South West Coast Long Distance Path Directory

A long distance path of over 600 miles, this popular National Trail in the south-west of England is the most arduous National Trail of them all, capping even the Pennine Way for distance covered and amount of climbing required. It is a monster of a challenge. Maps, statistics and gpx route file for the walk are included.

The Lion in Kynance Bay on the South West Coast Path
The Lion in Kynance Bay on the South West Coast Path

At 630 miles long running from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset, the South West Coast Path is easily the longest and most arduous, of England's National Trails. The path is actually the amalgamation of 4 paths; the Somerset and North Devon, Cornwall, South Devon, and Dorset Coastal paths. The route is quite popular, and it can be crowded in the summer months, though there are always long stretches where your only company will be a chorus of sea birds. The trail can be windy - the prevailing wind is from the southwest, and numerous river estuaries along the way require ferry crossings. This means that a good guidebook with tide and ferry timetables is essential equipment for walkers. The path is best enjoyed in May, for then the wildflowers are in full bloom. In full summer it is busy in the popular places and it may be difficult to find accommodation.

Google Maps Open Source Maps

The best web sites for General Information and Planning:
National Trails of Great Britain Comprehensive site providing details on the route. Includes an accommodation guide, booking service providers, maps required.
Encounter Walking Holidays Comprehensive cover of the full 630 miles of South West Coast Path as well as other long distance paths in the south west.
SWCP Association A registered charity who care for the route. Useful for recent news.
The best web sites for Guided Walking:
West Cornwall Walks We offer self led walking holidays along the West Cornwall coast path (Padstow to Falmouth, concentrating on the Lands End Peninsula) and guided walks around our fantastic ancient monuments.
The web sites that organise accommodation and/ or baggage transfer:
Budget Walking provide self-guided coastal walking holidays along the South West Coast Path. With prices to suit all, tailored walking itineraries, kit transfers, maps & guidebooks we offer it all. With Budget Walking you can experience the unique historical, cultural & mythical value of some of the greatest coastline in the world.
Luggage Transfers A low cost baggage transfer service for the South West Coast Path. Since March 2010 we have covered the entire 630 miles from Minehead to Poole.
Nearwater Walking Holidays Based on the coastal path in St Mawes, Cornwall we provide self guided walking holidays on the path, including luggage transfer and accommodation
Absolute Escapes are offering self-guided walking packages on this walk including accommodation and baggage transfer.
Contours Full self guided service for the South West Coast Path.
Encounter Cornwall Full self guided walkers service.
Celtic Trails Full self guided walkers service.
Lightfoot A self guided service for the Cornwall section of the walk.
The best web sites for you to plan your accommodation:
S H Systems Excellent range of accommodation. Just type in the location to bring up a list of accommodation in the area. You can sort by price, postcode or rating.
Independent Hostels Guide specialise in independent hostels and bunkhouses on and near the route.
The best personal journals of the walk:

John Butler Essentially a journal but it is excellent with lots of advice planning the walk.
Henk Nous A lovely journal with photographs and some good advice.
Will Wallis A superb pictured report of the Cornwall section of the walk
John Harlow A good journal (with photographs) covering the first 250 miles.
Sally Jordan Sally has a passion for Long Distance Trails and this reflection is excellent.
The essential sites for safety advice and emergency services:
Ramblers Association Practical walking advice on keeping safe including a guide to map reading, navigation and a detailed list of the essential gear required on a long distance walk.
Mountain Rescue UK You may need them so take their advice.
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(Note: Walking without proper preparation can be dangerous. Information and downloads on this website are provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check the material and use accordingly. Postscript: My walk reports are not route guides and should not be treated as such. They are written with personal reflections of my walks)

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