-coast-path-part-2
Part 3: komoot.com/collection/887746/conquer-britains-longest-trail-south-west-coast-path-part-3
Part 4: komoot.com/collection/887875/conquer-britains-longest-trail-south-west-coast-path-part-4
The start of the 630 mile (1,014 kilometer) South West Coast Path is marked by a magnificent metal sculpture of a map held between two hands.
As you leave the …
After an easy introduction to the South West Coast Path, stage two is more challenging but offers much reward for your efforts.
From Porlock Weir it is a steep ascent …
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The highlights come thick-and-fast along this superb, yet strenuous, section of the Coast Path.
Taking you to one of the most dramatic sights, Valley of Rocks, to the highest point …
This stage of the Coast Path is packed with wild charm and beautiful scenery.
After some challenging hikes recently, you will find this stage to be a little more easy-going, …
This stunning stage explores a wildlife-rich and geologically-significant section of the Coast Path.
If your legs are screaming a little after some strenuous stages, you will be pleased to know …
This completely flat stage takes you across one of the longest medieval bridges in Britain and through the bird-watcher’s paradise of Isley Marsh.
You continue to follow the Tarka Trail …
This leisurely stage gives you chance to gently saunter, breathe in the fresh sea air, and keep a look-out for wildlife—before the challenging terrain returns.
From Instow, you follow the …
After some easy recent stages, the terrain becomes more of a challenge once again. However, your efforts are richly rewarded.
The treat at the end of this stage is the …
This stage showcases the beautifully-contrasting landscapes of the Hartland Peninsula.
From Clovelly, you descend through ancient woodland to Blackchurch Rock. This magnificent natural rock arch is filled with fossils and …
This stage of the Coast Path is said to be the most challenging section of the entire trail. As ever, though, when the going gets tough—the highlights are abundant.
Throughout this strenuous stage, you are afforded awe-inspiring views over the Atlantic as the trail heads high onto crumbling cliff tops and down into deep valleys.
After a leisurely start, …
History, legend, abundant wildlife, breathtaking scenery and classic cliff-top hiking combine to make this a truly memorable stage of the South West Coast Path.
Taking you to the highest point …
This stage of the Coast Path begins as a leisurely saunter but soon becomes a challenging hike with steep descents and some grueling climbs.
The reward for all the hard …
The highlights come thick-and-fast along this picturesque, unspoiled, and leisurely stage of the South West Coast Path.
Beginning with an awe-inspiring view over Port Isaac from Lobber Point, to the …