South West Coastal Path

August - September 2023
The SWCP is the longest national trail. From Minehead to Poole, it takes in the best parts of four unique counties, offering 630 miles of uninterrupted paths. This is part one of my journey from Minehead to Newquay. Read more
  • 13footprints
  • 1countries
  • 13days
  • 113photos
  • 0videos
  • 135kilometers
  • Day 1

    Minehead to Porlock

    August 28, 2023 in England ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    South West Coastal Path 2024

    Minehead to Porlock 10miles

    No Camino this year after a year of intensive Immune Therapy to stop my bladder cancer coming back.

    That’s not going to stop me getting back on a trail.
    Today, I set off from Minehead to Porlock. 10 miles jaunt over the hills and a gentle (ish) introduction back into walking long distances.

    Stunning views and it must be fate as I found Camino shells at the start. A good omen.

    I will be walking for two weeks and will just see how far I get.

    Walked the 10 mile distance in three hours and have stopped at a small campsite. Feel strong and could have carried on but I’m going to take it easy.
    Read more

  • Day 2

    Porlock to Lynmouth

    August 29, 2023 in England ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Porlock to Lynmouth

    Distance 14 miles

    This trail has been inspired by the book ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Wynn. It is an amazing story of a couple who walked the trail after losing everything.

    After a restful night, I set off at 8am on the the trail to Porlock Weir and then onto the hills. There were BIG hills today and then levels sections through beautiful forest hugging the steep cliffs.
    I visited Culbone Church which had stood for over 900 years..
    After that, it was a long slog to Lymouth. A little trail magic brightened up my day before reaching Foreland Point.
    I eventually arrived in Lynmouth in the spills of rain and quickly exited as the place was packed with tourists.
    The climb out if Lynmouth is very steep. As I had seen enough hills, I took the Cable car up to Lyndon thereby avoiding a heart attack for the princely sum of £3.50
    I arrived at my campsite at 3.15pm exhausted. Admin done and a table booked in the pub next door for a Thai dinner.
    Read more

  • Day 3

    Lynton to Combe Martin

    August 30, 2023 in England ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    After a fantastic Thai meal last night, I slept eleven hours through the monsoon overnight.

    I set off at 8.30am and got a few provisions for a picnic lunch on a cliff somewhere on the trail.

    The day started with the trail going through the Valley of Rocks and then onto some more BIG hills.

    You despair when you see the trail drop steeply down to sea level and you can see the path rising very steeply across the other side. 😬 There were several today and don’t my legs know it.

    The trail is beautiful. There are views of South Wales and the route ahead. The heather is in full bloom and my sugar level is supplemented by eating blackberries.

    Another tough day but it was warm and dry. What more can a person want.

    After six hours, I arrived exhausted in Combe Martin. It is a quaint small holiday town. After quenching my thirst with a cider, I made my weary way to a campsite on the outskirts of town. Admin done, it’s time for a bite to eat. No fish and chips for me. I will try a healthy option tonight.
    Read more

  • Day 3

    Combe Martin to Ilfracombe

    August 30, 2023 in England ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    Combe Martin to ilfracombe 5.5 miles

    A very short day today. The forecast is thunderstorms and rain all day. I decided to just play safe and will be staying another night in Combe Martin.
    I did however pack a light bag and set off at 8am on the Ciastal path to Ilfracombe. Rain storms raced in from the Bristol Channel.
    I arrived in Illfracombe at 9.30am and had a walk around the town before having breakfast and catching the 10.30am bus back.
    Today will be spent washing clothes, reading and maybe a few pints.
    The forecast improves for the rest of the week. I will catch the bus early tomorrow back to Illfracombe and carry on the path.
    Read more

  • Day 5

    Ilfracombe to Croyde

    September 1, 2023 in England ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Ilfracombe to Croyde 14 miles

    Stats 53 miles 86 Kim’s 12,788 ft ascent

    I caught the 7.10am bus from Combe Martin to Ilfracombe and immediately set off on the trail in the spills of rain. Not a good start but 30 mins later, the sun came out.
    The walking was strenuous with big ascents into narrow coves and back up the other sides. Lundy Island was glowing in the Bristol Channel.
    Just before the stunning Lee Bay, I encountered a herd of cattle blocking the path. A poke with my walking poles and instructing them with ‘move along ladies’ meant I got past without incident.
    Lee Bsy is beautiful so I sat on a wall, admiring the scenery, and had middle breakfast.
    Back to the steep sections until I arrived at Morte Point pretty tired. I now turned south to Woolacombe. After some refreshment ( I’ve taken a shining to Thatchers Cider 😬), I walked the length of the vast beach full of holiday makers.
    I finally arrived in Croyde to a surfers festival taking place.
    The campsite is doing pop up street food and chill out music. I did my best to support the local economy.
    Admin done, I will enjoy the rest of a lovely day. Tomorrow, I will get to Barnstable.
    Read more

  • Day 6

    Croyde to Lower Yellard

    September 2, 2023 in England ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    21 miles

    Last night, I indulged in a second dinner of smashed burger and chips at the canp site. I set off this morning at 6.30am. My tent was soaked.

    The beach was packed with surfers jostling for waves. High tide was in but I managed to wak along the beach to pick up the Coatal Path. The next couple of hours was spent walking on a busy road from Croyde to Braunton. It was not a pleasant experience. I intended to walk the 3 mile length of Saunton Sands but the tide was lapping against the dunes. This meant a boring walk along Braunton Marsh.
    The temperature was 23C with no wind.
    I was feeling pretty fed up and was considering bailing out at Barnstable. These thoughts persisted all the way along the sea defences around the Taw estuary to Barnstable.
    I bought some lunch and sat watching a demonstration again race hate. I ended up chatting to a police woman managing the event. She told me that I would miss some amazing scenery if I bailed out.
    I did research trains from Barnstable home for today and for the first time ever, I’ve got to thank the rail strikes - no trains. Decision made.
    One pint later, I was back on the trail which also encompasses the Tarka trail and yomping towards Biddeford, listening to AC/DC. Fine music to get the miles in.
    The trail continued to be easy but very boring. I arrived at my amazing campsite very footsore.
    Fate has interceded because this one has a BREWERY…hurrah 🍺.
    Admin done, I will have a light tea and a few beers. I feel that a snore fest is coming on. I am staying another night here so will do a light pack day tomorrow to Westward Ho!
    Read more

  • Day 6

    Lower Yelland to Westward Ho!

    September 2, 2023 in England ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    Lower Yelland to Westward Ho! 12 miles

    Last night was very restful even after a few pints of ale from the Brewery next door. A truly eccentric landlord.
    I set off this morning at 07.20am with a light pack. It was to be another glorious day. The path basically continues around the Taw estuary.
    I quickly got to Bideford and stopped briefly for middle breakfast.
    Most of the trail is suburban but there was a brief section through National Trust land which was very pleasant. I passed a Harland & Wolf shipyard with a baby Goliath lift which brought back happy memories of Belfast.
    Before long, I was passing through Appledore which was busy with families crab fishing or swimming.
    I entered the Northampton Burrows Cohntry Park which looks across the mouth of the estuary to Crow Rock. The walk continued around a golf course and followed a beach protected by a huge pebble defence wall into Westward Ho!
    The distance took me 4 hours.
    After a little food shop, I caught the bus back to the campsite.
    Admin completed, it’s time to let my feet recover.
    Tomorrow, I will walk from Westward Ho! to Clovelly. The scenery will become more dramatic.
    Read more

  • Day 8

    Westward Ho! to Clovelly

    September 4, 2023 in England ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    A Brutual 11 miles.

    99 miles walked to this point.

    I set off at 8am from Westward Hoy! It was promising to be a hot day.
    I was escorted by two of the local constabulary for the first mile. They were looking for two children MFH who were camping on the coast.
    They located the kids who clearly had no intention of going to school.
    I carried on the path which was very strenuous. I stopped several times to eat my fill of blackberries. I was exhausted with climbing up and down headlands. At the halfway point today, I got to Peppercombe beach. I lay down and had a 45 minute nap. It was glorious, listening to the waves crashing through the huge pebble beach. The temperature was 25C.
    I carried on with the trail and eventually arrived 6.5 hours after setting out. I was literally washed out. I had drunk 4 litres of water.
    There are no campsites in Clovelly. I intended to carry on but I was exhausted.
    I checked into the New Inn and got myself a lovely room not before quenching my thirst with a hard earned pint of Guinness.
    Clovelly is beautiful and very touristy but it seems very quiet now the day tourists have left.
    I intend to have an early night and prepare for tomorrow’s adventure.
    Read more

  • Day 9

    Clovelly to Stoke Martin

    September 5, 2023 in England ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    10.5 miles 26C

    I am pleased that I took the break in the New Inn Hotel last night. I used all the facilities including a bath. I had a few pints and a huge sausage and mash dinner. An early night in a double bed.
    After a full breakfast this morning, I climbed back up the hill to the trail.
    What a stunning day unfolded before me. The trail took me through the Clovelly estate and onto a number of very steep headlands. I must be getting fitter as I seem to climb them a little quicker.
    There were no facilities on the entire path today so I had extra food and water with me.
    The weather was stunning but it quickly reached 26C. This time of year is supposed to be rain and misery but it wasn’t.
    The path eventually opened out to gentle undulating hills, through fields of grasslands with wild flower borders. It was stunning.
    The hedgerows are brimming with blackberries so I must have eaten my body weight of them. Those that know me, know that I am a big unit 😎.
    The coastline has become more dramatic. I reached Hartland Point around 12.30 and had a little siesta.
    The next two hours was spent climbing dramatic headlands until I got to my campsite at Stoke Barton.
    I was a little footsore and had drunk 5 litres of water.
    Admin completed, I will have an expedition meal tonight before turning in early.
    Tomorrow I hit a severe section with over 10 valleys to climb and descend over 15.5 miles. The temperature will be 25C and serious issue
    With a heavy pack and the heat factor, I will split this section in two parts.
    Read more

  • Day 10

    Hartland Quay to Morwenstow

    September 6, 2023 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    8 miles 26C

    A great night at Stoke Barton campsite near Hartland Quay. I ended up chatting to a chap who had just fastpacked with a very light pack from Hartland Quay to Bude. He was absolutely exhausted. He strongly recommended splitting the distance in two. As the temperature was peaking at 26C again, I have followed his advice.
    I set off at 8am with a full pack. I kept leap frogging other coast walkers.
    The path took me over amazing his cliff paths but after each one there was a steep descent down to sea level and back up. Absolutely exhausting.
    I walked briefly with a couple from Bristol who’ve walked the SWCP path four times.
    Eventually, I arrived exhausted at the 13th Century Bush Inn at around 1pm. The staff will let you unofficially camp in their beer garden if you have a meal. Absolute no brainier as temperature continues to rise.
    I had a few pints and a lunch. Admin completed by having a bottle of water shower and rinsing my clothes.
    I intend to chill out the rest of the day in the shade and watch the shattered walkers come in.
    Tomorrow, I will set off early and complete the seven miles to Bude. There are still more severe hills on this section to walk. I need to beat the heat which is a ridiculous thing to say in the UK.
    Read more