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

    • Join in and Celebrate an Award Winning Link on the South West Coast Path

      On Friday 24 October, you can join RIBA for a celebratory talk that will give you an insight into the design and build of the Gillespie Yunnie Architects’ staircase at Royal William Yard, Plymouth. This filled a gap in the South West Coast Path, bringing walkers around the Stonehouse peninsula for the first time. Online booking: http://royal-william-yard.eventbrite.co.uk

    • Voting Opens For Top Dog Walk Competition

      Voting has just opened for the third annual Top Dog Walk competition with the continued backing of Your Dog Magazine and the Kennel Club’s access advisor Stephen Jenkinson, an expert on where dog owners can go and what they can do in the countryside. Dog owners are invited to nominate their favourite walk, for their four-legged friends, from walks all around the South West Coast Path. One lucky voter will receive a complimentary stay at one of Toad Hall Cottages 300 dog friendly cottages to the value of £500.

    • The Early Photographer Catches the Prize!

      Back in August saw the announcement of the winning photographs in Round 5 of the Amateur Photographer of the Year Competition – entitled Dawn and Dusk. Among the 30 most spectacular images the majority included the sea and coastline in some form.

      If you are thinking of entering this year’s South West Coast Path photographic competition it is well worth feasting your eyes on these to give you renewed inspiration.

      Amateur Photographer of the Year – Dawn and Dusk Gallery

    • Penny Mordaunt MP Visits the Coast Path to Discuss Storm Damage

      The new Coastal Communities Minister Penny Mordaunt MP, visited the South West Coast Path at Thurlestone, South Devon, earlier this week.

      Penny Mordaunt

    • South West Coast Path Secures £1 million Investment

      The South West Coast Path Association is delighted to announce today that they have been successful in their bid to the Coastal Communities Fund to secure £1 million investment in the South West Coast Path. 

    • Photo journalists - Create a story for the path

      We want you to help us to tell the story of a day in the life of the South West Coast Path. Our friends at Western Morning News have offered us a two page photo essay spread to include up to eight photographs with a 500 word editorial. We can do it ourselves of course but we know that you can do it even better! We're asking for help from Coast Path enthusiasts with photo journalism skills to produce this. 

    • Coast Path reopened near Thurlestone

      Devon County Council yesterday completed work to re-open a section of Coast Path south of Thurlestone which had been closed since early 2013 when it was severed by a cliff fall. The new route follows the edge of the field, and whilst slightly longer than the original route retains stunning views along the coast.  

    • New National Trail Geocoins to be released

      In July, August and September ten new Geocoins, one a week for ten weeks will be released. The first will coincide with the start of the National Trail Geocaching Week from 12th to 19th July. The last as part the Great South West Walks event 20th to 28th September.

    • South West Coast Path Photographic Competition attracts Top Professional as Judge

      The team behind this year’s Coast Path Photographic Competition is excited to announce that David Noton has agreed to come on board as their Professional Judge. 

    • The Great South West Walks 2014 Opens For Bookings - 100 New Walks Announced

      With 100 stunning coastal walks to choose from, the Great South West Walks 2014 is now open for bookings.

      These specially selected circular walks by the South West Coast Path Association, will take place across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset from 20th – 28th September.

    Latest Events

    • Tales of the Exmoor Coast

      22nd November 2014 4:00pm-7:00pm

      Hear folk lore, fable and fact about Exmoor's coast from Exmoor National Park Ranger Tim Parish, then we invite you to add your own! Interactive and entertaining - come and share your stories...

      This event is brought to you by: Lynmouth Pavilion Project
      Location: Lynmouth Pavilion EX35 6EQ
      Booking: Booking not essential but would be helpful
      Charge: Free event
      Contact: 01598 752509

    Facebook

    • Just to let you know, the www.stmaweswatertaxi.co.uk/winter-season begins on November 1st. Great for getting to Place. now that the Place Ferry has finished for the season. www.stmaweswatertaxi.co.uk more
    • The South West Coast Path shared Phil Starkey - Photography's photo. A really atmospheric shot of Gyllngvase Beach, Falmouth by Phil Starkey - Photography. Here's some walks nearby where you can go to experience more of the same letting the train take the strain to get to your starting point www.southwestcoastpath.com/day-walks/railways-walks/walks-falmouth-station/ Just going through some of the photos that I have taken over the last week and will hopefully be posting more to the October album later. But for now I thought I'd share with you this one that I took on Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth. It had been a really murky start to the day but after lunch the weather started to break producing some interesting light and lovely skies. As always please do share if you wish. f/11 1/500 ISO 100 10mm All Rights Reserved — at Gyllngvase Beach. more
    • Long Rocks at Marazion is closed for repairs for three weeks in October 2014. An alternative route is signposted. www.southwestcoastpath.com more
    • Please see the upcoming diversion at Trevone Bay, near Padstow. more
    • Have a look at our friends' South West Coast Path Association shop for Christmas present ideas for your walking friends and family more
    • The South West Coast Path shared Walking for Health's photo. There are Walking for Health groups all over the UK. If you're looking for ways to increase the distance you can walk they make for great boot camps for walking further along the SW Coast Path - see if you can find a group near you. "I feel so much fitter and more active in general." "Now I walk for enjoyment, not just around the supermarket." "I’ve made lots of new friends as a result of meeting up with the group as well." How has walking helped you? Let us know! more
    • A walker's menu at South Sands Hotel - and somewhere to hire a thermos flask from! Also a great place to start a number of circular walks from. You can pick up a leaflet to guide the way before the off from their Walker's Hut more
    • The South West Coast Path commented on a status.
    • The South West Coast Path shared Alan Mccarten's photo. This reminded us to get a trip organised to North Devon soon. Have a look at some of our favourite walks here for your inspiration - Hartland, Heddon's Mouth and Croyde all beckon! http://www.southwestcoastpath.com/day-walks/seasonal-walks/autumn-ambles/autumn-ambles-north-devon/ more
    • The South West Coast Path likes a photo.

    Tweets

    • Looking for something to do for #Halloween Trick or Treat Fun tomorrow? Try English Riviera this October Half Term! http://t.co/BDCoXQB4Js
    • RT @THCottages: Wow, check out these half-term visitors basking in Salcombe's autumn sea mist! http://t.co/vYLAv0DxD8
    • @HayleySpurway Perfect!
    • RT @HayleySpurway: Stomp along @swcoastpath, sand between our toes & hot chocolates watching surf at Blue Bar, Porthtowan #lovecornwall lif…
    • RT @TheRoyalBallet: A classic pic for #TBT - Anna Pavlova and friends at a Dorset swannery, studying Swans while rehearsing Swan Lake ^C ht…
    • @EastDevonAONB Giving the River Otter room to spread to help alleviate flooding in the area inc. on the #SWCoastPath http://t.co/wts1bH2F9K
    • RT @carpydan1983: Deep in thought staring into the distance #Southdevon #coastalwalks #deepinthought http://t.co/nSQw5BIb5c http://t.co/u…
    • @bagwellfarm Congratulations on this! Good work.
    • @DanJamesENPA I hope the owner is found soon.
    • RT @DanJamesENPA: Can you help reunite this little #lost #bear with his owners? Found admiring views above #Daymer Bay on @swcoastpath http…