6 jaw-dropping walks on the South West Coast Path

Wheal Coates. Copyright Adam Gibbard

Explore 630 miles of coastal path from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour

Come to the beach anywhere in the South West of England, turn left or right and you’ll be on the South West Coast Path. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon stroll to take you to a beautiful view, or for a challenge like no other in hiking the entire 630 miles of the South West Coast Path National Trail from Somerset's Minehead to Poole Harbour in Dorset there’s a walk for all abilities. Along the way, encounter the region’s intriguing heritage, wildlife, geology and scenery… 

1. Walk through time along the Jurassic Coast, East Devon

Jurassic Coast © VisitEngland

Discover millions of years of the earth’s history on the Jurassic Coast and experience the industries of the past and present.

The Beer to Branscombe walk offers a gentle introduction to the 1014km of trails that make up the South West Coast Path and offers spectacular views of the Jurassic Coast, England’s first natural World Heritage Site.

This westward walk over the white cliffs of Beer Head takes in the spectacular Hooken Landslide, created in 1790 when part of the cliff broke away. Follow the path into the chasm and on to Branscombe Mouth. For a short walk option, head up the valley to Branscombe Village Hall bus stop where you can catch the CoastHopper 899 bus back to Beer. Or continue this circular walk via the inland footpath, which climbs steeply back up the valley side and stops off at the impressive Beer Quarry Caves. 

2. The Donkey Sanctuary walk

This moderate walk starts at The Donkey Sanctuary, an international charity which cares for donkeys and mules, aiming to improve their welfare. Starting inland in the car park this moderate track will take you along footpaths, quiet countryside roads and a shingle beach with some gentle descents. Ideal for children, this walk will take you along a beautiful memorial lane and across pastures dedicated to the welfare of donkeys.

Find out more about the Donkey Sanctuary Walk

 (4.3KM) 

3. The Masons Trail

Signpost to Beer on the South West Coast Path Signpost to Beer on the South West Coast Path © VisitEngland

For a longer walk, The Masons Trail can be linked at both ends by local bus services. Park at Sidford Car Park and catch the bus to the Donkey Sanctuary where you can start your walk, which reveals the rich legacy of stone working and quarrying in the area. This can be traced back to Roman times and has been a major industry in the area.

Reward yourself with a drink or meal at the Anchor Inn, which overlooks the beach and is a popular watering hole for locals and visitors alike. 

Overnight options include the Sidmouth Harbour Hotel – The Westcliff, an elegant hotel overlooking the town and beach and the Higher Wiscombe, near Beer. Choose from three luxury, dog friendly cottages, sleeping from 6-32, just inland from the South West Coast Path. www.higherwiscombe.com

Useful information: From Branscombe, you can choose to continue the circular walk via Beer Quarry Caves or catch the CoastHopper 899 bus back to Beer or Seaton. 

Find out more about The Mason’s Trail

(10.2km)

4. Discover the Poldark Inspired Dramatic Mining Landscapes of West Cornwall

Filming of Poldark Filming of Poldark

Explore the dramatic coastal scenery of Poldark country among the mining landscapes of West Cornwall. The BBC adaptations of Winston Graham’s novels feature many stunning locations, telling the story of British Army Officer, Captain Ross Poldark as he returns to his Cornish homeland from the American war of independence in the 1780s.

Levant, Botallack and the Crowns (4.8 km)

This is the quintessential Cornish landscape and part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. The National Trust's restored steam winding engine at Levant Mine was used as the setting of Tressider's Rolling Mill in the latest televised series of Poldark. West Wheal Owles mine (pictured) was the setting for the fictional Wheal Leisure tin mine which Ross finds in ruins on his return to Cornwall. There are a total of 5 Poldark inspired walks so you can follow in the footsteps of Captain Ross.

Find out more about the Poldark inspired walks
 

5. Geevor Tin Mine Circular

The South West Coast Path in Cornwall The South West Coast Path in Cornwall © VisitCornwall

This walk links ancient and modern and shows the importance of tin to Cornwall through the centuries. Start at Geevor Tin Mine Museum where you can explore the museum and mining history with a guide. An excellent walk for children, who will be fascinated by a tour of the mine as well as the ancient monuments on the hill above. This circular walk along part of the South West Coast Path involves some climbing and stepping stones over streams.

Find out more about the Geevor Tin Mine Circular

(9.8km)

 

6. Cape Cornwall

Botallack Coastline Botallack Coastline © Adam Gibbard

A walk through a tumbledown landscape of old mines and mills, as well as ancient forts, barrows and a fifth-century oratory. Starting in the old mining village of St Just - England's most westerly village - the walk joins the Coast Path at Kenidjack Castle, the site of an Iron Age fort. From here it travels on around Cape Cornwall, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the English Channel, to Porth Nanven, also known as Dinosaur Egg beach.

Relax and enjoy dinner at the The Gurnard’s Head, a dining pub with rooms on Cornwall's Atlantic coast between St. Ives and St. Just, near the Minack Theatre, Zennor, Penzance and Newlyn. 

Overnight stay options include the Count House Cottage, Botallack – a  cosy cottage for two was once a workshop and is close to the Botallack Mine Count House that is one of the key locations of the Mining World Heritage Site

Find out more about the Cape Cornwall walk

 

More information related to this walk and other circular routes, can be found at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk

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