What to take
If you are planning to walk more than a couple of miles, here are some ideas of things it's worth taking with you.
Map or guidebook:
For our short walks, a print out of the walk description and map will suffice. However if you fancy devising your own walk, or walking a long section of the path, then you’ll find having the local Ordnance Survey map, and / or one of the Coast Path guidebooks really useful.
Compasses and GPS’s are not really needed, as with the sea on one side and a clearly marked path to follow, it’s fairly easy to orientate yourself.
What to wear:
Before you go, take a look at the forecast shown on each walk page as a guide to what the weather is likely to be like. However given the unpredictability of the British weather and the accuracy of our forecasts, it’s best to take a selection of clothing so you can decide what to wear and take with you when you get to the start of your walk. To give you the flexibility to easily adjust your temperature, you are best off wearing several thin layers of clothing, with a wicking t-shirt or similar next to the skin. Jeans should be avoided as when wet, dry slowly and will rub.
The weather along the coast (as with the rest of the UK) is unpredictable. Whilst getting caught out in an unexpected shower or even heavy rain, will only rarely put you at any risk of exposure, having a set of waterproofs with you, will make the rest of your walk much more comfortable. They are also a good lightweight way of having something windproof to put on if it gets too cold.
In the summer, having a swimming costume and towel (you can get light and small travel towels) will give you the chance to have a dip at one of the many beaches you’ll likely to pass.
In dry weather, most of the Coast Path can be walked in just about any comfortable footwear with a good grip on the sole. However if it has been wet recently, or you are planning to walk one of the more rugged sections of the path you are better off with a pair of walking boots. Modern fabric boots are almost as comfortable as trainers, require minimal breaking in, and if they have a breathable fabric liner will keep your feet dry.
Other things to take:
Food & drink
On most sections of the Coast Path you can easily forage off the land armed only with cash, by stopping at the many pubs and cafes along the route. But before you set off, check to see where you can get refreshments along the way (you’ll find details of pubs and cafes on all our walk pages), and if there aren’t any, take something to eat and drink. It’s also always worth keeping a few snack bars in your pack to give you a quick boost if you are flagging.
The sea-breeze can easily mask the strength of the sun, and if the weather is bright and you don’t want to end up pink and sore at the end of the day, don’t forget to slap on some sun screen.
As you can see from the many photos on this website, you’re going to be walking through beautiful coastal scenery, so a camera is great way of recording your journey. We’d also love to see your photos, so please post them on our Facebook page, or enter them into our annual photo competition. Each year the best pictures win some great prizes and are used in a South West Coast Path calendar.
Packing for a multi-day trip
If you are walking for several days, then you’ll need all of the above, plus more changes of clothing, washing kit, some reading material (or an ereader), and if you’re camping, all your camping gear. If you plan to carry it yourself, then obviously try and keep it as light as possible, but for more comfortable walking and the ability to pack a few more luxuries, why not use the baggage carrying service? On most sections of the path you can get up to 2 bags transferred between overnight stops for only £13. See here for details.