The South West Coast Path: Britain at Its Best

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Whatever type of walk you may fancy, even one to the nearest pub: this trail has exactly what you want

When we still lived in Britain, we made one big and – in hindsight – regrettable mistake: that was treating the M25 motorway (which, in practical terms, separates London from the rest of Britain) like a frontier to another country, a country that was alien and unsafe, full of incalculable risks and dangers. It’s not that we never went at all, but we did not go frequently enough: every excursion always felt a little like crossing over to Mexico, and I am realizing now that it was our loss, not theirs.

"South West Coast Path"

Photo by Swcoastpath

But it’s never too late to make up for past mistakes. Now, as more mature and seasoned travellers, we are determined to seize any opportunity of exploring Britain in greater depth, starting with what may well be the country’s best hiking area.

Read: How to Hike the South West Coast Path

Lonely Planet has called it one of the top walks in the world – mind you, not just the UK – and it has been voted Britain’s best walking route by the readers of Walk magazine. It is the South West Coast Path.

"SWCP Minehead start"

Photo by SWCP

The entire trail (once around the peninsula, from Minehead near Bristol to Poole in Dorset) is 630 miles long – a bit much for a single weekend, perhaps, but one of the best things about the trail is the sheer variety it offers: no matter where your preferences lie (and how lazy or easygoing you are), you can be sure to find a trail that’s right up your alley.

Read: First Impressions of the South West Coast Path

Conventional long-distance hikers will want to concentrate on a single stretch of the coast – the South West Coast Path website breaks down the trail into 5 areas of roughly 10 stages each – while walkers with less time or patience can choose from a wide range of discovery walks (wildlife, culture, heritage, geology).

"South_West_Coast_Path_sign,_Bigbury-on-Sea"

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

On top of that, there are family walks, treasure trails for the kids, and even pub and cafe walks, i.e. short strolls with a watering hole at the end. (The website, by the way, is really, really good. So good, in fact, that it makes you wonder: why other trails’ websites can’t do the same.)

And for those who like to hike in large groups, combining outdoor activities with an opportunity of making new friends, there is the North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival which this year (from 2 May until 10 May 2015) will feature several walks on Lundy Island in the Bristol channel.

"North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival"

The festival programme sounds really interesting, but unfortunately, we cannot wait until May and will start our very own trip to the South West Coast Path this week.

Stay tuned about our hikes in the South West Coast Path soon!

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