Introduction to the Path

SWCPA Marker

The South West Coast Path is the longest of the country's National Trails, with a length of 630 miles/1014 km. It follows the coastline of England's South West Peninsula. Starting at Minehead on Somerset's coast it runs along the Bristol Channel coastline of Exmoor, continuing along the coast of North Devon into Cornwall. It follows the entire coastline of Cornwall, first along its north coast then round Land's End and along the South Cornwall coast and across the mouth of the River Tamar and so into Devon. After running along the south coast of Devon it then follows the Dorset coastline before finally ending at Poole Harbour.

Although the Coast Path is usually described in this anti-clockwise direction, from Minehead to Poole Harbour, this is purely convention and there is no reason why it cannot be walked in the opposite, clockwise direction. It is comprehensively signed in both directions.

The South West Coast Path is one of the "family" of National Trails. As such, it is well signposted and waymarked, using the National Trail symbol of the acorn. As indicated above, this signing is in both directions along the coast, anti-clockwise and clockwise. In some parts of the Coast Path waymarking relates to the local environment, for example the use of granite waymarks in parts of West Cornwall and Purbeck stone signs in Dorset.