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630 miles of stunning coastline

The South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path National Trail
South West Coast Path National Trail
South West Coast Path National Trail
South West Coast Path National Trail
South West Coast Path National Trail
South West Coast Path National Trail
South West Coast Path National Trail
Wheal Owles Photographer Colin Boucher

What is the South West Coast Path?

The South West Coast Path is perhaps the UK’s ultimate challenge for the long distance hiker - 630 miles (1,014 km) from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset following the North Devon, Cornwall, South Devon and Dorset coastlines.


More than 70% of the Path is in either a National Park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you’ll also pass through two World Heritage Sites (Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape and the Dorset and East Devon Coast), a UNESCO Biosphere (North Devon) and a UNESCO Geopark (Torbay).


From high cliffs and long sandy beaches to rugged heather moorlands, rolling green fields and woodland the South West Coast Path is never dull. You’ll pass through seaside towns and pretty villages enjoying spectacular landscape, history and heritage along the way.


From the bustling seaside town of Minehead the path follows the edge of Exmoor National Park, taking in the precipitous harbour towns of Lynton, Lymouth and Ilfracombe. Continue along the North Devon coast and enjoy the dramatic cliffs and long sandy beaches. Tintagel Castle with its myths and legends is worth a visit and take some time to enjoy the gastronomic delights of Padstow.


Continue along the coast watching the surfers at Newquay and immerse yourself in the artistic heritage of St Ives. Enjoy the views from Land’s End (England’s most westerly point) and Lizard Point (the most southerly point in Britain).


From small fishing ports such as Mevagissey, Fowey, Polperro and Looe to the large Naval ports at Falmouth and Plymouth, you’ll experience the impact the coast has on the people who live here.


Stand in awe of the dramatic cliffs of the Jurassic Coast and enjoy the heritage, geology, archaeology and wildlife that you’ll experience. Whether you’ve walked the trail in short sections or all in one go, reaching the end at South Haven Point is a huge achievement!


The South West Coast Path offers something for everyone – whether you’re an experienced trekker looking for a huge challenge, a relaxed rambler wanting scenic strolls, a young backpacker embarking on an adventure or a family keen to explore the great outdoors.

How long does it take to walk the South West Coast Path end to end?

In terms of walking days, a fast walker can complete the whole Trail in around 30 days, but a more leisurely pace with time to stop to see some of the sights just off the path is between 7 and 8 weeks. As few people have enough time to be able to walk it in one go, most split it between several holidays and complete the path over several years.

How hard is the South West Coast Path?

If you are new to the Coast Path, a key tip is don’t plan to walk as far as you would normally. It is a challenging route, with in total over 115,000 feet (35,000 metres) of up and down, and it is far better to be ahead of schedule and have time to explore, than having to rush to reach your planned overnight stop.

Which direction should I walk the South West Coast Path in?

Most people walk start at Minehead and walk towards Poole, but that is mainly because that is the direction guidebooks are written in however there's no reason why you shouldn't walk it in the opposite direction.

Who can enjoy the South West Coast Path National Trail?

Most of the South West Coast Path is footpath so is only open to walkers. There are a few short sections that can be cycled or ridden however they do not form a long distance route.

Taking your dog on the South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is a great place to take your dog for a walk. They are permitted on the entire path, and providing that you look after them in a responsible way to avoid disturbing livestock and wildlife or causing a nuisance to other walkers, you will be welcomed.

What is the best time of year to walk on the South West Coast Path?

Whilst the spring and late summer are the best times to walk the path, summer and winter can also be great.


In Spring lambs are in the fields, trees come into leaf, wild flowers are appearing and migrant birds and basking sharks are returning from warmer climes. The fresh weather is great for walking, and the occasional shower merely sharpens the view.


Summer brings warmer temperatures, meaning you can often walk in a t-shirt and shorts, and stop off at beaches for a cooling dip. Flowers are in full bloom, and the sunshine brings out drifts of butterflies. In late summer, much of the north coast turns purple and yellow and smells wonderful, thanks to the heather and gorse coming into bloom.


Autumn means the crowds have gone home, but the weather and sea temperature often remains warm enough for swimming. At this time of year, headlands are great spots to see migrating birds making their back south. As the weather terms chillier, trees take on their lovely red and gold Autumn colours.


Winter means you have to choose your days to go walking with more care to make the most of the shorter days and more unsettled weather. However there is nothing like wrapping up warm on a blustery winter’s day and walking along the Coast Path to watch (from a safe distance) storm waves pound the cliffs. It’s also the perfect way to unwind with the whole family and walk off the excesses of the Christmas and New Year break.

Can I buy South West Coast Path merchandise?

We sell a range of South West Coast Path merchandise including sew on badges, enamel badges, mugs and other merchandise. 

Can I get a South West Coast Path National Trail completion certificate?

Our personalised South West Coast Path certificate is a great momento for anyone that has completed the trail.

Guidebooks for the South West Coast Path

Walking the South West Coast Path Walking the South West Coast Path loading
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South West Coast Path - Minehead to Padstow South West Coast Path - Minehead to Padstow loading
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South West Coast Path - Padstow to Falmouth South West Coast Path - Padstow to Falmouth loading
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South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Exmouth South West Coast Path - Falmouth to Exmouth loading
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South West Coast Path - Exmouth to Poole South West Coast Path - Exmouth to Poole loading
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Exmoor & North Devon Coast Path - Trailblazer Exmoor & North Devon Coast Path - Trailblazer loading
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Cornwall Coast Path - Trailblazer Cornwall Coast Path - Trailblazer loading
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Dorset & South Devon Coast Path - Trailblazer Dorset & South Devon Coast Path - Trailblazer loading
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Top 10 Walks - South West Coast Path: Somerset & North Devon Coast Top 10 Walks - South West Coast Path: Somerset & North Devon Coast loading
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Land’s End Circuit Land’s End Circuit loading
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Top 10 Walks - South West Coast Path: South Devon Coast Top 10 Walks - South West Coast Path: South Devon Coast loading
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Top 10 Walks - South West Coast Path: South Cornwall Coast Top 10 Walks - South West Coast Path: South Cornwall Coast loading
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Maps for the South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path 1 North Devon & Somerset A-Z Adventure Atlas South West Coast Path 1 North Devon & Somerset A-Z Adventure Atlas loading
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South West Coast Path 2 North Cornwall A-Z Adventure Atlas South West Coast Path 2 North Cornwall A-Z Adventure Atlas loading
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South West Coast Path 3 South Cornwall A-Z Adventure Atlas South West Coast Path 3 South Cornwall A-Z Adventure Atlas loading
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South West Coast Path 4 South Devon A-Z Adventure Atlas South West Coast Path 4 South Devon A-Z Adventure Atlas loading
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South West Coast Path 5 Dorset A-Z Adventure Atlas South West Coast Path 5 Dorset A-Z Adventure Atlas loading
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South West Coast Path 1 Harvey map South West Coast Path 1 Harvey map loading
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South West Coast Path 2 Harvey map South West Coast Path 2 Harvey map loading
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South West Coast Path 3 Harvey map South West Coast Path 3 Harvey map loading
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South West Coast Path Zigzag map - Minehead to Woody Bay South West Coast Path Zigzag map - Minehead to Woody Bay loading
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South West Coast Path Merchandise

South West Coast Path enamel badge South West Coast Path enamel badge loading
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National Trail Completion Certificate National Trail Completion Certificate loading
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National Trail Mug National Trail Mug loading
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National Trail souvenir signs National Trail souvenir signs loading
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Trail Tealight Holder Trail Tealight Holder loading
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National Trails boot jack National Trails boot jack loading
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'From Sea to Summit' National Trail T-Shirt 'From Sea to Summit' National Trail T-Shirt loading
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'From sea to summit' National Trail hoody 'From sea to summit' National Trail hoody loading
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Map of the South West Coast Path

What are National Trails?

National Trails offer some of the best long-distance walking, riding and cycling experiences in England and Wales, officially supported by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. All of the National Trails are within easy reach of buses, trains and the services of nearby towns and villages. In fact nowhere in England or Wales is more than 50 miles / 80km from a National Trail. Each National Trail has dedicated staff, often working with local volunteers, to look after the physical condition of the Trail, keeping paths, gates, stiles and signs in the best condition.

Which trails are National Trails?

The National Trails are: 
  • Cleveland Way
  • Cotswold Way
  • England Coast Path
  • Glyndwr’s Way
  • Hadrian’s Wall Path
  • Norfolk Coast Path and Peddars Way
  • North Downs Way
  • Offa’s Dyke Path
  • Pembrokeshire Coast Path
  • Pennine Bridleway
  • Pennine Way
  • The Ridgeway
  • South Downs Way
  • South West Coast Path
  • Thames Path
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way 

The Coast to Coast is not currently a National Trail but will become one in the next couple of years.

Are there National Trails in Scotland?

In Scotland long-distance routes are called Scotland's Great Trails. There are 29 routes, at least 25 miles in length providing over 1,900 miles of well managed paths from the Borders to the Highlands. Each is distinctively waymarked, largely off road and has a range of visitor services and are are suitable for multi-day outings as well as day trips.


Scotland's Great Trails are:


  • Annandale Way
  • Arran Coastal Way
  • Ayrshire Coastal Path
  • Berwickshire Coastal Path
  • Borders Abbeys Way
  • Cateran Trail
  • Clyde Walkway
  • Cross Borders Drove Road
  • Dava Way
  • Fife Coastal Path
  • Formartine and Buchan Way
  • Forth & Clyde/Union Canal Towpath
  • Great Glen Canoe Trail
  • Great Glen Way
  • Great Trossachs Path
  • John Muir Way
  • Kintyre Way
  • Loch Lomond & Cowal Way
  • Moray Coast Trail
  • Mull of Galloway Trail
  • River Ayr Way
  • Rob Roy Way
  • Romans and Reivers Route
  • Southern Upland Way
  • Speyside Way
  • St Cuthbert’s Way
  • Three Lochs Way
  • West Highland Way
  • West Island Way