Conquer Britain’s longest trail — South West Coast Path — Part 3

Hiking Collection by
komoot

This Collection explores a stunning section of the South West Coast Path between The Lizard, in Cornwall, and Torcross, in Devon.

Covering a wonderfully-unspoilt section of the coastline, these spectacular hikes take you to rugged headlands, picturesque villages, hidden bays, historic sites, lush farmland pastures, and plenty of beautiful beaches.

There is lots of flora and fauna to see in these routes. Migrating birds arrive on this section of coastline first and leave it last. In summer, much of the grassland erupts into a sea of wildflowers, and you will pass some internationally-significant geology.

The first seven routes in this Collection combine to make a leisurely section of the Coast Path overall. The latter six routes explore a stretch of coastline that is recognized as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its wildlife and geology.

The South West Coast Path is Britain's longest, and one of its most-loved, national trails. It stretches 630 miles (1,014 kilometers) along the coast of Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset.

There is no set itinerary to complete the trail. However, in this series of Collections we will conquer the trail in 52 days, split over eight weeks, starting from Minehead and finishing at South Haven Point. As always, of course, you can split up each stage to as many days as you are comfortable with.

If you are using public transport to undertake the routes in this Collection, you will need to catch a train to Plymouth railway station, which is served by direct trains from London and Bristol. From there, you would need to catch a train to Redruth railway station, then catch the L1 bus service to The Lizard.

To get home, you would need to catch the number three bus service from Torcross to Plymouth. From the city centre, it is a 20-minute walk to the railway station.

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 on The Lizard and to park your car for the duration. To get home, you would need to catch the number three bus service from Torcross to Plymouth, then catch a train from Plymouth to Redruth, and finally the L1 bus service from Redruth to The Lizard.

For more information about the South West Coast Path, visit: southwestcoastpath.org.uk.
For the L1 bus service timetable visit: bustimes.org/services/l1-redruth-helston-mullion-the-lizard.
For the number three bus service timetable visit: stagecoachbus.com/routes/south-west/3/dartmouth-kingsbridge/xdbo003.i
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 1: komoot.com/collection/887617/conquer-britains-longest-trail-south-west-coast-path-part-1
Part 2: komoot.com/collection/887634/conquer-britains-longest-trail-south-west-coast-path-part-2
Part 4: komoot.com/collection/887875/conquer-britains-longest-trail-south-west-coast-path-part-4

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    04:33
    10.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    800 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This leisurely stage explores a beautiful section of the Lizard Heritage Coast where the geology and scenery will take your breath away.

    There landscape undulates on this stage, posing a few challenging ascents and descents, but you will find this hike affords ample opportunity to admire the landscape.

    A few miles in, you can see The Devil’s Frying Pan, an awe-inspiring rock arch with a bubbling pool underneath. A short time later, you arrive at the quintessential English fishing village of Cadgwith, complete with thatched cottages and a colorful harbor.

    As you pass Kennack Sands, you can admire the beautiful layered rock cliffs and displays of wildflowers, as well as far-reaching views from Black Head.

    This stage finishes in the traditional fishing village of Coverack, which has a range of accommodation and a few places to eat and drink.

  • Intermediate
    04:40
    10.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    775 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From sleepy fishing villages to mesolithic remains, dramatic cliffs to grassy pastures, and ancient woodlands to golden beaches, the variety along this stage makes for an interesting hike.

    The walking is leisurely out of Coverack as you pass the old raised beach and mesolithic remains at Lowland Point. It is important to keep to the footpath along this section as there are active quarry workings between Lowland Point and Dean Point.

    Godrevy Cove is a hidden gem on this stage. With a long and sandy beach, and a wildlife-rich grassland and marshland behind, this little-visited beach makes for a great place to stop.

    On this stage, you need to cross Gillian Creek. The main Coast Path runs around Gillan Creek, but for an hour either side of low tide, you can walk across, which cuts about two miles off the route. At the crossing point, there are stepping stones, but they can be very slippery. As such, it is safer to paddle across beside them. The water should be no more than knee deep.

    This stage finishes in the village of Helford. There is not much in the village, but there is a range of accommodation and places to eat and drink nearby.

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  • Intermediate
    04:31
    10.6 mi
    2.4 mph
    500 ft
    500 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This easygoing stage begins with a ferry ride across the River Helford and then continues through fields, along wooded cliff-tops, past picturesque coves, and down to golden beaches.

    Along this stunning section, the trail passes Maenporth Beach, with its serene waters and sheltered bay, and winds its way around the Pendennis Headland, which affords breathtaking views across the Cornish coastline and has an historic castle to explore.

    You will also explore the iconic Falmouth Harbor, the deepest natural harbor in Western Europe and reputed to be the third largest in the world.

    This stage finishes in the town of Falmouth, which has a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.

    For more information on the Helford River Crossing, visit: helford-river-boats.co.uk.

  • Difficult
    07:43
    18.2 mi
    2.4 mph
    875 ft
    875 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    For the second stage in a row, you begin with a leisurely ferry ride; this time from the Falmouth Port across the Fal Estuary.

    The trail continues into one of Cornwall’s many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the enchanting Roseland Peninsula. An especially picturesque part of Cornwall, Roseland boasts an idyllic landscape of serene beaches, rugged cliffs, clear rivers, and unspoilt countryside.

    Highlights along the way include St Mawes Castle, one of the best-preserved coastal fortresses built by Henry VIII, and St Anthony Lighthouse, which once had the biggest bell in Cornwall.

    The trail also passes Porthbeor Beach, which is always quiet due to its remote setting and challenging access, meaning Coast Path hikers get it to themselves.

    The stage finishes in Portloe, considered by many to be the jewel in the crown of the Roseland peninsula. There is not much in the village, but there is a range of accommodation and places to eat and drink nearby.

  • Difficult
    05:31
    12.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage of the Coast Path might be challenging in places but the rewards come thick-and-fast.

    The hike starts with a rocky scramble out of Portloe before easing off around Perbean Beach. As you approach Hemmick Beach, the trail becomes challenging, but the secret beach is a great place to stop.

    From here, the trail winds around the the highest headland on the south Cornish coast, The Dodman, and affords awe-inspiring views that stretch for miles.

    There is a little bit of road walking around Gorran Haven but the pleasant village certainly makes up for it, with plenty to see and explore.

    The stage finishes in Mevagissey, which has a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.

  • Intermediate
    04:46
    10.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    850 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Along this short but strenuous stage, the trail undulates devilishly over cliff-tops, into hidden bays, and around unspoilt harbors.

    From the enchanting streets of Mevagissey, you pass the attractive Polstreath Beach, with its tempting turquoise waters and golden sand.

    The path follows high cliffs past rocky coves between Pentewan and Charlestown, culminating in breathtaking scenery—but tiring hiking.

    A real treat along the way is Charlestown Harbor, the last open 18th Century Georgian harbor in the UK. Designated as a UNESCO world heritage site, the Grade II-listed harbor allows you to step back in time.

    This stage finishes in the town of Par, which exported great amounts of clay china in the 19th century—used for papermaking—and continues in the trade to this day.

    Par has a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.

  • Difficult
    06:20
    14.2 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,325 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The scenery along this stage of the Coast Path is utterly spellbinding—but you have to work hard for it.

    The trail undulates to the striking daymark on Gribbin Head and then follows rugged cliff-tops with spectacular views over the coastline.

    After some level walking, you reach the historic town Fowey, which has been a favorite with artists and literary figures for its picturesque setting. As you explore the stunning Fowey estuary, keep a look-out for birds such as herons, curlews, little egret, and redshanks.

    Between Fowey and Polruan, you will need to catch the ferry. For information, visit: ctomsandson.co.uk.

    This stage finishes in the delightful village of Polperro, which has a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.

  • Difficult
    05:48
    12.9 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The trail meanders through a much-contrasting landscape of dramatic cliffs, old woodland, bustling towns, hidden coves, and open country along this stage.

    With some difficult climbs and descents, as well as an undulating, sometimes rocky terrain, you will find this stage to be challenging in places.

    From Polperro, you pass the beautiful blue waters around Talland Bay and follow the path as it gently rises and falls to Looe, an historic town filled with character that was once two rival towns in medieval times.

    The trail rises onto Bodigga Cliffs shortly after Looe and climbs to heights with some breathtaking views.

    This stage finishes in the small village of Portwrinkle, which has some accommodation options nearby, as well as places to eat and drink. It is advisable to plan this stopover in advance.

  • Difficult
    06:25
    14.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,075 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    On this stage you say a heartfelt goodbye to Cornwall and make a triumphant return into Devon.

    From Portwinkle, the trail passes military firing range at Tregantle Fort. You can follow the seaward permissive path as long as the red flags are not flying. If you see the flags, you need to take the route that follows the B3247.

    The trail winds around the creeks, beaches and pastures of Rame Head and into Penlee Battery Nature Reserve, which is rich in flora and fauna, especially the bee orchid.

    There are some challenging ascents and descents along this stage. However, the hiking is manageable overall.

    The port city of Plymouth has a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.

    For information on Tregantle firing times, visit: gov.uk/government/publications/tregantle-firing-notice.

  • Difficult
    06:12
    14.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    875 ft
    900 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    It might feel slightly strange walking through Plymouth, the largest city on the South West Coast Path, in comparison to the lonely cliff-tops, sleepy hamlets, and rugged peninsulas.

    Do not let the bustling streets deter you, though, as the hike begins on a high by following the Waterfront Walkway, which celebrates the history, heritage, art, and culture of the city.

    After this, you have the option to shorten the route by catching the ferry from near the Mayflower Steps in Sutton Harbor to Mountbatten, which cuts off five miles (eight kilometers) of walking around Cattewater.

    Some highlights along this section include The Royal Citadel, a dramatic 17th century fortress built to defend the coastline from the Dutch; Mount Batten Peninsula and its iconic artillery tower; and Wembury Bay, a picturesque beach that is nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    At the end of the walk you have need to catch a ferry across the River Yealm. The ferry runs between 10am-4pm. For more information, visit: nationaltrust.org.uk/wembury/features/wembury-ferry.

    This stage finishes around the River Yealm estuary. There are options when it comes to accommodation and places to eat and drink. However, it is advisable to plan this stopover in advance.

  • Difficult
    05:59
    13.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,225 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 explores an unspoilt section of coastline that is recognized as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is part of the South Devon Heritage Coast.

    There are some challenging ascents and descents to contend with on this route, culminating is a tiring but rewarding hike through some spectacular scenery.

    Keep a look-out for nesting seabirds on the Great Mew Stone and be sure to explore the ruins of Revelstoke's Church of St Peter the Poor Fisherman.

    There is no ferry service from Mothecombe to Wonwell, so you will need to either wade across within one hour of low tide or follow the diversion inland through the lanes to the A379.

    This stage finishes in the village of Bigbury on Sea, which has some accommodation options, as well as places to eat and drink.

  • Difficult
    06:02
    13.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,325 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    After a boat ride across the River Avon to begin, this stage follows a stunning stretch of coastline, much of which is managed by the National Trust.

    The nine mile (14.5 kilometer) section between Hope and Salcombe is a real treat on this stage. Hailed as one of the most stunning sections of the entire South West Coast Path, keep a look-out for kestrels and peregrine falcons, as well as the extraordinary mica schist rock formations around Soar Mill Cove.

    The path can be quite challenging in places with some rugged sections and some strenuous ascents and descents to contend with. However, there are some leisurely sections and plenty of beautiful places to stop for a rest.

    This stage finishes in the popular resort town of Salcombe, which has a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.

  • Difficult
    06:02
    13.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,150 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 challenging stage of the Coast Path traverses an unspoilt stretch of coastline that has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

    The trail winds around a rocky and rugged coastline, climbs high onto cliff-tops to Prawle Point and drops down to delightful beaches and hidden coves.

    The coastline around Prawle is one of the most beautiful stretches in Devon, and marks the southernmost point in the county. A haven for bird watchers, keep a look-out for buzzards, ravens, hawks, cirl bunting, and nightingales.

    Start Point is one of the most exposed peninsulas on the English coast and boasts dramatic cliffs and awe-inspiring views stretch as far as the Isle of Portland on a clear day.

    This stage finishes in the village of Torcross, which has a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    13
  • Distance
    170 mi
  • Duration
    74:31 h
  • Elevation
    13,025 ft13,175 ft