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The South West Coast Path

Experience the walk of a lifetime along the South West Coast Path

Looking for the best walks in Cornwall? Then look no further. The South West Coast Path National Trail is a 630-mile adventure around the coastline of the South West peninsula, from Minehead in Somerset to the shores of Poole Harbour in Dorset.

Almost half of its length (approximately 300 miles) takes in the entire Cornwall coast, from the wild and rugged Atlantic cliff tops as seen in the popular TV series of Poldark, to the fishing ports and harbours typical of the south coast.

Not only is the South West Coastal Path one of the best walks in Cornwall, it is also arguably one of the world’s greatest and has been voted the nation’s favourite Coastal Path by readers of Coast and Walk magazine.

With 19th century origins as a coastguard patrol route to restrict smuggling, the modern day South West Coast Path has a colourful past, and uncovering these stories within the present landscape is one of the joys of walking it, along with simply stunning views that can often only be accessed on foot.

Generations of artists and writers have been inspired by this coastline and it’s easy to see why. To discover this for yourself, here’s a selection of some of the most awe-inspiring and best walks in Cornwall along the South West Coast Path:

  • Perranporth to St AgnesThis walk is a great introduction to the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site with stunning views from St Agnes Head. The sweeping valley of St Agnes provides the setting for Ross Poldark's family home, Nampara. www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/poldark1. For more Poldark inspired walks visit www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/poldark-walks/
  • Falmouth’s fortificationsFalmouth’s fortifications – discover the trio of defences that kept our enemies at bay with three short circular walks taking in Pendennis Castle (4miles), St. Anthony’s Head (5 miles) and St Mawes Castle to St Just in Roseland (5 miles).
  • England’s most westerly pointEngland’s most westerly point – take a simple stroll from Sennen to Land’s End on a 3-mile circular walk.
  • St Ives to Penzance 44 miles in 5 days - the classic Cornwall coastline is revealed in this walk around the Penwith peninsula, taking in Poldark country along the Granite coast.
  • Sennen to Coverack, Cornwall (56 miles) A stunning five-day itinerary along wild and windswept Cornish cliff-tops. This walk passes spectacular granite rock formations around Land’s End, the most westerly point in England, and Lizard Point, the most southerly.
  • The Cornwall coasttake in all 300 miles of the Cornish coastline in two weeks from the Atlantic north coast of Bude to the softer South coast leading towards Plymouth.
  • 630-mile experienceThe South West Coast Path is perhaps the UK’s ultimate challenge for the long-distance hiker. A fast walker can complete the 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset in around 30 days, but a more leisurely pace is between seven and eight weeks. No matter how long it takes, it is a stunning achievement. The height gained and lost is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 4 times!

Fast Cornwall facts:

  • Almost half of the 630-mile National Trail is in Cornwall with approximately 300 miles of stunning coastal scenery.
  • It boasts the southernmost (Lizard Point) and westernmost (Land’s End) points of England.
  • It takes in 11 of the 12 designated parts of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the UNESCO designated Cornish Mining World Heritage site.
Whilst following the South West Coast Path around the entire coast of Cornwall you will have:
  • Walked 300.1 miles (483km)
  • Passed through or over 724 stiles and gates
  • Crossed 117 bridges
  • Caught 4 ferries (Newquay, Helford, Falmouth, and Fowey)
  • Gone up or down 15,285 steps
  • Passed 1,722 Coast Path directional signs (e.g. fingerposts and waymarkers)
  • Enjoyed one of the most scenic and best walks in Cornwall

Why not set yourself some new fitness goals by walking some of your favourite stretches of the coastal path or by taking part in the South West Coast Path Challenge in October. This annual event aims to help raise funds for improvement projects to protect the Coast Path and every mile counts towards the overall total number of miles clocked up in one month. The current record is around 9,000 miles with almost 700 people taking part. Sign up for updates at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/events/challenge/ what will your challenge be?

For more information such as a distance calculator or to download short circular walking routes, as well as day to day guides to walking the entire Coast Path, visit www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk

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