South West Coast Path
The South Coast Path is currently England's longest National Trail and stretches for 630 miles (1,014kms) from Minehead on the Somerset to Poole on the Dorset coast. It involves 115,000ft (35,000m) of ascent and passes through one National Park, two UNESCO World Heritage Site, six AONB's (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty), seven National Nature Reserves, and sixteen stretches of coastline designated and protected as Heritage Coast. Eventually the South West Coast Path will be integrated into the planned England Coast Path, and become part of the longest managed and way-marked coastal path in the world.
In 2020 Footpath Holidays will be offering two stretches of the South West Coast Path; Crackington Haven to Perranporth from a base in Newquay, and Perranporth to Porthcurno from a base in St Ives.
Taken together the two holidays will provide 130 miles (208kms) of fantastic coastal walking, but either section is a great walk in its own right.
The dates in mid-May should see the coastal flora at its very best, with the cliffs and the Cornish slate ‘hedges’ draped in carpets of thrift, sea-squill and campion.
To give you a 'taster' of the landscape take a look at the beautiful aerial photography in this short video.
South West Coast Path (Crackington Haven to Perranporth)
Total distance covered; 68 miles (109kms)
6 days walking, based in Newquay
This 68 mile (109km) section of the South West Coast Path starts in the unspoilt hamlet of Crackington Haven and runs along a dramatic sweep of the North Cornwall Coast to finish in Perranporth.
From Crackington Haven spectacular and rugged cliff scenery stretches all of the way to Polzeath where the cliffs give way to the sand dunes and calm waters around the Camel Estuary. Beyond the bustling town of Padstow, on the far side of the River Camel, the steep 'ups and downs' give way to easy clifftop walking and magnificent views along sweeps of Atlantic strand, all the way to Perranporth.
Highlights include the rock pools and folded rock strata in the shelter of Crackington Haven; the sudden arrival in Boscastle’s delightful harbour which greets you as you round Penally Point; the dramatic clifftop ruins of Tintagel Castle, where a newly-built 'sky bridge' now connects the mainland with the island; the narrow alleyways and colour-washed cottages around the bustling harbour of Port Isaac (Doc Martin's Port Wenn); the peaceful isolation of The Rumps, where Laurence Binyon sat to write his ‘Ode to the Fallen’, now an integral part of our Remembrance Day service; the view across Padstow Bay which opens up as you round Pentire Head; the tiny church of St Enodoc, half hidden in the sand dunes; crossing the River Camel from Rock to Padstow on the historic Blacktor Ferry; the massive sea stacks at Bedruthan Steps; and the view along the golden sweep of Watergate Bay - one of Cornwall’s premier surf beaches.
South West Coast Path (Perranporth to Porthcurno)
Total distance covered; 62 miles (99kms)
6 days walking, based at St Ives
This 62 mile (99km) section of the South West Coast Path starts in the the holiday village of Perranporth on North Cornwall's Atlantic coast, and runs right around Land's End, Cornwall’s most westerly point, to finish in Porthcurno on the southern coast of the West Penwith peninsula.
All along this magnificent and rugged section of the Cornwall coast there are constant atmospheric reminders of the legacy of Cornwall’s historic tin-mining industry, whilst the remote and atmospheric heather-clad moorland of West Penwith, which rises straight from the coast, is peppered with evidence of ancient civilisations. The views inland are as dramatic as those along the clifftops, every headland opens up a new vista, and every inlet hides a picturesque harbour or a secluded beach. This historic landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the lonely ruins of disused engine houses - the visible remnants of Cornwall’s once great tin-mining industry - add drama to the landscape.
Highlights include the view back along Perran Sands; Blue Hills Tin Streams in Trevellas Combe, a fascinating working heritage site where tin is extracted from the surface rocks by traditional processes unchanged over centuries; the lofty promontory of St Agnes Head; the view of St Ives Bay from Godrevy Point; the fishing port of St Ives, world-famous as a centre for the influential ‘St Ives School’ of artists; the remote moorland village of Zennor, surrounded by Bronze Age field systems thought to be the oldest man-made artefacts still in everyday use today; the massive views from Zennor Head, Gurnard’s Head and Pendeen Watch; the dramatic views down onto the disused wheel-houses and chimneys of the Crown Mines (a sight which will be familiar to fans of 'Poldark'); lofty Cape Cornwall, where the Atlantic currents separate; Land’s End - the most westerly point in Mainland Britain - with its splendid rock architecture; picturesque Nanjizal Bay (a great place for dolphin-spotting); and The Minack, the open-air theatre carved into the side of the cliff in the 1920's in the style of an ancient Greek amphitheatre, with its views out across the sweep of Porthcurno Bay.
Day 1: Crackington Haven to Tintagel 11 miles (18kms)
Day 2: Tintagel to Port Isaac 9 miles (14kms)
Day 3: Port Isaac to Padstow 12 miles (19kms)
Day 4: Padstow to Treyarnon 11 miles (18kms)
Day 5: Treyarnon to Newquay 12 miles (19kms)
Day 6: Newquay to Perranporth 13 miles (21kms)
Day 1: Perranporth to Portreath 11 miles (18kms)
Day 2: Portreath to Hayle 12 miles (19kms)
Day 3: Hayle to St Ives 7 miles (11kms)
Day 4: St Ives to Treen (by Zennor) 9 miles (14kms)
Day 5: Treen to St Just 11 miles (18kms)
Day 6: St Just to Porthcurno 12 miles (19ms)
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