South West Coast Path National Trail
1014 km / 630 miles
Our longest National Trail gives the opportunity to enjoy some of Britain’s finest coastal landscapes. These are extremely varied, from rugged and remote clifftops to sheltered estuaries, busy harbours and resorts. Moorland stretches contrast with plateaux incised by steep coastal valleys and intimate coves with long pebbly or sandy beaches.
South Cornwall and Devon offer spectacular ‘drowned’ estuaries while in East Devon and Dorset there are extensive ‘undercliffs’ resulting from landslips. Ferries operate across most of the larger estuaries but some offer a reduced service or cease altogether out of the holiday season. Details are available in the South West Coast Path Association's Annual Guide.
Two World Heritage Sites cover sections of the coastline. Mining was a major industry during the 18th and 19th centuries and transformed the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape. This Site comprises ten separate areas both along the coast and inland. The Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural World Heritage Site and includes 95 miles of unspoilt cliffs and beaches from Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Studland Bay in Dorset.
In 2002, Plymouth City Council created a continuous walking route along its coastline and appointed a team of artists to mark the route and interpret the many stories along it. Promoted as Plymouth's Waterfront Walkway (10 miles) this is now part of the South West Coast Path National Trail and is not separately named on OS mapping.
For the E9 route that runs between Plymouth and Dover, Exploring the Bournemouth Coast Path covers the 37-mile stretch between Swanage and Lymington and includes the E9 route through Bournemouth. See E-Routes (E9).
East of Lulworth army ranges restrict access at certain times (for details telephone 24 hour answering service 01929 462721 x4819).
The St Michael's Way (12 miles), which is included on OS mapping, links Lelant (north coast of Cornwall) with Penzance/Marazion/St Michael's Mount on the south coast and can be extended into a much longer circular route when combined with the National Trail. Coast-to-Coast Trail (Cornwall Mineral Tramways) traverses 11 miles from the north to south coasts from Portreath to Devoran passing via Cambrose and Scorrier down the Poldice Valley and the Carnon riverside through past mining landscapes. The circular waymarked Dart Valley Trail (17 miles and on OS mapping) connects to the National Trail having the ferry between Dartmouth and Kingswear in common. It also links to the national rail network at Totnes. The Templer Way (18 miles and on OS mapping), which is waymarked except on open moorland, goes between Haytor Quarry and the National Trail at Teignmouth, using the ferry from Shaldon to Teignmouth.
As an alternative to the large number of OS maps, six Harvey stripmaps cover the full route. GPS track files may be downloaded from the National Trail's website.
The LDWA National Trails Register offers certificates for completers of several British National Trails.
See also E-Routes (E9)
Strider News - August 2013 (Path Update)
In 2013 the path celebrates its 40th anniversary and the SWCP Association is organising a programme of led walks along the full route (see last website link below - South West CPA 40th Anniversary 2013 walks). Walks on the north coast (Minehead-Land’s End) take place daily from Tuesday 16th April until Tuesday 7th May inclusive. Walks on the south coast (South Haven Point-Land’s End) take place daily from Wednesday 3rd April until Tuesday 7th May inclusive, with the exception of Saturday 13th April, when the progress reaches Torquay, when there is a day’s break for the Association’s AGM. The meeting of the two sets of walks at Land’s End on Tuesday 7th May will be the occasion of the final celebration. The 2013 SWCPA guide is now available with ISBN: 978-0907055198 priced at £9.95 - The South West Coast Path, 2013 Guide.
The path has been subject to unusual damage due to heavy rain in 2012/2013 with cliff falls, landslips and flood damage requiring over 20 diversions, details of which, along with safety advice, are on the websites of the Association (user group link below - http://www.swcp.org.uk) and the National Trail team (first website listed below on Latest News tab - South West Coast Path). Although this looks a long list, these are spread over 630 miles and so the vast majority of the Coast Path is still open.
Strider News - April 2013 (Publication Update)
Geographers' A-Z Map Company have produced a series of 5 atlases covering the whole of the South West Coast Path National Trail. They employ the OS Explorer 1:25000 mapping in a convenient book format, with the addition of an index to towns, villages, hamlets and locations, natural features, nature reserves, car parks and youth hostels. At a book size of 240mm x 134mm it is the same size as a standard OS Explorer map when closed. The five volumes are listed under the 'Other Paper Maps' section below.
Strider News - December 2012 (Publication Update)
Trailblazer have released their three new sectional guides covering the full South West Coast Path National Trail, listed below, with the third in March 2013. The paperbacks are: Exmoor & North Devon Coast Path (Part 1) Minehead to Bude, ISBN: 978-1905864430; Cornwall Coast Path (Part 2) Bude to Plymouth, ISBN: 978-1905864447; Dorset & South Devon Coast Path (Part 3) Plymouth to Poole Harbour, ISBN: 978-1905864454.
|Path Type:||National Trails (England & Wales)|
|Waymark:||National Trail Acorn|
|Attributes:||Challenging; Coastal; World Heritage Site; Geological|
SS971469 - Minehead, Somers
SZ036866 - South Haven Point, Dorset
|User Group:||South West Coast Path Association|
|Bowker House, Lee Mill Bridge, IVYBRIDGE, Devon, PL21 9EF|
|Web Sites:||South West Coast Path|
|Devon CC Walking|
|Cornwall Mining WHS|
|Jurassic Coast WHS|
|Plymouth Waterfront Walkway|
|Accommodation Listing in the South West|
|South West CPA 40th Anniversary 2013 walks|
Publications, Badges and Certificates:
|Certificate:||Certificate for National Trails (Long Distance Walkers Association - 2009)|
|Paperback:||Exmoor & North Devon Coast Path (South-West Coast Path Part 1) Minehead to Bude (Trailblazer Publications - 2012)|
|Paperback:||Cornwall Coast Path (South-West Coast Path Part 2) Bude to Plymouth (Trailblazer Publications - 2012)|
|Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps (path is named on OS maps):|
|OS Landranger:||180, 181, 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204|
|OS Landranger Active:||200, 201, 202, 203, 204|
|OS Explorer:||102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 115, 116, 126, 139, 9, 15, 20|
|OS Explorer Active:||102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 115, 116, 126, 139, 9, 15, 20|
|Other Paper Maps:|
|Harvey Map (Stripmap):||South West Coast Path: Map 1: Minehead to Bude (Harvey Maps - 2007)|
|Harvey Map (Stripmap):||South West Coast Path: Map 2:Bude to Portreath (Harvey Maps - 2006)|
|Harvey Map (Stripmap):||South West Coast Path: Map 3: Portreath to Lizard Point (Harvey Maps - 2006)|
|Downloadable Digital Mapping:||South West Coast Path National Trail (Anquet Maps - 2009)|
|Digital Mapping (25k Scale):||MEMORY-MAP V5 SW COAST PATH - MINEHEAD TO FALMOUTH OS 1:25,000 (Memory-Map Europe)|
|Digital Mapping (25k Scale):||South West Coast Path (Part 1) 1:25k & 1:50k (Satmap - 2009)|
|Digital Mapping (25k Scale):||South West Coast Path (Part 2) 1:25k & 1:50k (Satmap - 2009)|
|Digital Mapping (25k Scale):||MEMORY-MAP V5 SW COAST PATH - FALMOUTH TO POOLE OS 1:25,000 (Memory-Map Europe)|
Walking Support Providers:
|Support Providers:||Coach Assisted Walking Holidays with Youth Hostel Accommodation (Bobs Walking Holidays)|
|Support Providers:||Guided and Self-Guided Walking Holidays (HF Holidays)|
|Support Providers:||Guided Walking Holidays (Ramblers Countrywide Holidays)|
|Support Providers:||Luggage Transfers (Luggage Transfers)|
|Support Providers:||Self Guided Walking Holidays (Beks Treks UK)|
|Support Providers:||Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Celtic Trails Walking Holidays)|
|Support Providers:||Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Westcountry Walking Holidays)|
|Support Providers:||Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Instep Walking Holidays)|
|Support Providers:||Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Contours Walking Holidays)|
|Support Providers:||Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Macs Adventure)|
|Support Providers:||Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Encounter Cornwall)|
|Support Providers:||Walking, Hiking and Cycling Holidays (Explore Britain)|
|Support Providers:||Walking, Hiking and Cycling Holidays (Let's Go Walking! Ltd)|
Group Accommodation within 5 Km of this Path:
|Hostel Accommodation:||Base Lodge, Minehead, Somerset||1 Km|
|Hostel Accommodation:||Minehead YHA, Alcombe Combe, Minehead, Somerset||3 Km|
|Bunk House:||Yenworthy Lodge||< 1 Km|
|GPS Exchange Format Route File:||South West Coast Path National Trail GPX Exchange Format Route File||Login to Download
|MemoryMap Route file:||South West Coast Path National Trail Memory Map Route File||Login to Download
|Tracklogs Route file:||Southwest Coast Path||Login to Download
|985.8 Km (612.5 miles)
33,830 m (110,991 ft) ascent
325 m (1,066 ft) maximum height