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Safety Advice

Safety Advice

The organisations responsible for managing the Coast Path have developed these guidelines to help you have a safe walk. Please read and always follow them.

As well as following the Countryside Code, when you are walking the South West Coast Path remember:

Staying safe is your own responsibility - please look after yourself and other members of your group

  • Let someone know where you are going and what time you are likely to be back - mobile phone reception is patchy on the coast
  • Take something to eat and drink
  • Informal paths leading to beaches can be dangerous and are best avoided
  • If you are crossing a beach, make sure you know the tide times so you won’t be cut off

Keep to the path and stay away from cliff edges - please follow advisory signs and waymarks.

Whilst it is tempting to go close to cliff edges to peer over you should stay back from them:

  • as a slip or trip could be fatal
  • some cliffs overhang or are unstable and this is not always obvious
  • take particular care when the grass is short, as when wet it can be very slippery

Take special care of children and dogs – please look after them at all times.

  • Keep your dog under close control - see our dogs on the Coast Path page for more advice
  • Children and dogs may not see potential dangers – such as cliff edges - especially if they are excited
  • Do not disturb farm animals or wildlife – walk around cattle not between them, especially if they have calves
  • Cattle may react aggressively to dogs - if this happens, let your dog off the lead

Dress sensibly for the terrain and weather - wear suitable clothing and footwear and be ready for possible changes in the weather.

For your comfort:

  • Check the weather forecast before you set out
  • Protect yourself from the sun – sea breezes can hide its strength
  • On the coast. mist, fog and high winds are more likely and can be more hazardous
  • Wear comfortable footwear with a good grip
  • If the you are going far, take waterproofs and extra clothing, especially in cold weather

To enjoy your walk, stay within your fitness level – some sections of the Coast Path can be strenuous and/or remote.

  • Plan a walk that suits your fitness level
  • Find out about the section you plan to walk
  • Turn back if the walk is too strenuous for anyone in your group
  • Be aware that the surface of the Coast Path varies and will generally be more natural and more uneven away from car parks, towns and villages.
  • Remember that in remote areas or at quiet times you may not see another person for some time if you are in difficulties

In an emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

To help the emergency services locate you quickly they need to know where you are, so;

  • Learn to read a map to be able to accurately report your position – visit
  • Look out for the small signs with the location and grid reference that are on many fingerposts and signs along the path.




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    Latest News

    Latest Events

    • Coastal Combes & Heather Highs

      Coastal Combes & Heather Highs   28th Aug 2014 11:00am-2:30pm

      Meet a National Park Ranger for a walk across the scented heather moorland, down to cool woodland before a steady climb up to join the South West Coast Path and its fine views across the sea.

      Meet Holdstone Down car park (with overhead barrier). SS623474.

      11am for 3.5hrs/5miles.

      Bring a picnic and walking boots.

      More details here

    • Axe Vale & District Conservation Society Bird Watch

      Axe Vale & District Conservation Society Bird Watch - Monday 8th September

      Axe Estuary and Surrounding Area

      Join Ian Waite for a fascinating morning of birdwatching.           

      Date:               Monday 8th September 2014

      Time:               09.30 onwards

      Venue:             Meet at Axmouth Bridge lay by

    • Ocean City Festival

      Plymouth’s annual Ocean City Festival (8th – 28th September) returns bigger and better in 2014. The festival is designed to offer a fun and engaging way for families and visitors to enjoy the city, taste great food, see fascinating marine life, experience inspiring art and music and learn about a world beneath the waves. The event also aims to raise awareness, nationally and internationally, of Plymouth’s role as a leading UK marine city, for research, leisure, heritage and local produce. 

    • Big night out on the beach!

      Big night out on the beach! 

      Sat 13th Sep

      National Trust and South Devon AONB

      South Milton Sands

      Join us for our annual evening of fun and activities on the beach! Watersports taster sessions, rockpooling, bird walks, star gazing, children’s activities, refreshments in the Beach House café and more! (Bring a clean jam jar if you want to make a lantern.) Free (small charges for watersports sessions and car park).

      No need to book - just turn up!

      6pm until late.

      Meet at South Milton Sands, South Milton SX 677414

    • Earth's Studio- Art Workshops II

      Lynmouth Pavilion
      Saturday 13th September
      11am - 4pm

      Join us for an inspirational walk in the woods and use soil and plant pigments to create printed collages of magical mosses, fabulous ferns and lovely lichens. Prepare to get messy as you get up close and personal with these hidden gems!

      Please bring a packed lunch and stout footwear. Also wear suitable clothing as the session may get a bit messy. You may also with to bring a camera. Meet at the Pavilion.

      Booking is essential for these free workshops. Visit to book your place.

    • Minehead Summertime Tasters

      Minhead Events will be organising a Food & Drink event called Minehead Summertime Tasters that ties in with the CAMRA Real Ale Festival at the West Somerset Railway on 13-14 Sept. 

      This will include local food producers based in the Beach Hotel offering taster sessions, also they hope to have the YMCA doing taster sessions and creative menus.

    • Inside Out on the South Dorset Ridgeway

      This September, from Friday 19th – Sunday 21st inclusive, 9 new artistic commissions will animate the stunning South Dorset Ridgeway, easily explored via the South West Coast Path. Inside Out Dorset Festival is presenting free outdoor events and artworks, will be situated in the village of Littlebredy, Black Down, Ashley Chase and the spaces between.

    • Swanage & Purbeck Walking Festival

      The Swanage and Purbeck Walking Festival

      Saturday 20th - Sunday 28th September 2014

      The beautiful Isle of Purbeck is a walker’s paradise. From coast to country, the variety is unsurpassed.  go to the Walking Festival website for more details

    • Guided Walk - Moonfleet

      Join a guided walk around Moonfleet exploring the literature and history of this atmospheric place nestling in the shadow of the South Dorset Ridgeway.  In association with the South West Coast Path's 'Great South West Walks'

    • Seafood Festival

      As part of the Ocean City Festival Plymouth’s Seafood Festival (Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th September) will showcase the fantastic quality of seafood available in Plymouth, both local and celebrity chefs will create a range of mouth-watering dishes from the catch of the day.  


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    • The South West Coast Path commented on a post.
    • The South West Coast Path likes a post.
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    • Found on The South West Coast Path near Bigbury. Expensive prescription glasses - can we reunite them with their owner? more


    • We love walking on the Coast Path but don't just take our word for it!
    • Take on a #geocaching adventure in #Cornwall. Newest @NationalTrails geocoin placed in GC4RXVE Alexandra's Steps.
    • @WestBriton Thanks for the coverage about the work of @NTSouthWest on #SWCoastPath #together
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    • @CafeAt36 @GaryHolpin @RivieraLegends @DevonLife @Kate_likes_ @studio22artz @LoveSWCoastPath Yes the Dawlish to Teignmouth stretch for us
    • RT @Lizsmithyorks: More of the same today! #walking @swcoastpath Need to bottle this & take home! @jbl1931 @KCobrey @wotDebthinks http://t.…
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