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National Trail AcornSouth West Coast Path National Trail

Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Plymouth, Somerset, Torbay

1014 km / 630 miles
Our longest National Trail gives the opportunity to enjoy some of Britain's finest coastal landscapes. These are extremely varied, from rugged and remote clifftops to sheltered estuaries, busy harbours and resorts. Moorland stretches contrast with plateaux incised by steep coastal valleys and intimate coves with long pebbly or sandy beaches.

South Cornwall and Devon offer spectacular 'drowned' estuaries while in East Devon and Dorset there are extensive 'undercliffs' resulting from landslips. Ferries operate across most of the larger estuaries but some offer a reduced service or cease altogether out of the holiday season. Details are available in the South West Coast Path Association's website (www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk).

Two World Heritage Sites cover sections of the coastline. Mining was a major industry during the 18th and 19th centuries and transformed the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape. This Site comprises ten separate areas both along the coast and inland. The Jurassic Coast is England's only natural World Heritage Site and includes 95 miles of unspoilt cliffs and beaches from Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Studland Bay in Dorset. The South Dorset Ridgeway was the original route to be designated as part of the South West Coast Path (the longer coastal route around Portland was only added in 2003). Providing an inland option or a circular route if combined with the coast, it runs from West Bexington to Osmington Mills, decreasing the total distance from the coastal option of the South West Coast Path by 25 miles (40 km). Although it is some distance from the sea, it offers views of the Jurassic Coast.

In 2002, Plymouth City Council created a continuous walking route along its coastline and appointed a team of artists to mark the route and interpret the many stories along it. Promoted as Plymouth's Waterfront Walkway (9 miles) this is now part of the South West Coast Path National Trail.

When the England Coast Path (originally planned for 2020) is opened between Poole Harbour and Dover, it will form a coastal route between the South West Coast Path at Poole and the port of Dover.

East of Lulworth army ranges restrict access at certain times. For details see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lulworth-firing-notice.

The St Michael's Way (12 miles), which is included on OS mapping, links Lelant (north coast of Cornwall) with Penzance/Marazion/St Michael's Mount on the south coast and can be extended into a much longer circular route when combined with the National Trail. Coast-to-Coast Trail (Cornwall Mineral Tramways) traverses 11 miles from the north to south coasts from Portreath to Devoran passing via Cambrose and Scorrier down the Poldice Valley and the Carnon riverside through past mining landscapes. The circular waymarked Dart Valley Trail (17 miles and on OS mapping) connects to the National Trail having the ferry between Dartmouth and Kingswear in common. It also links to the national rail network at Totnes. The Templer Way (18 miles and on OS mapping), which is waymarked except on open moorland, goes between Haytor Quarry and the National Trail at Teignmouth, using the ferry from Shaldon to Teignmouth. By combining the Tamara Coast to Coast Way (89 miles and on OS mapping) with the South West Coast Path it is possible to make a circuit of Cornwall (Kylgh Kernow in Cornish).

As an alternative to the large number of OS maps, three Harvey strip-maps cover the full route. GPS track files may be downloaded from the National Trail's website.

Summer 2023: Sinkholes in the path surface on the western side of the Isle of Portland caused an approximately 500 m stretch to be closed early in 2023. The diversion from SY 684724 through Tout Quarry leads out onto the A354. The closure was later made permanent.

Summer 2023: Dorset Council closed an approximately 200 m section of the National Trail at Martleave Stud on East Fleet (north west of Ferry Bridge, between Weymouth and the Isle of Portland) due to coastal erosion. The continuing diversion runs between SY 659767 and SY 657770. Southwestcoastpath.org.uk says "Please do not walk along the Fleet foreshore as this is a tidal area and very important for Wildlife."

AUGUST 2023: A landslip between West Bay and Burton Bradstock has caused the coast path to be diverted inland for up to six months from 09/08/2023 (though if the path can be moved back it may re-open earlier). The diversion makes use of the right of way through the golf course above.

JANUARY 2024: A landslip at Houns-tout Cliff has caused the coast path to be diverted inland to the village of Kingston and back, a total of 5 km (3 miles). There are no shorter diversions available at this time.

The LDWA National Trails Register offers certificates for completers of several British National Trails.

See also E-Routes (E9)


Details:

Waymark: National Trail Acorn
Path Type: National Trails (England & Wales)
Waymark: National Trail Acorn
Attributes: National Trail (England and Wales)
Very Challenging
Coastal
World Heritage Site
Geological
Start: SS970467 - Minehead, Somerset View on StreetMap
Finish: SZ036867 - South Haven Point, Dorset View on StreetMap
Open Date: 1978
User Group: South West Coast Path Association South West Coast Path Association
Web Sites: National Trails - South West Coast Path South West Coast Path Association South West Coast Path Association - Military Training Areas South West Coast Path Association - Estuaries and Ferries Explore Devon - South West Coast Path Dorset Council - South West Coast Path Jurassic Coast Trust - Walking the Jurassic Coast South West Coast Path - Plymouth's Waterfront Walkway Lulworth firing times Visit Dorset - South West Coast Path Independent Hostels UK - South West Coast Path Accommodation British Walks - South West Coast Path [blog] Griffmonster - South West Coast Path [blog] Jason McDonald's Walking Pages - South West Coast Path National Trail : South Haven Point to Minehead [blog] Annierak - Southwest Coast Path National Trail [blog] Stephen and Lucy Dawson - South West Coast Path [blog] Halfway Hike - South West Coast Path [blog] Trailplanner - South West Coast Path [blog] Backpack Artist - South West Coast Path [blog] A walker's journal - The South West Coast Path [blog]

Publications, Badges and Certificates:

Guidebook Walking the South West Coast Path National Trail : from Minehead to South Haven Point  (Cicerone Press  - 2023 )
Guidebook Exmoor & North Devon Coast Path (South-West Coast Path part 1) : Minehead to Bude  (Trailblazer  - 2022 )
Guidebook Cornwall Coast Path (South-West Coast Path part 2) : Bude to Plymouth  (Trailblazer  - 2022 )
Guidebook Dorset & South Devon Coast Path (South West Coast Path part 3) : Plymouth to Poole Harbour  (Trailblazer  - 2023 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : Minehead to Padstow : National Trail Guide  (Aurum Press (an imprint of Quarto)  - 2016 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : Padstow to Falmouth : National Trail Guide  (Aurum Press (an imprint of Quarto)  - 2018 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : Falmouth to Exmouth : National Trail Guide  (Aurum Press (an imprint of Quarto)  - 2018 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : Exmouth to Poole : National Trail Guide  (Aurum Press (an imprint of Quarto)  - 2016 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : 2017-2018 complete guide  (South West Coast Path Association  - 2017 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path: Reverse Guide  (South West Coast Path Association  - 2015 )
General Interest Book A long walk home : a journey along the South West Coast Path  (David Eldergill  - 2017 )
General Interest Book Hidden landscapes of the South West Coast Path : walk - explore - discover  (Halsgrove Press  - 2016 )
Guidebook Somerset Coast Path : National Trail Guide  (Aurum Press (an imprint of Quarto)  - 2014 )
Certificate Certificate for National Trails  (Long Distance Walkers Association )
Badge & Certificate Certificate & Badge for South West Coast Path National Trail  (South West Coast Path Association )
Badge Badge for South West Coast Path National Trail  (South West Coast Path Association )
Guidebook Plymouth's Waterfront Walkway  (Plymouth City Council  - 2015 )
Guidebook Exploring Cornwall's tramway trails : volume 2 : the Coast-to-Coast Trail : Portreath to Devoran & beyond  (Landfall Publications  - 2000 )
General Interest Book Big walks of Great Britain  (Summersdale Publishers  - 2007 )
General Interest Book Exploring the South West Coastal Path  (Halsgrove Press  - 2009 )
General Interest Book The Jurassic Coast : guide to the Devon and Dorset World Heriitage Site  (Halsgrove Press  - 2007 )
Guidebook Walking the Jurassic Coast : Dorset and East Devon : the walks, the rocks, the fossils  (Cicerone Press  - 2015 )
Guidebook South Devon's Shipwreck Trail  (Amberley Publishing  - 2013 )
General Interest Book Walking away : further travels with a troubadour on England's South West Coast Path  (Faber & Faber  - 2016 )
General Interest Book Travels with Baxter : walking the South West Coast Path  (Richard Newton  - 2011 )
General Interest Book The South West Coast Path  (Frances Lincoln (an imprint of Quarto)  - 2012 )
General Interest Book She won't get far her bag's too heavy  (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform  - 2011 )
General Interest Book Big walks of the south  (Summersdale Publishers  - 2010 )
Badge Badge for National Trails  (Trails Shop )
External download Plymouth's Waterfront Walkway  (Plymouth City Council  - 2015 ) Download
Guidebook Walking the South West Coast Path : a companion guide  (Halsgrove Press  - April 2015 )
Guidebook A boot up the South West Coast Path : South Devon  (Halsgrove Press  - June 2010 )
Guidebook A boot up the South West Coast Path : South Cornwall  (Halsgrove Press  - June 2010 )
Guidebook A boot up the South West Coast Path : North Cornwall & Hartland  (Halsgrove Press  - June 2010 )
General Interest Book National Trails : 19 long-distance routes through England, Scotland and Wales  (Cicerone Press  - 2015 )
Guidebook Exploring the Bournemouth Coast Path  (Countryside Books  - 2005 )
Guidebook Walking the south coast of England : from Land's End to South Foreland  (Summersdale Publishers  - 2008 )
Other National Trail mug  (Trails Shop )
General Interest Book Dorset shipwrecks from the South West Coast Path  (Halsgrove Press  - 2020 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : Dorset's Jurassic Coast : top 10 walks  (Northern Eye Books  - 2018 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : coastal pub walks : Dorset : top 10 walks  (Northern Eye Books  - 2019 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : North Cornwall : top 10 walks  (Northern Eye Books  - 2019 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : Somerset & North Devon : top 10 walks  (Northern Eye Books  - 2019 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : South Cornwall : top 10 walks  (Northern Eye Books  - 2019 )
Guidebook South West Coast Path : South Devon : top 10 walks  (Northern Eye Books  - 2019 )
General Interest Book Buses Along the South West Coast Path  (Pen and Sword books  - 2020 )
General Interest Book Tales from the Big Trails  (Vertebrate Publishing  - 2021 )

Click to showhide 43 more Publications, Badges and Certificates


Maps:

You can use the interactive controls to zoom in and out and to move around the map, or click on a path or a marker for more info.(interactive map help)

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National Trails (England & Wales)
Paths Marked on OS mapping
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Walkers are Welcome

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.
© OpenStreetMap contributors under Open Database Licence.
Rights of way data from selected Local Authorities.
Large scale digital mapping is provided by John Thorn.
At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps (path is named on OS maps):
OS Landranger 180, 181, 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204
OS Landranger Active 180, 181, 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204
OS Explorer 9, 15, 20, 44, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 111, 115, 116, 117, 126, 139
OS Explorer Active 9, 15, 20, 44, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 111, 115, 116, 117, 126, 139
Other Paper Maps:
Harvey National Trail map
Harvey National Trail map
Harvey National Trail map
Harvey National Trail map
South West Coast Path: Set of 3 Maps (Harvey Maps - 2015)
A-Z Adventure Series
South West Coast Path National Trail Official Map 1: North Devon & Somerset Adventure Atlas (Geographers' A-Z Map Company (an imprint of HarperCollins) - 2019)
A-Z Adventure Series
South West Coast Path National Trail Official Map 5: Dorset Adventure Atlas (Geographers' A-Z Map Company (an imprint of HarperCollins) - 2018)
A-Z Adventure Series
South West Coast Path National Trail Official Map 2: North Cornwall Adventure Atlas (Geographers' A-Z Map Company (an imprint of HarperCollins) - 2018)
A-Z Adventure Series
South West Coast Path National Trail Official Map 3: South Cornwall Adventure Atlas (Geographers' A-Z Map Company (an imprint of HarperCollins) - 2018)
A-Z Adventure Series
South West Coast Path National Trail Official Map 4: South Devon Adventure Atlas (Geographers' A-Z Map Company (an imprint of HarperCollins) - 2017)
ZigZag 16 Stripmap
South West Coast Path 1: Minehead to Woody Bay (Yellow Publications - March 2016)
ZigZag 16 Stripmap
South West Coast Path 2: Woody Bay to Saunton (Yellow Publications - March 2016)
ZigZag 16 Stripmap
South West Coast Path 3: Saunton to Buck's Mill (Yellow Publications - March 2016)
ZigZag 16 Stripmap
South West Coast Path 4: Buck's Mill to Menachurch Point (Yellow Publications - March 2016)
ZigZag 16 Stripmap
South West Coast Path 5: Menachurch Point to Trebarwith (Yellow Publications - March 2016)
ZigZag 16 Stripmap
South West Coast Path 6: Trebarwith to Mawgan Porth (Yellow Publications - March 2016)
ZigZag 16 Stripmap
South West Coast Path 7: Mawgan Porth to Portreath (Yellow Publications - March 2016)
ZigZag 16 Stripmap
South West Coast Path 8: Portreath to Trewellard (Yellow Publications - March 2016)
Map (Other)

Click to show 15 more Other Paper Maps


Walking Support Providers:

Support Providers
Baggage Handling (Luggage Transfers)
Support Providers
Baggage Handling and Self Guided Walks (Celtic Trails Walking Holidays)
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Coach Assisted Walking Holidays (Bobs Walking Holidays)
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Walking Holidays (Ramble Worldwide)
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Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Westcountry Walking Holidays)
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Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Contours Holidays)
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Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Instep Walking Holidays)
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Walking, Hiking and Cycling Holidays (Let's Go Walking! Ltd)
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Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Encounter Walking Holidays)
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Baggage Handling and Self-Guided Walks (Nearwater Walking Holidays)
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Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Discerning Traveller)
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Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Absolute Escapes Ltd)
Support Providers
Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Discovery Walking Holidays)
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Baggage Handling and Self-Guided Walks (Great British Walks Limited)
Support Providers
Self-Guided Walking holidays (High Point Holidays)

Click to show 18 more Walking Support Providers


Accommodation within 5 km of this Path:

 
 
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