Walking through miles of sandy beaches with centuries of English and Celtic history while you can hear the waves exploding against the cliffs and feel the mild climate. Landscapes that seem to be the most dramatics of Europe. All of these and more is what you will be experiencing in Britain’s longest national walking trail: the South West Coast Path.
This path was originally established around the nineteenth century when the government employed coastguards to take care of the whole area so that smugglers couldn’t use it to land goods and avoid import taxes. Nowadays, few people have the opportunity to take two months to accomplish the whole route in one go, but the advantage of this trail is that you can choose and mix how far you want to walk and which parts do you want to see.
Along the route, you will not only see some isolated sections but also regular road-access points, villages, and towns. If you want to spend about a week sampling much of what the South West Coast Path offers, then you should head for the north Cornwall sections that are between Tintagel Castle, which is the supposed birthplace of the famous King Arthur, and Land’s End.
Atop a rocky promontory, you can find Tintagel Castle, which sadly is now in ruins, its crumbling walls to the steep, however, you can still feel the spiritual attraction to such a dramatic natural location during this walk. From the Castle, the path will be climbing up to St. Materiana’s Church with its enchanting ancient Celtic stone crosses that are part of the cemetery.
From now on, the views that you will get will be the unforgettable ones, especially when the sky turns into a palette of different color ranges from orange to gentle shades of blue and pink, you can see them along the whole trail with the sunsets and the sunrises. Past Lanterdan, you will see the emerging hulk of Gull Rock offshore, it indicates that the path will start descending towards Trebarwith Strand. This place is a renowned surfing spot and when the tie is out, it becomes one of the most astonishing beaches in Cornwall with its long stretches of golden sand.
As you’re following the climb, you will reach a point that climbs towards Port Isaac, which is a pretty small village that nestles at the head of a little inlet. Some cottages in this place offer not only a bed where to sleep but also breakfast, so you can start your day full of energy and continue with this amazing journey.
Another spectacular section of this path runs from St. Ives to Zennor Head and it takes around three or four hours to reach going to the southwest. By going there, you will be back in the wild, but then you will find cottages, pubs, and churches that are worth seeing. From Zennor, the path goes up, high to the imposing dark cliffs to the whitewashed lighthouse at Pendeen Watch, and after a couple of hours, you will be in Cape Cornwall.
You will know that your walk is coming to an end once it rolls across grassy slopes to take you to Sennen Cove at Whitesand Bay.
Just for you to know
There’s a huge variety of accommodation along and near the trail. The official website of the South West Coast Path has links that show you all the facilities that you can find en route. Also, as tides are notorious we recommend you to pick up one of the copies of the local tide tables, and if you notice that the wind is strong, you better avoid taking any coastal path.
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