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5 top family walks for August Bank Holiday

Get out and about on the South West Coast Path this Bank Holiday weekend and combine a family walk with a host of other old-fashioned childhood pleasures, from crabbing, rockpooling and exploring hidden coves, to following in the footsteps of pirates, smugglers and giants.

Helping you decide where to go, the South West Coast Path Association has teamed up with South West Water to encourage visitors to enjoy the region’s coastline using the award-winning bathing water quality information system BeachLive.co.uk , so if you fancy a dip at the end of your walk, you can be safe in the knowledge that the water’s lovely!

Beach Live provides real-time information about the operation of storm overflows, which can affect bathing water quality,  at beaches across the South West. The website and app is just one of the steps taken by the water company in their commitment to improving the coastal environment, which includes sponsorship of the Association’s work to promote and protect coastal access.

For ideas about family friendly walks on the South West Coast Path linked to the Beach Live app, here’s a round-up of five of the best:                                           

Go crabbing in Salcombe, South Devon – 1 mile
Grab a bucket, line and bait and do some crabbing along Victoria Quay before the tide turns to go out as this is when they start to burrow in the sand. Enjoy Salcombe crab sandwiches from any one of the many eateries in town before taking the short ferry ride and sea tractor to South Sands beach. Walk back along the South West Coast Path to enjoy stunning views over the estuary, across to East Portlemouth and out to sea, taking in the remains of Salcombe Castle, known as Fort Charles. The castle, which was originally built as one of Henry VIII's defences against French and Spanish invasion, stands on a rocky outcrop at North Sands beach, which is dog friendly all year round.

Follow in giants’ footsteps along Mount’s Bay, West Cornwall – 2 miles
An easy walk from Penzance along surfaced paths that are suitable for pushchair and mobility aids offers great views across Mount’s Bay and out towards the Lizard and Mousehole. At low tide, take a ten-minute stroll across the causeway from Marazion to St Michael’s Mount, which according to legend was home to a giant who was lured to his death by a brave local boy. Children will love hunting for the giant's stone heart etched in the pathway.

Tintagel - King Arthur and the Slate Coast, North Cornwall – 3.6 miles
Tintagel is a firm family favourite with a choice of short circular walks to bring the legendary birthplace of King Arthur to life in the imaginations of children and adults. Here, you can explore the ruins of the 13th century castle and at low tide, venture into Merlin’s Cave where if you look closely you may be able to find a hidden seam where smugglers used to hide. The Battle of Camlann, Arthur's last battle, is re-enacted every year in August and a great tourist attraction. A magical 5-mile route suitable for older children, takes in the castle, Tintagel Church and the cove of Trebarwith Strand.

Bagging the views in North Devon – 4.5 miles
Ideal for families, the coastline of north Devon follows the Tarka Trail, a 180-mile cycle route along the old railway line which flanks the south side of the Taw Estuary. So-called because it takes in the coastal landscapes that inspired children’s author Henry Williamson to create his classic nature tale Tarka the Otter, the trail is completely flat and well-surfaced, making it ideal for pushchairs. A short circular route begins in Croyde and takes in the headland of Baggy Point with spectacular views towards Hartland Point and Lundy Island on the seaward horizon.

Walk the dinosaur from Exmouth to Sidmouth – East Devon – 12.5 miles

Set yourself a challenge and walk like a dinosaur along the first leg of the Jurassic Coast. Explore the rockpools on Exmouth beach at low tide before setting off from Orcombe Point where the Geoneedle marks the official start of this natural World Heritage Site. Highlights include the red sandstone stacks of Ladram Bay and the seafront of the regency town of Sidmouth. For a shorter option, stop at Budleigh Salterton. If this gives you a taste for more Coast Path adventures, sign up for the South West Coast Path Challenge in October to help set a new world record while helping to raise money to protect the coastline.

Find out more about this event and download hundreds of short circular and long linear walks at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk

For Beach Live updates visit www.beachlive.co.uk or download the app

Published on: Aug. 25, 2015