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4
moderate to challenging
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 9 nights in hotels, B&Bs, inns and guesthouses
Meals
  • 9 Breakfasts

10 Days£1210GBP

Overview

Trip Code: WPS

South West Coast Path Trip highlights


  • Walk in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from Devon into Cornwall
  • Visit magical Tintagel, the headland and village
  • Sublime views from the many headlands, particularly Hartland Point
  • Fashionable seaside towns such as Port Isaac, Padstow & Westward Ho!
  • The Cobbled streets of the car-free fishing village of Clovelly
  • Tintagel Castle: birthplace of the legendary King Arthur

This 80 mile/129km walking holiday is considered by many as not only the toughest, but also one of the most spectacular sections of Britain's longest official National Trail. It is a rollercoaster of a journey as the South West Coast Path ventures from Devon into Cornwall - from Westward Ho! to the charming seaside town of Padstow.

South of Hartland Point, the coastline has been shaped by the full force of the Atlantic Ocean resulting in dramatic cliffs and a switchback of hills and valleys to cross.

There are many attractions on this walk in Cornwall. Descend from lofty cliffs to hidden coves and secluded fishing villages where you can enjoy a freshly-caught lunch. There is an abundance of wildlife with the chance to spot dolphins, seals, whales, and an array of seabirds, and if you lucky puffins returning to their nests with a fresh catch.

Take a stroll along the cobbled streets of Clovelly and delve into the history of Tintagel Castle, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur – there is plenty to do and see on this 10-day South West Coast Path walking holiday.

Countries:

England

Starting Point:

Westward Ho!

Finishing Point:

Padstow


Arrive in Westward Ho! and check in to your accommodation. This is the only town in the UK to have an exclamation mark as part of its name. It was so named after the namesake book by Charles Kingsley, a Victorian bestseller. This brought a wave of tourism to the area, which led to the creation of the village. The seafront is one of North Devon’s most popular surfing and swimming spots. Accommodation: We have selected a range of welcoming accommodation including B&B’s, guesthouses and Inns.

Meals:  Nil

An easy start to the day out of the town along an old railway track up onto the cliffs where you join the South West Coast Path. Now commences a strenuous zig-zagging, roller-coaster of a walk along open cliff tops and then into woodlands. The path continues above Clovelly, until you drop down to this beautiful, car-free village with cobbled streets. Clovelly is a historic fishing village involved in smuggling and wrecking. It is here that Charles Kingsley found inspiration for his children’s classic "The Water Babies" and the village has featured in many TV programmes and films such as Treasure Island. Accommodation: A beautiful cottage set halfway down Clovelly’s famous high street dating from the 14 century (1361) and is still traditionally heated by a solid fuel Aga & wood burners. the front garden is an award winning garden of camellias, roses and various flowers.

Meals:  B

Today's challenging section leads you through the stunning, contrasting landscapes of the Hartland Peninsula. You emerge from ancient woodland to follow the path through pastoral land on the open cliff tops. On reaching Hartland Point there are views to Lundy Island. From here, leaving the valleys and woodland behind, you suddenly enter a more barren and dramatic landscape along the rocky coast to Hartland Quay. Screaming gulls, coastal waterfalls and wildflowers give this section a remote feel. The spectacular cliffs at Hartland Quay with their incredibly contorted rock layers are always dramatic and at low tide there is plenty of sand, rock pools and rocks to scramble over. In wild weather it is the perfect place to appreciate the power of the sea and wind as the waves crash against the cliffs and shore. Hartland Quay was built towards the end of the 16th Century being one of many quays along the Cornish coast. Heavy goods such as lime, slate and coal were shipped in from across the Bristol Channel and local produce, such as barley and oats, would have been shipped out. With the arrival of the railway in Bideford, maintenance of the pier ceased until members of the Hartland Boat Club constructed the present slipway. Accommodation: The Quayside buildings were converted into a hotel and pub at the end of the 19th Century and now has a series of modern rooms in an old-style setting.

Meals:  B

A challenging section with some very relentless and tiring ascents and descents, isolation and of course stunning views. See the most impressive waterfall on the whole South West Coast Path; the 15m high Speke’s Mill Mouth Waterfall, although it falls 48 metres in 3 steps. It is located in a stunningly beautiful area of hanging valleys and high cliffs, where seabirds swoop and wildflowers flourish on the clifftops. You now cross the county border into the Cornwall and then walk to Morwenstow. This charming village is associated with a history of ship wrecks off the near Sharpnose Point. It’s also known for the eccentric vicar and poet Robert Stephen Hawker (1803–1875), the writer of Cornwall’s anthem Trelawny. Hawker is also credited with reviving the custom of Harvest Festivals. On the cliff edge there is the National Trust’s smallest building: ”Hawker’s Hut,” overlooking the sea. the village itself is slightly inland. Accommodation: a 13th century country pub, riddled with history and intrigue, cosy ensuite rooms. In the Summer, enjoy the outdoor seating in the beer garden with beautiful sea views. Good pub food served.

Meals:  B

There are stunning views and some rugged walking, especially from Higher Sharpnose Point and Steeple Point. The rocky shoreline was notorious for shipwrecks with over 150 ships lost on the rocky outcrops between Morwenstow and Bude alone. Stroll on past tumbling waterfalls and across secluded combes, before easing on the approach to Bude above and along the beach. Bude was a romantic Victorian bather's resort, making the most of its yellow, shell-based sands. To improve the soil, this was once taken inland via the 6-mile long Bude Canal. Accommodation: Homely B&B about 300 metres from the seafront, ensuite rooms and Devon and Cornwall sourced breakfast items.

Meals:  B

The easy grassy cliff path along the back of the beaches from Bude to Widemouth Bay may mislead you into thinking the whole day will be like this. However, the South West Coast Path soon becomes challenging; becoming rough and narrow in places and plunging into steep valleys. One of these is Scrade; one of the deepest and steepest valleys on the Cornwall section of the SW Coast Path. Take in vast open views of the Atlantic Ocean from high cliff top paths, while being conscious of the force of the sea and winds due to the uneven ground and crumbling cliffs below you. Tintagel Castle gradually approaches on this dramatic walk. Eventually you descend into Crackington Haven where the surrounding cliffs are well-known for their visible folded sedimentary rock formations. The village gives its name to the Crackington formation, a sequence of Carboniferous sandstones and grey shales. Settle in one of the tea rooms or pub called the Coombe Barton Inn - in a building which was originally the house of the manager of a local slate quarry. Accommodation: A small pub hotel right on the seafront, relax with good food and Cornish keg real ales. There is a traditional menu, sourcing the local, freshest ingredients and there are superb views across the bay or in the glorious summer months outside on the raised decking overlooking the beach. All guestrooms include coffee/tea makers, private bathroom and TV.

Meals:  B

Today's walk is full of impressive rock formations, as you will be climbing through valleys and across cliffs with spectacularly sheer drops to the Atlantic Ocean below. Enjoy great birdwatching opportunities, including peregrine falcons. You may also spot the herds of Soay sheep and goats whose grazing helps to encourage the growth of the wildflowers. There is also a waterfall called Pentargon and the highest cliff on the whole Cornish section of the South West Coast Path; called 'High Cliff' it towers 223 metres above the Atlantic Ocean. You also get to visit Boscastle on this hike, with its ancient harbour almost invisible from the sea. It is a beautiful fishing village in the bottom of a rugged, steep-sided valley. Then it is on to famous Tintagel - where they say there has been more imported post-Roman pottery excavated than from the rest of Britain put together. This fact, along with the heroic and mysterious literary legends of King Arthur, which surround the area, is a real attraction. Tintagel Head was originally a Roman settlement and a Celtic fortress, but most of the ruins are those of the 13th-century castle built by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Accommodation: Situated near Tintagel Castle, our guesthouse has 7 rooms available throughout the year.

Meals:  B

After an easyish warm-up-walk out of Tintagel, the day presents a pretty hard trek to Port Isaac. Especially between Trebarwith Strand and Port Isaac, where there are some steep descents into valleys and tough climbs up to the clifftops again. However, you will be walking through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), once important for slate mining, fishing and processing. Finally, with tired legs, you will arrive at the winding streets of Port Isaac, always popular with visitors. It had a boost due to the success of the Doc Martin TV series. The name 'Port Isaac' comes from 'Porthysek', or "corn port", indicating a trade in corn from the arable inland district. However, the port really developed from the Tudor period when Pilchards became popular. Accommodation: This inn dates back to 1527, once a a smugglers' hideaway and a ships chandlery, today it operates as a harbourside café located on an amazing outdoor terrace overlooking the port and a Bar & Restaurant over two floors indoors. Upstairs is a Bed & Breakfast with seven quirky, modernly-appointed en-suite rooms.

Meals:  B

A tough but beautiful section to finish this walking holiday in Cornwall. There are fantastic views from Lobber Point back over Port Isaac and Tintagel church & castle beyond. You pass through the inlet of Pine Haven and the historic promontory known as The Rumps. Then there is Portquin, a little village with a natural harbour, known as ‘the village that died’ due to the disappearance of all of the men of the village sometime in the 19th century. They probably all drowned at sea whilst fishing, forcing the women to abandon their homes. After the strenuous first half to Polzeath, crossing small valleys and winding round exposed headlands, there is an easy walk & ferry crossing into Padstow. This is a quintessential Cornish fishing town, home now to Rick Stein's famous seafood restaurant. The town is in a bay whose mouth is compromised at certain tides by the notorious shipwrecking 'Doombar.' Accommodation: The Golden Lion dates back to the 14th century and is the oldest inn in town. It has an open fire and parquet flooring.

Meals:  B

Depart Padstow after breakfast.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 9 breakfasts
  • 9 nights accommodation in guesthouses and inns on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 20kg. Please note all luggage moves over October dates will incur a Winter Transfer Supplement
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline
  • GPS Files

  • Lunch, dinner and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • Excess luggage
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Guide - this is a self guided holiday

Accommodation


Suitability

moderate to challenging

4

Moderate to challenging, days are not particularly long but with some tough ascents and descents and walking on sand in places. This is a coastal path, so some scrambling may be in place.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Mar to 18 Oct

Notes

DN1
Please note that minor changes to your 2024 itinerary may apply.
DN2
This section of the SWCP is preceded by trip WMH and can be followed by trip WCN or WNS.

Priceper person from

£1210GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementGBP£580
  • Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£670
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

Westward Ho!, Bude, Port Isaac and Padstow are all great places to add extra nights and spend a rest day.

There are some lovely beaches on this walk especially at the start and it would be a shame to miss out on swimming where you feel like it. Be aware of local conditions though such as tides, rocks etc, and any red flags.


South West Coast Path Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

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Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

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We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

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South West Coast Path

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