Detailed route cards for all paths

To find out more about the South West Coast Path please visit National Trail or South West Coast Path Association. To find out detailed information about each path, select a region and then click on an individual route card:

Pembrokeshire - Wales | Exmoor/North Devon | North Cornwall | South Cornwall | South Devon | Dorset


Pembrokeshire - Wales

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail twists and turns its way through 186 miles of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain.

From St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south, the trail covers almost every kind of maritime landscape from rugged cliff tops and sheltered coves to wide-open beaches and winding estuaries.

Lying almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park — Britain’s only coastal national park – the trail displays an array of coastal flowers and bird life, as well as evidence of human activity from Neolithic times to the present.

In its entirety the Coast Path represents a formidable physical challenge - its 35,000 feet of ascent and descent is said to be equivalent to climbing Everest — yet it can also be enjoyed in shorter sections, accessible to people of all ages and abilities, with the small coastal villages strung out along its length offering welcome breaks and added enjoyment.

Angle in Pembrokeshire
Credit: www.visitpembrokeshire.com
St Domaels to Ceibwr Bay (for Moylgrove)
(Word 88k) Strenuous
Ceibwr Bay (for Moylgrove) to Newport Parrog
(Word 97k) Severe
Newport Parrog to Pwllgwaelod (Word 90k) Strenuous
Pwllgwaelod to Fishguard (Word 104k) Strenuous
Fishguard to Pwell Deri (Word 96k) Severe
Pwell Deri to Abercastle (Word 97k) Strenuous
Abercastle to Porthgain (Word 97k) Moderate
Porthgain to Whitesands (Word 93k) Severe
Whitesands to Port Clais (Word 97k) Moderate
Port Clais to Lower Solva (Word 102k) Moderate
Lower Solva to Newgale (Word 103k) Moderate
Newgale to Broadhaven (Word 84k) Moderate
Broadhaven to St Brides Haven (Word 98k) Moderate
St Brides Haven to Martin's Haven (Word 94k) Easy
Martin's Haven to Dale village (Word 98k) Moderate
Dale village to Sandy Haven (Word 102k) Moderate
Sandy Haven to Neyland (Word 86k) Moderate
Neyland to Pembroke town (Word 85k) Easy
Pembroke town to Angle (Word 94k) Moderate
Angle to Freshwater West (Word 96k) Strenuous
Freshwater West to Broadhaven (Word 110k) Easy
Broadhaven to Freshwater East (Word 86k) Strenuous
Freshwater East to Skrinkle Haven (Word 100k) Moderate
Skrinkle Haven Tenby (Word 120k) Moderate
Tenby to Saundersfoot (Word 107k) Strenuous
Saundersfoot to Amroth (Word 92k) Easy

Exmoor/North Devon

Damehole Point
Photo Credits: South West Coast Path Association - www.swcp.org.uk

 
From Minehead in Somerset to Hartland in North Devon, the coast path takes us on a ramble along dramatic cliff-top paths rising to over 1000 feet, with stunning views across the Bristol Channel to South Wales.

As the path rises from its start point at Minehead we enter Exmoor National Park, a rolling, at times remote landscape, not for the faint-hearted but rewarding in its abundance of landscape and cultural heritage. Beyond Porlock, towards Lynton, at once enclosed by oak and pine opening up into broad vistas; a cream tea at the National Trust visitor centre at Watersmeet; a refreshing pint in the numerous pubs in Lynton, a trip on the cliff railway before heading west to the holiday resorts and sandy beches of North Devon through Ilfracombe, Woolacombe, and Croyde.

Marvel at the antics of the surfers riding the waves as the path flattens out through the estuarine landscape of the Taw/Torridge Estuary through the ancient borough of Barnstaple along the banks of the rivers, rich in birds and wildlife. Relive the childhood memories of Henry Williamson's Tarka the Otter and Charles Kingsley's Westward Ho!, as we leave Devon behind us and enter Cornwall.

Minehead to Porlock Weir (Word 50k) Moderate
Porlock Weir to Lynmouth (Word 50k) Moderate
Lynmouth to Combe Martin (Word 50k) Strenuous
Combe Martin to Lee Bay (Word 50k) Moderate to Strenuous
Lee Bay to Croyde Bay (Word 50k) Strenuous to Moderate
Croyde Bay to Barnstaple (Word 50k) Easy
Barnstaple to Bideford (Word 50k) Easy
Bideford to Westward Ho! (Word 50k) Easy
Westward Ho! to Clovelly (Word 50k) Strenuous
Clovelly to Hartland Quay (Word 50k) Moderate to Strenuous
Hartland Quay to Marsland Mouth (Word 50k) Severe

North Cornwall

>> Top of page

Trebarwith Strand in North Cornwall
Photo Credits: South West Coast Path Association - www.swcp.org.uk

A roller-coaster of a ride through the twisted rock formations that characterise this coastline awaits you. Dark, brooding cliffs where the birds glide gracefully on the thermals and seals bask on the rocks below; the sands and hostelries of Bude provide welcome relief as we enter a landscape of legends; is Tintagel really the Camelot of King Arthur?

This coastline inspired the writings of a young Thomas Hardy who found here love and passion and a hundred years later became enshrined in the poems of Sir John Betjeman; his grave can be found in the small churchyard of St Enodoc in the dunes of the Camel Estuary.

Fortify yourself with a pasty from one of the numerous bakeries in Padstow and indulge in a pastry from Rick Stein's deli as we become more emeshed in the culture and traditions of Celtic Cornwall. A stag night in Newquay, the choice is yours but perhaps a step too far for the rich Methodist tradition that found favour among the mining communities. An artistic interlude at Tate St Ives in anticipation of a wild and rugged coast, where the engine houses of a once thriving mining industry are stark but strangely beguiling reminders of the toils and tribulations that give rise to the popular notion that down every hole you will find a Cornishman.

Our journey west is complete and at Lands End we turn east with the prevailing winds now in our sails.

Marsland Mouth to Bude(Canal) (Word 50k) Severe
Bude (Canal) to Crackington Haven (Word 50k) Strenuous
Crackington Haven to Boscastle (Word 50k) Strenuous
Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand (Word 50k) Moderate
Trebarwith Strand to Port Isaac (Word 50k) Severe
Port Isaac to Rock (Word 50k) Strenuous
Padstow to Trevone (Word 50k) Easy
Trevone to Porthcothan (Word 50k) Easy
Porthcothan to Newquay (Word 50k) Moderate
Newquay to Holywell (Word 50k) Moderate
Holywell to St Agnes (Word 50k) Moderate
St Agnes to Portreath (Word 50k) Moderate to Strenuous
Portreath to Gwithian (Word 50k) Moderate
Gwithian to St Ives (Word 50k) Moderate
St Ives to Zennor Head (Word 50k) Severe
Zennor Head to Pendeen Watch (Word 50k) Severe
Pendeen Watch to Sennen Cove (Word 50k) Moderate

South Cornwall

>> Top of page

Lamorna Cove in South Cornwall
Photo Credits: South West Coast Path Association - www.swcp.org.uk

 
 
A rich tapestry of coves, beaches and villages greets us as we head east. Here, a benign climate supports rich and luscious gardens, sheltered from the off-shore winds in the inviting valleys that punctuate the coast.

Take in a play at the open-air Minack Theatre at Portcurno, nestling in its cliff-side location. The distant views towards St Michael's Mount draw us through the fishing port of Newlyn and past the terminus of the Great Western Railway at Penzance.

Like the medieval pilgrims who embarked for mainland Europe, while away an hour or two at the Mount before we circle the unique landscape of the Lizard, home to rare orchids, plants and wildlife, the distant views dominated by the satellite dishes at Goonhilly Earth Station, sadly soon to be dismantled.

The castles at Pendennis and St Mawes guard the entrance to Carrick Roads at Falmouth. Quintessential Cornish fishing villages invite us to sample the delights of seafood platters and slake our thirst with a glass from the Sharps and St Austell breweries.

A short detour inland takes us to the iconic Eden Project whilst our literary senses are fulfilled in Du Maurier country at Fowey as we dream of Manderley again. Along the harbour walls at Looe the children cast their lines in the hope of landing a crab or two. As we embark on the ferry from Cremyll to Stonehouse, Plymouth, we say a fond farewell to Cornwall.

Sennen Cove to Porthcurno (Word 50k) Moderate
Porthcurno to Lamorna Cove (Word 50k) Moderate
Lamorna Cove to Marazion (Word 50k) Strenuous then Easy
Marazion to Porthleven (Word 50k) Moderate then Strenuous
Porthleven to Mullion Cove (Word 50k) Moderate
Mullion Cove to The Lizard (Word 50k) Moderate
The Lizard to Coverack (Word 50k) Moderate to Strenuous
Coverack to Helford (Ferry) (Word 50k) Moderate
Helford Passage to St Mawes (Word 50k) Moderate
Place to Porthscatho (Word 50k) Easy
Portscatho to East Portholland (Word 50k) Strenuous
East Portholland to Mevagissey (Word 50k) Strenuous then Easy
Mevagissey to Charlestown (Word 50k) Strenuous
Charlestown to Fowey (doc 50k) Easy then Moderate
Fowey to Polperro (Word 50k) Strenuous
Polperro to Looe (Word 50k) Moderate
Looe to Portwrinkle (Word 50k) Strenuous
Portwrinkle to Cremyll (Word 50k) Moderate

South Devon

>> Top of page

Soar Mill Cove in South Devon
Photo Credits: South West Coast Path Association - www.swcp.org.uk

We can linger over our game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe as we plan for a soft shoe shuffle through the South Hams. Idyllic maritime haunts await us at Salcombe and Dartmouth, having sampled the pristine golden beaches of South Devon.

These shores hide dark secrets of shipwrecks and smuggling, glorify in the art noveau of the D'Oyly Cartes at Coleton Fishacre and indulge in the theatre and mystery of Agatha Christie as we are greeted with the magnificent sweep of Torbay.

A procession of seaside towns, Paignton, Torquay, Teignmouth and Dawlish take us to the Exe Estuary with its abundance of wading birds. Our attention is now drawn to the red cliffs that characterise the East Devon coast, through the elegant seaside resort of Sidmouth. We are now in the World Heritage Site, the magnificent Jurassic Coast, stretching some 90 miles from Exmouth to Swanage.

This is a rich agricultural landscape where the paths are often steep and tiring but where we are never far from the comforts of modern society. Glistening white in the distance we are approaching the western-most outcrop of limestone at Beer Head. The sandy beaches have generally given way to shingle beaches such as Branscombe and beyond lie the landslips of the national nature reserve that stretches six miles from Seaton to Lyme Regis.

Cremyll to Mountbatten Point (Word 50k) Easy
Mountbatten Point to Wembury (Word 50k) Easy
Noss Mayo to River Erme (Word 50k) Easy then Strenuous
River Erme (East) to Cockleridge (Word 50k) Strenuous
Bantham to Hope Cove (Word 50k) Moderate
Hope Cove to Salcombe (Word 50k) Strenuous
Salcombe to Torcross (Word 50k) Strenuous
Torcross to Dartmouth (Word 50k) Moderate
Kingswear to Brixham Harbour (Word 50k) Strenuous
Brixham to Torquay Harbour (Word 50k) Moderate
Torquay to Shaldon (Word 50k) Strenuous
Shaldon to Starcross (Ferry) (Word 50k) Easy
Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton (Word 50k) Moderate
Budleigh Salterton to Sidmouth (Word 50k) Moderate then Strenuous
Sidmouth to Beer (Word 50k) Severe then Strenuous
Beer to Lyme Regis (Word 50k) Moderate

Dorset

>> Top of page

Durdle Door in Dorset
Reflect on and put to right the ills of the world sitting on the Cobb at Lyme Regis, the outline of Portland Bill to the east. There is one final steep climb from Charmouth up to Golden Cap and a breezy undulating path down to West Bay, a chance to indulge in traditional seaside activities before the mighty Chesil Bank, where shingle crunches underfoot for mile upon mile. The satisfaction of experiencing one of the undiscovered treasures of the south coast path and the prospect of afternoon tea and Dorset apple cake at Abbotsbury spurs you on...

In five years time Weymouth will be the centre of world attention as it hosts the yachting at the 2012 Olympics. The coast path is diverted through the shifting shales that will be our companion for many a mile and we aim over a series of switchbacks for the nationally recognised natural arch at Durdle Door and on into Lulworth Cove.

Not a walk for the timid but one which Thomas Hardy would have recognised in Far From the Madding Crowd. The army ranges are a doddle as we ingratiate ourselves into Purbeck, heading for the Square and Compass at Worth Matravers for a well earned pint and pastie. We are now heading to the final stretch, through Swanage, past the Old Harry Rocks onto Studland Beach and South Haven Point.

Lyme Regis to West Bay (Word 50k) Strenuous
West Bay to Abbotsbury (Word 50k) Moderate
Abbotsbury to Weymouth (Word 50k) Easy but Chesil Beach is Strenuous
The Isle of Portland (circular) (Word 50k) Moderate
Ferrybridge to Lulworth Cove (Word 50k) Easy to Moderate to Strenuous
Lulworth Cove to Kimmeridge (Word 50k) Severe
Kimmeridge to Swanage (Word 50k) Strenuous, Moderate towards end
Swanage to South Haven Point (Word 50k) Moderate