Guidebook to walking the entire South West Coast Path National Trail. The route runs for 630 miles from Minehead to Poole along the north Devon, Cornish, south Devon and Dorset coastline. Divided into 45 stages, this long-distance coastal trek could be completed within 4 weeks, or walked in sections. Guide includes maps and essential information.
Britain's longest waymarked trail, the South West Coast Path (SWCP) measures a staggering 630 miles (1015km) from Minehead on the Somerset coast right round Devon and Cornwall to Poole in Dorset. Although the route is long, it should be accessible for any well-prepared backpacker. The weather conditions, which can make clifftop walking dangerous, are an important factor.
This epic route takes in Exmoor National Park, several designated Areas of Outstanding National Beauty and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, numerous Heritage Coasts National and Local Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Trust holdings. No other stretch of coastline compares for scenic splendour, historical sites and availability of refreshments, accommodation and public transport: this last amenity makes it easy to split the SWCP into week or weekend-long sections.
Written by prolific outdoor writer Paddy Dillon, this guide provides a wealth of detailed knowledge to help tackle this immense route with confidence, with lots of information for planning a trek, including public transport links, accommodation and facilities along the way. To assist forward planning the guidebook divides the coast path into sections beginning and ending where amenities are available. Also described is the 17-mile South Dorset Ridgeway, from West Bexington to Osmington Mills, which can be used as a scenic way to shave 42 miles off the total distance.
For nearly 50 years Cicerone have been producing guidebooks on recognised treks, regions, areas and general tips for hikers.
We have used them countless times and they've always provided excellent insight and knowledge that you only get through experience, giving you the edge to make your trip a success and more enjoyable too.
If you're a gram counter you can easily remove sections of the book to take with you making your own ultra-lightweight guidebook with only the essential sections that you require.
- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear
SeasonsThis National Trail may be walked year-round: be aware that winter accommodation availability may be limited, while high summer will be extremely busy and the weather often hot.
CentresMany centres are passed along the route, including Minehead, Lynmouth, Westward Ho!, Clovelly, Bude, Padstow, Newquay, St Ives, Penzance, Falmouth, Mevagissey, Polperro, Plymouth, Salcombe, Brixham, Portland, Swanage and Poole
DifficultyThe South West Coast path is a long walk! Most paths are easy to moderate, with some walks along rugged and exposed coastal cliff paths and some steep gradients.
Must SeeExmoor National Park; 5 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage Site; numerous Heritage Coasts National and Local Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Trust holdings
Planning your trip
When to go
Travel to the South West
Travel around the South West
Accommodation en route
Facilities en route
Baggage transfer services
One man and his dog
What to take
Planning day by day
Using this guide
Maps and GPS
Time and tide
Waymarking and paths
Safety on the Coast Path
All about the region
Plants and wildlife
Coastal walking through history
A protected coastline
The South West Coast Path
Stage 1 Minehead to Porlock Weir
Stage 2 Porlock Weir to Lynmouth
Stage 3 Lynmouth to Combe Martin
Stage 4 Combe Martin to Woolacombe
Stage 5 Woolacombe to Braunton
Stage 6 Braunton to Westward Ho!
Stage 7 Westward Ho! to Clovelly
Stage 8 Clovelly to Hartland Quay
Stage 9 Hartland Quay to Bude
Stage 10 Bude to Boscastle
Stage 11 Boscastle to Port Isaac
Stage 12 Port Isaac to Padstow
Stage 13 Padstow to Porthcothan
Stage 14 Porthcothan to Newquay
Stage 15 Newquay to Perranporth
Stage 16 Perranporth to Portreath
Stage 17 Portreath to St Ives
Stage 18 St Ives to Pendeen Watch
Stage 19 Pendeen Watch to Porthcurno
Stage 20 Porthcurno to Penzance
Stage 21 Penzance to Porthleven
Stage 22 Porthleven to Lizard Point
Stage 23 Lizard Point to Porthallow
Stage 24 Porthallow to Falmouth
Stage 25 Falmouth to Portloe
Stage 26 Portloe to Mevagissey
Stage 27 Mevagissey to Polmear
Stage 28 Polmear to Polperro
Stage 29 Polperro to Portwrinkle
Stage 30 Portwrinkle to Plymouth
Stage 31 Plymouth to Wembury Beach
Stage 32 Wembury Beach to Bigbury-on-Sea
Stage 33 Bigbury-on-Sea to Salcombe
Stage 34 Salcombe to Stoke Fleming
Stage 35 Stoke Fleming to Brixham
Stage 36 Brixham to Shaldon
Stage 37 Shaldon to Budleigh Salterton
Stage 38 Budleigh Salterton to Seaton
Stage 39 Seaton to Seatown
Stage 40 Seatown to Abbotsbury
Stage 41 Abbotsbury to Ferrybridge
Stage 42 Isle of Portland circuit
Stage 43 Ferrybridge to Lulworth Cove
Stage 44 Lulworth Cove to Swanage
Stage 45 Swanage to South Haven Point
South Dorset Ridgeway
West Bexington to Osmington Mills
Appendix A Useful contacts
Appendix B Facilities along the route
Appendix C Topographical glossary