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630 miles of stunning coastline

Walking 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

About the South West Coast Path

Walking 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 walking the South West Coast Path is in either a National Park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 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. While walking the South West Coast Path 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, Lynmouth 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 some time to enjoy the gastronomic delights of Padstow.

Then walk 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!

Walking 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.  

Check Out Our South West Coast Path Merchandise

Walking the South West Coast Path doesn’t have to be completed in one go to enjoy the best it has to offer. You can find maps and merchandise, along with books that include short walks on the the South West Coast Path here:

How long does walking the South West Coast Path take, end to end?  

Walking the South West Coast Path can be completed by a fast walker 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. 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.  

Is walking the South West Coast Path hard?  

If you are new to walking the South West Coast Path, a key tip is don’t plan to walk as far as you normally would. 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 rushing to reach your planned overnight stop.  

When walking the South West Coast Path, which direction should I go?  

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 walking the South West Coast Path National Trail?  

Most of the South West Coast Path is a 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.  

Can I bring my dog while walking 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 responsibly look after them to avoid disturbing livestock and wildlife or causing a nuisance to other walkers, you will be welcomed.  

What is the best time of year for walking the South West Coast Path?  

Whilst 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, wildflowers 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 the South West 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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Top 10 Walks - South West Coast Path: Coastal Pub Walks, Dorset Top 10 Walks - South West Coast Path: Coastal Pub Walks, Dorset loading
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Top 10 Walks - Dorset's Jurassic Coast - Lyme Regis to Poole Harbour Top 10 Walks - Dorset's Jurassic Coast - Lyme Regis to Poole Harbour loading
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Top 10 Walks - Coastal Pub Walks South Devon Top 10 Walks - Coastal Pub Walks South Devon loading
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Maps for the South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path Outdoor Scratch Map South West Coast Path Outdoor Scratch Map loading
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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 - 1 - Minehead to Woody Bay South West Coast Path Zigzag map - 1 - Minehead to Woody Bay loading
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South West Coast Path Art Print South West Coast Path Art Print loading
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South West Coast Path Zigzag map - 10 - St Michael's Mount to Coverack South West Coast Path Zigzag map - 10 - St Michael's Mount to Coverack loading
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South West Coast Path Merchandise

South West Coast Path Outdoor Scratch Map South West Coast Path Outdoor Scratch Map loading
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South West Coast Path Completion Certificate South West Coast Path Completion Certificate loading
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South West Coast Path woven sew-on badge South West Coast Path woven sew-on badge loading
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South West Coast Path woven patch badge South West Coast Path woven patch badge loading
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South West Coast Path enamel badge South West Coast Path enamel badge 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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South West Coast Path Art Print South West Coast Path Art Print loading
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'Follow the acorn' National Trail Men's Compass Hoody 'Follow the acorn' National Trail Men's Compass Hoody loading
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National Trails 'Follow the acorn' Compass T-Shirt National Trails 'Follow the acorn' Compass T-Shirt loading
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Reviews for Walking the South West Coast Path

Find out what people have to say about their experience of walking the South West Coast Path:

Map of the South West Coast Path