The South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is perhaps the UK’s ultimate challenge for the long-distance hiker - a 630-mile adventure around the coastline of England’s south west peninsula.

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.

Marking the trail

As a National Trail, the South West Coast Path is signposted all the way round by the acorn. In addition to this you will find large commemorative markers at key points on the trail such as Minehead (the start), Porthallow (the mid-point) and South Haven Point (the end). All off which offer the perfect excuse for a photo! There are also a number of way markers along the way that will tell you how far from each end of the trail you are. Although most walkers choose to complete the Path in this anti-clockwise direction, from Minehead to Poole, there is no reason why it cannot be walked in the opposite direction. You can find out more about the Path’s waymarking here and if you’re interested in supporting our work to improve signage, click here.

Hikers at the start, mid-point and end of the trail

       

 

Breaking it down into sections

As one of the longest coastal footpaths in the world, it’s necessary to break the Path down into sections. There are seven sections all of varying lengths, which are categorized geographically. All the information on this website, the Official South West Coast Path Guidebook (FREE to members) and our accompanying detailed step-by-step guides (availbale to buy in our shop) are organised by these sections. Click the links below to read more about each section. 

How long does it take to complete?

On average the South West Coast Path takes 7-8 weeks to complete. There are of course people who will do it much quicker than this (the current record is just over 10 days!), and those who will take much longer. Whilst a very fit and fast walker could complete all 630 miles in around 30 days or so, we find our 52 day itinerary works best as a starting point for most people. It is well worth purchasing a copy of our South West Coast Path Guidebook if you are planning to walk the entire trail as it is packed full of all the information you need to plan your trip – including accommodation, eateries, visitor attractions and activity providers who support our charity work looking after the trail. You could also consider becoming a member, which includes a FREE copy of this Guidebook.