The South West Coast Path, which stretches from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, all around the north and south coast of Devon and Cornwall, totalling 630 miles. It boasts some of the best coastal scenery you can find in the whole of the UK. I am lucky enough to have walked along several parts of the coastal path, and with lovely summer having finally arrived on UK shores, I am sharing some of my favourite walks.
Mouthmill Beach, North Devon
Near the picturesque town of Clovelly, there is the secluded beach Mouthmill and the eye-catching Blackchurch Rock. The walk there shows off the best of North Devon’s coastline with dramatic rock formations and plunging cliffsides, passing over moors, through farmland and woodland. The ascent down to the pebbled beach can be a little steep, but as you walk through a woodland full of bluebells and wild garlic in spring, there is a lot to enjoy on your walk. The route passes through Hartland’s Heritage Coast in North Devon, which boasts some of the best scenery in the region.
Chideock to Charmouth, Dorset
Rather a rollercoaster of a walk, this route, not far from Lyme Regis, has a fair few ascents and descents, though you can take a detour around the Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast of England. At 626 feet (191 metres) the Golden Cap takes its name from the weathered sandstone which dates back to the Jurassic period. The colour has dimmed slightly with the increase in plants covering it. The cliffs have been carved out by sea and rain over the last few million years, and some scientist have even found dinosaur bones! I haven’t been so lucky.
Sennen Cove and Land’s End, Cornwall
Land’s End is a well-known landmark in Cornwall, and it’s on a beautiful part of the Cornish coastline. The walk between the landmark and neighbouring beach Sennen Cove has spectacular views, and there is a lot of history and wildlife to interest walkers too. There are various routes of varying difficulty to choose from. The best time to go on the walk is in spring, as the wildflowers are in full bloom, and the cliffs are noisy with lots of nesting birds, and many seabirds can be spotted offshore. If you are prepared to go a little further along from Land’s End, there is Nanjizal Beach, another gorgeous spot.
Baggy Point, North Devon
A short walk, suitable for all abilities and accessibility – I have seen people with pushchairs on the path! – The walk up to Baggy Point can be done as a circular walk. Baggy Point headland is situated between two sandy beaches, Croyde and Putsborough Sands, and there is a lot of wildlife to watch for on the way. Seagulls can be seen in the sea below, and various songbirds and migrant birds nest in the cliffs. From spring to summer, the cliffsides are covered in various flowers, such as bluebells, gorse and heather. Be sure to wear warm clothing and a jacket you can take on or off as the headland is exposed to the Atlantic winds and can be chilly, even in the summer.
Start Point and Mattiscombe Sand, South Devon
This circular walk takes in a variety of scenery, from the sandy beach of Mattiscombe Sand, farmland and rocky cliffs at Start Point. The beginning of the route is suitable for everyone, from young children to older people with lower mobility. After leaving the lighthouse road, the Coast Path is a more challenging. In late spring, the flowers blooming on the cliffs mean the route has become a rainbow of colour. As you pass by Mattiscombe Sand, it is a good idea to take some food and a blanket, where you can rest on the secluded beach before journeying back to the car park where you started from.
You can find more information about these walks and more great locations on the South West Coast Path website.