Route changes

The South West Coast Path owes its unique character to natural processes. Our coastline would not look so beautiful and dramatic if it wasn't for cliff and beach erosion. The downside is that sometimes cliff falls or landslips close sections of the Coast Path resulting in temporary inland diversions, which can occasionally be quite lengthy, being needed. In these instances, always follow signing and information on the ground.

We are also constantly looking for opportunities to improve the route in the few places where it is not as good as it could be.

If you have recently seen a route change in our magazine or Complete Guide which isn't listed below, please assume that this is because the route is now open once again. This page is kept up to date to the best of our ability.

  • Exmoor and North Devon: Minehead to the Cornwall border (1 route change)

    Bucks Mill to Clovelly route closure

    Tuesday 9th July - The SWCP will be closed from Bucks Mill to Higher Clovelly for the next 10 days, as the wooden bridge near Hobby Drive is being replaced due to safety issues. The works will include construction of concrete abutments to hold the new 6.5m footbridge to ensure ongoing safe use of the trail. There is no diversion available in this area and the only alternative is to take a bus from Bucks Mill to Clovelly.

  • North Cornwall: Devon border to Newquay (3 route changes)

    Upton, near Bude: Route Realignment

    Dec 2019: Cornwall Council has closed a short section of the South West Coast Path National Trail at Upton, located between Bude and Widemouth Bay. This is due to instability of the cliff. A new route is in place following a public bridleway and a pavement alongside Marine Drive.

    Bedruthan: Temporary Path Closure and Diversion

    January 2021: Cornwall Council has temporarily closed a short section of the South West Coast Path near Bedruthan Steps. This is due to coastal erosion. A diversion is in place.

    Whipsiderry Beach, Cornwall: Temporary Path Closure and Diversion

    April 2021: Cornwall Council has temporarily closed part of the South West Coast Path between Whipsiderry Beach and Porth Beach near Newquay. This is for public safety reasons due to cliff instability. An alternative route is available.

  • West Cornwall: Newquay to Falmouth (5 route changes)

    Gillan Creek to East of Pennare House - diversion due to collapsed bridge

    April 2022 - SWCP Diversion from just East of Pennare House to Gillan creek on footpath 65 in the Parish of St Keverne between grid references SW7953224917 and SW7959524881. An alternative route is provided.

    Marazion

    August 2018: Further to an initial temporary closure, a section of the coast path remains closed at Marazion due to an unstable cliff. A diversion of approximately 1km is in place.

    Gunwalloe, Lizard. Short diversion due to cliff fall

    Due to a cliff fall severing the Coast Path, a 250 metre section of Coast Path has been re-routed onto a roughly parallel footpath about 50 - 100 metres further up the coastal slope.

    Durgan - short diversion due to cliff fall

    March 2016: Due to a cliff fall on the southern approach to Durgan the Coast Path has been diverted inland. The diversion adds about 300 yards / metres to the walk.

    Gillan, St Anthony, Cornwall: Temporary Path Closure

    Cornwall Council have had to close a short section of the South West Coast Path due to storm damage and a land slip in Spring 2019. A local diversion is in place.

  • South East Cornwall: Falmouth to Plymouth (2 route changes)

    Polhawn Cove, Rame

    March 2024 - Temporary diversion in place due to a landslip at Polhawn Cove near Rame

    St Martins - Monkey Sanctuary - diversion due to landslip

    Nov 2013: Following a landslip, in the woods below the Monkey sanctuary much of the path between Millendreath and Seaton has been diverted inland.

  • South Devon: Plymouth to Exmouth (4 route changes)

    Neptune Park, Plymouth

    Improved route at Neptune Park, Plymouth.

    Turnchapel to Mount Batten: Path Closure and Diversion

    January 2021: A short section of the South West Coast Path National Trail has been diverted for public safety reasons. An alternative route is available to bypass this closed section of path.

    Beacon Lane Kingswear

    15th December 2023 - A diversion has been put in place due to a path blockage on the Coast Path at Beacon Lane, Kingswear.

    Little Dartmouth, South Devon: Path Diversion

    Feb 2021: A short section of the South West Coast Path has been diverted due to coastal erosion. An alternative route is available.

  • East Devon & Dorset: Exmouth to Poole Harbour (7 route changes)

    Ladram Bay

    June 2024: A short section of the SWCP has been diverted at Ladram Bay after a landslip. An alternative route is available.

    West Bay to Burton Bradstock

    Feb 2024 - Due to a landslip the Coast Path between West Bay to Burton Bradstock is diverted. Please follow the diversion route signed on site.

    Ferrybridge, Weymouth

    July 2023 - The trail alongside the Fleet at Ferrybridge is diverted due to erosion. Please follow the diversion as shown on the map below marked by the red line. Please do not walk along the Fleet foreshore as this is a tidal area and very important for Wildlife.

    Diversion Tout Quarry, Portland

    Due to coastal erosion an inland diversion has been put in place with the path now running through Tout Quarry.

    Route change from Lyme Regis Golf Club to Charmouth

    June 2022 - Since Major cliff falls back in 2001 this part of the walk had been shown as a 'diversion' in the expectation that the Path could be reinstated along the cliff top. However, the ongoing instability of the cliffs has meant that this has not been possible, and so the Path has been routed inland and across the golf course. In 2022 a route was established with the permission of the golf course which allows walkers to follow a stone surfaced waymarked route avoiding the A3052.

    West Cliff, Portland - 2 short diversions due to cliff erosion

    Oct 2013: Following cliff erosion on the west side of the Isle of Portland, 2 short sections of the Coast Path have been diverted inland

    Houns-tout Cliff

    20th November 2023. A 3mile inland diversion following existing Public Rights of Way has been put in place due to a coastal landslip which has affected the coast path. Please follow the diversion signs on site. The route of the diversion is shown by the purple line on the map below. The red line marks the closed section of the coast path.

When a cliff fall affecting the path is reported, the County Council or National Trust rangers will immediately inspect it, and if it looks dangerous they will close off the affected section. They will then start to work on setting up a diversion, which initially will be on the nearest paths and roads around the closure. If this diversion isn’t as good as possible, once the cliff has stabilised, they will then liaise with neighbouring landowners to try and negotiate a new route close (but leaving a safe distance) to the ‘new’ cliff edge. Sometimes this is a simple, quick process, but can get complicated and protracted if there are limitations in terms of terrain (and thus amount of construction required), wildlife habitats (e.g. you can’t cut a new path through scrub during the nesting season) or impacts on someone’s garden.

Funding these repairs and construction of new paths places even more strain on an already stretched Coast Path budget, so donations towards this work are always most welcome.

If you are out and spot a recent cliff fall or other hazard that presents an imminent risk to walkers, please either contact the Coastguard on 999, or the relevant County Council (Cornwall: 0300 1234 202, Devon: 0345 155 1004, Dorset: 01305 224463).

Look out for our Way Makers

Any business listed on this website or in our Guidebook is a Way Maker and helping us to look after this amazing trail. As well as helping to make your experience truly unforgettable! 

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