The organisations responsible for managing the Coast Path have developed these guidelines to help you have a safe walk. Please read and always follow them.
As well as following the Countryside Code, when you are walking the South West Coast Path remember:
Staying safe is your own responsibility - please look after yourself and other members of your group
- Let someone know where you are going and what time you are likely to be back - mobile phone reception is patchy on the coast
- Take something to eat and drink
- Informal paths leading to beaches can be dangerous and are best avoided
- If you are crossing a beach, make sure you know the tide times so you won’t be cut off
- In areas of mining heritage there may be uncapped mineshafts hidden in the undergrowth near to the path - so if you (or your dog) leave the path, take great care to look out for and stay away from holes or depressions in the ground.
Keep to the path and stay away from cliff edges - please follow advisory signs and waymarks.
Whilst it is tempting to go close to cliff edges to peer over you should stay back from them:
- as a slip or trip could be fatal
- some cliffs overhang or are unstable and this is not always obvious
- take particular care when the grass is short, as when wet it can be very slippery
Take special care of children and dogs – please look after them at all times.
- Keep your dog under close control - see our dogs on the Coast Path page for more advice
- Children and dogs may not see potential dangers – such as cliff edges - especially if they are excited
- Do not disturb farm animals or wildlife – walk around cattle not between them, especially if they have calves
- Cattle may react aggressively to dogs - if this happens, let your dog off the lead
Dress sensibly for the terrain and weather - wear suitable clothing and footwear and be ready for possible changes in the weather. For your comfort:
- Check the weather forecast before you set out
- Protect yourself from the sun – sea breezes can hide its strength
- On the coast. mist, fog and high winds are more likely and can be more hazardous
- Wear comfortable footwear with a good grip
- If the you are going far, take waterproofs and extra clothing, especially in cold weather
To enjoy your walk, stay within your fitness level – some sections of the Coast Path can be strenuous and/or remote.
- Plan a walk that suits your fitness level
- Find out about the section you plan to walk
- Turn back if the walk is too strenuous for anyone in your group
- Be aware that the surface of the Coast Path varies and will generally be more natural and more uneven away from car parks, towns and villages.
- Remember that in remote areas or at quiet times you may not see another person for some time if you are in difficulties
In an emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
To help the emergency services locate you quickly they need to know where you are, so;
- Learn to read a map to be able to accurately report your position – visit www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk or download the OS Locate app for smartphones.
- Look out for the small signs with the location and grid reference that are on many fingerposts and signs along the path.