Conquer Britain’s longest trail — South West Coast Path — Part 4

Hiking Collection by
komoot

This Collection brings the South West Coast Path to a magnificent finale along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Exploring a unique and internationally-important landscape, this Collection is filled with fascination, steeped in beauty, and rich in opportunities to spot rare flora and fauna.

On these hikes you wander through the only place in the world that displays 185 million years of geological evolution, the Jurassic Coast. You also explore the English Riviera Geopark, a dramatic and beautiful landscape that is also of global importance.

There are plenty of hidden coves, sleepy villages, dramatic headlands, rugged cliff-tops, picturesque landscapes, and golden beaches with turquoise waters, along the way, too, of course.

At 630 miles (1,014 kilometers) long, the South West Coast Path is Britain's longest national trail. Winding through Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset, it is also one of the most-loved long-distance routes in the UK.

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 the number three bus service to Torcross. The bus stop is on Royal Parade, around seven minutes walk away from the train station.

As the Coast Path essentially finishes in Bournemouth, you are best to catch a train from Bournemouth Railway Station, which has direct trains to London and connecting services.

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 Bournemouth, or look into long stay car parks. To get to Torcorss, you need to catch a train from Bournemouth Railway Station to Totnes (with changes at Reading and Newton Abbot). From there, you need to get the 164 bus service to Kingsbridge, then the three bus service to Torcross.

For more information about the South West Coast Path, visit: southwestcoastpath.org.uk.
For the number three bus service timetable visit: stagecoachbus.com/routes/south-west/3/dartmouth-kingsbridge/xdbo003.i
For the 164 bus service timetable visit: bustimes.org/services/164-totnes-kingsbridge.
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 3: komoot.com/collection/887746/conquer-britains-longest-trail-south-west-coast-path-part-3

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    04:33
    9.96 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage begins with a leisurely stroll across Slapton Sands past the wildlife-rich lake, Slapton Ley.

    After the first three miles (five kilometers), the hiking becomes more challenging as you climb cliffs and drop into coves.

    The landscape along this stage is diverse and shifts from fields to cliffs, headlands to woodlands, and grassy slopes that lead into the sea

    Along the way, you pass the wonderful little beach of Sugary Cove, which is at the mouth of the River Dart and just below Dartmouth Castle.

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

  • Difficult
    05:18
    11.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,425 ft
    1,425 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 begins with an enchanting boat ride across the River Dart.

    After an easy start, the pace soon picks up and you are faced with some sharp ascents and descents.

    As you pass Kingswear Castle perched on the rocks, you have to contend with one of Devon’s most difficult sections of the trail as you cross a series of valleys. However, you are treated to some spectacular views that make up for the effort.

    At Berry Head National Nature Reserve the cliffs are home to the largest guillemot colony on the south coast of England. You can also see birds such as cirl bunting, guillemot, fulmar, skylarks, greenfinch, and peregrine falcon, as well as adder, greater horseshoe bat, and many species of butterfly and wildflower.

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

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  • Difficult
    06:22
    14.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,225 ft
    975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Fascinating geology and a quintessential British summer holiday atmosphere make this a memorable stage of the South West Coast Path.

    Taking you right through the English Riviera, there is plenty to explore on this hike; from bustling seaside promenades to quiet woodland, impressive red cliffs to traditional harbors, golden beaches to historic promenades.

    The unique geology along this section of coastline has led to it being designated as a Unesco Geopark. The English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark comprises 32 sites which between them cover three geological time periods and 400 million years of earth history. To find out more, visit: englishrivierageopark.org.uk.

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

  • Difficult
    07:14
    16.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,475 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 a varied stretch of coastline which guarantees to pique your interest.

    As you leave the crowds of Torbay behind, the terrain soon becomes more rural and increasingly challenging. As the trail twists through dense woodland and fields, you may find it tough in places.

    When you reach Shaldon, you will have to take the historic foot ferry to Teignmouth, which has operated since the 13th century. If the ferry is not running, however, you will have to go over the bridge into Teignmouth. For information, visit: teignmouthshaldonferry.co.uk.

    The final third of this walk is almost entirely flat and ends with a glorious ferry ride into the historic port of Exmouth.—giving your legs a welcome rest to finish the hike. For information on this ferry, visit: exe-estuary.org/cruises_and_ferry_services.

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

  • Difficult
    05:40
    12.8 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage beckons in a new and exciting era on the Coast Path—the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

    As you leave Exmouth, the trail soon reaches Orcombe Point, the most westerly point of the Jurassic Coast. From here, you can hike through 185 million years of earth’s history along 95 miles of picturesque coastline.

    Giving you a taster of some of the treats later in the journey, the magnificent red sandstone stacks at Ladram Bay are a real beauty to behold.

    This stage finishes in the stunning coastal town of Sidmouth, home of the famous International Folk Festival and some striking regency architecture.

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

  • Intermediate
    04:45
    9.95 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Whilst this hike is short in distance, the terrain gets tough and will provide a hearty challenge at times.

    This hike traverses the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is beautiful at any time of year and always rich in flora and fauna. So, take your time and let the scenery fill up your senses.

    Some highlights along the way include the beaches of Salcombe Mouth and Weston Mouth, Weston Wildflower Meadow in summer, the enchanting fishing village of Beer, and the wonderful views from the tall white cliffs of Beer Head.

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

  • Difficult
    06:52
    14.5 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,150 ft
    2,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    If challenging hiking through breathtaking landscapes is your thing, then this will be a little slice of paradise.

    With constant sharp ascents and descents to contend with, the trail traverses crumbling cliffs, fossil-rich beaches, wildflower meadows, picturesque fishing harbors, and much more on this splendid hike.

    Starting with a challenging climb out of Seaton, the trail undulates to the tranquil town of Lyme Regis, which makes for a good rest stop.

    From there, you soon arrive at Charmouth Beach, which is hailed as one of the best places in the UK to find fossils, and before long you reach the highest point on the South Coast of England, Golden Cap, which affords breathtaking views over Lyme Bay, Dartmoor and the Isle of Portland.

    This stage finishes in the coastal hamlet of Seatown. There is a range of accommodation options and places to eat and drink nearby.

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

    This dramatic stage explores some fascinating natural phenomena along the Jurassic Coast.

    After a couple of ups-and-downs out of Seatown, the trail eases up for level walking from West Bay—allowing you to enjoy the sights with ease for the rest of the hike.

    Highlights along the way include magnificent views from Thorncombe Beacon, admiring the awe-inspiring West Bay cliffs, and walking alongside the largest tidal lagoon in Britain, The Fleet, on Chesil Beach.

    This stage finishes in the village of Abbotsbury, which has a range of accommodation options and places to eat and drink nearby.

  • Intermediate
    04:57
    11.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    425 ft
    500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage explores an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that is noted for unique scenery and abundant wildlife, especially birdlife.

    After a brief stroll around the historic village of Abbotsbury, you climb inland before descending towards The Fleet, the largest tidal lagoon in Britain. Separated from the sea by Chesil Beach, this natural phenomenon is a wonder to behold.

    For the rest of the hike, the trail winds around the inland side of The Fleet, which has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the rich variety of wildlife found here.

    The area is home to birds including mute swans, dark-bellied brent geese, little egret, common pochard, common greenshank, red-breasted merganser, little tern, and common coot. The area also boasts 150 species of algae and underwater meadows of eelgrasses.

    This stage finishes at the Ferry Bridge, in Weymouth. There is a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink in the area, as well as shops and other attractions.

  • Difficult
    05:58
    13.6 mi
    2.3 mph
    950 ft
    950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Whilst circuits aren’t usually the done thing on linear routes, this lovely loop around the Isle of Portland is well worth a break from the norm for.

    A hike of spectacular scenery, cliff-top views, crashing waves, hidden coves, and old quarries filled with wildlife and flowers, there is something for everybody.

    You cross the Ferry Bridge onto the island and climb onto cliffs where you are afforded stunning views. The trail then undulates gently through a breathtaking limestone landscape that has been chiseled by quarrying ever since the Roman times.

    Keep a look-out for the impressive stack of Pulpit Rock and Portland Bill LIghthouse, which you can climb to the top of for a small fee.

    As you wind around the other side of the easterly side of the island, the hidden gem of Church Ope Cove makes a wonderful place to stop for a moment.

    This stage finishes at the Ferry Bridge, in Weymouth. There is a good range of accommodation and places to eat and drink in the area, as well as shops and other attractions.

  • Difficult
    06:31
    14.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    An ever-changing landscape filled with iconic sights makes this a memorable stage on the Coast Path.

    Beginning as a leisurely stroll from Weymouth, the trail becomes increasingly difficult, culminating in some hefty ascents and descents as you approach Lulworth Cove.

    In typical fashion, as the hiking gets harder the rewards get greater. Keep a look-out for the impressive chalk headland of Bat’s Head, the magnificent natural rock arch of Durdle Door, the unique limestone folds of Stair Hole, and the white beach and clean turquoise waters of Lulworth Cove, where this stage finishes.

    There are a few accommodation options and places for food and drink in Lulworth Cove. The surrounding area has more choice.

  • Difficult
    06:49
    14.8 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,825 ft
    1,700 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    With some challenging ascents and descents to contend with, this remote section of the Coast Path should test your skills and stamina.

    The beautiful scenery, spellbinding views, fascinating geology, and abundant wildlife should keep your mind off any aching legs, though.

    One of the most fascinating sights along this stage is Fossil Forest. As sea levels rose, this Jurassic forest was flooded and its trees and vegetation were fossilised—and are clearly visible some 135 million years later.

    Please be aware, though, Fossil Forest, and the path across the Lulworth Ranges go through a military firing range and cannot be crossed at certain times. If firing is taking place, red flags are flown and the gates are locked.

    It is worth checking the firing times as you do not want to miss this section. To check firing times, visit: gov.uk/government/publications/lulworth-firing-notice.

    If you cannot pass, however, you can take a 13 mile (21 kilometer) detour around the ranges. Alternatively, you can catch the 30 bus service from West Lulworth to Corfe Castle and then walk along the ridge to the road near Great Wood. From there, you descend to pick up the trail again at Kimmeridge. For the 30 timetable visit: morebus.co.uk/services/SQ/30.

    This stage finishes in the village of Worth Matravers, which has a few options when it comes to accommodation and places to eat and drink.

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    12
  • Distance
    157 mi
  • Duration
    70:22 h
  • Elevation
    14,800 ft