Subscribe to our newsletter None saved

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 www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk
  • Look out for the small signs with the location and grid reference that are on many fingerposts and signs along the path.

     

     

     

    Estuaries & FerriesEstuaries & FerriesNo need to get your boots wet

    Military Training AreasMilitary Training AreasCheck when it's safe to walk

    Route ChangesRoute ChangesCheck your guidebook is up to date

    Path Problems?Path Problems?Found something wrong - report it here!

    Dogs on the Coast PathDogs on the Coast PathOne man and his ...

    Distance CalculatorDistance CalculatorAre we there yet?

    Latest News

    Latest Events

    Facebook

    • St Anthony-in-Meneage, Lizard, Cornwall. The hamlet of St Anthony-in-Meneage consists of the parish church, a collection of half-a-dozen cottages and a small boatyard/marina located where Gillan Creek meets the Helford River. The church is medieval in origin but the north aisle with an arcade of plain octagonal piers and the tower are thought to date from the 1600s. The South West Coast Path runs along the shoreline and crosses Gillan Creek on stepping stones only passable at low tide (there is a high tide alternative route). Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return. more
    • Kennal Vale, Ponsanooth, Cornwall. The wooded valley of Kennal vale is a peaceful wooded glade managed by the Cornwall Wildlife trust and is popular with walkers, dog owners and photographers. The present serenity belies its industrial past. It was once a hive of activity. The trees. made it suitable for the site of a gunpowder mill, they kept the air humid to lessen the risk of explosion and also served to absorb any blast that did occur, while the fast flowing stream provided the power to drive the machinery. Milling, grinding and mixing explosives was never going to be risk free however and there were a number of accidents some of which resulted in fatalities. Today well maintained footpaths weave through the trees and the remains of the mill buildings, there is also a flooded quarry at the top of the site which was used to mine much of the stone used to construct many of the buildings and the nearby village of Ponsanooth. Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return. more
    • Step into Spring with the North Devon & Exmoor walking festival with views from #SWCoastPath http://ow.ly/LTJX9 more
    • It's National Walking Month! Where will your adventures take you? #WalkthisMay more
    • About 8 miles from St Ives, on the coast road towards Land's End you will find the fascinating village of Botallack which is part of the St Just Mining District, Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. On the South West coast path about 1/4 mile from the car park is the Engine House that once formed part of Wheal Owles. If it looks familiar that may be because, with the aid of a little additional woodwork and a bit of CGI trickery it served as Wheal Leisure in the recent series of 'Poldark'. Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return. more
    • Duckpool, Nr Bude, North Cornwall. Duckpool is a quite isolated beach at the foot of the Coombe Valley and probably derives its name from the pond that was once used to provide water for the mill. Now managed by the National Trust, Duckpool has few amenities other than car park and toilet. The great cliffs of Steeple Point and Warren Point stand guard over either side of the shore and between them there is some lovely sand and inviting rock-pools. Situated on the South West Coast Footpath, there are also some shorter circular walks which can be enjoyed ranging from 1 mile to 5 miles in length. Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return. more
    • Take a trail from the tracks as part of a walking festival in South Devon this May taking in sections of #SWCoastPath http://ow.ly/LTIIF southwestcoastpath.com more
    • 14 days, 8 hours and 2 minutes is the record. So far I've taken 4 years and completed about a fifth of the full route. But I'm now planning the next leg... and could use a little advice. Could somebody please tell me what time low water occurs on the River Erme on the 5th to 9th of July? Or what is the standard differential between Plymouth and Mothecombe? Silly question I know but I've searched on line and can find nothing. Thanks in advance.
    • Find out about the first impressions of the #SWCoastPath in #SouthDevon from @EasyHiker101 http://ow.ly/Mh1eG easyhiker.co.uk more
    • Following our latest record breaker for completing the South West Coast Path in the fastest time, we have another challenger! Introducing Mark Berry who hopes to complete the distance in 13 days next month. Good luck! more

    Tweets

    • Congrats to the Prince and Princess of Cambridge on the birth of their daughter! #RoyalBaby https://t.co/tA710MVpM2
    • How I did on Twitter this week: 44 New Followers, 96 Mentions, 183K Mention Reach. How'd your week go? via http://t.co/VO1VttSWkq
    • RT @martinhesp: Spotted this little fellow on #Cornish @swcoastpath yesterday - @WMNNews walk soon http://t.co/zmw0VD2BWq
    • RT @NTSouthDevon: Even if the weather isnt so good this wke the wildflowers are looking fab so enjoy them @NTSouthWest @swcoastpath http://…
    • Step into Spring with the North Devon & Exmoor walking festival with views from #SWCoastPath http://t.co/MMUAEaR1xf http://t.co/H0usuiQajf
    • @konajon good luck on your adventures this weekend! Keep us posted
    • RT @konajon: @swcoastpath Welsh Paul & I, are walking a 40mile Loop around The SouthHams ,Devon this Weekend! Its gonna be Great, Fantastic…
    • It's National Walking Month! Where will your adventures take you? #WalkthisMay http://t.co/h5fVmzbNaQ
    • @peteriwestbury Hope you made it back Ok and didn't get too soaked!
    • RT @peteriwestbury: Happiness is being on a hill after a 17 mile hike when it starts to rain and you have 3 miles to go... @swcoastpath htt…