The SWCP National Trail
The South West Coast Path itself is 630 miles long and is the longest National Trail in the country. Starting at Minehead in Somerset it runs along the coastline of Exmoor, continuing along the coast of North Devon into Cornwall. It follows the entire coastline of Cornwall, goes across the mouth of the River Tamar and continues into Devon. After running along the south coast of Devon it then follows the Dorset coastline before finally ending at Poole Harbour.
Normally the route is completed from north to south. Although the Coast Path is usually described in this anti-clockwise direction, from Minehead to Poole, this is purely convention and there is no reason why it cannot be walked in the opposite direction. It is well signed in both directions.
How long will it take to complete?
A very fit and fast walker could complete the whole 630 miles in around 30 days, but a more leisurely pace with time to stop and to see some of the sights just off the Path is 7-8 weeks.
The pace we think works best for most people is to take 52 days to walk the path, and so in our Annual Guidebook and on this website we’ve split the path into 52 sections. Each of these cover a typical day’s walk and on the pages in the links below you’ll find a route map, highlights and points of interest along the path, accommodation along with ideas to make it shorter or longer to suit your walking speed.
Walking the Coast Path using car and public transport
With careful planning it is possible to walk the South West Coast Path as a series of day walks – either using buses, or when these are not available by retracing your steps or doing a circular walk. To help you plan this, with the help and experience our members, we have broken the path into 82 day walks – and you can download this here.