Getting to the Path by car

The South West is well served by three major trunk roads (M5, A303, A30) and most of the gateway start and finish points along the South West Coast Path (SWCP) are served by a network of A and B roads. However, they can all become very busy during the peak summer season, so you may need to factor this into your journey times. It is always worth checking online traffic reports before setting off to avoid any major delays.

If you arrive in the region at one of the airports, ferry terminals or many of the mainline train stations, you can easily arrange car hire.

Please note, if you are driving on the A38 through Plymouth to reach Cornwall, you will need to pay a toll on the Tamar Bridge. Click here for more information on pricing.


Many accommodation providers such as B&Bs, hotels, and campsites offer car parking, but please do check the details of this directly with your accommodation provider.

Once in the South West, car parks are readily available at all coastal towns and usually have an option to pay over the phone if needed. However, we always recommend having some spare change just in case. At more remote locations along the SWCP, you will find informal car parks, normally managed by landowners or Parish Councils. Some of these car parks are free, but there are normally charges (Pay & Display, staffed ticket kiosk, honesty box). There are also numerous National Trust car parks well located for walking the Coast Path. You can use these for free if you are a member of the National Trust, otherwise, you will need to pay.  

Most of our walks have specific information about parking facilities nearby, so please do check this as where possible we’ve included postcodes of car parks for use by sat navs.

If you are planning to walk for two days or more, you will need to arrange longer-term car parking. The Complete Guide to the South West Coast Path we publish and offer free to members has details of places that offer long-term parking, but you are advised to confirm this with the service provider when booking.