South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path is currently England's longest National Trail and stretches for 630 miles (1,014kms) from Minehead on the Somerset Coast to South Haven Point (Poole harbour) on the Dorset coast. It involves 115,000ft (35,000m) of ascent and passes through one National Park, two UNESCO World Heritage Site, six National Landscapes (previously 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 2024 Footpath Holidays will be offering the final three stretches of the South West Coast Path; Plymouth Hoe to Dartmouth from a base in Salcombe, Dartmouth to Lyme Regis from a base in Exmouth, and Lyme Regis to South Haven Point from a base in Weymouth.
Taken together the three holidays will provide 222 miles (355kms) of fantastic coastal walking, but either section is a great walk in its own right.
The dates in mid to late-May should see the coastal flora at its very best, with the cliffs draped in carpets of thrift, sea-squill and campion, and will also allow us to walk the wonderful section of the Coast Path which crosses the Lulworth Firing Ranges.
South West Coast Path (Plymouth Hoe to Dartmouth)
Total distance covered; 64 miles (103kms)
6 days walking, based in Salcombe
This 103kms (64 miles) section of the South West Coast Path runs from the bustling port of Plymouth, which lies just to the east of the Cornwall and Devon border, to Dartmouth on the coast of the South Hams of Devon.
From Plymouth Hoe along the waterfront past numerous sites of historic significance, including Smeaton’s Tower, the Mayflower Steps, Sutton Pool and the Citadel; a Wonderful stretch of rolling coastline dissected by tidal river estuaries between Wembury and Bantham; and a superb rugged coastline with massive headlands and a hilly hinterland of crazy contours between Bolt Tail and the beautiful town of Dartmouth.
Highlights include the historic sites of Plymouth; the beautiful Fleet estuary; the views across to Burgh Island with its famous art deco hotel (and a walk across to the island if the tide is out); Sharpitor, where the path picks a rocky route above the turquoise waters of the Kingsbridge Estuary; Salcombe - Britain’s most southerly resort - where lemon trees and colour-washed cottages give the town a Mediterranean feel; the far-reaching views along the coast from Bolt Head, Prawle Point and Start Point; Slapton Ley Nature Reserve where a freshwater lake separated from the sea by a shingle bar attracts a wealth of wildlife; and the view across the picturesque River Dart to the village of Kingswear on the far bank.
The fares for the Mountbatten Ferry and the ferries across the rivers Yealm, Avon and Kingsbridge are all included in the cost of the holiday.
South West Coast Path (Dartmouth to Lyme Regis)
Total distance covered; 69 miles (110kms)
6 days walking, based at Exmouth
This 110kms (69 miles) section of the South West Coast Path runs from Dartmouth eastwards to Lyme Regis on the East Devon/Dorset border.
A roller-coaster of steep ups and downs on a spectacular coastline backed by lush woodlands and convoluted contours between Dartmouth and Brixham; the graceful sweep of Torbay with its elegant hotels and palm tree-lined promenades; sandy beaches and bustling resorts along the Devon Riviera; and the wonderful sweep of red sandstone and chalk cliffs of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast between the River Exe and Lyme Regis.
Highlights include the view back across the picturesque River Dart from Kingswear to Dartmouth with its promontory castle; the lush gardens and beautiful art deco house at Coleton Fishacre; the panoramic views from Berry Head; the wealth of birdlife on the sands at the mouth of the River Exe; the enormous 440 million year old pebbles which litter the beach at Budeleigh Salterton; Ladram Bay, where dramatic stacks reveal Triassic deserts and salt lakes; the view of the genteel Regency resort of Sidmouth from the top of Weston Cliff; the charming village of Branscombe; and the famous Cobb at Lyme Regis.
The fares for the ferries across the rivers Dart, Teign and Exe are all included in the cost of the holiday.
South West Coast Path (Lyme Regis to South Haven Point)
Total distance covered; 89 miles (142kms)
8 days walking, based at Weymouth
This 142kms (89 miles) section of the South West Coast Path runs from the Devon/Dorset border at Lyme Regis to the end of the South West Coast Path at South Haven Point.
A switchback route along the top of towering cliffs all the way from Lyme Regis to West Bay; easy walking on beaches, shingle banks and field paths between West Bay and Osmington Mills; a challenging roller-coaster of chalk downland which ends abruptly in massive cliffs all along the coast of the Isle of Purbeck between White Nothe and Foreland Point; and beaches and colourful, wildlife-rich Dorset heath between Studland and South Haven Point on the shore of Poole Harbour.
Highlights include the famous Cobb at Lyme Regis; the views from the top of the Golden Cap; The Swannary at Abbotsbury, and the 15th century St Catherine’s Chapel; the world-famous Chesil Bank and the Fleet Lagoon; the Isle of Portland and the views from Portland Bill, the towering rock arch of Durdle Door; the tranquil circular lagoon of Lulworth Cove; the crescent sweep of Worbarrow Bay; the view of Portland Bill from Flowers Barrow; the exhilarating climb to the top of Houns-Tout Cliff; the charming town of Swanage; the chalk sea stacks of Old Harry Rocks; the Norman church in Studland; and the steel sculpture at South Haven Point which marks the end of the South West Coast Path.
Holiday Options 2024
Day 1: Plymouth Hoe to Wembury 12 miles (19kms)
Day 2: Wembury to Mothecombe 11 miles (18kms)
Day 3: Wonwell to Bantham 8 miles (13kms)
Day 4: Bantham to Salcombe 11 miles (18kms)
Day 5: Salcombe to Torcross 12 miles (19kms)
Day 6: Torcross to Dartmouth 10 miles (16kms)
Holiday Options 2024
Day 1: Dartmouth to Brixham 11 miles (18kms)
Day 2: Brixham to Babbacombe 13 miles (21kms)
Day 3: Babbacombe to Exmouth 14 miles (22kms)
Day 4: Exmouth to Sidmouth 13 miles (21kms)
Day 5: Sidmouth to Beer 9 miles (14kms)
Day 6: Beer to Lyme Regis 9 miles (14kms)
Holiday Options 2024
Day 1: Lyme Regis to West Bay 10 miles (16kms)
Day 2: West Bay to Abbotsbury 10 miles (16kms)
Day 3: Abbotsbury to Fortuneswell 14 miles (22kms)
Day 4: Fortuneswell to Weymouth 14 miles (22kms)
Day 5: Weymouth to Lulworth Cove 12 miles (19kms)
Day 6: Lulworth Cove to Kimmeridge 8 miles (13kms)
Day 7: Kimmeridge to Swanage 13 miles (21kms)
Day 8: Swanage to South Haven Point (Poole) 8 miles (13kms)
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